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Why I Don’t Like Halloween October 30, 2012

Most of the names in this post were changed to protect the guilty.

 

Right now the kids are getting all geeked up about their costumes, plotting out which houses they will be hitting for the best candy. Every year that passes, I get less and less enthused. I mean Halloween was fun when Kameron was little, now it’s like when is enough enough? You’re thirteen, I’m thinking next year he will be passing out candy instead of giving it away.

When is enough enough?

This post isn’t about candy, it’s about something that most people don’t know about me.

Imagine a 19 year old girl. Just graduated from high school. Worked full-time selling shoes for Nine West because I wasn’t interested in going to college right away, and when your parents tell you they’re not paying for college, you need to explore other options. The options were, live with my parents (yuck), continue working (yay), anything else could just come my way. I was young.

I don’t remember where I met “Chris” it must have been at a party somewhere. Chris was 21, so he could buy alcohol for all the parties . Chris also had just graduated from an in state college with a degree in electronics. He had a fast car, a charming personality, an apartment that I was welcome to stay at whenever I wanted (which pissed my parents off.) He would me make me  feel like I was the only person in the world, and he did for awhile.

We had been dating for a while and Chris decided it was time for me to meet his parents. Terri, his mother, was a nurse. She worked third shift at a hospital in southern Indiana. Chris’s dad wasn’t around. He never paid any child support, never saw Chris, the typical dead beat dad story. Terri got remarried several years later to Bob. Bob, Chris, and Michael (Chris’s older brother) never really got along. I don’t know if it was the stepfather thing, or that he just seemed to be in a rotten mood whenever we saw him. Except when I was around. Bob and I had and instant connection, we both loved IU Basketball. It just happened when Chris and I were dating it was basketball season, and I was able to get tickets for a ballgame. Bob had never been to a game at IU, so that carried a lot of weight, besides the fact that he liked me already. What he didn’t like, and that I really didn’t notice until later that Terri was giving Chris money under the table. I remember Chris being on the phone with his mother asking her how many extra shifts she would be working because he had some bill he had to pay. I should have thought there was something wrong with that, now that I’m 30ish I would totally think there was something wrong with it. It just happened so often, and it never seemed to be an issue that the 19-year-old me didn’t give it a second thought.

That should have been a red flag right?

You have to remember I was 19, and when a handsome guy gets down on his knee to ask you to marry him, it’s pretty overwhelming. My parents weren’t happy. Not that they didn’t like Chris, they just thought we were too young. Then I reminded both of them how old they were when they got married, that pretty much ended the conversation.

We decided on a Halloween Wedding. How much fun is that right? A traditional Catholic wedding, and a costume party reception.Chris even went through the RCIA to become Catholic, I think he did it mostly to please my parents. People loved it. Even my parents warmed up to the idea. So the plan began. We were married on October, 31 on a perfect fall day. Everyone showed up in costumes. The diner was delicious – my family cooked it. The music was scary and fun. It was a fun wedding.

In the mean time Chris and I moved in together. It was a town house on the upper west side of Indy. It was odd, because he worked on the south side, and I worked downtown. While we were in the townhouse we began looking at houses. I think it took us less than three days to find the lovely chateau in Whiteland. Our backdoor lead us right to the park, where I imagined our children would play someday.

Dealing with mortgages in the 90’s was just as difficult as is it now. I took months to get the financing (which Chris fudged the numbers a lot, he was getting his salary and added the money he got monthly, sometimes weekly from his mother.) We begged my grandmother for the down-payment which was $5,000.00 that we promised we would pay back. I somehow knew Chris would never let happen, he talked her into it, he was conniving.

I suggested that maybe we should wait to move, that maybe borrowing money wasn’t the best idea.

That was the first time he hit me. I was in shock. Then he grabbed my face and said “don’t ever question my motives again, I’m doing this for you bitch.” It scared the shit out of me.

We were approved for the house, and the excitement of starting in a new space made me have a little hope that things were going to get better. When my sister was over helping us pack for our move she said something to piss Chris off, I don’t even remember what she said. Chris choked my sister, and came after me. I threw my rings in the snow and swore I would never come back. I went to my parents to stay for a little while. I think they knew what was going on, but I was too ashamed to acknowledge they were right. On the day of my wedding my Dad said to me “you know you can hold my hand and we can walk out of here.” I knew then he was right, but I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I was young and impressions were a big thing to me.

Chris crawled like a dog, promising counseling, a new life in our new house, and he had finally got a full-time job, so the stress was going to go away. I was still 19, and I still wanted to believe him.

So I got married. Not too long after the abuse continued. He would hit me in places that people couldn’t see. Never my face, always my legs, ribs, upper thighs. He would taunt me, “who are you going to tell, no one will believe you, because everyone knows what a whore you are.” This from the man that suggested that I have an abortion after taking a positive pregnancy test six months after we were married. It turned out that I wasn’t pregnant, thank God I wouldn’t be attached to him for the rest of my life.

I began a plan. I don’t know if that is exactly right, I decided that I was going to leave Chris, but I was tremendously afraid that he would kill me .He held a shotgun to my head and swore that he would kill me if I ever left him.  I knew in my heart of hearts that he would kill me. I lived in fear everyday.

I met a friend Susan thorough another person that I worked with. Susan did nails, and from what I saw from Teresa they looked beautiful. Chris and I were making a little more money, so he encouraged me to get my nails done – he was always about appearances, I was living in a fog.

I remember the first time I met Susan at her apartment, she pulled back my sleeves and looked at me. I think she said “are you ok?” I said “no” and “could you just do my nails?” About an hour of getting to know each other Chris showed up to her apartment, just to make sure how things were going (actually checking up on me to see if I was where I said I was.) After playing twenty questions with Susan he decided to leave. After he was gone, Susan asked “are you ok?” I think the expression on my face told her all she needed to know.

The next weekend Susan asked me to go with her to the Bob & Tom Lake Monroe Party. I spoke to Chris about it. We fought, it was bad this time. He kicked down the door, threw everything off the walls, and left me in a corner of the bathroom with fresh bruises and a bloody nose.

When Chris would beat me that severely he would leave all night. I decided when Susan came to my house I was going to the lake. I was going to think long and hard about divorcing Chris. I figured that if was going to get the beating wrath when I got home, so why not have some fun for a few hours? When Susan knocked on my door, it fell right into the living room because Chris had kicked it in the night before.

When I did get home I found the door still kicked in, all of my things knocked off the walls, the coffee table on it’s side..and a note from Chris saying “I made him do this and he wouldn’t be back in the morning because he had to work, but he would deal with me later.”

Then the phone rang, it was Chris. He said” have you been listening to Bob and Tom?” I said “no.” “Turn it on” was all he said, and hung up. I immediately turned on the radio, my friend, Zack Steinke, who I went to grade school and high school with was dead. Dead at the age of 17. The cause of death was the life loving child was wanting to go on a bungee jumping in South Carolina. The elevator that took Zach up to where he would jump snapped and Zach fell to his death in front of his parents. Zach was a thrill seeker, outstanding student, he was the Ferris Bueller of Chatard High School.

I got beaten because I wanted to go to his funeral. “You whore, you probably slept with him didn’t you?” I was paralyzed with fear, but went to the funeral anyway.

After Zach’s death I decided the life I was living was no longer for me. I was going to get killed. So when Chris left for work at a very early hour I left. The only things I took were my clothes, I called my friend Susan, and she just asked where and when. I asked her to meet me at my house between 8:30 a.m and 9:00 am. That way I knew he would be gone. I shoved all of my clothes into Susan’s car and kept saying “I’m sorry.”

Months later we got divorced. He got the house, I got the clothes on my back and my day bed. And my life, I got my life back.

You are stronger than you think, and even then, you are stronger.

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Being A Grown Up Sucks October 19, 2012

Remember when you were 12 and you wanted to be 13? Thirteen was teenager status! Remember when you were 15 and wanted so badly to be 16? Sixteen meant you could drive! The next big one was 21 then you could drink legally. Which might not have ended up so great after your head being in a toilet for an hour, not that I would know.

So then 25 hits. Twenty-five was really hard for me. Not 30, hell I don’t care that I’m going to be 40 next year. Twenty-five felt like I was too old to be young and to young to be old. It really freaked me out. All of the sudden I felt this crazy pressure to be responsible. Which really wasn’t too far of a stretch, I was always pretty responsible. Being responsible can suck sometimes too.

So as I sit here on the rainy, cold, Friday I’ve been examining what’s happened over the last month that would equal suckage as a grownup.

First my dishwasher broke. Not that it’s that much of a big deal, I can wash dishes, and did until we could afford a new dishwasher. An extra expense we weren’t counting on, but as adults we brush it off and move on. Sucks.

Then I was getting really excited when I realized my Jeep was going to be paid off at the end of the year. No car payments! The thought is very exciting don’t you think? Then Mr. D got into a car accident. The guy at the body shop said it would cost us more money to fix the car than to just get rid of it. So we got a “new to me” car. Again, another expense we weren’t counting on, brush it off, move on. Sucks.

A few weeks later when it started to get cold we decided to turn on the furnace one night. I woke up the next morning to find it was 50 degrees in my house! We have a guy that does our air conditioning and furnace stuff, so I had Mr. D give them a call. They came out, the mother board on the furnace is fried, needs to be replaced. They came back replaced the mother, gave us a really good deal on it – Thank You God. Yet again, another expense we weren’t counting on, brush it off, move on. Sucks.

Today I’m getting my water softener replaced. We have a guy for that too that is really good, always gives us a good deal. Water softeners aren’t cheap. We got the mid-range water softener hopefully it will last a while. Another expense we weren’t counting on, brush it off, move on. Sucks.

So when I hear my son say “I can’t wait to be a grown-up” I chuckle to myself. For what? Is what I’d really like to ask him. Then I’d tell him to stick with school, friends, and the x-box – you’ll be a grown-up soon enough.

And sometimes it sucks.

 

Kameron Goes To D.C. October 12, 2012

I’ve been agonizing over this for weeks. Kameron taking a class trip to Washington D.C.

To Our Lady of Greenwoods credit, they were very organized planning the trip. Meeting after meeting, they had the trip planned down to the last-minute. So why worry right? Kam is in the very capable hands of OLG and their chaperons.

The activities they have planned for the next two days are unbelievable really. A trip to the Smithsonian Institute, the Holocaust Museum, mass at the National Shrine, a guided tour of DC including the White House, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, The Lincoln Memorial, The Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Monument, and that’s just the first day!

Today the kids get to go to Fords Theater, US Capitol Building (tour), lunch at Union Station, Mt. Vernon, Alexandria walking tour. After that, get this, a private pizza dinner and dance cruise on the Potomac!

Tomorrow they get to visit the US Marine Corp War Memorial and are touring Arlington National Cemetery that includes a changing of the guard and a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then they come home.

Pretty exciting stuff right? Kameron was totally stoked going to the airport at 4:30 in the morning, me, not so much. When we got in he immediately found his friends and starting talking with them. I was trying to take a picture of him – this is what I got, annoyed as hell. His chaperone found his group and they started getting their tickets. I could feel my stomach churning as they grabbed their boarding passes.

I thought is he going to be too cool to say bye to his mom with all his friends around?

I get a little wonky when Kameron isn’t around. He’s been to CYO camp but that’s only 45 minutes away. This was a big trip for him, and just another step in the process of those words I really hate; growing up.

Looking at Mr. D I was like well, I guess it’s time to go. Then I heard “Mom.” I turned and Kameron had stepped away from his group and was motioning us over. I walked over to give him a hug (lying to myself that I wouldn’t cry.) He hugged me and then hugged Mr. D. Then he hugged me again, a little tighter than before. I told him that I loved him and to have a good time. “Ok” was my answer, and he was off.

I of course cried all the way to the car.

I was very happy to get a text message from Kam last night that said “We are in Washington D.C.” I asked if the plane ride was ok (he has problems with his ears) “Yes” he said. I was all great, have fun, I love you, text me if you want…I waited for a reply. Nothing. He did his due diligence and was off to monkey around with his friends. Which is fine. I’m surprised I got the text.

I’ll be very happy to see my little man and hear all about his great adventure in D.C. tomorrow, and to have him home.