Monday, September 10, 2012

the past

The skilled writer in me desperately wants to edit this thing I wrote for my college newspaper nearly 15 years ago. The smart part of my brain knows to leave it alone to see how far I've come. I do like parts of it. The parts about my friend were pretty accurate. So, dredging up from the past....

Originally published for the Eastern Echo:

Suicide is a strange thing. I don't understand the decision to be done with life. It seems like there's always just one more thing I want to do or one more thing I have to see.
I want people to know what it's like from a friend's point of view after a suicide. I just want people to stop and think first, about themselves and about others, and see if suicide is really the only answer - because it probably isn't.
My friend Erik Widmark committed suicide about a year ago. It was rumored that he shot himself in the head with a shotgun in the parking lot of the Ferndale police department. No one really tried to find out if it was true or not.
I met Erik wile working at Marco's Pizza on the North Side of Ann Arbor. He was a little bit creepy, a little strange, entirely nice and pretty darn funny. On many occasions, he, my friend Alex and I would sit around Marco's and make fun of our customers and drink until the wee hours of the morning. Erik would bring in some raspberry wine that he was so skilled at making, or honey mead or this gross fish-goo-in-a-tube that he would try to get people to eat.
We always had a good time. We didn't really see his suicide coming - I guess.
I remember Erik said once that he didn't want to live to be 30. I just brushed the comment off and forgot about it. Erik would have been 30 Aug. 31.
For a year, Erik and I worked about 30 hours a week together, laughing and joking. Sunday nights were always the best because Erik and I would always close and it was always slow so we could listen to Big Sonic Heaven on 96.3. It became a tradition, really. Every Sunday night was Big Sonic Heaven night.
Sure, Erik was a friend, a co-worker and we hung out at my house once or twice. Even so, I suppose I didn't know him all that well. He was quiet about who he was. He pretty much kept to himself.
Alex and I found out later that he had a pretty rough past.
The night before he killed himself, Eric called Marco's pizza and talked to Alex for a long time. He wanted Alex to tell me goodbye and tell me that I had always been a food friend. He asked Alex to give messages to other people and to deposit his last paycheck. Alex tried to convince Erik that he would give those people the messages himself. Erik said that he was done, and that it was time to go and that if he didn't show up to work on Sunday by 6pm then he was gone.
Erik never showed up to work the next day.
Alex and I heard the news Monday morning from his distraught roommate. A memorial was to be held the next Saturday to remember his life, not his death.
After Erik was gone, Marco's just wasn't the same anymore. Alex and I both found new jobs and haven't had the privilege of knowing anyone else as quirky as Erik.
We both still talk about him from time to time. It was a confusing, sad end to a good person. All his friends will continue to miss him.

Friday, August 17, 2012


My mother's mother died last week. She was 86 years old and was born deep in the hills of Tennessee and died there too. She lived in Michigan while her husband worked, and she raised five kids. I would visit my grandparents when I was little and then in high school, and as an adult. I never met the grandfather that drank and beat his children. He went away once my grandfather retired and moved back to Falls Branch. I knew the grandfather that had a great laugh and always had his dog by his side and cowboy boots on his feet. My grandmother was the "disciplinarian" if you will. I did know her.

I didn't cry for her at her funeral. I don't miss her. I thought about it the entire trip down there and I couldn't think of one nice thing she said or did for me. I do remember her yelling at me to play outside, turn off the lights, get out of the kitchen, stop taking pictures, etc. She said these things to me when I was nine years old and she said these same things to me when I was 31. She would tell you to go outside and get her a switch - a small branch from a bush - so she could whip welts into the soft flesh of your legs. I remember she grew raspberries and I liked eating them. That's all I got.

I arrive in Tennessee on a Sunday. I find out pretty quickly that things are a mess. My grandmother was left a good sum of money which she wasted in the 6 years since my grandfather died. Her youngest daughter helped take care of her, and signed many of the checks that sent unreasonable sums of money out the door. A great deal of it went to one of her sons, the favorite grandchild - GOLDEN BOY. By her death she was broke. Most of her children are in no better financial shape than her. You know who paid for the funeral? My 30-year-old brother. If that isn't a big ridiculous flying pile of shit, then I don't know what is. If it hadn't been him it would have been me - the next to arrive with a credit card. She has 14 grandchildren and I paid for the flowers from all of them, including the unemployed, and GOLDEN BOY himself who got thousands from her, but flat out refused to pay his $20 share of the flowers that rested upon her casket. In addition to that he once denied to me that he ever took money from her. "I got my own money." I heard you ask her for money. I was in the house. We have all now seen the copies of the checks you cashed, you leech. We know the truth.

 Yes, she had the right to spend her money as she wished, but those taking advantage of her should have at least left enough to pay for her death. She could have helped others that would have appreciated it. Her other children, her other grandchildren. What remains is a house and 62 acres of land. The five children are to split 50 acres, and the remainder is to be sold along with the house, the profits split five ways. I initially wanted my mom to keep her 10 acres, and be able to revisit this place that was kind of magical to me as a kid, to bring my daughter. Now I think they should sell it all. I don't wish to return. I'd rather put all this simmering seething anger behind me, about how it all ended. All is not lost, but it should be. I will tell my daughter stories, she can build her own special memories.

There's a few other tidbits that added to the smoldering coals, like my grandmothers ring being given to my brother for his fiancee, and later someone insinuating that he shouldn't be paid back for the funeral because, "Well, he got that ring." He never asked for that ring. And my terrible mother of a sister both ignoring or being mean to her two-year-old and acting like a child herself when forced to actually feed or watch her kid. Cleaning the clutter of the house that belonged to a hoarder only to be told someone will have to sort through the garbage we bagged because, "just because I think it's trash doesn't mean someone else will." I'm sorry. I thought yesterday you were wailing about not knowing what to do about all the clutter. Good luck to you all in finalizing everything that needs to be done. I'll be trying really fucking hard to bite my tongue and look past this and forget the fact that my grandmother picked favorites and I was at the bottom of the list. The clear realization of this is still quite raw.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Actual email I just sent via web form

I'm a tall person. You ask me to get shit off the high shelves for you at the grocery store. You think it's AMAZING and MAGICAL to be tall. I'm a girl. You don't sell shoes for me at the store. You don't sell pants for me at the store. Or long-sleeve shirts. Or sweaters. Or coats. I am forced to go online to find clothing that fits my long limbs. I'm not a freak of nature. I'm 6'2 and have a 36-37" inseam. On Zappos (this is where you come in) you can search for pants by inseam. See, this is handy because NOT ALL LENGTHS FIT EVERYONE. However on Zappos, (you!) when you select inseam of 36, 37, you *also* get the inseam of every single pant that just says "one size" when you click on the link, yet in the description below it clearly states an inseam, of usually 30, 32 or 34. Could you PLEASE fix this so that the search for a 36 or 37 inseam actually gives those results? I have one pair of pajama pants that fit wonderfully, however sadly they are old and falling apart and I can't find new pajama pants (and one bad-ass pair of jeans would be nice) in the correct length, and really don't have time to wade through 100+ pairs of pants for SHORT PEOPLE WHO CAN BUY THEIR DAMN PANTS AT THE DAMN STORE.
Thank you very much.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Well, shit

Haven't posted since September? Damn.
I know what I've been doing.
1. I orchestrated the finishing of our kitchen demolition and rehabilitation. Moved home Sept 16, and handled issues well... until now, even. Our blinds are still fucking broken.
2. Played a shit-ton of patty-cake and peekaboo. Fed the kid, napped the kid, washed the kid, changed the kid, played with the kid, picked up after the kid, changed the kid's clothes, took the kid to fun things, bought the kid food, chased the kid around the house, outside the house, etc. Many, many hours are occupied with the kid.
3. Did fun things for myself so my brain does not rot. IE: Trivia.
4. Did stupid shit you have to do, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, bills, sleeping, cleaning, lawn mowing, leaf raking, and other random bullshit that comes up when you have a life.
5. Getting sick. Over and over and over. At least once in Sept, and Oct, and Nov - Dec (for like two weeks) and again New Year's Eve. I don't know why I keep getting sick or why each time is worse than the last but I'VE HAD A FUCKING E-FUCKING NOUGH OF IT. THANKS.
6. Fuck, I don't know. I got a car, a haircut, went to Chicago for our anniversary, spent too much time on the Internet, worked a few hours, looked for jobs, had a promising interview, got the shaft, watched the entire seasons of Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Storage Wars and Pawn Stars. And Mad Men (for the second time.) I said I was sick. I can't read when I'm sick. I can only sleep, whine, eat, and watch TV.
7. Eat. Goddammit I keep trying to eat healthy and then I get another cold and I just want to feed it nachos. This is not working.

2012 isn't starting out so great.