Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fake It Till You Make It

(Photo stolen from The Doifter on Flickr)

by Ginger

I love Christmas, usually. This year I'm having trouble getting into that jolly yuletide spirit. I don't know why... Maybe because my family are a bunch of manic depressives and drug addicts, and I get to spend the holidays pretending they aren't?!

See, one of my brothers is eight years older than me. My first memory of him was when I was six and I caught him stealing my birthday money out of my purse. He was already doing drugs by then and ran away from home not long after. My next clear memory of him was when my brother and I had to get out of bed in the middle of the night to go with my dad and bail him out of jail. Now he's a full fledged crack head and is currently on parole from the state prison. He has disappeared. No one has heard from him in two months, so we don't know if he is even alive at this point. The good news is that since he isn't here, he can't rob us all blind as soon as we bring our gifts home.

Then there's my dad. He is a prescription drug junkie from way back. Sleeping pills, pain pills, anti-depressants, and whiskey. That's his daily combo. Since all his drugs (aside from the whiskey) are scripts, he will never listen when we try to talk to him about his drug use. He needs them all, you see. Depending on the amount and combination of these that he's taken on a given day, you get the most fun guy in the world, or you want to kill him within minutes of hearing his voice.
Of course, you can't really blame Mom for being bummed on Christmas, with her son strung out and missing and her husband in a stumbling stupor. But still, the aura of sadness around her is so thick you can almost feel it when you walk in the room.

So, for my family's sake I will continue to fake the Christmas Spirit. It gets a little more real every day that I do so, and maybe by the big day, I will be able to smile genuinely through all our festivities. I refuse to bring them down the way my family does me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

An Offer I Did Refuse

(Original photo stolen from ritzichick85 on Flickr)

by Honey

She was the friend that I told everything to. When I was having all sorts of problems at home, she was the person who knew all the nitty gritty details. And they were nitty AND gritty. Believe me. I knew that I could tell her anything and she would not judge me. She listened, and that was all I needed. I didn’t ask for her opinion, and she didn't give one. I just needed an ear.

Because, the truth be told, I went a little crazy. I look back at those times and am completely shocked at how crazy the things I’d done were. And if I’m going to be honest; and I may as well, I’ll never see you at my PTA meetings (or will I?). I did a few things I was ashamed of. One of which was a three-some. Which I’m not going to describe except to say, I had one, and I told my friend about it. My friend, whose husband I hate. Because I told her everything.

A few months later, a few of us girls decided to go to Las Vegas for a girls’ weekend in Las Vegas. All of us needed to get away, and what could be better than a place that invites you to forget about your troubles and have some fun? I was still in my own personal hell at home, and she, well…she and her husband were on the outs AGAIN. She said he had his knickers in a knot about who-knows-what, and so was not speaking to her. I said well, come to Vegas and we can all hang out and gamble and drink and maybe even go to the spa. They had a really nice one in our hotel.

We go over to the spa to book our massages. They tell us, can’t squeeze you in until later in the day. So we make our appointments, and go down for some gambling. We drink a little too much. We were on the tables where you drink for free. I wasn’t drinking quite as much as the rest of the ladies because I was beginning to worry that I was using it as an escape hatch to do ridiculous things. So when my friend asked me to take her to the bathroom, I took her. I knew that she had been drinking way more than I, and I thought really she needed help. She was pretty drunk, and babbling about how much she loved me, and I was her best friend. And then she kissed me. Not like a “I love my best friend” kiss. Really laid it on me. I was COMPLETELY in shock. I didn’t know what to say. But she was so drunk that I don’t think she noticed, because she went on to say that her husband hasn’t touched her in so long, and she really wanted to be with somebody…and I just stood there. Mute. I was saved because somebody else came in looking for us because we’d been gone for a while.

There were 5 of us on that girls trip. She and I had reserved a double massage, so that we could talk alone about what was going on with our respective relationships in private. I had hoped that she would be too drunk to remember that she’d hit on me when we went back up for our massages. She wasn’t. She went on to say that it would be perfect because they would never guess, and if one or both of them got out of line, we had somebody to turn to. Somebody safe, somebody I already know. We’re both women, we know what we like… She’d been watching "The L Word," she could show me some things. (I’m STILL not sure what that meant…I’ve never seen that show, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with being lesbian, except you know…I’m not one. Nothing wrong with that, either)

I hurt her feelings. She said she came to me because she knows I am a curious kind, and thought that maybe I would be interested since I was in such a state of upheaval. I told her that I loved her AS MY FRIEND, and I was unwilling to complicate that with sex. (Why couldn’t I have said that in the OTHER situations?) Not to mention, it would change my friendship with her AND the way I thought of her. The three-some I had earlier? Never looked at him the same way, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t think of me the same as well. Sad, because we had been friends since we were young, but a lesson learned.

I felt bad that she was embarrassed and hurt, but I knew at that point, I had turned a corner. I was no longer thinking with my genitals or my bruised heart. I had come to realize there were consequences to my actions, even if they weren’t the ones I thought they’d be. And even though she said she’d never judge me, she did. She tried to take advantage of my vulnerability. Also sad, because it did ultimately change my view of her anyway.

We’re still friends, though not as close. I don’t really discuss my relationship with my husband with her anymore. I leave any nitty gritty details, and how I feel about them, to a therapist to deal with. And if she needs me to listen to her, I listen – even if I can’t always hear her because I’m screaming on the inside. But I try to keep those judgments to myself, because I know that when I was hurting, that was what I needed. I doubt we’ll ever be the same as we were, but that’s okay, because I’m actually a little bit grateful. I don’t know that I would have snapped back as quickly to who I really am if I hadn’t seen who SHE thought I was. And the thought of that person being the REAL me was too scary to consider.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dear Step-son's Girlfriend


(Photo stolen from these guys)

Dear Step-son's Girlfriend:

I have tried to like you. I have given it my best, really. When I first met you, you wouldn't get out of the car to come inside and meet me. I thought this was strange, but he said you were extremely shy. No problem, I came outside to meet you. But then I had to knock on the window to get you to roll it down, as if you couldn't see me standing there through the tinted glass. You said "hi" and looked away, bashfully. Later I found out you did the same thing when meeting his sister. We both thought this was strange, but he seemed awfully taken with you, so I let it slide.

Then he told us that your roommate was moving out, leaving you in a lurch -- you had quit your job and could you come live with us and stay with SS in his room until you both saved some money and got your own place. We said yes, because your own family was in another state and you truly seemed to have nowhere else to go. So I helped you move in when SS was out of town for a couple of weeks for work. We even had AAA tow your broken down car to our house so it wouldn't be towed away. I then took you shopping and bought you appropriate clothes and shoes so you could go job hunting. We even loaned you a car and gave you gas money so you could find a job. Yet, you never came out of your room, except when we were asleep. I had to check on you after days went by of not seeing you, to see if you were still alive in there.

Again, SS explained that you had a rough childhood and you were just extremely shy. Sure, he's naive enough to believe that. I was beginning to think you had some serious issues. Then SS asked if you two could just live with us and pay rent. Our home is big enough, you two had your own bedroom, bathroom and a large bonus room where you began collecting furnishings for your own place someday. You had your own TV area, computer area, refrigerator, and microwave in there. It seemed this would probably work okay, the only stipulations were that rent had to be paid, you had to keep your belongings picked up, and you had to find a job. If SS wanted to support you, he would have to do it in his own place, not ours. You both agreed.

Then SS's grandfather passed away. His whole family was there. You could have met all of them, but instead you sat in the car. Not once did you leave his car. Not when we were gathering before the funeral, not at the funeral home, not at the cemetery and not afterwards when we had a luncheon together. You even had SS drive you to a gas station so you could use the bathroom instead of getting out of the car and meeting his family. He explained to everyone that you were extremely shy. But to me, it was downright disrespectful, selfish and rude. I began really not liking you then.

Months went by and you didn't look for a job. You said you were putting in on-line applications, but the phone never rang for an interview and you never left the house -- ONCE. We pressured SS that you really did need to find a job -- it had been FIVE months. You said you wanted a job where you didn't have to work with people. Good luck with that one, honey. Perhaps you should go into the funeral home business. You finally found a job at Kohl's. I was ecstatic. For the first time, you were actually keeping normal hours, dressing, and showering and leaving the house to go to work.

Then I saw you and SS drive up in his car. He came inside, you didn't. I asked him why you were sitting in the driveway in his car, he said it was because you were afraid to come inside. "Why?" I questioned. He said you thought I would be mad because you didn't show up for work that day. You didn't call them. You didn't give them any notice, you just failed to show up at all. I told him, yes, that does make me mad and in fact, you two had 6 weeks to find another place to live. I took the car keys back from the loaner car you were given to drive. You must've come inside when I was in the bathroom -- then I didn't see your face for days. You're very good at knowing when I'm in my bedroom or have left to run errands. You tried to make it up by getting another job, but sorry, too little -- too late.

You had this job all of 2 weeks when you came home and told me you thought you might be pregnant and that SS doesn't realize this, but women in your family can't work when they're pregnant because they have difficult pregnancies. Alarm bells went off in my head. SS was out of town for work, and you said you would wait until he got home to do a pregnancy test. You called in sick to work. You didn't seem sick, though. You still ate and played games on the computer. You claimed you were throwing up all the time, but I saw no evidence of that -- and yes, I was watching. SS came home and apparently you weren't pregnant -- YET. But I have no doubt in my mind that you are trying your best to get pregnant, so you can trap him. So you can quit your job and have him support you. Lord, I hope he opens his eyes before you get pregnant but since this is the first time he's gotten laid regularly, I doubt that will happen. I know what 21 year old boys are like -- their hormones do their thinking for them and yes, he is wrapped around your little finger. But I'm not.

Then Thanksgiving came. SS had plans on spending it with his sister and his mother's side of the family. Which is why I was surprised to see him eating cereal at noon on Thanksgiving. When I asked him why he was eating, before he went to go eat -- he said it was because he wasn't going, because you didn't feel good. I called bullshit on that -- the first time I had been vocal about your behavior in front of you. I asked you what was wrong with you, and you got all pouty and whiney and said your tummy hurt. You reminded me of a 10 year old trying to stay home from school. Scrunching up your forehead and talking in a baby voice doesn't elicit sympathy from me. I told you that I found it extremely odd that you have gone EVERYWHERE SS has wanted to go, EVERY TIME, except when it involves family. Then, you get sick. I told SS he'd be in a lot of trouble with his sister if he didn't show up and that he should go without you. You agreed and said you were trying to get him to go and just leave you at home. He did and you locked yourself in your room.

Later when I returned from Kansas I found out that I hurt your feelings. Well you know what? Fuck your feelings.

I love my SS dearly and it kills me to see you leading him around by the dick. I regret that we ever let you move in with us -- and the funny thing is, I knew I'd regret it when we made that decision, but if we didn't -- we'd look like the assholes by leaving a young girl with no place to go. I've heard your sob stories about how your family doesn't help you, about how ex-boyfriends have mistreated you, about how friends have ditched you -- and you want to know the truth? You've brought it all on yourself. Your attitude and low self-esteem will leave you a perpetual victim to others. You better get used to it. Maybe someday you'll grow up, I hope to God you do -- because honestly, I've never met someone more pathetic.

SS left for work yesterday. He travels for work and is gone for 2 weeks at a time. Imagine my surprise to wake up and find a note on my computer from you this morning telling me that you have taken his car and have driven to Ohio to see your family (1800 miles away). That you will not be back until SS comes home and that he said this was okay with him. I assume you quit your job -- no, you didn't quit -- you just won't show up. Whatever. I am done trying to like you. It doesn't surprise me now that you didn't have the nerve to at least be respectful enough to tell me of your plans, to pack and leave during normal hours and not have to steal away in the middle of the night while we're all sleeping like some thief.

While you are gone, I would love to pack all of your belongings -- both of yours -- and put it in our garage. I know you have until the end of December to "officially" find a new place to live, but I think this last little maneuver might move the date up some.

Merry Fuckin' Christmas.

* * * * *

Please -- input. How would you handle this situation? Granted, I am just the step-mother here -- so I can't lay down the law with SS. His Dad has tried talking some sense to him, but he is really tied around her finger. But it is my house and I honestly don't want to see her face in it again. Would it be wrong of me to draw a line in the sand? Should I just keep my mouth shut until they move out? I don't want to alienate him -- but God, doesn't he see what we ALL see? It's not just me -- everyone who has met her and sees her selfish, immature ways are pretty shocked.

Suggestions, please?

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Good Person, But...

by Anonymous

(Photo stolen from
sillyishrose on Flickr)

Dear Sweetie Pie,

I love you and this is why this is so hard to say. You are a nice person, but you are a horrible mother. I'm sorry, but it's true. You would give me your last dollar if I asked for it, but for your kids, well, I am less than impressed and sometimes a little alarmed.

I remember when you asked me a few years ago if I thought you were ready for children. I said NO. Which is not a bad thing, really. Some people shouldn't have kids.

It's not that I own a World's Best Mother award. I don't. I know that sometimes I fail too. I even understand that you have issues related to your childhood that make you somewhat bitter and quite possibly blur your judgement. But I would think those issues would stop you from repeating the same kinds of mistakes. And I would hope that when you enlist help and/or suggestions from other Mothers who've had MORE experience (and I'm not talking about just me), that you would take that advice and make it work for you.

But you don't.

You make excuses. Baby girl is 3 years old and she's not potty trained, not because she's not ready, but because YOU are too lazy to potty train her. She's been bringing you her diapers, wipes and ointment since she started walking at one. She started taking off her wet diapers at 2, and you get mad because the babysitter won't potty train her. It's not her job! That's your fucking job! YOU ARE THE MOM. You hang your head in shame and are embarrassed when you come down here and another younger mother chastises you because she's too smart not to be potty trained, but you still won't do it. What the hell? You tell me she is so stubborn, she won't tell you when she's gotta go; she comes over here, I say "you gotta potty?", she says YES. And she goes!

You tell me you're concerned because you think she's having problems learning. She isn't. How can she learn if her Mother won't teach her? You are a SAHM, you send her to daycare because you can't deal with her. Because you don't want to deal with her. You don't want to take her to the park, the aquarium, for a walk. You don't want to take her ANYWHERE -- now, or in the future. You've already started complaining about extra-curricular classes that she's not even signed up for yet. You don't want to read to her, teach her letters and numbers -- and got mad at me because I bought one of those fridge magnet toys that you put the letter in, and it says the letter. Too noisy. You compare her to another friend whose daughter, of the same age, is learning sign language AND can read/write/spell her name. Because Her Mother teaches her these things. YOU sit baby girl in front of the TV, screaming at her to shut up, until bedtime and then say, "I don't know why she doesn't know more". Because she doesn't have anyone to teach her. That's why.

And now you have baby boy. Who DOESN'T go to a sitter, who is held every waking hour (and most of his sleeping ones), and is the most spoiled child on the face of the earth. And you did it on purpose. Just so you could say he can't live without me. You think it makes you more important than his Daddy that he is hysterical when you are out of his sight. If he DOES stop crying, you rush over and start messing with him, until he goes ballistic trying to get back to you. You flinch when his Daddy plays with him because you don't have control. Well, he's not you. And he's playing with his son the way a Father does, not a Mother. Stop trying to intervene. Stop trying to keep him from having a relationship with his Father. He can love you and him. You both are his parents. It's NATURAL.

You've thrown over your daughter for your son. (You stopped paying attention to her once he was born, although you kind of stopped being attentive once you realized you couldn't make her love you more than she loves her daddy.) I can't believe you would tell me that a ONE year old, who doesn't really do anything but cry is smarter than the 3 year old, who at that same age was walking, bringing you diapers for her wet bottom and trying to speak. Not because baby boy is doing anything spectacular, but because he just LOOKS smarter. Who the hell says that?! You push baby girl away because you're too busy holding him or breastfeeding him every 5 minutes (which really is kinda gross. NOT the breastfeeding, but the doing it all the freaking time. Has no one ever explained to you it should be on some sort of SCHEDULE? Oh wait. I have). But you like it because it gives you an EXCUSE to have him under you all day long. And that's kind of crazy.

I've given you, at your request for help, all sorts of advice. Put them on a schedule. Let him cry. If you're going to spank her, don't pick her up for a cuddle right afterwards, the punishment loses meaning. Don't call her stupid. Their father is perfectly capable of keeping an eye on them. You don't listen. Which is fine, you don't have to take my advice. My words are not golden. But don't come to me complaining about all the things wrong when they begin and end with you. You are teaching them to be neurotic and crazy. I'm not going to say that you are abusive, but sometimes, I do worry that you walk a fine line.

Strangely enough, aside from your parenting, you ARE a really nice person. Which is why I don't understand why you do the things you do to your kids. You tell me that your childhood was horrible, and that you wouldn't wish your years growing up on anyone. You've told me stories about things your parents have said/done that sadden me.

What I want to know is, do you want your kids to be able to tell THOSE kinds of stories about you?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reason #473 to Use Bartender Face

(Photo stolen from this site)

by Honey

Because I hate your husband. I really, REALLY do.

You’re a nice person, mostly. But some times, I want to tear my hair out listening to the asshole things your husband does. And it is true asshole behavior. Leaving you to suffer through a miscarriage alone? Getting mad at you when he finally gets you pregnant again, after HOUNDING you to have another baby? Not because he wanted 3 kids, but because he wanted to try one last time for a boy. He is not only an asshole, he is also the whole ass.

Even though he knows I only see my husband on the weekends, he without fail, calls EARLY Saturday morning, to see if he’s up and out of bed. If he doesn’t answer the phone, he is not above doing a drive by on us, because he thinks that HE is more important than my husband spending time with his wife. I know that he and my husband have been friends since their momma’s were pregnant with them, but holy hell. He spends more Saturday mornings at our house than he does his own. WTF? Yes, they’re friends. But my husband does NOT feel the need to run away from home as soon as the sun comes up; he WANTS to spend time with me. Quiet as it’s kept; he enjoys spending time with me. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t see me often, but whatever. I will take what I can get. I would appreciate it if you could tie your husband to the bed, couch, a tree outside, whatever… just one Saturday morning. Please.

And now, he’s hitting on your friends.

Friend #1 – he called at her house to tell her that she had nice feet. When she called him out on his B.S. he claims “his friend” told him to tell her that.

Friend #2 -- you had a party at your house and your husband spent all night slapping her on the ass. I had to tell MY husband – her cousin, who pulled him aside, to get him to stop. His excuse that time? I didn’t think anybody noticed.

ME -- he goosed me and you saw him and made him apologize. He just said he was too drunk to remember, but he was sorry because you were upset. His words. (Nevermind ME being upset. I didn’t want his hands grabbing my ass either, but…whatever)

We haven’t said anything to you YET because you will rabidly defend any and all negative comments regarding your husband, even though you know he’s a jerk. You want to convince us, and most likely yourself, that he’s a good guy, a NICE guy, instead of who he really is: A SELFISH guy who has no respect for your relationship or anybody else’s. And he is a guy who is looking for an opportunity to screw your friends. Quite frankly, I don’t believe this has escaped your notice, because you made me an offer I could totally refuse. (But that is a story for ANOTHER Bartender Face entry.)

Why I’m telling Bartender Face instead of writing this on my own blog? Because even though my husband says he doesn’t read my blog (and I believe him because he is totally uninterested in my weird ramblings), the one time he WILL read it would be the time I write about how much I hate his oldest friend.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Carrie Bradshaw Is Right

by Honey

(Photo stolen from
this guy)

Carrie Bradshaw is right.

There is no polite way to stop phone sex.

It started not so innocently. I had an affair. A big huge RAGING affair. To be fair, it started off as a retaliation fuck, since my significant other & I started having problems (meaning, I was having a PROBLEM with his screwing around). Mr. Jump Off was 7 years younger than I, a huge flirt and engaged to be married. We started off as friends, I can’t even remember how we met, but we immediately liked each other. Could be because I am also a ginormous flirt and loved to fluff his…ego. (we were FRIENDS, remember?) And I will admit to getting a huge charge out of flirting, and being flirted with. I was emotional and craving attention. I can’t lie, I am an attention WHORE.

He made it so easy because he had laying down game since we met. He paid me PLENTY of attention. I had the softest skin, the prettiest legs, and the nicest lips. He was so fine I wanted to drink his bathwater. And considering I am a germaphobe of the highest order, that’s saying a lot. And we hung out because

1. I had lots of free time
2. He was a pretty cool kid, aside from the flirting
3. He always paid and he wanted to do whatever I wanted to do. There was also
4. I didn’t need my guard up because I was POSITIVE there was no real attraction there, just friendship.

I almost didn’t see it coming. We went out in the summer, my husband had to “work late” …again. We went down to the beach because I was homesick, and I’m always cheered up and/or calmed when I’m near the ocean. It was late, we were walking & talking and before I was even sure of what happened, we weren’t walking OR talking anymore. And me? It was one of the best lays I ever had; I’m not sure if it was because I needed to feel close to somebody or if he was THAT. DAMN.GOOD. Either way, May I have another orgasm, please? (For the record, he was that damn good, even though I wanted to feel close to somebody.)

After that, he’d call me when he got lonely and I’d use my phone sex operator voice and we’d talk about the things we planned to do the next time. I have been blessed/cursed with a vivid imagination, and I can also be turned on by the sound of someone’s voice, if it’s smooth enough., and Mr. Jump Off was smoooth.

He got married on my 8th anniversary. He brought me back a shot glass from their honeymoon. When he came back we had hot monkey sex in my office late one night. Our affair ended after one more month. We felt bad that we were messing around and he was newly married, so we decided to stay friends, no benefits. My husband was trying to make amends for his asshole behavior, and Mr. Jump Off put me on equal (if lowering) footing with the husband.

But for some reason, even though Mr. Jump Off & I never had real life sex again, even though we occasionally met for dinner and a movie, the phone sex never stopped. He would call me and tell me in that sexy, smooth voice to say he was bored and didn’t have anybody to talk to, what was I doin’…and then…”Do you remember how much I loooove your legs?” Mmmmm hmmm…It’s a slippery slope, ladies & gentlemen. And before you know it, you’re right back on the bottom. ::SIGH:: His voice was so seductive to me, and I could picture, his mouth and then, well…then it’s too late because I don’t WANT to stop.

Recently though, I told Mr. Jump Off that I’m putting the phone sex on Hiatus (which in LA speak is the first step to your show being cancelled). The husband & I are doing okay, and we are doing our best to keep it that way. I’m pretty sure that the husband would not like to know somebody else is getting me off AT&T style. And it’s been a while, a LONG while…

But yesterday, he called me before I was completely awake and started with the “good morning, baby” talk… And the minute I heard his voice, I could feel the girly parts getting soft, and I rolled over…and dropped the call.

I guess it’s good my phone is a piece of crap because I am at my most vulnerable when I’m waking up, which is something Mr. Jump Off knows, which is why he probably woke up 3 hours early to catch me still in bed. And I KNOW cutting off the phone sex is a wise decision, but if my call hadn’t dropped…would I have said no? Would I have been able to interject with a no, thank you? I’m glad I didn’t have to find out.

Still taking it one phone call at a time.

That’s my story y’all. I’ll pay for my drink and whoever is up next.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Waiting

by Minerva

(Photo stolen from this site

My sister-in-law is a drug addict.

She's been a drug addict since long before I met her, long before she reached adulthood. In fact, when I was first dating her brother, the man I would later marry, he told me that it was unlikely I would ever meet Kate. "She'll probably be dead before you get a chance to meet her," he told me, and he wasn't kidding.

But she didn't die. She got herself cleaned up, through a lot of hard work and the support of family and friends. She held down a job, took back responsibility for her young child, even went back to college. Her life became busy, full, and complicated, but in her own frenetic way she managed it. She went to meetings all the time -- Narcotics Anonymous, I presume, but maybe Alcoholics Anonymous, too. She thrived.

She met a great guy. He understood her past and was willing to take her on. They got married and had a baby of their own. They owned a nice home, had two bright and well-adjusted children, and life seemed very good for all of them.

Kate has been addressing, little by little, the things in her life that she has ignored for so many years. One of those things was dental work. When it became necessary to have oral surgery, Kate hesitated because of her need for pain medication. But there was no way around it, and she had the surgery and took the pain meds. At some point -- my grasp of the details is fuzzy at best -- Kate's addiction again took over. Was she immediately hooked, or was it after her bout with pneumonia? Was she using before the two major medical emergencies that hit the family, or did the enormous strain of those events push her over the edge?

In any case, Kate seems to have been at the eye of the perfect storm of crises, and when the storm blew over, Kate was a raging addict again.

After a stint in rehab early this year, Kate was battling back. We saw her this summer during a family visit, and she seemed jumpy, erratic and hyperactive, but as long as I've known Kate she's been jumpy, erratic and hyperactive. A few alarm bells went off in my head, but I kept quiet, because really, what did I know? What could I do? I knew nothing. I did nothing.

I got the call on a recent Sunday morning, from a brother who rarely calls. "Kate's in jail," he said quietly. The call came hours before Kate's parents, my in-laws, were due to arrive home from a trip abroad. They knew nothing of the arrest, nor did they know that Kate was using again. The last the family knew, Kate had been clean again for several months.

Kate's hard-won idyllic life is now in shambles. The family sits by and waits, wondering what will happen next. Moves have been made to protect children and finances, but otherwise, there is not much any of us can do. We wait. Kate sits in jail, as far as I know -- the crimes she committed as she savaged her life and the lives of her family are too many and too dark to list here -- and we wait.

Of all of the horrors inflicted upon families by drugs and by the loved ones who use them, the thing I keep coming back to is the waiting. People who are used to taking matters into their own hands are left wringing those hands, powerless, reactive instead of proactive. There's so little to do or say, and all of the pent-up anger, hurt, and fear are likely to be directed laterally, instead of at the user, who isn't there to take her lumps. When do we all start bickering? Who will start the snarling at one another?

I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I Am A Liar

by Betty-Louise

EDIT NOTE: At the request of Betty-Louise, I have flipped "Yes" and "No" at the end of the article, in red. It was a small mistake but it completely altered the author's original intent. The first comment now won't make sense so keep this in mind -- Laurie

I lie.

I am a liar.

I read for months and weeks on a lot of my bloggy friends about why “Yes on 8” was the worst thing any person could vote. They told me about equality and gave me loosely related parables about how this had something to do with slavery and the vote for women. They told me in several different ways…that voting to overturn gay marriage in the State of California was EVIL. And that if you loved or knew or ever even walked by a gay person in your life you HAD TO VOTE NO.

A NO vote was evolved.

A NO vote was enlightened.

A NO vote was RIGHT.

And ya know what? I never said a thing. Partially due to my anti-Palin post debacle (a death threat? Seriously?) but partially because I am a big ol’chicken. And I avoid conflict like Palin avoided geography class in high school (oh crap there I go again)….

But here is the thing. This is what I really think. Are you listening Bartender?

I love me the gays. One of my best friends and a maid of honor in my wedding is gay. I have experienced all her relationship woes and struggles. This is not a religion issue for me. I believe Jesus loves gays and straights alike. I have no ethical or moral problems with people who are BORN gay. I know it is not a CHOICE (my God who would CHOOSE a way of life fraught with such conflict and difficulties?). I think gay couples can and do make fine parents.

California continues to allow domestic-partner registration, a right similar to civil unions found in other states. This grants "same-sex couples all state-level rights and obligations of marriage — in areas such as inheritance, income tax, insurance and hospital visitation" (thank you Wikipedia)

Um, so basically they ALREADY have all the rights of “marriage”. Including adoption rights. But what don’t they have? Well their partners do not inherit ANY debt upon the death of the other. They are also not required to enter into lengthy divorce proceedings should the relationship end. Sounds like a great deal to me, so why then all the complaining?

They can’t call their long term relationship a ‘MARRIAGE’. This is all about the use of A WORD.

So…it is a vocabulary issue. And for me the definition of the word MARRIAGE is: Man+Women=children. It is an institution created to induce procreation and the protection and survival of the children. A gay union is not that. It doesn’t fit the definition. It is that simple. Do I think a gay union is just as important and REAL as marriage? Yes I do. But is it marriage? NO. NO IT IS NOT. It is something else. Something different.

So I voted YES. I have insinuated and may have even SAID I voted NO….cuz I am liar. A big fat liar.

Thanks bartender. Now can you get me Mojito? Just put it on Foolery’s tab will ya?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dan, January 26, 2008

(Photo stolen from crazyscientist_11 on Flickr)

I don't believe you.

The death of Heath Ledger this week brought with it the expected suspicions, whispers and rumors. Once the truth of the actor's tragic death emerges, whether the cause was accidental or recreational or suicidal -- whatever truth it may be, people will say "I can't believe it" and "I never saw the signs" and "if only I had known, I would have done something." This is to be expected. This is how we humans operate. We believe in our power to fix things, to intercede and change the course of history. And often we can.

And often we can't. Sometimes we just can't fix what's broken, and then we let history have its head.

But there is a third scenario, one that I'm sure happens far more often than the other two. That path is the one I'm staring down tonight, the one I'm determined not to take any longer. That way involves the friends, family and coworkers simply shrugging their shoulders, looking the other way, shaking their heads. That's what I've been doing for years, without even thinking about it, but I'm not going to do it anymore.

You're lying to me.

Someone whose job crosses paths with mine is headed down a bad, bad road, and it may be coming to a head soon. I'll call him Dan -- Dan came in to my office Tuesday looking wrecked. Bleary, red eyes. Slow, slurry speech. Insipid chatter, silly giggle. Stoned on painkillers, again. Par for the course. And then, just as suddenly as he had come in, he walked out the door and was gone. I was busy, and had very soon put him out of my mind. And then I checked my e-mail and learned that Heath Ledger was found dead of an apparent overdose.

Wednesday Dan came in again, this time to see my boss about something. I didn't talk to Dan until he came out of my boss's office and stumbled past me. "Take it easy, shweetheart," he slurred, and weaved out the door. I stared after Dan as he left, then walked into my boss's office. "Wow," I said. "Dan looked wrecked."

"Man, he was OUT of it," my boss said. But we were both busy.

Wednesday night at about 9:00 I sat down with my husband and talked about our day. I told him about Dan; he knows Dan, too -- everybody in town knows Dan. And as the words were pouring out of my mouth, I was stunned to realize I had been complicit in a crime. I let Dan walk out of that office and climb into his truck and drive away, when he could barely form a decent sentence. I was shocked at my tunnel vision, my apparent indifference to a friend's crisis. Mostly I was disgusted that I didn't try to stop Dan from brandishing a deadly automotive weapon on the busy streets of my city. "No more," I told my husband. "I'm not playing along any more."


The first thing I did Thursday was talk to my bosses about it. I had had a dream about it the night before, and it had clarified for me what I had to say.

Perhaps I was a bit hasty. Maybe I was being a zealot? I guess I should try talking to Dan first. Okay, I'll do that. Suddenly all my confidence was gone, and I questioned my judgment. I even questioned my own motives. I was not ready for any kind of confrontation, and I needed some time to regroup.

But there wasn't any time. Friday morning Dan lurched into the office looking for my boss again, and I sent him on in. I began a slow burn that turned to quiet fuming. I was angry at myself, at my boss (unfairly -- he was just as caught in this current as I was, looking for any branch to pull himself out), but mostly I was mad at Dan, a man I have always adored.

By the time Dan staggered up to my desk on his way out the door, I was boiling. Dan took off his glasses and wiped his bloody eyes. He could see by my dark scowl I was gunning for him, and though he didn't yet know why, I'm sure he could guess that it had something to do with his obvious drug use. Dan's many years of coming up with lies took over, and he began his patronizing, pathetic cover story. I cut him off.

"Don't come in here and talk to me when you're stoned," I heard myself say. I had no plan, and no idea that I would actually say anything to him. Rage had taken over.

"Yeah, I know," he said, agreeing with me! "I woke up this way, and I have no idea what's going on," he lied.

"Don't give me that!" I barked. "You've come in here three days this week stoned out of your mind. Don't tell me you woke up that way." I was ready for the string of swear words that never came. It would have been so easy. Just give me a reason to make the call, I thought. Your boss. The police. Your wife. Somebody needs to be called. Give me a reason.

"I know, it's crazy," Dan said. "I've been taking the same medications [code for Norco, Vicadin, and who knows what else] for years, and all of a sudden I think I'm having a reaction," he said, smooth as glass. Let me think back -- over the years it's been allergies, allergy medicines, back pain . . . am I forgetting any excuses? There's always a reason when Dan is stoned out of his mind, but it's never the handful of painkillers he pops in front of people he thinks are "cool" that could be causing the "reaction."

"Doesn't matter," I said, still furious, but rapidly deflating. "You are impaired, and you shouldn't be driving. I'm scared to death for you, but more than that, I'm scared for the people out on the road with you."

"I know, I know," he smoothed me over. "I'm calling my doctor to find out what the heck is wrong," he said.

All the air was out of my balloon. I had nothing left. No actual proof -- I am not one of the "cool" people he feels are safe to pop pills in front of, so I can only guess what he's taking. And I was the victim of my own game -- I call it Customer Service Karate: the art of taking a "punch" from an angry person, and using their energy against them. Pretty soon they have no steam left, but you appear unbruised, unbattered, fresh as a daisy It works every time if you can outlast them. Well, Dan had just done that to me. I was definitely battered and he outlasted me.

After Dan left he called me on his cell phone to ask a business question; I answered curtly and coldly. He thanked me for being a friend and for caring. It was the final punch. KO'd.

I'm gonna make two calls, and the second call will be to your boss. But you shouldn't worry about the second call.

Dan may have won the battle, but he hasn't yet won he war. I had to hear him lie to me, face to face, when confronted honestly. Now I know, and I know what I have to do. And my bosses are waking up to the reality, too. There may be hope yet.

As long as Dan doesn't kill himself this weekend, that is.

I can't believe it. I never saw the signs. If only I had known, I would have done something.

Rules for Submitting Stories to Bartender Face

  1. You must be 18 or older to use the account for Bartender Face. If you are younger than 18, please e-mail me your post to foolery (at) clearwire (dot) net or swamidearest (at) gmail (dot) com (I use both).
  2. You don't have to use the account to upload your file to me; feel free to use e-mail. I will be discreet and not reveal your identity. But using the account will keep you anonymous even from me.
  3. No threats against me or anyone else will be posted to Bartender Face.
  4. Illegal activity described in any post submitted to Bartender Face will be subject to the Blog Dictator's Very Random Sliding Scale of Propriety. Simply put, I get to decide. If your story is about having a beer ten minutes before you turned 21, I'll let that pass. If it's about where you buried Jimmy Hoffa, well guess what? I'd like to stay on the good side of the FBI. Probably better not tell me where the bodies are buried.
  5. No grudge matches. The people you write about must not be identifiable. I will assume that all names have been changed to protect innocent and guilty alike, and I won't change them. If, however, you tell a great tale but include a line like, oh, maybe " . . . while I was playing tonsil hockey with Al Franken," I would probably change that name to [UNNAMED POLITICIAN] or [SOME GUY FROM TV] or [A MIDWESTERNER THAT SOME PEOPLE LIKE AND SOME PEOPLE DON'T]. See how that works? If I can't salvage it, I won't post it, so play nice.
These are all of the rules that I could think of at one sitting. There may be more; maybe you can suggest some? I'm a strangely democratic thinker for an autocratic blog administrator.

Some things worth considering:
  • Come up with a completely unique, untraceable screen name for posting at Bartender Face. If your name is Shirley, I'd advise against using the screen name "Shirl." If you use "Foolery" all over the place, as I do, don't use "Foolery" at Bartender Face. But you may wish to come back at a later date and post a follow-up story, or, thinking big, you may become a Bartender Face favorite, making you a pop culture icon, so you really ought to have a unique name here.
  • I will post your writing just as you give it to me, with very few exceptions. If your writing is filled with vulgarities, it probably won't see the light of day. A well-placed swear word or two shouldn't be a problem, but try to keep it reasonable, okay? If you drop a really, really offensive word into an otherwise reasonable story, I may use [EDITED 'CAUSE MY GRANDMOTHER WOULD BLUSH] or something. Work with me.
  • If you want photos or graphics included I will post them (within my standards of tastefulness), but I will assume that you have permission to use them and that they are "safe" and will not identify you. If you want me to find a suitable image, please include a note to me asking me to find something. I will do my best.
Hokay, that should have exhausted you. Welcome, and I hope to have some submissions to share very soon!

-- Laurie

Welcome to Bartender Face

You have something you want to talk about, don't you?

Bartender Face is the place.

This site is named for my own self-diagnosed affliction which renders me a magnet for people's very personal stories. I don't know why people tell me the things they do, but it's been happening all my life . . .

So you can tell me. Anything. Almost.

The rules and regulations and how-tos will be coming soon, but in a nutshell, anything you post here, you post anonymously. I hope this will be an outlet for stories people can't tell anywhere else.

Make yourselves at home.

-- Laurie