Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sorry I haven't blogged lately.....

Thank you all for your concerns and good wishes, and the kitties thank you for your comments on their holiday attire!!

I have been incredibly SWAMPED at work with year-end adjustments for W-2s, people scrambling to make changes to their 401K contributions due to the economy, raises, promotions, you name it - a lot of which I've been doing at home just to keep up. Add to that construction workers ripping out my vented natural gas fireplace, which was energy deficient, allowing cold air to come in to the house, to be replaced by a vent-free natural gas fireplace. Trying to get Christmas cards done (I have started!) and the everyday stuff that needs to get done, I am soooooo far behind on both reading my favorite blogs and finishing my next installment of my loony life, I'm just a tad overwhelmed!

The anti-depressant is finally kicking in & I'm feeling a lot better, although they do make me feel tired, and it's helping me cope with the feeling of being so overwhelmed.

On the bright side, while I haven't spoken to my normal GYN, another doctor in the group read my biopsy results to me, and in his opinion, the first two are within normal ranges, nothing to worry about. The third is a something-or-other "Type 1", which he says, they don't really see as worrisome. Had it been a Type 2 or Type 3, there would be cause for concern and probably would result in having to go through laser surgery to remove the cells in that area. He said that I should feel relieved

So.... onto the rest of my very hectic work week. Thank you all again for your concerns, and hopefully I'll be back to my favorite blog readings and blogging again - time off for the holidays should give me some extra time to catch up!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving, and Happy Holidays from 2 of the cats!

Thanksgiving was a quiet one. When my mother was still mobile and able to climb stairs, I hosted Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my house for 15 years.

After my second divorce, when I moved to my condo, which was a second floor townhouse, my mom could no longer do stairs, so my sister took over (woohoo!!) I got away easy since then, and my sister usually did a turkey breast, but the place she's working now gave out full sized turkeys to the employees, and she didn't have a clue what to do with it.

So, the Sunday before, I dropped off my roasting pan & rack, brining mix, and directions on how to brine the turkey and then roast it. She was a little intimidated, as she mostly steams and grills most of their usual meals. HA!!! I put her to the challenge, to which she first balked saying she didn't know if she had the time for all that, but I just left her with the main ingredients to force her to learn how to do a turkey.

She didn't disappoint. While I would have roasted the turkey a little longer at the higher temp without foil to really crisp up the skin, being the health nut she is, the thermometer read 170 degrees and she doesn't do skin anymore (we used to fight over the crispy stuff when we were kids) the turkey came out of the oven to "rest". We feasted on shrimp cocktail and bruschetta before dinner, then the feast began.

Melanie making the Caesar Salad:

Tim, David, My 91 year old mom, and my brother in law Danny, who's been going through chemo for his Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, deep in conversation:

Tim & David....

I made 2 pumpkin pies, 1 for all of us, and 1 for my son to take home - he always said I made the best pumpkin pie in the world. Here's mom enjoying her slice of pumpkin pie...

Tim's Tennessee Titans were playing, and he and Danny kept their eyes glued on the game:

And David, being the electronics geek that he is, couldn't stay away from the computer - he's been wheeling and dealing on ebay, buying and re-selling I Pods and made $1,000 in the last month with his deals.... I have no idea how he does it!!

I helped Melanie clean up, and we were stuffed to the max! In addition to my pumpkin pie, she bought a blueberry pie, a chocolate mousse pie, a coconut creme and pignole cookies!! We had an excellent Pinot Grigio to go with dinner, so clean up was a breeze!

Dutifully stuffed, we made our leftover containers and said our goodbyes, as it was nearing time for Simba's insulin shot.

When I think back on the days that I did the holidays for 15+ people, I didn't really feel too badly leaving my sister with a rinsed-off, 2nd round for the dishwasher.... this would have been cake for me!!

And now, the kitties want to wish you all a happy holiday season... Simba as an elf (he was so humiliated!) and Gumbo, crabby as can be....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We have some results....

Well, we went for our annual physical today. Tim's blood pressure is a little on the high side on the lower numbers - after 3 try's, his lower level was between 90-100, so he got a script for BP med and needs to drink lots of water and go back to the lab in 3 weeks for another urinalisys, as his urine sample showed something BP related.

Both of our cholesterol levels were acceptable.. mine 210, which the doc was happy with, but wants me to start fish oil supplements to the vitamin routine, and I don't remember Tim's, but the doc was happy with it, and said he wouldn't hurt things if he went on fish oil also. He also told us to boost our Flaxseed Oil 2x a day instead of once a day.

Doc's analysis of me was fine, bloodwork good, but why do I feel so tired, cry at the drop of the hat, feel so sleepy...

His analysis (he is revered as an amazing diagnostician) is that I am suffering from depression. Despite my cheerleader attitude, I was masking my feelings of my brother in law's non-hodgkins lymphoma, my son's divorce, and my EXTREME pressure at work the last two weeks.

Doc gave me a month's worth of an anti depressent. We'll see what happensl...

My biopsy results were still not in today, so I have to check to see what it says, but everything seems fine....... let's just wait and see......................

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tomorrow will Tell....

Tim and I are due for our annual physicals tomorrow morning. The big issue with both of us is cholesteral levels (we're both on different meds) . We had our bloodwork done last Saturday - full health profile and cholesterol screening and liver functions (as some of the meds I'm on, including the cholesterol med, hormones, and another can effect the liver function).

I've been feeling really, really tired lately - to the point that people at work are telling me how tired I look - I have no idea why, we've been eating healthy, cut fat way down, I've actually been able to get Tim to eat some veggies which he'd never even think of touching.

I get plenty of exercise at work, walking all over the building every day. I drive to work so that Tim can read the paper, and he drives home so I can chill. I've been falling asleep on the way home, Tim having to wake me when we get home, and I feel like I could just go to bed and continue sleeping; then I come around, do supper, catch up on the internet, and am usually in bed by 10, but it doesn't seem enough.

I've had a few mornings where I "wake up" taking care of the cats - Simba needs to not only eat, but has take two pills and an injection of insulin as part of his morning routine. The others only need food, then I hit the shower. I seem to have gotten totally awake till the drive to work, and then I get sleepy again, to the point that I feel like I'm going to fall asleep at the wheel. Not good!!

We take a daily regimen of vitamins, so one would think we'd feel fine.

I know I have a lot going on in my life - I cry at the drop of a hat, due to my brother in law's cancer and his treatments, which have made him so, so sick and losing weight that he didn't need to lose... David & Lisa's divorce, and TREMENDOUS stress at work due to year end W2 adjustments, bonuses, etc

I'm also awaiting biopsy results from my last pap spear.... even though I've had a hysterectomy, I still need to get a vaginal pap (sorry guys) and it came out "abnormal". While vaginal cancer is rare, my doc said he needed to do a polscopy (biopsy under microscope) and that's what we're wating on - I had it done last Wednesday, but the results weren't back still as of today.

So, hopefully, tomorrow we may have some answers from my blood work... It's not every day that I feel off kilter, but there are many. Keep your fingers crossed for me, will ya?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!!

Well, I need to take a break from reliving the lowest point of my life.

I hit the speed limit!! My birthday was Saturday, 11/22 - hard to forget as President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on my 10th birthday, and every time they make that "milestone" in the news, it sucks me back to that day.
My mom baked cupcakes to bring to school to share with my classmates after lunch, which was pretty much a tradition back in the day. Now, you can't do that, because certain kids have allergies to some foods so it's now unacceptable.

Shortly after lunch recess, our principal came to the door as asked our teacher, Mrs. Brickley, to step out into the hall. She returned in tears, telling us our President was shot in Dallas, TX, but his condition was unkown. We were all crying, and the cupcakes forgotten about.

There was a television right outside the principal's office, and grades 5-8 were called out to watch the news as it was reported. It was announced before school ended that our President was dead.
There was no early dismissal; we sat and cried till it was time to board the bus home. I came home to my mother, glued to the television and crying.... I call this "the birthday that never was". My godmother, Aunt Millie, had a gift for me, and I walked down the two houses to her house to retrieve my Barbie case, and my 45 rpm record of Ricky Nelson's "Fools Rush In".

There was no birthday celebration in the house that day, and not after, as we witnessed the sadness of America on TV the entire weekend.

Well, this weekend was different, as were previous ones since Kennedy's assassination.
My BFF, Sam, emailed me early in the day only, asking if she could borrow one of our cat carriers, as she only had one, but had to bring 2 to the vet on Saturday for their shots and annual check up. I told her to give a call when she got home, as we're usually home by 6.
We also had a carpenter friend coming over to assess our switch from vented to non vented gas fireplace. They arrive first, and Tim was busy with them when Sam showed up.
She showed up with a bouquet of flowers, 2 balloons saying "5" (there was a language problem betwen her and the guy at the dollar store - they didn't have a 55, nor did they have a 50, so she told him to just give her two 5's. She also gave me a really cute canvas pocketbook with a tiger kitty, much like Reba on it!

Sam asked me what we were doing for my birthday, and I mentioned that we were going to Asian Bistro for Hibachi. She said she had a coupon for 50% off a 2nd entree, but only Sunday through Thursday. So, she said she'd leave the coupon in the mailbox for us, which we picked up on Saturday morning. David called on Saturday to wish me a happy birthday and arranged to stop by Saturday afternoon. The cats all came out and were so happy to see their "brother". He gave me a card and a gift card to Target - my most favorite store!!
We had a quiet dinner at home and celebrated with some champagne and a visit to the hot tub.
I slept in yesterday and Tim took care of the cats.... here are some pics of our dinner being prepared. No pics of the VERY comfortable computer chair that Tim bought me.

An onion Mt. Fuji with a squirting boy doll putting out the flames

Here, after he put out the flames, he made clanging noises with his spatula, saying choo-choo Mt. Fuji train...

I love you, made with some veggies, fried rice, and noodles:

Dinner was preceded with Miso soup and a salad with ginger dressing (YUM!) I had the filet mignon with lobster tail, Tim had just filet mignon. You get 2 shrimp with your meal (unless you order shrimp hibachi) so I gained two shrimp (Tim gave me his). Dinner cooking away:

Sorry, but at this point I was so hungry, I forgot to take a pic of the finished product, but it was WAY too much food, and so delicious, we had left overs to take to work for our lunch today.
All in all, it was a great weekend; I only teared up twice, when I read Tim's "serious" card, and when I got home today to a Hallmark e-card from my now ex daughter in law.
From this point on, I'm stickin' to 50-something!! Why is it that when we're young, the years seem to drag, but as you get older, they fly by???
I'm working on going backwards....

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Past Revisited, Part 2

I need to rewind to '80 for a minute. Please pardon the fast forwards and rewinds, as after going through photo albums that I haven't looked at for so long, my mind has become a VCR - memories pop up like bad dreams in the middle of the night, and I need to voice them, clear the cobwebs and let not only you, but me, know the crap I put up with, having two loving families and many neighbors as such good friends, a beautiful bright little boy and a husband that I thought loved me, yet showed signs I missed at such a naive stage of my life, and how I got to who I am now.

Two of my best friends were also in early marriages - one, Joanne, who already had a daughter, Melissa, born in '76, and son Michael, born 9 days before my David, and the other, Sam, my BFF since 3rd grade, who got married a couple of months after me, but was still childless. Joanne and I got together often for lunch at either her house or mine, and the boys began to be friends as babies. Sam was a career girl at the time, and we were in and out of touch with each other, as we had such different lives at this time (she was also having problems that she, as an only child, kept to herself, not telling me till much, much later).

I digress once again. Not long after we moved into our house, Dom informed me that I had to find a night job somewhere because things were tight (could be his coke habit needed more funding?) He also had a fascination with guns, as did his friend Frank, and bought a .357 Magnum.... but we needed more money? I was always terrified of guns, and demanded that the gun was stored in the attic, totally away from my and David's sight. Add to that his subscription to "Hustler" magazine, which once read, went into a box in the attic.

Once we moved to the house, we were closer to some of Dom's friends and their wives (three of whom I really did consider true friends). Our kids were about the same age within a year or so, and we used to have "play group" once a week at some one's house. The moms, Nancy, had Todd, a year older than David, JoAnn (not to be confused with my Joanne), mother of twins Stacy & Jen, a year older than David, and Theresa, who had Melissa, a year older than David and Ricky, two years younger. The kids would get to play, we could sit at the table and complain (or brag) about something our husbands did in the prior week, and have general girl talk. In the winter months, whoever was hosting would make a quiche (very in at the time) and we'd have lunchables for the kids. During the summer, we'd enjoy the pool together with the kids, and have hot dogs on the grill for lunch. The kids had a ball together and David is still friends with the children of two of the moms in this group.

There was another group of moms that we were all pretty much considered "underlings" to, because they lived in better neighborhoods and their husbands were more successful. But all of the guys of the group met the same way, at a factory, and each went either up the ladder or remained status quo, but got together for poker once a month, and a once a year an RV weekend trip to Atlantic City (There's a whole 'nother story there).

Theresa worked at McDonald's on the night shift, and "got me in" to work the same. It was something like 6-11. This seemed to make Dom happy; I don't know how I ever agreed to him handling all the family finances, but he did - actually, I don't think there was ever even a discussion - he was doing it, and I had no say. I do remember my ex mother in law telling me that it's the man's job... but I should have an "allowance" if there was enough money.

Being the new kid on the block in the job, I got to do some of the nastiest elements of a job at McDonald's behind the scenes. I worked the window like everyone else, but at closing time, being the underling, one of my duties was to clean the deep fryer areas. This involved shutting down the fryer (350 degree oil), putting the baskets in the giant dishwasher, and wiping down the stainless backsplash behind the oil bins. It also involved changing the oil using some kind of machine, once a week, then replacing it with a giant tub of something that looked like Crisco when it first came out.

About a month into the job, as I was wiping down this area, and the cloth I was using dislodged a drainage trough which caught the oil coming back down from the exhaust fans. I was never instructed to remove these troughs, rinse and throw them into the dishwasher, which I should have been trained to do. End result was the trough crashing down into the still 350 degree oil, splattering my arms (which I put up to protect my face) and splattering superficial burns on my face and chest.

There was a burn so bad on my left arm that I instinctively wiped to get the hot grease off of me. About a 5" x 5" area of skin of my lower left arm (the hairy part before the wrist) just peeled off and looked like a slab of cheese hanging from me. An equally large area on the back side of my right arm immediately grew into a HUGE blister. The manager on duty told someone to go and get some butter to put on the wounds (what an asshole - worst thing in the world to do) Theresa knew better and said "she needs a clean bowl of ice water!!!" Someone filled a clean plastic trash bag with ice and water and put my arms in it and tied it up. I went into shock... the pain was so severe that it got to the point I didn't feel anything, but started to shake uncontrollably. Instead of calling 911, the manager on duty asked Theresa if she was done with her closing duties and could bring me to the emergency room!

All I can remember is being immediately brought into a triage room, with my arms soaking in a bowl of ice cold, sanitized water. Turned out I had 3rd degree burns on my left arm and 2nd & 3rd on my right. I was given pain meds and antibiotics, the wounds were cleaned and some kind of meds put on them, and and I was bandaged on both arms from my fingers to my elbows after almost 3 hours. Theresa called Dom at some point to tell him what happened and that I wouldn't be coming home for a while.

When I got home around 3:00 a.m., I was greeted with a "what the hell did you do?" I think I told him to go f*ck himself, and dropped into bed totally loopy from the pain meds. When David awoke for a feeding and diaper change, I informed Dom that I was unable to do neither and he'd have to be late for work. I called my mom, who came every day till my bandages were off, till Dom got home and had to take over. He seemed to so resent it, and I internally blamed him for forcing me to get a night job... why couldn't he????

Once I healed, I started a "career" in being a Tupperware lady, where I did ok, but not enough to keep Dom happy. Somehow we managed to appear as a happy couple, but I remember at one point going to a pawn shop to pawn my high school ring and another piece of old jewelry I had to buy David a new pair of shoes. I had a limited "allowance" and I wouldn't put anything but Stride Rites on David's feet during his early growing years. I really had no money of my own to update my wardrobe and pretty much wore the things I had since we got married. No new "trendy" clothes for me! I dutifully turned my paychecks over to Dom when I got them.

Well, the Tupperware thing pretty much ended up being a waste of my time - I couldn't get people to book parties (I'm not an aggressive sales person by any means) and packed that in.

Somehow I ended up getting a job at Friendly's at the ice cream counter, nights and weekends. I enjoyed the job, it was fun, and I met Shirley, whose son David was the same age as my David and years later ended up being neighbors, going to the same school, and becoming best friends.

One embarrassing heartache for me at this job, though, was when my boss, George, approached me and asked me if there was something I could do with my hair. That would never fly now, but back then, my hair was long and straight, and all I really did was pull it back in a pony tail for work. Fluffy perms and blow dried short hair were in style then, and I had neither - there was no money in the budget for that. David's godmother was a barber, and cut Dom's hair for free.

I relayed this to Dom, and of course, there was no money for me to get a perm - they were too expensive. My cousin Kathy, a hairdresser, and also my mom's goddaughter, saved the day when I called my mom and told her about my predicament, and she asked Kathy if she would give me a perm at my mom's house at cost, and my mom would pay for it. I'd never felt so humiliated in my life.

When I think back on all my parents did for us - gave us the down payment on our house, to be deducted from my inheritance, of course, my mom helping when I got burned, my dad who came and tilled a piece of land each summer since we bought the house and planted a garden for us, and hand poured a cement patio at the back of the house using a good old fashioned cement mixer. The only thing he asked of Dom (dad was close to 70 at this point) was to fill the forms that my dad laid out with whatever kind of fill he could find - rocks, scrap metal, etc. - and Dom was scurrying at the last minute (he did fear my dad) grabbing whatever he could find, the day my dad showed up with the cement mixer to do the job. It was clear that my dad was less than pleased. When that job was done, it was my dad that grabbed David and put his hand prints and the date in the corner of the patio. You would have thought that Dom would have been so grateful to my parents, but he seemed to resent them. Maybe he was embarrassed because his mother made it clear from the beginning that she wasn't a built in baby sitter (although she did work full time), and Saturday nights out were theirs. Occasionally we still joined them if we could find a sitter for David, and his dad paid the tab, but at this point, my parents did most of the help.

Life's so funny - many years later, when I was working a second job in the cash office of BJs Wholesale club to make extra money while David was attending college, one of the girls I worked with owned my old house - I noticed the address when I was passing out the paychecks. I asked her if my son's handprints were still on the patio, or if they faded with time, but she reassured me they were still there and wondered who that little boy was! At some point, David visited me at work and met her - I can only remember that her last name was Burnett, like the comedienne, Carol. She looked at him and said "my, what a fine young man you turned out to be - and your hands are a lot bigger!"

Some time in I think '81, the office manager from the accounting firm where I previously worked called me and asked if I'd be interested in working part time, as she was pregnant and was going to leave and they were looking for a new office manager, but she wanted me back as a secretary/paraprofessional - and the money was good. My mom had recently retired, and I asked her if she could babysit David in the afternoons while I worked. She was more than thrilled to do this for me. I had to be at work for noon, so I would drive the 10 miles from New Haven to Derby to drop off David, then drive to Woodbridge (about 5 miles back toward home) to work. My mom met me every day in the parking lot in Woodbridge at 5:00 p.m. and handed David over to me to lessen my trip back to Derby then New Haven. This continued till David entered kindergarten in '84. My mom was a remedial reading teacher before her retirement, and David was reading by the age of 3!!!

Financially, things improved at home, I was "allowed" to buy some new clothes appropriate for work, and we began to renovate our kitchen. My dad and uncle Marty refinished the cabinets and added handles to make them look less 50's, and installed my roll-away dishwasher permanently and added some new cabinetry to blend and make it look like it was always there. We installed a new kitchen floor, and Dom's friend Ralph, who was a carpenter, closed up the over sized doorway between the kitchen and living room, making a "window" with decorative posts in the wall instead (they used to call them shadow boxes), so that we could look through the kitchen from the living room and vice versa. There was already a regular doorway into the kitchen from the hallway, so this made the kitchen look much bigger. Ralph also made a sophet between the ceiling and the cabinets with recessed lights. The old kitchen also had panelling halfway up, which Ralph removed and found turquoise tiles on the wall (remember, it was a house built in the 50's). So he cut that sheet rock out and installed fresh new sheet rock and taped it perfectly to the upper old. My father in law finally got involved, being a master at wallpapering, and papered the kitchen in a really pretty pattern I'd picked out.

In September of '83, I became pregnant again. I had been on the pill since David's birth, and at some point in '83 my OB/GYN guy suggested I give my body a break from the pill, and if we weren't planning any children soon, to use alternate precautions. Well, I don't think I even need to tell you, but Dom would NEVER use a condom (he had passed genital warts to me from one of his cheating episodes and I had to go through a very painful cryostatic removal surgery early in our marriage). Well, as you all are probably aware, the only alternatives were the "rhythm" method, or an IUD, which I REFUSED to do!

When I told Dom I was pregnant, I thought he might be happy, but instead became angry and accused me of "tricking" him (HUH???????). Well, with the support of our neighbors and friends, he seemed to accept it. I started spotting sometime in late November, went to the doc, and they did blood work. They said it appeared the pregnancy was a "low tider" which basically means it wasn't a strong pregnancy and I may miscarry. I was told to take it easy (sure, with a 4 year old, a job, and two dogs!

I am so sorry if any of this sounds gross or offends any of you, but I think this was the most painful point in my life, to this day. I awoke Christmas Eve morning feeling like shit. I felt sick in a way I never felt. My son's godmother, Carol, came for an early morning visit to give David his Christmas present, and she said I looked terrible. I told her I felt horrible and had a funny feeling that I was going to miscarry. She tried to reassure me and told me not to think like that, but soon after she left, I went to the bathroom and felt something leave my body. I KNEW I lost the baby, and yelled for Dom to call the doctor, after explaining why, he did - I wasn't moving from where I was till I heard what the doc said. Dom brought me the cordless phone, and my doctor told me to meet him at the emergency room, and if I hadn't flushed the toilet, to retrieve what I felt "leave my body". I relayed this to Dom, who told me I was on my own on that one, so in tears, I asked him to bring me one of those soft butter containers that we kept for leftovers and such, which he did, and promptly closed the door on me. This was the most gut wrenching experience of my life, to retrieve a three month old embryo (looking like a very small child) and transferring it to a container and covering it.

I was bleeding profusely and had to apply the proper feminine products and dress to go to the hospital. We dropped David off at my in-laws, telling him we had to go see the doctor but we'd be right back, as Santa was coming tonight!

The first thing Dom said to me once we were in the car alone was "it's better off". I couldn't believe my ears and just ignored him all the way to the hospital. My doctor met us there, got me into a room in ER, and being Christmas Eve, staff was limited. This was also back in the day that they had to have proof of a miscarriage because if I had a D&C without "proof" they could have been accused of performing an illegal abortion. Well, pathology confirmed that I had passed a baby girl, but there was still "stuff" that needed to be removed. The only way they could do a D&C with anesthesia was to admit me and wait till the day after Christmas when full staff was on board, as I was in danger of infection and would have to have an IV drip of antibiotics till they could perform the procedure. The only thing that was going through my mind was that it was Christmas Eve, Santa was coming (all the toys were in the attic) and what would this do to David if mommy didn't come home? The only alternative was for my doc to do it with oral painkillers - and that it would be painful. I agreed to it. The nurse helping gave me a wash cloth to put in my mouth and bite on it when the pain became unbearable, and to hold on to her as tight as I needed to. It was nothing like I could ever explain - it felt like my innerds were being pulled from out of me, but I did it, for my David. They drugged me up and sent me on my way with more painkillers and some antibiotics to help me along for the next 48 hours or so.

When we showed up at my mother in law's, the first words out of her mouth were "and don't you start crying - I have enough to cry about tonight" (she had lost her younger brother Skip, who lived with them, earlier in the year, and it was the first Christmas without him, so her tears took precedence.) I was beside myself that she didn't even feel anything about losing a grandchild, but I was back with my David, and I told him that Mommy was all better and after we had dinner and opened presents, we'd go home and wait for Santa. The only people present that hugged me and expressed sympathy to me was Dom's sister (who told me to ignore her mother), Aunt Lee (mother in law's brother Jimmy's wife) and Terry (Lee & Jimmy's son, Jimmy's girlfriend). The night was not about me. I lost something that I guess only I cared about, and went into stoic mode. We had our lobster, manicotti, antipasto, etc., opened presents and went home. I didn't say a word to Dom for the rest of the night except that once David was sound asleep, to get up into the attic and put Santa's presents under the tree. I bathed David and got him to bed, and told him to make sure he slept tight so that Santa would come. When he awoke, happy as a clam, opening all the things Santa brought was got me through what I was struggling with mentally.

We went up to my parent's house later in the day so David could collect more loot from Grammy & "Boopie" (what he called my dad), and Auntie Mel and Uncle Ding (my sister Melanie, and her husband Danny - when David was a baby, he couldn't say Dan, it came out Ding (he loved his uncle Ding), and my sister labelled the two of them as Ding and Dong).

Dom wasn't much of a father in trying sports or teaching David anything. Danny was really the only real father figure in David's life - throw a ball, bat with a giant bat, fly up in the air, etc. and to this day, David is very close to Danny - and still calls him Ding. David's name changed to "Devo" when the band Devo began to appear on MTV - David loved them, and my sister and Danny started calling him Devo, which they do to this day.

Fast forward back to 1984... earlier that year, Dom was helping his friend, Ralph, who did our kitchen, update the second floor apartment (a mess) of Ralph's future apartment into a usable living area. The electrical was not to code, and Dom updated everything to code. Ralph's sister's husband owned the house, and hired Dom to update the electrical, even knowing he didn't have a degree or licence, knew what he was doing. He worked for an electrical supply house, and had knowledge from his uncle Skip, who was an electrical engineer before he was forced to retire due to his heart problems... plus he started attending University of New Haven the previous year to get a degree in electrical engineering, which Uncle Skip was paying for but Dom couldn't handle the pressure of a job, school and husband/father and quit. Uncle Skip was disappointed in Dom. This work was being done sometime in the early spring of '84. Ralph and Patty were to be married in April or May of '84.

David turned 5 in July, and when I went to register him for kindergarten, I actually had a hard time, as he just turned 5, and they scheduled him for afternoon classes for the "younger" kids, with a milder curriculum. I told them that David already was reading, and they questioned whether he was memorizing books or really reading. I told them to test him, which they did, and they were amazed! Not only did they move him to morning kindergarten, but he was going to 1st grade for an hour a day for reading classes!!

I digress - when David was born, my friend Mike, the guitarist, from Bethlehem, CT wanted to come over and bring a gift - we stayed in touch off and on, but Dom insisted on coming home for lunch to make sure nothing else but a friendship existed. But this does play a role in this installment later.

Ralph's sister Janet had a horrible relationship with her husband, Ray, but they had a daughter, Dawn, who was about David's age. David and I accompanied Dom on these renovation trips, because Ralph's sister, though married, always had a group of her single girl friends over almost every night. I went because at this point, I had no trust in Dom, and wanted to be there. Besides, David had a playmate to boot.

The "girls" accepted me, and asked me to join them for "Thursday Night Out".... I was shocked that Dom agreed to "allow" me to go, as he was always suspicious that I would cheat (I guess a cheater doesn't trust), and started to go to a popular dance club on Thursdays. One of the girls in the group, Denise, had a boyfriend named Mike who was one of the most unattractive, fat, pockmarked guy I had ever seen. Denise relayed the fact that he was just someone to say she had a boyfriend. Her previous boyfriend, who was very handsome, dumped her for a beautiful, educated woman. Denise actually hid behind a tree the day he married her, basically stalking their wedding.

I stayed in the loop of the Thursday night out because I didn't trust Denise - she was a tall, big titted Italian (no racism meant) that was as dumb as a stump, but according to some of my male friends from work, gave a hell of a blow job out in the parking lot of the bar.

She visited our house frequently over the summer when Carlo had to go. She wanted to be my BFF it seemed, but she was after my husband (which I later found out.) She called frequently too, and also came over with Mike a couple of times on a Friday or Saturday night, for cocktails and pickies and to play Nintendo, which was HUGE at the time.

Fast forward to fall. Dom wasn't the least bit interested in seeing his son get on the school bus for the first time. I had switched my work hours to a.m. while David was at school, but hadn't found anyone to get him off the bus till I got home, except my neighbor, Rose, who said she would, but to remind her.

Carlo was gone, and I was taking David, my mom, and my 2 aunts to the Bethlehem Fair. Dom didn't want to go. When I got to my mom's house, she didn't feel like going, and my aunt Sophie and aunt Claire didn't feel like going either. I wasn't about to go back home, as I was half way there, so Dave and I went. I never even gave it a thought to call Dom and tell him it was just me & David going.

My friend Mike was running the hot dog/hamburg stand for the Rotary Club and we went by to say hello. His mom, who was secretary of the fair for years, wanted to see David. They always let me park in their driveway, right next to the fairgrounds. We stopped by the secretary's booth to say hi, and Mike's mom asked us to please hang around till the end (5:00) so that she could get to chat with David, who she heard so much about, but never saw.

At the end of the fair, Mike's mom invited us over to see the new horses that they acquired. Heather, who was born of one of their horses, Ginger, was a beauty. She was born in the winter and they brought her inside by the fireplace to get warm and bottle fed because Ginger didn't take to her mom duties right away.

Mike whistled and yelled "Heather" and she came running. She was enthralled with David's hair, which was the color of straw, and just kept licking him. This was David's first experience with a horse, and he fell in love with her.

We didn't stay too long, and stopped at my mom's before we went home. David's first day of school was the next day, and I called Dom to say we were on our way home, but to call our neighbor Rose, to remind her to get David off the bus the next day and that I'd be there within a half hour to get him.

Well, as usual, I was the only one there to take pictures of David getting on the bus for the first time. I later got a call at work from Rose, who asked what she was supposed to do with David, as the bus dropped him off there. Dom never called her. I apologized and said I'd be there within a half hour. I called Dom when I got home from picking up David from Rose's house, and he said "he forgot."

I had something to do the next night, (food shopping I think) and David drew a picture of Heather. When his father asked him who it was, he told him it was Mommy's friend Mike's Heather the horse.

When I got home, I was interrogated about how David got to see Heather, and I explained. He accused me of making up the story that my mom and aunts didn't feel like going. He called my mom and verified that she didn't feel like going.

Well, Denise took full opportunity (even though she didn't know the story at the time) to tell Dom (I'm guessing he called her and told her what he suspected) I was cheating on him with Mike.... WHEN????? She told him I met him on a couple of our "Thursday Night Girl's Night Out" SO FULL OF SHIT!!! AND she got the other girls to back her because they were BFF's and knew that Denise was after Dom. Not only was Mike was dating Kathy at the time, he usually had gigs to play from Thursday-Sunday. We were just friends, and his mom really wanted to see David, and David wanted to see the horses. Nothing more. Her calls to me almost became non-existant. When I called her, she said she was busy with her new boyfriend, Angel Aponte.

Well, the next night, after David was asleep, Dom got in my face, accusing me of having an affair, and tried to hit me, but I ducked, and he missed. I picked up the phone to call my brother in law, who, although much smaller than Dom, was a 3rd degree black belt in Karate and could have kicked his ass from here to kingdom come. He ripped the phone out of the wall. I was never so frightened in my life, as I had never seen this side of Dom. I threatened to go across the street to our neighbors', who were like parents to us, and he stopped.

I made arrangements for David to be dropped off at Louise's house, around the corner from us, who had a day care, and signed up for it. It was reasonable.

Dom continued with an attitude toward me and I suggested that maybe he should go back to his mother's house for a few days to get himself together, because I had no idea what was bothering him.

A few days later, my poor neighbor Josephine, across the street from me, witnessed Dom removing things from the house to his truck while I was at work. She couldn't remember the name of the accounting firm I worked at and was sick over what she saw him doing.

I stopped at Louise's on my way home and she said Dom picked David up (odd, I thought). When I got home, the house was in a shambles. He took what he thought he was entitled to; I didn't know where David was. I called Dom's mother's house and he answered the phone. I asked where David was and he said "right here" but wouldn't let me talk to him. I was frantic. He said he would be over in a little while. He showed up, without David, and I was freaking out. He got in my face and said he knew I was cheating and was moving out, wanting a divorce - and he wanted it to KILL me to see me lose the house! I reminded him that my parents provided the downpayment and at such an early stage, we had no equity in the house, and the only person he would hurt by trying to get the house was David - who would lose his neighborhood friends, his school, his home. Dom also took Mandy, and dumped her with his mother. The fight was on.... when I questioned his mother as to what had transpired, all she could say was that he was mad and didn't want to talk about it.

Dom left and I still didn't know where David was... my sister in law (Dom's sister) finally called me and said she was on her way with him, as they went to McDonald's for dinner. David knew nothing about his father moving out, and I tried to act as normally as I could. I told him daddy was still at grandma's because he was mad about something, but David didn't understand why daddy took "Mimi" (who was Mandy). I told him Mandy was at grandma T's because no one was home to take care of her at our house while daddy moved to grandma "T's.

Well, I was served with divorce papers. I hired an attorney to represent me, who suggested a private investigator, which my mom and dad offered to pay for. Turned out, Dom was involved with Denise. One Sunday in the near future, when Dom supposedly had David for a "custody" visit, I went to pick up David at Grandma "T"s. Dom was all prepping in the bathroom, shaving, etc. I took David with me, and on the way home, passed by Denise's house - who was walking up to her door, but Dom..... and Denise walking out to meet him. Denise's mom and dad were outside putting Xmas lights on their bushes and came up to the car to say hi.... I asked them who they thought that guy was, and they responded "Angel Aponte" Denise's new boyfriend. I informed them that that was my husband, and they should be ashamed of themselves for raising such a whore, and drove away. David asked me why daddy was going to Denise's house, and I told him daddy was probably going to do some electrical work.

Divorce laws in CT require a 3 month "cooling" period.... and counseling through Catholic Family Services (if you're Catholic). Dom went to one session and refused to go back for anymore, but I continued. I at least got in the preliminary hearing that Denise NOT be present in any visitation that Dom had with David, and it was granted... much to his chagrin.

Thus began the doldroms of my life.... you have no idea what's coming up.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

First Husband/Mandy the dog /new baby

Well, this is a weird one. Old memories going through the photo albums, and remembering my early years has teared me up when I didn't give a thought to things back then.. High School sweetheart and I broke up, as he dropped out and went to work (later got his GED) and it kind of ruined our relationship, because he was working nights and I was in school during the day.

Graduation came, and my dad gave me the option of going to work or getting out on my own. (Back in the day, the son of the family got the college education - the thought AAAARRRGGHH was that the females would find a man to take care of her and have babies - help me Gloria Steinem!) Funny how my brother, who majored in History at UConn never got the "teacher job" he said he strived for, barely graduated, works low level factory jobs, became an alcoholic and STILL works low paying loser wages. He moved to Vermont ten years ago with his then girlfriend to live the hippie farm life, they broke up, their house was foreclosed, and he continues, at the age of 58, to call my mother of 91 and cry to her about how hard his life is and needs money. My sister gained Power of Attorney after my brother pretty much bilked my mother of over $100,000 in varying installments. And my mother, at her ripe old age, continues to ask my sister to send my brother money because he needs it. She won't do it, thank God - my brother hasn't come to visit my mother in over 10 years. Didn't come down for her 80th, 85th, or 90th birthday parties - what a great guy, huh? But I digress.

I took a job prior to graduation,starting work right after graduation for the City of New Haven, and community college at night, eventually earning my Associates Degree in Accounting. Once I earned my degree, I went to work as a paraprofessional at a CPA firm and worked my way up to office manager, and senior paraprofessional.

I moved out of the house, got an apartment, but I needed a little more dinero to make ends meet. I worked some nights at a dance club as a waitress, had my share of dates, briefly engaged to a nice Jewish boy who, although his family approved of me, insisted that I convert to Judaism. I was against it, agreed though to raise the kids (if any) as Jewish, that wasn't enough, so we broke off the engagement. Then met Dominic, a musician, at my second job, who told me he recently broke up with his girlfriend Terry and asked me out to breakfast after the gig. I did, we got along until he called me one night and asked if I was working, and said we'd go to breakfast afterward. Guess what??? He showed up with Terry!!! That ended that. I did, however, become good friends with Mike, the lead guitarist in the band, and still stay in touch (although not as much, as his wife is very sick with MS.

Met husband #1 through my soon to be brother in law (my sister's fiance) , who worked with him.

This was sometime in '76. His name was Domenic. Seemed nice enough, I kind of liked his "Grizzly Adams" looks, and we hooked up for a date.

Date went well, and we seemed to hit it off. I soon met his family, TOTALLY old school Italian, a culture I was not really familiar with being of Polish descent, although my high school sweetheart 's family was right off the boat and I somewhat had some education. Sunday dinner was ALWAYS at his parent's house, and I was embraced by them, and became good friends with his mother "Tete"real name Annette (who I could discuss things with her that I NEVER could with my own mother, but was totally comfortable with her) and his younger sister, Liz, who became like a sister to me.

We enjoyed our dating time but a few things disturbed me (now I would have known better),,, He asked me a lot about my former boyfriends, and wanted to me to destroy pictures of my high school sweetheart, a few guys who were friends and attended charity functions with me, and ALL the pictures of my former fiance, our trip to Puerto RIco, etc.. He said he burned all of his ex girlfriend Cheryl's picsl I was "allowed" to keep pics of only me during these times, but at that time, I figured it was just the old Italian way of life, and I accepted it. Too bad we didn't have computers then that I could have saved the pics to..... they're gone forever.

Polish people (me) tend to be stoic somewhat. Things just rolled off me and what I wanted to say back then, nobody heard. There was no internet, no way to express my feelings to anyone but my best friend, Sam, who came from a similar descent - Russian. The feeling back then in our small town was that you didn't "Go outside" your descent - NEVER MIND religion... but the rebellious 70's were upon us. I basically kept my feelings to myself, even when I thought something was wrong, because I was raised to be strong - which I was - or thought I was. We became engaged the following fall, during dinner, with his entire family present - a total surprise!

During the summer of our relationship, prior to the engagement, Dom and his best friend Gary went to California to visit Gary's brother, and then on to Vegas for a vacation about a year before our wedding.. When they got back, I was looking through Dom's pics and saw one of a funny sign that said "Sherri's Dude Ranch". When I asked him what it was, he said it was one of the many whore houses along the route they were driving and he just took a pic of it. I believed him - until Gary's girlfriend, who obviously had a more "open" and less serious relationship with Gary, told me that Dom and Gary went there to pay for blow jobs!!!! I confronted him and was LIVID and and told him it was over. He tried to explain his way away by saying it was just a "guy thing" that they wanted to try. I was cold as ice for the next couple of weeks, and he tried his hardest to "get me back". Well, I finally caved, only to find a "Hello" type greeting card from a girl from California who thanked him for their date to see Star Wars #1 (who was supposedly on vacation with her mother) and hoped to hear back from him. It was off again.

Again, I digress... sorry, but these memories come back as I look through these photo albums that I haven't visited in years, and obviously suppressed the memories and lights that should have gone off in my brain! But, I was young, I was naive, and always wanted to believe that most people were good.

The wedding was set for the following May and was beautiful and we had a great honeymoon at Walt Disney World ('78) when Epcot was just under construction.

This is one of the few pictures I have of our wedding - I would not destroy any photos of my mom or dad, regardless of the situation.

We went out to eat almost every Saturday night almost with my MIL, FIL, SIL and BIL at an upscale restaurant, with FIL always picking up the bill. We also loved to entertain our friends at home - I LOVED to cook and entertain!

While settling into our apartment after the wedding, it was a first floor apartment of a three family partly owned by Dom's boss, and we got a great deal on the rent. I was going through a box of assorted stuff of Dom's to either toss or save, and found a letter written to him by Sharon, the married secretary at the place he worked. It was obviously a refusal on her part to meet up with him for some "fun", and that she was sorry, and that while she found him attractive, could never do anything to hurt her husband, Roger, and hoped that he understood. I confronted him with it, and he said it was LONG before we met. Somehow I thought it a lie, even though it didn't have a date on it - but he saved it, for whatever reason. We argued about this on and off and I threw it in the trash, hoping he was telling me the truth.

About a month into our marriage, I started to experience excruciating pain on my lower abdominal right side, especially during sex, (sorry), I went to my GYN and it was discovered that the adhesions from my appendectomy had wrapped so badly arond my ovary and an ovarian cyst that it was not repairable, and the whole ovary had to come out. My GYN said that I also had a cyst on my left ovary, but was not effected yet by the adhesions. His suggestion was that if we wanted to start a family, we should as soon as I was healed.

I relayed the message to Dom and he was all for it, and by October I was pregnant with David. We were both really happy that it worked!

I was so joyous in my pregnancy - I couldn't wait for my child to be born, and Dom seemed to feel the same way. When I suffered morning sickness, he held my head while I barfed my brains out.

Again, I digress... sorry.

Somewhere in my first trimester, Dom wanted a dog, and our landlord allowed pets. We went to the pound, and there was this sweet little yellow lab mix that didn't make a sound compared to the other dogs there. She just came to the front of the cage and put her paw out, stroking both of us. That was it! Mandy was ours!

We got her home and made her first vet appointment. She was about 2 months old, and we had her spayed. She was a challenge to house break, but finally got the hang of it. It was my job to walk her in the morning, because Dom had to be at work before me, and our apartment was conveniently located almost directly across the street from the accounting firm I worked for. Things changed in my first trimester and I would start gagging at the sight of Mandy doing her business, so Dom had to wake up earlier to do the job - he wasn't happy about it.

Mandy turned out to be a wonderful dog. She loved other dogs, loved people, loved company - she was so sweet and perfect. She loved Lady,my future sister and brother in law's dog, who was about the same age, and Tammy, my mother in law's dog.... she got so spoiled going to grandma's on Sunday for dinner, that all we had to say was "Ya wanna go to Grandma's?" and she'd be barking at the door and hopped right into the car.

Lady and Mandy:

Mandy and Tammy

One of her favorite things to do was play fetch with a tennis ball - and we could do this in the apartment, because our large dining room flowed right into a big living room.

I was a little concerned about once David was born and how she would react to him, but she loved him. During David's 3:00 a.m. feedings, Mandy awoke with me, and when I settled into the recliner to give him his bottle, she would sit beside us and just lick his feet and legs.

I can't say the same for Dom. As much as he seemed thrilled that he was a father, when he got home from work and I needed to start dinner, all he did was lay David next to him on the couch and channel flip. Never gave a bottle, never changed a diaper - obviously this was my job, and my job alone.
This was pretty much his idea of parenting.

When company came to see the new baby, I'd always go to the door and call Mandy and ask her to show our company to her new brother. She proudly went right to his room (if he was sleeping) and would sit and wag her tail that she was so proud of him! She slept under his crib every night, and if I didn't hear him at whatever time of night yelling for a feeding, she came to get me and licked my face till I woke up, and then sat with us, licking his feet and legs till he finished his bottle.

When David started crawling, Mandy followed him everywhere to make sure he was safe. He'd lay on top of her, pull her hair, her ears, and although she'd get "snarly face", she NEVER snapped at him. She took it because she loved him.

When David was around six months old, Dom started putting in an awful amount of overtime, due to inventory. One Friday night, he called to say they were doing inventory and the boss was taking them all out when they finished. Well, I think it was around 2:00 a.m. when he finally came home. I scared the crap out of him when I whipped out of bed and asked him where the f*ck he'd been. He said he told me the boss took them out. He was not himself. I didn't know much about cocaine, but learned later that he was high on coke. I know, I digress once again, but as the memories flow back, I'm tellin' em. I told him I would NOT tolerate drug use, and if he continued, I would leave. I didn't understand his fixation with it, as he was always USELESS the next day, usually in bed all day with a wicked sinus headache and feeling just plain horrible.

The following Sunday, he took a shower (remember we always went to his parent's for Sunday dinner) and said he had to go finish a couple of inventory things, and would be home in a couple of hours. I thought it was odd that he would take a shower if he were counting dirty parts in dirty part bins, but what did I know? When he wasn't home in a "couple of hours" I tried to call him at work, but there was no answer. I called Lisa, a college student who lived next door to us and baby sat for David frequently, to see if she could come over while I ran out for maybe an hour. She came right over. I hopped in the car and drove the two miles to his place of employment. Yep, his car was there, and so was the new secretary, Kathy's car!! Note: Kathy was engaged to her boyfriend Billy. The front door was locked and I kicked and kicked and kicked till I thought it was going to break. Dom showed up at the door after about 20 minutes, looking disheveled and not quite tucked in, if ya know what I mean. I busted in the door, and said "where is she?" He tried to hold me back, pulling me by my pocketbook strap, which broke. I started running up to the conference room upstairs, where I was met by Kathy buttoning her blouse and shaking like a leaf. After confronting her and asking her to call Billy to come down, she begged me to PLEASE not do that, it's not what I think. Really??? I demanded Dom to drop his pants, where he had fresh rug burns on his knees. I informed him that when he got home, all of his belongings would be out in the driveway, I was calling his parents to expect him, and I told Kathy that I'd be placing a call to her parents as well.

When I got home, I threw all of his clothes out in the driveway, then called his dad to relay what had conspired. I then called Kathy's dad and related the whole story to him, told him his daughter was nothing but a whore, and that he should have a talk with her and Billy.

When Dom came home, I deadbolted and chained the door and told him to go to his parent's house, it was OVER - and that they knew everything. Well, Dom's dad had a long talk with him and basically told him the typical Italian cheater mantra - do what you gotta do, but don't hurt your wife. He was out of the house for three weeks before I would even talk to him. Every time he called, I just hung up on him. I was totally prepared to divorce him and pack up myself and David, and go back to my mother's and father's house.

Well, Dom's dad finally arranged a family meeting, and pretty much told Dom he would not tolerate his behavior. I agreed to let him come home, David was asking for da-da and it broke my heart. Somehow, Lord knows where I got the strength, we got through this. There was a company function not soon after this where I was invited (it was a dinner) and Kathy had the balls to show up. I met up with her in the ladies room at one point, where she was snorting coke right on the vanity and told her if she EVER laid a hand on my husband again, I would FIND Billy and tell him just what a whore she was. Dom and I eventually patched things up, and started to look for a house. When David turned a year old, we finally found a nice little 50's style ranch in a nice neighborhood, in our price range, with a nice big fully fenced in back yard and a 24" above ground pool to boot.
Mandy LOVED her yard, being leash free, and was so happy to go out any time she wanted. When I had David outside with me, she watched him like a hawk. I bought one of those swimmy seats for him so that we could enjoy the pool together, and she would not leave the deck until we came out of the pool.

When David was about 4, we went to Caldor one night, and there was a family with a box of black, chocolate, and yellow lab puppies, free to good homes. David immediately picked up the Chocolate Lab, and said "oh mommy please can we have him for a friend for Mandy?" He was loaded with fleas, I folded, bought flea bath and we walked out of Caldor with him. I figured what's one more? We had enough room, the big back yard, and thought Mandy would love to have a canine companion of her own.

Things did not go well when we got home. Mandy was so happy and immediately assumed "mommy roll" with her new pup. First words out of Dom's mouth were "he's not staying", at which point David became hysterical. I said we'll talk about this out of David's presence. I gave him a flea bath first off, because I didn't want to deal with that issue.

Fortunately, my mother in law was a HUGE dog lover and shamed her son into keeping the pup, who David named Carlo - I have no idea where he thought of that name!

Mandy and Carlo became inseparable, playing together till they dropped. They even slept together at night, side by side in the kitchen.

Carlo was turning into quite a handsome dog by the summer....

By the spring of '84, Carlo was a very handsome "man" and David truly loved him, as he did Mandy.

At some point after Carlo turned a year, Carlo KNEW that Dom hated him and Dom demanded we get rid of him, because he interfered in a play session between Mandy and Carlo with his leg, because he felt that Mandy was being hurt - she wasn't - they were just playing, and Carlo bit Dom right on the leg (good doggie!) Mandy wanted to continue to play, but Dom punished Carlo by putting Mandy in the house and making Carlo stay out. He whined on one side of the door, Mandy on the other side. I couldn't understand how he could be so heartless, but there was no arguing it - he said if we didn't get rid of him, HE would leave - I should have let him if I knew what as to come!
David's heart was broken, and so was mine. We put an ad in the paper for a free Chocolate Lab, and a nice couple who were Yale students from Iowa adopted him. Mandy was devastated as well as I was.

This ends part 1 - part 2's gonna be a doozie compared to this one!!