Chapter 1: We party!
So me and my sister, Chris, went down to Newport Beach to get my head examined :). Chris is a bit more staid than I in many ways, although she will get out and play softball and Indian wrestle and call people out at her grandkids' soccor games while I will sit quietly immersed in a book. Physical stuff I do not do.
She's my best friend and the person I enjoy being with more than anyone, although Bill's starting to grow back on me.
I'll talk about that later in another chapter.
I was fine to go down there by myself, I didn't expect it to be traumatic, but Bill didn't want me to be alone, so I drug Chris down there. We stayed at the Radisson --I go first class these days now that I am old and my butt is gold. It was just lovely, and they had in-room movies! We watched Get Smart (it was okay, Chris laughed all the way through it and it was her second time--you have to be really funny to get a laugh out me, I'm African-American that way) and Tropic Thunder (really, a waste of time, it wasn't the vulgarity, I just didn't enjoy it and never saw the humor, except for Tom Cruise, he was hilarious) and what was that other one? Oh, well.
We ate our way through the days--every place had the best food! I felt like I was Albert Brooks in "Defending Your Life" where "everything is good." The hotel had the most marvelous chef and I had a lobster quesadilla that was to die for and oh, we had room service every day and even the continental breakfast was enough for four people, I am not kidding! We ate at a great steak place and another French place and Chris was sick of food and wondering who'd taken over my brain since I never eat.
We got Thai massages. You guys, you have to do this before you die, put it on your bucket list. This little Asian girl crawled all over my back and bent my legs all over the place and gave me the best massage I've ever had. Then we got our toenails painted on Balboa Island where I had a good old time in all the small shops and then we went to the worst psychic ever, I am so much better than she will ever be, but it was all part of the experience.
We rested and we ate and we shopped. We argued a bit over each other's driving (think Oprah and Gayle--I am Gayle). The first day the only car rental available was a little tiny two seater convertible, some Dodge or something. But it was like riding a skateboard down the street so we went back the next day and just as we pulled in, this guy pulled in with a Mustang convertible! I sat in it and was in heaven and they let us take it. We drove out with the top down and put on the CD I'd made for our trip. The first song was "Mony, Mony." We turned it up full blast and drove out slowly doing the Miss America wave for people. Then we got up to the stop sign and "Mustang Sally" came on, no lie. We laughed and we sang and we drove out to Balboa Island and had a good time. That was fun.
The scans, the tests, well, that was no big deal. They said my brain is fairly normal, you can all pick yourself up off the floor now, although I have ADD and there was, of course, signs of the depression that has plagued me these last few years.
All in all, we had a good time. I did, anyway, Chris was probably sick of me and eating.
Chapter 2: Brain damage
The scans did show some residual brain trauma, but I was knocked around a bit as a kid, so that's not news. The big surprise in the scans was how normal my brain was, to Bill's chagrin. He was hoping that would explain my leaving.
The tests did indicate significant ADD. I've wondered about that because I can't do one thing, I have to have the TV on in the kitchen or I have to play a video game or read a book while I watch TV, or I have the TV on while I'm doing the computer. I hate to hear speakers, unless I can play a game or read a book. If someone talks too long, I get really irritated. Just knowing the problem is real makes me feel empowered in a way. I can punt.
I've had a couple of other revelations about myself and my flaws. I've realized what a problem I have with spending. I'm incredibly honest, I would never not pay my bills or try to put them off on others, but I can't control myself when I spend. Well, that's not true, I haven't bought a Ferrari and my credit's good enough to do so. But I'm extravagant and generous and I like nice hotels and good food and the luxuries. Plus when I'm down, I go buy something new and I feel a bit better. I suppose it all has to do with a deprived childhood and a problem with delayed gratification. I'll wax poetic on this in Chapter 3.
Also, I realized I'm sort of obnoxious. I always think I'm friendly and charming, but sometimes it doesn't come off that way with others. I'm going to work on that in myself. I insulted the psychiatrist by asking her where she was from (her last name is Akeshi and she looked middle eastern), and she took it badly when I offered to read her palm (it seemed okay to me at the time).
Chapter 3: Falling in Love again, I hope....
Things are much better between Bill and me. Knock on wood, I think he's truly changed. One way he's different is that he wants the grandkids around all the time now. He used to resent it when I wanted them and be mean, but he's changed now. He wants them now! He goes to get them! While I was gone, he realized how empty his life was without us messy people in it. He's made a geniune change there.
He's been pretty patient with me the last two montsh since I moved back. I've been an emotional high-strung basket case, given to spending days in bed sobbing and taking offense over every little thing. But after going to the clinic and adjusting medication and adding vitamin supplements that have been helpful, I'm doing ever so much better. Knock on wood.
I've had a personal epiphany about the things that motivate me (see above)and how I've substituted anger for sadness in so many situations. I'm learning to name the feeling and what happens and to handle things in life. I have hope.
I'm making myself my priority and Bill is next. Everything else comes after. We're learning a rhythm, he usually does the dishes and I cook, making sure he always comes home to a warm meal. I do the laundry and make sure the sheets and towels are clean and he does the shopping. I pay my own credit card bills and we are in a better place for that conflict being avoided.
Perhaps, please God, we are learning how to live with each other at last.
Chapter 4 - Old lady in class
The school I was working graduated a bunch of students and some were pulled and they started to cut hours so I had to find a new job. The best one available was at Convergys, a calling center for various businesses in the country. I know, I know, calling center. It's not sales, though, I couldn't do that. I'll be doing customer service for a cell phone company, checking people's bills and calling plans, etc.
I'm the oldest in the class at 57; there's a couple in their late forties and the rest are in their 20's or even teens. Boy, you can tell the generation gap! These kids run circles around me in their knowledge of phones and features and computers and they drive me crazy with their irresponsible behavior---they talk and play games while our "boss" (our instructor) is talking. I get so irritated with that rude behavior and think "Children, you are being paid to do this! Knock it off!"
On the other hand, they're cute and loveable and hungry and I take them food all the time because I can't stand to eat in front of them. Starving students working at a call center to pay their way through college, you know that drill.
I think I have it over them in staying power and maturity and responsibility. Well in staying power and responsibility. We're probably at the same level maturity wise. They haven't made me really mad yet, so I haven't lost it.
They are starting to call me Grandma. Besides the food, I'm prepared. Yesterday, a young kid said, "Anybody have any eyedrops?" And I pulled my eyedrops out of my backpack. Later, a girl asked, "Arlene, do you have tylenol?" Yup. And tape and scissors and pens and paper and gum and....you get the drill. Oh, and good tissue for the newly pregnant unwed girls and those struggling to pay bills. I'm always down with the Puffs Plus.
Life is looking up. I will have Sundays off so no excuse to miss church anymore! Perhaps I will become a spiritual giant. Hmmmm....perhaps I'll become a bit less abnormal :).