A Surprising Desire

Once I finally accepted that this whole wanting a baby thing was not just a passing whim, I realized that I was going to have to try to convince my husband to go along with this crazy plan. This scared the crap out of me. I had an inkling that he might not be quite ready to jump on board, and that it was going to take some convincing. This idea would be coming from left field and would be especially surprising, considering the source.

But if it was going to happen, it was going to have to happen soon.  I was sitting square in the middle of my late thirties, with the big 4-0 looming on the horizon.  Biologically, I didn’t have a lot of time to waste.  It was almost exactly one year since my miscarriage when I decided to discuss the topic with him.

To say that he was “surprised” would be a vast understatement.  He was almost struck speechless by my unexpected desire for another child.  He then made many valid and logical arguments against it;  our age, the cost of a child, the physical and mental strain I would need to go through, the sleepless nights, his travel schedule, the possibility of losing another baby.

I couldn’t deny any of his points.  I absolutely agreed with him on every one.  He was correct.  It was an insane idea.  Yet . . . all of that logic and reason didn’t for one second diminish the persistent and aching need that I had to have another child.  It was beyond logic.  Something I never thought I’d experience.  But there it was.

I didn’t push the issue. I laid out my arguments and then gave him time with it.  I hoped fervently that the idea would settle in his mind and start to grow in his heart.  I had made my case, and there was nothing left for me to say to try to convince him.  He would either accept the idea or reject it.

The next time the issue came up, I realized that he had accepted it.  Although hesitantly and just barely, he was on board.  So we tried.  With no success for the first couple of months.  Until I took a test at the beginning of February and saw a positive result.  This time, my reaction was vastly different than the previous time.  I was overjoyed.  Cautiously overjoyed, but extremely happy just the same.

But it didn’t last.  I lost the baby on Valentine’s Day.

I was beginning to think that it was physically impossible for me to have a baby at this point.  I could get pregnant, obviously, but both miscarriages happened around 5 weeks.  So maybe I just couldn’t sustain a pregnancy past that point.  However, although I was discouraged, I wasn’t quite ready to concede.  My goal was to have this baby before I was 40, so I figured we had a couple more months to make that happen.  So we tried again.  And I got pregnant once again in March.

But five weeks in, I started bleeding again. Just to be safe, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor that day to get it checked out. I didn’t have high hopes, but I wanted to be sure. A sonogram revealed that the baby was still alive, but there was a lot of blood flowing around it. The doctor very gravely explained to me that it appeared that a miscarriage was imminent and that I should return later in the week for another sonogram, with the possibility of a DNC to be scheduled at that time. I was heartbroken.

I waited 2 days to find out the fate of this child. Forty eight hours. Two thousand, eight hundred and eight minutes. One hundred and seventy-two thousand, eight hundred seconds. I felt every single one of those seconds tick by. It was the longest 2 days of my life.

When I returned to the doctor’s office, a nurse took my blood pressure, as is routine. She noted that it was pretty high.  “Are you nervous?” she asked.  Yeah, I think I am.  I wonder why that might be.

I happened to have the same sonogram tech perform the second sonogram. She remembered me, and I remembered how kind she had been at my previous visit, when I couldn’t stop crying after the doctor told me the news.  She had allowed me time alone in the room to compose myself, while I’m sure others were waiting to use it. I was glad it was her again.

When the images came on the screen, I saw something quite surprising.  The baby was moving.  And there was a heartbeat.  The tech very excitedly said that the heartbeat was much stronger than 2 days prior and that the blood was congealing and not flowing as much as before.  This was very good news.  I have never been more relieved than I was at that moment.  When the doctor saw the results, she was very hopeful.  She wanted me to return in a week for a follow-up sonogram, but she said that it looked good. Once I got dressed, I may have floated out of the office.  It felt like a 2 ton elephant had been surgically removed from my heart.  I’m pretty sure my blood pressure had gone down by then as well.

All of that has led me to this point.  The moment when I can tell you that I am now at 12 weeks and counting, and baby #3 is due on November 30th.

sono12wkshoes

Looks JUST like me.

Emerging from the Deep

After my miscarriage, I decided that I desperately needed some help.  Of the professional variety.  Which was quite surprising to me, because historically, I had always outright refused and even scoffed at any suggestion of seeking therapy.

But this was different.  I was in a deep, dark hole and could hardly even see the light.  I knew I needed a trained professional to help pull me out of this suffocating pit of sadness.  So, I randomly searched for someone in my insurance plan who was geographically desirable, and within a week of a cold call, I was sitting in an office, telling a stranger all of my problems.  It was a bizarre and frightening experience for me.

To be honest, the miscarriage was probably just the final straw on top of my depression.  The one thing that made me admit that I needed help and just couldn’t handle my own shit any more.  I had been sinking and barely treading water for years before, but stubbornly thought I could eventually get myself out of the treacherous waters I was trapped in.  This event finally sunk me, but also propelled me to accept a life-preserver.

It was dreadfully hard for me at first.  I am not very good at opening up and sharing my feelings and emotions.  I am a very closed off person.  I build walls for good reasons, and I’m not too keen on someone trying to knock them down to find out what’s cowering behind the bricks.  But I had to do it if I was going to get better.  There was no other option.  So I slowly started chipping away at my protective layer to get to the gooey underbelly of hurt and emotion below.  It was difficult and painful.

After quite a few months of therapy, I realized that I needed some greater assistance.  My therapist had suggested on a few occasions that I might do well with some prescription medication.  But, I was firmly anti-meds.  So, I rebuffed this suggestion outright at first.  I actually accused her of trying to fix my problems with drugs instead of doing the work of being my therapist.  I was in a bad place and it was a horrible reaction.  But eventually, I came to realize that she was right.  I needed more help.

Cue a referral to a psychiatrist and a prescription for Wellbutrin.  And suddenly, the haze started to clear.  It was like I could finally breath again.  Everything felt more stable and real.  The drugs actually made me feel like I was finally sober.  Instead of dulling my senses, everything felt sharper and brighter.  It felt real again.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like myself.  There were no more random crying jags in the middle of my work day.  I no longer wanted to come home from work every night and just sleep.  I spent more time with my kids and was a much better mommy than I had been in a while.  It was drastically and distinctly noticeable to everyone close to me.  Some didn’t know what had happened, but they knew something was different.  A good different, for sure.

While my head was clear, I could really dig deep in therapy and try to heal some things that had previously seemed irrevocably broken.  I made excellent progress and found myself crying less and less each week, which was nice, because I was really getting sick of those damn tears.  I was slowly healing.  Shedding those weights that had been holding me down.  Sadness.  Loss.  Guilt.

And then a strange thing happened.  It started with just a glimmer.  Then grew stronger and stronger until I couldn’t deny that is was an actual desire.  I tried to ignore it, but it persisted, until it turned into an all-encompassing need.  Much like Glenn Close, it would not be ignored.

I wanted another baby.

Something I Didn’t Know I Wanted

The following is the first in a series of posts that I will be writing in the next few weeks.  They are neither funny nor snarky.  Together, they will form the story of what has been happening with me over the past year and a half.  I have not been ready to write about it until now.  The posts are serious, and can be a bit dark, just so you are forewarned.  However, by the end of the story, all is right with my world, so just hang in there and take the journey with me to reach the end. 

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When I first found out that I was pregnant, I experienced many overlapping emotions.  Shock.  Disbelief.  Confusion.  Horror.

This was not a planned pregnancy, obviously.  I wasn’t expecting, nor did I desire, to have a third child.  My boys were 4 and 7 at the time.  If and when anyone had asked me over the years if I was going to have another baby, I usually responded that I was done.  And I meant it.  I started my relationship with my husband by declaring to him that I neither wanted marriage nor children.  I felt that our two kids were a good compromise between zero and the huge brood he had originally wanted.  Our family was complete.  We were content, comfortable and settled.  This new development threw us for a major loop.

When I informed my husband of the news, he was happy, but I could also see the trepidation in his eyes.  He could see that I was upset, so he tried his best to comfort and calm me.  Then he left for a business trip for a week.

During that week, I went through all of the stages of grief.

– Denial:  That test couldn’t possibly be right!  No way was I pregnant.  Not even possible.  This stage lasted as long as it took to take another test, with identical results.

– Anger:  Yeah, I was angry, dammit!  How could this happen to me?  I didn’t want to be pregnant or have another baby!  Pregnancy sucks.  Giving birth sucks!  Sleepless nights suck!  I hated this pregnancy and the baby.

– Bargaining:  I don’t believe in god, so there weren’t any deals with some imaginary guy in the sky, but there were definitely some proposals of action to the universe that I thought might be a better outcome than having another baby.  And yes, losing the baby was one of them, I’m ashamed to say.

– Depression:  And then the sadness came.  I kept thinking of all the things I would have to give up for this unwanted child.  Drinking, sushi, my body, sleep.  Every time I thought of another thing that this pregnancy would take away from my life, I sank deeper into the abyss.

– Acceptance:  A funny thing about acceptance . . . it sneaks up on you.  One minute, I was thinking about how difficult my life was going to be because of this accident, and then I turned around and found myself thinking about how sweet a baby is, and how my boys were growing up and were way past that baby stage, and how I missed that.  After just a few days, I realized that I had come to terms with this formerly perceived tragedy, and I was starting to look at it as an incredible gift.  Not planned for or initially wanted, but wonderful all the same.

And then, just as I started settling into the idea of it and began making mental plans, I started to bleed.  And just like that . . . it was over.  Gone.

That’s when the guilt started.  Everyone will tell you that it’s not your fault.  That you didn’t do anything to make it happen.  That it just wasn’t meant to be.  And while logically, I knew that was probably true, I also remembered.  I remembered all those glasses of wine I had before I knew I was pregnant.  The sushi dinner I had 2 weeks prior.  And the time I wished for this very thing to happen before I got over the shock of it.  I thought of those things, and I wasn’t certain that I didn’t somehow have a hand in this.

And then the darkness set in.

I Hate You!

I came home amidst a whirlwind of drama.  My oldest upstairs in his room crying with the door shut.  My youngest running to me to try to tell me what his brother had done.  My au pair telling me she was handling it.

Since I had not even had the chance to take off my damn heels, I decided to let her deal with it.  Besides, nothing was broken or bleeding, so it didn’t seem to be a huge emergency.

Once I desuitified and adorned myself with my home uniform, consisting of sweats and a t-shirt, I came downstairs to a quiet house, and began to make dinner.  My 5 year old then came into the kitchen to give me an updated report.

“(My brother) said, ‘I mmmm you!’  It was a bad word that I can’t say, mommy, but it starts with an H.”

“Hate?  He said ‘I HATE you?'”

“Yes.  And then he said that he wished that he had a different brother than me.”

Oh boy.

This was bigger than I had previously realized.  I knew that although the initial drama had been handled by the au pair, this was significant enough that I was going to have to address it myself as well.

At dinner, I told my oldest son that we were going to talk later, assuring him that he wasn’t in trouble or anything (he had since apologized to his brother as requested), but that there was just something that we needed to discuss.

“Is it serious?” he asked.

Realizing that the last time his father and I told him we needed to talk about something, a mere 4 days prior, we broke the news to him that our beloved dog had died.  Seeing the look of apprehension in his eyes as he asked me about the seriousness of the upcoming topic, I assured him that it wasn’t anything too serious, but just something that he and I needed to have a chat about.

Later in the evening, once my youngest was in bed and some TV had been dutifully watched, it was almost time for bed for my oldest son, but that’s when he reminded me about the talk.  Apparently, after 7:00 at night, my brain pretty much shuts down for the day.  I had completely forgotten about this promised discussion.  He, evidently, had not.

I had no script for this moment, never envisioning that I would have to deal with this issue prior to the teenaged years.  But shit happens, and deal with it I must.  So, I dove in.

But as I started to talk, I found myself getting choked up.  I was having a hard time speaking to him calmly and reasonably, while at the same time trying not to start crying.  I was not expecting that, either.

I told him that no matter how angry or upset he was, that it was never okay to tell a family member that he hates them.  That he can not like what somebody is doing, but hating family is not acceptable.  That not only is it hurtful and untrue, it is dangerous.

And then I hit him with the big guns . . . and also really started to tear up.

“What if your grandfather (who lives with us downstairs), did something that you really didn’t like and you got really angry?  And you said, “I hate you!” to him.  And what if right after that he got really sick and had to go to the hospital.*  And that ended up being the last thing you said to him?  How bad would that be?”

At this point, I noticed that not only was I barely able to get the words out around the tears that were closing up my throat, but he was starting to cry as well.

But I wasn’t finished.  And I couldn’t let his tears dissuade me from my objective.  So, I went in for the kill.

“When grandma passed away a couple of years ago, how horrible would it have been if those were the last words she heard from a family member?  And if you got mad at me or your dad or your brother, and then something bad happened to us right after . . . would that be the last thing you would want us to hear you say?”

I know.  I know, I know, I know.  This was possibly harsher and more terrifying than I needed to make this conversation.  Especially to an eight year old.  And by the end of it, both of us had tears flowing down our faces.  Him, probably more because I was crying than anything, and me because the thought of any of those scenarios makes me unbearably sad.  So, I hugged him and held him tight.  And I told him how much I loved him and that everything was alright and that everyone in the family is fine, and nobody is going to get hurt.  We both knew that last part was a lie, but eventually we both stopped crying.  I might have had to employ The Tickle Monster to get his tears to dry.  It is an exceptionally effective tear dryer and I would highly recommend it.

Even though I might be seen as a mean mom, who scarred her poor child for life with my horror story of family members dying, I have no qualms about what I did.  My hope is that I did both scare AND scar him.  I hope that he always remembers how harsh and frightening this discussion was, and understands the power of words.  I hope he thinks about the effect words can have before the next time he wants to tell one of us that he hates us.  I wielded mine as a weapon with intent, and believe I struck my target.  I hope that prevents him from unintentionally hurling hurtful words at those he loves in the future.  Hopefully, he is young enough for it to have hit home and stuck with him.  

And hopefully, I’ve disarmed one teenaged grenade that was heading my way in a few years.

* This conversation happened prior to this occuring.  I have never wanted to be less presentient in my life.

C is for . . .

C is for . . .

Caring.  There could not be a more loving and doting grandfather than my kids’ Pop.  Always there with a hug or a silly joke, he has been there for them their entire lives.

C is for . . .

Cohabitation.  Staying in our in-law suite in the basement, he’s lived with us for many years.  He is there any time we need any extra help with the kids or the house.  He is a constant presence in our lives.

C is for . . .

Candy.  His great grandkids don’t call him “M&M Pop” for nothing.

C is for . . .

Carrying on.  He still signs every birthday and Christmas card with “Love, Pop & Mom-Mom” even though his wife passed almost 2 years ago.  He loves and misses her every day.

C is for . . .

Coughing.  He just can’t seem to shake this nagging cough.  And he can’t sleep through the night.

C is for . . .

Checking in.  He goes to the hospital to finally get it looked at.  They admit him and run some tests.  The x-ray finds a nodule on his lungs.  We wait for further testing as to its nature.

C is for . . .

Certainty.  The doctor tells him the results.  He says he’s 100 percent sure of what it is.

C is for . . .

Calling.  I find out in the grocery store when my husband calls to inform me of the news about his father.

C is for . . .

Crying.  I hold back the tears until after I hang up with my husband.  It is my job to stay strong for him.  I am very good at my job.

C is for . . .

Concern.  How will we tell the boys?  What will their reaction be?  How will they deal with yet another difficult time, in their short lives already so full of tragic moments?

C is for . . .

Coming home.  Released from the hospital today, he will return home while waiting for more test results.  He and the doctors will have to decide what they want to do depending on what those tests say.  He is 80 years old.  This must be taken into account.

C is for . . .

Crap.  This is really hard.  And I can’t seem to stop random tears from falling.

C is for . . .

Can’t.  I can’t believe it.  I can’t talk about it.  I can’t be funny.  I just can’t even say the word.  That big, scary, deadly word.

C is for . . . . . . . . . . . .

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challenge121

The Neverending Nothingness

BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.

Emptiness.  Whiteness.  Nothing.

BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.

Staring at the blank screen, watching the cursor appear and then disappear in perpetuity.  Waiting.  Watching.  Mocking.

BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.

My mind is as vacant as that blindingly white and empty screen in front of me.  There are no thoughts swirling around in preparation to travel down to my finger tips onto a keyboard that will transform them into pure brilliant prose on that computer monitor.  Nothing to kick-start the ole noggin into action.  Just . . . nothing.

BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.

The many attempts to create some nugget of an idea that would then transform itself into a topic have as of yet been unsuccessful.  I remain staring at an abyss of nothingness, sucking me in to its realm of glaringly bright white absence.  Caring not of my suffering and desperate attempts to fill it with stark black symbols representing a coherent thought.

BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.

What may truly only be moments staring at the screen, feels like a vast eternity living in the wastelands of an inability to create.  Purgatory in a hell that only a certain breed of person can experience.  A self-inflicted pain only thrust upon those who attempt to create words as their vocation or recreation.  For only those tragic few have felt the terror and horror of a mind without thought or concept, and experienced the endless struggle to extract something from pure nothingness.

BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.

The emptiness of the screen is a perfect mirror reflecting the dearth of ideas within my head.  A vast desert of tiny bits of useless particles of thought, swirling in the winds of struggle, and baking in the exploding starlike pressure of forced thoughts.  As dry and barren as a summer afternoon in the Sahara.

BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.

And then . . . a glimmer.  A single molecule of hope.  Could it be . . . an idea?  I hold on tight, trying to contain but not smother this precious gem of a thought, hopeful that I can fan the slight embers into flames of sentences and paragraphs.  But how to shape it?  How best to transform this crumb of a possibility into a hearty stew upon which the mind and soul can feast?  What is the best way to create a masterpiece out of this one lone insubstantial speck of dust floating through my cranium?

BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.

There is no answer.  And then, the thought begins to float away.  So, I grasp onto it with all my might and do the only thing that I am able to do.  The only thing anyone can ever do when caught in a maelstrom of nothingness . . .

BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.BLINK.

Write.  Just write.

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challenge120

Invasion of the Fruit Snatchers

One rogue onion was my undoing. 

A rotten onion that rebelled at the bottom of a bowl full of its otherwise healthy friends, this black sheep traitor decided to be a beacon to every fruit fly in the immediate area, and possibly the entire state of Maryland. 

When scrubbing down my kitchen counters last week, I discovered this putrid veggie, and when I removed it from the bowl, a cloud of black swarming bugs was released on my unwitting kitchen.  Fruit flies dispersed throughout the room, landing on my fruit bowl, in the trashcan and over by the garbage disposal.  Once they were all spread out, it wasn’t as obvious that they were even there.  But that was their devious plan.  To make you think they were just a few little bugs just hanging out not hurting anybody.  But they were plotting.  And worse than that, they were fucking.  It was a fruit fly orgy going on in my kitchen, and just a few dispersed flies became A BAJILLIONTY MILLIONTY FLIES.  Within a few days, they were every-fucking-where.

After a few days of their multiplying and generally annoying the bejeesus out of me, I figured that I would have to call in the professionals.  A call placed to Terminix revealed that the first appointment they had available was a full week and a half away.  Apparently, summer is a big time for bugs.  Who knew?

Knowing that I would not be able to withstand the onslaught for that long, I looked into some alternate solutions while I was waiting for the bug men to come to my rescue.  A friend suggested a home remedy that consisted of Cider Vinegar and dishsoap, which was presumably supposed to attract the little buggers and then drown them.  It worked . . .

Picture 9334

A bowl of death. Beautiful, beautiful death.

. . . at first.  But, just as I began to fall into a soft blanket of false hope, it appeared that they regrouped and came back even stronger!  Even with THREE bowls in the kitchen, you still couldn’t open the trashcan lid without getting a face full of swarming black menace.  My kids refused to throw anything away.  I had to reexamine my options, so back to consult the great and powerful Oz of information I went . . . Mr. Google.

Based on a comment on one website about homemade fruit fly traps, I decided to get proactive.  I got out the vacuum cleaner.  Now, usually when my family sees me with the vacuum cleaner, they can only assume that we are having guests for our twice yearly social gatherings.  But this time, I planted that sucker in the kitchen, set up the long pole-like attachment thingy, and basically just started sucking those things right out of the air and into their deaths. 

I may have looked like a crazy woman, waving a wand of suckage around the kitchen, banging on the trashcan lid to release my enemies, and jabbing and poking at counters and bowls.  But rather than insane, I like to think of myself as more of a warrior.  And with my trusty weapon, I was eradicating this invasion of pests that were plaguing my home.  I would not be bested by a beast the size of half a grain of uncooked rice!  I was bigger, I was stronger, and I had modern technology on my side.  Sure, I was outnumbered.  But that would not deter me.  I would prevail.  Victory would be mine! 

And if not, I still have my appointment with Terminix on Saturday.

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challenge118

Two Anniversaries

Today is the anniversary of the first day I started my current hellish job.  Twelve years.  It feels like an eternity, but it doesn’t quite qualify for that status.  When I started this job I was a wee tot.  I was 26 years old, about a year out of law school, dating my husband (we wouldn’t be engaged for another month), and living in a small condo with my dog.  Kids were not even on my radar at that point.  And you know what?  I loved the job.  It was the first job I ever had that I was actually excited to go to.  I looked forward to getting out of bed in the morning.  And that lasted for a few years, which is quite a feat considering how jaded and burned out I am from the same job at this point.  But at the beginning, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my employ.  I wasn’t paid much, being that I was a public servant, but it was enough to pay my bills and was the first really substantial and consistent paycheck I had ever received.  Things were good.

Cut to about 10 years later . . . a marriage, a house, 2 kids, another house.  Life was different.  Fuller.  But now, I wasn’t jumping out of bed in the morning to go to work.  Getting out of bed was a herculean effort.  I was heavier, in many ways.  I was more weighted down.  And I was searching for something.  I didn’t know what I needed, but I knew that I needed an outlet.  A different path.  A distraction.

Thus this blog was born.  Two years ago.*  Actually, 2 years ago as of 3 days ago.  I missed the actual date.  I feel a little guilty that I wasn’t paying attention closely enough to recognize the blog’s actual anniversary date.  Sorry, girl.  It wasn’t an intentional slight.  I’ve just been . . . weighted again.

I never wanted this blog to feel like an obligation.  Something I had to drag myself out of bed to do, like my current job.  I love to write, I love the blog and I especially love the blogging community and the myriad of close friends I have made since beginning this journey.  I would never go back, and don’t regret one minute of my time as a blogger, despite the negative connotations that the word may have in general society.  As I’ve stated before, I found my tribe while blogging, and it was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. It made me finally feel like I belonged to something, and that there were other outcasts and introverts out there that knew just how I felt.  I didn’t feel so alone anymore.  Like a stranger with my face pressed up against the glass of society, looking inside at the “normal” people.  I didn’t need to stand out in the cold any longer.  I had finally found my people.

All of this is to say that I just don’t really know what path this blog will take in its 3rd year of existence.  Maybe it’s just a pedestrian case of writer’s block.  Or possibly in my cyclical ebb and flow of creativity, I am in the far reaches of my ebb.  Maybe it’s just the heat.  Whatever it might be, I have not felt like I’ve had much to share lately.  I was trying to steer the blog in a new direction for a while, focusing on more actual writing, and less goofy pictures of people dressed badly.  I think I was moderately successful on that path for a while, but now the well has run dry of ideas.  I’ve been trying to dredge up something, anything, but alas, there is naught.

Seriously, that last sentence up there.  Could that be any more pretentious and dense?  This is what I’m dealing with, people. This is where my mind is.

So, for now, I would not expect much to come from the blog.  I am going on vacation in a couple of weeks, and hopefully that will prompt my storytelling juices to flow once again.  A trip to the beach with my crazy extended family is always good for a story or two.  If something strikes me before then, I will definitely share.  But I can’t make any promises.

And to all of the newbies who have recently followed me, I know.  Bad timing, right?  But I want to say thanks for coming along on this journey with me, even though nobody knows where it will take us yet.  And I promise that I will get back to it, and hopefully will produce something worth reading again.  It just might take me a bit to get back on that horse.  Hang in there, if you would.  To new and old, good friends or hail fellows well met, it may be a bumpy ride, but it will be one worth taking . . . at least I hope so.

See you soon!

*(If you are new here and want the full history of how I actually started the blog, check out my 1 year anniversary post).

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yeahwrite117

Facing the Fear

I only agreed to go on the roller coaster with her, so that she wouldn’t have to ride it by herself.

But, it wasn’t until I was in the middle of the long serpentine line, awaiting the thrill that was to come, that I began to recall the last time I was on another such ride . . .

It must have been over 10 years ago.  The hubs and I were dating and visiting another similar theme park.  Many years before our children were born, we were there to enjoy the park as young adults do . . . by going on as many fast and exhilarating rides as possible.  One of those rides would be my last roller coaster for many years.

The ride itself was not overly frightening in any way.  Just your standard roller coaster.  It started in an enclosed space, quickly turned a corner and shot up a long dark tunnel, only emerging into the sunlight as it reached the crest of that climb, on the verge of dropping down into open air.  That was what was supposed to happen, anyway.  But on this fateful day, something went wrong.  As the ride took off and quickly turned the corner, shooting upwards towards the light at the end of the tunnel, that was when the fun ended.  And so did the forward momentum.  Because just as we were about to reach the top of that hill, the ride reversed and shot back down into the tunnel.  Backwards.

It was one of the most horrifying moments of my life.  I was positive that at any second we would be crashing into the car behind us as we fell backwards and they began their ascent forward.  That didn’t happen, thankfully.  Instead, we stopped at the bottom of the incline and sat there.  In the dark.  While they worked on the ride to try to fix it.

This might have been the most terrifying moment of my life, now that I think about it.  Even though the car plummeting backwards was very scary, this was worse.  Because I had time to worry.  And to contemplate what would happen if they started the ride again and it wasn’t fixed.  The mind is a cruel and creative creature.  I wanted off of that ride.  But we were strapped in and hanging from the track, so they wouldn’t allow it.  So I sat, and waited, and worried.

I didn’t die that day.  Luckily, the bright light I went towards at the end of that tunnel didn’t signify my end.

But here I was, many years later.  Remembering that fateful day that scarred me for so many years.  And standing in line to temp fate once again.  And then I saw this:

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Good Mental Condition?  Well, since I was willingly standing in line to go on this ride, after the last attempt at roller coaster riding almost killed me, “Good Mental Condition” might be up for debate.  However, we had twisted and turned around this line for over forty-five minutes now, so there was no going back.  I was going on this ride, G Forces be damned.

When the fateful time was at hand, I sat in my seat and the bars came down and made a very satisfying click, holding my body firmly down in the seat.  As I sat there, anticipating the first movement of the ride, with my heart palpitating at a surely unhealthy level, wondering why I ever allowed myself to get in this place again, I had one very distinct thought.

I am too old for this shit.

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Click on picture to see video POV of coaster

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Hooking up with Yeah Write again this week!

The Journey to Gilda

Fireworks over Rome

Fireworks over Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome by Jacob Philipp Hackert

“Dove e Gilda?”

We must have said it a hundred times.  The four of us, unlikely companions and fast friends, asking locals this question in our attempts to ascertain the location of a certain club.  Walking the streets of Rome after midnight in the very first hours of that new year, searching for our very own Gadot.

I’m not sure if anyone remembers how we gained the information that Gilda was the place to be that night, the four of us young and daring in a foreign land, looking for adventure and revelry.  But, despite the haziness as to the origin of the information, we were on a quest, and would not be denied the promise of dancing, drinks and debauchery.

It began after a delicious and lengthy dinner at a restaurant tucked beneath the Spanish Steps, shared with our newfound friends from Texas that we happened to meet on the bus from the hotel, two young and carefree couples venturing out into the great vast city of Rome.

The New Year arrived at the stroke of midnight, as it is known to do, and we rejoiced with champagne and fireworks above that immense square, surrounded by what seemed like every single Italian citizen.  Once the celebrated moment had passed, the crowds dispersed, allowing us the chance to wander the city streets, beginning our quest for Gilda.

“Dove e Gilda?” we began to ask as we wandered aimlessly.  We were met with uncomprehending looks, some shrugs, and some attempts to direct us towards our destination.  With each attempt at helpfulness, a different direction would be suggested.  And so, we walked.  And walked.  And walked.

We walked past the Trevi fountain, stopping for just a moment to gaze upon the wonder of those huge statues, the flowing water misting the air around us.  But we did not linger, for we were on a quest.

We walked past the Pantheon, almost not even realizing what the spherical domed building was, until it was pointed out to us by someone.  We dared not go inside to look up at the sky through the round hole in the ceiling, though.  There was no time for star-gazing when our eyes had to focus on earthly goals.

The Roman Forum almost went unnoticed as well, as the collapsing pillars and ruins of that open space were almost too difficult to see in the dark.  But there was no time to stop and view them, anyway.  We were determined to search onward.

The more we walked, the more determined we became to eventually reach our destination.  Spending hours walking the streets of Rome, only to make the occasional stop in a local bar, for shots of Grappa to refuel ourselves for the journey.  Craving the feeling of accomplishment and joy that the eventual discovery of our objective would bring.  Much like Columbus discovered our very own country . . . already occupied, but still claimed as his very own.  Such would we return the favor in his home country, staking our flag in Gilda, feeling as if we owned this sainted land after our efforts to suss it out from its secreted location.

But it was never to be.  The closest we came to Gilda was the question that repeatedly traipsed across our lips during our search.  “Dove e Gilda?”  We will never know.  We spent our night searching and not finding, yet we found ourselves experiencing the city and that New Years Day in a way we never would have expected.  And never will forget.

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This is my first foray into the Yeah Write challenge universe.  Click on that badge above to read some amazing stories! 
 
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Somehow, despite the multiple brilliant posts submitted to this week’s Yeah Write challenge, this little ole post right here . . . won.  Woohoo!!  I never would have expected it, but I am so pleased. 

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