November 3, 2015

Yeah ya right, brah!

(Note: I wrote this last year and didn't publish it because I thought it was dumb.)

Every year I promise myself that I’m going to write a Christmas letter to myself, so that when I unpack the boxes the following year, I’ll be greeted with this lovely wave of nostalgia - a yardstick of sorts to assess our growth. I never do it. But somehow you muthas have convinced me to stop hoarding all the words, so voila.  My Christmas letter to myself is now my Christmas letter to you, as promised.

I can’t even describe how hard this is now—publishing the words.  I'm not sure when I became so vulnerable. I think it's something that just happened when I started morphing into a real human again. The grief was like a protective armor, and I'm nothing if not resourceful. I wore the armor out of necessity, but was almost giddy at the invisible shield it provided. I was never good at stopping the words from coming out anyway, and then you lovely humans took sight of my shield and bestowed me with this platform. It's no wonder the Diary became a beautiful collaboration.

My darling boys are now 13, 8 and 5.  My face hurts when I type that, because my smile is so wide. God I could not love them an inch more. They just burst my heart wide open.  I'm doing it, madpeople. I'm succeeding. Even when I'm not. 

My big darling teenager boy is such a source of pride for me right now.  In every aspect, he is just blooming and blossoming. His little boy-ness is completely gone, and I pray that I was able to extract every drop of it before it disappeared. With age I see him honing his wit. His subtle humor keeps me gliding most days. I always thought him to be so much like Dave.  With Dave out of the picture, I see myself in him more and more. He is resourceful in the way that he uses his humor and shakes off the bullshit. I'm teaching. He's learning. Right now I think we're getting an "A-" in life. To that I say, “Fuck math.”

The middle darling and mini-me is now 8.  The child has zero filter and feels all the feelings.  He is fire. I didn't learn how to channel those feelings as a child, and my early adulthood was so tumultuous because of it. I would never take any of that back though, because those years provided the basis for nearly all of the hysterically insane stories I now tell about myself. I still feel compelled to teach him to lasso the emotions. I'm pretty sure I will have zero success because, like me, he already knows everything. It's a trip to look into a kid's eyes and see your very own. He's so gregarious; everyone loves his personality. He tricks people into thinking he's always smiling. I don't even mind that he saves the explosions for me. He whistles like an old man, always reminding me of my dad. I can't help but smile.

The littlest darling who was not even two yet when Dave died, is now 5.  His chubby cheeks are finished, the dimples on the backs of his hands are gone, and with him I feel it all slipped away....and I know I didn't extract every drop. This causes my heart to feel injured. The lump in my throat starts to hurt. There’s no turning back. He's got no memory of Dave, so he makes up his own. Out of desperation, I allow it. Oddly it seems to affect him more, because he doesn't have the memories to cling to like the other boys. When I finally started to date again, I realized that his little heart was so desperate.  The first time my boyfriend entered my kitchen, little darling announced that we should go put flowers on daddy's grave. A few days later my boyfriend fixed my dishwasher. To my bewilderment, he did this with little darling perched on his shoulders. When he left, baby darling kissed him and told him he loved him. I held my breath. It was quite overwhelming and surprising, although I acted like I hardly noticed. The boyfriend took it in stride. I was worried it would be too much. I texted him later and said, "I know this is alot, all this baggage, all these kids." His response? "We all have baggage, J. You don't get to be this age without it, do you? I wouldn't care if you had 20 kids."

I shan’t say more about the BF, except that he calls me his ‘enchantress’ and he speaks French, softly in my ear. Is there really even anything else to know? Perhaps one day I will tell him about the diary. Then I will immediately regret it. My male friends assure me the diary would captivate any man. I say I shall be judged in the here and now. His natural affinity for words and language is so like my own, so I can only assume he would understand the creative thrill. We share the same sarcastic humor as well. But I believe it is ill advised to hand over the sarcastic musings of your alter ego on the first date. Or the hundredth date. Or ever. I know in my heart that my happy ending exists.  Never have I even considered that it’s not a possibility.  I exist.  Therefore I know it does.

Oh for fucks sake though, have I convinced you that we moved to this enchanted grassy knoll where little dwarves do our laundry?  I shall just throw in a scene from last week, so that you'll be assured that in my absence from you we did not turn into some people you would pin under the “muthafuckas to be like” category. (Listen, if you are new to me and I just jolted you out of your chair…I curse to keep the pearl clutchers away. I get nervous when too many people read this.)

Big darling was conducting some business in the bathroom, with the door ajar about an inch. (I’ve learned to resist any reference to the term ‘shit magnet, by the way. The universe is LISTENING.) Little darling, who currently has a spitting 'issue', had just spit in middle darling's face.  Middle darling punched him in the back, and a chase ensued.  I happened upon them just outside the bathroom. The two littles were screaming about the spit and the back-punch, and the big one was displeased that the fracas was occurring too close to the bathroom door. By this time the door had been pushed ajar further. I hastily decided that this spit was the last straw, and the spitter would be taught a lesson. I grabbed the little darling's head between my hands, and carefully positioned it in front of middle darling's face. "Spit back at him!" I screamed. At once all eyes stared back at me, perfectly round and wide. Time stood still. I took note of the faces I could see. Big darling on the throne, in total shock but with the corners of his mouth beginning to curl into a smile. Middle darling, who at first thought he was in trouble. It took him more than a second or two to process that I was commanding him to spit back in the little guy's face. Then he too suppressed his smile as I watched him slowly gather the saliva in his mouth. The little guy sensed what was coming and started to buck, but I was holding him firmly. And then, BAM. Mostly on my hands, but his face was still splattered. 

I still mostly have no clue what I'm doing. But my heart is pure and I'm parenting these boys the best way I can. It's still a happy house. They break something every day, it seems. They're messy. They exhaust me. But they've grown to know and appreciate my limits. They know when to scatter and when to hug and when to plant tender kisses on my tear stained cheeks cause I've just had enough.

I’m 46 years old and I do feel like I finally know the secret. The secret is that the world is your genie. It’s all yours for the taking. Visualize it, open your heart to it, declare it and then receive it. Too often my life is a blur and I can’t focus on anything. But it’s a big mistake. I know I need to slow my roll, and so do you. There’s no better investment in our time.

Our Christmas tree topper. We don’t have a star on top. I can’t find one I like. This annoys big darling, the funny yet subtle one. Yes, it’s a sock.

October 9, 2013

Hasta La Vista, Baby....

Oh madpeople.  I’ve made a decision.  This will be my last blog post.

From the very beginning, I always said that I would wake up one day and pull the plug on the madness without warning.  That day is today.  It’s right now.  For many reasons and for none at all.  I’ve been so tempted to do it for the past six months.  The only reason I have not is because I am still contacted weekly by other suicide widows, and I know my words are helping them to feel saner.  I still want that to be the case, only it will have to be in a different venue.  It can’t be here, on the web.

You see, I’m turning into a real person.  I’m not a cartoon anymore.  So it's time for Chardonnay to hang up the pom-pom marching boots. 

So many people asked me about the anticipated book last weekend at the MMM.  I’m blown away that you would read it.  Blown away that you enjoy my words.  Blown away at the number of people who have read the blog.  Blown away that so many of you made the trip to party with me and the muthas.

But in my new life, as a real person and not a cartoon character, I’m going to do real people things.  Like possibly date people and be normal and get a job.  I hear it is ill advised to hand over the sarcastic musings of your alter ego on the first date.  I tend to agree with this assessment.

I’ve always been a bit of a mystery girl, so this should not surprise anyone who knows me well.

Until we meet again….love and light and laughter.  Especially laughter.  It really has been the best medicine, hasn’t it madpeople?  Just look at what it’s done for me…….

August 21, 2013

It's ok to fail. But failure is not an option!

For fucks sake, my head is spinning.  One minute we were at the beach trying to decide whether to eat the watermelon now or at dinner, and the next minute I’m careening through the air, having been shot out of a live cannon.  This is how I know it's the first week of school. 

When I put the kids to bed last night baby darling hugged me and said, “Thank you for being a good girl today.”  That obviously means I stayed on green all day, without once moving my car to the yellow or red portion of the stoplight behavior chart.  This is more than I can say for my beloved mini-me, who is now in first grade and already missed a recess for misbehaving in music.  “He’s nothing like his older brother!” the teacher chuckled.  Lady, I’ve been trying to warn the establishment of this for five years.

I swear to all things that are holy that I will be a good mom this school year.  Which means that I will now embrace the popular bipolar parenting strategy, otherwise known as “ruining my kids.”  This morning after an hour long conversation with the #2 mutha, it was decided that we should write instructions to ourselves on index cards, for handy reference when that first “D” or “F” test is found hidden in the back of the folder. 

Apparently screaming, “Do you want to live in a filthy ditch under the interstate when you grow up?” is not good for the children’s self esteem.  These types of comments should always be followed by the mixed message goodnight tuck-in, which might go something like this:  “Look, so what, you made an F.  You’re an awesome, smart boy.  Everybody loves you.  Try your best and you’ll pull your grade up in no time.  We’ll study together.”  That’s right.  And if you don’t, you can just live with mommy forever.  Who cares?  I’ll be a lonely, cat lady by then anyway.

Getting this stuff right is so hard.  Especially when ‘what is right’ changes every day.  One day you are to push and encourage and demand that they stand out from the pack.  Be the best!  The next day you are to be accepting and allow the child to establish his own personality and identity.  You are to study with them, and teach them good studying habits.  Oh no!  That was last week.  These children are old enough to be responsible for their own lessons.  Studying with them will make them unable to study on their own.  Just take the video games away so they won’t have violent tendencies.  Great!  Now they don’t have any friends and can’t pick up M&Ms because their hand/eye coordination is so horrible.  Feed them whole grains!  That white bread will make them fat and stupid!  Don’t you know anything, moron?  Grains are the devil!  Stop eating all grains.  Try quinoa.  Whoa, whoa, whoa!  I’m sorry I must draw the line with quinoa.  Especially now that I know it’s not even pronounced kwin-o-a.  It’s keen-wa.  Which is why I can never eat it.  Because I’m not saying “keen wa.”  It’s too stupid.

Honestly, I think I'll just keep flying by the seat of my pants.  My parents didn’t have a fucking clue what they were doing…and look at me.  I’m the sanest person I know.

The only thing that’s really easy is loving them.  I’m good at that part.  It's easy enough to apologe when I yell out the ‘f’ word and say that thing about living under the interstate.  It really is ok to fail.  I’ve failed a lot and I’m still not living under the interstate. 

August 4, 2013

Guest Post for

The Hot Mess is holding a gun to my head, yelling, “Type, type!   Move your fingers, skinny bitch!”

Ahhh.  Just kidding.  I’m here because I’ve got madwoman lurve for her.  When she first asked for a guest post I said, “Are you facking kidding me?  I don’t even post on my own blog anymore?”

And that’s why this is perfect, right?  Since the topic she suggested was “My love/hate relationship with my blog.”  At first, I decided to just ignore her.  But then I got scared she was going to tackle me and punch me in the tit at the MILF March in September.  She's going to anyway.

So, here's the real truth about why I don't really post anymore.  I started Diary of a Madwoman because out of sheer madness not very long ago I found myself randomly typing weird shit like “my husband is dead” into google.  I could barely see the screen through my tears.  You know what my search returned?  A whole lotta jack.  Nothing!  Dear God, I’m the only one!  I can relate to NO ONE.  I’m a freak.  Nobody gets it.  NOBODY FUCKING GETS IT, YA HURD ME??!!

And so I started screaming and bashing my fingers into the keyboard.  And the Diary was born.  It was insanely therapeutic.  Immediately, people started showing up, by the thousands.  One morning I spent about 15 minutes writing “How Not to be an Asshole When You Grow Up” while I sat at my kitchen counter.  Ten thousand people had read it by that afternoon.  Watching that page counter flip numbers in rapid succession was like watching the gas pump, except it was incredibly thrilling!  The truth is, I still didn’t think it was good.  700,000 readers later and these numbers impress me zero.  Because some blogs have two million.  Or four million.  

There are some unwritten rules if you wish to be successful in social media.  Relentless marketing helps.  Other rules involve being politically correct, not cursing too much, not being too opinionated, staying in the middle lane, and accepting the fact that facebook censors. 

Gag me with a Volatile flip flop.

I’m not ok with any of that.  I try to be a middle of the road kind of person, but it harms me and I have reason to believe it might give me cancer.  I’m a ‘push the envelope’ type of girl.  What can I say?  Not everyone appreciates that.

So the Diary is sometimes left waning.  A victim of not being perfect. Add to that the embarrassing number of "mom blogs" floating around the internet.  Oh my God! Please arrest and jail all those tired writers! I shan't be associated. I just can't. I'm too scared someone might call this a mom blog. 

But I love writing.  My writing is best when I am not trying to please anyone.  Many times I reluctantly decide that the writing is too scary for you.  Sometimes a whole awesome, touching, raw, emotional and funny yet scathing blog cannot be published because I fear the impact it would have on a single certain person.  It’s various people at various times, depending on the subject.  It could be Dave’s family, or his friends, or maybe my own family.  Many times it’s the pearl clutchers.  I imagine them clutching their pearls and speaking in hushed tones when I breeze past them in a dress that might be showing cleavage.  “Did you read what she wrote?”

I mostly don’t care what people think but I’m also a realist.  I have to live with the ramifications of the published words.  It’s easy to step into my Madwoman alter ego and fling the words around.  It’s harder to press the ‘publish’ button when I see my real name sitting up in the corner.  I kick myself every day that I didn’t do this on the sly.  A pseudonym.  Just some random crazy bitch.  But the story of the kidnapping and robbery on the morning of the funeral would have found me.  Because who the fuck else has that ever happened to?  Was that shit even real?

The blog neglect is shameful because it causes the blog to be buried deeper and deeper into the sea of words that is the internet.  I do fervently WISH for it to be accessible to those who find themselves where I was that fateful evening….eyes red and swollen, throat burning from screaming, desperate to hear the real truth from a real person speaking real words.  I’m humbled that the serious words have saved lives and changed lives.  And tickled that the comical aspect serves as proof that if you maintain a good attitude and a sense of humor you will never suffer longer than necessary.  Because suffering is for pussies.

Cue the pearl clutching.

Random funny ecard courtesy of The Klonopin Chronicles

July 8, 2013

If It Purrs, RUN!

Welp.  D-Day is behind us. We survived unscathed. I am getting so good at this, and I feel proud of myself. This year, I just simply refused to let it bother me. Refused to get anxious over it. Refused to give it air time.  So take that, universe.  This mutha will not be held hostage by the calendar. We'll see how the next few days go. Sometimes the gods trick me into thinking I’ve escaped their wrath, only to reach down low and grab me by the ankle after I get a few steps away. 

Things were getting sort of monotonous around here, and I also have a strict rule against staying here on D-Day, just in case I suddenly lose my faculties and decide to lie down on the garage floor where he died to practice my crying, choking and screaming. So we booked a last minute vacation to a very overbooked part of the world.  The beach. When I say overbooked I mean that I had the CEO of 15,000 rental properties personally looking for a cancellation.  At 11:08 a.m. I was alerted by one of the futha’s to the very last condo available all the way from Orange Beach, AL to Panama City Beach, FL and by 4:00 p.m. we had toes in the sand.  Don’t ever get in a packing race with me. 

I made several observations at the beach. First of all, some of you men folk still have not read the memo regarding back hair.  Women hate it.  Shave that shaggy shoulder fro. Also, people need to get better tattoos. Getting tattoos is like designing and decorating your home, permanently.  Mostly that’s best left to the professionals. You can’t just throw random shit all over and expect it to look nice.  Also, I was the only woman my age wearing a two piece bikini bathing suit.  This causes me to feel slightly uncomfortable and whorish.  For about 2 seconds. 

I thought a lot about my own fuckups too. Lord knows there are many to choose from involving much more than cosmetic flaws. Where did I go wrong with Dave? What red flags did I ignore?

The very first red flag is kind of funny, and Dave would kick my ass for telling this story if he were alive, but alas, this is what you get when you leave yourself defenseless against a scorned woman who likes to bang her fingers into a keyboard. 

It was very early in our dating. We were both about 30 I guess. He had practically moved in with me from the beginning…not really his stuff but himself. I never asked him to stay or any of that…but I guess it didn’t bother me very much or I would have said something, like please leave.  Anyway, I had plans with friends one night. He wasn’t invited or didn’t want to go, I can’t really remember. So I went out and had a good time and returned home around midnight or one to find his mom running around my house like a chicken with her head cut off. “He spiked a fever!” she is exclaiming in a very fast and nervous tone.  Mind you, he is fucking 30. 

Oh my God. I’m immediately thinking this wussy ass better be dead or dying, or this is really, really a bad sign. First of all, spiked a fever? Who says that? I hate that saying. Please just say he has fever. I quickly ascertained that he was mildly ill with a slight fever. Oh No.  Disastrous.  He has called his mommy.  This is not exactly tough guy material.  No.  This is immediate break up material is what this is! Why is this mother here? Did this kitty cat really call his mom to come over because he didn't feel well? 

She has brought soup, and a thermometer, and he is on the couch, wrapped up in blankets. She is hovering all over him, and I’m extremely alarmed. I’m not alarmed that he is sick. I am alarmed that I think I suddenly hate him. She is talking so fast and I’m working overtime in a rather inebriated state to just block out everything she is saying. I’m catching bits and pieces of the drama. He called…he said you went out….he needed help….he felt so bad. 

I’m pretty sure I just stared at them.  My annoyed stare face is not very subtle.  She finally left and I went to bed and closed the door. In the morning I didn’t ask him how he felt. As soon as he felt better, I think I told him I needed a break and he needed to go home for a while. 

When I tell this story to other women, they laugh like there is no tomorrow. Why is this funny?

I can’t imagine that I didn’t break up with him.  Luckily he had some overriding good traits.  He never knew that one moment was almost a deal breaker. 

Let that be a lesson to you young girls.  And mental note to teach baby darling that once he starts dating he must never call me unless he’s in an ambulance.

June 25, 2013

Time to get right

This week my kids entered a special boot camp I’ve created out of desperation.  It’s called 1976.  Remember what we did in the summer of ’76?  Bell bottoms, feathered hair, tube socks and these songs. 

More importantly, in 1976, we climbed trees, drank from the hose, rode bikes, walked to Time Saver for Bubblicious and pop rocks, and played hide and go seek with the neighborhood kids, usually well into the night.  Funny how none of us were kidnapped, raped or maimed, despite not wearing helmets and our parents not having a clue where we were.

We were not allowed to sloth around in the house all day.  My mom’s favorite saying was “Go outside.”

There weren’t elaborate cooked meals for lunch.  We ate baloney sandwiches.  We weren’t aware of other options, like fancy pita breads, grilled Panini sandwiches, and various meat and cheese selections.  Our choice of baloney was with olives or without.

There was no Minecraft, no Xboxes, no cable TV, and no IPhones.  Therefore, none of these things are present in the 1976 camp.  I’m debating whether I will force them to play frogger.  Remember our version of Minecraft?  It was called “Adventure”…it was the game with the dragons…they chased you through those ‘castles’ and you had to find that secret key.

The reason for the camp is because my kids are asses.

I’ve spent 30 days carting them around to festivals and parties.  They’ve been to water parks and to the movies.  Bowling and miniature golf.  They’ve eaten from cool food trucks and have been to several restaurants.  They spent a day in the French Quarter and have been to the Museum of Art.

I’ve finally come to the realization that none of this matters.  They fight and whine and act unappreciative.   And I’m sick of it.

I was so sick of them last week that at one point I actually refused to feed them.  You think I’m kidding?  The muthas were quite amused with this fracas.

They always get a good snack after swimming.  On one particular day, they wanted hashbrowns and eggs with fresh tomatoes and bacon.  They’re accustomed to the waitstaff here.  I smirked and told them hell no.

I refused to feed them.  I told them I wasn’t preparing another meal until they helped me clean the ENTIRE house.  Then I told them as soon as they ate their snack, they were heading outside.  FOR THE DAY.  They were not to come inside until dark.

They whined that they would be hot and thirsty.  I reminded them that they have a pool and a fridge stocked with water and juice boxes.  A far cry from riding my bike all sweaty with a red face in 1976 and drinking from the hose.  I mean seriously, did we even have trees for shade back then?

The day was quite amusing.  They swam.  They rode bikes.  They dug holes in the yard.  They picked tomatoes.  They caught bugs.  They walked to the park.  They brought rocks home from the railroad tracks.  They found old paint in the basement and painted the rocks.  They did not fight.  They did not whine.  And I did not spend a dime.  It was a jackass free zone.

Somehow, we were all righted.

You’re welcome.  Enjoy your right side up day.

June 15, 2013

There's No Cryin In Rock 'n Roll

Well madpeople, father’s day is upon us and my heart is bleeding for my precious boys.  I’m the ultimate over-compensater.  I can spin a bad situation into a lighthearted one, I can force my way through deep shit like a mad bull.  My head is high and my heart is joyful, mostly.  But I’m still just a chick.  A mutha.  I’m not a man.  I’m not a daddy.  I can’t replace him.  And it’s so unfair.

These kids are the best.  They are sweet and gentle and kind and funny and so full of love.  They deserve to be sandwiched between a mom and a dad.  They deserve to play football and baseball and soccer in the yard with their dad.  They deserve to learn from a good man how to treat a woman, how to be a husband, how to be a provider.  And they’ll have none of it.  Not a lick.  And it makes a part of me die inside.

I try not to freak out because I know surely there must exist men who achieved greatness despite not having a father.  I know books have been written and statistics charted that say my boys are likely to be deficient in some way, solely due to their lack of a father figure.  I desperately want to believe that my love, my passion, will make it untrue.

I once boasted that my love was not regular.  Someone once told me that knowing me was like knowing fire.  I try to convince myself that I can be everything they need.  Deep inside I feel it’s untrue.

I don’t need him.  I really don’t.  But they do.  The brutal agony turns to anger so that I can function.  I know what to do with anger.  I don’t know what to do with agony.  The anger fuels me.  The agony destroys me.  This is one of the benefits of being a suicide survivor.  The anger props you up, nudges you.  I’m the best when someone tells me I can’t do something.

I’m sobbing now, but not hysterically because my boys are in the next room.  We’re going to my dad’s today, to get what little bit of dadness we can swipe in a short time.  The big boys recently discovered an affinity for Lynyrd Skynyrd, so we’re going to dry the tears, open the roof and crank it up loud on the way.  There’s no crying in rock n roll.

This was sent straight from Dave today...give it a whirl.  A little Freebird is good for the soul.

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now
'Cause there's too many places I must see

If I stayed here with you, girl
Things just couldn't be the same
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now
And this bird you cannot change

And the bird you cannot change
And the bird you cannot change
Lord knows, I can't change

Bye, bye, it's been a sweet love
Though this feeling I can't change
But please don't take it so badly
'Cause Lord knows I'm to blame

But if I stayed here with you, girl
Things just couldn't be the same
Cause I'm as free as a bird now
And this bird you cannot change

I'm the bird you cannot change
And this bird you cannot change
Lord knows, I can't change
Lord help me, I can't change

Oh, I can't change
Fly free bird