Monday, September 12, 2011

Everything old... new again. How trite and true.

It was with a little tear in my eye that I walked my sons to my very own elementary school where my oldest is starting kindergarten. The very same crossing guard still works there, and she crossed us over with the same sunny disposition and bright smile she had 30+ years ago.

The school looks the same. It smells the same. It sounds the same. (I'll bet it tastes the same too, for the wall-lickers...)

It's kind of funny to think that I've left and come back half-a-dozen times trying to make a "new" life for myself, yet I may just as well have never left, for the way it turned out. I live in the same house - with my mother, for God's sake; taking my kids to the same school; driving to the same stores, etc., etc. Was it all for naught?

Well, I have my kids, for one thing. And I suppose I've grown in ways that I couldn't have, had I stayed in one place. It's a nice life here, in the upper-middle-class suburban bubble. Maybe I couldn't have appreciated it this much without all those laboriously-learned "life lessons" that everyone so stereotypically talks about.

I can't be "one of them," though. That can't happen, ok guys? I mean, I think to do this, to live this life, to take my kids to soccer practice and bake pies - I am going to need to make up a fantasy in my head that I am a pod, sent here to observe the suburban mother in her natural habitat - among hydrangea, speed-walkers and toy-breed dogs; having deep-conditioning treatments, taking yoga and whining to therapists about how stressful life is. That's it. From now on, I am a pod-observer.

Of course, I'll have to infiltrate their society and act like one of them. I'm going to start right now - right this second - by jumping into the SUV to get a tall, skinny, non-fat, half-caf latte on the way to my bikini wax. Waxing hurts so much, though. Don't you feel sorry for me? I mean, isn't life HARD??

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I got a job

Really. I did. A good one.

AND here's the best part - it's for the parent company of the company I worked at in Holland. It all makes sense. It comes full circle. The universe puts all the shit back together that got pulled apart, and things happen for a reason.

All those days I rode my bike in the freezing rain and snow to take my kids to two different schools before taking a bus to the city, then a tram across town, worked, went BACK on the tram, a bus, the bike, picked up the kids, made dinner, bathed the boys and got them in their pajamas all before their asshole father came home to shit all over me, all the times I wondered "Why the fuck am I putting myself through this?" - well, now it makes sense. Those long, long days and short-ass, exhausting nights had a purpose.

I didn't understand. Why? WHY did I get the job of my dreams only weeks before having to leave it behind? The one thing I kept coming back to was "If I leave, I lose this job forever." I probably let that keep me there longer than it should have.

My hands were shaking when I wrote an email to my old boss to tell her I'd applied for a contract with the parent company. The hiring manager called to tell me he'd gotten an internal reference from her about me. I looked on linkedin and found that he was a 2nd-degree contact through my old boss.

I can almost cry thinking about all of the elements, hardships and experiences that dovetailed to create this opportunity for me. (I've only been rejected from about 15 other similar jobs in the meantime.)

Thank you, everyone and everything. Thank you blog, and Amsterdam, and coffeeshop, and asshole ex, and amazing former coworkers. Thank you bakfiets, babysitters, neighbors, daycares and friends. I don't know why you all did what you did when you did it, but you helped this happen - and helped me feel like I matter, and like things make sense even when everything feels fucked up beyond recognition and like nothing can ever be good again.

I'm not my job, or my address; my body, my haircolor, my anxiety, my health problems, my maternal and filial failings. But having those things, knowing what they are and making peace with them makes me feel like I can settle into my life. I HAVE a job. I live HERE. My body is scarred and imperfect, but strong; my hair is dyed, but pretty; I get scared more than I should, and I deal with it; I get sick from being scared and I get well again; I'm not the best mother or child I could be, but I'm working on it.

Having a job is another piece of my whole fucked-up little human-being puzzle. I'll be able to take better care of myself and my kids now and not have to lean on everyone all the time. That's niet niks. I want to be strong again, and get some independence back.

(Oh, and because it's in America...this job pays about three times as much as my old one. Suck it, Holland.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Maybe it's just a coincidence

In February of last year, I wrote this post.

Why is that funny? Well, in the last line of questioning, I wrote: "How much longer until I have a nervous breakdown? (10...9...8...)"

I'd like to point out that it was neither 10, nor 9, nor 8 months later, but 7. I was THIS fucking close....

Pat, your Magic 8 Ball was just as good as any other predictor, as predicted. You should've shaken it again. It's going to keep me up at night thinking about what its next swam-ic answer would have been.

A little impressed with its prophetic answer to number 4, too. And if we wait a little longer, 5 will become correct. That's it. I'm getting me one of them things....Never totally crapped out on 11. Three questions WERE too many. Or maybe it too will become correct. See?! I knew this future prediction crap was for real.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Holland STILL sucks?!

You know - I've been writing (or NOT writing) this blog for a couple (3?) years now, and - more amazing than the fact that people actually read it - is the way people get here.

I come up like #3 or #4 in searches for "Holland Sucks" and "Amsterdam Sucks." For all the hits I get from those searches, I really feel disloyal to those people. I should write MUCH MORE about the various forms of Dutch suckage, but basically, I'm just too darn busy bitching about my own life. Ahhhh. The nutshell of Americanhood. "I hear you, but how does that relate to ME?"

And why exactly are people searching for "Holland Sucks"? That's really more of a statement, isn't it? I mean, wouldn't "Does Holland Suck?" or "Holland and the ways it sucks" be more appropriate and informative?

I don't search about things I already know. If I did, what would my list look like....?

"My ex is an asshole" (see previous post)
"Water is a tasty and healthy drink"
"It snows a lot here"
"Trees: tall, green, oxygen-giving"
"Ingrown toenails should be avoided"
"The usage of 'you and I' versus 'you and me'"

(OK, I admit, that last one is valid for many people. Perhaps not for you and me. Why don't you and I go look it up, just for fun and information. It might do you and me some good to know when to use "you and I" when we're talking to ourselves and others. But I digress. Then again, digression is kinda my thing. Oh dear. I have written myself into a little circle here, haven't I?)

In any event - that search will either bring you here or here. Neither scintillating.

So - to the "suck" people: What information are you looking for? 'Cause I got a whole bag of suck right here with your name on it - just tell me which flavor you want. I am extremely versatile in the bitching department. Some people find it my winningest quality (you poor bastard:)). But I suspect y'all are just looking for voetbal scores or landse cup info. Nietwaar?

Me, me, me... Enough about me, let's talk more about you. How do you like my blog?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This just in...

So, one year later, I get email from my ex. Not just any email - a response to the email I sent him just over ONE YEAR AGO asking him to please work it out with me so we could be a family. One of those heart-rending, self-prostrating, remember-how-great-it-was, whatever-it-takes kind of emails.

The response that took him a year to write said "I miss u 2." I had looked at my blackberry while I was half asleep and saw this message on it, so I kind of befuddledly replied "A year later? Are you kidding me?"

Now, what could have provoked this? I'd say "maybe he was stoned," but that is sort of his natural state. Maybe he WASN'T stoned. Maybe his joint-rolling hand was crushed in some kind of industrial accident, forcing him to take a 20-minute dope break before learning to roll with his feet. That could have sobered him up long enough to write four half-words.

Maybe he means the band.

Maybe he made a New Year's resolution to FINALLY plough through that overstuffed inbox and answer everyone he owes an email.

Maybe he finally lost a road rage fist fight and the non-retard lobe of his brain got knocked (partially) back into place, leaving him retroactively sorry, but only semi-literate.

Maybe he's just been REALLY busy.

Maybe he ran out of ironed shirts and figures four words might be enough to get me back so he doesn't have to send them out.

Maybe he figures I might remember his birthday is coming up and buy him a present! Awww. And after not sending any Christmas presents to the kids....

Well, whatever the reason was, if he writes me again, I'll just be needing the two words.