Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fraudulent Me

Well, officially as of this moment, it is June, and I am amazed we got here. I really thought I'd blog a ton in May,but it didn't happen. It was stressful and every moment I could I crawled into a coccoon and hoped May would just pass.

I am remembering a family photo tonight that we had taken years ago. It was probably the last time my sister would consider herself a part of our family. But more importantly I remember my mom instructing the photographer--she was a wedding harpist, and she could help him get more work if he did two things: He would have to make us look rich and thin.

Ugh, how I would love to somehow not define myself by those things, and yet I find the things that bother me the most are things that threaten the possibility of looking to the world like I might be rich(er) and thin(ner). This week our car broke down and I ended up in the hospital with a terrible pain in my back. I suppose 10 years ago I would have avoided the hospital and the 100 bill that goes with it. But now, as a person with diabetes, I take those pains seriously. Just like I thought, kidney infection (although the doc and hubby kept saying it was "back pain too" I know back pain). The test was positive for an infection, and after 2 doses of antibiotic, I felt much better.

If only the car had gone like that. There was a call two days later that our fuel pump had blown up and taken a strut with it, and that the repair estimate would START at 1300, and did they want me to continue, or just get a new car? I hate cars. JEEZ, I miss those days in NYC where the train took me everywhere! I hate everything about purchasing, owning, caring for, and worrying about cars.

We had one horrible experience at a dealership before I broke down in tears and told my husband I wasn't going to do it. But it was necessary, and today, after going to a dealership where the salesmen work on SALARY, we are the owners of a vehicle. A vehicle which we are paying a higher interest rate than I ever thought I'd pay. THis, of course, is after going to various credit unions and banks and hearing that we weren't going to get the loan we wanted, not for a car over 5 years old, and not with our crappy credit.

So here I am, dieting, desperate, and terribly upset with being overweight.
And here I am, owner of a new (to me) car with a horrible interest rate because on paper, I'm, well, poor.

I guess life is supposed to be worse than this? Because I'm just so happy. I have this great family, and I do what I want to do, and hubby and I go out every evening and survey our competing gardens, and I'm singing in the Mikado, and, damnit, I am really happy.

So I feel like a fraud. Half blissfully joyful, and the other half always telling myself that the picture isn't right.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Brave New Worlds

A type-o almost caused me to write "Brave Jew Worlds" as the title of this blog post, which would probably have garnered more attention than I'd like.

My fingers and toes are covered in mud. I've been outside this morning with the baby and the dog (the one who does not have a phobia about going outside). We gardened, pulled weeds, sprayed round-up, and I threw the baby up in the air. It's a little muggy, but it's devastatingly beautiful outside, and everything I've planted is coming up...from lettuce to clematis to hostas. The whole morning was idyllic. The nice thing about planting gardens is that the result, while unexpected, is pretty much in the area you'd like it to be.

This is really different from auditions. The factors, which can be as ridiculous as "they just had lunch and weren't really listening" to "they hated your aria" leave you in a state of total surrender. Ain't nothin' but the attempt to do your best. After a small battle with the rental car company, who double-charged me for the rental, I was not only reimbursed for the car, but also for the gas (as a courtesy? I'll take it!) which means this trip cost me under 100 bucks, and was altogether fun with the exception of singing for opera folks.

Each time I do an opera audition I pray it's in an opera house, not a room. But usually, it's in a room (FYI, I have always done better if it's on a stage. Hands down). They try to re-create the auditorium environment by sitting far enough away that you can't see what color socks they're wearing. It's ridiculous. Acoustically, it's as different as night and day. But what're you gonna do, right? It's formal. It's cold. And my friend from NYC who used to "cross over" between musical theater and opera, said he liked to do musical theater auditions just because he needed a compliment every once in a while.

And I have no idea why, but that's pretty true.

I stated my name at this audition loudly at the beginning. I used my new name...half me and half my husband. I like it. I like it more and more. It's still short. I would have thought I'd hate the hyphen, but I like that it forces people to say both parts. It's my brave new world. No more thinking resumes have to use the old name, and Dr's appointments have to use the new. I am one person, a new person. Ready for the adventures of a new life.

If I believe anything, it's that God can make people new. That encountering God, letting Him find you, believing that there's more to life than what we see, will actually make you a new person. It'll pull the weeds right out of you. I was thinking about it last night. I trust that God can change the parts of me that I have so long fought. I guess I just have no idea how that's going to happen.

I recently answered the question of what a "contrite spirit" is, and I think it's someone who walks around with an understanding of their own flaws. Not beaten up by them, per se, and far from hopeless, but knowing we are, each, flawed, gives you a chance to see God as something infinitely more than yourself. And, hopefully, to see the other flawed people around you as equals. That's my bravest new world, I guess. To not be so afraid of my flaws that I can't give them up? It sounds wacky, doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Getting the Lead Out

I'm pretty sure I've used this title on a blog post before.

I haven't written yet in May. It's been so immensely stressful, and somehow that stress has put me into a depression. Albeit mild, I still am having trouble feeling motivated to feel positive thoughts, do positive things, etc. I am looking forward to a counselor visit, and clinging on to aerobic exercise to just not kind of--hate myself--every day. Blech. Sometimes I think a very stressful situation (like your husband suddenly being hospitalized, having emergency surgery, and having a dentist look at you and say "your husband could easily have had a heart attack or stroke today, thank God he came in" that relly knocks me off my game.

So tonight, just to get me back into blogging, unwilling to deal yet with the incredibly disappointing "facing the facts" after a Minnesota audition, and the feeling that I am just bored of having a 2 year old around me all the time....I am going to talk about the lead.

I can't describe to you the nightmare of having the government come to your house every week or so to inspect your back-breaking labor and give you a thumbs-up on what you feel is hardly good work at all, while your daughter's lead level so slowly trickles down you think HOW CAN THIS BE? The nightmare of looking at her and worrying if at 5 years old any one of the Myriad of problems they've scared me with will pop up--I won't know now, of course. That would be far too satisfying.

Becky is our "lead lady" and has been so frustrating. She has smiled, developed a relationship with us, and still at so many turns has managed to treat us like people who are A) lazy and couldn't possibly care enough about our daughter B) stupid and C) people she's never met. Her form letters, sent in the mail when her office is literally 8 blocks from our house, have been annoying. Her suggestions that lead areas of our house (like our porch or the basement windows) could simply be covered with junkyard metal and that would solve the problem, were nothing short of ridiculous. And yet at every turn, the look that if we didn't do this thing, that thing--if we didn't spend 8 hours scraping paint off of the inside basement windows--would be bad parenting, the act of lazy people who didn't care, has caused marital fights, hours of my tears, and a bit of cursing.

So, two weeks ago she came to my door and told me she was stepping down (Lord, could this be true???) because she has cancer. Sorry, CANCER. And I was dumbstruck. She'd been working through the treatments, but it had gotten too hard (hubby reacting only to this news by saying, "see, didn't I tell you she was wearing a wig?") I didn't ask anything. Not what kind of cancer, not how long she's known, not what was happening. I felt this strange note of mortality in the air, and I wanted to wish her "luck?" or "hope" or something that probably wouldn't mean anything.

And then, I guess this is the worst part--you see, I still kind of hated her. The cancer, which I wished would somehow wipe away how much I'd hated dealing with her, was just cancer. And she was just the lead lady. And I still feel kind of awful about myself. I sympathized, I thought of her children, I worried about her dying. But I felt such a gratefulness at not having to see her. Even in our last conversation she mentioned the woman who would "probably" take over for her, and how "she's a real stickler, so if she sees a lead paint chip in your front yard, I'm sure she'll make you pick it up." So even at the end--she talked to me like I was an uncooperative kid, right? Or is it just me? Make me pick it up?

And now we're still spending most beautiful days scraping lead paint when all I want to do is garden. We're still worried about the baby, but now the woman working with us is cooperative. She's charming. She's trying to make it easier on us, and assuming we want to do it. And the lead lady still has cancer.