Friday, September 21, 2012

It's a Party

It finally happened.  I turned 30.  Luckily for me, mom said she wouldn't make a big deal about it because in her mind it's not a big deal, just another birthday, so we would have a small family dinner together the same way we also do.

Mama said to come over to dinner after I got home from work and had changed my clothes.  She told me to wear something nice because she would be taking my picture next to my birthday cake.  It's the same routine she's done for the past 29 years.

So I changed and went over to my parents' house.  Mama was there to greet me on the porch which I thought was a little odd.

"Why are you out here?  Where's Dad?"

"Oh, he's inside taking a nap."

"A nap?  I didn't think Dad took naps."

"Oh, he doesn't usually.  He just had a stressful week.  He'll tell you all about it.  You can go put your purse inside if you want.  Just be quiet."

I nodded and opened the door to the living room.  Mama followed closely behind me.  The room was dark.  I didn't hear any snoring.  The light switched on and the room was full of people.  It was a party.  I saw Dad, Brandon, Polly, Granny, Jessica, Lilly and a number of other people I recognized.

Suddenly, I felt very hot.  The room started to spin.  Everything went black.  I was falling.

To be continued .....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Today is my 30th birthday.  Today!  The end is near.  I can feel it. 

I'll get a bunch of gag gifts that say 30 on them.  They'll be black.  Next will come the "you're not getting any younger" comments.  Granny will lecture me on becoming an old maid. 

I'm not married, I have a dead end job, I live in this boring small town.  I'm going back to bed.

Monday, September 17, 2012

No Raise, Cut

A while ago, when I was given more work at work, I decided to ask for a raise.  I waited until I had been doing the extra account for two weeks.  I had written every reason why I deserved the new raise then I made an appointment with HR and presented it to them.  They said they would review it and get back to me through my supervisor.

About mid-morning, I heard Dorothy call my name, like a mother calling a child, from her office.  I went into her office where she instructed me to sit.

"Fran, you went to human resources to ask for a raise?"


"Well," she started to smile, "they have declined your request."

I felt disappointment rush over me.  Why had they denied me?  What I had done wrong?

Still smiling Dorothy went on, "They feel you're actually not doing enough work around here and should have your pay cut, starting next pay period."

"What?"  I stood.  "How much of a pay cut?"

"Two dollars an hour."

"That's crazy.  How am I supposed to pay my bills?"

"SAT TV doesn't care about you and your bills, Fran.  It cares about productivity.  You need to be more productive, at lot more productive.  If you're not going to be more productive then you need to find another job where your work ethic is appreciated."

I squinted my eyes.  Suddenly, I knew what had happened.  I didn't blow it at all with HR.  They had consulted Dorothy and she told them lies, lies that could get me fired.  I felt sick but knew what I had to do.  I have to escape Dorothy.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The house next to me has been vacant forever.  It was vacant when I moved in to my house and since that time it has fallen into disrepair. 

It was really starting to look shabby.  Gutters were falling down; parts of the siding had been stolen.  There were even rumors the copper pipes in the basement had been stolen, too, but I never heard any police reports to that effect.  The house just plain looks like crap.  I had been hoping the village would tear it down.  That way there would be less neighbors to contend with.

Not long ago I started to see people going over to the house.  I had no idea why they were there but they made me nervous.

Today I found out.  I have a new neighbor.  The house sold.  I saw him tinkering outside so after work I went over there to introduce myself.  He said his name was Hoss.

I tried to make idol conversation but Hoss just seemed weird to me.  He explained how he loved the rundown appearance of the house. 

"It just fits me.  I couldn't live in a house that's manicured and nice."

"Oh, really?  Why is that?"

I started to take a step forward.  Hoss held up his hand and said, "Watch your step there.  I just might bite."

I thought he was kidding and started to move closer to him.  He snapped his jaws at me then started to laugh.

"My aren't you pretty.  Looks like you spend too much time in the shower, though, for my liking?"

I spend too much time in the shower?  That's the first time I've heard that one.  I could see into his garage and he had, well, a lot of axes and sharp things.  And there was a lot of rope and trashbags.

"Well, Hoss," I said backing up slowly, "I need to get going.  I'll see you again sometime."

"It was sure nice meeting you."

"Sure, anytime," I said through a forced smile.

For whatever reason I continued to walk backward.  I couldn't stop thinking about what I had seen in his garage.  My new neighbor is a serial killer!

I tripped and fell to my back, my skirt flying up in the air.  Oh, no, I had just let the serial killer see my underpants.  What if he wanted to bite that, too?  I picked myself up as fast as I could and ran.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hell's Kitchen

Perfect Polly and her family enjoyed dinner tonight at my house.  It was my idea, my treat.

I'm still not able to walk without pain but I wasn't about to hobble around Polly and have to explain to her how I injured myself.

I picked out a great recipe from a book.  Yes, I went through an actual cookbook like people who know what they are doing do.  I got dinner going and then the doorbell rang.

It was Polly.  Right on time per usual.  She's annoyingly punctual.

I took everyone's coats and showed them to my living room where I poured the adults a little bit of wine and asked all about their trip.  The conversation went on for quite some time.

Finally, my brother-in-law, Jeremy said, "Will we be eating soon?  I smell something."

He smelt something?  I ran as fast as I am able to the kitchen.  I had forgotten all about the dinner I was cooking.   Something was burning.  I searched frantically for a pot holder.  I had no idea where I kept them if I even own one.  One had to be here somewhere.

Finally, I found one and pulled the meat out of the oven.  It was charred black, burnt so badly I couldn't even get the knife through it.  The potatoes I was boiling for mash potatoes had the consistancy of water and the vegetables had stuck to the pan.  Something had boiled over onto my stove top and dripped on the floor.  Dinner was ruined.  My heart sank.

What was I going to do?  Slowly, I walked to the phone and called for pizza.  What was I going to tell Polly?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Perfect Polly

"Polly's coming to visit this weekend,"  Mama said to me when she came over to help me make my own dinner.


Mama squinted at me.  "Because she loves us, Fran."

Polly is my older sister, my perfect older sister.  We have never really seen eye to eye.  She was always an overacheiver while I was a screw up.

When we were in school, Polly was popular.  She was a great student, involved in a lot of activities and she went away to college.  I, meanwhile, was unpopular, a C student and had no ambition whatsoever.  I can't say Brandon was much better than me, but at least he owns a business.  What have I done?

Even as adults, Polly has had the best of me.  Because she was college educated, she got a good job.  She makes a lot of money.  She married well, a handsome guy with an equally good job.  They live several hours away in a wonderful house with a gorgous manicured garden.  Together they have two children.  They are the epitome of success.  And she has everything I would want.

Because she is so perfect we have never really gotten along, not just in childhood but now.  When I heard she was coming, I was anything but excited.  I wanted to know why she would want to come back here of all places.

"How long is she staying?"

"Just a few days.  It would be nice if you could try to be nice to her."

Oh, of course, I have to be nice to her.  Why doesn't she have to be nice to me?  It's just like Mama to take sides.

"Fine.  I'll cook dinner for her."

"Fran, you can barely cook your own dinner right now."

"I can do it."

I waved my hand.  Sore butt muscle be damned, I was going to prove I can be just as perfect as Polly by making a great dinner.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Gluteus Maximus

I have never been one to work out.  I mean, who really enjoys working out?  You have to wear those goofy clothings and get all sweaty and things jiggle.  Ewww.

But then I saw a television program about how exercise can hold off the effects of aging and I joined a gym the next day.

Fitness Universe has an excellant reputation and the prices weren't bad so I went with them.  I even went so far as to hire a fitness trainer named Ted.  I figured the faster I can get fit than the faster I can quit going to the gym, wearing goofy clothes, getting sweating and jiggling.

Ted is a buff guy and really into fitness, so much so I think he needs therapy.  He eats, sleeps and breathes exercise.

He told me I was puny and needed to do weight training to get my muscles firm or something. 

We started off working my arms, which hurt, then my core muscles, whatever those are, and that hurt.  Finally, we did leg lunges and that really hurt, I mean really, really hurt.

"I think you pulled your glute muscle," Ted said.

"My what?"  What's a glute muscle.

"Your gluteus maximus.  It's the muscle right here."

He put his hand on my rear.

"What?  I pulled my butt."

Apparently, I said this louder than I intended because several people turned to look at me and someone stiffled a laugh.  I could feel my face turning beet red.  My cheeks burned but not as much as my other cheeks.

"I think we'll wrap this up today," Ted said.

"No kidding, genius."

I hobbled back to the locker room.  That's definately the last time I'm going to the gym.  I can barely sit yet alone exercise.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Angry Angela

Have you ever had the experience where you're out and about somewhere, places you normally go and feel secure, and you run into someone from the past?  Someone from the past that you never thought you'd see again nor had any desire to see again?

Today that happened to me.  I was at the grocery store, same place, same time I always go and, boom, I ran right into a person from my past, a mean, ugly woman named Angela who had bullied me while we were in school.

I gasped, startled.  I was about to turn around and run before she noticed I was there, but it was too late.

We stared at one another for a moment.  What was I supposed to say?  I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs and scream obsentities and tell this person just how much she ruined my life.

She wasn't saying anything, so that left it up to me.  I thought she had left town.  I had been so thankful for that.

"Angela, what are you doing here?  You have a lot of f-ing nerve to show up here after all this time.  What you didn't beat me down enough the first time?  You had to come back for more?"

"A lot of things happened since high school, Fran."

"Oh, yeah, what kind of things?"

"Well, I graduated high school with a D average.  I had trouble finding a job or I would get fired.  I was partying all the time and became an alcoholic.  Eventually I was arrested and had to attend court-ordered anger management.  How have you been?"

I threw my shoulders back and smirked.  I know I should have felt some sort of sympathy or, at the very least, some sort of relief because this person is really messed up and that's why she took it out on me.  But somehow life wasn't enough of a lesson for her.

I said, "I have a successful job that I've had for several years.  I'm in line for a promotion soon.  I own my own home and car.  And I'm dating a wonderful man who treats me the way I deserve to be treated."

"I'm sorry the way I treated  you in the past, Fran.  Can you forgive me?"

What's this?  Angry Angela is apologizing to me?  She wants my forgiveness for her past behavior?  Why, to make her feel better just like bullying me made her feel good about herself when we were in school?  Why does she need an ego boost from me?  There is no way I could give her the satisfaction.

"Can I forgive you?  No.  No, I can't?"

I smiled to myself and walked past her.  Damn, that felt good.  For once, I had the upper hand.

Monday, September 3, 2012


I woke up feeling achy and sore.  When I got out of bed, my back was bend over and it took me a while to straighten myself out.  There was something wet on my leg.  Had I peed myself?

I was wearing a nightgown that looked like it was out of Little House on the Prairie.  Funny, I hadn't remembered putting it on last night.  I tried to see what time it was but my vision was blurry.  What had happened last night?

I realized what the day was.  It was my birthday -- my 30th birthday.  No wonder I felt so bad.  I had probably gone out drinking last night. 

I put on my slippers and thought they didn't quite fit.  My toenails seem to be hitting the front of the slipper.

Slowly and in pain I made my way to the bathroon and switched on the light.  I looked in the mirror. My hair was gray and my face was wrinkled.  I looked like I was 100 years old. 

I screamed and fire came out of my mouth setting the room on fire.  I kicked off my slippers.  My toenails were claws.  I screamed again more fire.  Everytime I screamed, fire.  The building was burning down.  I started clawing at walls.

Then it woke up.  It was all a nightmare.  I started breathing heavily, thankful it was all a dream. At least my birthday hadn't arrived yet.
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