For Better For Worse

It’s been a rough weekend. I’m not going to get into all the details but I had a bit of an operation on Friday morning. X brought me home with all my pain meds and antibiotics, and took the pups for me so I didn’t have to walk them while feeling like a truck drove through my insides. The pain meds I had - Lortab, weren’t cutting it. Eau. Cutting. I should have picked another word. And so I pulled the big guns Oxycontin out of the back of the medicine cabinet. This is where the whole story goes horribly awry.

Saturday morning around 5:45 a.m., I woke up for a quick pee. When I was sitting on the toilet begging my bladder to wake up and get going already, I started feeling the hot then cold flash, then started to sweat instantly, then dizzy. Then bam! Nothing.

I woke up on the bathroom floor with my pants around my knees. Now, I know that this isn’t the first time I’ve woken up with pants around knees, but this wasn’t exactly the outcome I preferred. I crawled back to bed and texted X, who promptly came over and made me eat yogurt. Wow was I sick. Wow.

He left so I could sleep, then later in the day my neck started killing me and I got a ripping headache. I was scared I was going to die, so we started texting about what to do. We used to work with this guy who I hated, who was like 500 lbs. and last summer the guy fell in the middle of the night, after an operation, hit his head and died. So X says, “Even though we made fun of him, you’re going to the hospital.” Freckled K was at the restaurant across the street though and I had already texted her that I was in peril and she came running over. In under 3 minutes she had my doctor on the phone and told them I was in bad shape. Bitch don’t waste no time. He said I needed to go back to his office right away. X arrived and we get in the car on our way back there.

I got car sick on the way up and had to get out of the car and walk the last block while X parked, but averted the vom. We went inside and the doctor removed all the bandages, said I probably just bruised my head and I should be okay.  X said “She got scared because we have an old co-worker who died last summer after an operation when he fell.” So my doctor said, “What happened?” I said, “Oh, I don’t know, we never found out what happened when he hit his head.” It seemed like perfectly logical answer to me but X and the doctor both were like, “NO! WITH YOU! NOT THAT GUY!” Forgive me for not keeping up with you girls, but I’m working on a 3 day empty stomach and Courtney Love’s prescription plan.

Anyway, we left and we’re driving back and of course it’s like All-Embassy Open House day. I got sick again and told X I had to vom. He said, “We’re on Massachusetts, I can’t pull over, look at all the people!” There were tons of people everywhere. Of course this would be my luck. X was trying to turn left on S Street and I stuck my head out the window and projectile vomited orange gatorade all over the place. Just as it was flying out of my mouth, cars started to pass X on the right. Because all these people had parked on the side of Mass, and because it’s only 2 lanes right there, they were squeezing by between our truck and the parked cars. And there I am, spraying vomit all out the window. I swear there was splatter inside someone’s 5 series Beemer, as well as the car behind it. X pulled over after we turned the corner and I finished the vomiting and we went home.

X was like, “My favorite part of today was you throwing up orange vomit in front of like 1000 people in line at the Embassy of Zambia and getting some into the cars passing by.

Let that be a lesson to all. Passing on the right? Illegal!

When You Love Me, I’m On Top of the World

Okay. I lied about something. I’m not as “together” with the wedding as these past few posts may have indicated. There’s something I haven’t told a soul until, well, Sunday when X and I were walking the dogs and it just sort of popped out. I’ll just re-enact that.

X: How many nights are we blocking on the hotels? When do we leave for Connecticut?
Me: I was thinking Thursday.
X: Thursday? We’re getting married Friday. Is that going to be enough time?
Me: Well I hadn’t really planned on leaving earlier because of the dress.
X: What do you mean?
Me: Well, the dress will probably come in that week. I’m not sure what day.
X: Wait. What? What are you talking about?
Me: The dress. My dress. Should arrive that week.
X: Okay, and are you planning on having any alterations?
Me: Um. Well. I was sort of hoping no.
X: Is this a joke?
Me: No. Do I look like I’m joking?
X: Velvet. When are they shipping your dress?
Me: July 10.
X: And how long will it take to arrive?
Me: I don’t know. They said 10 days to get through customs.
X: Aren’t you worried?
Me: Frankly, yes, but the manager called them and assured me the dress would be here on time. I haven’t really wanted to believe anything otherwise.
X: What if it doesn’t get here in time?
Me: I don’t want to talk about this. At all. I don’t want to believe anything other than that this will all work out for me.

This is typical of me. I stick my head in the sand and hope that things will work out. I’ll control the hell out of the stupid details in life, but the big ones? I make rash decisions and fly by the seat of my pants on the details. It’s fun living like this to be quite honest because I can really get shit done. This is how I decided (and got) my real estate license in D.C., Maryland and Virginia in record time. This is how I decided I wanted to get an MBA in August, 2001 when I was living in Phoenix, and was sitting in a classroom in Baltimore come January, 2002. This is how I packed a truck and moved to Atlanta to live with my ex without really thinking it through. Sometimes it’s a win, sometimes it’s not - like when I stayed at the Vortex way too long when I should have taken my life and soul and exited that place long before it became the nightmare it did.

Back to the dress.

Since this conversation with X, I have been really bothered by my lack of responsibility. Even though the store convinced me that the dress would arrive on time, a little light googling on another topic and I found a bunch of reviews of the alterations department of said location, and they were all bad. Okay. So I won’t get it altered there. But then I found scores of reviews on sites I have never heard of, all saying that their dresses arrived 2-3 weeks late. Rut-ro.

July 10th plus 2 weeks is one day after the wedding. That will not work for me.

I spent no less than 15 hours online Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights seeking a backup plan. I went through The Knot in painstaking agony identifying other dress possibilities. I saved them as favorites, and cross referenced all the style numbers into the following sites:

ebay
Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses
Once Wed
Wore it Once
Recycled Bride
Bravo Bride
Wedding Dress Market

By the time I was done with that I was ready to stick my finger down my throat and vom. Do you know how many brides out there are selling size zero and 2 dresses? A whole hell of a lot. And I swear to you that I saw Oprah sized arms coming out of what someone called a size 6. Slap margarine on my butter, lady, if you are a size 6 (which in bridal, is a size 2) then I’m writing this from Bret Michael’s bedside. (Oh poor Bret, please get better!)

Finally I found nine very viable options, and started ruling out. I googled everything. I found message boards debating two of my chosen styles over each other, with 20 replies. I wondered who the hell finds time to debate wedding dresses with complete strangers online, but then, hello, uh, me, 15 hours online between Sunday and Tuesday, and uh, you people, most of whom I don’t know, reading about what a moron I am. Gotcha.

Narrowed it down to 2 options, and then to one option - a dress so wonderful I’m giddy thinking about it. It’s not a replacement. It’s number 2. I want to be clear about that. But still, a fantastic backup. Then I found a store that carried the brand. And guess who drove to Capitol Hill to find that store shut down? Yup. Then I checked my list and realized the next closest store was in some place my old Developer boss used to send me to for various work errands, and he would warn me to not get shot. Suitland maybe? District Heights?  And what I found out there at Lefty’s Bridal? Changed my life.

I bought a backup dress, sight unseen. It will be here in June. Lefty is this amazing lady, she has a fashion degree, does all the alterations herself, and she and her husband run the shop out of their home. They were in there helping their drop dead gorgeous daughter get fitted for her prom dress and grabbed a similar dress for me to try, eyeballed my size, did the measurements and I handed over my card. They also gave me a great price - less than what some of these broads are selling their cast-off size 2’s for online. Any of you getting married? Email me. We’re going to Lefty’s.

Let’s revisit the shoes for a second…

Still love them, but they are currently in a box on a UPS truck on their way back to Piperlime. You know how when you have a pair of heels for 20 years and they look all raggedy and out of shape? Yep. That’s what they sent me. No packing material, and they were scuffed AND WORN before. Ugh. Buh-bye. I’ll buy my shoes in person Bloomingdales, because it’s like no other store in the world.

Something About the Woman Makes My Heart Go Haywire, and She’s Gonna Be My Wife

Well, X and I have a new favorite show. That stupid “Say Yes to the Dress” show. I think in the absence of me making a huge deal of the dress shopping, coupled with the fact that I stumbled into a place and found the dress without giving it much thought or bringing anyone with me, I am obsessed with other people and their search for the dress. Maybe I feel like I missed out a bit on that experience though I am happy that it happened the way it did. I wish they would put that thing out on video already.

I found my shoes. Love. Love. Love.

shoes

We really rocked and rolled this weekend. Again, who needs a planner? My dad confirmed that he found a JP so that’s done. Then my dad sent the funniest email. He is so conditioned to eating dinner at 6:00, and we’re planning on starting the ceremony at 6:00, then doing a cocktail hour, so dinner won’t be until after 7. My dad says, “Can’t you start the wedding at 5 so we can sit down to eat at 6?” I’m crying now. I called him and said, “No, I cannot do that because first of all, I think the few random out of towners need as much of Friday as possible to get to town, and because traffic in Connecticut is horrendous on Fridays in the summer and because frankly, the later the better. I’m already going to be sweating my ass off in 50 pounds of dress.” X was like, “Can we get him a snack?” My dad is a comedian. Now might be a good time to tell X that my parents will probably be packing up any uneaten food and taking it home to live off of for weeks post-wedding.

X and I spent Friday drinking so we spent Saturday nursing my hangover until X demanded I get out of bed so we could get going on our list of crap to accomplish. He found THE BEST jeweler in Falls Church, and they had great reviews online. We went there to figure out the whole wedding band / ring issue. They buzzed us in and this girl met us right at the door and literally solved our issue with my ring and sold X a band for himself. Five minutes and $2000 later, we were out the door and heading back to my place. They are going to make a mold of the band so I can see what it will look like, then if I likey, they will make the notched ring. Done and done. Dominion Jewelers people. Dominion Jewelers in Falls Church. Amazing.

We had been looking at invitations online and they were all blah. Until I stumbled across Zazzle. You have to design the invitations yourself but once we figured that part out, it was easy. Well, aside from my bitching about it. We got the invitations, response cards, placecards and thank you cards all for $160. Are we good or are we good? I still maintain that I can make all these phone calls to the family and couple close friends within 10 minutes so why the eff do we need invitations, but look how cute they are!

invitation

Then I came up with the best idea for party favors. I actually saw it in a magazine, but it was too cute for words. Sweet tarts in the shape of dog bones as the favor, with a note that a donation was made to the ASPCA in the name of the person. We both really liked that idea, and since the dogs are going to be part of the wedding, this seemed like a great idea. A little hunting around online and here’s what I came up with:

This candy, inside the doggie bags, tied with ribbon!

dog-bone-candypuppy-pals-c1bpup

ribbon

Soooooo cute! Love it. Now, I have to come up with the outfits for Sammy and Thora.

Take My Hand, Take My Whole Life Too

The ring drama continues. I found this great notched ring that I even sent the link for to Tyler, thinking it could help him solve his issue too with their ring. Today the ring arrived. I knew X was coming through the garage at the same time Fed Ex was pulling up to the front but it didn’t stop me from ripping open the package. Wait, let’s do a quick review first.

My ring is a solitaire and very low set. I decided I needed something like this to fit snugly against my ring:

notched-ring1

So that’s what we ordered. They even called X to ask the measurements of my diamond which he gave them and we were so excited to get the ring. Back to today. Fed Ex arrives, I ripped open the ring and I think my jaw dropped to the floor. I said to the dogs, “What the f is this?” Then X walked in.

The band you see above is mostly flattened out with a nice sizeable notch. Right? Right.

This is what arrived today:

stupid-ring

Of course you can’t see what I really want you to see, but basically it’s a misshapen, sort of knife’s edge thing with a barely discernible notch in it. It wasn’t surprising to me that the picture could be so far removed from the product. What was surprising was that the guy actually called X and got the measurements and they “custom made” this ring for us. So, uh….we have to send it back. And we’re back to square one.

According to my dad, he’s still working on a Justice of the Peace and we’re still looking for invitations. Then I realized we have to make food choices so that we can put those on the reply card. This shit is hard. No wonder people hire Wedding Coordinators for them.

She’s Picked Out a King Sized Bed

I’d like to say that the swift pace at which X and I have been making wedding decisions has endured for each area of decision making. But when it came to the dress, progress came to a screeching halt. Let’s review my thought process as it unfolded in my brain:

Wearing dress for a couple hours. Frugal. Don’t like spending money on things. Decide to buy off rack. Hate frou frou stuff anyway. Loved Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s dress since the day I saw it. Looked for a sheath. Wonder where hers is, she’s clearly not going to use it again. Oh. Going to hell. Looked at my stomach. Wondered about reality of a sheath and my stomach taking a meeting and realizing they don’t like each other very much. Must lose extra 10 lbs that arrived since January. Must get back to working out. Nachos. Tacos. Pizza. Okay. No sheath. Something else. What though. What.

The idea of a sheath has been in my head since the 90’s when JFK and CBK got married. Simple, classic, very, um, me. Shut up. I am old enough now to qualify for classic! But there are an additional 10 pounds on me since the mid 90’s. So the hunt began. First, I had this Carmen Marc Valvo dress shipped to me:

cmv-long-ivory

As I suspected, the sheath and my fat pockets had a big fight, the fat won and the sheath was boxed right back up and sent back to where it came from. For a split second, I entertained my “dream” wedding dress. It’s clearly this Halston:

halston

But then I had to slap myself. This lady wants $2400 for it, she wants all cash (um, hello?) and I think that price is pretty ridiculous. It doesn’t mean that I won’t one day write her a check for it and buy it just to try it on but for now, it’s back-burnered.

Okay, other dream dress? This! EEEEE!

00330m

Yeah, I know. They aren’t easy to see. Believe me, witches, I had a hard time too. What the deuce is wrong with all these photogs putting pictures of white wedding dresses against white backgrounds? I was turning el lappytop in all sorts of contortions to try to get a visual on some of these dresses.

Anyway, Bottega Veneta dress above? $6000 and sold the eff out anyway. Onwards.

You may recall that J Crew was in the throes of filing bankruptcy when one Michelle Obama wore something of theirs to some stupid event and the entire brand was resuscitated. Well, J Crew has a wedding department and they have some awesome dresses. Here’s my favorite, and by far the one that rose the ranks quickly:

jcrew

Love it love it love it. Fabric? Something I never heard of.  I swung by the store in Georgetown to check it out and was told, “Even the skinniest girls have to wear spanx.” Let me tell you what doesn’t sound fun. 1) Wearing a girdle. 2) Wearing a girdle in July in Connecticut on the swampy humidity of the freaking Long Island Sound. Effectively back burnered. Say Hi to Halston!

Next!

My lovers at BCBG never fail to disappoint. I hopped on to Nordstrom and bought a handful of dresses from them. Why didn’t I do it at BCBG? I’ll tell you why. They don’t have a return policy. Are you people joking me? You know we’re in a recession right? I’m not going to tape the tag inside my dress and do the wear/return, but still. NO RETURN POLICY? Within 10 days you get a store credit with a receipt, but you will NEVER EVER get your money back from Bon Chic Bon Genre. Bah. So Nordies. Here’s what went into my cart and on to my credit card:

bcbg-1

bcbg-2

bcbg-3

I like them all, but I don’t love them. However, I resigned myself to the fact that this may be what I’m destined to have.

And during this whole process, I can’t stop thinking about this other dress I saw online but called every store as well as the maker, and cannot locate one anywhere:

eden-bridals-front

So it’s been a mess. For something that was supposed to be so simple, and that was going to be a minor part of the budget, this whole shebang has been causing a lot of heartburn. Just like with the man, everyone said, “When you find it you’ll know.” Bah. What the f*ck ever. X and I danced around being in love for 4 years before we got together, all the while I was entertaining YOU people with a dating blog. Ugh!

After a day at Tysons (I and II) and then out to Fairfax to a bridal place to see a dress similar to the one just above, I was a mess. I called X, because I value his opinion so much and because his taste level is so on target. This is evidenced, in fact, by the ring that he got me all by his wittle self. And no I’m not posting a picture because here’s a cold hard truth: It’s f*cking tacky to ask people to see their ring, to ask for a picture of it or to make comments about it one way or the other. Is anyone listening? I hope everyone’s listening. Tacky.  And that’s why for anyone who has asked me for a picture, I haven’t sent one. So there’s your answer to that quandary.

Anyway, X pretty much said I had to do this on my own. (Don’t even ask me why my mom wasn’t with me. You all know the answer to that. Oh, you don’t? Because if I wanted someone telling me how fat I was and how I don’t even fit into the moo moo size dresses when I’m a god damned size 8, then I would have invited my mom.)

I waltzed into Macy’s Bridal on a whim, shook up what I wanted, and spit it back out. This lady pulled a dress about 4 times my dress budget. I put it on, and it literally took my breath away. She said, “This is it?”

Yes. This is it.

She’s Telling Me We’ll Be Wed

We have very little requirements in the way of locating a Justice of the Peace.

1) Must be non-denominational since X and I are basically atheists.
2) Must be open and willing to performing same-sex marriages. No, this is not when I unveil that X is really a female. But, I strongly believe that anyone should be able to marry anyone else and so I want to know that our JP won’t deny anyone else the right and privilege of being married because of who they want to marry.

Doing a ceremony in the town in which I grew up has some really funny townies sort of things that crop up. I found a list of town approved Justices of the Peace. I forwarded said list to my parents and said, “By chance, anyone on here an enemy?” See, in addition to living in this town for 40 years, my dad was also a lawyer for most of those years. And he found himself on the opposite side of the courtroom with, well, everyone. Oh the times bumping into people in town and hearing “I sued that bastard,” or having the doorbell ring and being forced to hide in the dark because my dad was going to be subpoenaed. Or his client was. Can you imagine how bad that would be if I randomly picked one of them to marry me to X? “Well well well, I’ve been waiting for 38 years Mr. Velvet’s Dad. You’ve been served!”

Anyway, after I sent this email to Gloom and Doom, I continued perusing the list. Several names jumped out at me but I couldn’t place who they were or how I knew them. This of course means that I could never pick any of these people because, Pete DiLeo, I don’t know if I dated you, or my slutty friend did, but I can’t risk you showing up to marry me to X and busting out with some story about a broken heart, a broken marriage and a broken car window.

Then I see it. There it is. Even the phone number is vaguely familiar from when I called it.  So I texted K.

“OMG OMG OMG, only you can appreciate this. I’m looking for a JP in CT and Teresa’s dad is on here! Remember when I had that fight with him?”

K texts back, “Yeah, to tell him to get his psycho daughter off your back and to leave you and your boyfriend alone!”

Then I drew a blank. I remember the call. I remember it was to tell the girl off and her dad picked up. But a boyfriend? Huh? I texted back and said, “I cringe to ask, but which boyfriend was this?” K had to enlighten me. I forgot most of those details. You know, when you move away from your hometown, and then move several times in a decade, you lose entire blocks of time filled memories. They somehow fade away each time you pack and unpack a box. Or maybe it’s from the drinking. Hmm.

Anyway. There was no response from Gloom and Doom. When I asked my mom in an email, she said, “Your father is working on it.” Oh no. OH NO! The town only allots a certain number of JP’s and if anyone can manage to piss all of them off between now and summer, it’s my dad! Shit!!!

My mom emailed back to not worry, so I said to X, “Well, the more involved they are, the less of a chance they will come up with some stupid reason not to show up like, ‘We went to the movies, and your father got his hand stuck in the butter dispenser.’”

X: Yeah, but the Justice of the Peace baby? I mean, can’t they work on the flowers or something?
Me, not really listening to X: Oh! Wait, I know, maybe my dad knows someone else in another town in CT that he wants to ask.
X: I hope you know what you’re doing.

Then, 3 full minutes of silence.

Me: It just occurred to me where your thinking is. I’m thinking they are just going to hire some flake they are friends with, you’re thinking they are going to hire someone who doesn’t show up. Or that they are not going to hire anyone at all….
X: Yeah, there she is everyone. She finally got here.

On yet another call to my mom, she said they were indeed working on it. I said to make sure whoever they pick will actually show up. I didn’t even bother making my second request on the whole gay marriage thing. That would really be pushing my luck.

Gloom: Oh don’t worry. Your father knows most of those people. He just wants to ask his friend which would be the right one.
Me: Okay.
Gloom: Do you think we have to feed this person?
Me: I think we have to feed the photographer.
Doom, from the background before I could even answer: NO WE’RE NOT FEEDING THEM! THEY CAN EAT AT HOME.

If This is Just the Beginning, My Life’s Gonna Be Beautiful

The fifth and final place we went to check out was up in good old Connecticut, the land of hedge funds and million dollar houses. After we left my parents non-million-dollar house, we stopped by the restaurant/hotel on the way out of town. This hotel was known by another name when I was in high school, and I always thought of it as a shithole. My mom said they renovated it, changed the name and it was supposedly gorgeous. It is also on the water.

docks_01

X and I went in and I was instantly thrown back in time into all things Connecticut. Blonde hair, headbands, Range Rovers and Jaguars. When you leave Connecticut and spend  many years traipsing around with rednecks in the south and then with gays in D.C., you forget that there are places like Connecticut on earth. Not a blade of grass in town is anything other than bright green, not a hair on any head is gray and unprocessed, not a forehead in sight unbotoxed. So at the restaurant,  they bust out the book and showed us the “other weddings” that occurred here. I was scanning the pics to see if I went to high school with any of the people, so I missed half the stuff she said. But several magic words did register in my subconscious:

All Inclusive 5 hour package
Top Shelf Open Bar Included
$125 a person
No venue rental fee
Ceremony outside on the deck, under the trellis which will be covered with flowers by summer, saving us any money spent on flowers.
Oh, and the deck is on the water.
Available dates this summer!  (The beauty of planning a wedding during a recession is that you can pretty much get any date you ask for.)
Eeeee!!!!

docks_02

We walked around the room where the reception would be, and I tried to hide my happiness but I wanted to  make out with every Tory Burch clone in sight. When we left, X said, “Well, they were nice.” Then I must have temporarily blacked out, but apparently X tells me that I started blubbering my case for wedding/near parents house/don’t have to buy flowers/on the water/ and topped that off with the heartwrenching “this is the town I grew up in and it would be really cool to get married here” and X was sold.

Apparently 4 hours in Connecticut was too long. You can take the girl out of Connecticut, but you can’t take the Connecticut out of the girl. I freaking subscribed to Town and Country Magazine when I got home. God. Damned. It.

docks_03

My Head Keeps Spinning, I Go to Sleep and Keep Grinning

We’ve had some serious progress over here in Velvet World the last few days.

Regarding the piece of shit doctor, we filed complaints with the Virginia Medical Board and HHS for HIPAA violations. I cannot wait until he gets those notices.

X and I had a busy 38 hours between Friday at 7 a.m. and Saturday at 9 p.m. We left DC and drove to NYC where we had meetings with Wedding Coordinators at 2:00, 3:00, 4:30 and 6:15. Up. Down. Across the city. All on foot. With Sammy and Thora. It was a feat, to say the least. Our base of operations, the W, where we were staying, was also conveniently our first stop.

2:00. W Hotel, Midtown. This happy little coordinator showed us around their conference rooms which were very…”conferency.” He told us we wouldn’t like our next stops on the tour from hell because they were “stuffy” and “basementy” respectively, but the W is sort of an odd hotel too. It seems more suited to business meetings anyway.

img_01321

That is NOT X with the white gloves by the way.

3:00. Waldorf-Astoria.  Apparently unless you have throngs of people, they won’t even discuss sharing their precious banquet space with you. You have to rent a suite. I was like, “wha???” But then I saw their suites. Holy crap. They are indeed gorgeous, but for $6000 a night, I would expect them to be gorgeous.

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I wouldn’t expect them to also be so, gaudy, but well, whatever.

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The funny part of that flea market furniture is that if you want it removed, you have to pay them. Please. You people should pay us for removing the ribbon candy couches and injecting a taste level into the place.

The idea of doing a ceremony in one room and eating in the other was pretty nice. It sort of summed up what we were thinking about for the day. Then we got the dogs and hoofed it up to Central Park South for our next appointment.

4:30. Ritz-Carlton. These people were the nicest to deal with pre-visit, and they even had bones for Sammy and Thora when we got there. I thought that was pretty nice. Then Sammy wouldn’t cooperate and he was attacking me for the bone I had in the little Ritz bag. I was trying to say how well behaved my dogs were and then one turns into Jabba the Hut and practically jumped into my arms to get the bone. So, the unfortunate part about the Ritz? Space in the basement. X said, “This doesn’t really do the ‘had my wedding at the Ritz on Central Park’ statement justice because the pictures will look like we were just about anywhere.” No windows, nada. Sad.

img_01431

There’s Thora dreaming about her wedding.

6:15. Studio 54. People please. Is this not the bestest idea ever? I’m a disco freak, love all things late 70’s and loved hearing about Studio 54 then, and now. I’ve read the books, seen the movies, I’m officially obsessed. We used this as an excuse to tour the place, but knowing that it’s been converted into a theatre, we sort of knew we wouldn’t be able to make it work. When we found out that the price of renting the cool Studio 54 runs you $10,000 just to get in the door, we were about done. Though, we continued our mission. We saw the infamous mezzanine where the sex occurred, and the scandalous basement where the drug use took place. God I would have been in heaven. No wonder people were dying to get in and never wanted to leave.

Now:

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Then:

studio-54

studio54-2

Sniffles. Love Halston. Wondering if I should buy this vintage Halston Wedding Dress I spied online. Bah. Dresses are another post.

After, we went to have dinner with my brother and his ex-girlfriend bff. Then back to the hotel where we all promptly crashed. Some of us crashed faster than others.

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“Yum. These Ritz Carlton Bones are the best.”

In the morning we went up to Connecticut. Yeah yeah, I know. But we had to pin them down once and for all. And we looked at a hotel in my hometown that also does weddings.

Guess what happened when we arrived at my parents house?

a) No one was home.
b) They barely spoke to us.
c) They talked to me but refused to engage with X.
d) They jumped out of the house and started talking to X and I like they hadn’t ignored emails or dodged phone calls and showed an interest in our wedding.

If you picked a, b, or c, you’re wrong. Can you believe it? Neither can I.

When I Wanted You To Share My Life, I Had No Doubt In My Mind

Damn it. It was my Resolution to post more this year. Obviously I’m the suckage at that.

It’s been another two months of crazy. I’m trying to get a business off the ground, my dad was sick, my uncle died, I had to get rid of Speedracer and bought another, still unnamed vehicle that the fucking dealership cannot provide the title for - so I sit in limbo-non-registered land, X and I have been to California and back, as well as hell and back, I got strep throat, three colds and am on my second round of antibiotics, well, third if you count that monster antibiotic shot they gave me in the ass, and finally, X and I got engaged. Four times.

Yes. You read that right. Four times. We had a bit of difficulty pulling it off correctly.

The first time, X sort of hands me the ring but doesn’t say a whole lot. As I said to him, “I don’t need a skywriter, but you know, you have to ask the question.” He said he would do it over.

I waited patiently for several weeks, then months, and finally I started asking. “When am I getting the ring back? X? When am I getting the ring back? Do you still have it? Did you return it? No? Oh. Well when am I getting the ring back?” He finally said, “I planned on giving it to you last week when we were walking along the beach with the dogs.”

Me: Oh? Well, it was deserted out there. That would have been the perfect time. You know I love the beach. What stopped you?
X: Well, I was about to. Remember when I was pulling the shells out of my pocket?
Me: Yeah?
X: Well I was about to pull out the ring but then, “HELLO?” (at this point X imitated me on the phone, using the universally known  “hand-as-telephone symbol” to indicate that yours truly had taken a call.)
Me: So I was only on the phone a couple minutes, couldn’t you have tried again?
X: Well, yes, except that do you remember when Thora took a dump and you picked it up and carried the poop bag with you because there was no garbage can?
Me: Yes?
X: And I kept telling you to get rid of the poop? Well that was because I wanted to give you the ring. But I wasn’t about to propose with you holding a bag of dog shit in your other hand.
Me: Okay. Well. I want it back.

I sort of thought X would wait until we were out at the beach again since that’s pretty much our sanctuary. But we went to dinner last week at our favorite restaurant and suddenly I was like a freaking bloodhound. I said, “Do you have the ring in your pocket?” He said no. I started to claw at his pockets and he told me that he didn’t have it with him. Then he said I looked sad. I said I wasn’t so much sad as I was upset that I was wrong about this. I just had the feeling that he had the ring. He said, “Let me show you what I have in my pockets.”

Out came the the ring. And the question.

I wish I could say that we were graceful about it, but truth be told, it wouldn’t be X and I if it wasn’t fumbled, awkward and had a “do over” called a few times.

X was talking to his “birth brother” (the one we haven’t met yet) as I guess you would call him, on the phone during the throes of Engagement-Gate-2010.  X told him after the first engagement that went awry that he had to propose again and X’s brother said, “Oh? You too?” Apparently he too screwed up his proposal to his girlfriend.

Damn, it’s like, in his blood or something.

And ladies and gentlemen? This is officially no longer a dating blog! Yay!

Then the Busy Years Went Rushing By Us

It’s been a very busy few months. Life’s getting away from me. I think. Maybe it’s not. I suppose I’m in full control, just busy. Let’s see…

We found X’s birth dad. Dead. Very sad. Very upsetting. Though, when we finally got a name from his birth mom, and googled the name, we found an obituary for him with a picture. It was like looking into a mirror 25 years from now. X contacted his half-brother, and they’ve been in contact pretty regularly and we have it on the list to meet up with him. He said he didn’t really believe X until he saw a picture on X’s company website, and he had to sit down he was so stunned. X had a half-sister who has died, but her daughter said the same thing, looking at a picture of X so reminded her of her mother that she cried.

I’ve been fully entrenched in my “new-ish” career. I decided to stop working for the man, and got my real estate license. It’s very exciting to wake up every day and go to work for yourself. I’m quite pleased with my progress. X said I really packed a lot of shit into the last 2 months of the year. Took the class, took the test, got the license, signed an Independent Contractor Agreement and I’m cooking with gas.

This of course, will destroy my internet anonymity, as my picture will be slapped all over the web. I’m not exactly happy about this, but, as I look back on all my years of “Velvet,” I think, “Well, I told the truth.” The blog is more of a testament to a period of time spent in D.C. than any reflection on me personally. At least, I like to think so. Okay, maybe sometimes I was an asshole. But I was a funny asshole!

I finally woke up one morning with the idea of what I could actually pen into a book. It will probably never happen, but I did get an outline on paper. Truth be told, I think the idea I have would be mostly unique, but I’m not sure it will ever see the light of day as a manuscript because I don’t have the time to dedicate, unfortunately.

I have had a long long long personal “to do” list, not the least of which was to finalize all my immunizations. For reasons I will never fucking understand, most of the doctors I called don’t have the vaccines I needed - Chicken Pox? Really? Anyway…I had to fold and go to the D.C. Department of Health.

Let me tell you that today was the 4th time I had been there and it was a nightmare each and every time. If I could have gotten these shots anywhere else, I would have. But I was sort of stuck. I got there so early that I was 3rd in line, thankfully. And just as they were giving me my shot and updated records, the receptionist came into the waiting lounge and said someone had taken a shit out in the hall and she needed “maintenance” and “some air freshener.” I looked at the kid next to me and said, “Good luck. Hold your breath. I’m running through there now!”

Have you ever walked into a room where an adult just took a shit on the floor? No? Do you wonder what people’s reaction would be? Let me tell you -  they all pretty much looked like someone just took a shit on the floor next to them. Because the D.C. Department of Health is so jam-packed, there wasn’t much room to spread out.

For work, I need a new car. The two seater Speedracer won’t cut it. I sort of have that Patty Hearst syndrome with my car. It’s had so many fuck ups that I sort of feel attached to it. But I get it, a two seater doesn’t lend itself well to a life with two dogs, kids and a man who hates the car, as well as shuttling clients around.

So tonight we went to check out this BMW I spied online. And after I finished the test drive, I was backing it up into the spot from which it came, when I smashed into another BMW.

Fucking. Oops.

Nothing changes around here. Typical God Damned Velvet.

Nobody Does It Half As Good As You, Baby You’re the Best

When I was in high school, I had an exceptionally lame midnight curfew. My parents really liked my boyfriend though, so they said he could come in and watch TV, but we had to be in by 12. Fine by me because this also meant we didn’t have to squeeze our loving into some cliche high school backseat of the GTO romp when it was 4 degrees outside. We could do it on the nice warm couch at my mom’s house.

She didn’t love that by the way. We had several near misses and several of her Catholic-like sobbing breakdowns before I finally got “the talk” and was instructed I couldn’t have sex in her house. Or something like that. I don’t know because I wasn’t really listening. I was plotting how to get craftier at actually having sex, and spent the rest of that relationship trying to avoid getting caught.

All the boyfriends who came and went after that and my mom never let any of them come into the house or, gasp, sleep over. Until X. We went up to Gloom and Doom’s house this past summer and they let us sleep - not only in my childhood room, in an upgraded (read: non-twin) bed, but together. I still wouldn’t let X touch me. At 36, those 17 year old days were still haunting me. The worst thing ever was to get caught having sex by one or both of my parents.

Friday night I went to X’s house and we went out to eat with Number 1 and Number 2. They were in their usual rare form, and camped out on the couch to play video games when we got home. So X and I, who had been having text-foreplay for most of the week, ran upstairs to do some work on my old desktop computer and fool around. We ended up ripping our clothes off and jumping into bed, but not  before Sammy wanted out and Thora wanted in and with the door opening and closing and dogs going in and out, we finally got down to business.

When it was all said and come (heh) I got up to see if Sammy was pacing outside the door waiting to be let back in. He wasn’t, so I crawled back into bed. X was like, “Did you lock the door?” I said, “No, I’m going to get up again in a second and call Sammy because I’m sure he’ll want to get back in.” The heat was roasting us like smores so we had all the covers off. Then I heard a scratch at the door and figured it was Sammy.

It wasn’t.

Number 1 busts the door open, says, “Hi. Um. Bye.” And takes off. Uh….

So, in case anyone is doing any math right now, I spent exactly 36 years and 3 months trying to avoid getting caught by my mom having sex until she finally decided to stop caring, now at 36 years and 9 months, I’m back to getting caught. By a 15 year old. Damn it. Six months is way too short a window.

The reason for Number 1 coming to the door was because Number 2, true to form, hit his head on something. X went up there to see how he was and give him some ice and he said, “Don’t touch me! Number 1 told me what you were doing! Wash your hands!”

When we were out on Saturday night, I said something to X like, “Where are we sleeping tonight?” And Number 1 made the air quotes and said, “sleeping” under his breath. Damn it to hell! Maybe he just wants to call my mom so they can listen in on my phone calls, and read my diary.

It’s Too Late To Turn Back Now

Thursday morning X and I arose with that anticipation I just can’t begin to describe. I knew he was nervous but he wouldn’t admit it. Shit, I was nervous. We pulled out the directions and began our drive west. I kept wondering what made us think this was a good idea - to go to a house with his birth mother (who we never met) and all his relatives (who we also never met) and spend Thanksgiving there, but whatever. I’d like to say here that X and I don’t really do anything half-assed, that we think everything out in full detail, but that would be a colossal lie.

(Note to X who is thinking, “What is she talking about? We don’t do anything half-assed!” Okay X. Think about all the conversations we have where you end them by saying, “Well, we’ll figure it out.” Honey. We NEVER figure it out. We just fly by the seat of our pants. Oh! Pants! Reminds me! Back to my story!)

So we’re driving out to the house and the directions just keep going. Turn on this road. Go 30 miles. Turn on this road. Go 10 miles. Turn on this road. Go north 2 miles. Turn on this. Another 35 miles. I think the piece of shit GPS is napping. It’s tired. And it likes to give very bad directions by the way. (”Turn left! Get in left lane! Oh, you’re in left lane? Kidding! Get back out there! You need to keep going straight! Fooled you! Dumbass!”)

As we get within 15 minutes of the house I had a sudden urge to chop and snort all my Klonopin. But I resisted. I did, however, desperately need a Diet Pepsi. We stopped at 7-11.

X and I went inside and I went to the bathroom. I came out, poured my soda, paid and we left. As we were putting on our seatbelts, X said, “So, what would be the worst thing to happen to me 10 minutes before pulling up to my birth mother’s house?”

“Um. I don’t know. I’m not sure I want to know.”

“Well, I somehow managed to get the after-pee leakage on my jeans.”

“OH MY GOD OHMYFUCKING GOD NO NO NO! ARE YOU KIDDING?”

I looked at X’s crotch.

X said, rather calmly, “Well. No. I’m not kidding. So I tried to dry them under the dryer in the bathroom but then someone came in and it just looked like I was trying to fuck the dryer hole, so I left.”

“This wouldn’t happen to you if you learned how to wear underwear! Now what? You’ve waited all these years and we have to drive in circles waiting for your jeans to dry?”

People, I wish I was kidding, but no, I’m not. This is me and the love of my life. Half assed and wet crotched until the end.

This time I took a picture…

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In all seriousness, when we pulled up to the house, I was just so proud of X - so proud he did this. Ok, must stop gushing because he’ll be grossed out and embarrassed by my gushing.

Anyway, I don’t think that the visit could have gone any better. Without going too far into any detail - they all knew about him, and they have all been looking for him for a while. But they were missing a key piece of information that X had - the name of the agency where he was placed. For a bunch of reasons, that information was never divulged to his birth mother because she went through a third party. So she didn’t know, and no one knew, and there you have it. They searched for him on the internet and didn’t get very far. Until now.

And so X has a whole family now, the bonus of which might I add? THEY’RE NOT GREEK! Oh my god, he’s out of the cult and he left me here alone!

His pants finally dried, by the way.

What I Seem To Want…Well You Know I’ll Find a Way

I’m not sure which planets have aligned to allow the following to happen, but it is still a shocker.

You may recall our near miss in Delaware, where we almost latched on to some drunk in a Karaoke bar, sure she was X’s birth mother. Well, one of us was sure. X has found her. The contact he attempted through the agency finally reached his birth mother.

Guesssss where we’re going for Thanksgiving????????????? EEEEEE!!! Soooo exciting!

Have a happy Turkey Day everyone. I’ll be manning the video camera, trying not to cry, and making sure no one sneaks any bacon in my mouth as I’ll likely be the only vegetarian at Thanksgiving dinner in the country this Thursday.

In other news, I’m pushing my little “I’ll never work for anyone but myself again” plan into action. X mentioned something this weekend about how I need to come up with my company name so he can get my paperwork ready to file as a Small Business or something.

X: What are you thinking?
V: Something with Sammy and Thora’s name in it.
X: Are you serious?
V: Why? Would that be bad?
X: Uh. Yeah. You want people to take you serious.
V: But I love Sammy and Thora.
X: Jesus Christ. What am I getting myself into?

I Know What I’m Needing And I Don’t Want To Waste More Time

I really thought that with being laid off I would have a lot more time on my hands to do the things I love - sleep, write, run, see X. Unfortunately, none of those dreams have come to fruition.

My knee is all jacked up so there’s no running in my near future. Crap. And I’ve been somehow so busy that there’s barely any time for the other stuff. Though I am paving my way for my future. At least I think I am. I thought at first that I just wanted to be happy and to make enough money to get by. Then I smartened up and realized that would be stupid. I have achieved a lot, and still have a way to go, and it would have been stupid for me to stay at the Vortex or another place just like it just to crank out a paycheck. I am capable of so much more.

I sent my resume out to four recruiters the first few days after being laid off and three of them called me in for interviews. I know. Yay! Here’s how that went.

Recruiter #1: Asked me “So, how did you like the corporate culture at the Vortex?” Not, “What did you like about your last job” or “What are you looking for in a new job,” but a question about the “Corporate Culture?” Interesting. My first reaction was to bust out laughing. My second reaction was to put my finger up as if to say “hold on,” and then laugh some more. I asked her why she was asking because let’s face it, no one asks you about a fucking corporate culture unless they know that it’s a dysfunctional corporate culture. She then launched into a dissertation about how they as recruiters have sent 15 people to interview there over the last year and how all the candidates came back going, “What the fuck kind of place is that???” The one person who actually took the job ended up leaving within a few weeks. I said, “Oh yea! I heard about her!”

Recruiters Number 2 AND 3: Asked me to come work for them. As a recruiter. Both of them shockingly had the same reasoning for this offer of employment. They said my background was unique but ran the gamut of the real estate industry and as such I would be able to effectively find both clients and candidates and match them up, resulting in commissions extraordinaire. I cannot say that I didn’t internally swoon at their praises and that it didn’t validate the last 15 years of my calculated career choices because it did.

While these offers were flattering, and one I thought of entertaining seriously, I just don’t know. I’m old enough now to know what I’m good at, and what my limitations are. I’m not sure if switching into a different field makes a lot of sense for me. Or anyone at my point in life and career. I’m not sure if having a job whose sole purpose is to find other people jobs would make me happy. I like building things.  Sigh.

I had to convey this in logical terms to my parents, who felt that (yet again) I should abandon my dreams in lieu of the guaranteed paycheck. They used that disapproving, “Well, you should consider all your options.” I said, “I have considered them, and I have learned one very important thing. Except for X, all the people I have worked for have been stupider than I am. This means, I’m missing the mark. If I’m smarter than most of the people who have signed my paycheck in the last 15 years, then I have a huge opportunity. I just need to make it happen.

So I’m off pedaling my tricycle on a related path in real estate, hoping it pays off. I believe I’m off to a great start. And part of my plan involves one day working with X again. We’ll see.

Oh. In case anyone was wondering exactly how stupid the Vortex really is, let me tell you what they did to me with my severance.

They were “so proud” to be able to offer me this severance package that was “way beyond” what anyone has ever received, and was apparently supposed to be something my boss had to fight for. Admirable, right? Sarcasm sarcasm.

So when they wrote out my contract, I realized they made a mistake in my favor. I signed it, sent it back and asked them to sign it and send it back to me. I figured they would catch the mistake. They didn’t. They cut the check for the same amount in the contract.

They somehow managed to give me twice as much as they told me they were giving me. Dumbasses. I literally laughed ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK!

Happy Birthday Thora!

Well, I really did it this time. I made that bacon cake and had a little party for Thora with a couple of her little neighborhood doggie friends.  I haven’t managed to keep a goldfish, hamster or chinchilla alive anywhere near their expected lifespan. So this? Thora’s 10th Birthday? This is a big deal.

Last year I bought her a cake from one of those fancy dog places. Twenty bucks down the garbage chute. She hated it. I couldn’t even carve into it. I think they tried to pass off a week-old cake on me. It was gross. Even Sammy wouldn’t eat it, and that is rare. Sammy has never met a morsel of food that he didn’t like.

This year I wanted to make her a cake. I googled and found recipes, but this one sounded the best:

Bacon Chicken Layer Cake

3 cups flour
1 T Baking Powder
1/2 cup Margarine
6 eggs
1/2 cup corn oil
2 jars strained chicken baby food
2 cups shredded carrots (I didn’t use these)
plain or vanilla yogurt (I used cream cheese)
2-3 strips Bacon fried crisp (I used the whole package, 14 strips)

Mix everything together except the yogurt/cream cheese and bacon, beat for 2 minutes, put in two 8 inch rounds and bake at 325 for 60 minutes.

When the cake cools, frost it with the yogurt or cream cheese, and layer bacon in between the tiers. Yum yum.

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The dogs, by the way, will look like this during this step:

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Then you put the top part on to the bacon and cream cheesed part and frost the rest. Then you can have some fun with it.

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I used Puperoni sticks for candles. But obviously I didn’t light them.

When we unveiled the cake, X said I should just put it in front of her. So I did. She went for the Puperoni stick first.  Then she went after the “T” in Thora. Ted helped.

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The other dogs, my Sammy and Ester’s Dudley, were both rapt with their marrow bones, and didn’t realize “cake-gate 2009″ was happening just a few steps from them.

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So we cut some pieces off for Sammy and Dudley and let them share in the cake goodness. X’s human kids, Number 1 and Number 2 thought they were going to get to try the Bacon Cake. But they renegged when they heard “baby food” as an ingredient.

After her plate of meat and her bacon cake, and her new presents, Thora was sufficiently pooped. Too tired to move. Poor baby.

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Happy Birthday my little Princess!

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In other dog news: Homeward Bound is doing another adoption at PetSmart this week in Potomac Yard. Today from 3-6, Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-5. Come rescue a dog instead of going to a breeder! Mutts and strays need love too!

Details here!

LOL!

I hated it from day one.

And today was day, um, I don’t know 600?

The day I got laid off. Ha! Top that!

Burn Out the Day, Burn Out the Night

True story.

Phone Call to X, today, 1:14 p.m.
X: Yellllllo?
V: Baby! What’s the best thing that could happen to me?
X: We got married.
V: NO!
X: You’re pregnant!
V: NO! Come on! A little less about “you” and a little more about “me!”
X: Napoleon got fired.
V: No….
X: Betty Ford got fired.
V: No…..
X: I don’t know.
V: Think more globally.
X: Um….

[answer after the next call]

Phone Call to Lily, in the Maternity Ward, 1:17 p.m.
V: Lily, what’s the best thing that could happen?
Lily: Bipolar Betty got fired.
V: No.
Lily: Well, that’s the best thing that could happen to me!
V: Come on! Why is no one getting this?

OUR OFFICE CAUGHT ON FIRE TODAY! BWAH HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Unfortunately, the public servants of the ‘burbs are markedly more responsive than those of the District, and the fire was squelched before it got to my floor.  When I heard those alarms go off though, mama was out the door with all her goods in under 2 minutes. The only thing I left behind that was personal were two pairs of 6 year old Nine West boots.

See? It pays to clean out your desk!

Tomorrow’s task: fill all office fire extinguishers with kerosene.

There’s the Door, What’re You Waiting For?

Dear Lily:

Since your doctor decided to schedule you for a C-Section this Friday, and you aren’t coming back to work, here’s what you have missed.

Your “boss,” Bipolar Betty, sent the entire company an email that had links to some articles that were supposed to encourage us to contribute to the 401K. When I clicked the links to the articles, they both indicated that if one chose to contribute to a 401K, there is a new incentive that could put $2000 back in your pocket. Upon further reading, it is revealed that the income cap to enjoy the full benefit begins at $15,000 and is phased out at around $26,000. I’m sorry, but does anyone at our company make $26,000 or less? No? Not even the receptionist? Huh. Well then, I wonder why she would send this link to all of us.

Then for some reason, one of my bosses, decided to email the entire company a list of how not to get Swine Flu. This list included such nuggets like “Don’t touch your face,” and “Clean out your nasal cavity with a flushing system.” I believe it actually named products intended for this purpose.  This email, since it went to all of us, also went to Bipolar Betty. She in turn repackaged that puppy, and reforwarded it back to us all, with a disclaimer: “I received this from one of our employees.” Yeah. We know. We were ALL ON THE ORIGINAL EMAIL.

As X would say, Who is guarding the Brain Trust?

Then, lest you think you are were the only one working in the Rocket Science Lab, let me tell you about the last 5 minutes of MY day.

I received an email from aforementioned Swine Flu Emailing Boss, asking me “Why is there a rotating film strip on our website??? Velvet???? Do you know??? anything???? about?????? this????????????????”

You know, those question marks are very very accusatory.

I replied, to all, much as he set up the original email: “I’m not sure what you are talking about, however, if you are referring to the current web page, then please be advised that that is the original proof you approved about one year ago and it has been active on our site with no revisions since October, 2008.” I mean, if you’re going to imply I messed something up, and copy Jesus Christ, God and the Pope on it, you may want to check your facts.

I could get in to the drama you missed last week, where the accusations of “alcoholic” and “being drunk at work” were tossed in various directions, how one of my work friends is giving her notice tomorrow, but frankly, it is all too much for me. I have to take myself a clonnie and chase it with half a beer and get ready to face another day in that fucking zoo.

Three days till your son is born!

Smooch,
Velvet

Still the Same

Attention deficit disordered post coming your way tonight.

Lily Update:
OMG OMG OMG. By some stroke of luck (or fate, since neither Lily nor I believe in “God”) she has a major lead on something that just might get her the hell out of the Vortex. I don’t want to say too much for fear of the big-jinx, in which I also believe. Yes. You read that correctly. I believe in fate and jinxes, but not in God. I also believe that one day that vintage Halston jumpsuit will be mine, though I’ve never been able to find it anywhere. Anyway, if this Lily thing works out the way we’re hoping, she could actually exact the ultimate revenge. Do not fuck with the woman who is 9 months pregnant!

The Story I Was Going to Tell About Last Weekend Before Work Sucked Me Up and Spit Me Out:
X and I went out to Delaware last Saturday. Our community was having a little soiree at the firehouse. (Don’t ask.) After my long awaited debut-diatribe on the community message boards, I garnered myself a following. I had communicated with a couple people, one of whom asked me to come to this get-together. In a rare moment very unlike him, X agreed.

When we walked in to the party we realized two things. 1) We were several decades well below the average age of attendees, (X said I should be in good company since I “like my men older,”) and 2) We did not have enough beer. Lucky for us it’s a small town and the liquor store happens to be attached to the firehouse. I didn’t bring my wallet so I had to take X’s and leave him alone with a guy and his “houseguest.” Houseguest is apparently a Delaware euphemism for gay gay gayety gay gay. Leave it to us to go all the way out there and meet the gay neighbor and his “houseguest,” who happens to live in Adams Morgan. When I got to the liquor store I got ID’d. Busted! I showed the guy some gray hair and convinced him I wasn’t 21. He said, “I don’t know, you look 24 to me.”

Then I gave him X’s Debit card and he said, “Are you his wife?” I lied. Then he said, “Well you’ll have to do debit because you would have to sign for credit. Do you know his pin?”

A little bubble appeared over my head and took me back to the day last winter where I helped X move out of his old place to where he lives now. X sent me off to the ATM to get money for the movers. At the time, there was discussion of his pin being his ex-wife’s birthday. He said he would change it to my birthday.

Back to the liquor store. The guy says, “You need to get the pin right or the sale won’t go through.” I sat there debating - did X change his pin or not? I didn’t have my cell so I couldn’t call him and I was too lazy and buzzed to walk back over to the party without the beer. I said to the liquor store dude, “Well, here goes. It’s either my birthday or his ex-wife’s.” So I picked. I heard that telltale register tape cranking away, indicating I chose the right pin.

The guy at the liquor store said, “Well? Which birthday was it?” I said, “The Ex wife’s. Can you believe that shit? How old did you say I looked? I might have to come back here later.”

Tomorrow:
I have JURY DUTY! YAY!!!! I’ve never been so excited to have jury duty! I hope they pick me and put me on a three week trial! Wish me luck!

You Were Quicker Than They Thought

This entire week has been a bit of a clusterfuck. I think I’ve spent more time on the phone with people discussing work than I’ve actually been at work. X really thinks I work at the inspiration for “The Office.”

It took a year and a half but I am fed up. And I’m on the other side now - which is fine, because the “other side” is like an old pair of college sweatpants. I remember it, yet, it’s been so long! I can only get here with the exact prescription of equal parts of busting my ass and getting screwed over. Let’s see, when was the last time this happened? Shady land developer in Maryland? Check. Drunken boss at Archstone Smith? Check. Psychotic drug addicts at Calvin Klein Buying Offices? Check check check.

Let’s see…what happened to all those people at those jobs?

Land Developer: Currently filing bankruptcy on roughly a dozen projects to avoid having to cough up judgments against him that total probably $25 million dollars. Now see that the courts are garnishing his bank accounts. I. Feel. So. Sorry. For. You. Cough.

Archstone Smith Boss: Not sure of her whereabouts. Damn google, don’t fail me now. Though I believe the second “A” in “AA” stands for Anonymous. So maybe she sobered up and I just can’t find it online.

Calvin Klein: Division I worked with eventually folded and ceased doing business. The only sweet non-jaded person there became a namesake of the very successful high end Lambertson Truex brand. Well done. Calvin Klein, on the other hand, over licensed his name so much that I think it holds as much value as this booger I just picked out of my nose.

Can someone pass me a tissue?

Anyway, people always get what is coming to them. Or they live miserable lives because they are just so despicable. Let me give a bit of history on the current spectacle going on at work:

My very dear friend at work, Lily, with whom I have bonded over many things - not the least of which is her marrying into a nutjob Greek family (uh, hello, this script was written for me) is going through a crisis of mega-proportions. Let’s see. How shall I put this? A show of hands, please. How many of you would like to be 8 & 1/2 months pregnant and married to the love of your life?

My friend has been out of the office on and off since the summer. When she finally came back after a long absence she told me the heart wrenching truth about what was going on. Now, how about if I asked you the same question as above with one postscript - How many of you would like to be 8 and 1/2 months pregnant and married to the love of your life who has been told he only has 3 months to live? I see the hands all went down.

I told X. He and I were back and forth on the phone all day saying, “What the fuck are we doing? What are we waiting for?” He would call back and say, “I can’t stop thinking about Lily.” To say that something in someone else’s life changed ours is an understatement. We put our plans together and have specific timelines for how they must unfold. But that is a story for another day.

Back to my friend. When she came back to work after the absence and finally told me the whole saga, we obviously bonded a lot more.  When Lily would come into the office I would go over to check up on her. On one particular day I was over in her office for 45 minutes. This apparently pissed several people off, including her boss, Bipolar Betty. It happened a month ago, yet, it has put into motion a whole series of events, each one stupider than the last, that it is really hard to believe that this sort of bullshit even goes on in the lives of adults.

The funniest part of all of this is that our company has the nerve to persecute Lily and I for one 45 minute conversation on a day when neither of us took a lunch anyway, and yet, people see fit to take 5 cigarette breaks a day at 10 minutes a shot, also take a lunch, leave early, and stand around most of the day talking. Yet, for us, this stupid shit of this one day that happened over a month ago, keeps coming up. The other day I was in her office for 10, maybe 12 minutes tops, and there were allegedly multiple “complaints” that people couldn’t find me for over an hour and that we were in there talking about nothing for an hour. The funniest part is that we were talking about work related things. So now Lily and I have come out swinging, fighting about all the bullshit and comments people are making.  There are so many convoluted lies in all of this that it’s just become reminiscent of middle school drama.

So today, during our monthly birthday celebration, with the whole company stuffed into the conference room, I waited for Lily to walk in and I said, “Oh, it’s YOU. DON’T TALK TO ME. I wouldn’t want anyone to say that because we talked for 1 minute that we were in the conference room making out for an hour and a half.” She got her piece of cake and when she made chatter with someone next to her I said, “That’s just about enough. You have been in here for hours. Get back to your desk. I’m going back to mine because it’s been too long now in the same room with you.”

She sent me an email telling me she loved me. I called her (because I don’t trust our email much like I don’t trust anything else or anyone else there) and said, “It’s like the jerk store now. I keep thinking of more things I’m going to say.’” She said, “Everyone heard you.” I said I didn’t think they did but she said she’s sure both my boss and hers heard.

Good. GOOD. I’m so happy about that. They have no idea what happens to people who fuck with me without provocation.

I hope that no one needs those two drawers of files I threw out yesterday or the year’s plus worth of emails I deleted today. Someone said to me this afternoon: “Your office is looking suspiciously clean.” Oh? Is it? Gee. I wonder what goodies the trash can will get tomorrow! I’m giddy with anticipation!

Do you know what the worst part of this whole thing really is? It’s not the pettiness or the 45 minutes of lost work time or the backstabbing tattletails. It’s the fact that Lily’s going through a major situation that no one else at work is going through, and probably will never go through, and they can’t seem to dig deep into their hearts and find some fucking compassion and understanding. That has to be the most unforgivable part of this.

The Trick You Said, Was Never Play the Game Too Long

Every time something noteworthy happens to me, I swear I’m going to sit down and put it into words. My life with X is so good. It is just so good. We have everything in place, all our plans lined up like neat little ducks, hovering delicately at that place of dropping the first domino. But then. But, then.

Work comes up behind me and swallows me like a drunken sailor on shore leave, rips me several new assholes, reminds me why it’s better that people don’t carry concealed weapons and laughs in my face that drugs are still, sadly, illegal. Because if I ever needed them at a time in my life, I’d say it’s right about…….now. It’s just not good. It’s sucking the life out of me. Eight hours seems like twelve. And yet, much like they seem to like to remind us, the economy is bad and where the hell is anyone getting a job these days? Yeah. I know, I know.

The problem with all this is the ducks - those plans X and I have. And those plans really don’t lend themselves to a job change at this point. I thought I could hang in for another year. But now looking down the barrel of 12 months and hoping to make it to the other end feels about as promising as Three’s Company coming back to Prime Time. I don’t know how I’m going to make it.

I  have had conversations with X. I have had conversations with friends, both inside work and out. I have had a conversation with myself. I’m not sure how much longer I can take it. It sucks the life out of me, it sucks the writing out of me.  I had a great story about X and I from the weekend and ugh. I can’t get there right now.

There comes a point in your life where putting up with unbelievable amounts of shit all week while counting the days to Friday or a day off seems stupid. The fact that I got Jury Duty and actually jumped up and down at the mailbox at the thought of possibly getting picked for a trial and not having to go to work is sad. You get old and you realize life is too short and that you have worked for too long to deal with other people’s disorganization and incompetence affecting you. You realize you could start businesses (or join businesses) with really good friends and that that just may be a better way to pass time and make money than working for the man.

I wish I could say that I have excuses.

“Oh, but I need to save more money.” (I don’t.)

“Oh, but there’s going to be a Christmas bonus.” (I doubt there will be.)

“Oh, but it’s so scary to not have a regular paycheck.” (It is. But the hostile work environment is scarier.)

I just need to take a leap. I need to not look back to make sure someone is still holding the back of the bike. It’s time. Now, to psych myself into it, set a timeline and put the plan in motion.

Do the Chairs in Your Parlor Seem Empty and Bare?

X and I took Number 1 and Number 2 out to the beach this weekend. Never ones to let teenage kids get in the way of our planned activities, X and I really redefined good-parenting when we took the kids to a bar. “Zzzlong as the youngins keep four feet from the bar, I reckon it’s fine.” At least, that’s the rule in Delaware.

After we ordered dinner, some decrepit lady, whose back looked like a U-Ring, stumbled over to tell X that he looked like her son. X and I both looked at each other with a stunned look of surprise because, you see, X was adopted. He has attempted, thus far unsuccessfully, to find his birth mother. It only took this woman a second to spit this out before she turned around and went back to her table. We both sat there with our mouths open.

Me: Oh my god it’s your birth mother!
X: Stop that.
Me: Come on! It could be her!
Number 2: Wasn’t she like 16 when she had Dad?
X: Yeah, and I was her second child!
Number 2: So, could that lady be, um….

At this point Number 2 trailed off to do the math to add X’s age and 16.  He never did get back to us with the answer. Stupid private school.

I just couldn’t let this go. I looked over at the lady and suddenly it was like looking in a mirror. X has very distinct eyebrows. Even in his baby pictures, he has the same eyebrows that he has now. It’s actually pretty funny how that arch just stayed in place all these….Number 2? Are you done with that math yet? How many years?

Anyway. Back to the Birth Mother.

She kept looking at X, and I said, “Do you think it’s possible this lady is your mom?” X said, “Yeah. I do.”

I looked back at her. I just got this feeling and I practically demanded that X go over and talk to her. We ate and he agreed to go over and try to get some more clues. He was over there for a while. I probably should have mentioned earlier that there was Karaoke in full swing by this point. By “full swing,” I mean there were three people on the rotation, including the D.J.

Some tall drink of water country bumpkin with ducks ass feathered gray hair decided to take his opportunity behind the mic to sing Elvis’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”  Right about the time X was getting into it with the U-Ring Birth Mother, there’s the Kenny Rogers, pointing in her face, screaming, “Are You Lonesome Tonight???” Ugh. Stupid Delaware. Stupid fucking useless Delaware. Don’t even get me started on the conversation I had with Boss Hogg on my property tax bill.

I wish that I could have pulled that moron aside and said, “Do you mind? He just found his birth mother, here in this shit hole bar, that we’ve taken his teenage sons to, in this shit hole neighborhood where I’ve bought a house and now feel like I’m in Harper Valley/Mayberry Hell in Hazard County. Back off, Stretch.”

As it turns out, X couldn’t get enough information from her to get anything other than the fact that her father was from North Jersey - which doesn’t match up to what we know about where his mother was from. However, based on her age, and the age of her son, I firmly believe that she could be X’s aunt - whether it’s her brother who is X’s father, or her sister who is his mother is obviously unclear, but this I’m sure of. Because I do believe in fate and I don’t believe in chance encounters.

You’ve Done Your Sowing, Now You Can Do Your Reaping, Maybe You Should Have Thought About That When You Were Cheatin’

Some poor schmuck was standing on an intersection at Tyson’s today, holding this sign:

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“I Cheated. This is my Punishment.”

Well played to the girlfriend. Very well played.

Only when you know the pain caused by cheating will you cease to ever do it again. I broke a heart when I cheated, and so I never did it again. Even when I should have.

Keep Your Hands to Yourself

While I may not have newspaper clippings to show you, I did have a strange weekend. Though I would like to do it all over again and this time do less something and more nothing.

I kicked off the weekend by stopping by my favorite waxer. Cube has the best ticket in town on this by the way so you’ll have to suck up to her if you want to know who it is. Since I finally bagged on going to the lunatic Thai lady, I’ve had relatively uneventful waxing experiences. Not Friday though.

Shameless me, I’m taking off my underwear, and Sandra (the waxer) says: So, I’m being investigated.
Me:
What? Why?
Sandra:
Someone reported me. A detective came to see me.
Me:
Why? Someone got home and realized their pubic hair was missing?
Sandra, laughing:
You are so bad!
Me:
You really shouldn’t open with this line, by the way. But, this I gotta hear. What did you get reported for?
Sandra:
Inappropriate touching.
Me:
Well, I’ll turn my head and you can touch me as inappropriately as you want. I think my boyfriend will want to come next time to watch though.
Sandra:
You are making me laugh! Stop!
Me:
So what did you tell the detective.
Sandra: Well, I had to explain the process and you know how after you rip the strip off you push on the skin like this? (She then demonstrates on my pubic bone.)
Me: Oh yes Sandra!!!! Do it again!!!!

Sandra is in full hysterics now. The long story short on this is that some idiot buffoon reported her for this “inappropriate touching.” As someone who has been demanding Brazilians since 1998 when they didn’t even do them in regular salons, I have to say this: people, if you are the least bit embarrassed by having your privates touched, you should probably play volleyball instead of opting for a Brazilian.

I left, grabbed the loves of my life Sammy and Thora, and drove out to meet X at the beach. Because he got there a day before I did, he was able to scout out a new bar, with a new megatouch, very close to the house. This is very exciting. Six Bud Lights (for me) and four Rum and Cokes (for him) and our bill totaled $31.50. Are. You. Kidding. Me.  I ripped off my hoop skirt and screamed, “As God as my Witness, I will never drink in Washington D.C. again!!!!”

I’m actually not kidding about the skirt part…it seems that through an altercation with a faulty tampon, I ruined my Lucky Jeans skirt!!! I ripped off the skirt and came home in my underwear, which, not surprisingly, was in worse condition. X said, “Oh boy, we’re going to be on the message boards tomorrow…I can see it now…’girl walking around community in underwear.’”

Sometimes the old Velvet just comes out and rears her head and cannot be stopped.

Saturday I spent what was supposed to be three hours at a salon getting that Brazilian Keratin thing that’s all the rage. Seven hours and $500 later, I have straight hair. However, I’m not satisfied with the place where I got it done, mostly because they doubled the price from their original “estimate” and because it took so long. But I’m also not pleased because the lady who owns the place is one of those annoying people I’ve fortunately had to encounter so rarely in my life.

She hits you when she’s talking to you. I don’t even have friends who do this to me, but for a stranger to tell you a story and to keep smacking your forearm, it’s annoying. It’s really annoying. So I wanted to take that $100 an ounce Brazilian product and shove it in her face because I was so annoyed. X said quite aptly, “I can only imagine you sitting there for 7 hours wondering if they knew what they were doing, and hating this lady. I’m sure you’ll never go back there again.”

I think he’s right. She actually offered to do a touch-up for free because of “price-gate 2009″ but I don’t even know if that’s worth it. I should have sucked it up and gone to the mega expensive palace in Georgetown that does it. Well. You get what you pay for. Now. To get rid of these bruises on my forearms…

I Read the News Today Oh Boy Part 3

X and I are running through the last weekends of our summer by going to the beach as much as possible. I do love that newspaper so much. When I wake up around 9:30, and X is returning home with bagels and the Cape Gazette, I’m giddy with excitement. Because I know, inside that cover, there will be many many things to laugh about.

There’s a new publishing firm out at the beach! Maybe I can get my life saga published by them. There are no words for this one…

3

There was also a sandcastle contest. Um…hopefully this isn’t your mom or your girlfriend.

2

And finally, a recipe for you to enjoy. Pay attention. I’d hate for you to pick up one fruit thinking it was another.

1

Fruit Recognition FAIL.

Love, Look What You’ve Done to Me

Dear Lauren:

He and I walked down T Street toward each other, and both turned the same way heading north toward U Street. He was holding a bottle of wine and had a very heavy looking backpack strapped on him. I was right behind him until he veered off toward his apartment. He was obviously in a hurry.

When he pulled his keys out of a side pocket of his backpack and jumped up the stairs to his building in one swift move, he didn’t see the piece of paper that fell out on to the ground. It fluttered back and forth like a leaf until it landed right in front of me on the brick sidewalk.

It said: Lauren. (202) XXX-XXXX.

I yelled up to him, “Hey, you dropped something. Do you need this paper?” He looked confused for a split second, until his face formed a look of relief I haven’t seen since 1999, when my then-boyfriend only saw one pink line show up in the window.

He said, “Thank you. Oh my God, thank you so much.”

I said, “No problem. I saw it had a phone number on it. Figured you might need it.”

He thanked me again.

I rounded the corner on to U Street and just before I was out of sight, I heard him yell one more time, “Thank you so much.”

He’s welcome. And he better call you.

Wishing Happy Relationships For All of Dupont Circle,
Velvet in Dupont

Two Years

Dear X:

Two years ago from tonight was when we first turned the corner. Because we knew each other for so long prior to that fateful texting “conversation,” it seems like much longer than two years. I suppose you feel the same, as evidenced by your statement this morning, “I celebrate more than two years with you. Since the day I met you.”

Two years ago I don’t think I would have believed anyone if they said that yesterday, the last day of year two would be one of the most serious in our relationship thus far, that we would be involved a serious plan on when to have a child, that we would look at a house that we both fell in love with, that we would go to dinner and talk of the future - so far into the future, that all the past seems like it’s just so long ago.

I wouldn’t trade the last two years for anything and I can’t wait to see what the next two, or thirty, bring us.

I love you,

Me

You’re the Sun Who Makes Me Shine

Earlier:

X: I forgot to tell you! I had a dream about you last night!

V: Really? Was it about how you and #2 took my car to the car wash one afternoon and I stayed home and masturbated?

X: No. It was about…wait… Did you just do that while I was out washing your car?

V: Yes.

X: We weren’t gone that long!

V: It doesn’t take long. Besides, with kids and family visits, it’s just been too long. I got tired of waiting.

X: But the mattress guys came and delivered in that time frame too?

V: I know. I sped it along  when I heard the truck driving up the street.

X: Damn. You suck!

V: No. What sucks is they forgot the bed rails. So we have to drive out to the store in Rehoboth to get them.

X: Fuck!

Later:

#2: Velvet, Dad didn’t get all the bugs off your car because he didn’t want to pay for the triple foam wash.

V: How much would that have set you back?

X: Fifty Cents.

#2: V, I really have to question your taste in men.

To self: Bet the magic wand would spend 50 cents for a triple wash.

I Couldn’t Care About Anything But You

As expected, X and I were at the beach this past weekend. We were sitting at a bar when the news of Steve McNair came out. All the first news clip said was “found shot alongside a woman.” I said to X, chick killed him, then killed herself. Typical. Couldn’t get what she wanted so she shot him. Borrrrring.

But then it comes out that the girl was a girlfriend. Mistress, rather, and that he was allegedly happily married with four kids. These football players are all the same. One wife and one happy family isn’t enough, Ima gonna gets me a girlfriend on the side. All their money isn’t enough, Ima gonna start me’s a dog fighting ring!

Now it comes out that the wife didn’t know anything about the affair. In what already seems to be a huge tragedy - two unnecessary deaths, a brilliant career now lost, four kids without a father there is more. The wife doesn’t even get to confront him. That’s probably the worst. If I was that wife, I wouldn’t shed one single tear over that piece of shit. I would collect his life insurance and set up my nomorefootballplayersmatch.com profile right away. I cannot imagine finding out about a secret life of a spouse after their death. Reminds me of this movie. What’s worse though is not being able to beat his ass over it.

X, if you have a 20 year old girlfriend and she shoots you, you better hope for your sake that you die. What? Just sayin! I’m the vengeful sort. But you already knew that. So did you all.

Higher Than a Kite, I Know I’m Getting Hooked On Your Love

X and I stayed in town this weekend. I wanted to begin the much awaited consolidation of households. This will be a long, slow, painful process if I don’t start really making headway, and fast. So in town we stayed and while I didn’t pack one single box, I do feel as though I did accomplish the tying up of some loose ends. Read: Selling things on Ebay and Amazon. Check out seller velvet13 if you want to bid on my porn. No. I’m not kidding…I’m also selling my doggie cameras. I’ve had enough. I’m done spying on the little fuckers. They can do what they want to my bed. They win.

The real reason we didn’t head to the beach was because X’s mommy wanted us to come over for crabs. Crabs turned into shrimp, but whatever. So we get up there and you just have to picture X’s little Greek Mom trying to feed the hell out of us. X put some shrimp on my plate and he said, “More?” I said, “No, that’s good.” There was an audible gasp. In fact, not only was it audible, it was LOUD. X’s mom was horrified. Lady please. Don’t make me fat like my yiayia’s! That shrimp was doing the backstroke in about three sticks of butter. I saw it. X saw it. My cholesterol went up 10 points just by being in the same room with it.

After X’s mom learned that keeping the inside temperature at 94 degrees wasn’t normal and we closed all the windows and turned on the air, the people next door came out into their yard and started playing some weird game. There were sticks and posts and throwing. It was like Bocce Ball, or cricket or something. I called it Polish Bocce Ball but curiosity got the best of X and he went out to find out what the game was. His foot had barely hit the first step off the porch and the door shut when his mother started about his ex. Holy shit. I don’t know which insult hit the air first but all I could do was nod and agree, agree and nod, and shove cake in my face. Until X came back in the house and there we were, sitting in the middle of an unfinished sentence about his ex. Well I guess it was all too much for his mother to take so she just kept going. And hey, let’s be honest. I certainly wasn’t going to stop her.

What I should have stopped, however, was my complete inhalation of the devil’s food bundt cake. Let’s see. I had a slice on a napkin. Then a slice on a plate. Then I started hacking away at it with the serving knife. Lest you think I wasn’t chatting while all these calories were going in my mouth, I was participating in the full range of insults X’s mom unleashed on X’s ex. For a brief second I thought, “Damn, I hope she doesn’t ever think or say things like this about me.” But then I had a follow up thought:

I’m Greek. I have total immunity.

So X’s mom said two things that made my sugar high unleash into full on tear spilling laughter. First, she said, “Does ex have a job?”

Shit I could not stop laughing.

Then she said, “She used to call here all the time and your father would have to go ring the doorbell so that I could tell her I needed to get off the phone to go see who was at the door.”

That woman is a god damned riot.

When X and I got back to my place we weren’t ready for the weekend to end. I’m sick of weekends ending. I’m ready to play house already.

Anyway. I’m on a Survivor kick. Enjoy.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcf-0kfKEk4]

I Read the News Today Oh Boy Part 2

It’s your favorite! Time to rip apart the local yocal beach paper from Delaware. It was a little harder this time to get the images off their website. X is convinced they are on to me. But I prevailed! I used a scanner! In some pictures I even underlined the parts of the items in question that I find so comical.

baby

X couldn’t understand why a dead baby made me cackle for 10 minutes. It’s not the dead baby, it’s the fact that she couldn’t find the baby when she woke up! Or what about that she slept in bed with the baby to begin with. X, if we have babies, we will not hire a nanny from Delaware!!!

The police and fire wrap up includes the following two articles, side by side.

doc005

The burglar broke in to eat some Barbeque? That takes balls! And did it ever occur to them that the dead guy breaking into business might be the same one doing all the other burglarizing?

Oh, X, I found a place we can send the kids to camp!!

asthma-camp1

And just a happy little picture from some festival.  I think their child resembles mom more than dad, doncha think?

bear

Let’s stop in with Miss Manners and see what she’s up to. The second question is better than the first, which was inadvertently cut off slightly.

doc003

Why Miss Manners? Have you met Miss Bitter? Miss Bitter lives with Miss Miserable and Miss Alone.

Another great headline…

doc004

Where do you put your butt? Mine goes on the toilet. Sometimes it goes in X’s face, butt that’s for another time. Get it? Butt? Ha.

Last one. My favorite this week. Read the entire article. It’s just great.

doc006

The front bumper sentence made me cry I was laughing so hard. And that picture doesn’t show any jabbering with witnesses. It just shows him playing pocket pool.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sigh. This is what X and I are surrounded with when we head to the beach. There’s another newspaper out there but I can’t find it online and it’s too painful to scan this particular article I wanted to share. It would seem that someone in our subdivision (how dare they turn on me!) got themselves the lucky break to be writing a column for the locals!  I read it to X over the phone and he had to put me on hold to stab out his eyeballs.

I Wanna Take a Ride on Your Disco Stick

X and I had a great time in New York. We managed to escape each place containing my family just prior to an implosion. Because X and my parents rise before the roosters, there were several hours on Saturday and Sunday  morning where he was alone with them. Scary. Though, he did well.

I should probably say that the highlight of last Saturday was seeing my nieces in this unprovoked-by-adults act of sweetness in Central Park…

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but…the day wasn’t over. X and I ate dinner in Little Italy, and that, like the Keys, are one of the memories we have that we talk about all the time. So, um, sorry nieces. You’re highlight #2. Being #2 isn’t so bad, is it? Well, too bad. Maybe you should try harder next time. Just try to outdo that Cannoli. Try. I dare you.

X and I left New York really late. In the Holland Tunnel I had these grandiose ideas about having sex when we got back home because you know I wouldn’t let him lay a finger on me at my parent’s house. But then we didn’t get back to his place until after midnight which put me home closer to 12:45 a.m. with work in the morning. No sex. Damn it. I had vowed we would make up for lost time by hopping in bed, but that wasn’t to be. We figured we would catch up for lost loving this past weekend but then we found out his kids and my friend would all be joining us at the beach house. Damn.

Unable to wait any longer, X and I closed the door and ripped off our clothes on Friday night. But then we realized it was just a little too noisy, and this is where things go awry. We got out of bed and went into the bathroom and turned on the shower to drown out the noise. I hopped up on the counter and we finished. Relief. Finally.

I slid off the counter and caught something on my hand. It was gooey. I said, “Um, was there a wayward shot?” He said, “Weren’t you in the room too?” I said, “Well, there’s something weird all over me. Turn on the light.”

X flipped on the light and there’s neon blue toothpaste (with mintstrips!) all over the vanity and all down the side of my leg. X? Did you need to brush your teeth? Just scrape the toothbrush against my thigh. Make sure you get some mint strips. Don’t miss the glob by my ankle.

I’m Taking a Greyhound on the Hudson River Line

Back to regularly scheduled programming.

X and I are going to New York this weekend. My brother and his family are in town and we’re meeting up with them at our designated place and time on their highly selective secret schedule. Since the beginning of time, my brother has this way of putting his family dead-last. We’re all used to this and we smile, nod, play with the nieces, then we all get on with our lives. Unfortunately for me but fortunately for X (because it’s entertaining to outsiders) the Greeks are already in major warfare. My parents are wayyyyy beyond smiling and nodding. They’re more so in the mood for tire slashing. I’ll have to keep the Ginzu knives away from them.

X is rather looking forward to this. We are staying with my parents, Gloom and Doom, in Connecticut. Much to my surprise, back in January that they overturned their prior rule that no unmarrieds can share a bed in their house. I think that, gasp, they are going to let us share a bed. Unbelievable. X said he can’t wait for this momentous occasion and he plans to commemorate it by sticking his dick in my ass. I said we will not be having any sex, anal or otherwise, in my parents house in my childhood bedroom. No. Fucking. Way.

X says, “We’ll see about that.”

Groan! Stay away from my sphincter!

He’s been reduced to negotiating by text.

This morning:

X: Ok. How about this. You can “dip” your own finger and put it in my mouth?
V: No.
X: Excuse me for being attracted to you! Okay, how about this? Masturbate with your panties on and then just hand them to me for the night.
V: Again, no!
X: Well this weekend should be good at 123 Asexual Lane.

X told his mother he was going to New York with me and we were staying with my parents. She said, “Oh, will you be talking to them about something when you’re up there?”

X played dumb. He asked what she was talking about.  She said, “A wedding.”

X had to respond that I’m all liberated and stuff, and I don’t believe in weddings.  Then she said something odd.

“Well Velvet looks like she’s ready and she told me that her mother said to not let me get away.”

X said, “My mother is hallucinating.”

I said, “You can bet your ass she is because my mother would never tell me not to let you get away. She’s lives her life believing that her children can always do better. Wait until you see how she treats my sister-in-law. That is, if she even bothers to show up.”

Should be fun!

Part 20: Finale; I Won’t Go, I Won’t Sleep, I Can’t Breathe, Until You’re Resting Here With Me

It’s the end but it’s not the end. This is the last piece of the story, but the story keeps going, and yes, the blog keeps going. Shutting down hasn’t occurred to me, at least not yet.  And I don’t have a big engagement ring picture to show you. While that would be a happy end to the “story,” it’s not my end. (Caution. Big Femmie speak coming.) These last four years of blogging were about empowering ourselves as women to weed through crappy men and not settle for less than the best. Somehow, making the story end with a big rock and a wedding seems like selling out to me, to you, to everyone. I’m more introspective than that. That’s a major reason I hate Sex and the City and all that those dumb bitches stand for. They pretend to stand for empowerment of women, but really, they spent six seasons chasing unworthy men and shopping. Not exactly role models for any of us or our daughters or nieces.

Thank you for taking the journey with me, and with us. X is the great love of my life, and I feel so fortunate to have found him, to have been found, to have found each other.

I could keep going because life keeps going. I could regale you with stories about an old girlfriend who showed up in X’s life and temporarily made ours miserable. I could go through the details on when the ex Mrs. X found out about me and how she turned all her children (you know, the ones he raised and supported but didn’t contribute his sperm to) against him in a flash. I could tell you that he genuinely didn’t care, and that was the ultimate in satisfaction for me and closure for him. But all of that is just life. The details aren’t always important.

The lyrics from one of my favorite songs comes to mind here:

There are places I’ll remember all my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments with lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living in my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers there is no one who compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection for people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them.
In my life I love you more.

I can’t lie and say that there aren’t conversations about marriage and babies, well, one baby, but we’re still trying to figure out where all of that stands. You know…we’re older. I’m 36. And sometimes I’m not sure if I have it in me to have a life with a baby in it now that I’m more set in my ways. And X is older than I am, and he’s been through the kid thing already. In five years, his kids could be off at college and we could have a nice simple life together. But in five years, when his kids are going off to college, we could be scouting around for a kindergarten class worthy of our prodigal child. I just don’t know which life we’ll have.

I was never that person who desperately wanted to be a mother. I know there are women out there who are maternally hard-wired. I’m not sure I’m one of them. Though, I can say out of dead honesty: I do think if I don’t at least try, then I will always wonder what having a child would have been like. My main reason for wanting to would be what X said to me one night over dinner: “If there are any two people in the world who should have a child together, it’s us.” I believe the impact of that statement would be lost if you hadn’t just spent the last four weeks reading about our history, because everyone thinks that. But with X and I, it’s been such a long journey and such a deep love resulting from the journey, that I believe not trying to have a child with him would be an epic fail.

As far as marriage goes, I’m not sure if every prescription to happiness includes marriage and kids. I’m a pretty staunch feminist, so I have spent the better part of the last month asking why people get married and why it’s necessary. In times when women couldn’t earn the same as their male counterparts, marriage was the only way to create and build a family. But now, no one can give me a valid reason to get married besides the usual crap:

Because it will make your parents happy.

Because it’s right for the kids if you want to live together.

Because you own property together.

Because you are going to have a baby together.

Because the ex wife could sue you for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. (That one was courtesy of my father.)

Because if he dies you have no claims to anything.

Because if he dies, his half of the house and car go to his kids, and because they are under 18, the ex wife will be the one you’ll deal with.

Yikes on that last one…

I remain on the fence. X said before we get married he will tell me exactly why we should. I’m still waiting. It’s a big joke with us now. Not to say we won’t get there, but, I’ve never been that girl. Bride’s magazines and visions of a perfect wedding dress? Yeah. Not so much. That’s never been me. Don’t bother looking for that Glamourshots photo of X and I in the New York Times or WaPo or anything like that. Anything commercial surrounding the wedding really pisses me off. A Vegas drive through or somewhere in the Keys on the beach would be just fine with me.

The love lessons here are inherent. You have to fall in love with your best friend. It’s truly the only way. Sometimes the person you are supposed to be with is right in front of your face. They don’t always come in the obvious form either. Sometimes you end up realizing that the situation surrounding the person you are fated to be with is not what you thought it would be. People have baggage. We all do. No one should feel that they are above it. Relationships take work. It’s important to know when to let go. But more important to know when not to.

Cliche, but, when two people are meant to be together, everything just aligns for them to do so. X had a wife for the first three years that I knew him. For those years I never considered for a moment that we would end up where we are today despite an obvious attraction on both sides. You can’t engineer fate, so while we may decide to “take control” of our lives, most of the work is done for us I believe by putting us in the right place at the right time. The little details are what lies in our hands.

Little details like sending a text, long after someone is seemingly gone from your life.

Now, my Grammy style thank you speech, only, with tidbits of unsolicited advice:

Cyndy - I’m glad you listened to your heart and kept going back.

Redhead - Call him. Or at least email him. It’s worth it, even if it is just to say hello.

Tyler - Thanks for hanging in there with me all these years!

FreckledK - He’s around the corner. I’m sure of it.

Allezoop - I know for a fact - you got a good one!

Laura - I’m glad the advice of three years ago worked out and you’re happy and in love. So glad!

Jessica - I’m not leaving! Yet!

Hungry - Thank you as well for sticking around all these years and don’t worry about prying. That’s what a tell-all (or tell-most) blog is about.

Pook - Facebook friends! Come back to DC!

Michelle - Thank you for reading all this, you probably know more about me post-DC than when you lived here!

Marie - Don’t know if he will post his side but I’ll continue to ask.

Jo - Congratulations!

Sally - If you do a chronicle of your relationship, even if it’s for yourself, you will be happy you have it. I know I am.

Phil - One of the few men who can tolerate the sappy. Thanks for hanging in. And we lost Cubie!

X - I love you. Thank you for making my life an Epic Win, every day.

Part 19: Oh I Am What I Am, I’ll Do What I Want, But I Can’t Hide

September 2008 - February 2009

September would be the witching hour for this divorce. The conversations between X and the hopefully soon to be ex Mrs. X were in full force. She was on the emotional roller coaster from hell and dragging everyone down with her. Seriously. Sometimes I wished she knew about me so I could call her up and tell her to have some fucking respect for herself and to stop acting like a child. Oh. And while we were on the phone I’d also tell her to stop using her uterus as a paycheck. By then she would have hung up on me.

She was wavering between bouts of being sick of the kids and wanting him to pick them up immediately to threats to take the kids and leave the country. It was exhausting. The problem for her was that X was burned out on her anger and emotional bullshit, so he was unresponsive to almost everything. Almost. Threats to take children are the trump card. And she knew that.

After a particularly grueling Labor Day weekend afternoon of texting wars between X and the soon to be ex Mrs. X, he put his arms around me and said, “I am so in love with you.” Sometimes all you have to do is be the non-crazy woman in a sea of crazy women and you come out smelling like a rose.

Later that night, we ended up with another of our firsts. These moments happen so infrequently in long term relationships that you just have to pay attention and know when they are happening so you can record every moment in your head and burn it forever into your happy place. We ended up taking a shower together. When the shower finished and we moved to the bed and shared the sweet words across the pillow that couples share, we were again at a new place. Before he left the next morning he said, “Something changed.” I agreed. It did change. I can’t explain it, it just did. I think at that point we just knew it was forever. And that we were forever.

It of course didn’t stop more on and off drama with the impending divorce. It just wasn’t moving fast enough for me. Up. Down. Up. Down. For what started out so well, September was a rough month until the fated, long awaited for day where he sent me a text that said, “I have the signed divorce agreement.” His attorney filed and they got a court date for shortly into the new year.

The fall was spent running back and forth to the beach house, doing walk throughs, making sure everything was as it was supposed to be. It was an incredible growing experience for our relationship to have something that we thought of and then built together - not necessarily literally as much, but figuratively.

There’s a huge gap of time in my precious Microsoft Word documentation of our relationship. October, November, December. Blank. Blank. Blank. Nothing. I wish I could remember what I’m missing here, but no news was good news. We were finally on track to divorce court with no further encumbrances ahead.

The holidays rolled through town and we spent New Year’s Eve this time in bed with dueling bottles of champagne. We settled on the house in January and promptly started nesting. Shortly after the settlement at the beach, X officially became divorced. Oh. My. God.

X moved from one place to another on pretty short notice and I was the helper-bee. Going from the fourth floor walk up to a townhouse, my ass and legs saw their fair share of stairs that weekend. At the end of the 24 hours of hell, he opened a bottle of Captain Morgan, took a swing and said, “You know, if this keeps going like it’s going, one of us is going to want to get married.”

Oh? Which one?

Part 18: I Don’t Want to Move a Thing, It Might Change My Memory

2008: June - September

It might seem like telling about the fighting is personal, almost too personal. But I want to tell the whole story. It’s not always roses and lollipops, even when the love is the deepest and most lasting of any love of your life. And it’s important, for me anyway, to convey that there are sometimes it’s worth it to stay and fight and sometimes it’s not worth it and you should walk away. Differentiating between the two is only something you can answer by looking in your heart. Honestly looking in your heart.

We recovered from the argument where he mailed my keys back when I drove back to his house and gave them back to him. It wouldn’t be the last of the bickering about the divorce. I tried to remind myself over and over: What if this was your last day with him? Is this how you would want to spend it?

At this point I believe I realized that I (we) were just so in love, that any of this time wasted arguing was exactly that - time wasted arguing. The subject of taking a break had come up during the arguing, but when we were calm and discussing everything we determined that it was impossible for us to really take a break because it was just so difficult to be away from each other. He said, “I’m not going to lose you over this shit.” I said, “I’m not going anywhere.” He said, “I’m not either.” During all this drama would be when he finally said out loud that he was in love with me. Fucking finally. Jesus Christ.

Spring moved into summer and one Saturday we went shopping and bought a game that was a box of questions for couples. Inevitably these games bring about conversations that people may or may not be ready to have. While we sat on the roof of my building drinking a bottle of wine and eating cupcakes from Cake Love (um, eau, not good) X and I had to answer a few questions on issues we had never discussed - like marriage and (more) kids. I believe we turned another corner and entered the “don’t want to be without each other” phase.

The summer was great. We had a lot of fun. We still talk today about the time we just woke up and bolted out to Annapolis to find a restaurant to eat crabs. We both sat facing the water, drinking a pitcher of beer and hammering away at crabs. We kept saying through the next few months how fun that was.

As X recently said to me, “Ideas just constantly swim in your head, don’t they?” It’s true. The little squirrel is always kicking things around up there. One day in August, I started looking at beach real estate again. I hated keeping the dogs cooped up all summer in the city. I wanted a place to go. I googled dog beaches and found some on the Eastern Shore that looked promising. X and I convened on the phone with dueling laptops to see what was out there. We made appointments at several new home communities and drove out that weekend. Shortly after arriving at one closest to the beach we were interested in, we were signing a contract. The house would be started shortly and finished by mid-winter. Great. Not what I had hoped in searching for an already-built (spec) home, but it would do.

The following weekend X and I went to New York City for a few days. He met my parents. I’d cheer and say “Woo Hoo” and explain to you how monumental this was considering NO ONE meets my parents (because they are judgie mcjudgiepoohs) however, at lunch my mom put her personality on display by maligning someone my family knew who had “gotten divorced.” X and I just looked at each other. Insults included at no extra cost.

We had this minor altercation in New York centering around a bartender and X and my suspicion if there was something that went on and wondering if that was why X came to New York alone on New Years Eve. The whole thing spiraled out of control because I apparently saw something that wasn’t there, and X was confused why I was acting the way I was. When we were hashing it out, he told me that he didn’t see anyone past me. I told him I loved him. He said, “I love you too. Maybe one day you will believe me.”

If we weren’t in the fast lane to closure and happiness before, we were heading there fast. During the early days of September, there was movement in the way of the divorce paperwork being signed so as to avoid court. To quote something I wrote at this time, “I have been waiting for this day for so long, I’m afraid of how my emotions will strangle me when the day finally arrives. There is so much about this relationship that I want to broadcast to the world, and yet, as X is my best friend, he is the only one I truly care to share anything with anymore. I’ve isolated myself. But that’s fine with me.”

I’ve become “that girl.” Damn it.

Part 17: I Didn’t Hear You Leave, I Wonder How Am I Still Here

2008: May

As we approached summer our relationship was moving forward by its actions, but there were some ridiculous administrative details in a holding pattern. We had two elephants in the room:

1) Despite the months of banter on the subject, X couldn’t say he loved me. This on its own isn’t bothersome because as he said during this time period, “Do I treat you like I love you?” Well, yes, but, but, but, I have become everything* for you buddy and it would be nice if you could just admit it.

2) By summer, I started (really) asking why the divorce wasn’t moving forward, as opposed to my prior comment here and there on the matter.

*pause for ” * ” clarification: by everything, I mean, I had become X’s best friend and therapist, constantly performing my armchair psychology routine on the who’s what’s and why’s of the psychosis of his “wife.” I felt like if he still didn’t know whether he was or wasn’t, then he was an idiot. And I also felt that if he did know, which he probably did, then he should just tell me, because what the hell was he holding on to? What’s the victory in holding back your love?

We had a series of fights all related to this lack of progress toward a divorce. At the time, I was keeping a “blog” in good old Microsoft Word, and I wrote, “I’m tired of nurturing a relationship that’s a freakshow on wheels.” I was still a big secret from the “wife” because we couldn’t tell her otherwise she may never divorce him, and I was a secret from the kids because of, see above: “wife.” One of our fights - and I know he forgot all about this until now - was over the stupidest thing.

I went to his place and he basically ripped off my clothes and were totally done in under 10 minutes from me walking in the door. I said, “Damn, you must have needed that.” He said, “Well, I didn’t need it.” We went back and forth over the word “need.” He couldn’t even admit that maybe just once, I satisfy something for him that he needs satisfied - whatever it is. It was part of a bigger picture. I got up, got dressed, walked out, and shut off my phone.

The next day when I turned my phone back on, I saw that he had texted over the night that he didn’t know what happened and he didn’t get it. The mere fact that he was up at 3 a.m. thinking about this should have been clue enough to him, that duh, you’re in love and this shit bothers you so much you can’t sleep, but sometimes you have to spell it out for them. I texted back. (Yes, I know. You want to know why all these important conversations occur over text. I rather prefer it that way. I can get my thoughts out uninterrupted and get a mostly instant response.) Anyway, here’s what I said:

“It is really tiring trying to be with someone who so carefully plans their words so much that they can’t give any remote clue to what they are feeling. The whole need/want thing is symbolic of a bigger problem. The fact that you emotionally have nothing left inside of you coupled with the fact that it looks like this divorce will never happen - it looks like a losing battle from my end. Too many hurdles to overcome. And all you want is for me to just be patient. That’s just insulting. I actually think you enjoy this bullshit. It feeds your ego that she still wants to be married to you. I get to hear on a daily basis how mad she supposedly makes you but you don’t do anything about it. Why do you need me as the motivation to end the marriage with her? You should want to end it on your own, because it’s over, not because I’ve come into the picture. I hate the person I’ve become. Nagging you on a daily basis to stay focused. I shouldn’t have to do that but I’m afraid if I don’t, it will be 2009 with no divorce. This is a colossal mindfuck for me - I will have spent all this time in something that stands no chance because the divorce will never happen, and you will never stop calculating your words so intently that I get nothing back at all.”

There were reasons for all of this divorce delay of course. X had to extract from the marriage without getting hosed. And we didn’t want to end up in court - me included. The truth was we had done nothing wrong. But if it went to a long ugly trial, the simplistic cliche would be painted of “boss fucking secretary” and it would have been a total disaster. The fight that ensued with the above texting happened on the same weekend where X’s father died. Damn if I didn’t just pile on to his stress. And damn if his “wife” didn’t get to go to the funeral.

Here we were - at a point where this man was sharing his heart with me, and because of a stupid miserable technicality that should be on meds and in a straitjacket, I couldn’t be with him at his father’s funeral. I really grew to despise the situation I was in. We repaired it - but we didn’t go long without another fight. Two weeks to be exact.

The “wife” had decided she was taking the kids and moving away. He was freaking out and panicking and I, with my fantabulous bedside manner, said, “This is all your fault. If you had just divorced her when you left to begin with, there would be a custody agreement and she couldn’t do this. All I see is that you have the same conversation over and over where you ask her about a divorce and she blows you off and you back down. I’m fucking sick of it.”

We didn’t talk for three days. He mailed me a goodbye letter and included my house keys. Fucker.

Part 16: So Much Love to Make Up Everywhere You Turn

2008: January - April

During December, ex-boss and I got seemingly more involved with each other by way of some really deep conversations, but at the turn of the new year, I think I shook myself awake, literally. I just realized that maybe this wasn’t going to pan out the way I had thought and I should just refocus my life on me and going back to work and getting my life together.

I actually made a deal with myself, I was going to slowly slide out of his life. I was tired of realizing I would come last in a long line containing a wife that might never have the “ex” in front of it, her kids, and their kids, and his work. I stopped responding so quickly and so enthusiastically to his texts. I swear, men can fucking smell it when they are being blown off. I wasn’t playing a game, I was just prioritizing as per my goal of the cross country trip. My priorities were to get a job, be closer to my family, and be a good mommy to Sammy and Thora who suddenly started having annoying and costly health problems. I was also well aware that I was in love. It just didn’t feel like it would ever be requited.

I was laying in bed one night (alone) and leaned over and wrote on my trusty nightstand notepad:

“How is the love for my first love, K, different from what I’m feeling now, which is obviously love? K and I were like two kids whose parents left us home alone with money and keys to the car. It was always fun. It was always a party in our house. Our love grew not because we were so compatible, but because we had this mutual admiration and respect for each other. We really liked the other person - he really wanted to be more “responsible” like I was, and I wished I could be more of the free spirit he was. When we broke up, it shattered my world.  A lot. I had a six year drug run ended in April 2007 when he reappeared in my life, fresh from his stay in rehab. One week after our first conversation would be the last time I would ever touch a drug. My pain was over. He was alive and sober and we were friends and my life could officially go on again. My current growing love now? Totally different. With K, we spent most of our time dissecting other people around us with “issues,” ignoring our own issues, which ultimately destroyed everything. With the ex-boss, we spend 99% of our time discussing and dissecting ourselves.”

It was true. The ex-boss and I spent hours on the phone in Jan/Feb analyzing each other, our thoughts, actions. It was so different than what I had been used to. With the ex-boss and I, it was all about us and how neglected our emotional needs had been. We became each other’s therapist and best friend.

Through several ridiculous events, I believe I helped him realize the manipulation operation in full force by the wife - the tricks she was using to deflect his attention on the divorce, the cries for help, the illnesses, the E.R., the drama, the temper tantrums, the demands that he fix things in what was now (or going to be) her house. During one of these groundbreaking conversations I texted to him: “You are opening up with me more than I am used to. Not that this is a bad thing. I’m just surprised because everything is usually a joke with you.”

In January, he officially became jobless. He was laid off as well, or took the imminent layoff, and then he suddenly had much more time to play with me. We would sit on the phone for hours looking at websites, clothes, sex toys. You name it, we shopped it.

It is around this time that we started speaking daily. In early February, he sent me a text that he wanted to go to Key West. He booked it for early March and we went on our first vacation together. We had a great time.  We finally spent not only a full night with each other, but a whole weekend. When we returned back home, we had turned another corner and hit the speed lane. Now we would split up who went to whose house, but he more often than not left by 5 or 6 a.m.

I saved a text exchange that was a pretty defining moment for us.

Him: Are you in love?
Me: Yes
Him: Hmm
Me: Brave of you to ask. I figured you knew.
Him: No. I didn’t really think too much about it. But I’m learning about how you drop hints. Like putting your toe in the water.
Me: Did I drop hints? I honestly think we both are. And have been for a while. And the extent to which we feel and acknowledge is different. But it’s there.
Him: I could get there but I don’t want to let myself get there. I convince myself I can control it.
Me: I’m not sure if one has a choice in this. You know how you think about me during the day? You know how you say you are closer to me than any of your exes? It’s like that. It’s like where I think I could hold your hand and just be happy to touch you when my past experience with men never ever brought a desire for hand holding. Kissing. Talking on the phone for hours. Most people annoy me. So that’s how I know.
Him: I’m glad I do that to you. You just made me laugh. You write well - even texting.
Me: Just try not to get scared. I have no desire to be with anyone else. Not going anywhere and not getting psycho if you do.
Him: You are very non-threatening. I enjoy you in many ways. You won’t scare me. I don’t scare away easily.

We continued through the spring making progress similar to the text exchange you read above. I admitted I was in love, and he found it difficult to admit. We would joke about it back and forth because he would walk into it all the time. You know when someone is in love with you. You can tell. They say things like, “I woke up thinking about you today,” or ” “You popped into my head today and I realized how happy you make me,” and you just know.

By this time, he had taken on his commenting name on this blog. In case you haven’t figured it out - he is indeed Mr. X.

Part 15: Look Around You Now, You Must Go For What You Wanted

2007: August - December

We were still laying in bed at 3 a.m. when I rolled over and said, “That’s funny, I’m usually gone by now.” He found that particularly amusing. It was just the truth. I’m not very good about staying around. I like to use the dogs as an excuse to go back to my own bed and sleep like a starfish. Seemed like I couldn’t really do that in this case because I had probably handed him my playbook over the past four years in my stories about other men.

When I walked out the door and got to my car, I texted one of my best friends who is also my real estate agent. I said, “I just fucked your next client. You can thank me later.” I’ll always be somewhat evil. I readily admit this.

I knew I would never make the move to contact him first. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. When I was ramming my car through the throngs of club kids at the intersection of hell and chaos, 18th Street/Connecticut Ave, he called to make sure I got home okay. We texted on and off throughout the rest of the weekend. On Sunday night, we actually, gasp, talked on the phone instead of texting. We were on the phone for 4 hours. We covered a lot of ground.

The second time I went to his house he actually looked at me in the middle of having sex and said, “You still see me as your boss, don’t you?” I was clearly very transparent. Guilty as charged. He said I would have to get past it. I asked if he still saw me as the employee. He said, “Not at all.”

We fell into a habit of seeing each other about once a week. Weekdays would be filled with texting foreplay, weekends would bring the adult activities.  We had really scaled it down to quite an efficient operation. Rarely would I stay over. Never would he come to my place. At one point in time, about a month in, I stayed pretty late - for me. I woke up with major dry eyes and went looking for my eyedrops in my bag. While I was digging around for them, my phone started vibrating. It was 4 a.m. K was calling. He had been driving through town on a trip up north and wanted to see if I was home so he could come by. I told him I wasn’t. The ex-boss walked out and saw me on the phone. It was a pretty uncomfortable moment - not because I couldn’t be honest with him, I could. But because I figured he would think I was just juggling him and others and I didn’t want him to think that. He responded by saying, “Let’s go out to get breakfast.”

I think that looking back at this time period makes me depressed. I don’t know why but knowing him now and how he is, and knowing what these five months were like from the startup until the holidays - it was weird. He was evasive at times, didn’t seem as into me as I was into him, was busy with work and trying to keep the company afloat - which would prove to be an effort in vain, and he was probably still seeing someone else. This time of his seeming apathy was when I would put my job search in New York into full force. I really really wanted to leave. Truth be told, I still do.

By October there were signs that this was moving to a new level. We would sleep intertwined with each other which was all very new for me.  I’m used to relationships where I get up in the middle of the night and sleep on the couch. In fact, I can’t recall one old boyfriend where I didn’t routinely do this. We talked about this place we were getting to one night and he said, “It just feels so good when you walk in the door.”

December is probably where we turned the corner. He hadn’t even see my condo until he came to a tree trimming party in December thrown by my real estate agent bff but even then, he didn’t stay over. All the years of the friendship and now, we were totally in relationship retrograde. It was out of sequence for the way relationships typically go. We had already done the getting-to-know-you and had become friends. Then we weren’t friends. Then we reconnected to rip each other’s clothes off.

Somehow though, all of this was very unsatisfying. I don’t think at the holidays of 2007 I could look back and say that the last five months had been anything other than sex. It was getting there, slowly. Not fast enough for me to be convinced that I wouldn’t have traded the sex back for the prior friendship we had. I’d waited over four years to get to this point, and suddenly, I wanted everything and was all about instant gratification.

Even though we had made some progress in the way of having some pretty deep conversations about each other and us as an “us,” it didn’t seem like it would go far. He was still mired in a separation that didn’t seem to be making any progress toward a divorce and my heart was, is, and probably always will be in New York City. And speaking of New York City, he wanted to go up there for New Years Eve. His now estranged wife and kids were in Europe, so he had no hangups in his way. I had somehow thought we would see more of each other in that timeframe. We didn’t.

He had half assed invited me to New York but then the next thing I knew, he was driving up there alone. Very very weird. Really weird. He told me I should come up, but I refused to drop the dogs last minute on someone for his half-assed invite, and I didn’t go. I don’t chase men. I went to a friend’s house for New Years Eve and at that party, I made a resolution to move to New York in 2008.

Part 14: So Much Water Moving Underneath the Bridge, Let the Water Come and Carry Us Away

August 4, 2007

It took the ex-Boss two and a half weeks to text again. I figured he was chickening out and I started to lose hope. I wasn’t going to text first, that just isn’t my style. I prefer to sit and wait instead of hunt and kill. Besides, truth be told, I had done enough over the years. Subtle or not.

The text I received was on a Friday afternoon. He said that his kids had found a sweater hanging behind my old office door and he would like to return it. I found it funny that he had to invent some lame excuse when we both knew what we were doing. We had waited almost four years for this moment, who were we kidding?

We made plans for that evening. I promptly went into panic mode, questioning what I was doing. Wondering if the whole time it was his soon to be ex setting a trap for me. I thought about not going, for about a half a second, then got in the shower, got in the car, and blasted Alice Cooper’s Poison 10 times in a row while I drove to his house.

When he opened the door he looked, just, great. Just like I remember from three months earlier. This was perhaps the longest we had gone without seeing each other since we had first met. And that night of texting was the longest, most drawn out foreplay we could have ever enacted.

We started with the Bombay and Tonics. We talked the stupidest small talk for hours. I mean, hours. I swear, I really thought when I walked in that he was just going to rip my clothes off and we would fuck like we were in the conjugal visit trailer, but we talked so much I started to wonder if anything was going to happen at all. We caught up on what we had missed in each other’s lives. He told me the separation had been so horrible that he doubted he would ever get married again. I said I couldn’t blame him. I told him one day I would job hunt again but for now I just didn’t feel like it. He said he couldn’t blame me. Oh my god. I think we’re back to the fucking friend zone. Eek! 911, 911! Help!!! I’m drowning!

When I was getting up to pee for the third time, at this point, sufficiently drunk, he asked why I kept going to pee.  Maybe not so obviously, I was totally nervous. But I didn’t want to admit it. Now that I was here, in front of him, it seemed like we wouldn’t be able to take the long platonic history we shared, shake it up, and let a ferocious sexual encounter take place.  As I closed the bathroom door on round #3, he said, “When you come out of the bathroom I want to know why you are peeing so much.”

I sat on the toilet and I just didn’t have a good answer. “I’m nervous” seemed so lame after the night of x-rated texting. It seemed even lamer considering we had waited so long for this moment. I finished, flushed, washed, walked back out there where he was sitting on the couch. Taking a page from a recent Jordan Baker seduction story she told one night, I bit the bullet, crawled into his lap, and straddled him in that way that conveys that my horse is going to win this race.

A line had officially, forever, been totally and completely crossed.

He grabbed my face and we started to kiss. A mad, passionate kiss of two people who had wanted to kiss each other for 3 years and 10 months. His hands were in my hair, knotting my hair up in his fists, and we had our tongues so deep inside each other that we could barely let up for air. I think my nose started running and I just didn’t care. The whole place could have burned down for all I cared. I was sick of waiting.

The mad makeout continued for a while but I just wanted more. Like all of you who have been commenting as such, I was there too. More. More. More.

I backed off his lap, stood up, took his hand, and we walked into the bedroom. It was time. I didn’t want to wait any longer. I was done waiting. Fuck waiting. Waiting is for Catholics.

Part 13: So Much Time to Make Up Everywhere You Turn, Time We Have Wasted on the Way

July 17th, 2007

He answered at 10:30 p.m. Obviously I don’t recall the exact back and forth but I’ll try to recreate it as closely as it played out.

Ex Boss: Where did you hear that?
V:
M from the Baltimore office said that’s what people have been saying.
Ex Boss:
I haven’t heard that.
V:
Well I doubted people would tell you to your face.
Ex Boss:
I never heard anything like that.
V:
Okay. I figured maybe you had and just wanted to spare my feelings.
Ex Boss:
I can’t understand why people say this about us. We never gave off any indication we were interested in each other. No flirting. No goo goo eyes. Nothing.
V:
I don’t know.
V: Wait. What people?
Ex Boss: The Baltimore office, my ex.
V: Oh. I don’t know. Everyone knows I only date lunatics.
Ex Boss: Yes, and that’s not me. Besides, I would never do something like that because I was married, and then separated, but you and I worked together.
V: Worked.
Ex Boss: That’s what I said. Worked.
V: Right. Worked.
Ex Boss: Are you just repeating me?
V: Just clarifying the tense.
Ex Boss: Okay. I’ll bite. Do you think something eventually would have happened with us?
V: Yes. I do.
Ex Boss: I wouldn’t have done anything when we worked together.
V: Again, worked. Past tense.
Ex Boss: Since we’re being honest, I did used to want to ask you about your waxing.
V: What do you mean?
Ex Boss: Well, you were so open about it. You would say you were going to get waxed and I would wonder what you looked like after.
V: I probably would have shown you had I known you were curious.
Ex Boss: That would have been great. I would have loved that.
V: You would have been too shy.
Ex Boss: I don’t think so. If you just pulled up your dress and showed me in your office? I used to think about that.
V: Again, you should have asked! I worked for you - it would have been the least I could have done.
Ex Boss: It wouldn’t have been enough for a quick peek. I would need to see it all.
V: We could have figured something out.
Ex Boss: I used to want to watch you pee. Is that odd?
V: Um, no.
Ex Boss: I just like seeing everything. Total exposure is good for me.
V: You tell me all this now when I can’t do anything about it!
Ex Boss: Why not?
V: I don’t work there anymore! I can’t act out the “at work” part of the fantasy.
Ex Boss: We can make believe. Or we can meet at the office one night.
V: That would be fun!
Ex Boss: What would you want to do?
V: An open ended question. Scary.
Ex Boss: Why? I just told you what my fantasy about you was.
V: Suck your dick while you sat in your chair.
Ex Boss: Now I really regret not knowing that I could have just asked you for this when you were working there and you would have done it!
V: I don’t like to say no.
Ex Boss: I will admit that I masturbated once or twice thinking about you.
V: Why didn’t you tell me?
Ex Boss: I couldn’t tell you that!
V: Why not? I had sex dreams about you and I used to tell you. Sometimes.
Ex Boss: It wouldn’t have been right.
V: Well you can stop with that now. We’re past all that.

The conversation continued for several hours over the night. There was the usual graphic talk of what we want to do to each other, followed by the requisite sending of pictures. He sent me the most amazingly beautiful picture which I have long since deleted but it is forever etched in my mind. It would be the after-product of all this long overdue texting talk. With one perfect dribble front and center. Uh, yum!

V: Wow. We’ve really crossed the line now!
Ex Boss:
You and I have talked about all the things we want to do to and with each other. What line? I think we crossed it a long time ago.
V:
Point taken. It’s still fun.
Ex Boss:
I’m trying to figure out how this will work.
V: What do you mean?
Ex Boss: Do we just become fuck buddies?
V: I don’t know. You’re the deal maker. Why don’t you make a deal?
Ex Boss: I just don’t see how this works.
V: I find it hard to believe you have come all this way for words.
Ex Boss: At the very least we should just get together for old times sake and have a few drinks and talk, right? And see.
V: That’s a good place to start.
Ex Boss: I’ve got to juggle kids but I’ll call you soon when I can and we can figure it out.
V: Sounds good. I love anticipation.

Texting ceased at 6:00 a.m. I was exhausted but I had a hard time wiping the smile off my face for the rest of the day. You may ask why neither of us picked up the phone. It’s a debate we had often over the next year or more. Mostly because the culmination of so many years of sexual tension and a probable emotional affair and it was so tense, and yet so exhilerating. Picking up the phone was like an implicit dare that neither of us wanted to risk. Finally having the conversation - by text, by snail mail, by morse code, it didn’t matter. It just mattered that the conversation was finally being had. I didn’t want to alter one thing about it.

Part 12: She Said “I Need You to Hold Me, I’m a Little Far From the Shore and I’m Afraid of Sinking”

May - July 2007

I chronicled my cross-country trip on another blog which has since been deleted. It was the summer of getting my head on straight and deciding to be a grown up. I’m not going to lie to you. I had a pretty bad emotional breakdown. I’m not going to lie to you again. It was long overdue.  I never grieved the end of my relationship with K, and because of that, I believe I was never able to really have another successful run at a relationship.

FreckledK had to come to Phoenix and pull me out of the depths of hell. We spent several days roasting by the Hilton’s pool, eating Mexican and partying in Mesa country bars and Scottsdale biker bars where we had the grand honor of meeting a Porn Producer. After spending several weeks with her and my other good friends out in Phoenix, one of them remarked that he hadn’t seen me eat or mention being hungry for three weeks. He was right. It was bad.

Being in the wrong relationship was painful. But deciding to end somehow had a backlash that was more painful. Why?

Because ending a mediocre relationship in your mid-thirties takes a lot of work when the ball is in your court. You wonder if this is your last chance. You wonder if you’ve been too picky. You wonder if this is your last chance. You wonder if you were too hard on him. You wonder if this is your last chance. You wonder if you’ve become inflexible. You wonder if this is your last chance. You wonder if you aren’t meant to be with anyone ever in life. You wonder, god damned it, if this, for the love of all holy hell, is your last fucking chance.

Ultimately, 95% of people probably settle. They probably tell themselves: I’m getting older, and I don’t know who or what else is going to come along, so I better pack it down with this person and make the best of it. And ultimately many of those people live to regret it, and either get divorced or tough it out in misery and loneliness. But, if you’re me, you cannot settle. Because only having 90% 80% 70% of the package just isn’t good enough.

The decisions I made on the trip broke down into the following:

1) No More Partying

2) No More Wrong Men

3) Prioritize and start making decisions based on those priorities. i.e. If it doesn’t get me closer to my goal, then I’m not doing it.

On the road trip, I had another very vivid sex dream about my now ex boss. I woke up with that feeling like we had actually had sex. I was at your house. Sorry. Hope your sheets survived. I texted him - I think it was my way to throw a bone out there. He didn’t respond right away, then sort of blew it off when he did respond by asking me how I was. Damn it ex boss, I want to discuss my dream! We went back and forth for a few volleys but it died out. Sad. We used to have a good friendship. I missed that. It was awkward now. And it was also over.

I came back to DC in mid-June. I was hell bent and determined to move to NYC once and for all and blow the DC falafal stand to hell. I interviewed but the jobs were starting to dwindle in my field.

In July, I got wind through a friend that my ex-company was closing the Baltimore division. One of my friends called and said that my ex-current-ex-Boss was trying to save her job. He was going to tell them to keep her on for a few more months because he knew she was a single mom and he (we) both knew her from the prior company. She told people at work and they said: “Please! The Boss was fucking Velvet for years and he couldn’t save her job, what makes you think  he can save yours?”

Huh?

I said to her: That isn’t true.
She said: Its none of my business.
I said: Believe me. BELIEVE ME. I have a tell-all blog. You read it every day. If I was doing something as scandalous as  nailing my boss I would have SURELY mentioned it prior to now.

She didn’t believe me. She really didn’t believe me.

Thinking he probably wouldn’t answer, I texted him anyway. It had been several weeks since we spoke. It felt awkward - like all these people thought this -  did he know this? Did he discourage these rumors? I started to question him, and wonder if he was just one of those guys egging the rumors on by not denying them.

I texted around late afternoon that day: “Did you hear the hot rumor that you and I have been fucking for years? I seem to be unable to recall this mindblowing sex we had.”

He took his time, about six hours to be exact, before he responded.

Part 11: She Said, “I Feel Stranded, and I Can’t Tell Anymore If I’m Coming or I’m Going”

Jan - April 2007

Over the holidays, Sherlock and I had broken up. In mid-January, I thought he finally had his head screwed on straight (never) and gave it another go. Ultimately, I did what women do - I choose the least of the evils. Sherlock was a decent guy when he tried to be, and I thought that if we could just get past the bullshit drama, we would be fine. I had no interest in “getting back out there.”

In March I decided to buy a beach house from my company’s extra inventory. I brought Sherlock along for that metaphorical ride, with him thinking it was “us” and me knowing it was “just me.” Near the end of the whole process The Boss said a bunch of times “Don’t buy the house, it’s not a good deal.” I thought it was.  I sort of knew something was off, but he had his chances and it never materialized into anything so what the fuck. Why was he trying to stop me from doing this? I finally admitted to myself that perhaps there was a twinge of protectiveness or jealousy with respect to Sherlock and so I limited the conversations about Sherlock to almost nothing. Then for the rest of March, I barely saw the Boss.  But I had a dream which I wrote about on a secret, now dead, blog.

Well, now, I had a sex dream about my boss. This isn’t the first one, but this was the most graphic. In the past, I’ve woken up and known that it occurred in my dream, but didn’t have details. In this dream, there are details. I remember us for some reason being on a trip, or in a hotel or something, not at one of our houses. For whatever reason, we had to lay next to each other because there was only one bed. When I looked over, I pulled the sheet and realized he was rock hard. Fuck. Me.

My jaw dropped to the floor and I reached over and and tried to put my hand around it. My fingers couldn’t even close around it, it was so thick. Then he rolled over on top of me and we started making out. At this point my clothes were off, though I don’t recall them being off when I was first in the bed, and I don’t remember actually taking them off. He gets on top of me, and we had sex with him on top of me, then he rolled over and I was on top. It was getting really hot, and then just as we were about to change positions, the inevitable happened.

I woke up. Fuck.

I’ve gone through varying stages of wanting to fuck my boss. I was really attracted to him when I first started working for him 4 years ago. Then I met his wife and my attraction waned. But then he filed for divorce and I was the one he would call to bitch about his wife. Nothing has ever happened with us. I never got the indication from him that he would even want something with me. We’ve had some late night texting. There have been some late nights of emailing. But, it all seemed pretty on the up and up and I never got any indications of any interest. Except maybe once.

When I got together with the crazy Asshole, my boss said, “I hope you know what you are doing.” I said, “What? What do you mean?” He said, “He’s a mess. And he’ll inevitably screw your life up.”

We don’t cross paths a lot anymore. But he was at work yesterday. And last night, the sex dream.

I suppose it was already in my head that Sherlock was not the man for me. And you know what happens when you have a sex dream about someone? Then you want to have sex with them.

April was the big month of change. I went to a friend’s wedding in L.A. and was witness to another friend unravel on a drug-induced spiral and suddenly, I was done. I never want to be the girl at the wedding giving the maid of honor speech blabbering on about nothing that makes any sense. I never want to be the girl who everyone is whispering about. I never want to be the girl who my soon-to-be mother in law catches snorting coke on the toilet at the rehearsal dinner.

I had also suddenly started having these very vivid dreams about K. Totally out of nowhere. I had a dream we were on our cross-country trip in 2001 and we were at a gas station out west somewhere. There were these beautiful mountains in the background, and K and I were just exchanging words about nothing in particular but it was so comforting. I woke up with two thoughts. First - Sherlock is not the one. Second - where is K? Is he alive? I knew I was going to end it with Sherlock once and for all. I knew with Sherlock’s track record, the end was not going to go well. (It didn’t. He threw a bunch of leaves at me and tried to keep Thora. Wtf. Then proceeded to contact two of my friends to beg them to talk some sense into me.)

That week, the Boss told me I was being laid off. I said, “You just made it easy on me. I need to get out of here and away from this guy, so this comes at a perfect time.” I also wanted to find K and see if he was still alive. The Gift of Fear says you need six weeks to break stalker behavior, so I planned a cross-country trip for May 5 through June 15. Exactly 6 weeks, to make sure I could get Sherlock out of my life for good.

K sent me an IM that week. We have always had this relationship where we just know it’s time to check in with the other one. We had a very long and very deep conversation about us, our past, our love, our drug habits, and his recent release from 90 days in rehab. K is stubborn enough to stick to his guns, and he wants sobriety so very badly. He tried to give me some words of encouragement to break my own cycle, but that was done. I left it in L.A. and have never gone back. I didn’t need rehab. I needed to wake up. K and I briefly discussed a relationship, but somewhere in that drug-induced haze, he had conceived a child with someone. Now he had a baby.

I think somewhere around week two, I found out Sherlock had a new girlfriend. But I persevered on my trip instead of running back home. See? He was never the one.

For the first time in many years, I was free to go wherever I wanted. But the further I got from home, the more I wanted to go back. That’s the funny thing about being born and raised on the east coast. Going west always seems fascinating, like it holds promise of new and better adventures, but in my heart, I’m an east coast girl and I can’t change that.

Part 10: Part of Me Says Let it Go, Everything Must Have a Season

2006

By the end of 2005 I had burned through my supply of men to date so I had to get resourceful in locating more. I was feeding blog fodder and it was quite hilarious - at the time…you know…before people got murdered for answering ads off Craigslist. For me, 2006 goes down as the year of hellacious relationships.

In January we finally got into our office and began setting up shop. There were a couple more people working there but everyone came and went at different times and we rarely saw each other. When my boss did arrive to work on the days I was there, we would play catch-up. It didn’t matter how much time had passed, there was always a lot to discuss. We were like Regis and Kelly, only without the audience.

On February 8th and 9th, we had a conference in Dallas. Everyone from all over the company flew to some hotel, where we were lectured for two days on how to buy land by Ned Flanders. I went to my room the first night around 6 to lay down for a minute before figuring out what to do for dinner. I had / have friends in Dallas and was considering going off to find them.

The phone rang. It was the Boss. He told me to meet him at the bar. I went down there and he and I started drinking. We drank. Drank. And Drank. I really thought that if anything was going to happen, it would happen now. Another Bombay Tonic please. Then some cockblocking President of another division literally sat in between us and stayed. Somewhere around 10:00, me, Boss and Cockblocker went out to find food, ate, drank more, and really got annihilated. Something of note happened at the restaurant, but for the life of me I can’t recall. I think the other Division President did or said something about me to the Boss when I went to the bathroom. I have to consult my source on that one.

We got home Thursday night late. The Boss chose the following Tuesday, Valentines Day, to end his marriage. There was a simple conversation, followed by a door slamming, a bottle of pills, a Britney Spears style hair shaving and subsequent threats of suicide. Kidding. Sort of. Well, not really. Years of verbal abuse by the Mrs. X and he had finally had enough. It took him about 14 years longer than it would have taken me. I would have left on the wedding night after the shit she pulled. Ladies, please. The men all know that women change after marriage. Try not to have your first meltdown during the wedding though, mmmkay?

My lovelife was moving along somewhat. I was seeing the ill-fated “New Jersey” at this point. Dick. I hope that after me, someone had the good sense to teach him that a grand gesture like pushing to spend Valentine’s Day together, then ending things by email is sending mixed messages.

Late one night in March there was a long email exchange with the boss. The content was mostly innocent, but once I mentioned going to bed, and he responded by saying, “great, you had to throw the bed in there,” it was another one of those lines that was just now blurred.

By the way, nothing happened in Dallas to prompt the mention of divorce a few days later. If there was anything that would have or could have happened in Dallas, it didn’t, and we came back to DC and back to our lives as usual. I should correct that to read that nothing physical happened in Dallas. Emotional? Jury still out. He said no. I think yes.

By June of that year, the Boss moved out and into his own place. I know, it was weird to me too that he told his wife he wanted a divorce on Feb 14th and then waited 4 months to move out. But, see aforementioned pills, suicide threats, lather, rinse, repeat and he didn’t want to leave until he felt things were stable. The night he moved out was a Friday. He called me to wish me a happy weekend. I was stunned by the sound of his voice. I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I just got the boys and I have a bottle of wine and we’re going to sleep on the floor tonight.” He sounded unbelievably happy. Different. I told him this was like I was talking to someone I never spoke to before. He asked what I meant. I couldn’t describe it then. I can’t describe it now. He sounded like a totally different person.

About a month after that, some chick showed up at our office with this freaking ear to ear joker-style grin, mom jeans that were a little too high, and went into the Boss’s office. They went downstairs to the bar to have a drink. Wow. That didn’t take long.

In July, I met Sherlock. We had the ups. We had the downs. By the fall we were somewhat stable and it’s always a good idea when you’re barely somewhat stable to discuss co-habitation, right?  One Friday in the late Fall, the Boss asked me what I was doing that weekend.

V: My boyfriend and I are looking for a place to buy together.
The Boss: I hope you know what you are doing.
V: Do I ever?
The Boss: I wouldn’t want to have to write you up.
V: What are you talking about?
The Boss: You know. He’s nutty, and that stuff will trickle into work.

I guess this was the second time a line was crossed. Or the ninth. I wasn’t keeping track, I just knew then that his comment popped out of nowhere. Later that night, I made up an excuse to not see Sherlock so I could sulk. I cannot explain the pit in my stomach, and how much that conversation hurt me. I didn’t want to have job-drama, or boss-drama. We weren’t the same we once were. We had a schtick at the old company and that seemed to have disappeared.

Around 10:30 or 11:00 I texted the Boss and said, “Do you really think that I’ll start messing up at work if I move in with him?” He texted back and said, “No, you’re still thinking about that?”  The next night I went to Sherlock’s and when he and I were having sex, guess who pops into my head. (I know, I know.)

I tried to get back to normal at work as quickly as possible. I would go weeks without seeing anyone. It was boring, lonely, and hard to stay motivated to drive almost an hour when I could just work from home. When I saw the Boss it wasn’t for long. He was in my office once just chatting about the latest meltdown from the camp of the ex-Mrs.-Boss.

V: Does she think you’re having an affair?
Boss: Yes.
V: Does she think it’s me?
Boss: Yes.
V: Oh my God! Should I call her?
Boss: Uh, no, that’s not a good idea.
V: Wait, we’re friendly. I need to tell her.
Boss: Yeah, um, I wouldn’t do that. I told her I would never have sex with you.

Then we just looked at each other. Awwwwkward.

The ex-Mrs.-Boss surfaced at the office one day. I felt this insane desire to convince her that I was not fucking her husband, nor was I the reason her marriage ended. But when she came and sat down in my office, she looked so painfully thin. I told her she looked good. She said, “Yeah, well, when someone rips your heart out of your chest, what do you expect?”

Part 9: You’re the Only One Who Knows Me, and Who Doesn’t Ignore That My Soul is Weeping

2005

January marked the last month of my Boss as my Boss at the old company. He gave his notice and left. The day he left, the sadness was palpable throughout the office. A lot of people saw him as the savior, the one who was going to rescue everything and everyone, and let me tell you, when you see the person you pin your hopes on get up and walk out the door, it sent a message loud and clear.

The Boss was going to a place where he could create his own company from the ground, up. I asked him if he would consider taking various people with him and he said that he couldn’t. Implicit in all of these conversations had been the obvious - that I would be the only one going. He said, “I don’t need them. But I need you.”

I quit shortly thereafter to go with him and began the process of finding, constructing and decorating what was to become a high profile office. The Boss and I went from daily interaction to talking once or twice a week by phone. I got Satan’s Death Flu and ended up in the hospital. Then I was renovating my condo, and I couldn’t get the piece of shit contractor to finish. I lived among drywall for MONTHS. I dated a string of losers, all of whom were incredulous at the lack of construction. Losers would come and losers would go and that damn drywall sat leaning against my wall for months.

That time is also a blur because more of the snow and because now instead of dating just 2 guys like in 2004, I embarked on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It wasn’t good. It started with some guy I met the night Satan’s Death Flu struck. He hung around for several weeks until I was ejected from the hospital and he stole my vicodin. The vicodin I needed to manage the pain it took just to  SWALLOW WATER so I wouldn’t end up in the hospital again. I did get down to my preferred weight at this time though, so that was good.

Starting with him, I perfected the fine art of throwing men out of my house. I think this was the order, and yes, they are real names because who the fuck cares anymore: Derek who stole my Vicodin, Bret who asked if I would consider having sex with him despite having a fight on our first (and last) date because he thought leaving work at 3:00 in Reston for a 6:30 date was normal and showing up very early was also normal, George who lopped 10 years off his age and thought I wouldn’t notice, Mike who could have had staying power but we just drifted apart, Josh who conducted an entire “relationship” over text and whose rampant non-stop use of the word “amazing” made me want to punch him in the balls, Jeff who was such an amateur liar that it resulted in my throwing a sandwich at him and the Bartender who did nothing but encourage my partying and bad behavior.

Somewhere between Mike and Josh? Velvet in Dupont was born. June, 2005.

That summer was a hot one. I had a routine of walking my dogs late at night and I loved it. I loved being in the city, I loved walking the puppies around with no leashes and teaching them how to stay and not cross the street without my command. I loved half-ass working from home. All of it was great.

One night on one of my dog walks with my neighbor/friend, A, my phone rang. It was the former-current Boss. It was about 9:45, a little late for one of his calls.

V: Hey!
Boss: Hey, I’m sorry to bother you.
V: If you were bothering me I wouldn’t have picked up.
Boss: Well, I just took my phone, got up, walked out of the house and now I’m walking around Home Depot with nothing particular to do.

I knew exactly what he was talking about but I was still stunned in silence.  I think it was the first time that we possibly crossed a line.

He said he was sorry for calling, that he didn’t have anyone else to tell, and he got off the phone pretty quickly. My friend A said, “Don’t do it.” I said, “What?” She said, “Just don’t do it.”

A few nights later, around the same time, the Boss called again and apologized for calling the first time.  This time he was on a “walk,” and said when he took his phone to leave, his wife accused him of going to call someone. They had an argument about it and he left anyway. He wasn’t really looking for my two cents or advice, he just wanted to vent. I remember him saying the words, “Just, listen. Just, listen. I don’t have anyone else I can tell so I need you to listen.”

My response after he spit it out?

“Your perfect trifecta has shifted. They say there are three aspects to your life: work, home and relationship. For the last few years at the other company, things have been such turmoil. Now you have a job that’s wonderful and our company placed you in a brand new perfect house, so you have no more work drama and no more house drama, and you can focus on the other area - the relationship.”

He said, “No, that’s not it.”

But he called me back the next morning and said, “Can you explain the three aspects again?”

Part 8: You Know I Can’t See Through the Haze Around Me, And I Do Anything To Just Feel Better

2004: May - December

Now that I had Thora, I was officially ready to move on with my life. I was still dating the Baltimore Rockstar but it was winding down. The Rockstar and I ended things in the end of May and I moved on to the Metro.

In other 2004 relationship news, my Boss and his wife seemed pretty good. After the day of that first interview, I mostly abandoned the crush I had on him. He and his wife seemed like good friends. Sometimes she would come to work and sit in his office and read a book. It would always surprise me to find her there, but everyone liked her. She started doing some light work for the company and this meant she had her own things to do and her own people to see when she came. Sometimes she would sit at my desk and we would talk for an hour. Other times when she was looking for The Boss and not able to find him, she would call me and we would talk.

In the beginning of the year, she had said that the Boss mentioned to her I just got out of a relationship. I told her about it and also I told her I was dating the Rockstar but that I didn’t know where it was going to go. She had been married young and had several children, then divorced and married my Boss, and they had two kids together. In all, she had six. She told me once during one of our conversations, “Don’t do what I did. I was an idiot. You have plenty of time. Don’t be in a rush. You’re only 31. Get married at 35 and have a kid at like, 36, and only have one. That’s all you need.”

I thought everything between them was so perfect, though occasionally I would get glimmers that not all was right. Sometimes the Boss would have to leave work because she was home having some sort of tantrum. He started telling me that there were some anger issues that would escalate and he would have to go home to deal with it and be the buffer between her and the kids. I sort of understood that like all marriages, nothing is as it seems.

The rest of the year workwise was a clusterfuck. There went my perfect balance of work, home and relationship. The company had gone awry in so many areas, there was a brewing sexual harassment suit, a bunch of unhappy people, a major Human Resource intervention and no houses were getting built. It was a colossal disaster. The details were so unbelievably ridiculous. The Boss and I tried to just be normal in this sea of crazy but it was impossible. We had this routine of doing a Monday catch-up of what we did with our weekends, then a Friday rundown where we would watch these two stupid videos online. This one which I’ve posted before.

And this one:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDowTz8-Vno]

The Boss was getting calls by the end of the summer to go work for other companies and I was so depressed. I kept thinking we could just fix it if he stayed, but he didn’t think it was fixable. He wavered on some of these offers.

On a Sunday night, we had the following email exchange.

The Boss: The growth they are projecting is incredible. With our talent, and compared with the “talent” around us, it would be stupid to bail. We need to figure out how to take it over, make great progress and great money.
Me: I agree. I can’t follow you to a no name builder anyway. We need to take over here. I’ve already made my mark. No one knows it yet.
The Boss: Great. I need help.

By the end of the year, he got a call from another company that he entertained seriously. Prior to my big trip to Italy in November, 2004, he called me to say, “I hope you’re coming back because I cut a deal for both of us to go to the new company.” I wasn’t excited. Change isn’t always good. I knew the grass isn’t always greener. I came back from Italy and he and I silently prepared to leave the company after the holidays.

I found an old email that for some reason I saved. It was an exchange between us when he was with his kids at a doctor’s appointment. We were having a conversation about the kids in the waiting room where he was and he said, “Everything you do points to kids in your future.”

I responded: If I was having unprotected sex and longingly looking in the windows at Baby’s R Us, then I could see how you would make that statement. But, I continue to poison my body with Bombay and Tonics and stay out until 6 a.m. But no matter how drunk I get, I never forget to take that little pill…

That was the kind of relationship we had.

I dated the Metro for 2004’s May-December romance, with our last time seeing each other being New Years Eve, going into 2005. I believe he probably got just totally sick of my shit. I had this backlash after the breakup with K. I knew drugs were to blame for our demise, and then I started doing them often instead of just here and there for fun. When the Metro and I were at a party New Year’s Eve, someone gave me something which I threw in there on top of a bunch of other things and I turned into a pile of mush. He practically had to carry me back to his place. I believe that’s when he decided, “I’m done.”

It was upsetting. I really liked him. It didn’t stop my whirlwind tour of self-destruction though.

Work got worse before it got better. I partied more than anyone should. I started getting totally ridiculously reckless with it. It began to consume me. What a mess. Then I lost the Metro dude after New Years Eve. I consoled myself by buying a condo in D.C.

Bye Bye Maryland!!!

Part 7: Will it Make it Easier on You Now You Got Someone to Blame

2004: Jan - April

I spent the entire year finding myself. I had been with K for so long that dating again was sort of ridiculous. I had no idea what I would want in someone. I met the Baltimore Rockstar, a Dave Grohl lookalike who I had a pretty nice rebound relationship with for several months. We were opposite in many respects, but he was a lot of fun. We’re now Facebook friends, and he’s one of those people you just wish nothing but good things for. I could not have asked for a better rebound than him.

Working for the New Boss was good. The company was screwy but I appreciated stupid things like, oh, having direct deposit and not having to chase someone across town for my paycheck. I was making decent money, and I had a schedule to my life finally. No more bouncing around from school to home to meeting friends to do projects to the house of a man who didn’t appreciate me, back home to get something, back to work, etc. Home was good. Work was good. Relationship on the fence. With the trifecta almost back into some sort of balance, it was just me and Sammy, but we were happy.

K’s former roommate called and said he was in Virginia for a meeting. My friend and I went and met him at his hotel, and took him out in D.C. At this point in time, he decided to confess. K was doing meth. Doing it. Selling it. Couldn’t live without it.

I was like, “Um. WHAT?”

The stories he told me about what K’s life had become sent me into a spiral. I do believe that I lost it. Hearing about strippers and theft and car break-ins and lies so convoluted, it made my stomach turn.

People. I had no idea. None. I seriously thought all the lies, all the flaky and all the crap was because he had another girl, and/or was still trying to punish me for cheating on him. I had been so close to his family for so many years, that I just felt like someone needed to help him. That someone wasn’t me though. I did the best thing I could think of. I called his brother and sister-in-law to unload this information on them and beg them to get him into rehab.

K responded by leaving me several voicemails that he was going to kill me and ruin my life for ruining his, and that I would live to regret what I had done.  Then there were threats of sending naked pictures of me to my parents. I temporarily panicked, but then my brother said, “He can’t even remember that the time lag between your phone calls is weeks, not hours, and you think he can function enough to print the pictures, address an envelope and mail them to mom and dad?” Point taken.

It died down. Thankfully. I saved those voicemails for a long time to remind me of who he had become.

K called on a Friday in April hysterically crying. Hysterical. He said he went to L.A. and left Thora with his dad’s friend and Thora had run away. I cried. I spent days on the phone calling the entire state of Georgia. A lot of people felt she was better off wherever she was, because K had been so neglectful. I was only now finding out Thora went days without food and water. Everyone was looking for her though. Then K’s mom called crying after 24 hours with no sign of the dog. I wanted to scream at all of them: CRYING WON’T MAKE THE DOG COME HOME!!! She said she was driving around all day looking for Thora and when she went to K’s house, he was on the couch sleeping. Welcome to my fucking world for the last six years lady. Welcome. Pull up a god damned chair, get your ass some sweet tea and get comfortable, because we’re gonna be here a while.

That addiction paralyzed him so much, he couldn’t go look for his fucking dog. Fuck him. I decided he didn’t deserve to get her back. I was going to find her first.

I placed an ad in the Macon Fucking Telegraph on Monday. The ad went in on Wednesday, same day my Uncle decides to die! My luck rocks! I drove up to Pennsylvania on Thursday for the Friday funeral. When all was said and done, my brother and his wife were coming back with me to Maryland for a few days to kick off their vacation. We stopped for food on the way out of town, and when we were sitting at the table the phone rang with a 478 area code and it was not a number I recognized. I knew it before I  picked up the phone.

“Did y’all lose a dog? I reckon my neighbor’s keepin’ her.” (That’s redneck-speak.)

I called the neighbor and she emailed a picture and it was indeed my Thora. We raced back to Maryland where I left Sammy with my brother and wife and grabbed my friend and drove all night to Georgia. The map indicated that she was 1.5 miles from K’s house, but I chose to drive the 700 miles to go get her. The map also indicated she crossed a highway to get where she did.

When I pulled up in front of the house, 14 hours later, Thora came bounding around from the back yard, jumped on me, then jumped past me and got into the backseat of the car, crossed her paws and looked at me like, “Bitch, what took you so long?”

I brought her back to Maryland, and she and Sammy were reunited and it feels so good!!!

When I got to work Monday my boss said, “How was the funeral?” I said, “You’re not going to believe the weekend I had.”

Part 6: I Can’t Be Holding On to What You Got, When All You Got is Hurt

2003: September - December

My interview was at 8 a.m. on a nice fall day in September. I’m not very good in the morning. I think I was late. The receptionist had me fill out an application and then wait in the conference room.

The man I spoke with on the phone walked in and I was a little taken aback. I just didn’t expect him to be so…um…sexy. (Think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts!) The interview was barely an interview because we regaled each other with stories about the man who was my former boss. I just told the truth. And I got the job.

The new Boss wasn’t ready for me just yet, so I had a few weeks to get some things in order. I planned to go back down to Atlanta to get to the bottom of what was going on with K. Now that I had a job in Maryland, I was going to stay there. And nothing was going to stop me from trying to get K to come back with me this time.

That evening when I was laying in bed, the image of the man who was my new Boss popped into my head. I thought that it would be hard to work for someone I was attracted to. I recalled a wedding ring and discussions of a wife and some kids, so I just decided to let that little attraction die off. But not before I had a round with the former version of the Magic Wand - the Rabbit.

I got to Atlanta in mid-September and K was working on a movie. I barely saw him, but I spent a lot of time shopping with my own friends who still lived there. K would check in with me and I would see him at night and on his days off. His roommate was a childhood friend of his and one night he and I were watching TV when I said, “There’s a message on the machine.” The roommate played it and it wasn’t a message. It was a conversation between K and a girl, discussing him waiting for another girl to come over. My heart sank. I asked the roommate what was going on. He didn’t have a lot to say that I didn’t already know - K was lazy and flaky and couldn’t be relied on, even though he was allegedly making good money, he could barely remember to pay the rent. But he didn’t know anything about the girls on the machine, and he assured me of that. He said he and K didn’t talk much anymore, and asked if I noticed they were really not friends anymore. Nope. Didn’t notice. Was too busy fielding my own freeze-out to notice anyone else’s.

I called K and ripped him a new one. I told him if he was going to continue to punish me for my cheating on him over a year ago then I was going to check out, I had been trying to make this work for a year and I’ve got nothing in return. K had very little to say. We somewhat resolved things to an amicable place, but I left shortly thereafter. I left without Thora, which broke my heart. And in hindsight, I should have grabbed her and taken off when he was at work. But I didn’t. Sammy and I returned to Maryland and I started the new job and moved to Rockville.

Life was MUCH better in Rockville than my former sleepy hometowns of Columbia and Baltimore. I liked the people at work better and I liked the people in my apartment complex better. But I kept holding out for K to just come back around. It was like I didn’t even know him anymore. He accused me one night of interrogating his roommate about what he was up to, and I told him that the conversation we had wasn’t like that at all - in fact, it was initiated by his roommate entirely. Big fight ensues, K disappears off the radar for about six weeks. I had this very vivid dream about him and that he needed me, but in the real world, I couldn’t get him to return a phone call or an email. I resolved that he was gone, and began to consider a weekend run to Atlanta to steal Thora back. I had all but given up on any contact when he resurfaced in late November.

In a rare moment of clarity, he had passed the exit on some highway in Florida where my parents lived, and he decided to call when I popped into his head. Odd that he could remember what exit they lived off of when he had never been to that house.

I tried to give K one last chance. We talked on the phone on and off through the rest of the fall. One night he said his roommate was treating him badly or some other lie I believed, and that he was sick of him. My sister-in-law had asked me to just bury my feminism for a second and try to repair it, even if it meant having him move in with me and footing the bills while he got his act together. So, I told him he could come up to Maryland and live with me while I paid the bills and he figured out what he wanted to do. He said, “I know that. Oh. My pizza’s here. I gotta go. I’ll call you later.”

When he hung up I knew what I had offered was a great deal and a big deal for me to just agree to support someone, and he blew it off. He also promised to call later, which, according to his past behavior, meant I would not hear from him for weeks. I was right.

When he called several weeks later, the week of Christmas, he was unaware that we hadn’t spoken in three weeks. He thought we “just spoke the other day.” He also said he had finally forgiven me for the cheating and wanted to get back together. The truth was he had been thrown out of his house by his roommate. Suddenly his party was over and he wanted to live with me in Maryland. It was just too late. I can’t explain it, but it was too late. Three weeks prior? Sure. I would have taken him in. But now? Nope. No way was I going to be someone’s “last resort.” Something clicked in my head when he ended our conversation to eat his pizza three weeks earlier, and I had officially moved on.

Part 5:You Ask Me To Enter, Then You Make Me Crawl

2003: May - September

I had one residual MBA class on Saturdays that would finish in the end of June. I had essentially dismantled my life, and Sammy suffered dearly for it. He went from having Thora and K, to being alone for most of 16 months while I was in school and working. So, I promised that little dog a big vacation.

I googled “dog vacation” and the first place that came up was a place in the Keys - one of my favorite places on earth. I planned to get in the car and drive both Sammy and I from Baltimore to Islamorada in the Keys. I booked it for the week of the 4th of July and the week after.

Prior to leaving, I found out that the Developer screwed me in such a silly way on a money issue.  Screwing me over pennies, after everything I did for him, did not make me happy. I cleaned off my desk and went home without saying goodbye. I left the next morning on my two week trip to the Keys. I didn’t plan to go back.

I had a great time just being alone with Sammy, teaching him to swim, reading, sleeping late, and laying out. One of my coworkers called me to give me a peptalk to go back to work. I was unconvinced. The Developer knew I was pissed at him and he was apparently scared I wasn’t coming back but he wouldn’t call and talk to me. He just kept needling the coworker to call me. Instead, the coworker convinced him to raise my salary and pay my vacation time.

On the way back to Maryland I detoured through Atlanta. No change with K. He wasn’t going to move to Maryland anytime soon and was still really flaky. We spent a few days being the “old us” but then I left. I was pretty bummed out driving back and really wanted to go back to Atlanta for good to try to fix it. I really believed we were meant to be together.

When I got back to Baltimore I listed my condo on the market and began the motions to get out of the area. The Developer did offer me a regular full time job at non-slave wages, but I continued putting my resume out between New York, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. I had spent a year and a half in grad school waiting to leave, so I was going to leave. The only caveat was how the hell was I going to interview? Finding something in town would be easy enough, but in another state? The Developer expected after my recent vacation that I wouldn’t be taking any vacations soon. How the hell I was going to get the time off I needed to solve my relationship and job woes was beyond me.

I have heard that there are three aspects to a persons life: Home, Work and Relationship. At any given time, one of those three has to be in constant turmoil because that’s how we are as humans. We get settled in our house and relationship and suddenly we want a job change. We love our job and we realize the house needs to be bigger so we move. Think about it - when have you been satisfied in all three areas? For me, it was relationship turmoil? Check. Job turmoil? Check. House on the market so turmoil there? Check. Not good.

The day of settlement arrived for my condo. I was going to make lots of money for doing basically nothing. The Developer forbade me to leave work to go settle on the condo. He insinuated to a coworker that he was going to fire me if I went. He didn’t like the idea of anyone making any money at all, especially since the money I would make was going to render his paychecks useless for a while. So, I called my dad. This is exactly how the conversation went, I shit you not.

V: Dad. He’s going to fire me if I go to the settlement.
Dad: How much will you make by going to work tomorrow?
V: I don’t know.
Dad: Is it safe to say $250?
V: Sure.
Dad: And how much would you make by going to your settlement tomorrow?
V: $50,000.
Dad: Um, lemme ask you. Did you just get an MBA?
V: Yes.
Dad: Are we done here?

Went to settlement, collected my cash, got fired. In. That. Order.

See, there was a method to the madness that was my former boss. He liked that we were all struggling. It enabled him to say things like, “Instead of going to the office tomorrow, meet my wife at the furniture store and load a five piece sectional sofa into the company truck and bring it to my house. Set them up where she wants them.” He used to send me to these properties in the ghettos of Prince George’s County to do the most insane shit. I had to go to some mail order bride’s house to try to convince her to sell her land now that her husband was in jail. In jail for killing people. I should have had my own bodyguard. The Developer used us like slaves. What a prick.

When I called my dad and said “He fired me.” My dad said, “GOOD!”

I had already begun the job hunt, weeks prior. I had answered a bunch of ads in the paper that weekend and got several calls.  Homebuilding was great back then. At this point I realized something: national homebuilders all had local offices. I didn’t know this before. I would look at the headquarters of a builder, see it was in Texas or California, and think I didn’t want to move there, so I didn’t pursue them. But then I found out they all had regional offices.

A man called me holding my resume in hand. Because my job with the developer read as “current,” and the company name was just an acronym, he asked me who the owner was.

V: The Developer
Man: Oh Jesus. Are you there right now?
V: No.
Man: I hate that guy. He learned all his tricks at this company we both worked for in the early 90’s. What’s he up to these days?
V: Um…same old stuff. Still fleecing people for pennies. He fired me last week.

“Why don’t you come in for an interview?”

Part 4: Love is a Temple, Love - a Higher Law

2003: January - May

School proved to be an ass kicker. I was really plugging along though, adding the A’s to my prized collection. Work was work. The Developer was a dipshit. But knowing that someone is a sneak and a thief is much better than not knowing. I can combat almost anything with humor. Someone at work said to me, “You have this way of insulting him and he thinks it’s funny.” It’s how I got by. I remember the Developer telling us some story about his kid’s baseball game and how there’s a snack shack which had the best fries, and how it was like “this little  slice of Americana.”

I was in the next room and I screamed out a giant, “HA! Americana? So you pulled up to this little slice of Americana in your $80,000 Mercedes with your $200 shirt and $400 shoes? Do you even HEAR yourself?” Idiot. I held a grudge because during my first few weeks working for him he had played dumb on something and basically set me up to take the fall for it. The story is too long to get into, but when I realized I had been had, I checked my loyalty at the door. Despite the fact that we had to grovel and chase him all over Maryland for our paychecks every payday, I needed the job because I wanted the career it represented.

K and I had been communicating. February was the big snow where we got 2 feet and he had driven up from Atlanta. When we saw each other, it was like old times. We were snowed in for 4 days. It was better than old times. When enough snow melted for me to go to work, I did so, leaving K at my condo. I didn’t know that he would begin a full blown all out search through my condo for evidence of what I was doing in our year apart.

The big fight blew up about my “overlap” of him with Jack, and then we repaired as best we could and he left. I was so ready to graduate school and get back down to Atlanta to just start over. “I don’t know” was all K was saying. I wasn’t really listening though. I just concentrated on finishing school. K was acting weird, and it registered somewhere in my subconscious, but it was not on my radar enough to really address it. In a nutshell, he became really unreliable and flaky. I thought it was because he was still mad at me for the whole Jack thing.

In May I graduated and since I had all A’s, and a 4.0, I was the Graduation Speaker. K came up to go with me to gra-jumm-u-ate. With my entire family in tow, I informed K that there would be none of his disappearing act on graduation day. No retreating to the bathroom for 4 hours. No going to walk dogs. No going to take a shit. He would disappear into the bathroom for hours. I was stumped. It was totally mystifying.

True to form, 10 minutes before we were going to leave for my graduation, K proclaims he needs to go to the store to buy cigarettes. I had the foresight to tell him no, and to get in the car.

My graduation speech was full of a lot of mental sweat. I spoke about how I took a chance and it paid off.  I spoke about quitting my job and taking my boyfriend and dogs and driving cross country, how mad my mom was, how dangerous and irresponsible she said it was, how we made it home alive and slightly poorer, how September 11th happened a week after we arrived back in Atlanta after six months on the road, how someone in the towers that day woke up wanting to quit their job and drive cross country and here I had just done that and yet they were the one who didn’t have their life anymore. I spoke about taking chances and taking leaps and throwing caution to the wind. I spoke about my friend Laura who also had an intense reaction to September 11th, who wanted to quit her high-travel job working as a shoe designer traveling to the depths of China every month,  how Laura wrote a resignation letter to Kenneth Cole on her last trip to China. And how they found that letter among her things when her body was shipped back to the states.

I talked about following the status quo and how that person would never be me. Ever.

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