Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Finally, it's wine thirty

My Mother sent me an email requesting that I write more.  She is apparently a subscriber to my blog and a new fan.  Who knew?  She is also on Facebook - which is concerning because I didn't know about her commitment to bridge the generational gap with such fury.  Good for you, Mom... Good for you.

Today wasn't really a very funny day.  I can make it funny, probably but I goofed up and had to eat crow.  Ugh, I hate when that happens.  Here's the low-down dirty on my boo boo.

We are doing this really cool white wash on some bricks at a client's house.  They are doing this fabulous (not my favorite F word, but I digress) outdoor garden in their city home and I am a clear part of the plan.  Sadly, when the house was rehabbed, the contractor built the garage with new bricks that are really straight and perfect.  It's not part of the Savanna Plan for their riparian outdoor space, so in we come to save the day.

The look they want is a white washed brick so the patio has more of a southern feel.  One of the gents for whom we are working is a southern gal (you get the picture).  Go VA Tech is all I have to say.  They are some of my favorite people to work with and their home is not only featured on my website, but it's amazing in ways my pictures do not show.  

Since I am an interiors specialist, I had to do some research on line to find out the best formula for making these new looking bricks seem old and weathered like you would find in the south.  The best formula for this white wash stuff is lime, water, salt and a little bit of concrete for good adhesion.  I am also adding in an acrylic add-mix for making concrete stick to concrete - just so I don't get a phone call after the next rain storm telling me that it all came off.  That would be no good.

Today was day 1 of our experimentation and all went quite well.  The slurry I made worked great and it looks like we will achieve the look we want in two coats.  After the sample area was done, I took my drop cloth out and gently shook it out in the alley.  What I didn't know is that once the dust from my work was on the ground, just a little wind would pick it up and carry it to the neighbors brand new BMW.  Woopsie!

I got a phone call from the neighbor, who is also a client of mine as well, and he was in what  I like to refer to as a gay tizzy.  Pointing fingers, freaking out and getting his feathers in a ruffle.  Not that he doesn't have a right to freak out - but since it wasn't paint I wasn't that worried.  What it was, however, was a mixture of lime (fairly caustic material) and water (yeah, it activates the caustic material in lime powder).  It washed right off the paint but left little pock marks in the protective shield put on the car by the dealer, to protect it from road dirt and rocks that fly up.  Apparently not caustic lime.  One would think that this protective shield company would be more careful in what they protect against!  Christ already!

After a quick call to the dealership to make sure MY ship wasn't completely sunk, I discovered that the material this shield is made out of (Autobahn and Ventureshield) gets replaced every couple of years anyway and is no more than $175 to $250 a panel to replace.  Big sigh big sigh big sigh big sigh.....  I left him a message and he hasn't called me back.  I suppose once Hurricane Faggot cools his jets and comes back down to normal land we can discuss a quick remedy to fix it all up.  Big bullet dodged and I am glad it's going to be fine.  How quickly a little innocent shake of my drop cloth, fully intending to do so in a way that kept dirt and dust away from cars, caused damage and a poor gay who clearly loves his car almost lost his mind.

Thankfully, said gay is currently unemployed (I think) so I fully expect a thank you card for bringing him something to do.

And I bow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yeah, I know it's April 15 people, I have a calendar!

Ugh, the one thing worst then the appointment I have with my accountant this afternoon is that April 15th is always the 6 month marker to my next birthday.  I am not sure when they went from celebration to dread, but it happened somewhere along the way.  This is the home stretch from my late, very late, thirties into the land where I am supposed to have more accomplished than I do.  The lovely land of forty.  

One of my friends turned 40 last year in June and apparently wasn't ready.  She approached me about glomming onto my birthday in October so we could turn 40 together.  Although I am not entirely sure that I am ready - we do have this deal.  Had I been thinking more clearly I am sure I would have asked for an extension.  Much like the one I am going to ask the IRS for today.  But longer and less expensive.  In my best attempt to compromise we are, alas, turning 40 together - but in Florence, Italy and in June.  It's a fair deal, trust me.

My partner and I are truly dog lovers.  We want to rescue one of those needy pound pups that Sarah McGlaughlin is always peddling on Guilt TV.  If there is a dog adoption at the local pet store, we know to stay clear.  As it is we already have three cats.  One is mine, biologically.  Though I have no evidence, birth certificate or otherwise, he came out of my mental vagina.  Myles is born of me, unto me and all that other bible speak and babble.  The other two we adopted because lazy neglectful people in my neighborhood kicked them out or moved away without taking them.  I love them just fine, but I bare no mental stretch marks with their names.  If I had to , I could find loving homes for them; Elsie and Evelyn, that is.  Just being real - although I hope it never comes to that.  Really.

Yesterday I went with my bff to the dog park beach.  This is a strange place to those of you who don't have or have ever had a dog.  Being a previous dog owner, I have experience this odd kinship between people that otherwise have nothing in common.  Just dogs. - Turns out the size of your dog is like having currency on the dog park.  The bigger the dog, the more power you have over the other little dogs and their owners.  It's subliminal and not discussed, but if you pay attention for it, the big dog is the big dog.  Full stop.  And Big Harley (there was a little Harley - a very little Harley) was my ticket in with these folk.  I was drunk with power and I didn't even have the leash.  Actually, I was just drunk but since it was 6pm, a full hour before wine-o-clock officially starts, I am shy to admit that.  

We met Chris and Maura or Mindy and Charley, whatever... the point is that their real names are Sanoma's Parents. Sanoma is a very cute Golden Retriever puppy with a lot of energy.   Little Harley's momma was there too and I am not sure if I could remember her name if pressed.  A couple with their 1.275 kids and their Weimereiner who is clearly not part of the club I was with came by.  They kept their distance from us and never engaged any of us in conversation.  My guess is that the combination of Harley (yes, big Harley, who happens to be a beautiful black Grate Dane) being present mixed with my intuition that they are probably heading for the suburbs soon - straights often do that when they start reproducing.  Which is fine with me.  The city is no place for kids.  To the tract mansions they go.  Then they can hire me to paint clouds on the ceiling and match their Crate and Barrel Baby blankets with their wall color.  It's a cycle - and I am part of it.  That's all I am saying.   These are the same people who shop at West Elm and Crate and Barrel exclusively and usually have pages 4 and 6 as the living room.  It's nice for them to have to use no imagination but since I see if about twice a month, it gets old.  That mixed with the 100 pictures of their wedding.  Displayed everywhere in the house.  The hall, the shelves, the bathroom.  Ok folks, we get it... .you wore a white dress and took pictures by a water feature on your wedding day - enough!

I am hoping that I am back in time for Dog Hour.  Although I have no dog of my own and I am sure Harley's mama is happy to share his leash with me, I feel a little left out.  There are a few people on the street with dogs - maybe I will rent one for the afternoon.  People are weird about that - with good reason I guess.  If someone knocked on my door and asked if they could take my cat for a while, I might be inclined to say no.  My sales pitch will have to be perfect.   The white bull dog on the street looks good.  His mom is small and if she declines my request for a rental, I am pretty sure I can wrestle the rope from her hands.  I did hear she plays soccer though - which is interesting enough as she is a straight.  I will let you know how this goes.  Maybe I will take pictures.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Married to the mob, twice removed, through marriage....

The town I grew up in, Westport, has been a topic I always have some story for.  Like I have said, it's as close to a redneck soaked southern town you can get to without actually being in the south.  The one strange thing about it is that it is absolutely beautiful.  Stunning in all seasons, beaches for days and rolling countryside indicative of places like Ireland or England.  So weird!

When I think back about how many years I felt imprisoned in this almost water locked town, it turns out we only lived there for 10 years.  Almost eleven, if you count the time it took us to move into the new house in Plympton - but I guess it only seemed like a lifetime because I was so young.  How we ended up in Westport is an interesting story, one that I only learned after turning 34.   Finding this out was kind of a shock at first, but I like knowing that it happened to us.  Even if it wasn't a story I could tell when I was younger.  Had I known, and had I been allowed to share, I certainly would have been the school badass, figure skating notwithstanding.......

My Mom and Dad were married when my mom got pregnant with my older sister in '66.  Along came me in '69 and then the baby in '71.  This left my mom a 21 year old with three small kids and a husband that, with little surprise, had little interest in being married and having kids.  How true that is isn't the point, and I don't want anyone thinking either of them had an ounce of malice towards one another.  In fact, the two of them, as young as they were, had some uncanny understanding that involving the three of us kids in any dispute was completely out of the question.  I never knew they didn't like one another until I was in my late 20s.  I will be forever grateful for that.

My mom began dating my step dad a couple of years after the official split from my bio-dad.  We struggled in ways I am sure I will never know - but I do know that my mom ironed a lot of the neighbors clothes for cash and did odd jobs to make ends meet.  To my knowledge my dad wasn't a financial contributor at that point, but we all made it work.  No anger, no resentment - we were all so young.  All of us.  

Step dad was a cool bearded dude with a motorcycle and a taste for cars and all things gasoline.  He had a good job and was recently divorced.  Mom and he met at a cousin's wedding and things went well... and fast.  He was a civil engineer (I thought he worked on a train and was very nice to people, but I also thought veins that old ladies got were called "veri-close veins") and my mom was completely in love.  Keep in mind that my mom, a 23 year old with three kids, very pretty and a size zero with big boobs and a taste for Mo-Town.  It was the seventies, so one has to imagine bras were in limited supply.  All I knew was they were in love and announced to us they wanted to get married.  And so they did.... and so did we.

My sisters and I were all very sick on that beautiful wedding day in the living room of our HUD home in Springfield, MA.  My two sisters had Measles, Mumps and Chicken Pox at the same time.  I had narrowly escaped with Chicken Pox only.  Let's just say that the only people smiling that day for pictures was Mom and New Dad.  Itchy, Scratchy and Me were not happy - but the show must go on.

Things were good for us once they got married.  New Dad worked far away in New Bedford or something and came home as often as he could.  One of his passions was seafood, a concept we didn't really understand, since we lived 3 hours from the ocean.  He, as it turns out, grew up near the coast and loved all things stinky and fishy.  Gross.  With his new family so far inland and not really grooving to his seafood tastes, he began introducing it to his new friends where we lived and to his friends at work.  They were all in love with it!  So, he began taking orders for clams, lobster, muscles, fish fish and fish.  It was so gross.  Things crawling around in the fridge, bags of fish with the eyes still in it.  Not things a kid who ate government cheese as a delicacy found even slightly appealing.  Not even a little.

New Dad decided that he and Mom should open a little seafood shop in a section of town that got good foot and drive by traffic.  He got a business partner that would run the store when he was at his day job and Mom would come by and work the register and do outside sales.  Mom was good at chatting up people and selling them seafood.  In fact, she was so good at it, the business grew quickly and they had several restaurant accounts and were considering branching out.

New Dad decided that with his new success, he would look into branching out to New York, since some of his clients had restaurants in Springfield and New York.  After some inquiry and phone calls, it turns out you have to have "protection" to sell in New York from the mafia.  Since the obvious dangers of involving ourselves with mafia types was unappealing, ND decided to keep the operation local, but grow it as big as he could. 

Apparently word got out to the local organized crime folk in our city and decided they wanted in on the action.  The business partner guy was approached by "someone" and was asked if they could get in on the action.  Once this was presented to my Step Father, he quickly decided, "hell no".  He had worked to hard to build this and had a lot at stake.  No way was he going to cut these guys in willingly to take any of his hard earned cash.  This is, after all, where the crime part of organized crime comes in I suppose.

Once the refusal was delivered to Tony Shortfinger, or whatever his name was,  Dad was advised that things were probably not over.  How true that was.  A visit was paid to the store, when he was at his other job and business partner guy was told, under what would have to have been some emphatic telling to that left little to the imagination, that the crime dudes were in and there wasn't any choice.  New dad - not happy.  Turns out, he ain't 'fraid of the Gamibinos, the Supranos or the Gottis.  But his lawyer was...

Dad had taken a small loan at a local bank for the fridge cases and the water tanks and scales and stuff in the store to minimize his initial cash investment.  Once he found out about the impending hostile take over by Johnny Short Leg, he marched down to the bank and informed them that things weren't going well and he was not going to be able to pay back the loan.  In fact, they should get down to the store right away and pick up that collateral before someone breaks in and steals it.  So they did.  All of it.  Surprise!

Now, I was 6 at this time, so the fact that my parents owned a seafood store barely registered, never mind know that they were tangling with mafia sorts and that our lives were in potential danger.  But we were in danger, and it was not good.  The business partner guy disappeared for a while, and turned up with no less than two broken arms.  Whoopsie.  

I remember packing up the house with my parents frantically while one of us had to keep an eye on the driveway.  "What are we watching for?" we asked.  "Anyone who pulls up to the house that you dont' know, tell Mommy, ok?"  I just figured one of dad's friends were coming and he wanted to know so he could make his coffee or something.  

It took us about two days to get the house totally packed up and into a big rig.  We moved into the new house by the weekend.  Never asking a question, never looking back - just got a new room in a bigger house with a huge yard.  As far as I was concerned it was a good idea.  30 years later I was told why.  The only thing I could ask, through my hand that was over my mouth, was if we were in the witness protection program and were my relatives really my relatives.  Mom and Dad laughed at me and explained that the casting of my current family could never happen by the government, or by the best casting director in Hollywood.  So true.....

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Bully

Most people had to deal with a bully when they were younger and I was no exception to this rule.  The classic bully was maybe the head of the football team or some popular kid with lots of money and friends, but mine was neither.

You have to understand the backwards Kentucky like Massachusetts town I grew up in.  Westport, MA - this place is, by all acc
ounts, beautiful and serene.  Sleepy streets with weeping willows, gently touching quiet ponds that quench the thirst of lazy cows grazing in the sun.  The sweet smell of the salt air suddenly catching your nose with the change of a breeze - seriously stunning.  BUT, as a kid who was, perhaps a little "different" all was not well.  At least all of the time.

I suppose my trouble started with a well intended new Principal at our elementary school.  When we moved to Westport initially, my elementary school was 4 rooms.  Two up and two down.  Each room was for a grade, one through four.  Like I said, Kentucky, folks.  One might assume this was in 1814, but it was actually 1976.  The year after I got there, a new school was built and was suddenly filled with hundreds of kids.  I still have no idea where they all came from, but maybe they shuttled them in.  Who knows - it's not the point.

Mrs. Damm was her name, and she was all about her kids.  I also had a math teacher, I th
ink, that was named Mrs. Rodriques or Rodgiques or something like that, who liked me.  Since my mom and sisters had recently decided that ice skating would be our new sport (I guess soccer was full and gymnastics hadn't been invented yet) I happily tagged along.  Now, I was always into matchbox cars and riding my bike, but since I had two sisters, I was also well versed in hair and make up by the time I was about 7 - so figure skates over hockey skates it was.

As it turned out, my sisters were... eh, er, ok at the skating but I was a born natural.  On our first day skating, some lady came up to my mom and asked her how long I had been skating.  She politely responded, "about twenty minutes" completely honestly.  My mom - who was at this point, about 26 or 27, had not yet honed her penchant for sarcasm.  The mystery woman laughed and said, "not today, how long has your son been an ice skater?" A little annoyed, mom responded through her half smile, "about twenty two minutes now, I suppose".  

Rita was her name - Rita Blair.  I will never forget this lady who transformed my life, in one quick chat with my once teen mom.  As it turned out, Rita was the instructor for the local ice skating school and thought that I should enroll at once.  She was shocked at my natural ability to glide across the ice, while all the other beginners were grasping the wall for dear life.  It seemed so easy to me and I had no idea what all the fuss was about, I was just doing what everyone else there was doing.  Spinning around, skating backwards - Apparently I was something of a wonder as these skills of mine were not normal.  Who knew?

I was immediately signed up for skating school and began competing soon after.  New skates were ordered and a profess
ional coach was brought in.  Douglas Somethingslovak was his name and he was an Ice Dancer.  So, then I was too.  I competed in several competitions over the next few years and eventually dropped out of skating completely.  My peers, it turns out, didn't think it was as cool as Mrs. Damm and Mrs. Rodrigues did....  not even close.

Once I started to have some local recognition about my newly found talent, newspaper articles and such, the principal thought it would be great to put a display case up in the new lobby of the school.  So a big glass case was filled with pictures, newspaper clippings and all of my new blue ribbons and medals.  It was like I was Michael Phelps!  (My parents last name is Phelps, so this is particular hysterical to me, and now, to you too)  All I had to do was wait for all of the kids to want to be my best friend and wish to be seen with me in all of my new celebrity.  There would be lines of kids waiting to sit with me in the new Cafetorium (no lie, that is what it was called) and crowds would swarm me on the recess fields for tether ball tournaments, that I would always win.  Sigh.... quite the opposite happened.

Now I am not sure how these kids knew to be so mean so young.  I was, in a flash of a second, newly labeled the "class fag".  As a kid of so few years, I had no idea either what that meant or why it was so important to them for me to be disliked.  Like I said, I know the teachers and faculty were trying to champion my career and try to support their students interests - and had they known the actual effect of their efforts I have to believe they would have made more responsible choices.
One kid, one mean red headed freckle faced mutha effin kid just had it out for me.  From the moment in elementary school to the a moment in middle school - perhaps mentioned soon, this kid just made my life hell.  Mentioning his name hardly seems fair - I happen to believe in karma, so once has to hope he is already living above his parents garage, with three kids that he can't support and a porn habit.  Gay porn habit, what the hell - it's my story.

There is one caveat to my torture that is worth mentioning.  One day in middle school, a particularly difficult time in my tortured time, this punk ass ginger head and I had a little interaction in the boys room.  It was in the section of the school where the two teachers, Mr. Gomes and Mr. Gomes both worked.  They were brothers and one smelled bad and the other wore too much cologne.  Just weird this place was, truly weird.  Anyway, Red walked into the bathroom as I was finishing up my business at the urinal and I just panicked.  What would he do?  Was he going to hit me?  Push me against the wall or worse, pick me up and put my head in the toilet like I had se
en in movies?  Shit - I was freaking out.  

What happened next is blurry but I remember enough to recount.  He said "Hey Mike" to me.  Just like that.  "Hey Mike" like we were friends.  Like he hadn't just embarrassed me in front of everyone ten or eleven minutes ago in the hall by kicking my books out of my hand.  The nerve!  Now I have no idea how my twelve year old brain processed this injustice but I can tell you how my body react
ed.  I freaked out on him.  Like, black-chick-who-was-just-called-a-fat-bitch freaked out.  I punched him, kicked him, pulled his hair and got him on the ground.  Once he was down I kicked him and stomped on his head and spat on him.  I had gone ghetto and I had no idea how to stop my rage.  He begged me to stop and told me that I was hurting him.  

At some point I got a hold of myself and left the bathroom.  I left my torturer bloody on the floor, gasping for air.  I had messed him up pretty good and I was not even the slightest bit concerned.  After straightening myself up a little, I returned to class feeling much better about my life and self.

My boy, Red, left school that day for a couple of days to recover and never told who is attacker was.  There was never a moment of concern or regret or remorse for my behavior.  I knew he wasn't going to tell anyone who beat his ass - he would have quickly become the new class fag.  He wasn't going to be wearing my tiara, or my sash.  I was, as they say, off scott free.   As you might guess, ginger bush left me a wide berth the rest of our school career.  I hope he learned a valuable lesson.  I know I did... 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I promised myself,,,

So I decided that I would have to write something, at least a little, everyday that I can.  Now, I think I have made it clear that I would love nothing more than to be one of those people who goes to they gym everyday or wakes up feeling the urge to run by the water for 10 miles, just because it makes me feel good.  Two things - I only run when chased, and even though I live in Dorchester, I try to avoid any activity that may result in me being chased.  I smoked cigarets for 26 years and am not as confident as I would like to be in the category of lung capacity.  Secondly, waking up with the urge to run seems more like a mental illness than a goal.  Seriously, think about it - it borders on insanity.

My boyfriend is actually working out right now while I am typing.  I imagine that as he does his lunges and ab twists that my body is getting more toned by the minute.  Sure, it's not possible but I promised myself that if I started to get fat skinny that I would hit the tread mil or immediately stick my finger down my throat after any good, big meal.  We'll see.  I think the one thing I hate more than exercise is vomiting.  Just the worse.

I still have no work for the rest of the week, so I am going full on philanthropic.  My parents have bought a house with my little sister on the south shore and are trying to get it ready for move in.  It's an in-law apartment kind of thing and it needs paint.  No money, but a good feeling like I have done my part to help my parents.  I just wish they were older and more feeble because it would feel more gratifying.  Damn them for having me so young.

Speaking of my sister, Erin, I had totally forgotten how freaked out she gets about me being booked on American Airlines Flight 11 on Sept 11, 2001.  I guess it is freaky, but I changed my flight about 3 weeks out to the 10th and averted an obvious very tragic demise.  My point is that we all dodge bullets.  Not the literal ones, that's for we Dorchester dwellers, but you get what I am saying.  The plan was not for me to die that day and I have never really questioned it.   I did take great pleasure in making my voice over client in California fel bad about almost killing me with their plan to fly me on "11 on the 11th" as they told me.  Apparently I am someone they thought would benefit from the ease of remembering such an easy itinerary.  How right they were.

You know that recurring nightmare you have since you were a small child? The one where you are falling off a stack of pancakes 20 stories high in a redwood forrest surrounded by flying nymphs?  Well....... my recurring nightmare, one that hasn't happened since Sept 11th, is that I am on a plane, it's flying out of control for some reason not known to the passengers, through a city full of sky scrapers.  I wake up just before it hits a building.  Yeah, what the fuck, I know.  Maybe I should call Chip Coffee and discuss with him my potential for psychic teachings.  I am, after all, looking for a career change. It's something to consider......

Out - and remember, Ryan Seacrest has my career.  If you see him, jump him and get it back for me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Woo - I made it again!

So I decided last night that when I write in forums like this, I find myself editing what I say in an attempt to have people like what I say or to say what I think people might like to hear.  This, I have come to know, is not acceptable.  From this point on, it's honesty and candidness in a way that frees me from the confines of trying to hard.  This is my blog, for me to air my grievances, speak my mind or truth.  Fair enough?  (I don't know who I am talking to, but play along)

Picture it, Las Vegas, October 20, 2006.

My dad, Ed, and I are driving across country for my big move back to LA.  I had been in Boston since 2001 and it seemed like the right time to get back to my left coast homies.  My condo was rented out for the next year - so that was covered - and Dad is alway up for a long drive.  My cat, Myles (pictured at the front page of my blog .... flying from my house to the one next door), is riding shotgun (this is a pun that will later be far more understandable) with us and happily staying at the shadiest Motel 6s we can find.  Money saving is the key, which is what leads to my next brilliant idea.

In 1995, shortly after the former Mrs. Michael N
oel and I split - again a very topsy turvy time for me emotionally, I met a man named Don.  Don was in the Navy and although I had just met him, I was instantly attached.  I loved him.  I couldn't live without him.  In retrospect, I was acting like a 14 year old who was having my first puppy love.  But in reality I was a 26 year old who was allowing himself to follow his heart for the first time.  They say when you fall in love for the first time, into real love, you fall hard.   That is just what I did.

Don and I were together for a total of almost 5 years.  The relationship was not ideal by any stretch, but for me at the time, it was what I needed.  Towards the end of our time together, Don was showing signs of who he really was.   Fractures in his personality and his propensity for self-destructive behavior had me a little worried.  After we had gotten into an altercation and he had thrown me into a wall 4 or 5 times where I smashed my head repeatedly, I decided making my exit would be next.  Which I did - 

I moved in with my dear friend  in La Canada.  This place was my heaven and my friend was my angel.  Don, on the other hand had other things in mind.  Rather than belabor the story and over detail it, which doesn't really serve my purpose right now, I will say this.  He was high on crystal meth and was hiding in the bushes watching me sleep.  Creep-o-rama I know.  When my parents got wind of this, they gently reminded me that this kind of behavior was a clear indication that I was perhaps in some danger.  My step father is not someone who has even a little tendency for drama, so when he told me that he was in fear for my life, I packed and left for home the next day.  Literally.

This is a bit of a fast forward - so follow along with my train of thought.  During the 5 years between my leaving for Boston and my eventual return, Don had gone through many phases of crazy, weird and bad.  We lost touch for several years - but I always knew someone who knew him and kept tabs silently.

Before my drive across this corn belted country with my dad and kitty, I had checked in with Don and found that he was in Las Vegas and by all accounts, had straightened his life out.  This was, of course, great news and although I knew there was a part of him that still made me nervous, the thought of seeing someone familiar and not sleeping on a crap hotel bed seemed like a better option.  So, on day 4 of our trip, we pulled into Vegas and stayed the night with Don.  Cat and all - he looked good.  Fat, but healthy and his apartment was nice.  "Good for him" I remember thinking.  I also remember a very unsettling feeling by being around him, but since I had my dad with me, I ignored it.  Parents give you superpowers... did you know that?

The day after our sleep over, we awoke to a glorious day.  Dad and I met another friend who was in Vegas for a wedding at Denny's for breakfast.  Who doesn't love Moons Over My Hammy?  Don stayed behind.  Said he had some running around to do, oh yeah... and he had to go to the bank.

Breakfast was great and we headed back to Don's place to pick him up for some sight seeing.  Hoover Dam here we come.  Is there really an elevator that takes you down to the bottom?  I never did get that far...

As friend and dad and I were walking down the stairs from the apartment and heading over to my red truck, I noticed that there were several police cruisers pulling into the lot where we were.  Another one, another one, a helicopter and some more.  It seemed like something big was going down and it was close.  Closer than I thought, but when a situation like this unfolds around you and you are not the type of person that has police contact, other than a crossing guard or highway speed trap, things can be blurry.  

The next thing I knew there were cops all around us.  Yes, guns drawn, "Stay right there" kind of shit.  Suddenly we are smack dab in the middle of a CSI taping, or maybe Ashton Kucher is here punking us.  None of it made sense, so on we went, down this slippery slope of  what-the-fuck?  

It turns out that Don has a burgundy truck, as do I.  It is parked next to mine and seems to be of great interest to the police people.  One cop has a contraption that is making beeping noises.  Like a geiger counter, and he is pointing it at my Honda.  It is beeping faster, but when he points it at Don's Chevy pick-up, it goes off the charts.  "Bingo" he says.  We still have no idea what is going on.

Once the questions start coming in, "who's truck is this, where are you going, where are you coming from" you can imagine... I just say as much of the truth as I can spit out as fast as I can.  I am in no position to be protecting Don at this point and all I can do is blurt out as fast as I can, "thatismyfriendstruckhelivesrightthereinapartment2025hisnameisdonthatishistruck"  Heads spin to see Don walking down the stairs, oblivious to all the commotion.  He looks at me, sees the cops all around me and gives me the sign like "I'm not here"- Um, not so fast buddy.  I point and say to the armed folks in my immediate area "that's him" - and he runs back into his apartment.

Eight hours later, once I had held court with FBI negotiators, Las Vegas Police people, and several other people with whom I had never intended on meeting, we found out that Don had robbed 4 banks over the last few months and that they had been waiting for him to make his next move.  The bank that he robbed was 3 blocks away from his house and the money he was given this time has a tracking device in it.  "This is not going to end well" thought I.  I have never been more right in my life.

Don was found dead of a self inflicted gunshot wound to his head.  He had shot himself soon after he closed the door behind him.  It had been his plan all along had he been caught.  He never told me this - but I knew him well enough to know that, at least.  I received a text message from him about 5 minutes into the ordeal.  "I am sorry I ruined your trip, please forgive me"  His last thought.  His last words.  In a text messsage.  So sad, really.

Although this was clearly the worse day of my life - by far - and an obvious excellent excuse to start smoking again after a year, my biggest worry throughout the 13 hours in total we were held away from getting our things - was Myles.  No one could tell  me if he was in there and since there was a dead body in the house, we weren't allowed in.  Clearly a cat is the least of anyones concerns, except mine, and I was a little less than apologetic about asking.  One has to wonder if the cops were considering shooting me, just so they didn't have to hear about my missing feline another time.

It wasn't until about 8pm that the Coroner and all 25 homicide detectives cleared the scene and told us we could get our things.  The scene was not good and I was extremely spent by this hour.  "Did someone find my cat?" was all I could cry.  I must have been the most pathetic thing anyone had ever seen.  "He is in his cage, Michael and seems to be fine" .  I don't know if Don put him in there before he killed himself or if someone found him under a bed or what.  All I know is that he is fine -  I know, we can all breath again.
Don died almost 3 years ago and it has taken me a long time to forgive him.  His choice to end his life was his and I can't even imagine coming to a decision like that.  It is sad and truly tragic.  My dad brushes it off, "He was a sick man" and my friend barely had met him, so I had to kind of deal by myself.  

I stayed in LA for almost a year but really never got over the shock of what happened.  I have been back in Boston since September of '07 and feel like I have finally recovered.  It has not been easy -  but every day it gets better.

I feel a little lighter.......

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You have to start somewhere

Journaling isn't something I do - not because I wouldn't be good at it, it's just that I am lazy when it comes to that kind of thing.  Like going to the gym... it seems like a really good idea AND I want to go.... I just don't.  I mean, I went for a while - my body never changed so I stopped going.  Like blogging or journalling or whatever it is that I am doing right now at this keyboard.  I started one, some myspace thing, with the dreams of someone reading it and thinking I was so funny that their uncle, who runs NBC should send the jet for me.  Right away.  Never happened.

So this is my sitcom.  It's my place to rant.  No, I am not trying to be controversial, at least not yet.  I make no promises.  

Like many of the people in this country, or world I presume, I am hitting the financial hardship portion of my life's journey.  Many an hour I have spent mulling over the choices I have made with regards to money.  "Did I need that flat panel TV?, is it entirely necessary that I have 475 channels of cable, even though I watch 4 them?"  - typical crap one guesses.  It was pointed out to me today by a very wise friend of mine that rather than judge myself for the choices I have made, just make different ones starting now.  This is a brilliant strategy!  Like a battered wife, I too am tired of walking into the punches of my own financial misgivings.  Fingers crossed.

The one good news item which may seem like a bad news item, but since it's so big I can not allow it on the bad list, is that I own a home.  This is a feat that I never considered I would achieve, so for that I am very proud.  I have accomplished this while being self employed, no less, so in the realm of self pride, this one ranks high.  I know I know, things were going so well for me in my self-judgement - but alas I have to give myself at least a little credit.  Oh, speaking of credit....

I got another letter in the mail today saying that one of my credit accounts was closed.  I have to assume it was one I don't use or have a balance on because there was no mention of what I owed them.  This is so frustrating for me AND a complete relief all at once.  On the one hand I MAY need access to borrowed money if things with work are slow.  On the other hand, let's say the left one, I am completely grateful that someone is watching out for me in credit never-never land making sure my ass doesn't have the ability to charge a motorcycle on the first warm New England day of the year.  Who am I kidding, it will never be warm here again!

I found out that my therapist and her new husband took the trip of my lifetime for their honeymoon.  They rode a motorcycle around the world.  Yeah.  The friggin' world!   I have this idea that if my therapist weren't my therapist, she and I would be "besties" and shop and braid each-other's hair when we have sleep-overs.  Certainly she would cringe at the notion, but this is my blog, so braid we will.  Over my lifetime, a short 39 years, 5 months and 8 days or so, I have met so few people who get the motorcycle thing like I do.  I can't believe that she is there, sitting across from me every tuesday, potentially drifting off to day dream land thinking about riding through checkpoints at the Turkish border.  Damn her and her need for professional boundaries.  Doesn't she know how rare we are!  I better be cured soon so I can show her my French Twist skills and motorcycle pictures.  This is harder than I thought.  (therapist - if you read this, please call me before you sign the protection order - I am trying to be funny.... it was, after all, your idea!)

Being a gay - there are, I have learned, certain things that are difficult for people to digest about my past when they learn them.  One is, that I ride motorcycles and do so because I enjoy it - not because I think it makes me less gay.  I have a theory that some of my peers talk sports because of some similar notion, but that is another topic.  Another thing that, upon learning, people find strange is that I was married.  First question, every time, "Did she get the green card?"   She wasn't an illegal.   The story of how I ended up married is for another day - but I will say this....  I married someone with whom I loved very dearly at the time.  She was what I needed then and, I have to assume, I was what she needed at that time too.  It was not her choice to marry someone who was about to come out of the closet.  There were a lot of mitigating factors to our eventual split, one of which was my decision to face something that I thought of as too daunting to ever think about, never mind discuss.  The rest is personal and mostly her business - but we don't hate one another.  She is happy, married and has two beautiful children.  Her husband is even straight, so good for her!

For now - I am out like a fat chick in dodge-ball.  Laters!