Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Three Sizes, My Ass

I’ve decided to have some people over for the first time since I moved to Maine.

Well, not the first first time. I mean, it’s not like I’ve been sitting here in this little cabin in the woods all by myself for three and a half years, staring at the dog. Except I kind of have. For three and a half years – whenever I wasn’t working, shooting pool, or entertaining the Other Dog (on which enough already) – I kind of have been sitting here, staring. Because a. I was licking wounds and going a little feral, and b. he really is a damn fine-looking dog.

Not that fine-looking. Not like I ever considered doing anything to him besides stare. The odd walk, maybe. A pat on the head every so often. But you know, I’m not a weirdo. Besides, I had the Other Dog for that business, remember?

Anyway so yeah, I have had the occasional odd guest once in a while, but I have not had People Over. At first because I didn’t know any People and then because I didn’t think they’d come, and then because, well, having People Over means cracking a can of worms I haven’t taken off the shelf since I was married. The recipes; the cutting board; the everything that goes in hand with entertaining. All the stuff I used to do when I was a Different Person, living a Different Life, and I wasn’t sure if That Girl was still in me anymore – or if she should be. 

Plus, you know, people are like mice: let ‘em in, and they leave holes…

But I’m getting a Christmas tree this year. And if that ain’t a great big bowl of Different Life then I don’t know what is. Because see, there was a time I used to be Miss Christmas – or at least first runner-up. I played the music and jingled the bells and wished the merry and spread the cheer and wassailed the figgy pudding and all that happy reindeer-shit, until any reasonable person would want to haul off and sock me in the sugarplums. My tree was a goddamn liturgy. Plus there were Santas in every corner, special throw pillows for the couch, china settings for the dining table we never even used and—

Hell, honeys, what I’m trying to say is: I’d’ve crapped a fucking Yule log, if I could.

But on December 3, 2009, my mother died. I came back from the funeral to find that my boss of eleven years had gone off her antipsychotics and the voices in her head said I was fired. Not too long after that, my second boss, from my second job, died in her sleep. And, well, being the Great Big Grown Up Girl I was and strive to be, I dealt with all of this by running away from home, developing an eating disorder, and, eventually, getting my Great Big Grown Up Self arrested.

I didn’t so much notice when it happened, but somewhere in the midst of all of that, my Yule Log Dispensing System went on strike.

Moving on…

It took a while, but all that’s behind me now. As behind me as it ever can be, anyway. The divorce was final in 2011. The house sold, finally, in 2012. All that remains of my unfortunate incarceration is a tiny little skid mark in St. Peter’s book and a lifetime ban from Canada (re. which: who cares? It’s fucking Canada. And it ain’t like this girl’s getting into heaven if there is one, anyway). I have a new home, I have my mom’s fine-looking dog, and I’m three years in to a halfway-decent job I’m really good at and I abso-freakin’-lutely goddamn love. So, maybe, just possibly, perhaps… now might be the  time to cop a merry squat and see if I can’t pinch something off.

Bear with me…

Except, you see, if you were paying attention in that last paragraph (which if you weren’t, can’t blame you. I do have a tendency to ramble on. But if you were…) you might be thinking to yourself “Yo, turd-girl, all of those moving-on things were true last year, as well!” And you’d be right. They were. And in fact I came to this same conclusion at this same time last year. And I never did anything about it then because I wasn’t Turd Girl last year: I was Pussy Galore.

Because, you see, the only way I managed to survive the last three years was by cramming my heart – except for the little piece of it kept alive by the aforementioned Other Dog – into that box in the basement, too. And when it came time to let it out, I balked. There are things in those boxes I am more afraid of than anything I’ve ever had to face before – and you’re talking to a girl whose job it is to disarm six-foot, beer-bellied, bald and toothless biker guys named Gus. Things that make me cry right now just thinking about them. Things my mother made or gave me, things my husband and I brought home from all over the world. And that home is gone and that husband is gone and that mother is gone and that world is gone – and all I have in this little log cabin left to comfort me is my dead mother’s dog. And no dog – not even the Other One – is fine-looking enough to make up for all of that.

So last year I moaned about the expense and the effort and the who’s-even-gonna-see-the-damn-thing-anyway, and pussied out. I knitted Christmas sweaters for the nieces and I baked the Christmas pies, but I left all the ghosts in the basement where they belong. And when shit started rolling around again this year like it always goddamn does, I resolved to not even pretend. I don’t do Christmas anymore, I told myself. I’ll put the face on for the family. I won’t snap at folks who wish me well. But in my black, dead, lonely heart, it’s over. Finished. Done.

And then, when I was at Dad’s for Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, he asked me to root around the boxes in his basement and see if I couldn’t find where Mom had stashed her Christmas Village. And I did. And I found them. And I tried but he wouldn’t let me help him set them up. And when I left, all by his 70-year-old, a-fibrillating, half-bionic self, my dad did this:


If that man – who was married to her for 42 years and has been lost without her; who raised us all through recessions and runaways; who’s been in the hospital four or five times since she died, for myriad adversities, and who keeps coming out each time a little more discouraged but never giving up; who just keeps getting better, standing up, and going back to work; who put me on his weak, elderly back and goddamn carried me through my arrest and the ensuing eighteen months of costs and consequences – if that man can open those carefully packed boxes, lift out the porcelain, and plug in the lights, then this girl can sack the fuck up and quit shitting herself at the idea of coming face to face with a slightly-moldy salt-and-flour Jesus.

So I’m getting a tree. And I’m having People Over. Because it’s not true that burying my heart is the only way I managed to survive the last three years.

It turns out that, no matter what, the mice find their way in.

And if there are any Maine mice reading this whom I forgot to invite, please come. You'll find the details under my facebook events. You just have to swear not to do this...


  1. Your the best!!! So happy to read your words.

  2. Merry Christmas, EGE! It's good to hear from youl.

  3. Sorry hearing about your last three years EGE. My day used to start with your posts and you were terrific. Sending good wishes your way

  4. I don't know you and I just read your blog for the first time. But I do hope you've had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a happy 2014!
    Kind regards, José

  5. Hello... is the mike on? Hello...

  6. Wow. Hi. I keep promising I'll try...