*tap* *tap* Is this thing on? And where’s the damn light switch?
Unfortunately, I’m slipping. It’s a curious thing. You can literally be near death on the inside and no one can see. I was at the Jewel the other day, pushing my cart, blacking out on why I was actually there. Just………..pushing. I was looking at different people. Seeing if I could see into them. Is that guy in meat section ok? He looks ok. He looks like he is going to make a beef stew. He doesn’t look despondent. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t. Because I just don’t think you can tell.
In one month, I have to play a role in the horse and pony show performance I am forced to play a part in to celebrate the life of my father. It’s not that I don’t want to celebrate him. He was absolutely magnificent. But I am not ready. I’ve been through 300 days of major trauma watching him get sick, disintegrate before my eyes and then, die. I am not ready, I said I wasn’t ready, I screamed and cried that I was ready, but I. Don’t. Matter.
The weighted blanket that clutches me in the belly of the beast is crafted out of my voice never being heard. And…isn’t that ironic? When I sing, people tend to listen. But when I speak…it must be made out of invisible ink. Maybe I should have sung my despair.
I just watched “1883” on Paramount Plus and I kept thinking, My God. They must have been SO BORED all day. She just sat on her horse, looking gorgeous, flirting with cowboys and watching cattle for like, eight hours; she couldn’t even check social media. Mostly, she was just there with her thoughts (sappy voiceovers). I can’t get away from mine.
Sadly, social media is making me sicker. I just paused FB today for a week. Didn’t tell anyone. Just did it. I couldn’t look at one more thing that reminds me that I am hanging by a thread.
When I went to Florida to help pack up my dead dad’s house, I finally was able to go to our beach and say goodbye to him.
I also thought about swimming out into the ocean and never coming back. I fought that for about an hour. Then it started to rain and I didn’t want to get hit by lightening, so I figured that meant that I still want to stick around. Mostly because, me lost at sea would fuck up my kids. So I live another day.
Netflix is my BFF. Amazon Prime squirrels my sadness for chunks of my day. Swedish Death Cleaning* my house is “giving me purpose”. Today, my goal is to clean under my bathroom sink and then find one other thing to look forward to in my life to “give me purpose.” Still looking. Still looking.
The first headline I read this morning was from Huff Post:
“Gen Xers and Millennial’s Got Into Weirdest Fight Over Super Bowl HalfTime Show”
My eyes are full of tears and I have to look away. I glance up at the hospital room TV. The halftime show star is starting, but it’s on mute. Mike and I are helplessly watching two hospital nurses shake you awake to see if you were ok. It takes about 10 minutes. You are so confused when you wake up. I have to leave to room to go cry in the hallway. Again.
We missed the half time show. But we also didn’t miss a thing.
The Sea Island sun blinds me when I look up to see your face. I stop-salute you and squint to block it from my eyes. You and your mustached-face looks down at me, smiling. You reach down to grab my nose and peek your thumb out of your knuckle sandwich. You hold it up and say, “got your nose!”
“Give it Back!” I yell, but I’m laughing and I’m chasing your serpentine. Back and forth, in and out of the water. I follow your footsteps and try to match them. I put my foot inside yours and I squish it all around. The waves are awfully loud, but I love them and then you grab me and give me my nose back.
I love any beach or water anywhere forever and ever and it’s because of moments like this. It’s safe, you are relaxed and it just means love. I have to run fast to keep up: one-two-three-four Heathersteps, in and out of the water, equal one big Daddystep. You laugh and stop and wait for me. Then you grab my hand. It’s so windy and the waves are so big and they break the silence in a way that makes me close my eyes and be happy. It smells so good. You are so tall and I look up at you and you laugh out the words, “hurry up, twinkle toes.”
I giggle when you take the shells I give you and you say “Ooooooooh, that’s a good one“.
I feel proud that I picked it and you put it in your pocket. I am twirling round and round with the sand between my toes. When I dizzy-stop, stumble and laugh, you are walking back. You’re done. I stop-salute and squint, watching you get smaller as you walk away. You yell back, “Go to mom now.“
I’m a bad actor and I can’t fake it anymore. I am screaming inside and crying and keening and wailing. Every tiny cell of me is tired. We are now in Defcon 1. I can’t control you. You can’t figure out reason or make sense of anything. There are not people in the corners trying to hurt you. You are not being poisoned. We are not trying to kill you. I wish I could rescue you from the alien world that you are living in your head. It seems so scary and mean and awful. I’d give anything to Stranger Things you outta there.
I spend hours trying to show you how much I love you. Even when I am not with you, I still worry and wonder if you are ok. I’m so sad that you are leaving me; that you have already kind of left. The other night in the wee hours, you were yelling at me:
You do not care if I die.
You are out to get rid of me.
You are not on my team.
You don’t have my back.
When you say these things, I can handle it. Your words bounce off me onto the floor. I can step on them a little and kick them under the couch. I know you don’t mean it. I know you are sick. I am tough and I can fight them off.
Your face looks so different now. I remember being little and tracing your face with my fingertips. “Oops…got your nose.”
I know you can no longer read your books; now it’s only faces. I am sorry that sometimes I don’t look at you when we talk. I try to make my face happy, but sometimes, I just can’t.
Feelings transition to some kind of desperation. I want someone there with me to see what I have to do. I need a wingman. I want someone to hug me. I need help with you. I need you to help me with you. I long for the dad I had, to give me advice about the dad I have now. I feel desert Island lonely.
This journey has given me some useful takeaways and Heather 2022 has a new criteria for friendship.: Choose the right people who deserve to hear your story. I love hearing stories of the people I love and I know they hear me back. There is nothing worse than realizing that someone don’t want all of the sides of you. I have been screaming from the inside of insides. I don’t have the energy to only listen and not be heard. I hope to replenish soon.
I think I am spending so much time writing this to procrastinate making phone calls. Calls to find somewhere we can move you away from the home that you worked so hard for and away from the life you knew. Can I call in a sub for this too? Inhale…exhale…
I took a night off from being with you last night to sleep in a real bed. Today, I head back to you and the couch. When I get in the car, I will cry. I will walk in the door with a smile. I will try not to lose it, but sometimes I do. You threw a box of tissues at me the other night. I karate-chopped it from my face and the box went flying. It was actually super funny. Wish you were there.
How is he talking to me and he looks like himself and his hands move like himself and I’ve sat in this chair across from him a million times while he sat in that chair across from me a million times? Now all his words in their order make no sense like cut up, strung up and mismatched pieces of fabric. I’m trying to smile on the outside and I’m praying he can’t tell that I’m screaming and crying on the inside.
I’m in awe, and it’s not in the fireworks way, or being at Disney way, or a nurse handing one of my babies in my arms for the first time sort of way. That’s all awe filled with joy.
Tonight he couldn’t tell me very importantly what he very importantly wanted to tell me. That’s awe filled with sad.
Falling asleep, broken heart. Scrunch tears and think of years ago, walking on a beach where he pulled me out of the water, laughed loud, called me “twinkle toes”, skipped a rock and bent down to hold my hand.
I did not blog yesterday, so now I owe myself two today.
Round one: Yesterday got away from me…and then, we got a big delivery. After 21 years of marriage, we finally bought a new mattress. The one we were sleeping on was a hand-me-down from my parents and I think by the time we got it, it was already 12 years old. Current mattress situation: basically feels like sleeping on an Anglophilian-inspired straw, feather and horse hair stuffed abomination.
We bought a Stearns & Foster, just like my parent’s five-star hotel-like guest bed. While I was recently sick in our hay bed, my husband went to a mattress store, laid on a few, flopped around, called me for final approval, took the leap and paid a stupid amount of money. We had to wait over a month and we were panting for this thing to come. Finally we got word that it was on it’s way and I needed to deal with the bedding situation.
I have a problem with big box stores like Target, Costco, freaking Walmart. If I can’t see windows, I get tweaked. I couldn’t trust getting anything online, because I needed to feel everything. So I hyperventilated through Nordstrom Rack, sweated my way through Target and survived a full-on panic attack in the bedding department at Bed, Bath and Beyond. While I was doing this, number three called me to tell me that she had to leave Great America and go to the ER because her friend got sick (she is totally fine now, Thank God) and she needed a ride home. Full on breakdown in the sheet aisle. I did some lamaze breathing, called number one to go get her. He said, “Mom: Chill. I got her.”
Because of his helpfulness, I bought him new dorm bed sheets and upgraded the thread count. Mad props. I finally settled on 400 count for us and a snuggly UGGS comforter set, all in CREAM. Bold.
So yes, victory. Last night was amazing. It’s like sleeping on a cloud. The mattress is glorious and the bedding is so freaking cozy. The only negative is that one side of the comforter is literally the fuzzy stuff that’s in the inside of an UGG’s boot. Little sweaty. Will be perfect for snuggles in fall and winter. For now I’ll just keep cranking the fan on us.
I crawled in it at 6pm last night and I am still in it at 9:15am. I eventually have to get out of it to go see my dad, but for right now…
Loved to see my husband donating his time to bring music to such a fantastic and meaningful event in our lovely town of Wauconda, Illinois. Proud that my number one, who is working hard to get his five year Master’s in Criminal Justice loved the event and loved talking to a bunch working officers. Love that I have awesome friends who are also superheroes.
I loved that we all saw our police department and other community servants as real life proud, hard-working residents walking around our Main Street with their families, showing everyone that they are human, kind and just like every one of us. (But also, super brave.) Loved that mom my could be there to see how lucky we are to live in a blissful place.
Love that my family loves our community. That our oldest son is helping to build a house on Bang’s Lake while he is home from college, my second son works his tail off at Bulldog’s, the best best burger joint around, and my daughter loves to shop local, dreams of someday working at Lindy’s and is only mildly embarrassed about her performing parents…
Loved to see another day that our community rallies together to make 60084 a special place to live. We love this town.
In January, I got a new day job, so I went a little crazy and bought a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. It’s a 2010 and kind of beat up, but it’s been my dream car ever since I can remember and I just went for it. It’s a lot of Jeep for a “little” girl, but I was sure I could handle it. We named him Hank the Tank. I know that you are supposed to refer to your car as a girl but I think that’s sexist. Mine is a guy and he is a beast. My husband and the kids even got me the Cubbie tire cover. Bucket list item,√.
Unfortunately, I obtained him in January, the night before my husband was diagnosed with Covid and we were in quarantine, so I didn’t drive it for the first three weeks. Hank and I had a rocky start, also because the windows didn’t work and I have yet to fix a broken blinker, but still we seemed to get along ok. I couldn’t wait for summer and to take the hard top off…whip around Lake County feeling the breeze in my hair….
Did you know there is a “Jeep wave”? I didn’t know. I had some wave at me when I first started driving and I just chalked it up a bunch of really friendly people in my town. Then my good friend, who is a Jeep owner, asked me, “So you know about the Jeep wave…”
OK. Aha….got it.
It’s a thing.
I was pretty excited about it. I felt like I was in a cool, new club. The next 3-4 times I drove, I did not see one Jeep. But I was on the lookout and I was going to be ready.
At last it was time. I saw one coming my way…My hands got a little sweaty and my stomach dropped.
And then it happened…They did it! They have me the wave!
They were like:
The I was like:
I’ve chillaxed now and I think I’ve got it down. I also got “ducked”. There is something cute with squeaky ducks and I bought a whole bag of them from Target but I need to Google to figure out what to do with them. Again, nerd alert.
Truth be told, my dirty little vehicle secret….I’m so lucky and I am so grateful…I’ve been wanting a Jeep for so long, but now that I have it…well, meh.
it’s hard to get in and out of it. I almost have to take a running leap and dive in. It’s not very Rheumatoid Arthritis-friendly. I totally need one of those shelf things. Also, another problem with being so short; I have to do circus-like trapeze artist calisthenics to climb up the Jeep to put the soft top down myself. Forget about putting it back on when I’m alone. I actually have to get number one and/or my husband to help me. We are always battling with Car Tetris in the driveway, so it’s not even possible to just leave it off and park in the garage. It’s a work in progress. Someday soon I hope to make some real actual progress.
I can definitely see me pawning it off to one of the kids in a year or two. If I just had a car with a little button I could push and the top would go up and down. Up…and down….If only…
I need to put one of my new iTags on my actual purpose, cause I’m having trouble finding it.
I’m not even a week in with my 365 blogapalooza commitment and I’m already dreading writing about my One Big Thing today. It’s depressing.
I’m flailing. I’m in a funk. I’m blue. I’m lying here trying to find my damn solace. I’m feeling it’s somewhere along the lines of pulling up my big girl pants, getting over my bad self, making a list of things I need to get done and just freaking doing them.
But from the minute I woke up this morning, I’m finding it really easy to be sad. Sad about being sick, sad about my dad, sad about number one going back to college, sad about the sinking ship that is my music career, sad about the Rizzo, sad about not having a job.
Maybe I should just give myself a day to BE. I’ve been doing such a bang-up job for the last seven months wearing myself thin, not taking care of myself and treating myself badly, that it’s become a hard habit to break.
Welp, there you go. This is why I love writing. I just spoon fed myself my answer and found my literal purpose for the day. I’m going to give myself a hug, lay on my hammock, go out to lunch with my parents, enjoy my family. I can continue to wallow tomorrow. Today’s mission: Sunday funday.
Things effected by Covid that are ok, but still not quite right: movie theaters, music concerts, some shopping experiences and the freaking DMV. It’s never been a walk in the park, it’s always usually a total PITA, but now it’s kind of a mess.
We had two reasons to go to one of the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles.
1.) New Driver’s License
Number 2 sadly, because, genetics…lost his wallet last week with his license, debit card, and some special un-needed but sentimental keepsakes. Some of those things include his Great America pass since he was nine, an old school ID, his social security card….YOWZA. Ok, that one was needed. Insert super big face palm. I feel like we need to report that or something.
And he also lost $100 in cash; hard-earned tips from the restaurant where he works. The day he lost it, he spent three stressed and upsetting hours retracing his steps, talking to all the management he could at the three places he went, searched his car multiple times, left his phone number everywhere. It’s gone. A bummer of a life lesson.
Sidenote: I just can’t relate with a human who would find a wallet in a parking lot and not try to do the right thing. It makes me so sad. I hope they get a flat tire, they ruin their favorite shirt in the laundry and a bird poops on their head.
2.) Driver’s Permit
Number three needed her drivers permit. She finished the class part weeks ago and was scared she was going to forget everything. Which I get. But dammmnnnn it’s hard to get an appointment. You have to wait weeks. It’s such a clogged drain that they have given people who have an expired license a six month extension. The best option for us with a busy schedule was just to suck it up and go.
The first time we tried to get her permit was a disaster. It was about three weeks ago. I had to take a half day off of work, which was hard in itself, and I was not having a good tummy day. I was trying my best to smile and be excited for her, but inside, it felt like there was a tiny, little angry person living in my intestines, repeatedly stabbing them with big fork.
A lot of my stomach issues are stress-related, so this wasn’t helping. I raced home from work and grabbed all the essential documents needed: social security card, a bill with her name on it, her driver’s school paperwork, a copy of her birth certificate. Let me repeat that, a COPY of her birth certificate. That’s what the school told me. A CO-PY. Or maybe they didn’t say that. Maybe it’s just…me. We all know it’s most probably just me.
The facility wasn’t close. We make the trek out to Schaumburg and got there at about 1:30pm. We pull in:
That scenario, for me in particular, was like an irritable bowel horror movie.
We waited in line and soon we were not the last people; we were giddy. She was so excited to get this…I was a little teary that I was already at this milestone with my baby. I had also already quietly made a plan that if I needed leave the line to run inside to the bathroom, I would do it very stealthily and with conviction. But so far, so good.
There was an older gentleman busker playing mediocre violin, but I was feeling jovial and supportive, so I gave #3 twenty bucks to go toss it in his guitar case. I told her to do it dramatically so everyone could see. I thought we would start a tip trend when everyone saw us do that. Crickets. Come on, humanity!
Finally, an hour and a half in; we were about 30 feet from the front door. An employee was checking people’s documents to prep everyone who was about to enter. I handed him everything, while I made what I thought were witty, funny and adorable side comments about our line wait. Number 3 nudged me a little, rolled her eyes almost out of her head and pretended that she didn’t know me. Then the man said, “I‘m sorry but this is a copy of her birth certificate. We need the real thing.”
“What?” I said?
“This is acopy of her birth certificate. Do you have an original with the stamp on it?” When he said that, I started to get a little dizzy, I couldn’t seem to find any air and his voice was warped like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Number 3 was shocked and looked at me like a just ran over a baby bunny.
I was horrified, She was horrified. But…I…you see…I ….was digging in a dark closet, trying to grab things out of our file cabinet…it’s looked like a birth certificate, it felt like a birth certificate, it smelled like a birth certificate…I was going to throw up. My sweet daughter. I’m not sure what embarrassed her more, the fact that we had to leave in front of everyone or the very obvious crying of her very distraught mother. What a SHIT. SHOW.
Pivot, heal, relax, re-group, re-charge.
Three weeks later, we tried again. I grabbed number 2 to kill two birds….This time we got up at 6am, headed out to Waukegan, whipped through Dunkin’ and pulled in…
OK, ok, ok, OK. It wasn’t that bad. The weather wasn’t horrible and we actually kind of had fun. In true Moran fashion, we made lots of new besties around us, with people we will absolutely never see again. Number 3 was so nervous for her test, so we pulled up an online practice test and she was asking me for all the correct answers. Dear Lord…the wrong parent took her. Number 2 wasn’t much help either…who can remember these little things?
We made it to the hot spot; the entrance door (past the scene of that last crime), so I felt victorious. You can’t see it because of the glare, but right in the doorway behind the glass, the security guy had this huge Uzi megaphone thingie and it was right near me when I was waiting there and it took every little strength in my body not to pick it up and yell “BREAKER BREAKER ONE_NINE!”
Number 3 said, “MOM, NO.” She knows me.
Inside, the employees were wonderful. Kind, helpful and sweet, we went through both processes painlessly. It’s not their fault that China created Covid and now we have long DMV lines. #2 and I had to go outside and wait for #3 to take her test and when she came out smiling, we knew she passed. Easy peasy.-ish. We were home by 10:00am!
The Chicago cubs organization just ripped the heart out of the Cubbies.
I grew up sitting in the 11th row behind the visitor’s dugout. Seats 5, 6, 7 and 8. It used to be the 10th row, but they added another row and we moved with it. My dad first got the tickets in 1971. Near the end, I could hardly get to a game because of kids and life. The last few years, my dad’s health prevented him from being able to maneuver through the crowds to get to the seats.
I remember entering the park as a girl, running behind him, looking up at the back of his head, reaching out to grab his shirt, while he masterfully serpentined between the crowds of people. He would turn back and smile his golden smile to me to make sure I was keeping up. We’d stop just for a quick second to get a scorecard and he’d get a beer (Later on, one for me too). We loved our seats. We had all the chances to move aisles closer to the field, but we loved being able to just jump over and fall into ours. Easy in, easy out. Perfect for raising a hand to buy a Home Run Hot Dogs and Budweisers.
In my early 20’s, while I was attending my fourth and last college, I rented an apartment on Broadway one block south of Addison. It was kind of a dump and it was next to The Jewel and that SUCKED during Christmas season because those damn Salvation Army bells would ring all the freaking time. But I was so close to Wrigley. My dad was a commodities trader at the Board of Trade and he was off work at 1:30pm. On game days, he would sneak out a bit early and hop in a cab. I would ride my bike, walk or rollerblade over to the park and meet him at The Cubby Bear. We bought the peanuts outside because they tasted better. He’d hand me my ticket and we’d start the mad dash. Even going to the games as an adult, I still felt the rush…I still always wanted to reach out and grab his shirt. Sitting there watching the game was our catch-up time, it was relaxing and it just felt like home.
Sometimes I would take the train in with my mom and we would go Cubbie nuts. My mom is still a die-heart fan, too. She was raised a Sox fan, but we don’t hold that against her. (So was my husband and his family is not happy.) We really had the best of times through the years. Our favorite thing to do after the game was to go to the Wild Hare and get our reggae on…so many laughs. Those were the party party days. We were always meeting new people and chatting up our “seat neighbors.” Some we knew for over 30 years. They saw us grow up. They saw us bring all of our babies there for the first time. They saw the last days of dad being there.
My kids were raised in the red, white and blue. They didn’t know anything else. They all went to the the park as babies and they all had their personal Cubbie adventures. Being a Cubs fan has been a big part of who they are today.
Every opening day, my brother and I would trade off going with Dad. Some days were filled with freezing rain, some were sunny and beautiful, but they were always perfect. The timeline of the day, the routine, the songs, the stretch, it was all so comforting like a bug warm hug. I will cherish those days forever.
Of course, I fell in love all the time. My first boyfriend was Billy Buckner. He was a dashing hero to me. My dad is the kinda guy who knew everyone and somehow he finagled us having an official “Donaldson Day” at Wrigley. We were able to go on the field, lay against the Ivy, see the locker rooms. I sat in the dugout on Ivan Dejesus’ lap. Hell yes, I did. Oh, and this happened.
My dad did this Randy Huntley fantasy baseball camp and it was pretty darn cool. He was able to play alongside Ryno, Durham, Jody Davis, Fergie, Lee Smith…It was a total dream come true for him and it was cool to watch. Years later, my brother did the same….
Years later, my brother did a cool thing for my dad. Let’s the face it. THE.COOLEST. THING. Jim Donaldson day.
As we got older and started our families, it was harder to see my brother and his family. He and his wife lived a block away from the park on Sheffield and could hear the crack of the bats through his open windows. Wow. He was able to still go to the games all the time and I know that was another dream for him fulfilled. It was always fun to go to the games with him and catch up….always a beautiful bonding experience with him at the park.
I did marry a sox fan, as I mentioned before, but I would like to formally thank the Cubs for helping me woo him. Wrigley with my family was a great way to get him to marry me. We have flirted there many times at the park over the years.
And oh my word, THE FOOD. If you go old school, there is nothing like a Home Run hot dog from a park vendor…mustard only. Second place for me is a dog from inside with grilled onions. Great link HERE for the park food. We loved going to the Club before the games, during a rain storm or when it was just too damn HOT.
The Friendly Confines have changed. First it was cool things like the statues…Captain Morgan expansion was interesting…they fancied up the bleachers…Gallagher Park was a cool addition. Then they started to replace the premiere seating. Finally, they were ready to upgrade our box. And they changed the ticket prices to obviously separate the wheat from the chaff. They tripled them. Insert middle finger here.
So now, where I grew up, there are a bunch of corporate people who are in town to drink $20 IPAs and don’t give a shit about the Cubbies. Stay classy, Rickett’s.
And…because they Yankees could afford it and the Rickett’s clearly need more money, we just lost our Golden Child. I’m grateful for the years we had him. He was a bright shiny light with a giving soul. He was not only a phenomenal player, but a funny, charming, philanthropic Chicago lover. Rizzo is cancer survivor, a hero to so many of us, a complete inspiration. He helped make IT happen. I am so grateful we had him for so long. I wish him and Emily the best.
I just heard Javy traded to the Mets and Kimbrel to the freaking Sox.