October 28: The Night She Snapped.

I remember the night of October 28, 2006 like it happened yesterday. No matter how many brain cells have been microwaved since then I can picture it vividly. Have I forgiven and moved on? Most likely but I don’t think an October 28 will ever pass without the memory flooding back.

Earlier that year I had asked for a divorce from the childrens mother. Twenty blogs worth of crap went on between the initial separation and that late October night but this was the Rolls Royce of crap events. The kids stayed with me and she had gone back up north at the end of the summer. This was all prior to any real court litigation between the two of us.

I didn’t even realize she was in town that night. The kids, who would have been a respective 7 year old Jeremy and 3 year old Lex and Linds, were fast asleep as was I. I woke to repeated doorbell pushes and wraps on the door. The time was 2 something in the am so technically this happened October 29 but whatever. I stumbled downstairs, put the light on outside and looked out the front door. No one there. I went to the back door and popped on the light. It was apparently burnt out so I cracked the door open just a smidge and the perpetrator pushed their way inside. It was a piss drunk soon-to-be ex-wife.

She took off her shoes and started slurring about how much she missed me. She asked to use the phone and she’d push a button then forgot what she was doing. The alcohol was just burning out of her every pore. After a couple minutes of this I told her she needs to go. She could barely walk so I walked her towards the door. I remember opening it, throwing her shoes on the step and then I cautiously walked/guided/pushed her out the door then locked it.

I proceeded to turn the kitchen lights off and made my way to the stairs leading back up to bed. I took a couple steps up then SMASH!! I stopped in my tracks. SMASH! And then again! I was a deer in the headlights, completely frozen up. It registered to me that she was breaking all the windows in the kitchen but I was just frozen.

In retrospect, I wish after that first hit I would have thrown on my shoes and called 911 then tackled her before she did any more damage. But that’s not how it went down, at least until a bit later.

With me still on the stairs she took to the side window in the living room. SMASH! At that point I remember climbing the stairs to check on the kids. Thank God they were all still sound asleep. SMASH!! She was at the big front window with many panes. Then it was silent and the cold night air began creeping in. I recall standing by the front door when I finally called 911. Right after the call was placed I look outside to see her at my vehicle, smashing the back window.. with my snow shovel! She had done it all with a snow shovel.

At this point I was present enough to take her down until the cops arrived and that’s exactly what I did. She swung the shovel at me, I ducked then tackled her and pulled her to the ground hard. I remember her swearing and biting at me and thrashing and calling me racist things, as though I was holding down a hellbent demon fighting for its life. It took every ounce of strength I had to keep her subdued.

Meanwhile, I look up and there are pretty much every neighbor within a blocks radius staring at the scene. And then four police cars pulled up, lights and sirens blaring. I rolled off of her and they took her into custody.

The whole thing was so surreal, I think that’s why it haunts me to this day. The fact that not only did that happen but that the kids slept through it. My other fear when all was said and done in trying to go back to sleep about 5 am or so was that what if one of them goes downstairs before I wake up first? Luckily they came in my room first. But can you imagine? Winters air flowing in and broken glass everywhere?

We were blessed that night as we are tonight. Our enemies have missions to carry out against us but we live to fight another day. I bear this alone; this event is something at least my girls have no memory of, only from hearing me tell the story. My son probably remembers but its not like we reminisce over it. Scars like this remain to remind us how good we have it. And that nothing, even raving terror like that, will never get us down.

Everything Goes Black.

I feel myself slipping away, as though sucked down into a spiraling vortex of depression. I feel like a ghost caught between worlds and enshrouded in shame, with no one to haunt. I feel like sleep is all I want to do and if I never wake that is fine. I have no one to talk to so this medium will have to do.

People say suicide is taking the easy way out but I consider it to be quite the opposite. Sure, once it’s done then that’s it. No more anything. But the act of pulling that trigger or gunning that engine hurtling off a cliff or kicking out that ladder while the noose tightens.. that would take guts. Alot of guts. I don’t have that in me.

Not that I couldn’t cause death, just not on myself. Somebody harms my daughter horribly I’d have no problem shooting or stabbing them. I would do anything to protect those I love, even murder. But I could never insert a blade into my wrists and pull upward, and never twice. Though fully capable as a human being I just can’t see it as an option.

I actually reached out for help today and that’s not easy for me to do. And what did I get in return? Told that now isn’t a good time and maybe later this week. No joke. Sort of like calling 911 and them relaying that message.

Me: My house is on fire! Help: Maybe in a couple days someone can look into that. Me: Someone is inside my house! Help: We’re a little busy now, bye. Me: I’m at the end of my rope, please help! Help: There’s no one here to help so try back later or maybe we’ll get back to you, just not sure when.

Our house and every one in it will be ash by then. Everything will be stolen by then and I will be dead by then. Quite often in these moments there is no second reach out. That door slammed in your face is a metaphor for your entire existence. That dead air on the other end means you are completely and utterly alone, and no one is coming to save you. No one cares and no one is listening to you.

Today is one day of well over ten thousand that I’ve lived. Tomorrow is a fresh day, possibly nothing like today. Though very alone, I have two depending on me to come home and provide for and to care for and that is what I’ve got. I gave up myself already for them decades ago. I can’t do it again. The sun will rise and the day will commence and I will do it all over again because this is how it goes.

The Potluck Quiche Sequence.

I attended a potluck dinner the other day. Because of the brevity of invite I was scrambling for an idea. Luckily I took scrambling to another level: with my eggs.

Quiche has been something I’ve always enjoyed but never ate much of nor have I made it before. I just happened to have 5 dozen eggs lying around so I whipped up a eye appealing pie and scarcely had time to let it cool.

When I arrived at Brenda’s pad everyone was already there. Brenda’s friends from Zellers took my coat and their step-nieces ran over to give their uncle a big ol’ hug. Officer Hennigarry did the usual padding me down technique which always garnered an awkward laugh followed by a poorly delivered fist bump.

Lauralee and her crew from Flanigans brewery were there and it was her good friend LaShawn who took my quiche.. and set it with what looked like a table filled with many quiches. She looked at me and shrugged then the lights went down and a din of building excitement was in the air.

Teddy Bukinsky grabbed my arm and led me to where him and his girlfriend Momo where sitting, right near the exit, as per the norm. A bright spotlight landed on the host Malcolm’s cold, dead face. The man knew one expression and this was it. His voice wasn’t much less creepy. He pretended to hold a microphone between his wispy fingers.

“My wife and I throw this potluck party for all of you and how do you repay us? By bringing 13 quiches?! We provided the quiche! So why did you all copy us, you foul, foul individuals?”

A loud silence hummed in everyone’s ears. Then I did something I rarely do, especially at a function with so many undead people. I spoke up. “How was any of us supposed to know the other guy was doing quiche? I mean what are the odds? It isn’t even a common dish.”

Another long silence filled the air like poisonous gas consuming us all. Then Brenda pieced together a few words, barely. “You know what happens now, you dirty rat. You and Malcolm draw pistols.”

The audience cheered. “How dare you question him!” I was mindblown at the behavior of this group of living corpses I had known now for at least 3 weeks. “What is Russian roulette going to do? Everyone here is dead!” I spat that last word with vengeance in his face, now inches away.

Suddenly the place went pitch black. The rhythmic beating of drums was heard all around us and I felt a piercing at my side. Screams were heard, growls and groans to full on shrieks of doom. Blood was pooling on the floor and other cold metal objects were inserted into my muscle, bone and flesh. It felt as though it would never end; fellowship, music and eventually quiche.

It’s been years since that last potluck dinner and I have to say I am not a fan anymore. Was it the people? The ambience? Maybe my lack of a plus one? In any regard I keep to myself these days. Hell remains here on earth, at least a portion of it, but I go out of my way to avoid the portals dragging me into its vortex of gore. There are much better ways to spend an evening.

Eternal Seventeen.

The year 2020 has brought many things, mostly stupid ones but it has a few more tricks up its ars.. uh, sleeve. One such trick of the trade is my twin daughters’ seventeenth birthday coming to a theatre near you this Saturday. This isn’t sweet sixteen and they aren’t quite legal adults but this one feels just as special.

I can’t help but imagine when say their twenty seventh birthday comes around, planning it will be the same. Will friends be allowed? Where will we go? Will there be lots of presents? This was the tale of the tape every year up to and including this one. Yes, typically children gradually mature and prefer things like their drivers license and a car over Archie comics and a new poster but with these two I’m afraid we are trapped in this tunnel for life.

Have they matured a bit since this time last year? I guarantee you they have. A slight degree and almost unnoticeable but there’s been growth. And this tunnel that I refer to.. is it really that bad? This is why I don’t stop and think much during this parenting ride because if I did I’d be a shameful ball of tears right now. What’s wrong with basically Groundhog Day-ing their birthday every year? Nothing. It’s fun. They have a good time and I’m happy to supply and deliver it. This is what it is.

What it is not is them melding into adulthood. Nothing blows my mind more than to consider my girls will be 18 this time next year. A minute ago I just mentioned that to them and Lindsey piped up saying she just wants to be a kid. And I don’t blame her. But how does that make me feel? I’m fine with them being “kids” and living here for another 5, maybe 7 years and then what? Is there going to be that point where I’m like “okay, you’re almost 30. What are we doing here?”

I don’t like looking too far down this road because I honestly can’t imagine them not being with me, in fact, I’m all teared up just thinking it. Will the day come where they share their own place and between myself and a respite worker we help out where we can but trust they can do most things just fine? Maybe a group home?

As long as they are together, that is key. My worst nightmare which I try to keep at bay is that one girl is one day lost, as in no longer with us. How could the survivor go on? They do everything together for seventeen years now. And who actually knows right.. as though it is an impossibility that one of them fall in love and marry! Doesn’t seem like an option at all but who am I to cast limits on these angels lives??

So let’s raise a glass and toast to current health and a fantastic year of growth to come. They are my limbs you cannot see. I am them and they are me. The greatest blessing God entrusted me with is these 3 kids, one of which is flourishing on his own. And if these girlies stay seventeen forever then that is what we shall do.

Felines Of The Future.

It has been stated that kids say the darndest things. Well, cats do the weirdest shiznit ever could also be a blanket statement of worth. The cats of yesteryear used to play with balls of yarn and would drink milk out of bowls. Their antics would entertain but on such a basic level and we adored them for it.

Enter Nigel and Whitney aka felines of the future. Nigel maintains a dating website profile, she reads her Bible on a daily basis and is often seen taking online courses for accounting in the wee hours of the night. Whitney doesn’t quite have the same skillset or drive but she has her own commendable habits. These items include playing the piano (either Chopsticks or AC/DCs Thunderstruck), breakdancing and coloring. Like I said, no where near as talented as Nigel but time is on her side. Nigel is 2 years closer to the grave than Whitney but they both have a good 13 or so years in them so you do the math.

I thought they were your garden variety typical house kittens. Nigel is a contemptuous a-hole but besides that I looked past any of their well honed skills and dare I say traits. I knew something was different about Nigel maybe 3 months ago when I swear I caught her dustbustering the automan. I say I swear because it was one of those moments where you see something out of the corner of your eye, leave the room then do a mental double take.

By the time I got back to check on her she was pretending to be asleep on a kitchen chair and the dustbuster was on its side close to where it belongs. There are 2 things about this ordeal that also do not make any sense and further confuse me every time I re-tell it. I own neither a dustbuster nor an automan.

As for Ms Whitney, she has been leaving little clues all this time pointing me in the direction of her genius. Took me a darn while to realize. I would get out of the shower and step in a bowl of hot tapioca and think nothing of it.

Sure, I’d hem and haw, and soak my foot in ice water to prevent any degree of burns but I just chalked it up to ‘it must be the kids’. Then one day it just all clicked. I’m in the basement doing laundry in the buff because I needed to wash everything. I’m minding my own business and then I see a giant flash.

Whitney is perched up on the dryer, partially hidden behind the detergent bottles. She’s holding Nigels iPhone and she has just successfully taken a nude pic of me and if not intercepted she will post it to her Instagram story. The backstory here is I had disciplined Nigel a few days prior and she wanted sweet revenge so she convinced Whitney to get on board as she’s better with button pushing. It’s all in Nigels diary.

At this point there’s potential high jinx around every corner. Most of the time things are peaceful with Nigel listening to Mozart or Whitney channeling Willie Nelson for an upcoming readers club roast. They are my best kept secret. I could one day exploit their sensational, humanistic ways but for now I keep things on the down low. I’m afraid they’ll get my tongue if I do something like that.

And Then Health Walked Into The Room.

How absolutely bizarre it is to be living your life with some family malignancies for as long as you can remember and then it’s as though any trace of ill living goes up in a puff of smoke. I won’t say another word until I knock on an imaginary block of wood. Air knock complete. Where was I?

Oh, ya. My daughters have somehow transformed from sickly, needy and hospitalized to healthy and flourishing. Up until now their entire lives have been shrouded in some form of illness or physical proclivity to the unwell. Again, it sorta terrifies me to even speak in these ways of victory and not all is 100% fixed but it’s a solid run since July and I’ll friggin’ take it.

We’ve always been staring down small bones/stature, thyroid issues, hearing loss, vision loss, weak immune systems, teeth/gum decay, liver damage, chronic cough, chronic infections, chronic nosebleeds, fevers and a host of learning disabilities to boot. I don’t know where to even start. Will each of these slowly begin to show improvement? The one or two that have so far improved makes me feel like everything is better.

Such a strange thing, to actually see healthy improvement in my kids. The usual feelings are worry, the terror of heading to the hospital and just overall sadness for the state of both of them. What kind of life has God and now have I provided them? But these questions rarely got asked as all we could do was keep treading water. There was no getting us down because the bottom wasn’t far from where we stood.

So why the sudden state of joyful affairs? Has it been the harvesting of the thousands of prayers gone up by my lips and by those of many others? Is it because we saw a Naturopath in the summer and the supplements working in her body is what she’s been needing for years? Maybe it’s the additional infusion she’s been getting at the end of her monthly IVIG treatment? A combination of all?

Whatever is going on, all we can do is continue moving forward. God is at work in us and working for us on our behalf every hour of the day. All of us, even in you. I can’t imagine feeling alone in the spiritual sense and I’m constantly reminding myself to keep open communication to the man in the attic.

As for these two soon-to-be seventeen year old knuckleheads, we need long term health. I declare it over them right now. Full disclosure.. I’ve been waiting for the other slipper to drop for some time now and thank God it hasn’t. We’ve gotten skilled at fighting. Maybe their systems are fighting the fight on auto-pilot and this time crushing it.

“XYZ”.

Her small hands in mine. In her room waiting still.

The touch of her skin. I am vapor.

Mingled the dust. Inhale.

A live possession. A bloodstream dive.

Hold my hand for we are eternal. Look at me, look to me.

No recourse. I can’t fail you. Can you not see?

XYZ. Complete.

Branches in your sky. In the wind they sway.

Flourishing. Summer nourished.

And in you I am but away. For on your own you radiate.

Your song, up the back of my neck.

I watch from below. Exposed whilst hidden. My watery eyes won’t shut.

So I wait, heart of wonder. Then it comes.

Autumns stab. And you fall, from heights you plunge.

And I am there. I am here with arms to the sky.

And I will catch you. XYZ.

From dust to dust. Reborn though one, at least in my mind.

Everything becomes new, and I dwell in your world tonight.

But can you see me? Cut a vein, am I not there inside you?

Shapes twist into beating hearts and tempered libidos.

Was it him and her, or him versus the universe? I don’t care for past tense.

We are here now… aren’t we?My steps in circles.

With winters breath and silence illuminating. She is gone and she was never here.

And in the icy pool below is reflecting only you.

XYZ.

Middle Fingering Life.

Lately I’ve penned a series of rather depressing laments. It’s a part of life, we all have our down days, what else can be said. The important thing to keep in the back of ones mind is that within the grey there is illumination. Like the morning sunrise, light overpowers darkness in a public display every single day of our lives. So as I lay dying in a pool of self-pity and pious face wetting, the man I am must overpower these transparent amoebas once and for all.

Is it that easy? One minute I can be found in the gutter with mud in my eyes and the next I’m seen tearing my shirt off to the tune of Hulk Hogans “Real American”? Basically, yes. Life can turn on a dime in any given second. Keep this sugary tidbit of informative wealth at the forefront of your brain. This will come in handy when you need it the most.

Being a man (and dare I say woman) is a fabulous thing. I don’t mean for a second anything to do with gender. What I refer to is the immediate rewards received in standing up for oneself, whether to another or simply to the universe in general. Backbone, my friends. To stand your ground after slipping in the slime and to wear your ricochet with pride.

In this realm we don’t last forever, similarly to being face down in the muck. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Life hates you. Peppered in the mundane grey times, there are good times and there are bad times. Cue the snoring! But the point is there will always be more bad times than good. So not only do we get more than enough practice standing tall but it becomes ingrained in us to just keep going.

Catapulted daily through every colored beam of light there is in a rainbow, you’re always going to land back in the black. But it’s never been about where we fall. Even the why’s don’t matter. And it matters not that people are watching. When you find yourself out of luck, lowering the rope and brandishing that exit piece, pull yourself the heck up. Grab your lifeless corpse by the shoulders and shake that version of yourself silly. They’re temporarily disabled and needing repairs. Don’t count them out, just give them space.

You’re up. I’m up. The next swell will most certainly be on its way soon. The waves, they come, but they aren’t all fifty footers. And so what if you lose your footing, especially for those of us in the sand. You fall. I fall. Get wet. Or bloody. Throw your punches or drag your knuckles. Stand your ground. And do it with that beautiful smile.

Stifling Darkness.

Certain things are unable to function when the tank is empty. Anything with an engine is all that comes to mind. I was going to say the stomach but for humans anyway, we are capable of so much more when we are depleted than we think.

I had a piss poor day. My lower back has been aching and I felt nauseous and downright ghost like. Including getting in a nap the day didn’t really get any better. I don’t feel like I’d be good company and I don’t have anything to say. Or do I?

I was watching some Navy Seal style thing the other night where a group of people sign up to endure 48 hours of intense physical endurance without food or sleep outside in the elements while being berated by these drill Sergeants. Not my cup of tea but it reminded me that the human spirit, unbroken, can allow the body and mind to go through hell on earth and still be able to function. Simply put: we have alot inside us to give.

Day two of this almost out of body experience. Like a spirit without a host and no one in particular to haunt, floating and transparent. I feel at war with myself over two issues I care not to discuss at this point. All I want to do is sleep as though to escape any of this darkness. I have to dig down just to put in a days work. It’s a very real struggle that needs an end and soon. Whether I beat it or die, something has to break.

And even down here where the only friend is misery, the human spirit is not near as depleted as I’m feeling. Though more so documenting than anything I am still capable of putting together my art medium. This is where you see what you’re made of. The reserves on hand may just give my confidence the desperate boost it needs to follow through and excavate oneself.

Without the knowledge that I’ve made any sense whatsoever, this has definitely been an exercise in exorcism. “The ghost that coughed up demons” can be inscribed on my watery grave. And so I do what roaming spirits do and wander the earth alone and without rest. I guess at least I’ll get to see some places I’ve always dreamed of traveling to. Can’t be the worst thing to be an apparition.

Settling Into Oblivion.

When does the next season of my life start?

I needn’t remind anyone of the year we’ve all been having. On top of March’s disturbance, throw in some sickness, hospital stays, time off work, personal healing and growth, kids transitioning to high school then now unable to get there and me going back to work. Been there. Done it all. So what’s next?

So far it just feels like more of the same and I don’t want that. I don’t want the mundane week in, week out grind where each day blurs into the next. I don’t want to hear myself exclaim “Can you believe it’s almost Christmas??” I want the new. I want anything different.

I think this is the first time in my adult life that I’m here in the now with this giant hunger for a new season of life but the only thing I’m seeing is to be more patient. And I don’t want to be more patient. I have reserves of patience up the wazoo. But what can be done? Like an armed thief robs a bank, can I steal what’s hovering over my life before it’s ready to drop?

Is there even anything around the corner waiting for me? Maybe there’s nothing new for me to sink my teeth into at all. Though I wish I could, these things are unplanned and they spring on us when least anticipated.

This is no doubt just wishful thinking. It’s probably best if I just settle back into oblivion and see where tomorrow takes me. After all, no matter how much control I momentarily think I have I am really just a pawn taken to advancement when I am moved. And until that moment comes allow me to unhappily go back to autopilot mode.