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Greetings to all from my neck of the woods, where I seem to have disappeared for a little while. I've not been completely gone - just keeping myself scarce for no particular reason other than not really having much to report. In my last blog entry, I mentioned that bathroom renovations were underway. Those renovations have since been completed. It took a few more days to return my sleep cycle from WAY abnormal back to simply screwed up. If you're me, there's never going to be a normal. I'm even more convinced of this, as lately I'm able to fall asleep, but not able to STAY asleep for more than three hours at a time. Example...I get myself nice and tired, crash at 2 or 2:30 in the morning, fall asleep until 4am...then it takes me two more hours to fall back asleep. I don't know what gives. I really don't. Brain is silent, I'm DEFINITELY tired - the deep sleep just refuses to take over. They say you sleep less when you get older - I HOPE that's not true as I'm already functional with four to five hours per night - at this rate, I'll be pulling all nighters and chugging the coffee to stay awake in the mornings! (Yes, I bought more caffeinated K-cups!) I recently undertook another project. The re-organizing and deep-clean of my daughter's room. After two years of her destroying her room piece by piece (when it comes to such thing, my soon-to-be-13-year-old has some serious talent) she's decided that she's outgrown her twin-sized bed and has asked for a full-size upgrade. I obliged, but told her that if she was going to be pulling out the twin-size bed, she was also going to be pulling up the carpet that she's gotten slime stains on. She's proven time and time again that her room cannot be where she stores her art supplies, even though that's where they always end up when my back is turned. Anyway, I waited until she was in school before starting her room. There's NO other way to avoid the, 'Ma, I was saving this,' or the 'I didn't want to throw that away!!!' Three or four trash bags went out - bags that were filled with more than the 'candy wrappers' and 'water bottles' that she had littered all over her floor, what I told her was in those trash bags. I managed to get rid of things I'd not seen her touch in years - since we MOVED. What's the sense in keeping it all? Some was donated, some just plain trashed. Got rid of clothes too that were six or seven sizes too small. Oompa's the one who bought her the bed frame and mattress, but I was left in charge of not only prepping her room for the new bed, but also of picking up the mattress from town. At first, I thought it would be easy but when is anything that simple? Apparently the Jeep I wanted (and still love, by the way) has one of those pesky antennas on top - meaning I couldn't put the mattress on the roof of my Compass. So, a U-Haul was rented for Friday morning and both J and the son were on board to help me transport a full-size mattress from the store to home - then we would transport her old twin-sized bed with an accompanying built in shelf and dresser over to the wasband's for her little sister to use. Friday morning, we got up early, finished up the rest of her room (swept the floor, stored boxes underneath the bed frame (ordered from Amazon and assembled the day before) and were about to head out. The Son was, as usual, taking his time, so I knocked on his door and said, "we'll be waiting outside, meet us out there and lock the door on your way out!" He shouted something back. "Okay!" I'm guessing he said. I waited another couple minutes and realized there was a bag of garbage that was still sitting in the hallway outside the daughter's room. I grabbed the bag and went to trash it. Went to go back into the house and walked right into the Son, who NEVER LISTENS TO ME. Except for today. He chose to listen to me today, and had already locked the door on his way out. My pocketbook and my keys and my receipt from the Mattress store were ALL in the house. "SHIT!" We checked the front door in the event that the son hadn't locked it. He had. Nice and tight. We checked J's car for HER key - it wasn't there - it was also in the house, tucked away in her work bag. As a last resort, I jogged across the street to the neighbor's house - she takes care of our animals whenever we're away and has one of our spare keys - and she wasn't home. "What, now?" J started trying other doors. Kitchen sliders? Locked. Side entrance? Locked also. I'm starting to panic because we have a 12:00 appointment to go pick up the U-Haul, and four hours to get everything brought to wherever it needed to be - and return the U-Haul. And everything I needed was locked inside the house! I walked along the side of the house and tried the windows. The ONLY one that was unlocked and willing to budge was the bathroom window. "Uhhh.....J??" She came over. I showed her that glimmer of hope - the open bathroom window. Next, I tried to maneuver myself into a sitting position so that I could easily slide into the bathroom window. To explain, I have a bi-level. When you open my front door, there are stairs leading up and stairs leading down. So the window was located pretty much close to the ground from the outside - to go in would mean a drop down into the room from above. It had rained the night before, and I wasn't wanting to soak myself on the wet mulch. Plus, I'm 40 years old now, no longer a spring chicken. Trying to limbo myself into the bathroom window wasn't working - not from this angle. I'd more likely break my back trying to bend in ways I'm no longer able to. Not to mention there wasn't a whole lot of room - picture below will show that trying to go in feet-first would probably have ended very badly, given my busty frame... "Okay. I'm going in headfirst." My brilliant idea for the day. So - in I go, slowly. Used my hands to 'walk' myself down, (pushed toilet seat down first) and then little by little, shimmied my way down until I was literally hanging onto the outside ledge using my feet. At this point, J decided to take a photo - promising that this would bring forth years of amusement whenever talked about in the future. And I'm sure it will... Dropped down into the bathroom, using my arms to catch myself. By now, the drop wasn't a large one, and the toilet broke the fall up, some. I'm in. And I'm alive. Go, me! Damn, though, I think I pulled about six different muscles trying to break back into my own house. This very same photo was posted onto social media with the caption, "how's YOUR day going?' Oompa's response was, "what happened?" I explained the situation to her and the first thing she said was, "I hope you didn't break anything in your new bathroom!" No, Ma. Maybe just a little bit of myself, but thank you for the concern. Got to the U-Haul with minutes to spare - got everything else we needed to do - done. Aside from this little lock-out snafu, the day was a good one. I have a few bruises and was sore in places I didn't know existed yesterday, but end result - the daughter's room is looking clean and organized. Now the challenge remains - getting her to KEEP it that way! So, in closing, I would like to thank my son for, on Thursday night, taking a shit in the downstairs bathroom - a shit that smelled SO badly, that I cracked the window to air out the room. Had that shit not been taken, I would probably STILL be trying to figure out how to break into my own house. Furthermore, I'm grateful for my own absentmindedness - normally I would have remembered to close and lock that bathroom window once the stench had died down. Perhaps there IS a silver lining to my increased ability to not sleep????? Hoping you're all well and that you're all smiling. - Capulet
I surprised myself last night. J and I had a much-needed date night. We were at dinner and we were conversing about some OT hours she wanted to pick up. I casually mentioned that Oompa was fully expecting ME to pay her a visit this month, as she was here last month. She had casually mentioned, "oh, and the 10th is a good day for me!" The 10th is THIS weekend. No, thank you. I'm still somewhat infuriated with my mother for the bullshit she pulled in regards to my niece and nephew's birthday party and the inviting of her brother and the trying to rope my father into her plans to get him there. It was LAME and so WRONG of her - I just don't understand how she can be 'respectful of my feelings' sometimes (there was once a time when she had to answer a call from him when she was with me, and told me, 'don't worry, I won't tell him I'm with you'), then completely disregard them another time? She is PUSHING me, to see how much she can get away with - and then she's going to attempt to manipulate me on top of all of that by saying I shouldn't let that be the reason I don't come to my nephew's and niece's birthday celebration. "You wouldn't do that to them, would you?" I do not want her to have any control over anything I do - she doesn't, but she certainly tries. Manipulation is her game - it's what she resorts to when she doesn't see any other way around it. So because she wants me to come on the 10th, I am NOT going on the 10th! I'm TIRED of bending for her! Instead, I want to be pissed at her for a little bit longer. I'm not ready to drop this. She's likely noticed the side order of ice I've been giving her whenever she texts - she'll say how much she misses me, and my answer is always an underused, sometimes (purposely) misspelled 'me too/to.' But, do I really? No, I do not. I do NOT think she understands how angry this latest shenanigan of hers has made me. And until last night, I couldn't blame her too much, because I'd dropped it like a hot potato on the night she conversed with my father about it. The physical conversation ended abruptly when I expressed unhappiness over the whole thing, but the mental conversing is STILL ongoing. Despite additional stressors, this continues to be on my mind, and my mind refuses to shut up. Perhaps this means I need to NOT shut up, I need to start becoming more vocal. As my niece will be turning 1 on the 20th of this month, I decided that I would be the one to say when I was coming to her neck of the woods (she lives about 15 minutes further away from my sister) and first texted my sister to tell her that I wanted to see my niece for her actual birthday - the dual party for her and her brother is taking place at the end of March. I asked my sister if the 23rd was okay with her. She said yes. THEN I texted Oompa to let her know I was going to come see my niece closer to her actual birthday, we would do lunch at my sister's house. She could come see me there. I didn't say this bit, but I'd rather come see the nieces and nephew than my mother. THEM, I'll make a monthly trip for - because THEY are innocent in all of this - and there is SO much love in my heart for those beautiful children who call me Auntie. "You ARE still coming for their party at the end of March, right?" Was the first thing Oompa asked. "Yes," I texted her back, "I'm NOT happy about the surprise guest you sprung on me, but I'm coming for the kids." She then said, "Well, we don't even know if he's going to feel up to coming." (Again, he's this miserably unhealthy S.O.B. - bad knees, bad heart, diabetes, high blood pressure, probably a bunch of other maladies or things wrong with him, not including mentally - so yeah, by all means, let's invite an unhealthy, unstable man to a kiddy party! What a wonderful idea!) "NOT the point," I told her, "He shouldn't have been invited, and Dad shouldn't have been asked to go pick him up." She then tried to say something along the lines of, 'well, I'LL pick him up, I just needed your father to drop him back off...." I told her it was a 'waste of time.' And it is. A waste of her time, my father's time, MY time. Because I really, REALLY would have liked to have gone to my nephew's and niece's birthday party without the added stress of having to make sure he wasn't staring at them or at my daughter with those disgusting eyes of his - because I just might have to kill him. Oompa didn't respond to that text, nor did she say anything more after that. I wonder if my assertiveness offended her - because this is not something she's used to - she's NOT used to being told off, nor of control being taken from her. And believe me - being told she was wrong or that something she did was wrong IS akin to ripping the control from her hands. Because now, things aren't going so well for her, are they? Now she has to figure out how to make this right. And...guess what? I don't care. I don't feel bad, I don't feel as if I'm out of line, or I'm wrong about this. I spoke up. I stood my ground. I let her know I was angry. This is extremely unordinary of me - I am usually the type to shrug things off, an 'it is what it is' type of girl. Anger is hard for me to express; one of those learned behaviors I'd mastered - suppression - always seems to kick in whenever I am made angry. Well - I am proud to say that this is something I am more actively trying to change - when I'm angry, I need to make others aware of it, even if it isn't convenient for them. It may take me some time to do so, but - it's progress. THIS was a win - regardless of whether this piece-of-shit shows up - I still made my anger known. I was not afraid of 'not being nice' and I expressed anger and disappointment. I've yet to yell at my sister for inviting him - but I'm not entirely sure my mother didn't have a hand in this. This entire situation SMELLS of my mother - and my sister could have been manipulated into inviting him, herself. She, like my father, could very well have been a pawn in my mother's game/attempt to involve her brother - she claims the invitation was my sister's idea, but I'm not so sure she didn't PLANT the idea in the first place. Anyway, Small victory. In this battlefield we call life, there are so many little wars we have to endure - whether we are at war with ourselves or with others - and these sweet victories add up. Slowly. Sometimes they're hard to notice, but they're there. Will keep you all posted on this. For now, eyes are closing on me. Hoping everyone is doing well this week. All my best. - Capulet
Okay, friends - I lied. I FULLY intended to be here and updating a day or two before Thanksgiving, but WHEN do things go exactly as planned!? I'm just glad that I was able to extend to you all a proper Thanksgiving greeting in some way or another before the holiday. Additionally, it is my hope that you all made it through the holiday unscathed and that you're all gearing up for Christmas!! I'm here now, so that's what matters. My Thanksgiving started off horribly. It was shortly after 12:45am on Thanksgiving morning when the internet at Casa Capulet decided to stop working. I tried everything to get it back up and running - I actually was contemplating posting a few things, but there was apparently an alternative force that was hard at work in preventing me to do so. I begged, pleaded with my modem to cut the crap. I even tried the neighbor's dog's name to see if I could 'borrow' their WiFi. It was the middle of the night, they weren't using it, so why couldn't I? LOL. (Either they don't like their dog very much or they were smart enough to use a more randomized password, because that was also a no-go!) I reset the modem thrice; each time allowing it to be 'off' for longer periods of time in case that was the issue. It wasn't. It was too late to place a call to our cable company and demand a fix/reboot on their end, so I ended up giving up on it and going to bed around 3am. I was up again at six or seven - and the modem was still flashing like a Christmas tree. Our HOUSE phone worked, but that wasn't connecting me to the internet. It did connect us to the cable company, though, who first attempted to troubleshoot over the phone - they insisted that it was not an outage, but instead it was a need for our modem to be replaced, for it was likely broken because they were unable to get a signal. Then, they said those horrible eight words no one wants to hear: "We're going to have to send someone out." Now, in the past, and especially living in New York City, this meant we'd be waiting for at least a week for someone to come get us reconnected. I don't know if living in the sticks of Pennsylvania makes any difference but immediately, I began to assume the worst. I'd be waiting for a week or two, wouldn't I? I was extremely relieved to hear that I'd only have to wait until Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and someone would be by between 9am and 9pm. This did put the kibosh on any Black Friday shopping plans but I didn't really have any other than to use a coupon or two. Thankfully we have neighbors (across the street - with a different dog) who are kind and they allowed me to access THEIR network until the techie from the cable company was able to come over. (And their dog's name was not the password, in case you were wondering!) So, after Thanksgiving dinner at the wasband's (which went as well as it normally does - we sit around and do nothing/watch their usual chaos unfold as he barks out orders) I was able to come home and connect for a little while. The connection was slow but it still enabled me to electronically keep connected with others. So it was a decent end to a long, tiring day with minimal contact with anyone else. My J was working from 7am until 11pm - so as is, I wasn't seeing her at all. Late Thursday night, J's two sisters dropped in (they did say there was a possibility they would) and so, Friday morning, they went out for breakfast/getting nails done while I stayed behind and waited for the cable techie to show up - in the meantime, I pulled down the attic stairs and enlisted in the help of my daughter in getting out all the Christmas decorations. Together, we got the tree up and we were decorating it when the cable techie finally arrived. Apparently our modem was fine. It was the wires outside - they froze, and as a result, there was water in our lines. It was the first I've EVER heard of something like this happening - and during the beginning of this year (March or so) we had two extended power outages lasting 3-5 days each. Basically no power = no WiFi - so THAT's the worst-case scenario. Water in the lines, though? Never heard of such a thing. "So, how do we prevent these wires from freezing?" I asked him, "Do you have wire sweaters, or something?" He gave me a look, he must have thought I was trying to be funny. (Not me!) I got a 'ahem,' followed by, "sometimes, ma'am, it's what happens in extreme cold weather conditions." I gave him a look back. "You do realize it's only November, right?" At any rate, my wires have been replaced. I am not sure if he took extra measures to keep them from freezing, but I suppose if it were to happen again, I always have my neighbor's WiFi to fall back on until they can come fix it again. And get this - HER wires did the same exact thing on Saturday!!!!! By now, MY WiFi was fixed, so I was able to extend to her the same courtesy. I did tell her that just for shit and giggles, she should ask for wire sweaters, too. So, this was the drama surrounding Thanksgiving. Thankfully (not a play on words, but...) it is all over with - the turkey has been ingested, the leftovers thrown away by now, the guests have gone home, and the weekend-after Thanksgiving plans to 'Christmasize' the house have been carried out, leaving just the outside lights to be put up. (maybe later this weekend?) Now my primary focus is to just get through this ONE last holiday of 2018. I've done SOME, but not all, of my Christmas shopping by way of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales but there is still much to be done in that respect. I'm just not feeling it. I'm TRYING, but i'm not there, yet. Here is where I will reluctantly admit that there's more going on in my life right now - there is more than just cable/internet problems, more than the usual holiday stress, more than the occasional tiff with the wasband about what I'm not doing correctly, more than the usual kid-related drama. In summary, my fiancee has returned to therapy a couple months ago and is currently undergoing EMDR. I'm unsure if I've mentioned her return to therapy previously but it was a choice she's had to make - she's had a lot of work related stressors lately, and they have brought forth some emotional changes in her. She admits to stuff coming up from 'way back,' stuff that she never truly finished dealing with or working on with her previous T. When we met, she was undergoing therapy in the state she lived in - and our relationship, although it was what we both needed in order to get ourselves in a happier, better place, did 'interrupt' the work she was doing in therapy - even more so when she moved out-of-state and had to stop going altogether. Now, for the last ten years, we've not had to worry about things - we were both safe. She wasn't with her ex anymore, she wasn't even in the same state as him anymore. And I was no longer married to mine - not to say a lot of damage wasn't done to me either, but we had each other, our relationship was healthy and rich in communication. We carried one another through just about everything. The love is real, the support is unwavering; we have been each other's rock for the last decade. But it did neither one of us any favors that her pre-relationship treatment was interrupted and she is now in need of some maintenance. So - it's been tough. Without getting into details, the EMDR has been intense and there has been some distance within our relationship. It's not because of a shortage of love or support, but instead a culmination of work stress, therapy stress and the emotional side effects of it all. J is the one struggling with this, firsthand, and I've had to assume the role of a secondary survivor on top of being a survivor, myself. She's throwing herself into work and in turn, I'm throwing myself into my new role as a moderator here - she does her thing, I do my thing. It's probably what we BOTH need the most right now...the time and space to sort through things on our own without the other's influence but it's resulting in feelings of disconnect that I've never experienced with her before, and I'm TRYING not to be so uneasy and unnerved by it. It is not an easy thing for me to feel so disconnected from the one person who really and truly gets me, the one person I've COMPLETELY opened up to. She continues to remind me that I NEED to branch out more - and damnit, I've been trying! And the recent no-shows to my birthday celebration isn't helpful either, it's only shown me who I THOUGHT were reliable friends but turned out not to be. So right now, I will continue to make it known that I am there for her when she needs or wants and at the same time, bite my tongue about what I'm feeling about it all. I've already tried to explain it but we all know that verbal discussions in the moment are not my strong point. We have made efforts to reconnect already; we have our date night 1x a week, bowling leagues 2x a week and most weekends but there is still an uncomfortable feeling of division looming. I truly feel this is expected while she's dealing with issues in therapy and it's just temporary and HOPE that's the case, but am trying not to rock the boat any further by being overly vocal about things right now. Other than this, in the last two weeks, two mysterious bumps have appeared in the back of my head, both within inches of where my cochlear implant has been living for the last 16 years. One feels like a pimple, it's an 'external type' of bump and it's been suggested that it's an ingrown hair. I don't think that's the case, though, as I do buzz my hair every now and then but it has never been completely shaven. I've tried popping it, I've tried letting the hot water run over it, it's still not gone away. Earlier this week, I noticed a second bump, this one more 'internal' and bigger than a pimple. It is located behind my ear, where my neck meets my scalp, maybe a slight bit higher. THIS one feels like someone smacked me in the back of the head with a heavy object, it feels like a bruise, both to the touch and whenever I press on it. I do not, however, recall injuring my head at any recent time. I don't know what is going on and J's suggested that a visit to the doctor may be in order. And yes, I had to pause before typing that - because I DO know that whenever one has foreign objects implanted in their body and starts to experience discomfort, it's always been imperative to get it checked out. But, y'all know me, I'm terrible with doctors. I'm deathly afraid of what this means - tests, tests and more tests. Blood work. CAT scans. (I cannot undergo a MRI, that'll kill me since there is a magnet implanted in my brain!) I just about lost my shit over the summer over having to have tests done at the GYN, and my mammogram test (and re-test) and this is probably mild in comparison. But it's just not something I want to do, right now. J herself has a follow-up scan scheduled for later this week to check on whether the radiation treatment she had in June was 100% effective. So we really don't NEED any other possible medical emergencies, not right now. And if I can wait things out for a few weeks, that's what I'm likely to do. Especially since we have a vacation planned (our 10-year anniversary) for the beginning of January. I want to reach for my swatter, and thwack all that is unnecessary into that state of oblivion - at least until much, MUCH later. But now???? Right now??? It's CHRISTMAS time, I cannot fall apart right now, especially having to be the glue... But that's a summation of why I'm Scrooge-ish right now, why I put together the Holiday Buddies thingy (have you signed up!???), why I'm such a constant presence here - it is because offline, I've nowhere else to go for support other than to a place that may not be entirely accessible to me right now. Next week, I have a visit from my mother to look forward to - Wednesday, she will arrive and she will depart early Friday morning - in the meantime, we've plans to bake five types of Christmas cookies (which I will gladly share by way of photo status updates!) and hopefully that'll help somewhat ease into the spirit of the season. Anyway - posting this now - again, my apologies for being somewhat absent. I am trying to be better with this - perhaps it's a good thing that I have an appointment on Friday morning with the group leader/social worker. I'll be back, soon. Sending you all love. - Capulet
Hello, friends. As many of you already know, I spend a good portion of every day just thinking. You could call it self-meditation I guess, but without the breathing exercises as most of my current thoughts do not warrant 'calming' breaths. I just find myself sitting silently, staring into space, and just zoning. This past week has been one of those weeks where a lot of thinking and reflection has been done. I am now finding that I'm feeling uncertain about some things - if not uncertain, then just plain confused. I'm probably confusing all of you right now, as a matter of fact, so I'll not beat around the bush any longer. There is one thing that has been on my mind for the last several days. I have shared this privately with some of you but haven't mentioned it here, yet. My parents and J threw a surprise 40th birthday party for me this past weekend. I've known about it for months, though - I am NOT an easy person to surprise, although there were a few surprises within the (non) surprise that I WAS pleased with. Back in August, my mother planted the 'bug' in my ear that she was planning a 65th birthday celebration and that I should keep November 3rd open. I knew that this would also be the year I turn 40, and that SOMETHING was coming - it was just a matter of WHEN - so this mention of the date was the first 'hint.' This was another - we were on our way home from the wasband's - I want to say it was my goddaughter's birthday and we were there for dinner. I expressed a desire to have a Halloween party this year. Halloween fell on a Wednesday this year, and that's a workday/school day for most, so the idea was immediately met with, "well, why don't you do it the weekend before or the weekend after?" The wasband then (perhaps too) QUICKLY corrected himself and said, "On second thought, do it the weekend before." (The weekend after would be November 3rd.) He is NOT one to give any thought to family gatherings, and he's sat the last several out. Go figure - he makes a big deal when he's not invited and when he IS, he doesn't go. Anyway, on the way home, I turned to J and asked her what was really happening on November 3rd. She asked why I was asking. I told her my suspicion that this was not a party for my mother, and that she was trying to throw me off the scent of my own party. J admitted to it, then - and made me promise that I would not let on that I knew. But she also said she was glad I'd figured it out because SHE wanted my input on things so that she could ensure that things were exactly as I'd like for them to be - my mother is a manipulative, controlling woman above all of her good qualities and tends to attempt to control EVERYTHING she puts her hands on, everything she gets involved with. She tries to take over, she tries to top everything, she tries to take credit for it all. The thought of her being in charge of everything was...ugh. No. My mother does know how to have a good time, she's good with food choices, she's good at baking cookies and cakes, she's good at tracking down guests and harassing them for RSVPs, (I know this for a fact....she was bugging ME to RSVP to my niece's 1st birthday before I even received the freakin' invitation in the mail!) and so on. But Oompa's interests are NOT the same as mine. NOT at ALL. Before expressing my concerns to J about it, I'd been dreading the thought of her being the primary showrunner - and given how I'm feeling toward my mother in general, (other stuff that I'm trying to deal with internally) I didn't even think I WANTED this party. I also found out then that she was not planning it on her own - my father and J were splitting the plans three ways - so it did make me feel a bit better about the party. I would be behind-the-scenes, I would be able to provide J with answers to those questions that would likely come up. Plus, I could help give her ideas on who to include on the Facebook invitations - she set up an event page and I supplied about three dozen names. Knowing they wouldn't all show up, it was still a way for me to make sure that those important to me were included and invited. My mother doesn't know who most of these people are and I knew she'd only invite the people SHE knew. There were also times my mother would drive my J absolutely insane. When the subject of seating arrangements came up - J let her know we didn't need them. It was better to let people show up and sit wherever they wanted - perhaps a table could be reserved for the immediate family but everyone else should be free to sit wherever or with whomever they 'gravitated' and it wouldn't be a major issue. You would think that would be enough, but no. She kept right on singing the 'I don't know how to plan a party without seating arrangements' song - eventually I told J to let her know that she was free to seat the family as she saw fit but to allow the guests she didn't know the privilege of finding their own seat. Seemed like a fair compromise for the time being. So, anyway, this past Saturday was the 'big day.' At this point, BOTH J and I were ready for it to be over with. She has vowed never to be on a planning committee with my mother again and was looking forward to not having to argue about seating arrangements or however the napkins were folded. I was getting tired of pretending not to notice all the whispering, the winks, the 'does she know yet?' looks. Oh and practicing my 'surprised' face. I had to make sure it wasn't the 'I knew all about this' face when I walked in, so I do admit to practicing my 'surprised entrance face' on my five cats for the past several weeks. (Yes, I did.) I'll mention that ANY announcement to my kids that we're going to a 'family gathering' is usually met by moaning, groaning, eye-rolling, stomping of the feet, whining, irrational excuses and just about ANYTHING negative...I did not receive such protest from neither of my children when I mentioned to them that "Grandma" was having a party for her 65th birthday. The Son even tried to 'play dumb' and said, 'so, why's she celebrating her birthday late?' To that, I simply supplied the reason my mother had given me, there are simply too many October birthdays, so she wanted to break away from that cluster. On the morning of, both kids got dressed without complaining about THAT, too - (they are DEFINITELY my kids - most comfortable in sweat pants/leggings and tee shirts!) They both cleaned up as nicely as they could while remaining comfortable - him in a polo shirt and khakis, she wore a lace sleeved black shirt and black pants with heels. By then, the cat's been out of the bag for a while but I wasn't about to let these two know that I already knew what I'd be walking into. Nah, I was gonna milk it. Under the guise that she was 'working,' J had gone early in the morning to help with the party set-up. So I arrived with the kids a half-hour later than they had asked everyone else to show up. J met me outside, she was the 'go get her' person while I assume my mother turned all the lights off inside and was ordering everyone into position. When I walked in, of course, everyone yelled out, "surprise!" (And damn it, my cats were not there for me to respond in the manner that I had practiced!) I looked at my kids, who walked in behind me. They were smiling, they had their phones out and were probably recording/taking pictures. "You two knew all about this, eh?" I said to them. Then, the lights were flicked back on and one by one, the guests began to greet/hug me. In a way, this was good because I didn't have to put on so much of a show. Of course, EVERY SINGLE ONE asked me if I was surprised. I'm a terrible, TERRIBLE liar (you can ask J - there's apparently a 'tell' - I giggle/blush when lying) so I said I had a suspicion, but yes, I was indeed surprised. I just didn't tell them WHAT I found surprising. I WAS pleasantly surprised to see that my closest and dearest cousin, (whom I haven't seen since 2011) flew up from Florida. He came by himself, he has a wife and kids that I've not yet met (but will in January) - but this was likely one of the better surprises that came from that day. His mother came - this is the aunt who is the at the root of my ED/weight issues but she was pleasant and said NOTHING other than how good I looked. So that was another 'nice' surprise. I was also surprised in a way that almost makes me feel ashamed to admit. Ungrateful, even. Because those who have gotten to know me know that I am not a hard person to please. The little things make my heart happy. I'm laid back, I'm extremely low maintenance. I don't require extravagance, just things as simple as love, loyalty and honesty from the people I care about. So to write this blog entry makes me feel, for the moment, the exact opposite of thankful - and I do NOT wear this feeling well. I hate myself for feeling even the slightest bit unappreciative of this party that my fiancee put in a great deal of effort (and worked together with my parents and managed to refrain from killing my mother) to pull off. I love her with ALL of my heart and it KILLS me to feel anything less than beholden. You see, I quickly spotted that out of the three dozen 'other' people I'd insisted on J inviting through Facebook, maybe two or three were standing in that room. Don't get me wrong, this was not an 'empty' party by any means. About 40 to 50 people were there. My immediate family was present. My parents, step parents, my sisters, their husbands and their husband's parents, my two beautiful nieces and my handsome nephew. An aunt and uncle from both my mother's side and my father's. My cousin and aunt from Florida, along with another local cousin, his wife and kids were there. The wasband, his wife, and three of the four other children were there. My four bowling friends from where I live now were there - they carpooled and came. J's parents drove in from Massachusetts. Originally more of her family was SUPPOSED to come but in the end, it was just her parents. Then there were a couple of my mother's friends, people I've known for at least two or three decades. And a few others I'll mention below. But.... My best friend, someone that I've known since 1996, was not there. (I think this is truly the one no-show that stung the most.) My high school BFF and her family - who had been sent a paper invitation because she was not on Facebook - was not there. Another friend I've known since CHILDHOOD, who coincidentally LIVES near where the party was held - was not there. The members of my softball team from where I used to live? They were all invited. NONE of them came. About twenty of my bowling friends from the league back in New York were invited. TWO showed up. (They were a husband and wife.) Then there were random people that I watched J invite - people that although I don't see them often and most correspondence nowadays is through Facebook, were still adored enough for me to want them included within the celebration. None of them came, either. And some were people I considered to be family, I'd known them THAT long, probably since I was in diapers. And it's not because they lived too far away - some of them lived far closer to where the party was than I do. I had one FB friend come - and she isn't even someone I've ever really been close to. I have known her for twenty years, but there was a very long gap in between then and when we reconnected about three years ago. But regardless of the gap in communication, SHE came. So while that was a nice surprise, I was also gobsmacked at just how many DIDN'T. I mean, yeah - life happens. But it just chafes me that ALL of these people had over a months' notice to make sure they didn't have to work or they didn't make any alternative plans for that day. Yet most of them waited until the absolute last minute - some even the morning of the party, to say they weren't coming. Some said they had other plans, but I don't buy it - if you knew you had plans, why didn't you say something sooner? So while I truly appreciate my parents' and J's efforts to throw me a party, I cannot help that feeling of disappointment that started at the moment I walked in. Maybe it wasn't complete disappointment because to say that would be an insult to the people who DID make the effort to come. I am thinking that maybe the correct word is 'sadness.' Yes. That's it. It is a very deep sadness/hurt that I don't know how to suppress, as I fill out the thank-you cards to the people who did come - while I truly AM appreciative that THESE people chose to make the occasion more special by being there and I sincerely enjoyed their presence, I cannot shake the nagging feeling that most of them likely came out of familial obligation. It does NOT make me feel good about the person I've become in the eyes of those who were absent, regardless of the excuses supplied. When you love and care about someone, your ass is there for them - you make it happen. You DON'T wait until the fucking day before or the morning of the party to send a text or Facebook RSVP - that's just plain LOW. It feels like, to them, I've become expendable. I want so much for that to be an exaggeration, but it certainly doesn't feel that way. And for some of these no-show friends - this was the final straw. Some of these are people I've opened up to, for fuck's sake, because I trusted them with the version of myself that not everyone knows. If I wasn't done with them before, (because I had hopes of them coming around eventually) I certainly am, now. Have I disconnected myself from others to the point where they think it doesn't hurt if they choose not to show up for me? Is this my fault??? Is this something I've done to myself? Am I being childish about this? I feel like I am and that I should just be thankful for how nicely (it truly was - my J did a fantastic job!) this party turned out, despite these no-shows - but there IS that soft, almost muted, little voice in the back of my head, saying that I'm indeed not being immature about it. It's also saying that I have a right to be sad. Thoughts on this, guys? And I'm not asking for pity - just a little validation that what I'm feeling isn't unwarranted. ....few hugs wouldn't hurt, either. - Capulet