To my Kitten…my lover…my life

This is not the story of how we met…no, that will have to be a different post.

This is about the woman whom I have the privilege to love.

Soul is indescribable and yet the moment I think of her words and pictures fill my mind and I resemble some babbling idiot found on the street corners of DC.

She is so super caring, her soft brown eyes fill with emotion the moment she sees you are going through something.

Sarcasm is the other word that comes to mind quickly but – let us not think of this in some negative term..on the contrary – I am in awe of her sarcastic wit.  For years I have tried to hone my own skills, which have always been in the shadow of my younger sister Sarah. But now…I think even Sarah has met her match! Her sarcasm is so sharp you could go away smiling, ignorant of the fact that she just un-sexed you before god and mankind alike.  I mean – even the dog is flinching for you – its that serious.

Hilarious – Good heavens if there is someone who was designed for the stage – its Soul.  She could do comedy in a heartbeat! Not the raunchy, tell it like the boys do, Margaret Cho type – no more like a combo of Betty White and Aisha Tyler (go ahead…do the mash up…I’ll wait while your brain ricochets around on that one in your skull).

She’s fiery, hot tempered and all of that passion in words is enacted in actions in life and love.  (ye gods I’m a lucky woman!)

Her only child self unfortunately has a great deal to handle with my middle of seven kids Irish family from Philly.  Add to that I have a legitimate hearing problem so not only do I talk over you but …I do so at great volume as well.

Now – we’re not so different as to be the Odd Couple but I will admit to many an Oscar day for me and Felix may whisper in Soul’s ear from time to time….that’s all I’m saying. 🙂

But here is the kicker – this delightfully mysterious woman left her life in New Jersey – where all of her work certifications are mind you (that’s another rant for another day about National vs. State…oy!), where all of her friends live, if not live much much closer, gave up her classic, candy apple red VW Bug, and moved to Ceciltucky Maryland for me. FOR ME??? Yes ladies and gents…the girl is insane.  I know…I’ve told her this many a day.  In addition she moved in with me, my twin 20 y.o. sons (they have since gotten their own place, my “broken” border collie, my senile cat, and two red-ear slider turtles.  Oh and a lower living room that should the sump pump batteries die – floods when we have rain swell.  *bling*  Joy and rapture right? I mean – you’re packing your shit into take away bags right now just to get your ass over here sooner. Right?  Squirrel pah-leez.

While living at here at Shangri-La, Soul has been slowing transforming my house into our home. Please note – HOME and OUR – something I’ve been unable to do for the past 6 years of living here.

She is currently looking for work while taking the rare call from the Casino she works for in Atlantic City, NJ during peak season as a one-day masseuse.  She’s doing this while prepping to take the National Certification exam for Body Work so she can then take the State exam for her Maryland State License.  Can I just say …all of this is nothing but a cluster “f” to ensure that you who have just shelled out thousands of dollars in education, have been working legitimately in one state must now shell out thousands of additional dollars to then work legitimately in another state.  The system is practically begging for people to work unlicensed! Thankfully Soul is also…a very law abiding kinda gal so …the shelling of funds to Maryland is in play.

Each day though I come home to this stunning creature, who spends considerable care on her appearances of herself and our home. She cleans things to such a level of detail that it looks better than when you bought it. She finds crud and dust that only a mouse would find…should one be accidentally chased through the house of course for there would be no reason to find one in our house.

She has cleaned, she has rearranged, she has researched, she has repaired, she has built.  Prime example – I came home yesterday to find my Great-Aunt Ceil’s antique spindle legged chess table laying on its side on the stone floor of our lower living room.  Big mouth me comes in with not so much as a hello but a …”um hunny, what’s wrong with the table” sorta thing.  SHE WAS FIXING IT!  *pout* and *insert TV Land awwwws here*

She has been replacing the nobs in the kitchen – one knob at a time.  So you can walk in there one day and a week or so later – another nob has been changed out!  Its that maddening level of detail that she sees and lives in and that I am *hanging head* oafishly oblivious to at times.  Really there are times when I think she must have gotten smacked in the head with a mallet or something to be with me.

Collecting odd things is one thing I fell in love with about her. She collects the following:

  • cameras – preferably really really old ones that work but they no longer make any film
  • tobacco tins
  • any smoking instrument such as pipes or cigarette filter wands
  • antique car models (now this she may not actually collect, but she has a few wooden ones scattered artistically around the house
  • hats and purses – and Soul when you read this…yes you do. 🙂
  • cooking magazines (she has this adorable way of folding the page so it acts like a bookmark! – I’ve even taken to trying it though it feels unnatural to fold a book page)
  • English tea cups (and they MUST be English) hmmm…must find out why now. Curious.

In the home she has an eye for design and color – pretty similar to mine. We’ve only had one throw down argument over stair runners but …we recently saw this tile design that may make the whole debate moot!

She does what I used to do that drove others to the point of madness….she moves furniture around when I’m not home. *giggle*

This may seem like nothing but when you have a picture of your home in your mind’s eye and then walk in the door to find you’re in Alice’s Rabbit Hole – well…that evokes something now doesn’t it.  And though I may seem to gawk and blink awkwardly …I really do like what you’ve done to the living room my darling…really! No really! …I’m completely serious now. 😉

On the sentimental side – this is the woman who has held me in her arms as I’ve wept like a lost child. She has laughed with me — not at me. She dives right in with both feet into my crazy schemes. She puts up with my outings that inevitably involve or are near mud and water.  She has a true gift in her healing hands and truly can feel your pain.  This is the woman who intends to live out her days with mine, who will hold my wrinkled old hand in hers when we are in our 80s, will laugh with me and not at me, until the end of our days.

So to my former nurse, aspiring Maryland masseuse/Physical Therapist Assistant turned domestic diva..I love you Kitten!

Love thee dearest? Love thee?

Thomas Moore

Love thee, dearest? Love thee?
Yes, by yonder star I swear,
Which through tears above thee
Shines so sadly fair;
Though often dim
With tears, like him
And – love thee, dearest? Love thee
Yes, till death I’m thine.
Leave thee, dearest? Leave thee?
No, that star is not more true;
When my vows deceive thee,
He will wander too.
Adored of night
My veil his light
And death shall darken mine
But – leave thee, dearest? Leave thee?
No, till Death I’m thine.

Sunshine in the Rain

Sunshine in the Rain Not to be confused with Sunshine and Rain by the way…but this is the song I’m holding in my head.

So much of my time with Soul is spent apart and frankly …it sucks. Big time. Now I can be mature about this and say that the distance of our day is a good thing for our hearts but let’s be real here – I want to sit in my big office chair, squench my eyes closed really tight and stamp my feet like a 3 year old having a good and proper fit.

*ahem, smoothing skirt down* but I don’t. (at least not when people are walking by my office and if I do its in 2 minute intervals, usually held around noon when most of the interns and staff are at lunch.)

Yesterday, Soul sent me a txt message while I was at work in reply to how her day was progressing. She said, “Good mornin Love. How r u 2dy? Thank you for my sweet suprzs – sunshine in the rain.”

And after listening to the song like a gagillion times – I had to stop myself from “coming down ill” while at work and going home.

Much of my time is spent at work. Much of our time is spent wishing I work closer to home.  *someday babygirl ….I promise*

And so you can see where the mania derives from – I give you a day in the life of Jen.

Here is how my day rolls out:

3:30am-4:48am – something inevitably wakes me up out of a dead sleep for no good reason.

Not like a burglar is a good thing, but its better than your dog sending off a pre it’s-time-to-get-up-bark for the hell of it.

5:00am – my blackberry goes off with a tiny chime and a loud vibrate. (I have a hearing problem so the vibrate is not for amusement)

5:08am – I actually get my ass out of bed (trying to scroll from Snooze to Dismiss on a blackberry w/o having the light shine in Soul’s face is nigh on impossible – and that is why I only do it once.)

5:08-5:10am – (series of steps here)

  1. Do a military roll out of bed BUT do NOT shift the blankets in anyway that may cause them to fall off of Soul’s shoulder/back
  2. …Before I roll out of bed though I always roll to Soul and whisper a prayer/blessing/word or two of love to her, into her skin…
  3. Unplug aforementioned blackberry from charger and drape cord behind the clock so it does not fall on the floor (this pisses Soul off for some unknown reason but …you’ll learn to love these things)
  4. Cover aforementioned blackberry or shine the face downward so as to not change the quantity of darkness in the room at this time. Any shift in light will evoke a louder than usual grumble (so my hard of hearing ass can hear it) as Soul rolls over
  5. Put on deodorant while standing in the dark.
  6. Walk around the bed, past my writing desk, past my jewelry cabinet and out the door all w/o banging anything.

5:10am-5:20am

  1. Shut bedroom door and instantly am accosted by Ducks, our senile, aged cat whom we think may have dementia. He “sounds off” with abundant yowling…not meowing, no that would incline you to think some delicate sound…but no – this is the sound intended to make your eyelids peel back and instantly make you pick up a hammer with intent to use it to make the sound go away.
  2. Ignore Ducks and step into the office with Soul’s desk, chair and massage equipment/my boudoir where all of my dresses/office suits, blouses, skirts, pants, and odd gym wear reside …oh and a small portion of my shoes.  This is all squenched together in one closet and one l’ armoire
  3. My clothing has been preselected the night before to include underwear, bra, jewelry, stockings/socks and shoes + whatever outfit I will require. I can don these in less than 7 minutes, 5 if its a dress outfit. I think I am the record holder for the quickest dressing femme lesbian you’ve ever met! And if the dressing time has impressed you…wait to you hear the rest!

5:20am-5:30am

  1. Dressed. Leave boudoir (shutting the door firmly – Soul has a thing about Ducks getting in there and getting fur on her chair) and greet properly now Ducks whom I threaten to kick down the stairs.  (Now mind you – I would NEVER in million years harm this cat. He is 20 y.o. and is treated better than I treated my own sons at times.)
  2. Go downstairs, greet Max the oddest Border Collie you’ll ever meet, take him out of kennel and feed him. Go to kitchen, turn on kettle, set up coffee in French Press, feed Ducks, get lunch out of fridge and put on counter.  Now mind you this was all done in in a semi-clockwise formation…but wait…I think this diagram will help you.
  3. This is all done within 5 minutes.
  4. Go to bathroom in lower living room. Wet down the “chickens” on my head (my daddy calls hair that stands up – chickens – don’t ask.) by sticking my head under the faucet. Dry hair on towel. And now ..after 20+minutes of running around, I go pee. (not in the sink! in the appropriate potty thanks!)
  5. flush/wash hands, brush teeth, gargle, take thyroid med
  6. Blow dry hair while ensuring not to electrocute myself as the drain is slow and so the sink is always full of water still at this point. FUN!
  7. And whallah! Tiz me! Done at 5:30am.

But there’s more!

5:30am – 5:45am

  1. Go running to kitchen to turn off kettle (you thought I forgot about it didn’t you) tripping over Max who will be for all future bullets be entirely in the way/underfoot.
  2. Pour water into French press
  3. Ignore cat who has forgotten that he has been fed and is demanding food..while there is food in his bowl.
  4. grab lunch/breakfast items and run back to lower living room.
  5. Place items in satchel (Yes, I use the word Satchel – get used to it!). Put on coat and scarf (its cold out there) and grab keys.
  6. Now its Max time – go outside with satchel and purse/bag of choice for the day. Walk down drive way. Open trucklet and throw all contents of hands into trucklet. Turn on Gerty the Lesbian Mobile (my sons named her the latter part, I just called her Gerty). Go back to Max who is patiently waiting at the house.
  7. Take Max out back of house to our yard where he finds the stick/tree/blade of grass of choice to pee on and pretends to have really important business to do out there but really…he’s just looking for bunny poop to eat.
  8. Ok…take Max back inside (now mind you – I am the only one who can do all of this w/o a leash. My sons have chased the dog through the neighbors’s yards and Soul just went to the house to wait for his return…which he eventually did that morning. I however can do this w/o fear…for now)
  9. Put Max back in kennel so to avoid him laying on the sofa/raiding the kitchen to eat Duck’s food, raiding the utility room to eat Duck’s poop, etc.
  10. Go to kitchen, press coffee and pour into travel mug.
  11. Turn off lights in kitchen
  12. Turn off light in dining room
  13. Turn off nightlight in living room
  14. turn off light in lower living room
  15. Lock door while carrying life’s blood – aka – coffee
  16. and get into Gerty.

TIME:  5:49am (and that may be 5 min. more as Gerty’s clock runs 5 min. fast)

From here I drive to the train station 30 min. away where I board the morning commuter line at 6:38 (roughly).

I nod to my elderly conductor man who STILL won’t give me his name after riding the train for 2 years!

I select my seat.  1st car, left side, 4 windows down, with just enough train wall to sleep on w/o your face freezing to the glass.

I put the seat in “recline” (HA!) position. Take out makeup bag and put on make up. (takes 3 min).

Flash monthly pass to conductor with a “Good morning Sir!”

And then go back to sleep (kinda) for the next 2 hours. I cat nap really. Being 5’10” is impossible to sit anywhere happily for long.

Train arrives in station at 8:15 am. I walk with the hordes as if we were leaving for the work camps, shoulder to shoulder on each others heels. Walk outside of Union Station (sometimes I stop in Au Bon Pain for a yoke-less sandwich first). Walk 2 blocks to catch the $1 commuter bus. Read. People watch. Appreciate the sky. ETC.

Get to office. Buzz in at lobby after greeting April the lobby receptionist. Buzz in at elevator to go to the 9th floor. Buzz in at front door to get into said office. And here…I spend the next 8+ hours working for an international non-profit organization raising money for global development.

I eat in the kitchen for lunch and sometimes engage in humorous dialog with my co-workers; but most of the time..not. I’m an odd man out here. Over 40 but not a manager. Whereas all of the non-managers are 20-28 y.o. So I’m ancient! They were shocked that I have twin sons who are 20 y.o. I have to say…that – makes me smile.  Thankfully I am told I do NOT look my age…but that is an ego blog for another day.

Today is about Soul being a very patient and loving woman.

While I’m doing all of my doings. She is home – cleaning, taking care of the critters, running errands, going food shopping, and last night – she rearranged furniture. (which is odd for me to get used to as I AM the one who normally does that type of thing).

When I get home after reversing the above order of things – but with a lively bunch called the Aberdeen Crew – who will also be introduced at a later blog post – Soul is in the kitchen reheating my dinner at 9pm.

Now – how this June Cleaver shit started, I do not know. I recall the first day I got home after she moved in with me…she greeted me at the door with a drink in hand for me, took my car keys and my blackberry away from me and ushered me to the dining room table.  *shaking head*  Ok..(dusting off the titles here) …I am a card carrying femme, DNA Irish-Catholic, Pagan, feminist, a bit center of left, dye in the wool democrat. I was raised by a “everyone fend for themselves” kinda mom who we revere as our Matron to this very second. I love men (to a point) and can enjoy their intellectual company, their real friendship, etc. So I am not a man-hater. (I will just never again ever sleep with or perform any acts of intimacy with one ever again.)  So to have Soul greet me in this manner and for me to enjoy it…well…it was like a Catholic taking the host out of their mouth and putting it in the pocket for later. It just isn’t done!

Shamelessly I enjoy it every time it happens. *shit eating grin*  So I’m a hypocrite! So sue me!

At dinner, I sit (after ensuring that a full dialog is given to the appreciation of this gastronomical delight before me) and share with Soul my day. She does as well but with not nearly as many words. (alas, I talk even more than I write)

After dinner if time is given, we do silly couple’s things. Dance in the living room with each other, make out on the sofa or in the kitchen, play with the dog, show a website we’ve seen that has some cute wedding idea to consider, bitch about how long my commute is every day, plan what we would do if we had more money, etc.

Then Soul preps up her bath while I do the dishes by hand. (dead dishwasher and I like it that way. Washing dishes is very zen for me).

I go upstairs and pick out the outfit that is mentioned above …somewhere.

After Soul is done her bath, I take my shower with what little hot water is left. brrrrrr!

And then its lights out at 12:35am.

Sometimes we talk to each other about “heart” things. Wedding plans, future life plans, how we feel about something, finishing up the apologies from an argument, talking about if I like the furniture placement or should it be moved back, our families…life.

When intimacy takes place during the week – and you know it does – I happily sacrifice sleep for our time together.

The weekends are jammed with tons of date-style stuff, mixed with domestic chores usually involving Lowes or IKEA or Pier One.

Sometimes we fight. Sometimes we cry.

Always we laugh.

Always we love.

And sometimes…there’s Sunshine in the Rain.

Thank you kitten! I love you.