Monthly Archives: June 2013

Warrior One

My PTSD about my dad is back with a vengeance. I’m learning that it gets the worst in the summer because weather can be the easiest trigger, and that’s when I really took care of him and things got super traumatizing. So I have at least another month of this.

Life is so much easier when you understand exactly what is happening to you emotionally and physically. More important, it’s easier when you understand why. Even if it’s just PMS or being tired. Even if it’s full-blown depression. It’s a chance to be proactive or give yourself permission to cocoon up and rest.

Justin is gone several nights in a row again, and I hurt my ankle so I can’t go to the Y and run. (It will probably be safe to walk in a couple weeks and I will; I just have a history of not waiting long enough for these things to get better.)

Anyway, my way of coping for the longest time was just, like, wine and Totino’s and a Netflix marathon. But I’m trying to read and cook time-consuming-yet-healthy dinners and do p90x, which I couldn’t bring myself to do last time around but now that I can’t go to the Y, it’s nice to have.

I need to just make an effort to spend time with friends on those nights but it’s so hot and I’m so tired and emotionally drained from all of this. It’s not something I can really talk about with friends because they treat it like I’m still deeply grieving after 3 years and that’s not what PTSD is about at all. The last thing I need is someone talking to me like I’m a little kid, which is what a lot of my friends tend to do for some reason. Anyway. I’m fragile but I know I’ll snap out of it when the weather changes.

I’m doing fine about the big move; I automatically stuck memories of the house into that big box in the back of my brain where I keep memories of my dad, my grandpa and my dog. Do you guys have a box like that? One where small memories and stories escape and it’s okay, but you never open it up and look inside because everything floods out and it would hurt too much? Anyway, 908 is there.

Marriage is awesome. I suppose right now we’re starting to talk about getting a bigger place, and that will eventually lead to babies, so maybe in a month or so I will be like OH MY GOD JUSTIN STOP MAKING CHARTS AND JUST PICK A HOUSE GAH but for now I am really digging marriage and I feel so lucky that Justin is my husband.

I will try to tell you all about our trip to Iceland soon. Is there anything else you want me to write about? Random requests really help me get off of my ass, so to speak.

I love you guys.

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908

Mostly brick exterior with attached oversized 2 car garage with
My mom officially sold her house. I spent all weekend helping her pack and move. The movers are there right now. The new family moves in on Friday. I am heartbroken.

Packing up the house where you spent 2/3 of your life – birth through grad school – is always rough. But packing up that house, the house where your dad died, on Father’s Day is torture. It makes me feel like I’ve lost him all over again.

Most of my friends have already been through this – hell, some of those homes have been bull-dozed – and I’m anticipating some friends sharing their stories and telling me to basically get over it. But, you know, I need a little fucking time.

I hope none of my friends ever have to move back home to take care of their parents, but doing so really helped me to appreciate where I grew up with adult eyes. Taking care of him in the place where he took care of me felt like completing the circle. They say you can never go back home again, but you can. And when you leave again, it hurts twice as much.

I thought I would have time to come by one last time for a visit. But Justin works Monday and Tuesday, I have plans with my friends on Wednesday, and the lady has her final walk-through on Thursday. We were halfway to my mom’s new house before I realized I may have just driven away from there for the last time, forever. I called Liz, sobbing. She’s probably the one friend I have who knew how hard that was for me. Hell, she’s the only friend of mine who saw my dad when he had no legs.

I’m going to find a way to go there one more time. I have to. Even if it’s me just sobbing alone in the basement, without Justin there to hold on to. Even if we have to leave Niki’s house before everyone actually walks to the Gardens. Even if we have to sneak over Thursday night when I’m already so busy and sleep-deprived.

My whole life, I’ve always noticed when the clock hit 9:08. I know that it just stood out to me because it was so familiar, but it really felt like it happened so much for a reason. After my dad died, any time I saw 9:08 on the clock, I would whisper hello to him or just tell him that I miss him. It’s our little moment, at least a couple times a week. (I asked my shrink if this was weird and he said, “Do you freak out if you miss it? No? Then I think it’s really sweet.”) Anyway, I think for a little while it’s just going to make me sad.

I could write forever about that house – my house. But if I start to list all reasons I love this house, all the memories I have, all the time I spent there, all of my landmark moments, the fact that I have known our neighbors for 32 years and they’re like my family, the fact that my friends basically lived here, too … I would go on forever. And maybe I will, someday.

But for now, I’m practically paralyzed with sadness. I can’t even eat. I just sit and stare into space and sigh. It was so much easier when I could feel this way sitting on that back patio, surrounded by trees and smoking cigarettes, knowing an old friend would probably drop by at any moment, with my dad listening to the radio on the porch directly above me.

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Icelandic Fun Facts

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 12.20.29 PM

  1. Iceland was formed due to volcanic activity in the rift between the North American and European continents. (We actually stood on 2 continents at the same time; more about that later.) It is still volcanically and geologically active – in fact, the planet’s newest island just recently appeared in Iceland. Lava fields are everywhere and it looks like the moon.
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  2. Until the Norse moved to Iceland, the only creature on the entire island besides birds was the Arctic Fox. Pretty sure Iceland is Justin’s favorite country because there are no snakes.
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  3. As of right now, there are 320,000 people in Iceland (and 4 times as many sheep). 2/3 of the country lives in Reykjavík and the 2 neighboring cities. The majority of the rest live in a large city in the north. No one lives in the middle. 90% of the towns you see on an Icelandic map are composed of 3-5 homes. One town we passed was just, like, a broken down barn. I cannot stress this enough: it is so empty. People have an entire mountain range and waterfalls in their backyards with no neighbors in sight.
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  4. Because the inhabitants of Iceland only go back about 7 generations, everyone in the country is related somehow. The government recently introduced an iPhone app with the entire country’s genealogy. Meet a cute girl at a bar? Bump phones and make sure you’re not cousins before you make a move.
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  5. There are no last names in Iceland, at least not family names like ours. (The few that exist are Danes.) Everyone’s last name ends with either –dottir or –son, meaning “daughter of” or “son of”. Bjork’s last name is Guðmundsdóttir, meaning, “daughter of Guðmundur.” For this reason, the phone book is alphabetized by first names.
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  6. They are one of the most environmentally efficient countries in the world – 13th, I believe. Our hotel rooms required us to put a key in the wall in order for us to have power. Most cars run on hydrogen. Everyone recycles. No litter, no pollution. (And yet, TONS of graffiti.) The head of the Icelanic Electricians’ union? Guðmundur of “Guðmundsdóttir.”
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  7. Some cars run on garbage! Our driver to and from from the airport had one of these cars. The government rewards you by giving you free parking for an hour and a half anywhere you want. These cars have a tiny clock on the dashboard to time the free parking.
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  8. Icelandic continental breakfast: a huge spread of swiss cheese, salami, salmon, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and cucumber – all sliced so that you can put them on pieces of toast. Usually bacon, eggs, sausage, hash browns, yogurt and cereal were in the mix. If you really lucked out, heart-shaped waffles. One hotel had shot glasses of fish oil. (P.S. Popular dinner dishes include whale and puffin! We stuck to lamb and lobster. SO much lamb and lobster.)
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  9. The sun is out for the majority of the summer. In the north, it never sets at all during the month of June. The darkest I ever saw Iceland in May was a glowing dusk. We drank in Reykjavík until 1 in the morning and the sun was still up.
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  10. Much like St. Louis, the famous saying in Iceland is, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.”

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