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Twenty Eleven… Buh-Byeeee!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2011 by JustJennyRebecca

Twenty Eleven. 2011. What a year. What a kick-you-in-the-crotch-then-spit-in-your-eye year.

I know, I know… If this was Facebook I wouldn’t be able to be honest with you, because apparently everything has to be Rainbows and Sunshine over there. But, here on my blog, I can tell the truth, and you can stop reading anytime, but you won’t because let’s face it, if someone had a worse year than you, it would probably make YOU feel a little bit better, right? Of course it would and I’m here to help YOU feel better. AS ALWAYS MY DARLINGS.

Let’s start with January 17th, 2011. My daughter and I said goodbye to Fluke. Our Old Man; our faithful Knight in Shining Armor who protected us for 13 years with his bark, his growl, with his mere presence. He so loved Mackenzie that when she was 6 years old he jumped out the 2nd story window onto the roof when he heard her screaming in the front yard. He didn’t know she was “play” screaming. He just knew he had to get to his little girl.

Old Man Fluke had cancer, which spread to his brain, and he had seizures. When the Phenobarbital stopped working, and the seizures became more frequent, I knew it was time to say goodbye, and we did. Two weeks later there was a recall on the Phenobarbital he was taking. It had been switched with Tramadol. Had Fluke been taking actual Phenobarb, he may have had more time. Or maybe not. We’ll never know. His face, as he slipped away, haunts me every single day.

So that’s how 2011 started. And it continued…

January 25th I quit smoking. I gave up coffee. Starbucks’ profit took a pretty hefty hit, but it had to be done. Why? Because I had a heart attack that day. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you’re dying (or think you’re dying), but that’s not exactly true. My daughter’s life flashed before my eyes and that was the shock I needed. So the cigarettes went, the coffee went, I lost 30 pounds and tried to let stress roll off my back. Easier said than done.

I lost my house this year. The house my daughter grew up in. The house Fluke lived in his entire life. Gone. Why was it gone? Because I was unemployed for 5 months this awesome year, and have been taking care of my mother financially for two and a half years. Which, in case you’re wondering, is fucking difficult WHEN YOU ARE UNEMPLOYED. I do not suggest letting your mother live with you, under any circumstances. ANY. Serious.

After losing the house, we moved into a rental in another city. A few days after moving in we discovered the rental was infested with scorpions and black widows. And I was still unemployed. And supporting my mother. When the last of my savings was gone, I had to file bankruptcy. Twenty Eleven was rocking my world, my universe, my everything. But wait…

Four weeks ago a cyst was found in my daughters left temporal lobe. Apparently she was born with it. She’s 17 now, and she’s been applying for scholarships and getting ready to fill out college applications. The quick-witted child that’s been on the honor roll since her first semester in kindergarten, who’s been in the Honor’s program since she started high school, now spends 7 hours a night doing homework because she can’t remember what she read an hour before. She can’t always understand the verbal instructions from her teachers – she just can’t put the words together in her head. Sometimes she can’t write the instructions down fast enough before they slip her mind forever, and she cries. She has headaches that won’t go away, her arms and legs go numb, and sleep eludes her. Sometimes her teachers can’t catch her attention and she seems to be lost in space. But she’s not. Not lost in space anyway.

I survived a heart attack; it was a wake up call. I survived months of unemployment and managed to support 3 people and 2 dogs, even though I lost my house and filed bankruptcy.

Twenty Eleven could’ve been forgiven, and chalked up as a string of powerful learning experiences.

But a cyst in my daughter’s brain? Are you fucking kidding me? Bite me 2011. You’re an asshole.

I’m not saying that 2012 will be better. And I’m not saying that 2012 will be the “Year of Jenny”… I would NEVER be so bold. But holy mother mary jesus CHRIST! Give me a damn break.

Obligatory, end-of-year rant over. Promise.

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Meeting the Man

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2011 by JustJennyRebecca

Everyone has a hero. A relative, a mentor, a historical figure, Angelina Jolie… My hero, my literary hero, is David Sedaris. He makes me chortle. Sometimes he makes me think. Mostly he makes me laugh out loud at the everyday absurdity of the human condition.

A couple years ago I had the opportunity to see him speak. It was on my birthday, so I bought a ticket months in advance and waited. The night of the event I sat on my couch, all dressed up, hair done, just sitting. Paralyzed with fear. I suffer from a social anxiety disorder that “occasionally” causes me to freak out and I can’t leave the house. If I’m going somewhere with someone, it’s usually ok. Or if I’m meeting someone, as long as they come fetch me from the parking lot, then I’m ok. But for this event, on my birthday, no one wanted to go with me. I really thought I could do it. He was my hero after all – I should be able to do this! Nope. No way. I sat on my couch bawling like a baby.

Fast-forward 2 years and David Sedaris is coming to Changing Hands Bookstore – my favorite bookstore – for a reading AND SIGNING. OOOOH EM GEEEEEEEE!!!!!! “This is awesome”, I thought. So again, I buy a ticket for myself because none of my friends are interested. That’s fine. I can do this. I’m an optimist. I won’t let this chance pass me by again, right???

The day of the event I left work early, changed my clothes and packed up ALL of my Sedaris books so he could sign ALL of them. Because that’s the kind of whole-hearted dork I am. I’m pretty sure I looked like a crazy librarian with all those books, but I didn’t care… I WAS GOING TO MEET THE MAN!

I took some pills to calm me down, having learned a valuable lesson from the last incident and I headed to Changing Hands. There were a million people there, but I had my ticket, my seat and my books – I was ready to go. Then it happened. He appeared. He read from his new book. He asked questions, told stories, and made us laugh, genuinely laugh, from deep inside our bellies. As the reading was wrapping up and the signing was about to begin David Sedaris said something that caused such an adverse reaction in my body, my soul, my brain that I almost vomited, shat, pissed myself and passed out. Almost, not quite. I’m not that big of a freak, Jesus. But I did start shaking and sweating and may have started to drool like a dog in agonizing, yet stoic, pain.

“WHAT DID HE SAY????” You’re on pins and needles, I KNOW….

He said… he said…. David Sedaris said that everyone had to tell him a joke when they came up to get their books signed.

A joke. Tell him a fucking joke. Simple… It’s just a joke, right? A few stupid words with a punch line. If he likes your joke, he’ll tell it to his audience at the next night’s reading. Most people would bounce at the chance to make their hero laugh. Me? I barf at the chance.

My social anxiety consists of three very important components:

1)    I cannot enter a social establishment alone, i.e.: a bar, club, restaurant, coffee shop. I cannot enter alone.

2)    I cannot have people staring at me in a social situation. I cannot be the center of attention or focal point. Do not look at me. Do not see me. I am 6 feet tall and fat. Just keep your eyes moving along and see someone else please.

3)    I cannot speak to strangers socially and I certainly cannot tell a joke – not one – not ever. That is a skill I do not possess and even if I did it would require that I speak to people AND THAT THEY LOOK AT ME, which totally flies in the face of item #2 above.

As I stood there in line, about 87 people in front of me, I weighed my options.  I had, after all, made it this far. I sat through the reading with a few hundred strangers. I entered the building all by myself. I could do this I thought. It’s David Sedaris. I’ll tell a dumb joke, get my books signed, throw up in the parking lot and die happy.

Abso-fucking-lutely

For the next 2 hours I stood in line, sweating, visibly shaking, writing down the ONLY joke I’ve ever remembered in my damn life, and repeating it to myself over and over and over again. I tried to focus on other peoples’ conversations to distract me, but quickly realized that the people within earshot were either complete fucktards, saying things like, “Mastiffs are prone to biting small faces off. Like… kids faces…”, WTF? Are you kidding me? Everyone knows that Mastiffs eat gerbils and Chihuahuas – don’t be stupid. And then some of the people lived such affluent lives that I couldn’t even comprehend what they were complaining about: someone couldn’t access her trust fund. Me either, honey. I feel your pain. And someone “had” to find a new groundskeeper because the current one kept staring at her “lustfully”. Well, at least it was a distraction. The sweating and shaking had subdued and now it was MY turn.

HERE. WE. GO…

DAVID: Hello young lady. What’s your name?

ME: Jenny

DAVID: Do you have a joke for me?

ME: Yes, but it’s highly offensive to women. (I looked at his assistant and apologized in advance for what I was about to say out loud.)

AND THEN I DID IT!!!! I told “The Joke” AND I nailed the punch line! It’s the only joke that I’ve ever been able to remember in my entire life, but because it’s incredibly offensive to women, and possibly French people as a whole, I have never told it. Until that moment. And do you know what happened? A massive sink hole opened up and devoured my fat ass… Not really…

He laughed.

I made David Sedaris and his assistant laugh out loud. He pulled out his notebook and wrote down MY JOKE.

I grabbed my books, said thank you, ran to my car, and then I cried.

As ridiculous as it sounds, I battled my own silly demons, met my “hero”, made him laugh and cried victory. Literally.

BEST. NIGHT. EVER!

I Miss My Grandmother and also Cancer is Crap

Posted in Family Matters, Uncategorized with tags , on January 19, 2010 by JustJennyRebecca

My grandmother died of cancer when I was about 14. I didn’t get to see her or say goodbye. I think about her every single day, as I have for over 20 years. I think about her strength and love and her ability to do all things and be all things to everyone. She was Superwoman. She worked full time, raised two daughters, a husband and two granddaughters. She cleaned and cooked and was the perfect wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, neighbor, and friend. She was all these women, did all these things with a smile on her face and a cocktail in her hand, because that was what was expected of her. My grandmother never complained; she never asked for help and she certainly never got tired or sick. Until one day she did. And it was cancer. And there it had been for a very long time. And it was too late. There were no months. There were no weeks. There may have been days. And then there were none.

My grandmother started a trend it seems. Everyone else in my family has died of cancer. Except my grandfather. He did have cancer, but that’s not what killed him. He was always a rebel, my grandfather. But my aunts, uncles, cousins? If they’re dead, they died of cancer. It’s never the same kind; everyone seems to get something different. I’m not very close with my family anymore, extended or otherwise, so we never talk about these things. It was different when my grandparents were alive. Mona and Gayle. They were the glue that held us all together and without them we just can’t seem to stay connected.

A few years ago when my favorite uncle was diagnosed with cancer I actually did some research. It seemed strange to me that someone could get cancer in the esophagus. Stranger still that they would die. And he did. And then his wife was diagnosed with cancer a few months later. So now that I’m older I do a little research when someone gets cancer, if for no other reason than to just know what’s going on. I didn’t do anything when my grandmother died and she is my favorite person in the world. Ever. So I do research, just like I research the cancer that’s killing my dog. And I read survival stories, and I read about new treatments on the horizon. And I just keep reading. I may never be able to have an intelligent conversation about cancer, but the knowledge that I can tuck away inside my little brain makes me feel better, for some inexplicable reason, about my grandmother.

If you or someone you know has been touched by cancer please know that knowledge is power and sometimes that’s the only power you’ll have. There are many websites to help you along the way, places to share stories and connect with others. Sites like Navigating Cancer are a good place to start.

Why Yes McDonalds, You Have Inconvenienced Me.

Posted in Dating Nightmares, Uncategorized, WTF? with tags , on September 8, 2009 by JustJennyRebecca

Every morning I make a quick stop at the McDonalds down the street from my house. I require coffee. A lot of coffee and since a Venti Frappacino costs as much as a barrel of crude, I have had to make some adjustments to my routine.

Well, imagine my surprise when I arrived at the drive-thru speaker this morning and saw this message taped to the screen:

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WHOA! BACK THE TRUCK UP! Do you mean to tell me that I have been wasting countless hours and oodles of my hard-earned money on Match and eharmony and all this time I could’ve just ordered a Boy Toy at the damn drive thru? What the hell McDonalds!?! Yeah, I’d say you’ve inconvenienced me. And now you’re out of them? When will you get more? And do you take special orders? Oh wait, you’re not Burger King so I probably “can’t have it my way”.

What. The. Fuck? Why am I always the last to know about the good shit?