Monthly Archives: March 2015

Still in Shock: Walking Dead’s Season Finale

NOTE: This post contains spoilers regarding the Walking Dead’s Season 5 finale.

It has been more than 12 hours since I finished watching Walking Dead’s Season 5 finale. I have slept. I have guzzled coffee and done quite a bit of that whole Monday thing.

But nothing works. I’m still somewhat in shock.

At the end of last night’s episode, I was staring at my TV with this strange, unfamiliar expression on my face. After a moment, I realized it was actually a smile.

Smile? Season Finale? Walking Dead? I’m not used to those going together.

TWD are masters at manipulating our emotions. I expect them to rip my heart out and gnaw on it like a zombie with fresh meat. I was still reeling from Beth’s death when it was suddenly time to begin mourning Tyreese. Hell, I’m still not sure I’ve recovered from Hershel.

I was certain that last night’s episode was going to hurt. It was the season finale. Norman Reedus had been quoted as saying we should have our tissues ready, and a Huffington Post article proclaimed that Daryl himself might be the character on the chopping block.

The voices in my head carried on a conversation that went something like this as I watched the episode:

“Wow. Morgan! Yes! Oh, wait. Daryl and Morgan just realized they have ‘The Rick Connection.’ Now they’ll kill Daryl and Morgan will have to be the one to tell Rick he’s gone.”

“Sasha, you’re losing your shit. You’re taking naps in zombie piles. Normally I’d bet on you in a fight with Gabriel any day of the week, but you’re clearly whacked. Maybe he’s going to kill you. Oh shit. Here comes Maggie. Maybe he’s going to kill her …”

“Oh Glenn, no. Don’t do it. Don’t be the the ‘I can’t kill him’ guy. Time for you to pull a Rick. Think about Tyreese. Nice guys don’t finish last on this show. They finish dead.”

“Abraham and Eugene just had an ‘I’m sorry I told the biggest lie ever’ and ‘I’m sorry I almost beat you to death’ moment. And they’ve both really grown on me these last few episodes. Shit. One of them is toast now.”

“Rick has a zombie on top of him. Oh well, that’s nothing, really. They wouldn’t kill Rick. Unless they would. They’ve always said no one is invincible. Oh, shit. Not Rick …”

And so round and round went the who-gets-it Russian Roulette game in my head. When the episode ended and everyone in the group was still breathing, I was stunned. And I’m still stunned.

Well played, Walking Dead. You have trained us well. The last thing we expected was for the most notable death in the season finale to be Dr. Douchebag. You kept us on the edge of our seats. After the show, I had a drink to celebrate. As far as Sunday night TV goes, that usually only happens when I’m watching football.

The gang is all still here. And we don’t have to worry about any of them kicking it until at least October.

If TWD was looking to surprise me, it sure as hell delivered. That was the last thing I expected. I kind of feel like I got punked, but in a good way. Kudos to the show for a new kind of adventure.

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Ding-Dong, Go Away

I can’t say the grass is getting green just yet, but spring is in the air nonetheless. Instead of leaving work and heading home in darkness, I walk into a few more precious hours of daylight. The light coat I wore to ward off the morning’s chill is slung over my arm, no longer needed in the warmth of afternoon.

Once home, I leave the door open and crack the windows, letting in the gentle breeze and the soothing sounds of birdsong. I wander about barefoot, relishing the thought that pretty soon I won’t have to wonder about the fate of all those socks the dryer eats. There won’t be any socks to dry.

I live for fall and spring. Winter’s bitter cold and summer’s swampy heat both turn me into a bitchbag. July, August, January and February are like loud, overbearing friends who sometimes make you smile but more often zap you of energy with their drama and noise.

But October, November, April and May? Love them. They are those lifelong friends you can hang out with and not talk at all. They are a breath of fresh air.

So as April approaches, I take time to feel gratitude. I walk barefoot in my living room and think of the hikes I’ll take before it gets too hot, the flowers I’ll plant, the leisurely outdoor meals I’ll have, the writing I’ll do while sitting on my deck. I feel energized and inspired.

And then YOU knock on the door.

Like an animal trapped in its lair, I am caught. Because I have the door open, so you know I am here. Your eager eyes are peering through the screen door. You knock lightly and flash a hungry smile, even though you’ve had a glimpse of that deer-in-the-headlights look on my face already.

You come when I am catching up on Walking Dead or Vikings or Shameless. You come when there’s a book in my hand. You come when I am pecking away on my laptop. You make my fingers freeze over the keyboard as I think “well, shitweasels and douchecanoes.

It doesn’t matter which of those things I was doing – any of them are better than talking to you. You see that in my eyes, and plow forward anyway. That’s how you (steam)roll.

“Hi! I wanted to ask you a few questions about your internet provider and tell you how (insert random company here) could give you faster service AND lower your monthly payments!”

Or:

“I’m from (insert random gas and/or electric company) and I’d like to tell you how much better our services are than (insert local huge energy provider that can be a pain in the arse but is ultimately always reliable AND leaves me the heck alone).”

Or:

“Would you like to talk about The Lord today?”

I don’t know what it is about my street that draws door-to-doorsies. It is an uphill, dead end road boasting a relatively small number of homes. We haven’t gotten trick-or-treaters in ten years. Why would they trudge up the hill when there are a buttload of flat streets with more houses so close by?

That always bummed me out. I like trick-or-treaters. I wouldn’t mind some little ghouls and goblins. I DO mind salespeople, but my street seems to inspire rather than deter them. Probably because unlike the kids, they’re driving instead of trudging uphill.

I don’t know anyone who likes door-to-door salespeople. I know they are just trying to pay the rent, mortgage or college tuition and that most of them don’t put on their sales-face thinking “Yee-haw – I get to go bug the shit out of some folks today!”

I try not to hate them. But they just won’t GO AWAY.

You interrupt a critical, hot-main-character-might-get-whacked moment in my TV binge-fest to tell me about your super-fast, top-notch internet services? Go away, because I’m about to use my current internet magic to tweet about what a douche you are. Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones is talking about the God of Tits and Wine and you show up telling me that your version of God will save my soul if I just keep my own tits covered and stop drinking so much wine?  No thank you. Go chase down that internet services provider dude who was just here and save him.

I actually WAS frustrated with my internet provider a few years back and decided to switch. I did some research, chose a company and was nearly fed up enough to make a call. Then a representative from the company I had chosen showed up at my open door on a balmy spring day.

He was polite. He was nice. But I axed my plan to switch providers and am still with the same company. Because screw that. No matter how bad I might want what you’re selling, if you show up at my door trying to get me to buy it, I will either go without or get it somewhere else.

I am an introvert. I extrovert all day at work because I have bills. I go out and socialize with friends and family because I love them too much to let my deprived inner hermit keep me from seeing them. But that’s all I’ve got. My home is my sanctuary. It is where I recharge in peace, quiet and solitude.

If you invade that space and force me to extrovert enough to politely tell you to row your douchecanoe on up the road just because I had the audacity to open the door and let in some fresh air, I will never buy your shit. You and your company now have a Scarlet Letter.

Only the “A” stands for “Asshole.”

Cryin’ in My Coffee

It was a Monday morning, and I was in tears.

Yes, I am one of those Debbie Downer people who isn’t too fond of Monday. I don’t hate my job. Sometimes I almost like it. But if I’m honest, there’s a list of 100 things I’d rather do than go to it. I read all the “Happy Monday!” positive thinking posts on Facebook and do my best to go down that sunshine road myself. I tell myself to be thankful for having a job that makes Monday, well … Monday. Then I realize that I’m also thankful for my cat. I love him. A lot. That doesn’t mean I bliss out on gratitude every time I scoop his litter box. Why would I? There’s poop in there.

If having a job is the cat I’m thankful for, Monday is the poop in the litter box. Even so, while its arrival makes me utter phrases like “douchecanoe” with astounding frequency, it rarely reduces me to tears.

Lee (my partner, for those who don’t know) had gone out and gotten me a cup of coffee from the nearby Farm Store. When I make my own coffee, I skimp on the creamer in the name of being calorie/health-conscious. When he makes it for me, there’s none of that. It tastes like heaven and there’s steam rising off the top.

That tearful Monday morning, I had a beautiful cup of Lee-coffee warming my hands, and all I was doing was bawling over it. How could even the Grand Mistress of Monday Haters not be soothed by the fact that someone loved her enough to go fetch her coffee to kick off the week?

All I can say is that while the Grand Mistress of Monday Hating was grateful, she was also heartbroken. You see, our coffee pot had given up the ghost that morning. Without warning, it had just up and died. That’s why he had run out to get me coffee before rousing me to face my Monday. No one who has lived with me ever wants to face the decaffeinated version of me while it tries to prepare for a 9 am meeting.

I admit I’m an over-emotional person. Dog food commercials can make me cry. But normally I’m not so self-centered that I’ll lose control over the loss of a replaceable convenience item. Especially not since losing Mom. Nothing puts not sweating the small stuff in perspective like losing that which is not replaceable, and which you’d never want to replace anyway.

The broken coffee pot wasn’t tragic because I’m addicted to java, or even because it was Monday and things tend to set me off just a little easier on that poop-scooping day of the week. It was a tragedy in my little world because Mom had given me that coffee pot to me on our last Christmas together. She had also given me my love — ok, addiction — to coffee. Growing up, I knew that if I tried to have a conversation with her before her second cup, she would glare at me like an angered Mommy Dearest even though in reality she was the gentlest, most giving mother in the world. When I grew up, I inherited that pre-coffee face just like I did her eyes.

Coffee and Mom are intertwined for me. She had picked out that coffee pot for me, her Bitch-From-Hell-Before-Her-Java offspring. Now she was gone, and the coffee pot was broken.

And so I sobbed over my nice warm cup of Farm-Store java, the kind of choking, soaking sobs you sob when grief is raw and fresh, even though Mom had been gone for 8 months. That’s what happens when grief blindsides you with an unexpected blow. You can armor up for the things you know will hurt – the holidays and anniversaries and just-yours family traditions that now have big holes in them. But those random moments in life where normally everything is OK and suddenly you realize that no, everything is different forever and ever? Those get you, and so you sob.

So that’s what I did, and then I got up and got ready for my meeting. And here’s the thing:  Those moments get you, and they hurt like the day you got the bad news and like all the awful things that happened after. But then you cry them out and you breathe and when it is all done, you might even feel just a bit more whole again.

I can’t use the coffee pot Mom gave me anymore. But she’s still with me every time I drink a cup, no matter where it came from. She is in the steam rising off the cup and in the Pre-Java-Bitchface I make before my first few sips. She is, and always will be.

Love You Mom. Like a Dog.

Sometimes You’re Here

Dear Mom,

Sorry for being away so long. But as I’m sure you know, it hasn’t been completely for lack of writing. I’ve been cautiously trying on my freelance training wheels and taking them for little spins. It is a small step towards getting my head back in the “write” place.

I plan to continue “your story through my eyes” here soon, but what I wanted to share in this visit is just how much you’ve been with me in the last few weeks. I’m always feeling your presence in beautifully unexpected ways, but I think my recent “sightings” have been my favorites.

You see, it is always obvious to me how much of you lives on in different ways in Jamie and Jordyn. But recently I’ve been realizing you are here in ME, too. That’s probably because we’ve had such bitter cold weather, along with quite a few snowy and icy days – the kind of days I end up spending stuck inside with myself. Those kinds of days are built for introspection.

I remember our winters together well. Our hangouts at Hawley’s would usually go from weekly to monthly in January and February. You HATED the cold. You went into hibernation mode in much the same way I do (well, as much as I can around work, anyhow) when the temps soar into the 90’s.

We’ve always been self-entertaining units, you and I. We could lose ourselves for days in books and movies and the internet. We lived in our heads enough that unlike some, we could go long periods without leaving our homes beyond venturing out to our yards for a little fresh air and nature. In that way, even though you hated the cold, you (and I) were built for snow days.

I have a love/hate relationship with that aspect of myself. I love that I can figure out a way to be not just content but happy and entertained wherever I am. I love not needing a lot of money to enjoy myself. I love that when plans I’ve looked forward to fall through, I may be disappointed but can quickly figure out other ways to occupy myself. Sometimes, though, I wonder if I miss out on a lot of fun because it takes REALLY wanting to go somewhere and do something to get me out of my own head and into the world. When you can entertain yourself easily, the stresses of making plans and getting out and about compared to the ease of just “doing your thing” mean you have to push yourself to go live sometimes.

So that part? It kind of sucks. But I have been ever so grateful for it this winter. As I’ve spent cold icy weekends and snow days away from work reading and writing and enjoying my own company, I’ve been highly aware that my ability to do so comes from the introverted, reflective side of my personality that I inherited from you. I smile when I think about how you’d call or text to tell me that a Harry Potter marathon was coming on, or about some unknown author you’d found on your Kindle. I feel your guidance in my mental meanderings almost as if you were here to talk with me.

We had a really nice day last Saturday – sunshine and highs in the 40s. I went to visit Mommom and saw two of the fattest robins I’ve ever seen pecking around in the one patch of her yard that wasn’t still snow-covered. I realized spring is not far away at all, and that too made me think of you.

You blossomed like one of your flowers when the weather got warmer. You couldn’t wait to start gardening, to have your morning coffee on the deck, to have our family grown-up Easter egg hunt.

I felt just a hint of that blossoming when I saw those robins. Because although I love watching the snow fall, and am like a kid when it comes to getting a day off or work-at-home day because there’s white stuff on the ground, even I am starting to get a little cabin fevery. If the itch to get out and are bout it hitting an introvert like me, I imagine the extraverts are going absolutely bugshit.

They are calling for temps in the 40s and 50s this week, with no more snow in sight (well, other than the shit-ton currently on the ground).

I feel you in that weather forecast, watching and waiting for your flowers – and your family – to begin coming out of hibernation after a brutal winter.

You are waiting for us to bloom.

Love you Mom. Like a dog.