Monday, February 28, 2011

Dead and Buried

My apartment looks like it got a lobotomy.  The walls in my room and my bathroom used to be dark blue - almost the color of bluebonnets.  The foyer was bright yellow.  Everything is sparkling white right now.  So white that the real estate broker told us to leave the paintings down so that all a prospective buyer will see is clean, fresh white.  Makes sense.  If I were going to buy a new place, I'd want a blank canvas for myself.  Now, however, I feel like I'm being wiped away.

As tired as I am of my neighbors, and as unrecognizable as this neighborhood has become with four giant new buildings out the window instead of the tennis courts that had been there for decades -- I'm sad to be leaving.  It was a rare luxury to sit on my terrace and watch folks playing tennis from Easter through Thanksgiving.  They were nice courts, too, if you like that sort of thing.  They're gone now.  The new buildings are nearly ready for tenants.  They're all glass, and with the aid of cheap binoculars, I'll be able to read the labels on the items in their kitchen cupboards.

They are the future here.  I am the past.  I keep trying to be cool with it, but it's a drag - most likely because I don't know where my future is right now.  Eckhart Tolle would say that all we have is the Now anyway because the past is gone and the future is absolutely nothing but speculation.  In the Now, my tears this morning are ego based and therefore not an expression of my true self. 

Maybe so.  But my true self is having trouble finding a manifestation of itself here in an apartment that is starting to feel so much like a hotel that I'm going to have to get a taupe bedspread for my room.  My quilt - velvet batik in various shades of blue and teal - is completely out of place now.  The rug is fine, though.  Buzz Kill and I bought it in Delhi back before somebody flew an airplane into the World Trade Center.  Travel was easier then -although security was already tight over there.  Tighter and more effective than here, that's for sure, even with those stupid naked scanners.  But then, it had only been about a year since there had been a serious hijacking on that very route:  Delhi to Kathmandu.  I didn't know about that then, however. I just knew they used a hand scanner to make sure my brassiere wasn't explosive.

I'm glad that I can say I've been to Kathmandu.  If it weren't for Buzz Kill, I may have never traveled beyond resort hotels in the Caribbean and European capitals.  Here's our little family at Tiger Tops, an eco-resort in the jungle of Chitwan National Park in Nepal over Christmas Vacation in 2000.

We flew by Mt. Everest to get there.  Velvet was a bit alarmed because we were in this ramshackle little plane - seven seats, I think, maybe nine.  The seats themselves were canvas and someone had evidently taken seat belts from old cars and installed them in the plane.  The co-pilot read the newspaper as we flew over the Himalayas.  I explained to Velvet that if you weren't convinced you were going to be graveyard dead at least once during the day, then you hadn't been on an adventure.

I reminded Velvet about adventures and getting killed a year or so later when we nearly got creamed by a car when we were sledding up at the Hippie Dippy Quaker Camp in Vermont.  We were up there in February because the camp has an alumni event every February where everybody hikes more than a mile up a hill to a frozen pond and proceeds to cut big blocks of ice for the ice house.  Great event, and you'd be surprised how quickly a dedicated group of cheerful workers can load five tons of ice into an ice house.  Plenty of time for sledding later.   Velvet and I were flying down the driveway in an ice boat when a car unexpectedly came down the dirt road through camp - which was of course covered in packed snow not dirt.  Anyway, they nearly creamed me and Velvet, but disaster was narrowly averted.

I lost an earring that day.  A tiny lapis lazuli heart set in gold that Buzz Kill had just brought back from a business trip to some jewelry company in Santa Fe.  Come to think of it, my walls were the same deep, peaceful blue as that lapis. I still have the mate, but that fell into the snow in a birch forest in the southern end of the Green Mountains. I always hoped someone found it the next spring and happily wore it in her nose.

For myself, though, I knew I left a bit of my heart in the valley.  That was pretty much the last time we were ever a happy family - Presidents' Day Weekend 2004, I think.  The dysfunction was already undermining the marriage by then, and I filed for divorce the next summer.  That weekend in Vermont, though, I still held onto hope that Buzz Kill would choose the marriage.  He chose his dysfunction, and now all we have left is this apartment.  Some would say we have Velvet, too - and in a sense we do.  We made Velvet together, but now Velvet is cross country skiing his way to 16 credits in Environmental Science and Leadership in the Wind River Range.  Velvet is his own person, he's not mine or Buzz Kill's person.  The apartment, on the other hand, is marital property.

To this day, I maintain that I never wanted a divorce - I just did what I had to do to protect the apartment from Buzz Kill's financial ineptitude.  I'm not sure what happened with the IRS once Buzz Kill declared corporate bankruptcy and settled with the IRS.  I just know he hasn't been stomping around here, snorting about the IRS wanting the apartment.  There were crack vials on the sidewalk right outside the building when we bought here in 1994.  Now there's a ritzy private school in the new building next door.  Big changes over these twenty years.

When we were looking at this place, the broker told us that the sponsors had had trouble getting access to the apartment in order to sell it because after the original tenant had been murdered down in the Village, his roommate wouldn't move out.  At the time, I thought it was kind of creepy that the tenant was killed but figured that since it was all the way down in the Village, the karma here wasn't necessarily fucked up. In hindsight, I may have been wrong.

We surely brought our dysfunction with us when we moved in, however.  We kept it together for a long time, but when the dishwasher spontaneously combusted in 2002, it was the beginning of the end.  Buzz Kill's bullshit about that lawsuit was the nail in our marital coffin.

It's over now, though.  After we've split the assets from the sale of the apartment, Buzz Kill is obliged under the terms of the divorce to set up an account for Velvet's college money.  Whether Velvet ever goes back to Tree Hugger or not is irrelevant.  Velvet's money will be secure, and I'll have done my duty.


Vancouver Voyeur said...

Tying up loose ends and packing away the past is often difficult. Take a deep breath and plan for a brighter, freer future.

just jane said...

Your earring will be a blueprint for your new life. It is single, beautiful, and in need of a new dangerous vacation. It will also be an inspiration for you, where ever you land. I am sure the color will inspire and perhaps the texture as well. Peace

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Your future is your own blank canvas, a fresh start. Exciting!

Gail said...


change is never easy - even when it is of our choosing. I feel your grief, your glorious memories, perhaps even a regret along the way - as we all do, and I love most that you rode an elephant. I don't know anyone who has until now so that is way cool, right?

Love to you my friend

Liberality said...

Accidental assholery! Ha! That might describe me.

Honey, you have done what you needed to do and all endings are sad. You can only live in the now but it's alright to look back and take stock. You know that already I know. I'm just saying and I'm not lecturing so don't take that comment the wrong way. Okay, I am going back to my little blog but I wish you luck on your new adventures. :)


when will you be in austin?

Susan Tiner said...

It does sound sad, looking at those white walls, recalling memories of happier times.

This last time, in 2004, I didn't want a divorce either, but staying married would have meant sacrificing my happiness. That's probably more than I should write publicly, as my children have asked me not to write about the marriages. But I wanted to express solidarity with you. I've been there.

verymissmary said...

Good job, girl. You've been through alot. I think this particular post is such a good example of your process...writing it out. You've got tons of support and I'm pretty sure everything is going to be OK, if not better. Transitions basically suck.

PENolan said...

JustJane - I love the idea of single, beautiful and in need of a dangerous vacation. To that end . . .

Granny, I'll be in Austin March 24 through 29 and I'm not in a rush. I'll be driving on March 24 and 29 and think it's about time I had a skunk egg.

Libs - re: Accidental Assholery
It takes one to know one! I'm accidentally an asshole all the damn time.

Gail - we went out on elephant back a couple of times a day for three or four days in search of tigers. The grass was ten feet over our heads, and that's counting the elephant's head. We saws about a million rhinos, but no tigers. That's life

V.V. and Debra - as soon as we get through this open house on Sunday, I'm turning my attention toward that future. And it is totally bright

VeryMissMary, Transitions Basically Suck. Truer words were never spoken. I remain grateful for the support of blogtopia.

Susan - thanks. The marriage was crushing my soul. Actually, another name for Buzz Kill would be Soul Crusher. He doesn't mean anything by it, and maybe he would nurture somebody else's soul - but mine was crushed. I am relieved and grateful to have mine back.

The trouble right now is that my straw cowboy (cowgirl) hat has gone missing. Looks like I'll have to get a new one in Texas - and I'm absolutely in the right mood to get a new hat.

tnlib said...

My heart goes out to you because I've gone through all that and it's a bitch. But once you get where you're going, the anger will subside, the sun will shine, and you will still have your unique sense of humor.

Jennifer said...

Yep, it's a strange sort of unhappiness that goes with a situation of being "between homes." For a long time I thought I'd be happy to be transitory for the rest of my life. I never realised how important the anchor of 'home' is.

I'm sure a great many would envy your blank canvass future. I do. But I hope your finding "home" comes fast and smooth. (Okay, maybe "smooth" is a little too much to ask?) xo

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