Completely incoherent ramblings about shoes, food and being in love.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Smoke is Clearing

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for your thoughts and emails during this whole ordeal. You have been so wonderful. It is bizarre to know that there is this whole group of people on the internet that I have never met, but that care enough to drop a line and wish us the best. I wish I could put into words how much it means to me. Thank you all.

Now that things are starting to calm down around here, my head is actually clear enough to write an entry.

Last week, on top of everything else, our cat Baby, had to be rushed to the vet. Tuesday morning Colin called me at 7:15 and asked me where the dust pan was because one of the cats had gotten up onto a shelf an knocked over some glass. No big deal. I told him where to find it and went back to 'working.' About two seconds later he called me in hysterics. Turns out Baby had a huge gash in his front leg and was bleeding pretty bad. So off to the vet with him. $150 later, I bring home a stitched up, slightly groggy from anesthesia cat. Well, Monkey was NOT happy.

We have brought the cats to the vet separately before and never had a problem when returning home. Maybe it was all of the stress that they are already under, living in one small room, being rescued from a burning building, that sort of thing. Whatever it was, I thought Monkey was going to rip Baby's head off. Monkey would not let him get within five feet of her. Poor Baby was so upset. He started just sitting in the corner staring at the wall. This threw me into violent tears because, HELLO! THAT'S YOUR BROTHER! LOVE HIM! And it's not like we could put them in separate rooms so instead I stayed awake all night protecting wounded Baby. Which was fun. And, I didn't go to work the next day.

My parent's cat, or my cat from my younger years, also got hurt. Maxwell must have gotten into a neighborhood brawl a few weeks ago. Apparently during the bout he was bit. We didn't find it until it abscessed and he licked all the fur off of it. So Maxwell went to the vet the same day Baby did.

Max is the King of the block. He has lived there and reigned over the territory for 15 years. The other cats know not to fuck with him. Even dogs cower in fear and cross to the other side of the street when they see him. But new neighbor cat is fearless. Or stupid. Or maybe just hasn't heard not to fuck with Max yet. Cause he did. $150 later, Max comes home wearing one of those collars to keep him from licking/scratching at the wound. Which worked for all of 20 minutes. At which time I ran to the store and grabbed a package of onesies. We played Project Runway. "Your challenge this week is to make a cat fit into a onesie designed for a newborn". He hates us. Plus, now he's not allowed outside. Try teaching a 15 year old cat new tricks. So the poor old man just lays around the house looking pitiful, longing to get outside and challenge neighbor cat to a rematch.

So, I think that you're all caught up now. When it rains it poors...

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Surreal Life

Have you ever had one of those nightmares where your worst fear was coming true? The kind where you wake up and your sheets are in disarray and your pillow is laying on the floor next to you? But you woke up though right? The past few days have been that way for me, except I am beginning to realize now that it's not a dream, it's my life. I am not going to wake up from this one, but I need to wake up to realize that this is life. My life. My dream turned nightmare.

As I type this I sit at my parents computer. In the bedroom that I grew up in, now their home office. This is the house that I left 4 years ago to begin my new life with the man of my dreams. I never thought I would be back in this house for more then Christmas Dinner and the occasional drop-by to say hello. But today, as I sit here, I am so thankful that I can call it home again.

On Tuesday January 17, 2006 my home burned down. I was at work when I heard the news. Colin called me and half frantically, half casually said, "Have you talked to Lynn yet, (our neighbor and one of my Bridesmaids) she just called me, our house might be on fire." In our lives we are slightly prone to misinformation. Certain things get obsessed over and then never happen, or weren't true to begin with. This, I assumed, was just one of those times. Calmly I said, "Okay dear, I will be on my way home in a minute, just let me finish some things around here." We had a huge project to finish at work this week, and I really didn't have the time to go home just to find that the fire was no where near my place. I went over and told my carpool that we needed to leave and went to find my boss to let him know. At this point I had already tried to get out of work with a thousand different excuses; my dog is sick (I don't have a dog), my car won't start, I think I've got the flu. All of these were jokes of course and my boss knew that. So when I walked up to him and said, "I have to go my house might be on fire" he just kind of looked at me and chuckled...Then he realized I wasn't joking and told me to get the hell out of there immediately. I think it was at that moment that I realized it could be true. The look of horror in his face made me understand.

Five minutes later I am in my car and about a third of the way through my drive home. My phone rings and it's Colin. He just got to the entrance of the neighborhood and they wouldn't let him drive in. So he was running down the street though the myriad of emergency vehicles and past Caution tape. Finally he made it to our street. At first he said, oh don't worry, it's not ours, it's the building next to us. The he got a little closer and I heard him gasp and start screaming "Our Cats! Get our Cats! He screamed into the phone something about flames shooting from our house like he has never seen before. The panic in his voice made me quiver like a dog during a thunderstorm. I hung up the phone and stepped on the gas pedal. By the time I got there crowds had gathered. The firefighters had stopped the fire from spreading any further. What seemed like hours later, Lynn screamed, "Jess! The cats!!" and ran towards one of the firemen. Sure enough they had found her baby and she embraced him with all the love of a mother. Tears started streaming down her face and about a dozen news crews snapped pictures like she was god-damned Britney Spears and it was the first glimpse of Sean Preston. There she was in this moment of human tragedy, racked with emotion and all they could do was think about their cover story.

A few minutes later I looked up and saw the scene from of every BackDraft type movie. The big burly fireman walking out of the smoldering building with the soaking wet kitty in his arms. I ran over and grabbed him from his arms, Baby. My child, he was safe. I ran him to the EMT and they gave him oxygen. Colin followed about 30 seconds behind me with Monkey. Reporters were shoving their microphones in my face right and left and it's a blur from there. I don't really remember anything beyond that point. Once my children were safe in our arms my brain just kind of shut off.

The red cross was there. They gave us vouchers for food and clothing from K-Mart. We went that night and got the basics to get us through the next couple of days. As we were loading it in our car we realized that everything we own fit into the back seat of our car. It was a sobering moment.

I won't continue to give the full account of my week. It only gets worse. And then a little better, and then much worse. We didn't have insurance. What we lost in the fire is gone, we will never get it back, not even replacements. We were able to save some things, like clothes and pots and pans. Everything smells terrible. At first it was like a campfire smell. I love camping so I think the smell triggered good memories for me. But since we lived on the bottom floor everything was soaking wet from all of the water they dumped on the fire to make it stop destroying our homes. So now, a couple of days later our few belonging smell dank and disgusting. When we went in to salvage what we could, it was like it was raining from our ceiling. The water was pouring down every wall and at every seam. Paint on the ceiling was forming huge blisters of water behind it. They would stretch the paint until it couldn't take and more and then explode like a water balloon. The smell in the building was choking. We couldn't drink enough water. When I close my eyes at night it's all that I can smell.

We have waited to hear what caused the fire. And we have been waiting to find out what will happen with our mortgage. We finally found that out this morning. We were hoping the the condo association's insurance policy would buy us out and we could put it all behind us. Turns out that's not the case. They will rebuild them, which means we still have a mortgage and condo fee to pay. Which means that we can't afford rent anywhere else. Which makes us technically homeless. Have you every been homeless? It is a heart-wrenching feeling. Sure, we can stay with my parents as long as we need to, but that is looking longer and longer. And with two cats it's kind of tough to contain them in one room. But they can't roam, my parents have a cat. A cat with claws who is very territorial. My cats would not bode well in that fight.

Throughout this whole ordeal I have been floored repeatedly by the kindness of friends and strangers. My parent's church gave us money to help us out. My work is taking up a donation right now. People are offering to do whatever they can. It has genuinely restored my faith in the American people. Often times we get so caught up in our lives that we forget there are other people around us too. Good people. People that need our help. I wish that I could give every single one of them a hug. And thank them. And to everyone who sent emails with their prayers and condolences, thank you. You have no idea how much it means to us. This too shall pass. And we will come out the other side a little stronger and a little wiser because of it. But for now we will forge ahead and try to remember what it was like to live with Mom and Dad. And I? Will go bake thousands of brownies to bring to the 10 different fire companies that responded to the fire and saved my cats for me. I have never met such courageous and heroic people.

I am sorry if this doesn't read well. I cannot proof read it because I will just start sobbing if I actually have to re-read and think about it.


This used to be our home.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

No, I do not look like this picture


I recently discovered the joy that is make-up brushes. More specifically, eye shadow brushes. You see I always just haphazardly threw on eyeshadow with the spongy foamy stick thing provided. I know, blasphemy! I believe my inability to fully comprehend makeup stems from my mother. My darling Mommy.

She's not a hippy. She's not a tomboy. She's a normal mom. Usually people have excuses for why their mom never taught them how to pluck their eyebrows. Their names are usually Harmony or Sunshine. I guess my Mom was just old fashioned. Growing up, thirteen was the magic number. I could do everything when I turned thirteen. It was the year that I would finally be able to get my ears pierced, wear make-up, and shave my legs. That's right, I wasn't allowed to shave my legs until I was thirteen years old. I was in 9th grade, high school, when I turned thirteen.

I was the girl in middle school that was wearing pants in 90 degree weather. I always elected not to play outside at recess because it was just too damn hot. I was so embarrassed. Oh the horror! 'What if Brad sees me and my unkempt legs! He will never like me! Especially since Lindsey has been shaving since she could walk.' It got to the point where I actually resorted to attempting to "shave" with scissors. I still have an indentation in my leg where I took a little chunk of skin out instead of hair. We are talking serious tragedy here. I blame all of my current social tics on the fact that 13 was just too late in life to begin such fundamental girl things.

So now, at 24 years old, I am finally learning how to properly do my makeup. I went to Sephora and got all kinds of pretty little brushes designed to make my getting ready flawless and simple every time. However, I am afraid that perhaps I am overdoing it a tad. If you ever see me walking down the street and I look as if I am street walking, please pull me into the nearest dark alley and molest my face with some makeup remover, because I am still trying to get this right. I have 13 years worth of catching up to do. Oh and also if you have any tips for me, please let me know.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cigarette butts and McDonald's Bags

Holy shit she's alive!

I tried to come up with a good excuse for why I haven't written in the past million days, but then I decided not to lie. It's qwyzzle ya'll.

It is kind of like an internet scavenger hunt. There are 100 levels and I am on 57. It has sucked me in and I am deep within it's grasp. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I decided I needed to take a break and write a little as my head is reeling from level 56.

Not much has happened this week. Except that Colin cleaned the house. This is a B.I.G. deal. Colin doesn't clean. He hides things. If he goes to the McDonald's drive-thru, he will eat the food and then shove the bag into a strange crevice in the couch only to be found by me, months later, when I move the couch to vacuum behind it. I don't get it either, don't worry. It's one of his weird quirky things. He has many. Although to be fair, I am sure that I have more.

Colin hasn't had to work for the past three days. You see, he works for my brother and whenever my brother doesn't work, neither does Colin. It could be that my brother is sick or there is no work to be done or he wants to play a round of golf that day. Whatever. This week it just so happens that he seems to have gotten a case of the food poisoning that's going around. So no worky for Colin. Also no pay for Colin. This isn't a fancy job with paid vacation and health insurance. You don't work, you don't get paid. So, to make up for the lack of money that we will have this week, Colin decided to clean the house. And also cause we don't smoke anymore.

When we were smokers we had no problem living in our own filth. Ashtrays with mounded up cigarette butts and overflowing with stinky ashes were a regular sight at La Casa Persson. Not to mention the random McDonald's bags, empty cigarette packs, dirty dishes, and balls of cat hair. We knew it was there, we just didn't care. Sure, I would get embarrassed when visitors stepped in the doorway, but I would just light up and feel all better about it. Now, we have realized just how disgusting we really were. The smoke had lifted...so to speak.

The past three days I have come home from work to a progressively cleaner house. Monday I walked through the door and I could see the dining room table. A huge step when you consider that there is a dining table hidden somewhere behind this wall of boxes. Tuesday I came home and I could actually walk all the way around the dining table and even sit and ! eat ! at the table. Wednesday I come home and the house smells of Raspberry scones and not cat litter box. I can sit on every chair in the house as well as walk into our bedroom without having to bound over piles and piles of dirty, and possibly some clean, laundry. I want to host a dinner party or something. A toast to my newly rediscovered beautiful house! Instead we cooked ourselves a real dinner. Lambchops with mushroom risotto and parmesan asparagus. And then we sat at the table we purchased with the intention of using for meals. We opened a bottle of Dog House Chardonnay and enjoyed every last drop.


And by the way, it's national de-lurking week, so all two of you that read my blog better leave a comment dammit! Or else...



Friday, January 06, 2006

Tidbits

I am actually busy at work this week. I know right, that is totally not possible. I NEVER do anything around here. But alas, tis true. So for lack of something better, I thought I would just throw a couple of updates out here.

* I am officially a non-smoker. Or at least that is what I keep telling myself. I am on day number 5 and it is going surprisingly well. After that first horrific day and night, I have been cruising through without much problem. The hardest part is the habit, not the nicotine. When I am done eating dinner I instinctively reach for a smoke. Its weird, I never really realized how ingrained it was. Colin is doing well with it too. I don't think he wants it as badly as I do though and that makes it a little harder for him. Lynn is a quitter. Actually she's a non-quitter. She gave up. She came over taunting us with a freshly purchased pack last night. We have will power.

* My friend/co-worker Bill, that was diagnosed with Leukemia passed away yesterday afternoon. It was a very short struggle, which I think is probably best. I am glad he didn't have to suffer for months on end. He was a wonderful man, full of life and character. Heaven just got one of our best.

* I am slowly getting used to the new hair. Turns out, the bangs weren't really too short, she just put so much product in them, that they appeared shorter. Or my hair grows maniacally fast. You choose. I prefer my hair with less volume, does that make me weird?

* Speaking of me being weird, Janet mentioned that her sister, who is currently in dental school, has pictures of jars full of teeth. I was overcome with curiosity and therefore left a comment that perhaps I'd like to see the tooth jar. Well, apparently I am not so crazy, others left comments in the same vain and lo and behold, today? pictures! With jars full of teeth! Crazy I am.

* I need new black boots. I am tasking you, my reader(s) with scouring the internets and finding me the perfect pair. Good: ankle/calf height, black, leather or similar (no suede, patent, etc.). Price: $0-125. Still up in the air: pointy or round toe. I am a big fan of the point even though it is slowly being phased out. I am open to round however. Must: be classy. No chunky heels, no wedges, not too trendy, because boots should be reusable year to year. Thanks!

OK, I guess I have to get back to doing this thing called work? It is a very foreign concept and I am not quite sure how one sits still for eight full hours and actually does something other then surf the web. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Extreme Makeover, Jessica Edition

In an effort to start out the new year properly, I did something that I have needed to do since, oh I don't know, August or so. I got a haircut!

Before



After

I know, I know. It's barely even the same person!

You know you love the strategic-ly angled shot, so as to showcase the back of the hair as well.

She cut it too short. I specifically sat down and said, "I know that my hair is split ends up to about ear level, but please, I beg of you, do not take too much off. I know that makes me the hair stylist's anti-christ, but I love the length." Sure, she laughed and said not to worry, but look at that! There is about two inches in the dust pan at the salon that I want back! And, she cut my swoopy bangs too short, and not the way I expected, but all in all, it wasn't so bad. At least not as bad as it could have been.

Also, I am working on 36 hours and counting without a cigarette. I think that yesterday was the single longest day of my life, times a million. I am quitting cold turkey. No patches, no gum, nothing but lots of candy canes to suck on. Colin, Lynn and my work husband are all quitting as well which is helpful due to the support, but perhaps not good because we are all VERY on edge. Yesterday Lynn came over to check on me and Colin and when I answered the door she said I looked like a heroin addict, which is a lovely picture.

Aside: Speaking of heroin addicts, check out this picture of Brad Renfro. I totally used to have a crush on him back when he was Mark Sway in The Client. He looks like shit now!

Trying to sleep last night was nearly impossible. My chest hurts like nothing I have ever felt. Nicotine (or some other chemical, I am not quite sure) is a pain killer. The past twelve years my lungs have been yelling at me, but I had no idea because they were numb. Well, I think they are making up for lost time. My heart feels like it is going to explode. Let me be a lesson to you, next time you're out drinking and you feel like having a smoke, don't fucking do it! You could possibly become addicted and end up tossing and turning in your bed wishing you could just get some fucking sleep because that was supposed to be the easy part, the eight hours a night when you aren't used to getting the nicotine anyway so you ought to be fine right? but your lungs and heart seem to be working in cahoots to simultaneously explode and implode all while your head is telling you that one little cigarette will make it all better and you are trying to withstand the urge because you don't want to disappoint the people that are rallying around you...

Her hair may have been cut too short, and she may look like a heroin addict for a few days, but if the team can pull off this extreme makeover, we just might see one of the best transformations ever. Stay tuned.