Hammer Toe

My mom's father John was a farmer. I don't know a lot of details, most of them involve Hereford (heifer?) cows or bulls or something and pulling shot guns on people to get them off his property.
I'm pretty sure there were horses at some point as well.

When I was younger John noticed that I had what could turn into a Hammer Toe. Just for the sake of my mortal embarrassment I need to tell you that it didn't, it's totally normal. But I sit with my toes curled under a lot and apparently that was a cause for concern.
One day while sitting in the tv room he reached down and pulled off his shoe and sock.
He showed me the 2nd toe on his foot and I noticed immediately that it was only half there. The end joint and a half had been removed.
I asked him what happened and he looked at me gravely and said, "Hammer Toe"
He then proceeded to show me toe exercises I should do to prevent getting a Hammer Toe. I asked him why his toe had to be removed and he said because he didn't know about the exercises.

John told me that his toe curled under farther and farther until he wasn't able to hardly walk on his foot the toe was curled so far under. When he finally addressed it with the doctor his toe was to far gone and they had to amputate it. So, (dramatic pause) he tells me that if I want to live my whole life with all 10 toes I needed to A) Stop curling my toes under my foot and B) Follow his toe exercises to the T.

Well I was terrified. I already felt like a freak I didn't want to be one with only nine toes!
So I tried to not curl my toes, I tried to do the exercises. It was really hard!

I gave up and watched expectantly for the day my toe would start to permanently curl under. I started imagining stories I could tell people for the reason my toe had to be amputated. I would often curl my toes under when wearing flip flops because I didn't want anyone to see my horribly disfigured toe.
Years later when I was living in Youngstown at the dorms I was in the elevator with some girls. We were all wearing flip flops. One girl pointed at my offending toe (I had recklessly been standing there with my hideous deformity unhidden) and laughed saying it looked like ET's finger. All of the girls began pointing at me and saying "ouch" during the rest of our elevator ride and for a few days after.
Awful. Horrible. I couldn't believe all the trouble this pesky toe was causing!

The next year I had dropped out of Youngstown and had moved home. One night while sitting in the living room with my mom I was doing my toe exercises* and she asked what I was doing. I told her the whole sordid affair.
She laughed. Really hard. I almost cried.

When she composed herself she said, "Dad lost his toe because a horse stepped on it and crushed it."

Ack. Stupid telling scary stories to kids to manipulate them.

*I cannot confirm or deny that I'm still a little nervous about my toe curling under and I still do toe exercises occasionally.


In the Still of the Night

I had some crazy dreams last night.
I woke up over and over again from dreams so vivid I logged onto my email at 330am to double check to make sure they weren't real.

Several people that I admire deeply and whose opinions I put a lot of stock in and hold close to my heart had conversations with me in my dreams. They weren't hostile, they weren't screaming at me. They were all quiet meetings, brief phone calls, and several emails all detailing the list of things that I suck at.
Stupid, incompetent, loser. On and on they went.
I woke up at one point and logged on to check my email; to see if I really had sent the email they said I did. I had not, obviously.
I crawled back into bed and reluctantly fell back to sleep only to be harangued by another person that I admire, respect and love.

It was an awful night. I gave up about 6am and just got up and did some laundry.
I'm a little afraid to go back to sleep tonight.


Under the Dome: Book 5

I was so excited to read this book. Under the Dome is by Stephen King.
I know I know. Stephen King? Seriously Bethany? What with all your talk of killers and burglers?
I know.
But I performed a completely scientific poll by asking a lot of people that were reading the book if it was scary and they said no. The only scary thing about it was the size. At 1074 pages it was a brick of a book. I love Stephen King, I miss him. We had to break up when I bought my house and started worrying the sheets off my bed about killers.
I think he could have cut out about 200 pages of the book and the plot would have been the better for it, but that's pretty much true of all of this brick books. He definitely showed his extreme prejudice and dislike for Republicans and in my opinion Christians. Other people were more bothered by that, it got old after several hundred pages.
I am at best politically apathetic so I don't care where he stands. But the issue is dead already Stephen. It's not a hoarse in your Pet Cemetary so stop beating the dead hoarse already.

The adventure and excitement hit right from the beginning and didn't stop until the last page. It was suspenseful without being creepy. I loved the adventure of reading it, but it just made me miss my old friend Stephen even more.


The Geometry of Sisters

This was the fourth book I read.
The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice I got at the library. I saw it on the new releases table and thought I'd heard something about it from other people.
Turns out I was wrong.

Here's Publishers Weekly's review:
The prolific Rice contemplates class, family and math in this disappointing outing. After her husband dies and her eldest daughter, Carrie, runs away, Maggie Shaw moves her remaining brood—level-headed Travis and troubled Beck—from Ohio to Newport, R.I., where she will teach English at the prestigious Newport Academy, where the kids also enroll. Apathetic Beck strikes up an easy friendship with Lucy, who hopes her mathematical prowess will somehow help her bring back her own dead father. Rice's simple writing style suits the kids well, but doesn't work as well with Maggie, who has mixed feelings about reconnecting with her estranged sister. All the while, Maggie continues to search for the missing Carrie, who eventually steps onto the page to deliver her side of the story. Beck warms up as the narrative progresses, but the plot becomes increasingly and pointlessly convoluted, lending a soap opera feel to an initially promising setup. It starts strong, but falters and never recovers.
That really explains it well. It started out strongly and very well written, then it sort of petered out then just fizzled completely.
It also frustrates me when I read about romantic relationships of people that "just can't help it" and are drawn to each other. You don't just slip and accidentally fall into bed with someone. There are small compromises, small choices, often deliberate that lead you down that path. I hate when adultary and cheating are considered excusable just because you "can't help how you feel"
It felt like the story line of Carrie was more thought out when other characters were talking/thinking about her. When it came time to tell her story things were rushed together it felt and the reader was asked to assume a lot about her story that I couldn't find any reasonable cause to have assumed about Carrie's story line.

It was a nice mindless read, but I could have lived my whole life without reading it and been totally ok.


Time Travelers Wife

Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger was the third book I read this year.
I read Time Travelers Wife because some people I know were mooning over the book. I...didn't really care for it. I had to push myself to finish it.
I'm sure that part of it because it's almost exclusively about a romantic relationship between the Time Traveler and the girl/woman that would become his wife; and you know, I'm not all that interested in sappy love stories.
I was also a little creeped out by the relationship between the Time Traveler and the little girl that would grow up to be his wife. I mean, I understand that the guy was a time traveler and he was hanging out with this girl but he was a man that was hanging out secretly with a little girl that he was telling he would one day marry. It just sort of skeeved me out.
It jumped around a lot too and I found it hard to follow the story line.

But I can also see why people that are interested in sappy love stories would like it. Fate! Melodrama! Longing for your one true love! There was also the element of never knowing where you're going to be when and how long you get to stay. That was sort of exciting at points, just not enough.
It just wasn't really my cuppa.


The Flood Saga

Did I mention that I had a flood? Oh, I did!
I came home from the gym several Wednesdays ago and as I opened the door from the garage to the sound of water pouring into my laundry room. I shrieked and ran into the basement. Then I shrieked some more.
I ran upstairs splashing all the way down the hall to see water pouring out of my toilet tank. I shrieked some more, tried to call people while turning off the water to the tank. I turned the knob every which way and water was still pouring out of it.
I ran into the dining room and pulled at my hair. The most productive thing I could think of doing was screaming at the top of my lungs, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO! SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT TO DO!" Turns out, that wasn't the most productive thing.
I tried calling my dad, but he hung up on me because he was in a meeting (which he does all the time because he's in the meeting so that was fine, except I was panicking)
I whipped open the back door crying and still shrieking and ran to my neighbors house. After forcing myself to calm down enough to tell them what was happening they came over and helped me figure out what was going on.

The toilet tank cracked. All day it emptied and refilled and spilled all over the bathroom floor.

See that teeny tiny crack on the back left side. Yep that's it. Allstate called it a spontaneous incident. They are not paying to replace the toilet, but they'll cover everything that it damaged. Which was a lot.
The walls in the laundry room were soaked, but have ended up drying very well

The basement drop ceiling collapsed in the downstairs bath and the parts of the living room area

Water had filled the light fixture in the basement bathroom and was pouring out of it when tipped or jostled.
The carpet in the basement was soaked. In the beginning when I stepped on the carpet in the corner by the bathroom water rose up to my ankles.

I can tell you that I was never more thankful that the previous owners were cheap and put up cheapo drop ceiling tiles and wood paneling. It dries well!

My super seester and my lovely friends Justin and Bobbie swooped into help. Well, Justin swooped, but Bobbie told him to swoop and she stayed with the kiddos.Within about two hours we had 2 dehumidifiers and several fans going. I had shop vacced my behind off and there was still just water everywhere. About midnight I finally gave up for the night and layed awake for another few hours just to wound up to sleep. Pete commented on my panicky Facebook status' about 1230 so I knew he was awake and called to talk to him for awhile just trying to calm down enough to sleep.

I got up about 6am the next morning and shop vacced some more, then called around for more dehumidifiers. Picked a few up from Jen and Lisa and some more fans. I called my agent at 9am when they opened and decided I obviously needed to file a claim. I was light headed and realized I hadn't eaten since about 3pm the day before, and with all the stress not to mention the working out I was starving.

After finally eating I started the claim, called a restoration company and took a shower. The restoration estimate guy was out in 45 minutes and their guys were out to start cleaning in another 45 minutes.
They ripped up the carpet in the upstairs hall and lo and behold beneath the carpet was...hardwood floors! So exciting, I had no idea they were there!

They pulled out the offending toiletI laughed really hard at the void in the paint left by the toilet tank. I can't tell you now why it was funny. I blame the stress and exhaustion.

They ripped up the laminate flooring in the upstairs and downstairs bath and the laundry room too.So where it stands: Allstate is covering the replacement of the basement carpet up through the basement hall, stairs and garage entry. They are paying for ripping up the carpet in the master bedroom, upstairs hall, living and dining room and refinishing the hardwood floors underneath. They are also paying for new vinyl tile in the upstairs and downstairs bathroom and the laundry room. They are paying for the drywall behind the offending toilet to be repaired, they are paying to replace the door and doorjam(b?) to the basement bath as well. Oh, and they paying to replace all the drop ceiling tile in the basement.
Of course, by they are paying for it I mean I am paying for it through insurance, but not all at the same time.

Phew. I'm tired.
In addition to all that Dad suggested that since they're replacing the floor and half the drywall in the bathroom that we might as well just redo that bath all over. So I am having a glazing company come out to re-glaze my hall bath and surround. Now a powdery blue, after it will be a lovely white. I'll get new fixtures and probably a new shower head too. We're tearing down all the dry wall and replacing it all so it's smooth instead of this bumpy crap that's all over the house. We're ripping out the sink vanity and mirror and buying new ones as well as a new exhaust fan/light.
Mom and Dad are coming this weekend to help with some of the demo and to hold my hand while I shop for all this stuff. Because even though it's my house I feel like I make wrong choices.

The basement carpet should be in this weekend, vinyl flooring next week and I'm hoping the hardwood will be the next week. I have to move out of my house for a week while they do the hardwood and Agnes and Gertrude have to move out too. Allstate will be putting us up in La Quinta for the week. Yes, I'm the creepy single 30 year old that stays in hotels with my cats.

La Quinta: Spanish for: My house flooded and I'm getting all new flooring in almost all my house for only my $500 deductible.

All this in time for some fabulous guests to come stay in my house the weekend of March 5th for a photo show!



"Please remember me..."
It had nothing to do with anything serious. She was just asking me to remember her on an order, something that needed accomplished.
But my heart twinged. Because I remembered.

I remembered all the times I have walked away from friends new and old and thought to myself "Please remember me..."
Hoping beyond any hope I actually believed in that I could be counted worthy of their memories.
Whether I was walking away for a moment or what would turn out to be the rest of our lives I always wondered if they would remember me.
I remember hanging up the phone the other night, wondering if I could put a stop to it. This remembering that holds me hostage. If I can choose the memories that I want and stop the unbidden and unwelcome memories that surge through my head when time is short and I am tired and stressed out.

Because I don't want to remember the words thrown out of brokenness and pain, I don't want to remember the scary books and movies that have backed me into my far to scared for my own good corner. I don't want to remember the disdain I heard from you or the apathy that enveloped me instead of your arms. I don't want to remember the things I shouldn't look at and people I shouldn't have gone with because I can feel the prick of that wound as sharply as if I was just stabbed afresh.

Still I wonder. I wonder how much I should remember and how much I should put out of my mind. I wonder if by not remembering I'm dooming myself to repeat the sins of my past. If by not remembering I'm running the risk of falling back into the arms of apathy.
Back and forth, forth and back. I wonder if I should remember, and I wonder if you will remember.