Ray took me out
tonight -- we went to a new place in Kirkland called R.
Gyle's for one drink, then went to Dave's Place for a couple of
hours. (Chris Harlan babysat for us.)
This, as you may have
guessed, was also written on April 6th. Thursday wasn't an
inspiring day, either.
April 5, 1985
Wasted day. I'm ashamed to tell you how hungover I was. (At
least I wasn't alone in my misery -- Ray had the day off
from work and he felt just as rotten as I did.) I spent most of
the afternoon reading "The Mirror" by Marlys Milhiser --
last time I read it was five years ago.
Late in the afternoon Ray went out and bought Chinese food for
everyone's supper. He and I and the girls sat together at the
kitchen table and feasted on chow mein, egg rolls, almond chicken,
prawns ... "the works."
Watched "Miami Vice," of course! When I went to bed tonight I
actually had a dream about Don Johnson. He has become my favorite
person on the show ... my favorite person on TV, for that
April 6, 1985
Gorgeous spring day; temperatures got up into the 70's. The
cherry trees are in full blossom -- spectacular to
see -- and the skies are as blue as robin's eggs. I
cleaned up the kitchen a bit, folded laundry, sent Jamie over to play
at Terry's for awhile. Ray finished mowing the back yard, went
over to the folks' and had them cash my $20 check so we can buy Easter
candy for the kids.
Finished reading "The Mirror" ... how I do love that
book! I hated to have it end again!
Kacie's runny nose is worse and now she's got congestion in her
chest. Her temp this evening is 101°.
Ray brought home some good candy for the kids -- also some
cake mix. I baked 27 cupcakes for tomorrow, Jamie helped decorate
them. Terry was over for awhile.
Spent most of the evening writing in this damned diary, trying to get
April 7, 1985
Easter Sunday ... a day of surprises, family, rain, sticky
children with runny noses ...
At 6 a.m. Jamie was waking me up with her excited "Mama!
Mom! The Easter Bunny was here!" He was indeed! By
breakfast time (or what should have BEEN breakfast time), both girls
had eaten their way halfway through their baskets.
To my dismay, just as we were getting ready to leave to go to the
in-laws' for dinner, my mom, Ken and Grandma St. John showed up! Our
visit was hasty, and I was embarrasssed and disappointed because I'd
really been looking forward to it but it had to be cut short because of
our dinner plans. Besides that, the house was a MESS. I'd
really wanted to clean the place up for Grandma's visit, and kind of
"show off" my house with the new pictures and plants and
everything. Instead, she saw it at its very worst.
Dinner at the folks' was exactly like every other P. family
gathering -- predictable and without highlights, but
pleasant. The kids got toys -- Kacie also got a
belated b.day present from Gram S., pants and a blouse.
April 8, 1985
Not a great day. Ray and I sat up until 11:00 last night watching
"Superman II" (I was amazed by how much I enjoyed it!) This
morning when I woke up, my voice was gone and my chest was packed full
of sludge. I was so sick and weak that I couldn't even get out of
bed. Feverish and aching, I spent most of the day laying on the
sofa, depressed by my messy house and boring life. I've really
been "down" lately.
Kacie shattered a glass and cut her thumb open. Half an hour
later, Jamie punched her sister in the face and gave her a bloody
nose. It was just that kind of day.
Ray came home early with diapers, leftover ham, a bag of hardboiled
eggs ... he'd gone to his Mom's, and she gave him all the
leftovers from yesterday's dinner.
In the evening I crabbed and barked at everybody. I feel like the
April 9, 1985
I did go out with Ron (last)
Thursday night, after all. I squeezed myself into my tightest pair of
garage sale Brittanias, brushed my hair until it was soft and fluffy,
and piled on the eye makeup. I felt reasonably pretty, but then again I
was drunk so even if I'd felt ugly I wouldn't have cared. We had one
drink at R. Gyle's, then spent the rest of the evening at the tavern
(where a drunken letch named Dave put his hand on my leg under the
table). I barely remember coming home. Chris H. from next door babysat
for us, but I was so gassed by the time we got to our place, I don't
even recall seeing her. I went straight to bed and woke up the next
morning with Jamie laying next to me
and Ray asleep in Jay's bed,
with the expected raging hangover.
The weekend was OK. Ray
Friday and Saturday off, which gave him a nice three-day weekend. We
had a little money -- enough to splurge on Chinese food Friday night
and keep us in groceries until Sunday. This was Easter weekend, by the
way. Friday and Saturday were beautiful and balmy (by April standards),
but Easter morning we woke to sodden drizzle. Saturday night I baked
two dozen cupcakes. I used white cake mix and frosted them with
homemade buttercream frosting. Then I dyed some coconut green and made
little "nests" on top of each cupcake, with two or three jellybeans in
each nest. I thought they turned out really cute, and I was proud of
myself. We couldn't afford to buy the girls the deluxe Easter baskets I
wanted, so I used the baskets they got last year, filled them with
plastic grass, and filled them with candy from the grocery store. By
the time I was finished, they looked just as good as anything you would
find in a store. On Saturday night, after I'd finished most of the
cupcakes, I sat Jamie at the table and gave her two cupcakes to
decorate all by herself. She made one for her cousin Tanya and one for
the Easter Bunny, and she had a lot of fun putting on the little
candies and sprinkling the coconut (chattering the whole time about the
Easter Bunny). At one point she asked me how the E.B. gets into
peoples' houses. I said we would leave the door unlocked for him.
"No!," she exclaimed in horror. "Den dose bad mans can come in our
house!" We finally agreed that Mama would get up and let the E.B. in,
and then I would lock the door behind him when he leaves.
On Sunday morning Jamie
standing beside my bed at 6 a.m., saying "MOM. The Easter Bunny was
HERE, Mom." I pretended I was asleep, and she went away. I knew she was
probably out in the living room eating candy, but I couldn't help it: I
needed at least one more hour of sleep. She gets up an hour or two
before I do most mornings these days, anyway. When Kacie woke up and
began hollering "Door! Door! DOOR!" from her crib, I dragged myself out
of bed, picked Kacie up and went out to the living room. The girls just
loved their baskets, and I let them eat more candy than I should have,
but they were so cute and excited that I couldn't resist indulging them
a little. They had chocolate all over their faces and p.j.'s ... of
course Kacie had it in her hair, too ...
I tried to get Ray out
of bed so
he could watch the girls have fun with their Easter baskets. "You've
gotta come see this, Honey!" I said. He grumbled and groaned and
protested, but eventually he got up for about three minutes.
When I finally had to
candy up and get the kids cleaned up, I met with stormy and tearful
protest. I bathed the girls and shampooed the chocolate out of their
hair, then got them dressed in casual but pretty outfits. We were due
at Peg & Don's for dinner at 1:30. In my rush to get everyone
dressed and ready, I just ignored my messy house. There were three
days' worth of dirty dishes in the sink, and tons of junk everywhere.
The rug was especially bad ... I haven't had a vacuum cleaner since
forever. But the worst part of all was the pervading smell of cat pee.
We've moved CeCe and her three kittens outside, but the odor lingers.
Anyway, I had my hair up in rollers and I was trying to finish my
makeup so we could leave, when the unthinkable happened ... a car
pulled up in the driveway! I looked out the window and was TOTALLY
HORRIFIED to see my mother, my stepfather Ken and my Grandma St. John
emerging from the car!!! My heart sank right out of my chest and
through the floor and halfway to China ...
Their visit was awful on
levels. First of all, it was completely unexpected. Well ... mostly
unexpected. I knew Mom was planning to bring Grandma for a visit
sometime this month, but Mom wasn't specific about it and I never in a
million years expected them to drop in on Easter. I had REALLY been
looking forward to the visit, too. I was planning to start cleaning
house on Monday (yesterday) and getting the house into top shape. I
wanted it to sparkle for Grandma's visit. Instead, she saw the place at
its disgusting, smelly worst, and I was mortified. Mom added to my
embarrassment when she looked around and said, "Still no vacuum
cleaner, huh?" ("How nice of you to point that out," I said -- it got a
big laugh -- but secretly I was wounded. I guess Mom doesn't realize
how sensitive I am about these things, nor how much her little
'comments' hurt me.) I was also really embarrassed and disappointed
that our visit had to be so brief. We were already late for dinner, but
I stretched the visit out as long as I could. I had been looking
forward to a nice, long, relaxed visit, but it was exactly the
Mom brought some
Dick & Gina's new baby. As thrilled as I am to have a niece on
own side of the family, I recognized within myself twinges of jealousy
and resentment. I'm fighting it, but it's there, childish but
unwavering. Until now I had provided Mom's only grandchildren, and now
I feel my position being usurped. This is all connected somehow to my
lifelong craving for Mom's attention and approval -- giving her
grandchildren was my most successful effort to date -- but now I have
"competition" again. My usual method of dealing with competition (real
or imagined) is to just fold, but this time I need to be more mature
and positive. More on this another time.
Mom gave each of the
Easter basket filled with candy (just what they needed), and Gram St.
John gave them each a card and a little stuffed animal. Grandma also
gave Kacie a belated birthday gift -- lavender pants (more lavender!!)
and a ruffly blouse. That makes two pairs of lavender pants, a pair of
purple shorts, a purple T-shirt and a sweatshirt trimmed in purple that
Kacie received for her birthday. AND a lavender rag doll!
Easter dinner at the
pleasantly routine. Same old faces, same old dinner conversations ...
same old tension between Don Jr. and Judy ... same old everything. I
feel like I'm fitting in a little better, and that helps.
Still sick. My
voice is really jagged, my chest is tight and sore. It was hot
and sunny today -- I sent the kids outside to play for a
long time this morning, and Jamie spent almost the entire day outside.
I folded the clean
laundry, cleaned the bathroom and my bedroom, and made a big pot of
bean and ham soup.
I tried to go back on
my diet today, and managed successfully to avoid temptation until Ron
got home from work at 4:00 with a bucket of beer on ice ...
something inside of me just snapped. I had four beers, two bowls
of soup, Easter candy, a hot dog ... I am so damned
depressed, and eating is a consolation. Of course in the long run
my overeating only adds fuel to my depression. Sigh.
Daughter" for the zillionth time.
April 10, 1985
A teensy, tiny bit better ... emotionally, I mean.
Knowing that tomorrow is payday helps. I sorted through a lot of
recipes and cookbooks today, looking for ideas for our April 20th
barbecue party (for Ray's birthday). Typed new captions for my
new photo album, drew up a grocery list, taped a Bruce Springsteen song
that I love called "Trapped."
(Every once in awhile a small voice
inside of me says that all the things I do are just 'busy work'
... just a means of passing time. Today I told that small
voice to shove it.)
April 11, 1985
I have been SO depressed
last couple of weeks ... today it seems to be leveling off a bit. This
is payday. I know that in three days we'll be broke again, but at least
we can stock up on groceries and live comfortably until the money runs
My period is due today
feel none of the usual symptoms. I wonder if I'm pregnant ... ? I'm
afraid that if I get pregnant again now, it might be misinterpreted as
a pathetic bid for attention ... Sheryl and Gina have just had babies,
and then along comes old Terri, unable to stand all the attention
they're getting ... trying to worm her way back into the spotlight the
only way she knows how ...
My period was due to
start today but didn't; already I'm wondering if I might be
pregnant! Geez, that would be all I'd need. Hacking cough
and head cold are driving me nuts.
Got a sad letter from Beth in
Maryland -- she and Wayne have split up after 5 years of
marriage. She caught him having an affair and is
disconsolate. I'll write back to her tomorrow.
Ray was very late
getting home tonight -- I ran out of milk and diapers early
in the evening. (Tried giving the girls water in their bottles,
and Kacie got MAD at me!) Ray finally home at 8 p.m. with no
groceries, just the bare essentials.
"Cheers" and "Hill St.
Blues" were especially good tonight. The ending of "HSB" was
brutal and shocking, though -- Jennifer Tilly's character
shot to death.
April 12, 1985
This is ridiculous. Here
period is only one day overdue and already I'm convinced I'm pregnant.
I woke up this morning and it was practically my first thought: Maybe
I shouldn't be drinking coffee because of the baby?
If Ray knew I
was thinking this way, he would blow a fuse ...
My husband, the medical
Last night he told me he read an article (an amazing fact in itself)
that said men who get vasectomies become impotent. Actually, the
delicate way he phrased it was "Guys
who get their nuts cut can't get
it up anymore." When he delivered this astonishing piece of
wisdom, I had to fight to keep a straight face. I swear, I wonder
sometimes what the guy uses for brains ...
Poor Ray. He's just not
list of favorite people this morning. I got maybe ten whole minutes of
sleep last night because he was doing his buzzsaw number next to me in
bed all night. When Ray P. snores -- EVERYBODY listens.
Hey! What do you
know? In spite of a poor night's sleep (Ray snored all night), I
woke up in a sunny mood. Wrote a six-page letter to Beth, worked
on Kacie's scrapbook a little.
Kacie has begun to
talk! I can understand almost everything she says now. She
has also started calling me "Mama."
Ray was supposed to be
home early and spend the evening with me, but instead it was past 11
before he got here. We sat up all night partying and talking.
April 13, 1985
Ray got Taco Time for our supper. The girls and I sat out in the
backyard for awhile, enjoying the feeling of bare feet on new mown
grass ... Jamie blew some bubbles ...
Stayed up late again watching a creepy horror movie, "The Legend of
Oh! Geez, I almost forgot -- my period started
today! I'm not pregnant!
April 14, 1985
Sunday almost noon
OK, so it was a false
yesterday morning my period started. I'm not sure if I'm relieved or
disappointed. I guess a little of both. (Last night I dreamed that I
baked a cake with tiny little penises in it, and if you ate a piece of
it you got pregnant. I was serving Jamie and her friend Erica a slice,
and I looked at Jamie's piece and said "Oh sweetheart! You're going to
have a little boy!" She started to cry because she wanted to have a
The house is another
morning disaster area, and here I sit in my p.j.'s, drinking coffee.
I'm looking out the window, wondering who will drop in today. Judy --
my sister-in-law, not my neighbor -- is supposed to bring my Avon order
today. I suppose I really ought to get off my posterior end and start
making this place look like human beings live here ... or else hop in
the shower ... but I can't bring myself to move yet).
Silly movie on TV this
"The Black Shield of Falworth." Tony Curtis as a knight! What a hoot.
It's a gray, nondescript morning ... the wind is blowing cherry
blossoms from the tree and they are falling like snowflakes ... it's
really lovely, like being inside a snowglobe. Kacie is running around
the house with two dirty forks in her hand and peanut shells in her
Don Jr. and Judy and
the boys stopped by briefly today -- Judy had some Avon to
give me, we discussed next week's birthday party for Ray. Judy
seemed more like her old self -- she was so sullen and
withdrawn on Easter, but was very friendly and "up" today.
Ray went grocery
shopping and got me some more Slim Fast so I can go back on my diet
tomorrow! No one felt like cooking tonight so we just got some
Kentucky Fried Chicken for the girls and us.
tonight -- that's two scary movies in a row! (Last
night and tonight!)
I can't believe how
well Kacie has suddenly started talking. Her favorite things to
say are "Ow-ow-ow" (A-L-L, from the laundry detergent commercial),
"Sorry Charlie!," and "bye-bye Daddy!"
April 15, 1985
Well, I'm back on the
diet as of
today, after two weeks of moderate cheating. The house is the pig pen,
and I'm the pig.
I'm so ashamed of
myself. I made a feeble attempt this morning to go back on my
diet. To say that I "blew it" would be the understatement of the
year ... I BOMBED
OUT! Late in the afternoon I went on an eating binge that
lasted long into the night -- I just couldn't seem to stop
myself. Ray didn't come home this evening (he was watching some
big boxing match on TV at the tavern) so I just sat and ate
... and ate ... and ate ...
The only really
worthwhile thing I did today was polish the piano and the rocking
chair. I used Liquid Gold and it really made my antiques
shine. I can't believe what a difference it makes.
The kids are fine.
Kacie talks more every day, and Jamie has learned how to fix her own
glass of Tang in the mornings.
April 16, 1985
I did a little better today ... that is, until this
evening, when I baked cookies for the girls! Actually, that was a
very dumb thing to do, considering that I'm on a diet, but I just
wanted to do something nice for my kids. Baking them was a lot of
fun -- Jamie and Kacie stood on chairs and "helped"
me. We made three dozen "Peanut Maple Yummies," and I probably
ate about ten of them during the course of the evening.
OK day otherwise. I made beef stew and salad in the evening
... started letters to Melinda and Mom ... visited
briefly with Maureen when she stopped by to drop off my Avon order
(foundation and lip gloss for me, a little girl's lipstick for Jamie
that she loves, some aftershave for Ron's birthday). Ray wasn't
home until 8:30.
April 17, 1985
Ray is getting bad
about coming home in the evenings again ... tonight it was
past 10 p.m. before he came home, saying something about a "birthday
party" he'd been to. (There's always an excuse.) I tried a
new tactic -- I was completely nonchalant. He said he
was going to drive to Burger King (I had been too mad to cook him any
dinner), and I just shrugged and said "I don't care what you do."
At first that made him mad, and he started slamming doors and
muttering, but the next thing I knewe he was laying next to me on the
bed, crying! The man is really a mess. I love him, but his
inconsistencies are tearing me apart.
Cleaned out the fridge
and also my battered old desk. (Used some Liquid Gold on the
desk, and again the results are amazing.) Mike Ross stopped by
this afternoon to borrow our garden hose.
Kacie said a sentence
today: "I got ba-ba!"
April 18, 1985
This hasn't been a
week. For that matter, it hasn't been a terrific month.
Ever since I weighed myself
at Sheryl & Jeff's and subsequently slid off my diet in despair,
things have gone
steadily downhill. I feel rotten about myself. I'm eating like a pig
again, and I feel fat and ugly. All attempts to go back on the diet are
futile. The other night I started baking cookies for the kids, and it
wasn't until I'd started the second batch that it occurred to me I was
committing "diet suicide" ... of course I ate one, and then another,
and another ...
Ray's birthday party is
days. The closer Saturday gets, the more I eat. It's as if I'm
deliberately sabotaging myself. Last month, when I first started
planning for this party, I was really looking forward to it. I was sure
I'd be down to about 130 lbs. by now, and I felt really positive and
optimistic about the whole thing. Now I wish I had never come up with
the idea in the first place. I've put every single gloppy pound back
on, and I know everyone at the party will be smirking at me behind my
This party is proving to
pain in other ways. At the moment my house is filthy. I don't mean it's
just "cluttered," as in millions of toys laying around ... I mean DIRTY.
It has now been months since I've had a vacuum cleaner or a washer
(same old song and dance, I know), so the carpets are disgusting and
the dirty laundry is piled to the ceiling. The house smells, too ... a
lingering combination of cat odors, diapers, Kacie's dirty wet crib
sheets piled in the laundry basket, cigarette smoke ... it's positively
gagging. Today is the day I know I must roll up my sleeves and begin
cleaning in earnest, but I just don't have the heart for it.
Ray promised to help me
week. He was going to do all of these wonderful things to help me out
... washing the kitchen ceiling and walls, which are thick with grease
... clearing out the carport ... picking up the back yard
... etc. etc. etc. Last week he began fixing up an old vacuum
cleaner we had out in the shed. It's an ancient Kirby that weighs about
a ton, but he tinkered with it and cleaned it up and said all it needed
was a new belt. He promised to buy one this week and get the vacuum
running before our party.
Instead, he has been an
asshole all week.
Every night it's been 8:30 or 9 p.m. before he's gotten home -- last
night it was 10:00. One night it was a boxing match that he just "HAD
to see" ... another night, a Mariners game ... last night he said he
went to a "birthday party." I haven't had an ounce of cooperation from
him, and I'm feeling very sour towards him at the moment.
His attitude about the
really stinks, too. He keeps trying to rearrange the plans I've made,
without consulting me. Last night he suggested we change it to next
Saturday! I honestly
felt like slugging him. We don't have
half the groceries I need for the barbecue, and the thought of asking
him about it gives me a headache because I already know what he'll say:
he'll roll his eyes and shrug, in that infuriatingly dopey/mopey way of
his, and say "I don't KNOW." Meaning that we're broke again, and he
doesn't know how we can afford potato chips and beer, but then at the
last minute on Saturday he'll come up with some way to afford them
(after I've spent three days in total anxiety).
I don't KNOW, Journal.
the whole thing is a mess. I know it will probably turn out just fine,
but at the moment the last thing in the world I feel like doing is
throwing RAY a PARTY!!!
He was crying in bed
I was giving him the cold shoulder for coming in late. I heard him
opening and shutting the oven door and muttering because I hadn't fixed
him anything to eat. Then he lurched drunkenly into the bedroom and
announced he was "gonna go to Burger King." I stared straight ahead at
the TV, shrugged and said "I don't care WHAT you do," in the coolest
voice I could muster.
That sent him into total
apoplexy, and he went
slamming out the door. In truth, I really hated the idea of him driving
anywhere in that condition, but I was determined not to let him get to
A few minutes later he was
back. Curiously, he didn't have any
Burger King with him: he started making himself some dinner out of
stuff in the fridge. After he ate, he came into bed and layed down next
to me. I was pretending to be asleep. That was when I heard him
sniffling and weeping. I ignored it for awhile -- I lay perfectly still
and silent -- but then he began sniffling harder, then moaning a little
and tossing around next to me on the bed. Actually I found the whole
thing amusing: the more I ignored him, the more exaggerated his
"performance" became. I knew it was just booze & guilt.
said in this choked-up voice, "I'm sorry, Mom." I HATE it when he calls
me "Mom," but I let it pass. I reached over and patted him on the back
-- that was all -- but it was like releasing the floodgates. All of a
sudden he was sobbing all over me.
"I'm an OLD MAN!" he sobbed.
thirtieth birthday is in two days, right? "No one loves me anymore," he
said. Etc. etc.
I was more than a little
disgusted with him, but I gave
him a hug and told him to go to sleep. That seemed to pacify him a
little, and he promptly dropped off. Almost immediately he started
snoring, and that drove me out to the sofa for the rest of the night.
Today I just feel BLAH
everything ... my weight, my messy house, Ray. It's 12:30 now and I
haven't done a thing yet. It all seems so pointless.
I stewed all day, about
everything under the sun ... my messy house, my weight,
Ray, the kids, my life, (most of all) the party this Saturday
... I am becoming very good at worrying. I wish I had never
thought of this stupid party in the first place.
dropped by unexpectedly this afternoon. We talked about the party
a little. At one point he asked me if Ray was "taking anything?"
(meaning drugs, I think) -- I said "no."
(Conversation really jumped around, as you can see.)
Ray was home at
8:00. The kids hadn't gone to bed yet so they got a chance to
play with their Daddy. He picks them upside down and "sweeps the
floor" with them ... they adore it.) He apologized
for last night -- he said that Charles was buying him
drinks all night and he got a little more screwed up than he intended
Had tacos for
dinner. No "Hill St. Blues."
sish?" (More cereal?)
April 19, 1985
The next day. Some
things are a
little better, some things are just the same. I just found a slug
crawling across the kitchen floor ... the cherry blossoms are all gone,
replaced by the boring red leaves of late spring ... Wendie Kitty has
suddenly shown up on our doorstep after a two week absence, enormously
pregnant and frantic to find a dark closet to have her kittens in.
(This is depressing because we still have the three kittens from CeCe's
last litter! I'm beginning to feel overrun again.)
Ray was home at 8 p.m.
night. He apologized for Wednesday night -- actually, he was pretty
civilized about it, and I decided to just let it go. His birthday is
tomorrow, and it doesn't seem right to be harboring any grudges. He is
supposed to get off work early today and come home and do a laundry for
me. That would be a GIGANTIC help: if he keeps this promise, I will
probably be in a lot better mood.
I asked him about the
we need for Saturday, and his reaction surprised me. "Yeah, OK," was
about all he said. No shoulder shrugging or eye rolling. I do know,
however, that we're bordering on broke, and that it's going to be a
real tight squeeze. Maureen is going to stop by today to pick up the
$10 I owe her, and for the millionth time I'm going to have to tell her
I don't have it. That is always so embarrassing.
Today I have ALL of the
housework to do. TOP TO BOTTOM. I don't really have the energy, but
I've put it off & put it off and today is my last chance. The
doesn't start until 2:00 tomorrow, so I can do a few things in the
morning, but the bulk of it must be done today. I still don't have a
vacuum, so I guess I'll have to borrow one somewhere.
Busy day. I had
to clean the entire house for tomorrow's party ... I
scrubbed walls and polished furniture and disinfected the bathroom,
among other equally disgusting but necessary tasks. Very odd
weather today, everything from snow (mixed with rain) to thunder and
Ray was home at
3:00 -- he got off early so he could do the laundry for me
(nine loads of it!!) -- he also went next door for me and
asked to borrow the Harlan's vacuum so I could do the rugs.
Ray went out for awhile
tonight to round up some money that people owe him. He was home
at 9:30 and we had TV dinners and watched "Miami Vice" (Gregory Sierra
instead of Edward James Olmos again, blah).
April 20, 1985
The "big day." Ray turned a reluctant 30, and I threw my
party! It was a nice sunny day, and I think the BBQ was a
success. Peg, Don Sr., Barbara, Sheryl & Jeff, Don Jr. &
Judy, Billy, Nathan, Tanya, Michael, and an unexpected guest
-- Janet K. -- were all here for steaks cooked on the
grill, cold beer, my potato salad and Barbara's chocolate cake.
Ray got a new puppy! From Terry Solo ... it was
a last-minute inspiration. He's a black Lab and we've named him
Janet brought me two bags of clothing for the girls -- all very
high quality, excellent stuff.
The party was fun. As usual, I drank too much and got a little
silly, but then so did Don, Sheryl and Ray. Even the folks got a
little fuzzy; Ray and his dad were playing baseball in the street.
After everyone left, we listened to music and played video games.
Wendie had a kitten in the carport -- we moved her into the
April 21, 1985
Very sleepy, drowsy day. I am hungover, and Ray and the kids are
exhausted. We had a good day yesterday, and the party was a lot
of fun, but I'm sure glad it's OVER. I hadn't really noticed how
tense I'd become over the whole thing. Entertaining is NOT for me.
We are flat broke and the house is a mess again. Yogi pooped on
the living room rug several times, and now we've got another messy
litter of kittens in the hall closet. (Looks like there's three
Spent the day quietly ... napped, played some video games,
read yesterday's mail (letters from Karen and Deanne, both are preg),
ate cold steak sandwiches, played with Yogi, read the Sunday
papers. Sorted through all the kids' clothes Janet gave us
-- I can't get over how nice everything is.
Back to normal tomorrow, Diary?
April 22, 1985
Well ... we made it. Not
did we get through the party in one piece, we also had a fairly decent
time! In spite of everything.
It took me all day
recuperate physically. This morning I'm still feeling some residual
tiredness. Today is the day I get the house back to normal ... I've got
a stack of dirty dishes left over from the party and several baskets of
clean laundry to fold.
Saturday brought a fair
surprises. For one -- we have a new dog! A puppy, actually.
name is "Yogi" and he's eight weeks old. On Saturday, before the party
started, Terry brought him over. He belonged to some people down the
street, and she was just showing him off. Jamie and Ray immediately
fell in love with him. He's very cute -- he's some sort of
Labrador/Malamute mix, with lots of fuzzy black fur, a stubby nose and
curly tail. He's also got very gentle brown eyes and a tiny patch of
white fur on his chest. We all played with him and enjoyed him for a
while, and then it was time for Terry to take him back to his owners. I
got busy with last-minute party preparations. Twenty minutes later,
Terry was back with the puppy. Did we want to keep him? Apparently his
owners had decided not to keep him -- I'm still not sure why -- and
they were looking for a new home for him. Against my better judgement I
said OK. Terry taped a red bow to Yogi's ears and handed to him to Ron,
saying "Happy birthday," and that was that. We had a new puppy.
I should add that Wendie
had her kittens late Saturday night -- three of them -- which brings
our current animal population to twelve. Two dogs, two cats, six
kittens and two goldfish.
I'll write about the
little later. Right now I need to shower and get started picking up the
Somewhat back to
normal. I felt some residual tiredness, but I get get the house
cleaned up from the party. Peg dropped in on me unexpectedly this
afternoon while I was folding laundry ... she brought Ray's
new tennis shoes (she had to exchange them for a larger size) and also
a new pr. of shoes for Kacie, lavendar tennies with Velcro
closing. Her very first pair of new shoes!!
April 23, 1985
Tuesday morning 8:30 a.m.
We're up EARLY this
was having one of my usual convoluted dreams ... Kacie yelling in her
crib finally wrenched me out of it, and I felt so good that I decided
to give the day an early start.
The girls are laughing
dashing around the living room with Yogi in hot pursuit. He has a
peculiar fondness for the hems of their nightgowns! He's such a sweet
little doggy: we have all fallen quite in love with him. Last night he
snuggled with Ray in bed, and even hard-hearted old Mom has developed a
soft spot for this little guy. The only thing that terrifies me is
knowing how big he'll eventually be. He's going to be HUGE, isn't he?
Right now he barely reaches the top rung of the rocking chair!
The girls and "Yogi"
You can probably tell by
fuzzy way my thoughts are flowing that I'm not really awake yet. My
coffee should soon remedy this. It tastes WONDERFUL this morning ... a
new can of ground roast, made properly with a nice coffeemaker
(recently cleaned) and "real" coffee filters instead of paper towels.
It's a gray, blustery morning ... the wind the past two days has been
powerful. Looks like today will be another day of storms. Perfect
weather for the kind of day I've got planned ... a "writing day." I'm
behind in my diary, I owe some letters, and I've got a number of other
projects in the works requiring my attention.
You probably want to
Saturday's party, don't you? I'll give you a brief account.
The day was clear and
perfect barbecue weather. Every inch of my house sparkled ... even the
girls' bedrooms! In the morning I made a huge bowl of potato salad. I
also made BBQ sauce, onion dip and pink lemonade, and I set out bowls
of chips, crackers, carrot sticks and black olives. Our guests were Peg
& Don Sr., Barbara, Don Jr. & Judy, Sheryl &
Nathan, Tanya and Michael. We also had one unexpected guest -- Ray and
Sheryl's old pal, Janet K. The atmosphere was light-hearted and
festive. We drank cold beer and barbecued steaks on the Webber, and
afterwards we sang Happy Birthday to Ray and he blew out the 30 candles
on his chocolate cake. He got a pair of white Levi's, a "Rainier Beer"
T-shirt and a pair of white tennis shoes. Kacie gave him some Avon
aftershave, and Jamie made him a "Happy Jar" (an empty Slimfast can,
decorated with crayon drawings & a photo of Jamie glued to the
for Ray to keep his spare change in). He also got cards in the mail
from Patty, Bev & Henry and Dora & Helene, with a
The kids had a ball.
Kacie played happily with their cousins and with the new puppy. At one
point, some of the adults started up an impromptu softball game out in
street. The highlight of the party for me was an unexpected gift from
Janet ... two grocery bags FULL of children's clothing for Jamie!! I
think they used to belong to her niece. It's incredible. There are at
least 25 or 30 shirts and blouses, all of them adorable ... also four
dresses, two nightgowns, pants and shorts, a couple of sun suits, a
yellow rain slicker (Jamie loved that one so much that she wore it
during the party, even though there wasn't a cloud in the sky!) and a
beautiful lavender Pacific Trail ski jacket. I was speechless with
delight over Janet's unexpected thoughtfulness. The next day I spent a
happy hour going through everything. Jamie now has the most incredible
wardrobe ... she won't wear the same thing twice for weeks!
The party broke up
... everyone left feeling full, happy and slightly squiffed. (I know
Nice day ... nice
in "little ways," that is. It was windy, and I love windy
days. I wrote two excellent letters today -- to Mom
and Melinda -- said a lot of things that needed to be
Yogi piddles on the rug every ten
minutes ... I found myself stepping in little wet puddles
in my bare feet all day long! ... but he is such a sweet
baby that I don't have the heart to be angry with him.
Kacie has an awful
diaper rash -- it extends all the way down her
thighs. I think it might be from the Tang she's been
drinking. We let her run around with no diaper for an hour
Ray was home while the
kids were eating supper. We are so broke, we had to count pennies
April 24, 1985
Dark and stormy day ... thunder in the afternoon.
I learned a lesson in love and forgiveness today when Kacie ruined one
of my very best cassette tapes. I was really mad at her, until I
saw the look on her little face ... then I knew I couldn't
make a big fuss over it.
April 25, 1985
Thursday 8:30 a.m.
Hmph. Here I was,
the kitchen for my journal and a decent pen, preparing to sit down and
write about how nice our new puppy is ... when what should I spot but
pile of poop in a
corner of the living room?? That makes three this morning!
Oh well ... I'm finding
difficult to stay angry with Yogi for long. In the five days he's been
with us, he's brought much laughter and happiness into our home. "You
make everybody happy," Ray said to Yogi last night. And it's true. The
girls adore him ... they play with him all day long. At this very
moment he's chasing them both around the kitchen, nipping at their
When Ray gets home in
evenings, Yogi is practically the first "person" to get a hug and kiss.
"How's my guy?" Ray murmurs in his ear. Even I'm smitten. He's got such
a kind little face ... so open and trusting. He looks at me with those
big puppy eyes and I just melt. When I pick him up and hug him, he
makes these little "oooh, ooh!" sounds of pleasure. And he's so soft
and FUZZY! I just love the feel of him.
I have to admit I'm not
about cleaning up after him -- I have enough disgusting jobs in my life
as it is, thank you very much -- but it seems a small enough
price to pay in return for the joy he brings us. I look at him now ...
he's so small and baby-clumsy, chewing on a tennis shoe and wagging his
little tail happily ... it's impossible to imagine what he'll look like
by summer's end. Ray predicts he'll be at least waist-high. So BIG??
"I love BACON it's
my FAVORITE, nice good juicy BACON."
"ACK! ACK! ACK!
ACK! BUP-UP! BUP-UP!" (Translated: Bark!
Bark! Bark! Bark! Puppy!
In the past couple of
have opened myself up and mailed myself.
(What?? That doesn't
sense! I'll try again.)
(What I'm trying to say
have sent out a few letters to people recently ...
that I'm nervous about for one reason or another. In each letter I have
exposed something personal and left myself vulnerable. Now I sit and
wait for replies ... nervously, anxiously ...
a whim, I wrote a
letter to my childhood pal, Anita. Although we were the best of friends
in grade school, by high school we were worlds apart. We haven't talked
in years. For some reason, though, I feel compelled to try and bridge
the gap. So I wrote her a letter, including a picture of my kids, and I
mailed it to her parents' house. Now I'm feeling nervous and a little
embarrassed. She'll probably think I'm some kind of nut, writing to her
out of the blue like this.
- I sent a letter
my mother the other day ...
probably the most personal letter I've ever written her. I actually
admitted to her my ambivalent feelings about my brother's new baby, and
I expressed my own insecurities about her love for me. I have no idea
how she'll reply.
- A couple of
ago I told a horrendous lie to my
favorite penpal, Melinda. The lie has been eating away at me ever
since. I probably could go on forever and she would never know the
difference ... she lives on the other side of the country, and it would
be next to impossible for her to find me out. But I can't. So yesterday
I sent her a letter and confessed the whole thing, begging her to
forgive me. I may have done the right thing ... or I may have lost a
friend (something I can't afford to do). Only time will tell.
April 26, 1985
Hearing a new Prince
the first time, "Paisley Park." Makes me think of The Beatles.
I have been lost in the
two days, and it feels like I've just now returned to 1985. Writing my
memoirs is proving to be an unexpectedly engrossing task. I spend my
whole day reading old diaries and journals, then try to assimilate all
of the information and the memories into written form ... I'm amazed by
how fresh some of the old hurts are when they're exhumed. (Who would
ever guess ten years after the fact, Steve P. would still have the
to move me?) After spending six hours in my past, it's hard to suddenly
snap back into the 80's. When I finally manage it, I can see how far
I've come ... and how far I have to go.
Geez! Another new Prince
("Raspberry Parade" ?)
Will a Terri of the
scrutinizing this journal someday, adding things to her memoirs ...?
And be touched and envious of how young I appear to be
When I look at my
a window, I still look like the same me I've always known ... but when
look in a mirror, especially in daylight, I see someone I've never seen
before. I keep forgetting how old I am.
I drink alone
I prefer to be by myself."
Where is RAY???!?!? Is
repeat of two weeks ago?? GET HOME NOW!!
Still back in the
70's ... I finished writing about Steve P. (in the
memoirs), and am now up to Summer '78. Jamie and Kacie are very
impatient with me for spending so much time hunched over the typewriter.
Ray was supposed to be
home early tonight and party with me a little. I called him twice
at the tavern and he promised to be home, but by midnight I grew sick
of waiting and went to bed.
Met some new neighbors
tonight, two young Christian women who live across the street.
They're really nice and I am thrilled to have some friends.
Heard a fantastic new
Eric Clapton song that I love, "She's Waiting." (By the way, the
tape deck is broken.)
April 27, 1985
It was 6 a.m. or so when Ray finally got home: he slept in Jamie's bed,
Jay slept with me.
Jamie and I drove to Burger King and
bought some breakfast; later, she and I went shopping at G.O.
Guy. I bought her some new crayons, four color books, a pair of
purple sunglasses and a little yellow umbrella that she saw and HAD to
have. ("Please MOMMY please??")
For myself, I bought a new purse and some earrings.
Terry visited with me most of the day and into the evening. Ray
went out to run some "errands" and he didn't get home until 10
p.m. My new neighbors -- I don't remember the chubby
girl's name, but the pretty blonde is Chris -- came over
April 28, 1985
It was dawn when
Ray and I finally went to bed! We slept for three or four hours,
until Kacie woke up crying; I fixed her a bottle and brought her into
bed with us, and we all got another hour or two of sleep. I felt
horrible all day ... this has been one heck of a
weekend. The house is a mess and so am I.
My new friends were
here again today. (I STILL don't remember the heavy-set girl's
name!! But I'm too embarrassed to ask her again.) They've
invited me to go to their church next Sunday with them --
Jamie and Kacie too.
Pizza for dinner.
Sat up late and watched "King of Comedy" (Robert DeNiro, Jerry Lewis).
April 29, 1985
Monday 11 a.m.
Blah. I feel like I've
"away" for several days and have just now returned. This weekend was
intensely strange. I didn't do any further work on the life history,
because for most of the weekend I was either too looped or too
hungover. I just felt this need to go crazy and get it all out of my
system -- so I did precisely that. This morning I've got a rotten
stomach ache, and the house is a grungy nightmare.
Ugh. Woke up this
morning to five piles of puppy poop, and the rest of the house in a
state of general grunge. Rather than sit and feel depressed about
it, I rolled up my sleeves and dove headfirst into cleaning.
A clue! To my new
neighbors' names ... the heavy one is Christine! The
pretty blonde stopped by alone today and referred to her
roommate. (OK ... so what is the blonde's name??) It's
beginning to look like I really will be going to their church next
Fun letter from my pen
pal Deb DeVaney today.
April 30, 1985
Tuesday 10 a.m.
Things are a degree or
normal today. I've still got a stomach ache, but at least the house is
cleaned up. My plans for this day, after I drink some coffee, are to
make a pot of spaghetti sauce, write a letter to my pen pal Debbie
DeVaney, and send the kids out for a good long romp in the yard.
MY FAVORITE SHOWS RIGHT
Sunday - nothing
Monday - "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes," "Kate & Allie,"
"Cagney & Lacey"
Tuesday - nothing
Wednesday - "Charles In Charge," "E.R.," "Dynasty"
Thursday - "The Cosby Show," "Family Ties," "Cheers," "Night Court,"
Friday - "The Best Times," "Dallas," "Miami Vice"
Saturday - nothing
Mom: "I'm gonna sit down
write and little and drink a cup of coffee, and then I'm going to take
a shower, and then I'm going to clean my house."
Jamie: "Wow! That's
gonna be a
WOTTA work! Cuz this house is all MESSY?"
Just another day in
the life. Made a big pot of spaghetti sauce. Tried to write
some letters today, but the words just wouldn't come. Got a
letter from Mom today ... she said "I never for one minute looked for reasons
to love you -- you provide me with them every one of them
just by being you." She gave me a real emotional pep talk.
Ray came home at 7:00
and took our clothes to the laundromat.
incredible ... the greatest salad and THE greatest
spaghetti sauce I've ever made.
"guy, guy, guy!" ("sky,
sky, sky" -- whenever an airplane flies overhead)
May 1, 1985
This journal is growing
patchy and ragtag ... I keep starting and stopping. Sorry.
My day is getting off to
start. At 7 a.m. I got up to check the garbage cans. Kacie was awake
and hollering at me from her crib -- Jay was still asleep -- so after I
made sure the garbage cans were out at the curb, I took Kacie into my
bed with me. This is something new for her, and I was afraid she'd
wiggle around and make a lot of noise, but to my amazement she layed
right down beside me and fell asleep. We both slept for another three
hours, until 10:30! The extra little bit of sleep was fabulous ... just
what I needed. I feel better physically than I have in days ... rested,
clear-headed and energetic.
When I finally got up, I
Jamie's voice coming from the front yard! I peeked out the window and
discovered her, sitting in the middle of the yard in the old denim
stroller, blowing bubbles! She'd "dressed" herself -- a striped shirt
that was inside out and backwards, a pair of pink jeans that are miles
too big for her, and her black velvet dress shoes, unbuckled and on the
wrong feet. Yogi and Dink were crowding around her, trying to push
their doggy noses into the bowl of soap sitting on her lap. She was
blowing bubbles and talking to the dogs -- I couldn't quite make out
what she was saying, but I gathered that she was irritated with Yogi
because he wouldn't chase the bubbles, the way Dink does.
I made some noise in the
kitchen, clattering plates and picking up garbage. Immediately I heard
little footsteps on the porch. "Who's makin' dat noise?" Jamie shouted
happily -- she was very pleased that I was finally up. Although she
loves getting up all by herself in the morning, she's always happy when
I get up.
Yogi is also glad when I
in the mornings! He chases me around the kitchen and nips at the hem of
my nightgown. (Those sharp "baby teeth" of his really hurt!) Then he
sits in the middle of the kitchen and looks up at me, waiting for his
While I was in the
came bursting into the bathroom. "Sissy went out-SIDE!" she announced
gaily. I had to rinse myself off in a hurry and dash into the kitchen
wearing only a bath towel, my hair dripping wet. "GET IN THIS HOUSE!" I
roared at a startled Kacie, who was puttering around in the carport.
She was wearing one of Jamie's black velvet shoes and her other foot
was bare. She clambered up the steps and back into the house, and I
paddled her bottom twice. "You were very naughty!" I told her. Going
outside while Mama is in the shower is one of life's biggest no-no's
around here. I'm always terrified that Kacie will wander out into the
street. After I spanked her, Kacie turned her face to the wall,
silently, and I went to get dressed. By the time I was halfway down the
hall, I heard her begin to wail.
I hate punishing Kacie.
course I hate punishing either one of my daughters, but somehow it's
harder with Kacie. She is so sensitive ... I feel like I'm crushing her
delicate little spirit, and I hate myself for it.
When I was dressed and
wet hair wrapped in a towel, "All My Children" was just starting on TV
and Kacie seemed to have bounced back. She was sitting on the floor,
playing with my pendant watch, and she gave me a big smile. All was
forgotten and forgiven. I gathered her up in my arms, stroking her
messy braids and kissing her sticky face.
Nothing to say, I guess.
Kacie got into bed with
me early this morning and we slept together for nearly three
hours! Yogi bit her on the right ear today -- she
didn't seem to be in any pain, but the puppy's sharp teeth left an ugly
puncture mark. I cleaned it thoroughly and bandaged it, but Kacie
keeps pulling the bandage off.
Folded five baskets of
clean laundry. Maureen stopped by to drop off my Avon
-- I owe her $15 by Friday. (Shit.)
Sunk into one of my
blue moods this evening. Jamie said, "You not happy? PLEASE be happy,
Mama!" I don't know what's the matter with me. Ray
didn't come home until very late, as usual, and I felt so alone.
Kacie: (dissolves into giggles)
Kacie: "Moh FOWRS,
(bringing me another clump of wilted dandelions)
Astonishingly clear new
words": bay-bee, appo, appo jooce, Bup (puppy)
New nickname for Kacie:
May 2, 1985
Ray called in sick
this morning and took the day off from work ... he's got a
bad cold, complicated by hay fever. I was in a great mood all day
and got a lot of things accomplished.
Later in the day Ray
got up and rented a lawnmower. While he mowed the yard, I made
teriyaki chicken and herb & butter rice for supper.
Took pictures of Yogi
and the girls today.
Another lost, wasted
day ... why have there been so many of them lately?!
The place is a mess, and I just let it stay that way ...
the kids and I watched TV all morning and napped all afternoon (1:30 to
5:30!) The only remotely interesting thing I did was to make an
omelet for our lunch -- it was my first attempt at omelets,
and it turned out pretty good.
I don't know if Maureen
stopped by because we slept all afternoon.
Ray was home at
9:00. I watched a new show at 8:00 that I really like called "The
Best Times" -- and of course my dearly beloved "MV."
What would I do without my weekly "fix" of Don Johnson?? "The
Best Times" is another one of those series I had to look up on IMDB
because I have zero memory of it. In this case, it appears to
have been a one-hour drama starring no one you've ever heard of, about
an idealistic young female teacher at a California high school.
It came and went in the blink of an eye.
May 4, 1985
Jamie has gone to her
the morning ... Ray is home today, but he's still asleep. Kacie and I
are sitting here at the kitchen table -- I just gave her some colored
pencils and a sheet of paper so she could "write," just like Mama.
Sunny, windy morning. As always, the house is a mess and I plan to
spend most of my day restoring it. I'd also like to go to the library,
later, maybe with Jamie when she gets back.
Mom wrote to me a few
Her letter is warm, reassuring and special ... as I knew it would be. I
worry about the most ridiculous things sometimes. Here is some of it:
... You asked me to
comment on any portion of your letter I care to. I care to comment on
several parts of it. I'm sorry to hear you sounding so frustrated with
your marriage and wish I had some wise words of hope and encouragement
... the best I can do is empathize and share some insight ...
are a beautiful,
intelligent, talented, loving young lady, and I want you to know it and
demand from life the very best, because you deserve it ...
no need to feel
apologetic to me, or to Grandma or to anyone else, if we catch you by
surprise ... we visit to see you and the girls, not your house ...
haven't seen Karen
since the Friday before we visited you. I know how you feel about her
though. I felt the same way when your cousin Greg made his appearance.
I was the producer of grandchildren and it gave me a value with your
grandparents ... please don't measure your worth to me in terms of
progeny. There is no way to express how much I love you just for being
you. You're my first born child, Terri, and the only one that was truly
planned and prepared for. You're the one who shares my interests in
family, in writing, in fantasy and all of life's beauty -- my alter
ego. I never for one minute looked for reasons to love you -- you
provide me with every one of them, just by being you ... "
Nice day. Terry
came by early this morning to take Jamie to Ericka's for the whole
day. (I took a picture of Jay, Terri, Rebecca and Ericka as they
were leaving.) I finished my housework in a hurry so I could have
the rest of the day free. Wrote -- and mailed
-- a letter to my old friend Phil Rehberg, read some of the book
I'm working on ("The Thorn Birds"). Later in the afternoon my new
blonde neighbor dropped by. HER NAME IS JEANETTE.
(Whew!) She stayed for nearly two hours ... we talked
about everything under the sun. She is great.
Watched "Invasion of
the Body Snatchers" tonight -- Ron made BBQ-dip sandwiches
for our late supper.
Jamie (sitting in the toy car), with Rebecca & Ericka on the right;
babysitter Terry Solo is hiding in back behind the car.
May 4, 1985
May 5, 1985
slightly hungover) day ... I felt more peaceful and
unconcerned about problems than I have in weeks. Read a lot today
(Sunday papers, a new magazine, "The Thorn Birds"). Only
housework I did was to wash the dishes, late in the afternoon.
Terry came by to visit.
Oh, by the way
-- I didn't go to church with Jeanette this morning because she
had other things to do, and she suggested that next week might be
May 6, 1985
Monday 11 a.m.
New morning ... new
game show on TV that I really like ("Scrabble"). Fried egg and coffee
taste lingering in my mouth. The living room floor is wall-to-wall
newspapers and toys; I'll get around to the housework in a little
while. There is a good, solid, warm feeling in the pit of my stomach
this morning ... a new feeling of "home" and "family." A feeling as
solid as the fried egg, as warm and delicious. I am miraculously
content this morning, for no reason other than the girls' hair looking
clean and well-brushed, the coffee tasting good, Ray fixing my vacuum
cleaner yesterday ... knowing I'll be busy with housework all day ...
and that when the housework is done, I have a good book I'm halfway
through, and a little bit of good bud stashed away for later tonight
... things just seem to have fallen into place overnight. Even Kacie's
temper tantrums aren't throwing me this morning.
On Saturday night
of my new neighbors, dropped by for a two hour chat. It was so, so, so
nice! I've got a friend! I can hardly believe it. We're still in the
beginning stages, and I'm not 100% relaxed around her -- am I ever,
with anybody? -- but I intend to persevere. It's been TOO LONG since
I've had a good close female friend, and there is a hunger in me for
that kind of companionship.
Made breakfast for the
girls and I (fried eggs and sausages) ... it just seemed
like a good way to start a new week. I felt kind of chirpy and
lighthearted all morning. Cleaned my house -- the old
Kirby vacuum runs beautifully.
Got a great letter from
Melinda. Maureen stopped by, I told her I'd give her the $15 this
Friday -- she didn't appear to be mad.
Ray didn't come home
May 7, 1985
Ray stayed home from work today -- he wouldn't be specific
about what was wrong, just said that he had "the flu" and that his ears
were bothering him. He slept all day, until past 6 p.m. I
spent the day rather quietly -- read more of "The Thorn
Birds," worked on my new letter to Melinda, sorted some magazine
Made a great dinner tonight -- chicken-fried roundsteak,
mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, salad and sourdough
rolls. (The diet is a thing of the past ... I'm
feeling guilty about it.)
May 8, 1985
Ray went back to work.
May 9, 1985
Thursday 11 a.m.
A few days later. That
and deceptive sense of well-being I felt on Monday has dissipated. I'm
not depressed ... it's more like I've hit the center of the road. Not
left and not right.
Pay day! Thank
goodness. Ray left me an irritating note this morning, telling ME
to call Puget Power and Kirkland Utilities and make arrangements for
payment. I resent him leaving it to me at the last minute like
that, but at least we won't get it all shut off.
Kids played outside for
a long time today. I finished writing Melinda's letter and wrote
two more, to Sue Miseroy in Florida and to my step-mom. Made a
grocery list too. Ray brought home a few things this evening but
hasn't done the major grocery shopping yet. (Bought me a new pen.)
Letter from Deanne
today. Wrote Mother's Day cards to Valerie and Mom.
May 10, 1985
Friday 10 a.m.
Shit. I just woke up
greatest dream. I was young and in love, and at the very end of the
dream the man I loved (my junior high Science teacher?!) was beginning
to return the feeling. I woke up feeling warm and happy ...
... and then reality
"Reality" for me today is rain, puppy poop, wet crib sheets,
Fruit Loops, and a whopper of a hangover. I'm so disappointed to be
awake, I could cry.
Lazy day. Made
steak sandwiches for the kids' lunch (yes, I had one too!) and then we
all took a long nap this afternoon. What a dull life I'd led
Judy and her boys
stopped by this afternoon and stayed for an hour and a half. Judy
had some Avon to drop off for me (pink lipstick, children's shampoo)
and then we sat and gossiped for a while. (Ray's sister Patty and
her husband John are planning another baby!)
Ray was home early for
a Friday night, brought McDonald's food for supper and balloons for the
I love Friday night TV now. 8:00
is "The Best Times," 9:00 is "Dallas," 10:00 is you-know-what.
Don Johnson is now my complete and utter favorite. (Edward James
May 11, 1985
Maureen stopped by first thing this morning to collect her $15 (I took
it out of Ray's pants pocket while he slept!), and to tell me she's
quitting Avon. What a relief! Now I can buy from my
sister-in-law Judy exclusively, and not feel 'disloyal' to either of
Terry and Jeanette both stopped by to visit this afternoon. At
Terry's urging, Ray and I decided to go out for awhile tonight while
she watched the kids. We had a couple of beers at Dave's Place
and watched a movie, "Tank" (James Garner). We left the tavern
around 11:30 because we were hungry -- stopped at
Albertson's and picked up some TV dinners.
... the nicest I've ever had, so far. Ray took the girls
and I to dinner at Denny's this afternoon -- it was so much
fun! The kids had a ball. We all had jumbo burgers and
fries, Ray and I had a couple of Bloody Marys.
After dinner we came
home, took off our shoes, put on shorts and went out in the backyard to
cool off and relax. Ray tossed the football around and the girls
ran after it.
Read the Sunday papers, had a submarine
sandwich for a late supper. Watched the first part of a good
movie, "A Death in California" (Cheryl Ladd, Sam Elliott).
May 13, 1985
Felt a strange but wonderful burst of energy today ...
cleaned out my bedroom closet, sorted through my old 45's collection
and threw out a third of it (shrieking
noises from the future!!!), cleaned house, helped Jamie make a
"Happy Jar" for a belated Mothers Day gift.
Ray was home early -- he took our clothes to the
laundromat. While he was gone, I drank some beer and sorted
magazines. Made sloppy joes and french fries for dinner, watched
Pt. II of "A Death In California" (the first part was better).
May 14, 1985
A day that started out awful ended well, thanks to
I woke up feeling tired and
crabby. I spanked the girls for getting into my jewelry box and
breaking my earrings, then felt terrible about it afterwards. Had
no energy at all: napped most of the afternoon. My nerves are
shot, and everything seems bleak: the kids are driving me crazy, we
have no money, I'm putting on weight again, the house is always a
... Ray saved it all by coming home in an optimistic, cheery mood!
May 15, 1985
Having one of those rare
energy" days ... flying around the house, cleaning out closets, sorting
toys, rearranging dresser tops ... all the stuff I normally don't have
time for. Hot sunny day ... feels almost like summer. I can hear a
million lawnmowers in the distance. I look HORRIBLE -- can't find my
mascara anywhere, so my eyes simply disappear into my pale, puffy face
-- I'm wearing a shirt I despise -- my hair is pulled back into a messy
ponytail. I'll clean myself up in a little while, so Ray doesn't die at
the sight of me.
Tall glass of ginger ale
... mmm. I can't believe all the work I've done in the past two hours:
I've really worked up a sweat! I'm almost proud of my house
Life hasn't been all
terrific lately. I've been fighting one of those creepy depressions I
get occasionally ... the kind where I feel like the best part of my
life is over already, and there's nothing left to look forward to.
Reading all my old journals and diaries lately has something to do with
it. I read about all the fun and exciting things I did as a teenager,
the places I went, the romances I had -- even the heartaches sound more
interesting than anything that's happening in my life now.
I feel so empty. There
isn't anything to feel good or excited about. I've been rotten to the
kids lately ... taking my frustrations out on them, I guess. Poor
little guys. They deserve better than me. *I* deserve better than me,
for that matter.
Jamie and Kacie are
a tub of bubbles: after a long day of playing barefoot outside, they
managed to get completely grimy. They also worked up a real appetite,
and ate their whole dinner without complaint. I hope that once they're
out of the tub and into their pajamas, they'll konk out early.
The lawnmowers are still
It's really a nice evening ... everything outside looks green and lush.
My house is very clean. I brushed my hair and did my makeup as best I
could without mascara and changed my blouse. I hope that Ray comes home
pretty soon. I would love a cold beer and a little conversation.
If I thought I felt
energetic on Monday, that was nothing
compared to today! I FLEW around this place and cleaned every
room, doing a lot of "little" things I don't usually have time to
do -- sorting toys, rearranging dresser tops, etc.
etc. A couple of times I tried to stop and take a break, but I
was so jazzed up that I couldn't slow down.
While I worked, I
dreamed of the ice cold beer I was sure Ray would bring home for me
later. (So when) he walked in at 8 p.m., stoned, with ONE can of
beer in his hand but none for me because we're "broke," I burst
into tears! There was tension between us for the rest of the
"Dynasty" season finale
tonight -- it was terrible. Right in the middle of
Amanda and Prince Michael's wedding, terrorists broke in and
machine-gunned everybody to death!! The final scene was a pile of
bloody bodies. We have to wait until fall to see who's alive.
HOT -- up
to 82°. The girls played outside for a long time today.
I gave them a bucket of water and some old margarine tubs and let them
play "dishes." Kacie got a sunburn on her shoulders, and later in
the day one of CeCe's kittens gave her a nasty 6" scratch on one
By late afternoon the
heat was unbearable. Jeannette came over to visit for a couple of
hrs. early in the evening -- brought me a book to read
called "The Lost Princess" by George McDonald.
Ray wasn't home until around 10.
Cute new Jay words:
"Caj Pach Kids" (Cabbage Patch Kids)
May 17, 1985
Cooler today, and overcast ... that meant it was warm
enough for the kids to play outside (extra sunscreen for Kacie!) but
cool enough for me to feel "human."
WONDERFUL mail today -- letters from two dear old friends,
Anita Brown and Phil Rehberg! Anita is still married to
(fellow Glacier High School classmate) Phil Bennett; they have two
children. Phil is a lawyer now!! He wants to come visit me
sometime and meet my kids.
Jeanette came over for an hour or so. Jamie went over to Terry's
house this evening for dinner.
Late this evening I watched "Dallas" (Bobby Ewing died!!) and
Ray was home at 10:30.
May 18, 1985
An unusually nice day ... as Ray puts it, "Nothin bad happened." I
cleaned house a little, read the book Jeanette loaned me ("The Lost
Princess" ... it is so good, I'd like a copy for
myself!) The kids played outside most of the day --
Jamie took the new sleeping bag Terry gave her outside and layed in it
in the middle of the front yard.
Ray was gone for a while this afternoon, trying to scrounge up some
money. He could only come up with another $5 -- that
gave us $12 altogether. He bought a pint of vodka for $3 and some
orange juice, so we had screwdrivers tonight.
(For a change, I used
some common sense and stopped when I reached my limit.) Made an
OK dinner out of odds and ends -- rice meatloaf, carrots,
instant mashed potatoes and gravy.
My period is one week late now.
May 19, 1985
I'm not pregnant. Hurray! Period started this afternoon
while I was laying on the sofa listening to the radio (KISW, "100 Top
Album Sides Of All Time"). I'd almost begun to believe I might be
preg again, so this comes as a relief.
Sleepy, pleasant day ... in spite of the fact that we have
NO money and NO food in the house. Ray's parents are in Reno so
we couldn't ask them for a loan. Things were beginning to look
bleak -- I had nothing to feed the kids, even
-- but I decided to put on a brave cheerful face (that helped
keep everyone's spirits up) and trust the Lord to help us out.
Judy S. gave us a dozen eggs and a cube of butter, Ray used his "free"
QFC coupons to get a loaf of bread and a head of lettuce, and with his
spare change he also got some ground beef. We had hamburger
sandwiches for supper, and maybe because I was so hungry they tasted
like heaven. Ray and I spent a sweet and loving evening together
watching TV and laughing. Watched "Deadly Intentions" (Pt. One).
The last few days have
been bumpy. There has been tension, pleasure, worry, relief,
surprise, hunger, laughter ... a little bit of
everything. I’m not complaining. “Bumpy”
beats “boring” any day. It just feels great to have
one comparatively slow, restful day in which to mull things over and
put everything into perspective. Today is that kind of day.
First of all -- I
thought I was
pregnant (again). I realize this is a very unoriginal worry, and that
by this time, Journal, you are thoroughly sick of reading about it. I'm
sorry. My period finally hit yesterday afternoon, though, which put the
worry to rest one more time.
We are very broke --
unoriginal worry! -- and there is very little food in the house at the
moment. Half a box of rice and a can of tomato soup in the cupboards
... some popsicles in the freezer. Still, we've managed to scrape by
with odds and ends. Last night Judy S. gave us a dozen eggs and a
cube of butter, and we used our free QFC coupons to get bread and
This is going to be a
LONG week. Next week Ray is taking some vacation time, and we'll
have money again, but this week is going to be dull and broke.
sandwiches for lunch. Housework. Got another good letter
from Melinda, and a card and some pictures from Grandma Vert.
(She said that the Pitchers' house is boarded up now.)
Judy S. offered to loan
us $15 until payday, which we gratefully accepted. Ray was home
early to watch the Holmes/Williams fight on TV; afterwards he went and
got a few groceries. So we won't starve. Hot dogs for
Watched the second part
of "Deadly Intentions."
May 21, 1985
Feeling a little "homesick" today. I've GOT to get down and see
Grandma Vert next week while Ray's on vacation.
Half-sunny, half-overcast. Jamie discovered the sprinkler this
afternoon, hooked it up and turned it on, all by herself! The
kids toodled around outside most of the day. On a whim, I put
some training pants on Kacie -- she loved them! She
stayed dry for two hours! Guess it's time to get started
Puget Power dropped off another 24 hour disconnection notice
-- it says that if the bill isn't paid this time, power WILL
definitely be shut off tomorrow.
Terry descended on me this afternoon with a gaggle of her teenaged
girlfriends. I was in a grumpy, silent mood: now we're angry with
Ray was home at 9:30. I made BLT's for supper. He's worried
about this Puget Power thing, and so am I.
Cute Kacie word: "bee bee bah-oh" (baby bottle)
May 22, 1985
I spent most of this day waiting for Puget Power to come shut off my
electricity ... later I learned that Ray had called their
main office and made payment arrangements, so we won't be shut off
after all. My worrying was a waste of time.
Terry and I are OK. She's going to babysit tomorrow so I can go
grocery shopping with Ray.
Sent letters to Melinda and Mom.
The kids kind of fell apart on me tonight, squabbling with each other
and getting into everything. By the time Ray got home at 8:30, I
was tense and near-tears. He brought me some wine coolers, and I
baked a potato for my supper and watched a dumb movie about cryogenics
("Chiller," with Beatrice Straight and Michael Beck ... he
looks like my brother-in-law). By bedtime I felt a lot better.
Dreamed about Don Johnson again!
May 23, 1985
Thursday 8 a.m.
What a morning (so far).
so soundly that I didn't hear Ray get up and leave for work ... I was
busy dreaming about Don Johnson. How embarrassing to be 27 years
and have a crush on a TV star! I haven't felt this way about an actor
since my goofy teenage crush on Roddy McDowall. Good grief. The
were so pleasant that I was reluctant to wake up ... so I didn't. I
willed myself to stay asleep and finish the dream. And it worked!
(Towards the end it all started to deteriorate, though: Don Johnson
turned into Tad Martin from "All My Children," who started shooting
people ... then I ran into
Madeline K.P., an old friend from school, and I went over to look at
her twin baby boys and inquire about her husband and his brother.)
Anyway. Around 7:30 I
woke up for real. It was RAINING! A lovely sound we haven't heard in
weeks. And Wendie Kitty was up to her usual morning shenanigans ...
prowling up and down the hallway meowing loudly, demanding to be let
out ... and then, a few minutes later, flying in with a crash through
my bedroom window ...
I went and got both of
and brought them into my bed with me. I was hoping to have some quiet
"cuddle-time" with my monkeys. Alas! Kacie was having none of it, and
soon her squirming and babbling drove us all out of bed. I made the
kids a hot breakfast (bacon, eggs, toast) and started a pot of coffee,
and here I am ...
The rain has stopped and
skies are showing signs of clearing later today. I think I'm OK today.
Might be too early to tell. This is payday, and that helps my mood a
lot. Ray is coming home at 5:00 and we're going grocery shopping (while
Terry watches the kiddlywinks), which I'm looking forward to. Last
night when Ray got home from work, he found me in tears for the second
night this week. I'd had a looooong day with the tots, and my nerves
were dangerously frayed. I need a vacation just as much as Ray does, I
think. But today, at least, I seem to be feeling fairly normal, for a
change ... even the little frustrations of motherhood aren't wearing me
down at the moment.
Kacie is searching for
kittens. "Bay-BEE? Bay-bee GO?
BAY-bee?" Looking under
behind the sofa, in the bedrooms. Tee-hee. I put the box of kitties out
in the carport a while ago ... the house was beginning to smell like
cat pee again. Ugh. Kacie has just realized that the kittens are gone,
and she can't figure it out.
Jamie is hanging out of
bedroom window talking to Charlie, the little boy next door. ("Cholly?
Now she and Kacie are
"duet" on the piano ...
I feel as though I
something meaningful at this point, about life in general, but the
brain is drawing a blank this morning.
Hey, what do you
know -- we made it. Payday at last, and only one more
day to go till Rays vacation begins!
Don't you tell a SOUL
about this, Diary, but I actually mailed a fan letter to Don Johnson
today. I'm so embarrassed by my silly crush on him but secretly
it's kind of fun ... I feel like I'm in 3rd grade again and
in love with The Monkees!!
Ray and I went
grocery-shopping tonight, bought $160 worth of groceries, cleaning
supplies and treats for the kids. Got myself some mascara and an
eyebrow pencil, a writing tablet, two magazines and a "Star" newspaper
(a rag I ordinarily wouldn't touch with a 10 ft. pole, but it had a
picture of D.J. on the cover!) Ray picked up some sub sandwiches
at a little place in Kirkland we've discovered -- they made
a quick and easy supper.
Kacie is having
sleeping problems again -- screamed for an hour when we put
her to bed.
Surprise: Ray left for
work at his usual 4:45 a.m., but half an hour later he was home
again! Said that the transformer at W.K. blew, and everyone was
sent home. So his vacation begins TODAY!
He left to run some
errands around noon, then wasn't home until nearly 7 p.m. I spent
the day doing a thorough housecleaning -- hopefully so I
won't have to worry about it for the rest of the weekend. Also
wrote a nice letter to Anita Brown Bennett.
Fun evening with Ray,
once he finally got home. We watched a special 2 hr. Miami Vice,
then sat up all night partying, talking.
Cute KPP saying:
"Sy chy." (Sorry, Charlie.)
May 25, 1985
Ray and I went to bed
around 5 a.m. or so ... got a few hours' sleep.
Around 10 a.m. I awoke
to the sound of my father-in-law's voice coming from the living room
(he was telling Jamie to "wake up your Mom and Dad"). He was
paying us one of his infamous unannounced visits, to invite us over for
dinner tomorrow. It was painfully obvious that Ray and I were
wiped out from a night of partying. God knows what was going
through his mind when he finally left. I'm
cringing as I transcribe this for the website, decades later.
Quiet, sleepy day
-- lots of napping, no housework. Ray bought Taco Time for
lunch. Tonight he watched an old John Wayne Western while I read
magazines and relaxed.
May 26, 1985
One of those days spent
doing a lot of stuff I really didn't feel like doing.
Had to go over to Ray's
folks' for dinner, first of all. (BBQ'd hamburgers.) I was
quiet, tense, not really in the mood to socialize with my in-laws
... Judy and I sat quietly on the patio and talked.
When we got home at
5:00, I had no sooner taken off my shoes and layed down on the sofa to
relax when Anne Meyers showed up with her 2 yr. old son Jason.
She wanted Jamie and I to drive down to Marymoor Park in Redmond with
them. That was about the LAST thing in the world I felt like
doing, but we went anyway because I didn't want to be rude. Jamie
and Jason went on the swings, Ann and I carried on a stilted,
uncomfortable (for me) conversation.
Late night supper of
corn dogs and onion rings. I sat in bed reading the Sunday paper
and a special "US" magazine Ray bought me with Don Johnson on the cover.
1985. Ray and I spent the whole day WORKING -- the
house was an incredibly filthy mess this morning and it took my entire
day to restore it. (I'm still embarrassed that Ann saw it looking
that way last night.) Ray rented a lawnmower and spent his day
cleaning up the yard -- he also pulled out a bunch of
ragged bushes and shrubs from the front of the house.
Late this afternoon he took the clothes to the laundromat for me, and
later I spent two hours folding everything.
Got some BBQ'd ribs
from a take-out place, and I made a salad. Before dinner I
accidentally dropped the salad all over the kitchen floor, got very
upset and burst into tears. Ray stepped in and made a new salad,
then took Jamie to the store to get a lemon pie to cheer me up.
Natalie Wood's final movie -- it was good, but the ending
May 28, 1985
Exhausted this morning after a very poor night's sleep. (Jamie
ended up sleeping in our bed with Ray, I wound up in Jamie's bed with
Kacie -- Ray coughed all night, Kacie chattered
-- the only one out of the four of us who actually slept was
Jay.) Oh well. Still managed to get a lot of work done
Ray bought Kacie a potty chair -- it's time to get started
training her, but I plan to take the slow and easy approach, just as I
did with Jamie.
Cloudy and overcast.
I made something new for dinner, Hamburger Helper "Pizza Bake."
Ray brought home some vodka and some Bloody Mary mix, and I had a
couple of drinks while watching a re-run of the 1980 "Guyana Tragedy"
movie (Powers Boothe absolutely terrifying/mesmerizing as Rev. Jim
May 29, 1985
Felt yucky from last night's Bloody Marys ... headache and
stomach ache, all day long. Accomplished virtually nothing.
Made hot dogs and onion rings for everybody's lunch -- then
the girls and I layed on my bed and fell asleep, slept the whole
afternoon away!! When we finally got up it was almost 5
Ray went out to "run his errands," his euphemism for going to the
tavern to drink ... he was gone for the rest of the
evening, leaving me alone with the kids. I did some mending,
clipped a few recipes. Tried something new for dinner
-- chicken roll-ups, using pre-made biscuit dough, canned chicken
and cream cheese. (God, they were AWFUL.)
Had a couple of vodka and lemonades, watched the second part of "The
Guyana Tragedy" ... towards the end, though, it got too
grim for me so I switched on the more frivolous Barbara Walters special
(interviews with Cher, Diahann Carroll and Racquel Welch).
May 30, 1985
Yuckier still. If I thought I felt bad yesterday, that was nothing compared to today! I
was sick to my stomach all morning, and my head felt like it would
split in two any minute. The whole house smelled like those
disgusting chicken roll-ups ... god. Once again we
spent virtually the entire day sleeping. It was 5:30 when we
finally woke up, but at least by then I was feeling human again.
Terry was over for about an hour, just to visit. She wants one of
Wendie's kittens (a black and white one), but her mom won't let her.
McDonald's for dinner.
May 31, 1985
Friday 11:15 a.m.
When my brain "draws a
it REALLY draws a blank, doesn't it ... ?! It is now more than a week
later: I haven't written a thing in my journal
This has not been for
lack of suitable subject matter, either. Plenty of things have been
happening around here the past week. Ray is on vacation, for one thing.
Not only that, but I've had a major mental "breakthrough" that I ought
to write about, a revelation of sorts regarding my life ... so WHY
can't I get anything down on paper?
I will try today. I
guarantee anything, but I'll try. Every two minutes I have to jump up
and check on the girls. Kacie has turned into Little Miss Holy Terror
of 1985. If she's not pouring water all over everything, she's
emptying Jamie's drawers, eating cat food, stuffing wads of toilet
paper into the potty, coloring on the living room window, pulling the
stuffing out of my old Deannie Bear ...
I'm also not quite awake
slept in until 10:30, and I'm feeling groggy. But at least I'm feeling
human. Yesterday I had a vodka hangover, the throwing-up-and-headache
kind of hangover ... god. What a lousy day. I spent half of
the bathroom. Today I'm more or less back to normal, and it's a lovely,
lovely relief: I'm just not AWAKE yet.
This is the last day of
skies are light gray, but some sunshine is managing to break through
the clouds. The air is filled with bits of milkweed ... thousands of
them, drifting everywhere, like fuzzy snowflakes.
Ray's vacation (this is
eighth day of it: he goes back to work on Monday) has proved to be a
whole lot of nothing. Oh, HE'S
having a ball -- he slept until
5 p.m. a couple of times, and he's gone to the tavern every single day.
We had nice weather the first two days of his vacation so he did a
little yard work, but nothing else since then. As far as Ray is
concerned, his vacation has been eight days of sheer unadulterated
bliss. I, on the other hand, am deeply disappointed with the way things
have turned out. I don't know what I was expecting.
More "togetherness," I suppose. I was hoping to do more things
together ... besides sleeping and eating, that
Instead, this week has been exactly like every other week of my life:
dirty dishes, dirty diapers, noise, headaches, squabbles ... the
same old shit. But
then again, I'M not the one on vacation, AM I??
More or less back to
normal. (No more vodka
for a long, LONG time!) I spent a while this morning writing in
my journal and watching the soaps, then got started on my day's
work. Ray mowed the yard (front and back), did a few other odds
and ends of work outside. He's supposed to paint the house this
by -- loaned me four more books -- "A Wind In
The Door" and "A Swiftly Tilting Planet" by Madeleine L'Engle (these
are companion pieces to my old favorite "A Wrinkle In Time"), and two
more Geo. MacDonald books, "The Princess and The Goblin" and "The
Princess and Curdie."
Ray bought the girls
two shiny new pinwheels tonight: they ran around the yard in their
pj's, watching them spin. Meatloaf for dinner, "Best Times" and
"Miami Vice" on TV. Of course Ray made snotty cracks about my
shows throughout the entire evening.
Fairly nice day. I was in one of my (rare) "sweet, loving,
mellow" moods ... patient with the kids, cooperative with
Ray ... wish I could feel this way all the time!
Jamie went next door to play with Michelle and Charlie for a couple
hrs., Ray went out for a few hrs., Kacie napped -- I had a
little time to myself (wrote letters to Georgia Rodriguez and Michele
Manzo, started reading "A Wind In The Door"). When Jamie came
home from playing with her friends she konked out on the sofa, so I had
some time alone with Kacie -- fed her some supper, bathed
her, washed her hair.
Terry took Jamie over to her house for awhile tonight. (Kacie was
broken-hearted that she couldn't go: my poor sweet baby.) Ray
barbecued steaks and ribs on the Weber, I made salad and French
fries. Terry brought Jay home, then stayed and had some steak
The final day of Ray's vacation ... I feel both sadness and
relief. It WILL be nice to have my house back to myself.
Jamie went over to play with Michelle again this morning, but those
rotten kids were mean to her and she came home in tears.
Ray finally started painting the exterior of the house today, a color
that his parents picked out called "chamois" (it looks kind of like
melted chocolate ice cream). He got the front of the house done;
who knows when he plans to finish?? Typical of him to wait till
the very last day of his vacation to get started on such a huge project.
I spent my day drinking coffee, reading the Sunday papers, writing to
Michele, Deanne, Jennifer James (a columnist for The Seattle
Times). Made tacos and tamales for dinner, watched Jack Nicholsen
in "The Shining."
Couldn't get to sleep, so I sat in the living room and read "The
Princess and the Goblin" until 1:30 a.m.
June 3, 1985
See? I knew I'd be
Now it's Monday, June 3rd ... three days (since I started
the May 31st "catch-up" journal entry). I despise the fact that
I can never finish anything. It is the personal weakness that irritates
me the most about myself.
Ray has gone back to
vacation lasted a total of ten days. Yesterday -- his final day off --
he finally started painting the house. Typical of Ray to put off such a
major project until the last minute! His parents bought the
so they got to choose the colors. I'm a little irritated about that --
here, after all -- I
would have liked a clean white, with royal blue trim. Instead we got
something called "Chamois." Blech.
Interrupted (what a
Yucky morning, for two
reasons. First, Kacie got into bed with me early this morning after Ray
went to work, and a couple of hours later she had a seizure
... quick rhythmic spasms that shook her whole body, lasting for
about 2-1/2 minutes. This is the second time in a month that this
has happened, and I'm very worried.
Second reason: Ron left
me a note saying that I'm supposed to put Puget Power off again this
week, if they stop by. Damn!!!!
Kacie looked and acted
perfectly normal today, but I'm still concerned about her.
Puget Power never
showed up. I did my usual housecleaning, worked on a letter to
Deanne. Letters today from Judy (my sister-in-law), my old friend
Karen Pugh Grace, my pen pal Terri Morrison. Karen is coming to
visit the last week of this month.
Ron home around
7:30. I baked some chicken breasts for our supper, served with
noodles and fresh broccoli. Stayed up late reading "The Princess
Funny how everything pales in importance when something really
I just got home from Children’s Orthopedic Hospital, where we
rushed Kacie this morning after she suddenly went into
convulsions. She is OK now, resting comfortably in her crib, but
my heart is still beating double-time. God. My baby.
I have never been so scared in my whole life.
Kacie was sleeping next to me in my bed this morning when she suddenly
went into some kind of violent seizure.
Kacie went into another horrible seizure this morning. I used the
neighbors' phone and called for emergency help, but by the time the
paramedics got here the seizures had stopped. Ray came home from
work (I called him) and Peg drove us all to Children's Orthopedic
Hospital in Seattle so Kacie could undergo some tests. Five
exhausting hours later, the doctors still couldn't find anything wrong
with her, and we were sent home. Kacie does have another appt.
next week for an e.e.g., so maybe we'll know more then.
Peg treated us all to
lunch at McDonald's, then Ray went back to work and we came home.
Kacie (poor exhausted little thing) took a long, long nap.
Tried calling Mom
tonight but she wasn't home -- left a message with Ken
about Kacie's seizure.
June 5, 1985
Kacie didn't have another seizure this morning -- maybe
because I purposely woke her up early. In fact, she was just fine
today -- a little "clingy," perhaps -- she
rarely left my side -- but she ate well, her color is good
and she has no fever. I kept a very close eye on her, but it
would appear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with
her!! We will still take her back to COH on Monday for the
e.e.g., though. We're not taking any chances.
Did a lot of cleaning -- Jamie's room was wall-to-wall
filth. Jay and I have nicknamed the ancient vacuum cleaner
"Grandpa." Cleaned the fish bowl and the fridge, made
Jell-O and baked some chicken.
Called Mom tonight (borrowed the Solo's phone) -- she's
been very worried. When Ray got home tonight he said we will
finally have a phone put in again, maybe as soon as next week.
Kacie's medical emergency must have finally
convinced him of the necessity of it.
June 6, 1985
Cold, rainy day. The kind of day I love! Kacie is still
doing OK. I woke her up again this morning so there was no
problem. The only time she seems to have these seizures is when
she's asleep in my bed. Of
course she might have been having them when she was sleeping in her
crib, too: I just wasn't there to witness it.
a letter to Melinda. She and Bob may be coming to town later this
This was payday, but we've been OK for money lately so I hardly
noticed. Ray wasn't home until very late, and he only brought a
handful of groceries -- just the things we really
I finally finished reading "A Wind In The Door" and have begun reading
"A Swiftly Tilting Planet," which is proving to be one of the best
books I've ever read. Must get a copy for myself.
June 7, 1985
Another dark, rainy
day. Did some housework, finished reading "A Swiftly Tilting
Planet" (the ending was a little disappointing! Overall, though,
it was a pretty good book), got some letters out (to Grandma, for
one). The rain was steady and heavy, made our house seem
Ray was supposed to
come home and spend some time with the girls and me, but he didn't get
here until 10:45 ... instead, I spent the evening watching
the shows that I like, had a frozen dinner, visited with Terry a little.
Busy! Ray left early this morning to play in a company golf
tournament ... the girls and I went out to Don & Judy's
house in Fall City (we got a ride with Ray's folks) to celebrate Don
Jr.'s 34th b.day. Had a really nice time. It was strange to
be at an in-law family gathering without Ray, though! But in a
way it was nice ... I felt very relaxed. We had shish
kebabs and coleslaw for dinner, the kids played happily on the
sprawling grounds surrounding Don & Judy'a mobile home
... Kacie was covered with mud! Sheryl and Jeff were also
there with Tanya and Michael.
When we got home at 7:30, I put Kacie to bed and then spent a pleasant,
solitary evening watching the 3 hr. "Woodstock" movie on TV (it was
simulcast in stereo on KEZX), which I'd never seen before. I wish
I could have been there! Sometimes I think I was born after my
time ... I should have been a part of the 60's.
Ray didn't come home at all tonight.
Very sleepy day. Ray came home at dawn, and he and the girls and
I spent most of the day napping, lazing around the house.
Ray went to Sunshine Pizza and bought pepperoni pizza and cheeseburgers
for everybody. (Ah, junk food!) "Woodstock" was on again
(on PBS) altho this time it wasn't simulcast -- we watched
June 10, 1985
Monday 2:15 p.m.
Now it's almost a whole
later again since
I wrote in the journal, dammit. I don't know what it is about me
and this journal.
I can't seem to finish what I start ... worse, I can't even START, most
of the time.
Lazy, sleepy, warm
The girls are both sound asleep -- Jamie in my bed, Kacie in her crib.
For awhile I was laying next to Jamie, and I'd just begun to doze off
into a pleasant sort of "twilight sleep" when that disgusting little
dog next door (Mickey) started barking. So I got up. I'm still awfully
tired, but I guess it's really too hot to sleep, anyway. The air is so
still and thick and heavy, you could slice it. The neighbor kids aren't
home from school yet, and the whole block is amazingly quiet ... even
Mickey finally stopped barking, and now all I can hear are a lot of
birds, an occasional passing car, the dripping kitchen faucet ...
We had to take Kacie to
hospital again this morning for an EEG. This is why we're all
tired and off-schedule today: I had to get everybody up at 7 a.m. for
the appointment. Peg drove us to the hospital. Kacie hasn't
another seizure since last Tuesday, and so far the doctors haven't been
able to find anything wrong with her. This EEG was the last test they
needed to give her. We won't have any results until later this week,
The nurse wouldn't let
me go in
with Kacie during the test, so I sat in the waiting room with Peg and
Jamie, chewing on my nails. Jamie struck up a conversation with a
little boy who appeared to be about her age, and soon the two of them
were busily playing with blocks together. Peg and I made sporadic and
feeble conversation. I was worried about my baby and I didn't feel much
We'd been waiting for
minutes, when the door of the waiting room burst open and in toddled
KACIE! All smiles and chatter. Her bangs were wet and sticky from
gel they used for the test., and her cheeks were round and red as
apples. She was quite pleased to discover us sitting there, waiting for
her. I was hoping to get some test results, but it'll be another few
days again. This is the way it's been throughout this whole ordeal. We
still have no idea what caused the seizure ... or, for that matter, if
it even was a seizure at all. Last week at COH I sensed that the
doctors either didn't believe my story or else they thought I was
blowing it out of proportion ... like I was this
mother, out for a little excitement. I found it incredibly irritating.
No one saw Kacie's attack but me, so I have no one to corroborate what
happened. Her seizure was so violent and awful -- it just seemed to go
on & on, and I couldn't do anything to stop it -- it was one of
worst experiences of my life. And then to have it treated so
offhandedly, with no one able to tell me why it happened ... or how to
prevent it from happening again ... well, what can I say? It's been the
To look at Kacie now,
couldn't tell there was ever anything wrong with her. Her color is
good, her appetite is normal, and she's as busy and full of bounce as
always. She's talking a blue-streak these days ... she'll imitate
everything I say to her, or else she'll rely on some of her pet words
and phrases ("Sorry Charlie!," "OK,"
"Mama-Daddy-Sissee Jamie-Terry!") She loved riding in Grandma's
today. And there were some things at the hospital that she liked --
walking down the huge empty corridors, looking at other small children,
climbing the steps in the parking lot. After the hospital, Peg took us
to McDonald's for an early lunch. Kacie LOVES McDonald's "fries!" and
she enjoyed spying on other people as they ate. You just couldn't guess
that this rambunctious, sweet-faced little pixie has anything wrong
with her at all. And maybe she doesn't. I keep trying to remind myself
of that. Maybe this whole thing was just an isolated occurrence. One of
the nurses tried to reassure me last week by telling me that "lots" of
small children have strange attacks, for no apparent reason, and that
it often goes away all by itself. I would have been vastly more
reassured if she'd told me something a bit more concrete ... yes, it
was a seizure, or no, it wasn't ... or, it may have been caused by This
or Such ... or even, Kacie probably will be just fine once we do This
or That for her. But I got nothing like that at all. No one told me
what it might be, so my imagination went wild. Epilepsy? Brain tumor?
Cancer? Peg said maybe it was a spider bite. (!) Sheryl suggested a
food allergy. And what did Ray say ... ? I can't remember. It was
something goofy, something typically Ray. Wish I could remember!
Anyway, all of this has been adding fuel to my anxiety, and at this
point I'm a nervous wreck.
I guess what I want most
is for someone to tell me it's going to be OK ... that it wasn't my
fault ... that Kacie is going to be fine, and that the seizure was an
isolated incident. I keep forgetting that I'm the parent now: I'm the
one who does the comforting. Nobody comforts the comforter.
years later, this memory still rankles. Kacie and I were
laying on my bed watching TV
morning when she suddenly went into violent spasms, right
there in my arms. Her whole body
uncontrollably for what felt like hours (but which was probably less
than thirty seconds, altogether). She hadn't been sick
wasn't running a fever: it came out of nowhere, and ended just as
abruptly as it had started. The people at the hospital
as though I were a lunatic, a liar, or --
all -- one of those wackjobs who
own children sick in order to get attention. I was the only
who witnessed the seizure, so I had no one to back up my
claim. My terror over my daughter's condition was made all
worse by the helplessness I felt and the absolute lack of support I
everybody around me. Overall, it was one of the worst
of my early
motherhood *career.* (The good news, of course, is that it
to have been an isolated incident, and Kacie turned out to be perfectly
OK. But still. No mother should have to go through
something like that.)
Pat and I took Kacie back to Children's
Orthopedic Hospital this morning for her e.e.g. -- the
final test to try and determine what caused last week's seizures.
(We won't have any results until later in the week.) Kacie was
very good during the whole thing and actually seemed to be enjoying the
big, shiny hospital ...
Afterwards we went to
McDonald's for an early (10 a.m.) lunch, then home for a nap. I
had a few glasses of rosé, got a little silly. Our former
neighbor, Rick Bruff, stopped by for an unexpected visit
... I also got into an argument with another neighbor, Naomi
(mother of Rebecca and Ericka) over our kittens, who have lately taken
to chewing holes in her garbage bags.
Ray came home and we
drank a few beers together, talked about my penpal Melinda's visit next
week, sat outside in the front yard looking at stars.
June 11, 1985
Something is wrong with Ray. He is moody, grouchy,
uncommunicative, short with the kids ... when he got home
this evening at 7 p.m. (after another very hot day), he started
throwing the kids' toys into a big pile, saying that if they didn't
learn to pick up their belongings, he would "burn them." Jamie
was three at the time, Kacie was two. He jumped on me for
giving the kids some of the candy he'd been hoarding, then complained
about dinner. "Is that all?" he said, looking at his hamburger patty.
Then he proceeded to get into the frozen chicken that was supposed to
be tomorrow's dinner: when I complained, he jumped all over me.
He didn't touch the potato salad I'd made for him -- said
he "wasn't into it." He muttered and swore under his breath all
evening, about every little thing you can imagine, until I got so sick
of him I went to bed, just to escape his foul mood.
Called Melinda (in New Jersey) from a phone booth -- she'll
be here Friday the 21st.
Busy, busy. I'm beginning to get things cleaned up for Melinda's
visit next week (and Karen's visit, the week after) -- I
finished washing and hanging the first batch of kitchen curtains
(bleaching them worked wonders!), then cleaned and polished the
exterior of the fireplace until it gleams. Sent Melinda one
final, quick letter with directions to our house and clothing
Got my first copy of "The Letter
Exchange," a new pen pal directory.
Ron was home early, took the dirty clothes to the laundromat for me,
washed but not dried. He is still remote and touchy and I steered
clear of him as much as possible. Dull dinner of hot dogs and
macaroni. Watched a movie called "Our Time" -- it
used to be called something else when it was in the theaters in the
early 70's, but I can't remember what? -- Pamela Sue
Martin, Betsy Slade.
Jamie is off the bottle (finally).
June 13, 1985
Thursday 10:30 a.m.
Life is temporarily
again. Can you stand some more complaints?
When I was at the
week -- in between conversations with skeptical doctors -- I leafed
through an old issue of The New Yorker. There was an
article about diarists and journal-writers throughout history.
line in particular caught my eye, which I can't remember word-for-word
but will paraphrase: All diarists, consciously or unconsciously, expect
to be read someday. They may not realize it as they're writing, and
they may not be able to picture in their mind exactly who it is they're
writing "to." But we all do expect to be read someday, by someone. I
know I do. I always have.
Who are you, reading
(Whoever you are, you're
think I was an awful complainer aren't you? Also that I was
boring, and mean-hearted ... )
Here is a quick run-down
on the crappy state of my life at
* Ray is moody and
with the kids, complains incessantly and won't tell me what's bugging
him. I can hardly bear to be in the same room with him.
* We are flat broke, and
nothing to cook for dinner.
* I'm miserably
again. I'm also between periods, and you know what THAT means.
A high-energy day
... more cleaning, particularly in the kitchen and dining area
(scrubbed walls, did windows, cleaned part of the ceiling).
Things are definitely beginning to look brighter and cleaner.
Cleaned Jamie's room, also.
Jamie has a "new
game" -- she sits at one end of our sofa with her toy keys
in her hand and pretends she's driving her "van." Just like her
Kacie has begun chewing
her nails all the time. Her fingers are always in her
mouth. I'm concerned -- not about the nail-biting
itself, but about what may be causing it. She seems kind of
tense. Maybe I should be extra gentle with her for awhile.
Ray was home around
8:30 -- we had a makeshift supper of TV dinners, French
fries, frozen chicken and steamed carrots.
June 14, 1985
Friday 8 a.m.
Things are an inch or
better. Ray was slightly less impossible last night. (Notice I said
only "slightly.") He is still buttoned up tight as a sweater about
work, money and/or whatever has been eating him lately. All attempts to
engage him in a decent conversation have failed, so I still have no
idea what the problem is. This allows my fertile imagination to run
rampant ... bankruptcy? unemployment? male menopause??? You tell me.
But he did come home at a decent hour, with some milk and a little
package of cookies for the kids, and he greeted them both with hugs and
kisses instead of bellowing at them to pick up their toys. And he ate
his crappy little TV dinner without complaint.
At 10 p.m. he went into
the bedroom to read while I stayed in the living room and watched "Hill
Street Blues." When I went into the bedroom to check on him a little
while later, he was sound asleep, still holding his comic book. He
looked so guileless and vulnerable at that moment -- like one of the
girls when they're sleeping. I found myself thawing slightly towards
him, against my better judgement. I can't be angry with someone who
looks so much like the two little delights of my heart!
Cloudy and rainy.
Finally got the rest of the laundry dried, folded and put away
-- washed the rest of the kitchen curtains, too.
I half-expected Grandma Vert to show up
today (her letter said she might), so I got all the work done by noon;
when she didn't show up, I spent the rest of the day playing with the
kids and writing letters.
An International crisis
developed late this afternoon, when Shihite Muslims in the Middle East
hijacked a jetliner full of American tourists and diverted it to
Beirut. This evening they killed one passenger, are threatening
to kill more.
Ray was home around
10:30. He'd borrowed a little money so he got us some
hamburgers. I went to bed and had horrible dreams all night about
nuclear war, caused no doubt by the hijacking.
Summer is here
... weather-wise, anyway. Up in the 70's today, with temps
in the NINETIES predicted for tomorrow and Monday (shit).
temperatures -- late this afternoon Kacie suddenly
developed a whopping fever. By the time I put her to bed it was
103°. She is listless and has no appetite. Children's
Tylenol and water.
Ray took Jamie out for
several hours this afternoon. They went to Dave's Place, and then
over to the folks. I am in a blue mood and I cried when they were
gone ... just kinda feeling like no one knows I'm
alive. Must be the heat and my impending period.
No resolution to the
hijacking crisis. The terrorists have set a deadline (2 a.m. our
time) for Israel to release 500 imprisoned Shihite Muslims or "there
will be a price to pay."
Steaks for dinner
-- a special treat, considering how broke we are.
Took pics of Jay
washing Ron's car, Kacie washing the trikes.
Pictures I took
Left, Jamie washing Daddy's car; right, Kacie handling trike-washing
June 15, 1985
June 16, 1985
Sunday 9:30 a.m.
One of the "little
my heart" is sick again: Kacie is running a fever. It started late
yesterday afternoon; Terry remarked that Kacie looked "very pale," and
when I took her temp it was 102º. She was listless and had no
appetite at all. Ray and Jamie weren't home until after 9 p.m. (he took
her with him to run some errands), so while I waited for them I sat
quietly in the living room, holding Kacie in my arms. Every hour or so
I checked her temperature. At 8:30 it peaked at 103.1º, and I
started feeling a little panicky. She was so limp and unresponsive.
When Ray finally got
Jamie, I told him we needed some Children's Tylenol. As usual, he was
annoyed and made a big fuss about it, before he finally went stomping
off to the store. He acted like it was such an imposition. When I
checked her in the middle of the night, her fever had lowered to
101º and she was sleeping comfortably.
This morning it was back
102º, and she threw up the Tylenol I gave her. That was about
hours ago. Now she seems to be feeling better. I've got her settled on
the sofa with a pillow, blankets, a bunch of stuffed animals and a
bottle. She drank 8 oz. of juice awhile ago and she's kept it down, but
she still doesn't have any appetite. Her spirits are good, though.
Every few minutes she tries to sneak off the sofa and go play.
Well, she ate a little
breakfast, and played for awhile with Jamie, but then she got sleepy
and quiet and I put her down early for a nap.
Jamie is outside
Daddy's car." I can see her, from the sofa where I'm sitting ...
puttering around the carport in her little peach colored sun suit,
spraying soap suds off the car with the garden hose ...
Kacie is very sick. Her temp
hovered around 102° for most of the day, and she was quiet and
withdrawn. I had very little problem getting her to lay quietly
on the sofa for most of the day. Gave her Children's Tylenol
every four hrs., lots of juice and water. She ate a small pancake
around noon but skipped dinner.
Didn't get as hot
outside as it was supposed to, but it was still a very warm, muggy
day. I watched a movie ("The Red Pony"), read the Sunday papers,
put together some mediocre spaghetti sauce out of odds and
Ray was his usual bloblike Sunday
self. I feel something ebbing here.
Tonight (2 a.m. or so),
Kacie's temperature suddenly shot up to a horrifying 104°. I
begged Ray to help me DO something, but he just went back to sleep, the
bastard. I nursed Kacie all through the night.
June 17, 1985
Monday 1 p.m.
We appear to be past the
Last night around 2 a.m. Kacie woke up and started to cry. When I
picked her up, her little body felt like it was on FIRE. I took her
temperature, and it was a horrifying 104º. She vomited the
and water I gave her, and I was at my wits' end ... I didn't know what
to do. I gave her a sponge bath, and that cooled her off a little.
was no help at all, of course. He stood there looking helpless, and
then he went back to bed! I was furious with him. I still am.
Her fever seems to have
today. When I last took her temp at noon it was 99.4º. I was
relieved, I breathed a prayer of thanks to God. She is cool and
cheerful today, and she ate a scrambled egg sandwich for lunch. Now
cold as a whistle!" JLP
Summer has arrived
calendar gives us another four days of spring, and the neighborhood
kids won't be set free from school until tomorrow. But in every other
way that counts, summer is here.
I have just spent the
minutes setting up the electric fan. First, it had to be rescued from
beneath a pile of junk in the shed outdoors. It was covered with dust
and grime, so I sprayed it with Windex and wiped it off, praying that I
wouldn't get dirt on the white slacks I borrowed from Ray (and which he
doesn't know I wear when he's at work). Now the fan is propped against
the open front door, whirring noisily. It is a familiar sound: this
will be the fifth summer that I have taken refuge in front of it. (That
first awful pregnant summer of 1981, when we were invaded by the Flea
Army ... the summer Jamie was two and Kacie wasn't crawling yet ...
last summer, when the girls threw little toys into the fan and shorted
it out ...)
Jamie hears the noise
wanders in from her sprinkler to investigate. "I remember THAT fan!"
she says, and sits on the floor in front of it. The breeze tosses her
hair around ... her clothes are damp from the sprinkler and her cheeks
are red round apples. I sit next to her on the floor and we enjoy the
breeze ... a blessing on this blisteringly hot day.
The sky is as blue as a
sea. I remember when I was a little girl, I was allowed to play in my
little swimming pool if the sky was "all blue." Every morning during
those four- and five-year-old summers, my brother Dickie and I would
anxiously scan the skies, praying for no clouds. Now I'm telling my
daughter the same thing.
"I can play in brinkler
today?" she asked me
earlier. "Dere's NO clouds."
I checked the robin's egg
-- no clouds -- and gave her my blessing.
My dislike of summer is
puzzlement to my husband. He grew up in Tucson, where it is summer all
the time, and hot sticky weather is as natural to him as breathing. I,
on the other hand, am a product of the Pacific Northwest, where the
seasons are more pronounced. I actually like
the rain. I come alive in the
fall and the winter, when nights are frosty and mornings are misty. In
summer, I wither. Ray loves to pull out the lawnchair, slather his body
with oil and bake under the sun for hours, or else climb a ladder and
sit on the roof of our house, with his beer, and gaze off into the
distance until the sun has disappeared for the night ...
optimistic about Kacie. Although she woke up this morning at
102°, by noon her temperature was almost normal and stayed that way
for the rest of the day. Yay!
Hot. I dragged
out the old electric fan from the tool shed and it provided some relief
from the heat. Jamie played outside all day.
Sent letters to Mom,
Dad and Karen.
Ray was home fairly
early, immediately headed up to the roof to catch some sun. I
cooked chicken and French fries for a delicious supper.
June 18, 1985
Up in the 80's today. Too hot for me! Laid out in the sun
for about 40 minutes and got a light sunburn on my arms and chest, then
spent the rest of the day indoors front of the fan!
Cut off an old pair of jeans and made them into shorts. Used the
fabric remnants to sew two little "purses" for the kids.
Kacie felt fine today, although the heat has left her a little wilted.
Jeanette stopped by for a short visit, loaned me three more books.
Made a macaroni salad, BLT's for supper. Ray was home at
5:30. We're very broke, and I'm anxious for Thursday.
June 19, 1985
Wednesday 8:20 a.m.
My period hit this
morning and I
am in misery. (Hot tea, aspirin, tightly-clenched teeth.) Waiting for
my beloved Don Johnson to be interviewed on The Today Show. Hoping it
won't be as hot today as it's been all week. Nervous about meeting my
pen pal Melinda on Friday.
Now the kids are settled
their "Sesame Street." I've just showered, made myself another cup of
tea (we're out of coffee). Awful cramps this morning ... the kind I
used to get when I was fourteen.
Poor Kacie. It's
been one thing after another lately ... today she has
chicken pox!!! At least, that's what it LOOKS like, and
Judy S. agrees with me. Kacie's back, neck and arms have erupted
into red bumps and she's slightly feverish. I called Ray at work
to let him know, and he was home early. We were going to take her
to Evergreen Hospital, but I talked to one of the pediatric nurses on
the phone and she said there was probably no reason to bring her in
unless complications developed. So I'm watching her very closely.
Melinda is going to be here tomorrow. I'm so nervous!!!!!
We've been writing to each other for eight years and are very close on
paper, but meeting face-to-face is another matter entirely. Will
we like each other? Will we get along?
Kacie doesn't have chicken pox ... at least, it doesn't
look that way today. The bumps on her back have faded to
practically nothing, and she has no fever at all today. I am
Payday ... you know how happy THAT made me feel! When
Ray got home this evening at 7 p.m., I grabbed the car and went to G.O.
Guy, where I bought myself a blue and white shirt, some white Dr.
Scholl's sandals, Jamie a pair of "jap-flaps," some Loving Care hair
color (reddish-brown) and some QT sunless tanning lotion.
Friday morning 7 a.m.
June 21, 1985
A moment or two of quiet
the kids get up. This is a day I've been looking forward to for years
-- I'm finally going to meet my longtime pen pal and friend, Melinda.
(She's the one I told the "horrendous lie" to, remember?) I feel
anticipation and nervousness. What if we don't like each other, face to
The big day.
Terry and her girlfriend Vanessa took the kids for a few hrs., leaving
me some time alone to get things done for Melinda's visit. I put
the finishing touches on my house (it SPARKLED), made a huge shrimp and
olive salad, and made myself "gorgeous."
I'd decided that this would be the perfect occasion to dye my hair for
the very first time: Mistake #1. It came out looking decidedly
more orange than "reddish brown." Plus I'd applied two layers of
QT on my face, chest and arms, hoping it would give me a nice faux tan:
Mistake #2. My face and skin wound up looking just as orange as
my hair. I looked hideous.
Terry loaned me her
portable stereo, so I listened to music all afternoon, working myself
into a festive mood. Started drinking beer in the middle of the
afternoon, too, which proved to be a gigantic mistake ...
by the time Bob and Melinda got here, around 7 p.m., I was completely
smashed. What a first impression I must have made! Melinda is
pretty much as I expected ... a little shorter and heavier,
maybe, but otherwise her photos do her justice. We were a bit
awkward around each other all evening. Ray barbecued steaks, and
after we ate we talked until midnight, but things felt awfully
strained. Her husband is obnoxious and I'm not sure I like him
very much. As for Melinda ... I'm wondering if she'll
ever want to write to me again after this weekend!!
I felt predictably awful today. What I fool I must have seemed to
Bob & Melinda last night!
In spite of my hangover today, I had to
get up early and get everybody ready for today's outings. Bob,
Melinda, Ray, the girls and I spent the day in downtown Seattle.
We briefly visited the Pike Place Market, then the Seattle Center (ran
into my father-in-law there!!) and the Space Needle. Kacie was
crabby and sunburned, and neither Bob nor Melinda seemed to be enjoying
themselves much. I'm really upset by the way this whole weekend
is turning out. Melinda and I haven't had five minutes along, Bob
is a jerk, I can't seem to come up with anything to do that they
enjoy ... it's a mess.
They dropped us off at home and went out to dinner by themselves (at my
insistence) ... we spent a quiet evening at home watching
TV. Ray went out and got us some fish & chips for dinner,
Terry was here and ate with us.
Bob and Melinda are supposed to stop by tomorrow sometime.
June 23, 1985
Sunday 1:30 p.m.
Well ... so much for
each other face to face. This has been a disappointing weekend, and I
should have known better, but I was hoping ... I don't know what I was
hoping for. Instant rapport, maybe. The same kind of easy, friendly
banter Melinda and I enjoy in our letters to each other. I wanted her
to be the Melinda I've known for the past eight years via the mail ...
witty, funny, sly. Certainly not this dour, prim, uncomfortable person
I've been entertaining all weekend. Who IS this person? It sure isn't
the Melinda I was expecting.
Fair is fair. I'm fairly
that I've disappointed her, too. I think she's more than a little
shocked by our "bohemian" lifestyle. I was roaring drunk when she and
Bob showed up on Friday night. I'd been so nervous at the prospect of
meeting her that I guzzled beer all afternoon to combat my nerves. By
the time they got here, I was feeling quite "jolly." When they walked
in the door, I was so excited that I grabbed Melinda and gave her a
huge bear hug. That was my first mistake. She was stiff and
unresponsive ... obviously not a "hugging person." That was my first
clue that all was not well. Ray barbecued steaks for our dinner that
night, but I was so smashed that I didn't eat anything. I kept yakking
on & on, about anything and everything, and when Melinda
get a word in edgewise she seemed overwhelmed by everything. Me,
She looks pretty much as
expected her to, except that she's shorter and wider. She's also
wearing glasses -- a surprise -- and her hair is shorter than it was in
any of the pictures she sent me. She looks much older than I expected,
although she's Ray's age (30).
Her husband Bob is a
impatient, obnoxious jerk. Since Melinda has always said as much in her
letters about him, this was not completely unexpected. Actually, when I
stop to think about it, Bob is the main reason I'm not having any fun
this weekend. Maybe if it was just Melinda and me, things would be OK.
But Bob is making it very clear that he's Not Having Fun, and this is
putting a huge damper on everything. Yesterday (Saturday) we -- Bob
& Melinda, Ray and the kids and I -- spent the day in downtown
Seattle, and no matter where we went or what we did, Bob refused to
enjoy himself. We rushed through the Pike Place Market, the Seattle
Center and the Space Needle -- places I ordinarily
have really loved seeing -- but with mopey Bob
around, looking alternately cross and bored out of his skull, it was
impossible to enjoy anything. When we were at the Market, Bob
wandered off by himself. When we finally found him, he was standing in
front of a newsstand reading a New Jersey newspaper. At the Seattle
Center, Jamie insisted on going on some rides. Who could blame her? We
were right in the middle of The Fun Forest, forcryingoutloud: what
little kid could resist something like that? So I told her she could go
on three rides. Bob looked disgusted and slunk off by himself for
did manage to squeeze in a pony ride for Jamie; Kacie was too little,
so she kept my penpal Melinda company instead
Melinda's visit, so far, has been so
disastrous that I felt I needed to do something to salvage our
friendship. She and Bob spent the day doing things by themselves,
so while I had some time to myself I sat and re-read some of her old
letters from the past eight years. It helped remind me, once
again, of how fond I am of her ... and it filled me with
determination. Tomorrow is our last day together, and it's got to
be a good one -- a day to remember.
Ray worked on painting
the house until it started to rain. Bob and Melinda stopped by
briefly to make plans for tomorrow (we're going to the zoo) but they
didn't stay for dinner.
Oh yes --
Don & Judy also stopped by today. Judy had some Avon for me,
I paid her $10.
We made tacos for
dinner, watched "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" -- Ray
and Terry got into a food fight! -- Jamie spent the night
June 24, 1985
All is well. This was a very pleasant day, and by the time Bob,
Melinda and I parted this evening (they're heading for California
tomorrow) our friendship was reaffirmed and we were sorry to say
We took the kids to the Woodland Park Zoo. It was my kids' first
trip to the zoo, and they loved it. Even Bob seemed to enjoy
himself! (He's not quite the jerk I made him out to be at
first.) Afterwards we had lunch at Kidd Valley.
Tonight Bob went to a Mariners game at the Kingdome, and Melinda spent
the evening with me. So we finally had some alone together.
She and I left the girls with Ray and we went to dinner at Friday's, in
Kirkland. After dinner we came back to my place (Ray and the kids
were asleep already) and talked for a few hours, until Bob got
back. I'm so glad that we had some time together because it
helped put things to rights again. When she had to go, we hugged
June 25, 1985
Slept until 10 a.m. -- it felt delicious. I'm sorry
that Melinda is gone, but relieved also. Now things can get back
to normal around here maybe.
Picked up the house, finished reading the weekend newspapers.
(Jennifer James printed my letter in her advice column in the Seattle
I don't remember what the letter was about, although it might have had
something to do with my relationship with my mother ... I'm
just not sure.
This weekend Kacie learned to say "Mommy" and "Jamie," and now that's
all I hear all day long!! "MOM-mee? MOM-meeee!"
Awful blister on my right foot from the new Dr. Scholl's sandals.
We have a new UHF channel on our TV -- KTZZ, Ch. 22.
I fiddled around with our TV and managed to get the new station to come
in quite clearly. Mostly re-runs from the 50's & 60's.
Ray was home fairly early; I cooked him some cube steaks and instant
mashed potatoes for supper.
Karen and her husband showed up this morning around 11 a.m. After
six years, I didn't even recognize my former best friend! She is
beautiful, poised, serene and blissfully pregnant ... I am
envious! She could only stay for a moment this morning, but later
in the afternoon she came back alone (while her hubby Dick visited his
relatives) and we had a nice, long visit. Everything in her life
seems to be going smoothly. We looked at her wedding album and at
my photo albums, gossipped about old friends, laughed about things we
did when we were kids. It was nice.
Made plans tonight to spend the weekend with Grandma Vert. The
girls and I will go down on Saturday and stay with her for a few
days. I just feel a need to spend some time in my childhood home.
Now it’s a few days later. Bob and Melinda have left, and
life has returned to normal.
It’s true that their visit began disastrously, and that I was
disappointed at first. I’m pleased to report, however, that
things improved. Melinda and I gradually warmed up to each other,
and it became easier to talk. She began to seem more like the
funny, familiar Melinda I’d been expecting. And Bob stopped
being such a complaining jerk -- by the end of their visit
I was actually beginning to enjoy him! He was a dry sense of
humor that I liked.
On Monday we all went to the Woodland Park Zoo, which finally proved to
be the activity everybody liked. Even Bob. I hadn’t
been there in years and I really enjoyed it. And of course the
kids thought it was great. That evening, Bob went to a Mariners
game at the Kingdome and Melinda spent the evening with me. She
and I went out to dinner, and then we sat at my house and chatted quite
companionably until Bob got back from the game, around midnight.
It was hard to say goodbye, but I had genuinely warm feelings toward
them both when we parted and I’m glad we had the chance to meet.
Today things are not going too well. This is Thursday, June
27 ... a week before payday, and we are flat broke.
Things are further complicated by the fact that we have no
electricity. Puget Power shut us off this afternoon. Ron is
doing his best at the moment (it’s 6:30 p.m.) to get the power
restored, but I have zero confidence in him.
Welll ... actually that's
not completely true. Parts of this day were lousy. Other
parts were OK. The girls and I had a "picnic" on the living room
floor at noon -- it was too cold and cloudy outside, so I
baked a pizza and we ate on a blanket in front of the TV. Fun!
Puget Power shut off
our electricity this afternoon while the kids and I were napping.
I called Ray and told him, and he had a fit ... he came
storming home right away. Later in the evening a friend of us
wrote us a check and we got the power turned back on.
I made this very odd
"stroganoff" for dinner out of leftovers ... ground beef,
carrots, potatoes, sour cream, etc. It was OK, although I
was not particularly overwhelmed with it.
Woke up with the beginnings of a sore throat and a dull headache.
Sure hope I'm not going to be sick this weekend at Grandma's.
Spent most of this day getting ready for our little "excursion"
... hand-washed a bunch of clothes, got started packing, cleaned
up the house. I wonder if Ray will miss us while we're gone?
June 29, 1985
Grandma Vert and her
friend Tony were here to pick the girls & me up at 10 a.m., and we
drove to Grandma's house for the weekend. How lovely to be in my
childhood home again! The interior of the house has changed a lot
since I was a kid, but the backyard is the same ... so dear
Walked the kids around
my old neighborhood, down to Sunset Park, etc. Jamie played with
Nicole Chamberlain (Harvey's daughter) next door for most of the
Gram made us one of her
famous pot roasts for supper. We spent the evening talking
-- trying to remember the words to "Redwing" --
reminiscing -- it was wonderful.
Kids and I shared the
June 30, 1985
I am sitting in the
my childhood home as I write this ... my head is so full of STUFF that
needs writing. But will it get written? I don't know. Between
conversations with my grandmother and monitoring my two rambunctious
& demanding young daughters, there hasn't been a lot of time
writing during the twenty-four hours we've been here. But I'll try.
The decision to come
spend some time with Grandma was a spontaneous one. It occurred to me
on Wednesday of last week, after a visit from my childhood friend Karen
(Pugh) Grace. Talking with Karen, and reliving "old times," kind of
made me feel nostalgic & lonely for my old neighborhood. So on
whim I called Grandma and asked if the girls and I could come down for
a visit. I guess you could say I invited myself! But she said OK.
Now I'm sitting in "my"
backyard. Maybe for the last time, ever. Who knows? It is a
slightly cloudy summer evening. The grass is short and brown and dry.
Everything seems more overgrown than I ever remember it being. The
apple trees and the cherry trees are so broad and heavily laden with
not-quite-ripe fruit, the branches dip nearly to the ground. The girls
try eating the pinkish cherries and tiny green apples, but they aren't
ripe enough yet.
Next door in the
yard, I can hear my childhood heartthrob, Harvey, talking to his
daughter Nicole. Funny that we both have daughters the same age. Harvey
is ten years older than me & balding now, but I still feel an
little "tingle" when I hear his voice. Strange how some things don't
This backyard is as
dear to me a place as any I've ever known, and yet I feel so strange
being here! First of all, there is the fact that all this is due to be
demolished in the fall (by the Port of Seattle). God. My heart just
turned over at the thought. The rock wall Grandpa built ... my
brother's cedar tree ... the garden ... Dad's tree fort ... how can all
of these precious memories be bulldozed in five months??
My daughter pedals her
around on the flat stubbly grass. A sprinkler rains gently on the spot
where my childhood swingset used to stand: there are faint indentations
in the grass still, where the swings used to be twenty years ago. Jamie
asks me, "What's the magic word in dis backyard?" She is big on "magic
words" at the moment, thanks to Sesame Street. I look around my huge,
wonderful, green, leafy, beautiful yard ... the scene of most of my
childhood memories, good and bad. What one magic word could possibly
describe it all?
I am absolutely
feeling as I sit here. Everything in this yard is so incredibly dear.
The hedge that separates our yard from the Chamberlin's ... Grandma's
(Harvey spoke to me!
Just now. I
was walking towards the house to check on my laundry when I heard him
call out "TERRI?" across the fence. How embarrassing to admit how my
heart ‘leapt in joy' at the sound of his voice! All he wanted
to return Jamie's doll, which she'd left at his house. Talk about
Where was I? Oh yes ...
feelings about this yard. It's funny -- not really funny, more
surprising -- I've been mourning the imminent loss of this house, when
in fact what I will miss most is the backyard. The house has been
fickle. Outwardly it hasn't changed much at all, except maybe for the
patio Grandpa built in the mid-70's. But inside everything is
different. I was taking a shower last night, and I realized that the
only thing in that bathroom that hasn't changed since my childhood was
the ceiling! Everything else has been re-done, the floor, the window,
the fixtures. And it's like that throughout the entire house ...
virtually nothing is the way it was when I was a child. My bedroom is
now my step-grandfather's room (and as such is off-limits to me). Even
the attic where Dickie used to sleep has been remodeled. But the yard
has stayed true. A little leafier ... a bit more overgrown since the
days Grandpa Vert fastidiously cared for the yard ... but the trees are
all in the same old spots, the rock wall is the same, everything is the
Decided not to go to
church this morning -- partially because I discovered (to
my dismay) that I'd left my purse at home and it had some crucial
things in it -- mascara, hairbrush, etc. Grandma and
Ted went to church, though, so I had a little time to myself in my
This afternoon the kids and I walked two
blocks over to Dad and Valerie's house. Dad grilled some hot dogs
and got me some cold beer: we sat and visited for a couple of hours,
then he drove us back to Gram's. I sat out in the backyard and
wrote in my journal ... mostly my feelings and memories of
As much as I've enjoyed
our visit with Gram Vert, I think it's time to move on. The kids
are bored and getting on Grandpa Ted's nerves. Tomorrow we're
going to Gram St. John's for a couple of days.
Notes I took while talking with Grandma
- Her two half-sisters were
- Grandma's father, David
Luther Roberts, died of lung cancer in 1932
- The last time Gram saw
father - she was in hosp. giving birth to Aunt Bonnie, she
they sent for Gram's father.
Mom came and picked up
the girls and I this morning at 11:00, and we spent a nice day
together. Went to the Highline School District Museum, where Gram
St. John works -- a fascinating place! Lunch with Mom
and Gram at the bowling alley. Then Mom and I took the kids down
to Seahurst Park, let them romp in the surf and the sand. Jamie
adored it. Went by my brother's place and finally got a chance to
meet little Karen.
Mom dropped us off at
Gram St. John's. The kids played with a big box of old toys, tore
around the yard. We sat up late watching Monday night TV,
drinking, talking. Kacie slept in my cousin Ben's old crib; Jamie
and I shared the guest bed.
July 2, 1985
Spent the day at Grandma St. John's. Very hot and sunny.
Grandma and I took the girls for a walk down the street to Cedarhurst
Elementary and let them play on the playground equipment for an hour or
remember Grandma commented on how "red" my hair looked in the sunlight,
as we sat and watched the girls playing on the monkey bars that
afternoon. "My mother's hair was that color," she said
wistfully. I didn't have the heart to tell her it was mostly Miss
When we got back to Grandma's, we sat in the shade of her backyard and
took a nap.
This afternoon Aunt Ann, Mom and Debi all stopped by to chat.
Grandma fried the girls some shrimp for their supper. Tonight she
and I sat up and watched a movie until late, something with Valerie
Harper. We talked, a little ... Grandma is very dear.
July 3, 1985
The final day of our
"mini vacation" ... and the best. Mom, Gram St. John,
the kids and I drove out to Black Diamond for a picnic at Aunt Ann's
parents' place. Beautiful home, set in the woods near a
creek. Jay and Kacie played happily with Ann's nieces Kelli and
Kim, swam in the wading pool, rode trikes ... the women sat
in the sunshine and talked. Picnic lunch, cold beer.
I remember I found an open fifth of whiskey in the kitchen and
liberally helped myself to it all afternoon: by the end of the day I
was completely squiffed.
Mom drove us home late
in the afternoon. I was so thrilled to be back! Ray was
home, seemed glad to see us. I gave Mom a bunch of baby clothes
to take to Gina. A
month later I was kicking myself.
Ray went out tonight,
left me alone at home ... but I didn't mind. It was
nice to have some time to myself.
July 5, 1985
Ah, at last ... the
been dreaming of for nearly a week ... a quiet sunny morning in MY OWN
KITCHEN. And no plans for this day except to putter around and clean
We're home. Actually, we
home Wednesday evening -- tired, dirty and sunburned -- but then
yesterday was the Fourth of July and things were a little crazy around
here -- it was by no means a "regular" day. Today is the first chance
I've really had to settle back into my home and unwind. After being
gone for five days and five nights, I cannot believe how wonderful it
feels to be home ... my dear, messy, precious little house. Drinking
coffee out of my own chipped blue mug ... toys scattered around the
living room floor ... the kitchen a mess, as always ... it all feels so
right and good. Absence did wonders for this heart.
I had dreams this
morning that I
was pregnant again ... very vivid dreams ... I
the baby kicking inside of me. When I woke up, sleepy and disoriented,
Jamie was laying in bed next to me. (Ray found her sleeping
the floor in the hallway when he left for work this morning at 5 a.m.,
and he carried her into our bed.) Neither of my kids are up
although I can hear Kacie beginning to thrash around in her crib. I
expect they'll be up shortly. It's a nice morning, sunny but with big
fat clouds rolling by, and a decent breeze. The kind of summer morning
I like best. I'm very hungry, but I'm waiting until the girls are up to
fix breakfast. In the meantime I stole a few bites of cold Chinese
fried rice, remnants of last night's take-out, directly from the
carton. How lovely to be able to raid my own refrigerator!!
We spent Saturday and
Grandma Vert's house in Seattle, and Monday and Tuesday at Grandma St.
John's. On Wednesday we went to a family picnic out in Black Diamond,
and then we came home afterwards. During our stay we also managed
visits with Dad & Valerie, Dick, Mom and Debi. So it was a real
By Monday I was very
but fighting it. I talked to Ray every day on the phone, and he sounded
a bit "at loose ends" with the kids and I gone, although I must say he
didn't sound quite as heartbroken as I would have liked!! The
kids did pretty well, sleeping in strange beds and all, but I could
tell they were lonely for home, too. Kacie had frequent brief flashes
of temper that seemed completely disconnected from anything that was
happening at the moment, and I attributed that in part to unfamiliar
surroundings. Jamie was better able to talk about her feelings. "My
Daddy MISSES me!" she'd say occasionally, and I would tell her yes, he
There were high points
points. Grandma Vert's house was a little dull, especially for the
kids. Jamie played next door at the Chamberlin's house with Nicole
(that's Harvey's daughter), and "Grandpa Ted" bought the kids some
secondhand toys at Value Village; but basically there was nothing to do
there. I walked the kids down to Sunset Park to play, only to discover
that the swings & merry-go-round have been torn down. We spent
of our time reading magazines, drinking tea and watching TV. At night
-- bedtime was 9:00! -- the kids and I shared the sofa bed in the
living room. I layed there in the darkness until midnight, listening to
the cuckoo clock. On Sunday, the kids and I walked the two blocks over
to Dad and Valerie's. Dad was hungover but in an otherwise agreeable
mood: he grilled us some hot dogs and bought me a six-pack of Rainier,
most of which I drank at his house before returning to Grandma's.
On Monday morning I
stuff and Mom came to pick us up and take us to Grandma St. John's for
a couple of days. We spent most of Monday with Mom ... a definite high
point of the trip. We went to Grandma's museum first ... that's the
Highline School District Museum, located in the old Sunnydale
Elementary School building. Grandma has been instrumental in putting
the museum together and she acts as curator. A fascinating place!
Afterwards, we had lunch at the bowling alley, and then Mom and I took
the girls to Seahurst Park, where Jamie frolicked in the surf and both
of the kids played in the sand and rocks. Then we paid a visit to my
brother, who lives in White Center, and I finally got to meet my baby
niece, Karen. Such a sweet baby! Copper hair ("strawberry blonde," Mom
said) and huge, wide-set blue eyes. Dick is on crutches so I offered to
change Karen's diaper for her, then I held her for a long time. Then
Mom took us to Grandma's and dropped us off. Grandma and I spent the
evening drinking beer (me) and wine (Grandma) and watching Monday night
TV in the living room. Kacie slept well in my little cousin Ben's old
crib, and Jay and I shared my old bed -- a vast improvement over
Grandma Vert's sofa bed!!
I'm not as comfortable
St. John as I am with Grandma Vert, but we still managed to have a
fairly pleasant visit. We walked the kids over to Cedarhurst Elementary
and let them play on the playground equipment for an hour, and I spent
some time looking at old family photos and reading. Kacie's temper was
really beginning to show by this point and it was an effort keeping her
entertained and happy. Jamie discovered Grandma's big front porch and
immediately turned it into her "pretend house," playing happily there
for the whole two days.
Wednesday was a really
Mom, Grandma, the girls and I drove out to Black Diamond, where my Aunt
Ann's parents have a home. Her folks are out of town and Ann is
watching their house for them. Ann's sister was there also with her two
little girls, ages 6 and 3, so my kids had someone to play with all
day. They romped in the wading pool and ran around in the surrounding
woods and had a ball. We had a lovely picnic lunch (I got completely
bombed on some Black Velvet I found in the kitchen) and spent the
afternoon in the sun, drinking and talking.
Mom finally drove us
the picnic. Ray was here when we got home ... I was glad
to see him. But most of all I
was just happy to be home.
It's such an uncomfortable feeling, being a guest in someone else's
house. The pressure was enormous. Washing my hair in a strange
bathroom, not being able to eat what and when I liked, coping with the
kids in front of other people ... it was all much harder than I'd
expected. Neither one of my grandmothers drink coffee anymore, and I
missed that. I couldn't smoke at Gram Vert's. I missed my soap operas.
All the familiar boring day-to-day stuff I love.
My reasons for going on
"trip" in the first place were never really well thought-out, anyway. I
had this vague sort of idea that I needed to spend some time in
familiar childhood places. With Gram's house due to be demolished in
the fall, I figured I needed one last chance to walk around my
childhood home. And there was also a desire to be separate from Ray for
a little while. That's SEPARATE, not "separated." Just to put a little
distance between us and take a breather from each other. I think I was
hoping he would be terribly lonely for us, thus "appreciating" us more
when he came home. Finally, I wanted to give my kids a break from the
routine and expose them to something different. How much of this I
actually managed to accomplish is hard to say. It felt good to spend
some time with my family, and Ray did appear to be genuinely glad to
see us come home. And the kids had enough "adventures" to last them the
rest of the summer.
It's just ... well, you
Never 100% satisfied. I feel like I didn't accomplish as much as I
should have. For one thing, I rushed out of Grandma Vert's in such a
hurry on Monday morning that I think I hurt her feelings. It wasn't
intentional: it just worked out that way. And I never had the chance to
really say "goodbye" to the house, which was my original goal after
Felt crummy all day,
predictably. Ray worked, the kids and I spent the day napping,
snacking (I made some potato skin appetizers). I started a new
book, a biography of The Rolling Stones.
Ray was home at 9
p.m. We made cold turkey sandwiches for supper.
I have grown to like my
new short hair very much! Terry helped me even up the back, and
it looks a lot neater.
Swelteringly hot today, without a trace of breeze. I was sweaty
and uncomfortable all day. How I despise weather like this!!
Barbara stopped by with one of her boyfriends this afternoon for
a quick visit. Terry was over a couple of times also, loaned us
some money. I can't believe that we're broke ALREADY!
Washed a huge load of dirty dishes, finished drying clothes, finished
reading the Rolling Stones biography. The kids romped nude in
their pool all day, which kept them cool and happy.
Kacie said "Mommy I all DONE Mommy!" tonight after her supper
... her longest sentence to date!
Another day in the high 80's. How will I last through July
... August ... September???? Fall seems a
hundred million years from now.
Of course the kids were outside all day. Jamie is beautifully
tanned, brown as a little Indian princess. Kacie has my fair skin
and burns easily so I have to cover her up after awhile. Sat
outside myself for an hour, got some color on my arms and chest.
Anita sent me two cute photos of her kids today, Kristy and Matt.
Started reading a good book called "Almost Paradise" by Susan
Isaacs. Made the kids some Jell-O, I had a little wine in the
afternoon. Ray was home shortly after five. We have no money at
all, and payday is ten days away.
Barbecued chicken on the Weber, I stuffed some potatoes to go with.
Gave away another kitten tonight -- only one left!
Sweltering, up in the low 90's. I can't STAND this. I could
handle temps in the 70's, but this constant, blisteringly-dry heat is
killing me. It was all I could do today to finish a modicum of
housework (dishes and beds) and prepare meals for the kids. My
appetite has vanished (the only benefit I can see of this heatwave) and
I'm tired as heck. Tried to nap this afternoon, but too many
interruptions, so I just layed in front of the fan and rested.
Terry was over in the evening modeling her new summer clothes
(short-shorts), which left me completely depressed. Our
cute, slightly plump little babysitter was morphing into a sleek,
lovely teenager, which only served to remind me that I would never be
fourteen years old again.
Washed and trimmed the girls' hair tonight; they both look cute.
Cooked cube steaks, corn and potatoes; Ray home at 9:30.
We're going to keep the last kitten. Now we need a name for her.
July 10, 1985
Summertime. We're in the
of another disgusting heat wave, just like last summer. Seems like no
time at all between then and now. Every time I blink my eyes it's JULY
The girls are in a
state of nudity these days, and for a change the house isn't littered
with toys ... the front yard is. The kids have a new wading pool. It's
about four or five feet across, maybe eight inches deep, hard thin
green plastic with pictures of dolphins and starfish all over it. Jamie
practically lives in it. She has spent so much time in the sun and
water lately that her skin is the color of cinnamon toast. I cut her
bangs yesterday and put her hair up in round Dutch braids, and she is
such a beauty, with her lovely tan and her cute new hairdo, I can
hardly take my eyes off her ...
Kacie, too, is a
cutie. She refuses to wear clothes this summer, and her chubby little
body is pink all over. She is getting some freckles across her nose and
cheeks, and she reminds me more of her Daddy every day.
I cut my hair the other
shortest I can ever remember wearing it -- just shoulder length. It
took all the courage I could muster to cut it, and another couple of
days to get used to it. But now I like it very much. It is definitely
neater-looking, and decidedly more adult ... not so "high school."
We've managed to give
the kittens now except for one, a fuzzy gray female. Against my better
judgement, I think we'll keep her. That makes three cats (Cecil, Wendie
and this kitten, as yet unnamed) and two dogs (Dink and Yogi, who grew
to be just as huge as I feared).
Kacie is talking all the
now. Every day her command of language grows. The other night she said
her longest sentence to date: "Mommy I all done Mommy!"
More hot stuff.
When Terry came over to visit this afternoon she found me in
tears ... the weather has left me so dried-out and
defeated, I can barely crack a smile.
Terry took Jamie
swimming at the public pool in Kirkland for a couple of hrs., which Jay
enjoyed. Kacie and Charlie got into a major fracas this
evening -- I looked out the window in time to see Charlie
pull Kacie's hair and shove her to the ground! Angrily sent the
little monster home.
Melinda -- she's home, safe and sound. Started a
Ray got home at 9:30,
says there's a chance he might get a $400 vacation check this
weekend. Please, Lord ...
Had weirdly vivid
dreams all night that I had another baby girl, and that we named her
"Anna Banana." (I guess we've found a name for our kitten
July 11, 1985
70's today -- much easier to handle! Still, I found
myself feeling "blue" today ... tired of being broke all
the time ... sick of ground beef ... wondering
how in the world we'll make it for another week with no money
And then came Ray to the rescue!! He showed up this evening with
a carload of groceries. He got the vacation check, after
all!!!!! Food ... shampoo ... pet
food ... fresh vegetables ... meat
... cold beer ... he even bought magazines and wine
for me, coloring books and treats for the kids. It was like
Christmas in July!!
Nice, nice day. Hot again, but I didn't mind ...
there's lots of food in the house, we have enough money to get through
the weekend comfortably, I am happy.
Borrowed Terry's cassette player and spent a fun day making tapes and
drinking beer. Ray came home this evening and fixed the tapedeck
on our stereo, so now I can play my new mix tapes.
Invited Don Jr. and Judy to come out on Sunday afternoon and go to the
fair with us -- BBQ afterward -- Judy said OK.
Hot, lazy, hungover day ... Ron worked, the kids and Terry
and I spent the day hanging around the house, watching the marathon
"Live Aid" concert on TV. Ate like a pig all day long: the kids
and I had a special breakfast together around the table (scrambled
eggs, sausages and blueberry muffins), then later Terry and I had a
pizza delivered! Must have put on 10 lbs. today!
Ray went down to the Moss Bay Days Festival for a few hours tonight by
himself, as he does every year. Tomorrow he will take the kids
and I, but tonight was his night to howl. When he got home at 1
a.m. (he walked to and from the fair) he was bouncing off the walls.
New Prince song that I love: "The Tears in Your Eyes."
Don and Judy didn't come out today after all ... Judy
called the Solo's early this a.m. and left a message for me that they
couldn't make it. I'd already begun cleaning house and making
dinner preparations, so it was a bit of a let-down.
Took the kids down to the Moss Bay Days Festival. They went on
all the kiddie rides, then we walked around and looked at things for
awhile. The fair was hot and crowded, but we had a nice
time. Bought the girls their very first Sno-Cones --
they loved them!
Came home, let the kids splash in their pool while I read the Sunday
papers, drank a few cold beers. Ray and I worked on dinner
together: I made a salad and he broiled some round steak.
I'm not having much luck with my feet this summer. Walking around
at the fair yesterday in the new Dr. Scholl's, I developed more of
those god-awful blisters, this time on both feet ... and
then today I stepped on something sharp in the driveway, which appears
to have become mildly infected. My whole right foot is a swollen,
Mind-numbingly hot this afternoon. The girls napped most of the
afternoon (Kacie in bed, Jamie on the living room floor), both of them
exhausted from the heat.
Vacuum cleaner is broken again -- my fault this time.
Washed a load of kids' clothes by hand, baked some chicken breasts for
supper. Ray wasn't home until 1:30 a.m. -- says that
he's on "swingshift" for the week.
Ray slept all morning and long into the afternoon ... the
kids didn't even know he was here until he got up! I did my work
early in order to beat the heat. This damned hot weather is
fouling everything up: my energy level virtually disappears. If I
don't get things done before noon, they don't get done at all.
What I couldn't give for a nice rainstorm ...
Terry leaves tomorrow for two weeks in Eastern Washington (to visit her
father) -- she came by and said goodbye this afternoon.
Mom and Ken have moved back into their old house! Got a
change-of-address card. New phone number is 243-8431.
Nice evening ... Ray was at work, I took a long shower and
washed my hair, drank a couple of beers, played with Jamie, watched
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." I like it when Ray is
July 17, 1985
Wednesday noon again
A week later, and the
weather goes on ...
Jamie is running a
this morning, and her nose is plugged up. I gave her some Children's
Tylenol and made her a bed on the sofa, but trying to keep her "quiet"
is proving to be impossible.
Terry left this morning
two week visit with her dad in Eastern Washington. We're going to miss
Ray is working
week. It all came up very suddenly and will only last for a few days,
so it isn't causing the sort of emotional upheaval we went through last
summer when Ray was on swing shift for four months. That time, I hated
him working nights ... I hated it at first, anyway: towards the end I
grew to like it. This time, I love it. It's so nice having my evenings
all to myself, knowing exactly where Ray is the whole time. Of course,
I've always been alone in the evenings a lot around here, on those
nights when he's hanging out at the tavern until all hours ... that's
been a pattern since our relationship began ... a pattern I'm not crazy
about but have managed to get used to. This is different. For some
reason, being home alone at night when I know for certain Ray is at
work and not at the tavern gives the whole thing a different feel. I
can relax and enjoy myself, knowing he isn't out somewhere wrecking his
car or laying in a ditch ... it's as though I've been given permission
to enjoy my evening. No worry and no guilt.
Jamie woke up with a
slight fever (100°) this morning -- she was flushed and
sleepy most of the day. Even though it was another hot day, I
wouldn't put any water in the wading pool because she was sick.
Named the kitten
1985 is ...
Coke (new this summer)
and boxes of wine ... old friends Melinda, Karen and Phil visiting us
... Mitzi, our new kitten ... Don Johnson ... Power Station &
Taylor ... Joe Montana ... "Jumpers," Jamie's horrible new swimming
pool game ... Channel 22 ... "Dallas" re-runs ... Scrabble and Wheel of
July 18, 1985
Payday. Ray got
up early to go pick up his check and get it cashed, then he brought a
few bags of groceries. Bought me a typewriter ribbon, typing paper,
some other little odds and ends I needed.
Up in the 80's again
today. I started drinking white wine early in the afternoon,
later switched to beer. Listened to music, watched the Thursday
shows. The kids splashed in their pool until almost 9 p.m., when
it finally began to cool off.
My drinking is getting out of hand, I think. When I woke up this
morning I discovered a deep and painful gash, just above my left
eye ... and had NO idea how or when I got it. Must've
been last night.
Had the surprise of my LIFE this afternoon when my old friend (and
former boyfriend) showed up on my doorstep, Phil Rehberg. I
looked like hell and felt very embarrassed about it at first, but
talking to Phil was so easy and so wonderful that I soon forgot all
about my appearance and just enjoyed his visit. He stayed for
four hours, and I loved every minute of it.
July 20, 1985
Saturday 9:30 a.m.
A lot on my mind this
This is going to be another blisteringly hot day -- up in the 90's
again -- and I'm trying to convince myself to do the housework NOW,
while it's still relatively cool. So far it's not working. (And neither
am I, har har.)
Ray is sleeping, and the
are watching their Saturday morning cartoons. I made coffee, but
somehow drinking coffee on a hot summer morning doesn't feel right ...
it's like drinking a milkshake during a snowstorm. Besides, I've got
one of my rotten stomach aches this morning, the second day of a
particularly nasty hangover. So the coffee is just sitting there
I woke up yesterday
a huge bloody gash above my left eye ... and
memory of how it got there. It's incredibly sore, not to mention ugly.
It scares me to think I could hurt myself like this and not even
remember doing it. Thursday night I was drinking beer and listening to
music through the headphones ... and that's all I remember. The next
thing I knew I woke up in the morning and found my eye like this. I was
horrified. I've had blackouts before, but I've never woken up with an
unexplained black eye! I must have fallen and hit my head: it's a
wonder I didn't kill myself. I'm such a jerk. To
this day I still have a faint scar in the middle of my left
eyebrow. Every morning I look at it in the mirror, as I'm putting
on my makeup,
and it reminds me yet again how very glad I am to be sober.
The kitten is sitting on
table in front of me, watching me write. She seems to be making herself
right at home these days. Does she know we're thinking about keeping
her? She's such a pretty little thing ... fur the color of ashes, eyes
the color of amber ...
One of Jamie's goldfish
the red and white one she named "Billy." I found him sprawled across
one of the shells in the fish bowl this morning, and sadly broke the
news to Jamie. She said, "Oh, my fishy died, like Rudy's fishy?" (the
little girl on The Cosby Show). She seemed to accept the finality of it
without much trouble. I gave her Billy in a cup of water and told her
she could "flush" him. She went into the bathroom, and a minute later I
heard her flush her dead fish. "Bye bye Billy," she said. "I'll see you
in Heaven." At that point I had to suppress the urge to giggle, but
Jamie was very serious about it and I wouldn't have offended her for
I didn't sleep well last
I woke up in the middle of the night and had a sudden panic attack
about Grandma Vert's house being torn down. I was literally in a cold
sweat ... it was awful. The prospect of the house being destroyed is
something I've had to live with for a few years now, and I thought I'd
managed to accept it. I guess I haven't, after all. I was awake for
hours, turning it over in my heart. I am so sad about it.
When I did fall asleep
I dreamed about airplanes crashing -- one of my more frequent
But time for the really
news. I had a surprise visitor yesterday ... none other than my
longtime pal, sometime-boyfriend Phil!
of Jamie's goldfish was dead when we got up this morning --
"Billy," the red and white one. Jamie gave him a brief eulogy ("Bye bye Billy, we'll see you in Heaven")
before flushing him away ...
DAMN this fucking heat!! Excuse my language, but it's driving me
nuts. 95° today and more of the same predicted for the NEXT
had to work tonight so I had the evening to myself. Watched all
the dumb Saturday night TV shows, ate a makeshift dinner of frozen
chicken nuggets and French fries, enjoyed some quiet, private
time. Ray mentioned that he might get off work at 11 p.m. and be
home early, but I guess he decided to stay out and "play" instead.
July 21, 1985
Ray didn't come home until early this morning ... the girls
and I found him asleep in the lawnchair in the front yard! He
slept most of the day.
Jamie and I went to
G.O. Guy and I bought a few little things for the kids and myself;
typing paper, magazines, inflatable swim rings for the kids and a big
plastic ball for them both to share.
Drank some beer this afternoon and managed to get myself all worked up,
into one of my "weepy" moods ... picked a whopper of a
fight with Ray, mainly because he was ignoring me ... I
know I'm drinking too much lately. What is driving it?
Boredom? Depression? Heat?
July 22, 1985
Typical day. Cloudy and overcast, but very hot and muggy
... in some ways the mugginess is worse than the heat. I
felt tired and draggy all day. Managed to get most of my
housework done, though, mostly because housework helps keep my mind off
my problems. I'm lonely, bored, frustrated .... I
keep blowing up at my kids ... I need something, but I
don't know what. Reassurance? Validation? Scope?
Made dinner for Ray this evening but he didn't come home. I am
diving headfirst into one of my Class A Blue Funks ... I
can feel it coming. Look out, everybody!
July 23, 1985
Cloudy and overcast again, with slightly cooler temps (low 70's) and
not as muggy as yesterday. I spent the morning working on my
cookbooks, getting some things ready for mailing (a listing for The
Letter Exchange, a letter to Sue Miseroy). Kind of bored with
life at the moment. The kids are arguing with each other all day
long, the dirty laundry is piling up (and no way to wash it), the
vacuum is broken again ... the same, same, SAME OLD SHIT.
July 24, 1985
Wednesday 10 a.m.
Still summer ... still
Everyone is marveling
a "great" summer this has been so far, weather-wise. We haven't had a
drop of rain in over a month, and temperatures have consistently been
in the 80's and 90's. The past couple of days it has been overcast but
muggy as hell. How can people stand it?? Am I the only person alive who
finds this weather oppressive?
Just out of bed. Dreamed
morning about Dan F., my high school Stage Band teacher &
Second time I've dreamed about him this summer. Wonder what he's doing
these days? Last time I saw him was in 1980, when I ran into him at a
Bellevue nightclub, The Saratoga Trunk. I hope he's happy. I tried
looking him up in an
Eastside phone book this morning but couldn't find anything. I don't
know what I would have done if I'd found him listed ... write him a
letter, I suppose, just to say "hello."
Kacie has a new way of
us out of bed in the mornings: she stands in her crib and shouts,
"MOM-MEE! OPEN-EE DOOR, MOM-MEE!!" I'm very pleased with the way
Kacie's verbal skills have improved this summer. She was a little slow
in the talking department to begin with, but now she's making up for
lost time. I can understand 90% of everything she says these days ...
her requests for cereal and juice, her complaints about Jamie, her
funny new way of "counting" ("two, FEE!") ... and it's such fun to be
able to talk to each other.
Not as much fun: Kacie's
habit of getting into the toothpaste and rubbing it all over her legs.
She thinks it's suntan lotion! What a sticky, awful mess it
Dreamed about high
school and college all night -- woke up feeling a little
nostalgic. Got out the yearbooks and looked at them for
awhile this a.m.
I must be getting
acclimated to the hot weather. It was in the 80's again, as
usual, but I never felt overly uncomfortable. Michele and Michael
Inman, cousins of the Harlan kids next door, came over to play with my
girls for a couple of hours.
Sent a letter to Sue
Miseroy in Florida; worked on my cookbooks again. Ray was home
early, took the dirty clothes to the laundromat. Made hot dogs
and macaroni salad for dinner, watched a "Dynasty" re-run.
"Almost Paradise." Need something good to read now.
July 25, 1985
A bit more energetic than usual. Got all the laundry folded and put away; cleaned my bedroom; wrote a letter to Georgia.
The Inman kids were here again for a while. Jamie and Michelle
play together pretty well ... Michelle is the pretend
"Muther," Jay is the "Dodder."
July 26, 1985
Brought the kids into bed with me this morning; when the two of them
are asleep together, they look like a pair of angels ...
OK day. Terry came home from her dad's unexpectedly early
-- she came over to visit, show off her tan and her new bathing
suit. (Sigh.) Leslie, our neighbor across the street
(next door to the Solos) brought over a half-case of beer, to repay Ray
for some help he gave her last week on her car. The Harlans (next
door) are having a garage sale. I've got no money, but I went
over and browsed anyway, had them set aside a few items, hoping they'll
extend me credit until Thursday.
Ray was home around 9:00. I spent my evening fruitlessly waiting
to tape a new Power Station song ("Bang A Gong"), but the radio station
never played it. Ray bought some Burger King stuff for a late
supper. No Miami Vice tonight.
July 27, 1985
Woke this morning from dreams of massive tidal waves,
destruction. In the dream I managed to save Jamie but couldn't
get back in time for Kacie. Woke up sobbing.
HOT and stuffy today. Finally got my Power Station song, "Bang A
Gong." Went next door to the Harlans and negotiated a Thursday
payment for the garage sale stuff I wanted (ceramic things, six albums,
Jamie's favorite game this summer: jumping off the picnic bench into
her pool. She calls the bench her "Jumper," which is supposed to
mean diving board, I guess.
No Ray tonight. Jamie and I sat up and watched a scary movie,
"The Haunting of Julia" (Mia Farrow, Tom Conti). I went to sleep
with the lights on!
July 28, 1985
Sunday 11 a.m.
Frightening dreams, two
in a row.
Friday night I dreamed
tidal waves and floods. It started out as a flood -- we were knee-deep
in water. I picked Jamie up and carried her to an apartment building
where Sheryl and Jeff were living; I wanted to warn them about the
flood. When we got to their apartment, I looked out the window and saw
a massive wall of water headed directly for us. As it crashed through
the window, I threw myself on top of Jamie and Tanya, trying to protect
them. I was sure we would all die, but somehow we survived it. The next
thing I knew, I was driving around town in a jeep, looking for
survivors. There were piles of dead people all over the place,
including a lot of small children and babies. Suddenly I started
KACIE? Where's KACIE???" And
that's when I woke up.
Last night's dream was
worse. My mother-in-law called me on the phone and said that Ray had
been in a car accident. "Is he OK?" I asked, and she said very
brusquely, "No, he's dead." Someone had hit Ray's car from the rear and
his neck had snapped. I was sick with grief. "I want to SEE him!!" I
kept screaming at everyone, but they had taken his body away already
and I wasn't allowed to see him. I knew I would never see my husband
again, and I was so sad that I woke up in tears.
Ray came in very late
night. Jamie was sleeping in my bed with me, so he crawled into her
bed. When I woke up from the nightmare about him dying &
it was only a dream, I was so relieved that I ran into Jay's room and
threw my arms around him. He woke up, startled. "I LOVE you!" I sobbed,
and I'm sure he thought I was completely nuts.
Awful dream last night
that Ray was killed in a car accident. I woke in a sweat, filled
with feelings of love, worry, relief. I do love him!
Made a complete and total fool out of myself tonight. Judy S. isn't speaking to me now.
I am shopping in a
with Jamie and Kacie; we're picking out frozen breakfasts.
"Stay here a
minute," I tell them. "I'm going to get some milk."
I walk across the
rear of the store toward the dairy section. In one corner of the store
there are three teenagers, dressed in bizarre punk outfits and sporting
Mohawks. They are stuffing cans of beer into their jackets and
laughing. I pretend that I don't see what they're doing, but they see
me and immediately surround me, grabbing me by the arms, and pushing me
towards the front of the store. I realize I'm being abducted. I try to
ease the situation with humor. "Hey, do we have to walk around like
Siamese twins?" I say, jokingly, but no one laughs.
I realize then that one
punks is Theresa, a humorless, black-hearted girl I went to school
with. I try to reason with her. "I've got two babies!" I say to her.
"They're only one and two years old!"
Down the aisle I can see Jamie
and Kacie, still waiting for me. They look the way they did in
September 1984, the day we visited Grandma Vert; Jamie is wearing her
red sailor dress and braids, Kacie is in the white overalls with
anchors on them. They look so little and almost unbearably dear to me.
"I can't leave my babies alone!" I plead with Theresa.
"This will be nice and
Theresa says, grinning, and she shoves a gun into my ribs and squeezes
the trigger. A bullet enters my heart and I begin to die. In slow
motion I see Jamie and Kacie skipping down the grocery store aisle
towards me, pigtails flying, and I am filled with an awful, wrenching
grief ... I don't want to leave my babies
July 29, 1985
Awful day. Most
of it, anyway. I woke up this morning feeling monumentally
hungover and incredibly stupid. What a scene I made last
night! Judy will probably never forgive me. Terry
deliberately avoided me today ... I have a feeling her mom
has probably forbidden here to come over anymore. Sick with
no, I don't remember what this was all about, although I can
guess -- me getting shitfaced drunk and picking a fight
with Terry's mom about something ridiculous.
One of the few things
that went right today: Lori Harlan came over to visit this
afternoon. We sat and talked for almost two hours. She is
very empathetic and bright -- I have grossly underestimated
her. A new friend!?
When Ray got home this
evening he didn't, as I had expected, berate or ignore me. He
gave me a gentle kiss and told me he loves me ... and that
was it. No scolding, no criticism. I've been doing enough
of that myself.
July 30, 1985
Feeling a little
better, physically, emotionally. Terry is still avoiding us,
which hurts, but until I can scrape up the nerve to go over and
apologize to her and her mom, I guess I've lost a couple of friends.
Bev and Henry (Ray's
grandparents) have arrived from Tucson for a one-month visit. Ray
came home early from work and drove the kids and I over to his folks'
for a visit. His grandparents are very dear to us --
we sat and talked with them for a few hours. (Sheryl and her
kids, Don and Judy and the boys were there also.) Bev gave each
of the girls a "pop-up" storybook.
July 31, 1985
One of my rare "whirlwind" days. Worked super-hard all day
long -- Lori loaned me her vacuum cleaner and I did the
whole house. Cleaned bedrooms, the kitchen, the bathroom.
The house looks fantastic.
Cool and rainy today! What a relief from the heat.
Still no communication with Terry or her mom. Letter today from
Mom -- she says Dick and Gina have split up, Dick has the
Ray came home in a good mood tonight. We had a glass of wine
together, watched a "Dynasty" re-run. I made a good dinner: round
steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, zucchini from Lori's garden.
August 1, 1985
Rainy, cool again. Jamie spent some time over at Terry's, and I
had some time alone with Kacie. Kacie is becoming interested
(truly interested) in dolls, language, imitation.
Spent a long time today clipping and sorting coupons, drawing up a
grocery list. Today is payday. Ray will be gone for five
days next week on a fishing trip with his dad and brother, so we need
to budget very carefully -- I'd hate to run out of food
and/or MONEY while he's out of town.
Terry came over this evening, and we finally got some things
straightened out. There is still the hurdle of apologizing to her
mom, though ...
Ray picked up a few groceries. Pepperoni grinders from Athens Pizza for dinner.
August 2, 1985
Charlie Harlan came over to play with the girls this morning (another
rainy day). It was a disaster -- Jamie was bossy and
crabby, and he finally left in a huff.
Wrote a long letter to Melinda, which I may or may not mail to her ...
August 3, 1985
One of my "wiped
out days" ... didn't even get out of my bathrobe.
Spent the day watching TV, reading (my old favorite, Sylvia Plath's
"Bell Jar"). Ray bought some Dairy Queen for our lunch,
then he went out and did some grocery shopping. Pizza for dinner.
August 4, 1985
Pleasant day. We
were supposed to go over to the in-law's, but I managed to persuade Ray
to wait till tomorrow ... I wanted to spend the day at
home, just our little family. Am I becoming reclusive?
Ray mowed the lawn,
front and back. I cleaned the kitchen, changed bedding, finished
reading the Sunday paper and "The Bell Jar." Hydroplane races on
TV today. Barbecued steaks for dinner, watched "The Blues
August 5, 1985
Ray had the day
off. This is the first day of his vacation (again!)
... the difference is that he will be spending most of his
vacation fishing with his dad and his brother, rather than hanging
around the house driving me crazy ...
He was busy today
-- mowed the backyard, took our clothes to the laundromat, packed
for his fishing trip. I just puttered around the house doing my
usual "stuff." Good mail today -- letters from Debbie
DeVaney, Karen, a new penpal in Nevada named Sara Graves.
Went to the folk's
tonight to visit with Bev and Henry. Jamie is going to spend the
night at her grandparents' tonight, her first time.
Ray, Kacie and I went
to Fred Meyer and bought him a new pair of shorts for his trip, then to
Dave's Place for a beer. Kacie LOVED the tavern.
August 6, 1985
Ray left on his fishing
trip; he'll be gone until Saturday, if all goes well. At noon
today we drove over to the folks' to pick up Jamie and to drop Ray
off. We had to wait a couple of hours for the boat to be ready,
but finally at 3:30 Ray, Don Jr. and their dad took off on their trip.
I drove the kids home,
stopping on the way at Albertson's for $10 worth of groceries.
Once home, we were all hot, tired and hungry ... I made a
big spaghetti dinner that tasted like it came straight from Heaven.
Kacie went to bed early (6:30). I put a sign on the door that says "MAMA IS ON VACATION!"
Lazy, lovely evening -- no housework, no company but
Jamie -- we watched TV and snacked all evening.
Watched a new show for the first time,
"Moonlighting." Jay slept with me.
Wednesday 10:30 a.m.
August 7, 1985
It's been ten days since
written in my journal. Something embarrassing and awful happened to me on July 28th,
and I've been feeling too ashamed of myself since then to write much of
anything. All I'll say about the incident is that, once again, it was a
case of me drinking too much and making a fool out of myself in front
of people I value ... and, as usual, I find myself in the position of
asking for forgiveness. Seems I am always apologizing to someone about
Things are better now
time has passed, and I've forgiven myself, which may be the most
Ray has left on a five
fishing trip to Port Angeles with his dad and his brother. I have the
car and $30 to tide me over until Saturday, when he is due to return.
Good day. Peg has
loaned me her vacuum cleaner for a couple of days, so I cleaned house
from top to bottom ... I figured that if I did an
extra-good job today, I won't have to worry about it until the
weekend's over. Folded laundry, froze some spaghetti sauce,
played with the kids.
Late in the afternoon I
drove them to the 9th Avenue park, let them play on the slide and
swings ... then to Albertson's for diapers, milk,
Drank beer and listened to music tonight until very late.
August 8, 1985
Except for a couple of minor worries, I am really
enjoying myself this week while Ray is fishing. Cloudy, cool
weather ... a little money in my pocket ... the
car is mine to use as I please. The kids and I are having a ball,
playing and eating and staying up late. I took them to the park
again this afternoon, then to 7-11 for pop and milk. I've got
about $15 left now, enough to get us through until Saturday, I hope.
Made hamburgers and French fries for dinner, watched Thursday night TV.
August 9, 1985
My daughters have
dolls, gifts from their Grandma Beeson last Christmas ... beautifully
crafted dolls with pretty embroidered faces and brown yarn hair.
Jamie's doll is "Maggie," Kacie's is "Mollie." For many months, Maggie
has been Jamie's constant companion. When Jamie has a cracker and juice
snack, Maggie must have one also. At the park (which we have visited
several times while Ray has been on his fishing trip), Maggie has
ridden on the swings and gone down the big slide. Most of the time
Jamie treats Maggie with great tenderness; occasionally, though, when
Maggie gets out of hand, Jamie is forced to reprimand her.
Until now, Kacie treated
"Mollie" much the same as any of her other dolls ... with total
indifference. This summer, however, she has begun tucking Mollie under
one arm and carrying her around the house ... just like Jamie.
with Aunt Debi and "Maggie"
The last day of our
little "vacation from Daddy" -- Ray comes back
tomorrow! This week has been fun, but I do miss the comfortable
presence of my husband ...
Cleaned house, did some
odds and ends -- the same old stuff. At 4:00 I took
the kids to Albertson's to pick up a few things: milk, pop, two bottles
of wine (on sale, 2 for $6.00), a new box of crayons for the kids, two
magazines for me. Down to $8.00 now.
Bathed and shampooed the girls, put them in clean soft p.j.'s
... they were delicious to cuddle with tonight! Drank a
little wine, watched "M.V.," listened to some music.
August 10, 1985
Ray came home from his fishing trip today -- the kids and I
drove over to the folks' this afternoon to pick him up. He was
happy to see us ... didn't catch any fish, though!
Took the kids to Dave's Place for a little while -- the
girls drank Coke, ate potato chips and pretended to play video games;
Ray and I had three beers and talked to Dave McKee and Scott Ward.
When we got home there was a washing machine sitting in the
driveway! I'm not sure, but I think Ben and Lori dropped it off
for us. It's an old machine but a good one: let's pray that Ray
gets it running!!
Reheated Tuesday's spaghetti sauce for Ray's dinner. Junk TV tonight, so we just read a little, went to bed at 11:00.
It's good to have Ray home.
August 11, 1985
Jay spent the night on Kacie's bedroom floor. This morning they
woke up together, and soon Kacie had managed to climb out of her crib
and the two of them were tearing madly around the house.
CeCe presented us with a horrible surprise today: another damn litter
of kittens!! Two of them this time, ugly gray RATS. Just
when we'd gotten the cat population around here down to a manageable
Ray tinkered with the washing machine the Harlans gave us and got it
running. Can't put it in the house yet, though -- it
needs one $5 piece of plastic to keep it from leaking.
Went over to the in-laws' at 5:00, stayed until 8:00. Don and Judy were there, too.
August 12, 1985
Life is back to normal. Ray returned today to work, I went back to life without a car and money ...
Cleaned house, folded laundry, made beds: the same old stuff. It
got very hot again this afternoon, so the kids spent the day in their
Baked some chicken for supper a new way, with powdered spaghetti sauce
mix. Ron was home at 9:00, complaining of back pain
... we didn't talk much tonight.
Saw something awful on the late news -- it bothered me so
much I couldn't sleep. Two little girls (approx. ages 3 and 4)
died on Lake Sammamish when the boat they were riding in caught on
fire. Firemen on the scene had to restrain their distraught
mothers from jumping into the boat after their little girls. I
layed in bed until nearly morning, crying for the dead children and
thanking God for my own two healthy daughters.
Ray is home from his
trip (he didn't catch anything!) and has gone back to work. My life,
has gone back to normal. It was fun while he was gone. Having the car
was especially nice. The girls and I lived like bohemians ... no
whenever we were hungry, staying up late watching TV, sleeping all
together in my big bed ... it was relaxed and pleasant. By the time Ray
came home on Saturday, though, the girls and I were ready for things to
settle back down into a normal routine. We are creatures of habit, and
I was ready to clean house and serve regular meals and go to bed at a
decent hour. And I MISSED Ray while he was gone! So did the
evening while he was away, Jamie climbed into my lap and whispered a
"secret" in my ear: "I miss my Daddy." I thought that was cute. Anyway,
they were very happy to see him come home.
We had a week or two of
rainy weather, which was a lovely reprieve from the summer heat. This
week, though, the hot stuff is back ... and then some. I will be very
glad when autumn gets here.
Jamie has suddenly
aversion to sleeping alone, and I think it's partially my fault. I've
been letting her sleep with me in my bed a lot lately, especially while
Ray was fishing. It's just so NICE to wake up and find this little
sleeping angel laying next to me in the mornings. Now that Ray is home,
though, Jamie has been sleeping on the floor in Kacie's room. I moved a
mattress in there and made her a little bed, and she's very pleased
with the arrangement. So is Kacie! They love waking up in the mornings
and "discovering" each other ... I can hear them giggling and
chattering before they get up. Ray thinks we ought to make it a
permanent arrangement, by moving them both into Jamie's room (which is
slightly larger). That way they could be together, and we would gain a
spare bedroom. I'm thinking it over.
I've put on a lot of
summer and I look awful again. Ray hasn't said anything, but I'm sure
he must be worried. I feel no motivation to diet, though ... food is
Too many dreams about
dying lately! Is something troubling me, just below the surface? I
dreamed that I was shot, I dreamed that Ray died in a car wreck, I
dreamed that Kacie drowned ... all such sad, morbid dreams. During the
daytime I am not preoccupied with death ... it only comes out in sleep.
Last night I watched the
news before bed, and I truly wish I hadn't. Two little girls, about
Jamie's age I think, were killed on Lake Sammamish yesterday afternoon.
The newscaster said the girls were about three or four years old, but
that hasn't been confirmed. The boat they were riding in exploded and
burst into flames. The
girls' mothers and an older child were thrown clear of the boat, but
the little girls burned to death. Rescue workers had to restrain the
hysterical women to keep them from jumping into the boat after their
children. When I heard that, I burst into tears. I then spent most of
the night laying in bed, wide awake. Those poor women. God. What
anguish they must be feeling. It all happened so fast: one minute they
were having a pleasant afternoon on the lake with their children, the
next minute ...
I thought about those
girls, too, and all of the things they'll never enjoy again. No more
Saturday morning cartoons. No more tricycles. No more McDonald's. No
more dolls and no more Sesame Street. Writing about all of this, I'm
crying again ...
God, I love my children.
please don't let anything like this ever happen to Jamie or Kacie: I
don't think I could handle it.
Today I am going to be
patient, approachable, tolerant and loving towards my kids. I'm not
going to get upset about untidy bedrooms, cookie crumbs or smeared
toothpaste. I won't raise my voice or make comparisons. I won't bully
them, or play favorites. Kacie can get food in her hair, and Jamie can
ride her trike in the house, and I won't say a single unkind word.
are my precious daughters. I love them more than words can say. They're
ALIVE, and they're healthy and here with me today, and I'm going to
appreciate every minute God gives me with them, while I have the
Hot. Tried to get as much stuff done in the early morning as possible, before it got too hot ...
Wrote a long letter to
Deanne, a shorter letter to Terri Morrison (an old friend who lives now
in Arizona), a little in my journal.
Watched the noon news: the two little girls who died yesterday in the
boat fire were named Elizabeth and Danielle, and they were both three
years old. My heart is still very heavy over this tragedy.
Michelle Inman came
over late this afternoon to play with Jamie. Ben & Lori gave
us a bag of green beans and some cucumbers from their garden, also
loaned us three diapers. Ray wasn't home until past 9. He
says he's working until 7:00 this week ... ? (Do I
Hot dogs in BBQ sauce, fried potatoes, fresh green beans, chocolate ice cream.
Moved Jay's mattress onto the floor in Kacie's room -- they're still "bunking" together.
August 14, 1985
Very hot again ... I felt damp and grumpy all day.
Terry came over to visit, but I dismissed her with "I'm not in a good
mood." ("You NEVER are anymore!" she sulked, and then she
left.) Frankly, I'm just not in the mood for 13 yr. old
"company," with its endless litany of boys and clothes and
Wrote to Michele Manzo, sent away for a couple of catalogs, added captions to Kacie's photo album. Frittered the day away.
Ray wasn't home until late again ... the stew was
overcooked and mushy by the time he got around to eating it. (For
that matter, I feel "mushy and overcooked.")
August 15, 1985
Hot, hot, hot. At least there was a breeze, though. (A HOT breeze.)
Spent a long time putting together a grocery list. Ray didn't come home tonight.
August 16, 1985
Don't really feel much
writing, but I will anyway.
Ray didn't come home
and this morning I am angry. You would think I'd be used to this shit
after almost five years, but the fact is I'm not. How do you get "used"
to neglect? And worry? And sleepless nights, spent wondering where on
earth your husband could be ... ??
I have about two cups of
and three diapers to last until whenever His Majesty deigns to make his
Lori (next door) said,
don't you kick his butt?" Why, indeed?
I'm in a surly, touchy
Angry with Ray all day
for not coming home last night. Went next door to explain to Lori
why I didn't have her $10 yet. When she heard that he'd stayed
out all night, she said "Why don't you kick his butt??"
Spent the day sorting
magazine clippings, writing letters, trying to beat the heat.
Terry came over to visit -- brought us some milk.
Moved the living room furniture around.
Ray finally came home at 5:30 with all the apologies in the world and several bags of groceries as a peace offering.
August 20, 1985
Things between Ray and I
seem to be getting any better. When he finally got home on Friday,
around 5:30, I instantly forgave him for staying out all night. Don't
ask me why. I haven't the faintest idea. I should have come down on
him, hard, but I didn't ... I folded up instead. He of course was
apologetic and remorseful, as always. It was the same old story: he had
too much to drink and couldn't drive home so he slept on somebody's
couch. I know he's telling the truth, but that's not the point. I
shouldn't be allowing this shit to happen in the first place, and by
"forgiving" him, time & time again, I am giving him my unspoken
permission to do it again ...
Well. Anyway. Sunday was
doozy of a day. Ray went to Jim B's "bachelor party" at noon on Sunday,
and he came home at 9 p.m. ... drunk, belligerent,
and itching for a
fight. Jamie and I were having a quiet, pleasant evening watching
"Superman" when he came barreling in. When I didn't immediately hop
into bed with him (he'd spent the whole day watching porno movies and
he was all revved up), he threw a tantrum. He put his coat on and
announced that he was "leaving." At that point, there was very little I
would have liked more! But I couldn't let him drive in his condition,
so I took his car keys and hid them. For the next two hours, he
alternated between ordering me into bed and ordering me to give him his
keys ... neither of which I would do. This just infuriated him more. I
called him a "jerk" and told him to shut up, and then I went to bed.
Right away he followed me into the bedroom and started pawing at me.
His breath was horrible, I was exhausted, and most of all I was totally
disgusted with him. The last thing in the world I felt like doing was
making love to the bastard. So I pushed him away and screamed at him to
LEAVE ME ALONE. With that, he pushed me out of the bed and told me to
sleep on the sofa. Frankly - I was delighted.
Last night things were
strained between us. We barely spoke to each other, except for some
polite chitchat about dinner and what was on TV ... we made love, but I
hated it. Midway through I realized that my teeth were clenched so
tightly, they hurt. He rolled over and went to sleep, but I laid in the
darkness for a long time, despising myself for my weakness, my poor
judgement, my dependencies ... for all of the things I am powerless to
The thing I feel the
is what all of this is doing to Jamie. Kacie is too little to pick up
on the tension -- at least, I hope she is -- but Jamie can see and hear
some of the things that are going on around here, and I'm afraid for
her. I'm afraid she's developing negative feelings about men and
about marriage. From me, she is inadvertently learning that men aren't
to be trusted ... that they break promises, hurt our feelings, make us
cry. I know that my disillusionment and mistrust must be filtering down
to her. Sometimes she's very loving and affectionate towards her Daddy,
but more and more often lately she won't sit on his lap or kiss him
unless I insist. And where are those "romantic feelings" a three year
old is supposed to have towards the parent of the opposite sex? There
is nothing like that in evidence at all.
August 23, 1985
Interrupted. Now it's
later. I will leave this subject for a while, if you don't mind. Last
night was a perfectly OK night with Ray ... things are once again at
their normal level of comfortable mediocrity.
More dreams about Dan
night! I just can't figure it out. When he was my teacher in high
school, I liked him well enough -- we had a close friendship -- but I
never had a "crush" on him or anything. So why am I dreaming about him
all of a sudden? (This morning's dream: it's the last day of school,
senior year. For some reason I can't remember where my locker is, and
Penny Thomas, Mark Grieve and David Lusby are helping me look for it.
As we are
walking down Senior Hall, I bump into Mr. Fosberg. He looks at me and
"Terri, I've changed my mind." My heart soars: this means that he's
decided to ask me out! End of dream.) Of course, I should
the man was absolutely gorgeous ... blond hair, blue eyes, dimples to
die for ... he wasn't hard on the eyes at ALL. Half the girls in school
were secretly in love with him. I was in the enviable position of being
his Girl Friday: I took attendance for him in Stage Band and in sixth
period Study Hall, and very often I would tidy up his office for him or
help him with paperwork. Other times, I stayed after school and we
would sit in the empty music room and talk about the piano, or about
religion. He was an extremely devout Christian. He invited me to go to
his church but I never did. As I said, I liked him a lot, but I never
felt "that" way about him. All things considered it's probably amazing
that I didn't
fall in love with him, but I didn't.
This is what he wrote in
annual at the end of our year together:
The world goes around
in circles and doesn't know where it's going. It is my hope that you
always will know where to turn away from it in times of need. Continue
to be as sincere and sweet as you are. It has blessed me and made my
year at Glacier just that more tolerable. Be empathetic. I love you.
OK. Enough about THAT.
Here I am
chasing shadows again. Time to face the realities of my life ... two
chattering little girls sitting on the living room floor in front of
"Wheel of Fortune," surrounded by a sea of coloring books and crayons
... "No, PRETEND!" Jamie admonishes Kacie ... the house this morning
smells of scrambled eggs, Snuggle Fabric Softener, coffee. Sunny. I
have that vague feeling of let-down I always feel after a night of
My period is one week
Saturday 10:30 a.m.
August 24, 1985
Busy morning. Today the
and I are going to another family get-together, this one a combined
"surprise" anniversary party for Bev & Henry and Peg &
over at Sheryl's house in Bellevue. Sheryl will be here to pick us up
at 1:00. I was up this morning at 8:30 a.m., making a big dish of au
gratin potatoes for the party (they turned out great) and getting the
kids and I ready to go. Ray has to work this morning and he'll meet us
at the party later.
Monday 9:30 a.m.
August 26, 1985
Amazingly ... the whole
turned out much better than I had anticipated! You can't really tell
from by reading my last journal entry -- the one I wrote on Saturday
morning -- but I wasn't looking forward to Sheryl's party one single
bit. I had nothing decent to wear, we couldn't afford gifts for anyone,
Ray wasn't going to be there until late in the afternoon so I would be
alone in a sea of in-laws ... I was sure I would have a rotten time.
didn't! The whole thing was actually very nice. Barbara, God bless her,
bought some pretty tea towels and wrapped them for me to give Peg and
Bev as anniversary gifts, so I was able to save face. The prevailing
mood was festive. We drank champagne and ate Cornish game hens and
talked, and everyone was very warm and friendly, the kids all had a
ball playing together, and it was a really nice afternoon all the way
around. Even Ray, when he showed up around 5:00, was in good spirits.
Of course, every in-law
get-together has to have its melodramatic moments, and this occasion
was no exception. Don Jr. smacked his son Nathan, hard, in front of
(because the little guy was crying). Judy was livid. Then, Don Sr. got
into an ugly row with Jeff, which threatened to spoil the whole party
and had poor Sheryl in tears. Fortunately, by that point the party was
just about over anyway, and the folks left before things got any
The biggest surprise,
was how well Sheryl and I got along. I honestly enjoyed talking with
her: something I've never been able to say before. Ray and I stayed for
an hour or so after everyone else left.
(Jamie would like me to
that she had fun at Sheryl's party playing with Tanya's red wagon, but
unfortunately the "Go Driver" toy had no batteries so they couldn't
play with that. She also rode on the toy horsey, "goes like dis, go go
go!") Jamie was becoming aware
of the fact that Mama was writing about HER sometimes, in the
ever-present spiral notebook ...
Yesterday was chicken
noodles over at Peg & Don's. Chicken and noodles is Bev's
and she makes it every year for Ray. Everyone was there, except Jeff,
who I gather is on Don Sr.'s shit list at the moment. We were all in
moods, hungover in varying degrees. The kids all ate together on the
patio, the adults around the dining room table ... after dinner Ray and
I brought the kids home, and we spent a pleasant Sunday evening reading
the papers, doing some laundry, watching "The Sting," visiting with
Terry. I got an excellent nights' sleep, and this morning I feel rested
and pretty good.
One thing is bothering
though, and that's my overdue (by eleven days) period. I'm still having
painful cramps but there has been no flow, and I'm concerned. If I'm
pregnant, my concern is the all the stuff I've been taking lately --
diet pills, aspirin, not to mention alcohol. If I'm not pregnant, I'm
concerned about why I'm feeling so much pain. Either way, something is
August 27, 1985
I'm pregnant. I just
know I am.
What am I going to DO?
Well ... that's a pretty
question. I know
going to do: I'm going to have another child.
The alternatives aren't even worth thinking about, let alone writing
about. I'm going to have a third child, probably sometime next April,
and that's about all there is to it.
This is all I've been
think about today.
Wednesday morning 11 a.m.
August 28, 1985
Terry said to me
you going to have an abortion?" and I just about snapped her head off.
The question irritated me, but not for the reasons she
might imagine. I guess she just touched a nerve.
Ray went bowling last
left me some beer in the fridge to drink while he was out, but I could
only manage a couple. For some reason they tasted "off" to me. When he
got home, he asked me why I didn't drink my beer. "Because I'm
PREGNANT!" I snapped at him. Lately I can't seem to control anything I
say or do. I'd already promised myself not to say anything to Ray about
my suspicions for another week or so, but it just popped out of my
mouth before I could stop myself. He looked stricken, and then he got
mad. I could hear him slamming and muttering out in the kitchen. Part
of me wanted to run out there, throw my arms around him and hug him ...
but the foul-tempered, mean-hearted part of me that seems to be in
control of things these days whispered "Forget it!" in my ear and glued
me to my seat. I let him stew in his private misery for awhile, without
offering any support. I took a perverse pleasure in his pain: it seemed
only fair that he should be sharing it with me.
After awhile he seemed
compose himself. "You're not really pregnant, are you?" he said. My
rock-hard heart softened a little. "I don't know," I said. "It's really
too soon to tell." And that was all we said on the matter. I was
suddenly overcome with drowsiness, and I slid off into a deep,
I'm a mess today. I
up until 10:00 (Jamie and Kacie were up an hour & an half
they watched TV in the living room while I got some extra sleep ... I
paid Jamie 30 cents for being my "babysitter") and I've skipped my
shower. I'll take a bath this afternoon. But in the meantime I feel
generally grungy and I hope no one drops by today. The house is fairly
clean so there won't be a lot to do today ... if Puget Power doesn't
cut me off today, I'll cook a roast. I owe some letters, but with this
cloud of uncertainty hanging over my life at the moment, it's hard to
talk to anyone but you, Journal.
Let's be honest here for
minute. The thought of having another baby isn't all bad. At least, not
to me. I've been saying all along that I wanted one more child someday.
Although I never pinpointed an exact year and time to get pregnant
again, I had the general idea that I ought to wait until Kacie was
three. I wanted at least a three year age difference between Kacie and
another baby. If I am pregnant now, the baby's due date would be April
23rd of next year ... one month after Kacie's third birthday. Hopefully
she will be potty-trained by then, too. So yes, I would have three
children under age five, but only one in diapers. It could be worse.
Of course, I'm jumping
There's still the possibility that my period is simply taking it's time
arriving. I'm still feeling those vague aches and pains. You never
My worries are specific
How would we break the news to our families? Would I have to have
another Cesarean? How could I handle the pressure of raising three
little ones? What would this do to my already troubled marriage? And --
the most insidious worry of all -- what about all the chemicals I've
been putting into my system lately?
Thursday 11:30 a.m.
August 29, 1985
A pigtailed two year old
Snoopy T-shirt just brought me a bouquet of dandelions ...
Sunny morning. The kids
riding trikes in the driveway. Actually, only Jamie is riding a trike
-- Kacie's little Tyke-Bike was accidentally run over last week when
Ray backed his car over it, so she's riding the old pink toddler car.
This is my fourth wedding anniversary. It is also payday. I'm in a
peaceful, dreamy mood this morning ...
Odd dream this morning.
girls and I were all dressed up and getting ready to go to a wedding.
We were standing on the banks of a great rushing river, when I suddenly
saw something brown bobbing in the water. "Oh great!" I
has dropped one of her toys into the river."
Then I saw it wasn't one
of Kacie's toys at all, it was Jamie's beloved doll, Maggie. She was
being swept along by the current and was heading for certain "death" at
the falls ahead. My heart fell. If we lost Maggie, Jamie would never
get over it. It would break her heart. I shouted at a man on the
opposite shore, begging him to try and grab the doll as she floated
past him, but he couldn't hear me. I realized then that I was the only
one who could rescue Maggie, so I plunged into the icy water, fully
clothed, and started swimming. Just before the falls, I caught up with
Maggie and grabbed hold of her. End of dream.
I've been Terri Polen
years today! And even though it hasn't all been smooth sailing lately
(to say the least), today I feel just fine about things.
September 4, 1985
When I lay in bed late
my head swims with things I'd like to write about in my journal ... and
then in the morning, when I'm finally sitting here with pen in hand,
all inspiration goes flying right out the window ...
It's so hard to keep
repetitive. In the last five years or so, my problems have all been the
same. Pregnancy. Fear of pregnancy. Boredom, isolation, loneliness.
Separation from my extended family. Not ENOUGH separation from Ray's
extended family. My weight. My clothes. My messy house. No money, no
car, no phone. Kid troubles. Depressions that come and go without
warning. The same old stuff, day after day, year after year. Eventually
I just get so tired of writing about it that I stop writing altogether.
(At least, that's one of my excuses ...) Oh well.
I've been running a
fever and have had a recurring stomach ache for several days now. Dairy
products in particular make the stomach ache worse. I feel a distinct
tiredness in the afternoons. Coffee, cigarettes and beer make me
queasy, and my appetite is dwindling. These are all indications that
I'm pregnant -- the same symptoms I had with Jay & Kacie. I
had any real morning sickness yet, thank goodness, although that can't
be far behind.
Last week I felt almost
about being pregnant. This week I feel nothing but a low level despair.
September 5, 1985
I had a very strange
last night that I'd like to share with you.
Ray is sick with the
stayed home from work yesterday, and he's home again today. Last night
I slept in Jamie's room so he wouldn't be disturbed.
midnight I woke up and started thinking about being pregnant again. My
mind began ticking off all the reasons why having another baby right
now would be disastrous: the financial burden, the added
an already troubled marriage, the work, the fuss, the effect on the
girls, the extra weight I'll probably never lose. It all adds up to
disaster, I thought. In the
dark and quiet of night, the low-level
despair I've been feeling all week began to grow into full-scale panic.
I fell asleep again finally, but I was very deeply troubled.
An hour or so later,
jolted me out of my sleep. My hands were folded across my tummy, and as
my eyes fought to adjust to the darkness, I felt a sudden ripple of
movement across my belly. Astonished, I pressed my hands harder against
my stomach and waited. A moment later - there it was again. There was
no mistaking what it was: the baby
At five weeks??
minute ... something wasn't right! I must be asleep, I
is a dream. But my eyes were
open. I knew I was laying in
Jamie's bedroom; I could see the outlines of her furniture, through the
dimness. I couldn't be asleep!
I pressed my tummy
there it was ... distinct, unmistakable, and VERY real. The baby was
definitely moving inside of me. I just layed there for a few minutes,
loving the familiar sensation of a living being, rolling and turning
inside of my body. It was wonderful. Suddenly it dawned on me that I
must be much further along than we'd suspected ... maybe
fifteen weeks. There was no way, now, that I could consider ending this
pregnancy. This baby WILL join
our family, and it WILL receive all the
love and consideration our other two children receive.
Excitedly I thought, "I've got to
that the baby is moving!"
I tried to sit up, but for some reason I
found I couldn't move. I was flat on my back and I couldn't move a
muscle, and all of a sudden I realized why: I was
asleep, after all!
And at that
I pressed my hands
flat tummy and
felt ... nothing. It had been a dream. I have to tell you, though, that
it was the most weirdly vivid dream I have ever had in my life. I swear
my hands actually FELT that baby moving. Even now, as I sit here in the
light of morning, I have complete sensory memory of the way it felt.
I wish that I could tell
got up this morning full of resolve and optimism ... that my
experience, marvelous and weird and magic as it was, "fixed" everything
in my heart. ‘Isn't so. I still feel doubts and fears about
pregnant again. I'm still wondering how in the heck we're going to
manage it. My dream last night was entertaining, but it didn't produce
a miracle ...
... Or did it?
I don't know. There is
me that thinks God had a hand in the dream, giving me a brief sensory
taste of things to come ... reminding me that there really is a person
in there. I'd love to think that He allowed me to feel the baby moving
for a few dreamy minutes, while I was in a twilight sleep, just to let
me know the seed inside of me is precious and viable and deserving of
Maybe it was a miracle,
September 8, 1985
Sitting at the table
coffee, "Sky Pilot" on the radio, (Ray's friend) Tony Ramos sleep on
me. I got up an hour ago -- showered, washed and dried my hair, put on
some makeup -- and now I look (and feel) presentable. Unheard of for a
Sunday morning! Of course, the main reason I've gone to so much trouble
is because Tony is here ... otherwise I would be schlepping around the
house all day in my ratty bathrobe. The kids are up, playing on the
floor with some of Jamie's Avon "makeup." Jamie is still in her yellow
nightgown, her hair a pretty mess ... Kacie is wearing a light blue
blouse and multi-colored pants, her hair pulled up into her crazy
"rooster" hairdo (one ponytail on the top of her head).
Sept. 16, 1985
One week later. Windy,
morning. I feel pretty good today, on all levels. Last week I had an
awful cold, but this week it's gone. I've quit smoking for the duration
of this pregnancy, and that helps. Still no morning sickness. I'm
tired all the time, and my appetite is weirdly up and down (Ray's ham
sandwiches on Saturday night turned my stomach, and I'm back to craving
burned toast again), but otherwise I have no complaints physically.
The really good news is
and I have talked things over, and have come to a mutual acceptance of
my pregnancy. He's not out buying cigars, but he's not contemplating
suicide, either. At this point he's making his usual mock-despairing
"jokes." In the car yesterday we passed a young woman walking along
with three little girls, and Ray said, "There's Mommy next year ...
three GIRLS." We've agreed that although this is unexpected, and may
prove to be difficult financially, it isn't the end of the world. I am
Yesterday we went over
folks' to celebrate Barbara's 16th birthday. While we were there, Peg
informed me that Patty is two weeks "late" and they suspect she's
pregnant! I pasted a big phony smile on my face and said, "Oh, that's
wonderful." But inside my heart sank. I am still annoyed about it
today. I was hoping that for this pregnancy, at least, I would have the
spotlight all to myself. I don't know. It's hard to explain without
sounding so incredibly childish & petty. It's just that last
was pregnant, when I was expecting Kacie, all three of my married
sisters-in-law were also pregnant. It felt disgustingly like being on
an assembly line ... there was just something creepy about it. I was
hoping that this time there would be no week-by-week comparisons, no
competitiveness, no sense of "Who's gonna pop first?!" But things
seldom turn out the way I expect them to, do they?
I slipped a note to Judy
yesterday while we were sitting at the folks' kitchen table. "Four
weeks late," the note
"I thought so," Judy
noticed I wasn't drinking beer, and she said she'd "had a feeling" that
I might be pregnant. She promised to keep the news to herself, but
things like this always seem to get around.
Now I'm starting to
little about breaking the news to my family ... specifically, to my
Wednesday 9:30 a.m.
September 18, 1985
Well ... Mom will know
by the end of the day! I took the plunge yesterday and wrote her a
letter. I was honestly going to wait until Christmas before I told
anyone, but I got a letter from Mom on Monday and it made me long to
confide in her. I know she's probably not going to consider it good
news, exactly, but I'm trusting her at least to be supportive ... and
that's something I could really use right now.
Feels almost like fall
sunny and cool. Jamie woke me up an hour ago. I could hear her in the
living room, frantically shouting "It's GARBAGE DAY! Mom, it's GARBAGE
DAY!!," and I suddenly realized that we hadn't set the dumpster out.
That's why she was so frantic. I dashed out to the carport (in my robe
and disheveled hair and smeared mascara) just as the garbage truck was
rumbling past our house. Luckily I managed to flag the guy down, and he
stopped for me. Jamie is feeling pretty smug now for having saved the
Dying for a cigarette,
threw them all away a few days ago. The kids are dancing around the
living room -- Kacie is naked, as usual -- in time to The Honkers'
"Honk Around The Clock" on Sesame Street. Kacie has learned how to open
the kitchen drawers, where I keep some of their rainy day toys, and
she's carried a whole armload of cardboard puzzles out to the living
room ... the pieces are scattered all over the floor. Jamie is
valiantly trying to sort the pieces into related piles, but it's a
frustrating task and she's about to give up in disgust. (Yep. Now she's
got an old paintbrush and is pretending to "paint" the walls.)
I've had a lot of
Kacie lately. (Mom: "You guys are gonna stay out here in the living
room." Jamie: "WHY???" Mom: "So I can keep an eye on KACIE, that's
why!") She's 2-1/2 this week, and I keep waiting for some of the
obstinance & negativity to level off, the way it did with Jamie
this age. Instead, she seems to grow more balky and stubborn every day.
The worst part is her destructiveness, which gets worse all the time.
She has single-handedly destroyed the entire set of Walt Disney
storybooks that Barbara gave us, drawn huge crayon murals on the
walls of every room in the house, peeled the plastic cover off her
crib mattress, pulled the ears off most of her stuffed animals and
mashed all of the crayons into waxy dust. Dolls, books, soap,
crayons, photo albums, houseplants and stuffed animals are only a few
of the many items currently "off-limits" to her. "Mischief" has become
her middle name.
To be fair, I don't
exactly what Jamie was like at this age. I just seem to remember an
overall lessening of the negative stuff, once she reached 2-1/2. I may
be wrong. Maybe Kacie is behaving perfectly normally. I think I should
check in my journal for June 1984 and see what it says.
few minutes later:
Well ... scrap that. It
out that I was right in the first place: Jamie was
a little bit ahead
of Kacie at this stage, at least where lessening of negativism is
concerned. Oh well. I love Kacie. I know that eventually she will grow
out of this. She's still my little Bumblebee! If I may express one
hope, however, it is that Kacie has changed a little by the time the
baby's born ... I hope that by then she'll be out of diapers, off the
bottle, and in better overall spirits than she is these days.
Thursday 10:30 a.m.
September 19, 1985
Ray was horrible last
didn't come home until 10 p.m., as usual, and the very minute he walked
through the door, he was griping. ("How
come no one took this garbage
out?" "Where's dinner?" "Where's my clean underwear?")
were in bed, he started making some very un-funny remarks about my
pregnancy. First he was talking about some show on PBS about abortion -
he watched a little bit of it while he ate his dinner. I didn't really
care to hear about it, understandably! Then, a few minutes later, he
said "Guess I'd better save up $150 so we can get rid of it. We can't
afford another kid." This was meant as a "joke." My first instinct was
to slap him squarely across his stupid insensitive face. I didn't, of
course ... instead I just rolled away from him and wept a little, in
the darkness. He is such a jerk. Why do I give him so much power to
He wasn't serious about
-- he honestly thought he was being "funny" -- but I still feel like
we've taken two giant steps backward. After Friday I thought we'd
gotten things settled. Now I don't know where we are. I'm just as
worried about how this baby will affect us financially as Ray is, but I
still won't consider abortion. Not after my vivid "dream" of a couple
weeks ago. And I think it's appalling that he would joke around about
something like that. His lack of sensitivity is constantly amazing to
The past couple of
been very chilly, and the kids have stuffy noses this morning. The
Western Kraft picnic is coming up in a few days (on Sunday) so I'm
trying to get them over their colds in time. I'm not looking forward to
the picnic much ... mainly because I have no idea what to expect. Two
years ago we had a marvelous time, but then last year it was a complete
fiasco. Who knows what will happen this year ... ?
September 20, 1985
Ray was gentler and
night. I really wanted to bring up the subject of the baby, but I
figured it would be better not to rock the boat. I would like to be
clear on his feelings. Am I doing this thing alone? Or do I have his
Wednesday 11 a.m.
October 2, 1985
Almost two weeks later.
make that twelve days. As usual, I've wanted to write but just haven't
felt motivated enough to pick up a pen.
My favorite month is
Something about the arrival of October invariably lifts my spirits. It
is a dark, cloudy morning ... occasional gusts of wind blow a
scattering of leaves across the yard. The autumn colors are just
beginning to appear, a random patch of yellow here, a cluster or reds
and oranges there ...
girls on top of Daddy's car
Directly across the street is the "big tree" I used to write about in
Jamie is running a fever
(102º when we got up) so once again I've got her bedded down
sofa. I don't have any Children's Tylenol so I've had to give her some
of the adult kind, mixed with honey to disguise the taste. She's being
very quiet and good, but it's obvious from her flushed cheeks and ruby
red lips that she doesn't feel good. Poor little Puss.
The Western Kraft picnic
Sept. 22) was definitely more fun that last year. It was a lovely,
sunny day, the girls had a good time, and Ray won a brand-new VCR in
Kacie at the
Western Kraft picnic
The only low point of
the day is that we lost Maggie,
Jamie's beloved doll. We didn't even realize she was missing until that
night, when I was tucking Jamie in. Jay said, "Where's Maggie?," and I
realized with a sinking heart that she hadn't come home with us.
Jamie was devastated.
For a few
days we held onto the hope that Maggie had been left at Sheryl
Jeff's house, since we stopped off there on our way home from the
picnic. (Ray wanted to ask Jeff how to hook up the new VCR.) But after
a week or so with no word from Sheryl, we gave up hope. I was at my
wits' end. How on earth could I help assuage Jamie's grief? She loved
Maggie so much. It was like a death in the family.
Never underestimate a
ability to heal, I guess. Jamie's resiliency is amazing. While I was
stewing and worrying about how to help her, she went ahead and helped
herself ... she simply adopted Kacie's doll, Molly, a twin of the
missing Maggie! For the first few days she merely "borrowed" Kacie's
doll. "I'll take care of Molly until Maggie comes home," she said. I
kept a close eye on Kacie through all of this. Would she care? She
didn't. She was far too busy playing with her new fire trucks to worry
about a doll. Gradually, day by day, Molly has become less Kacie's and
more Jamie's. Jamie has even re-named her "Maggie." I'm still not
entirely sure that this was the right way to handle this, but everyone
seems to be OK with the arrangement, so where's the harm? Jamie once
again has her "best friend" to love and fuss over, I'm relieved, and
Kacie is either too young or too busy to care.
Another picnic anecdote,
one concerning the baby. At one point during the festivities, all
expectant mothers were asked to come forward and get a new toy for the
baby-to-be. I was talking to someone and I missed the announcement
completely. Ray heard it, though, and he went up and got a stuffed
animal, a little dog. When I got back to the table and he told me what
happened, I was momentarily speechless. RAY WENT UP AND GOT A PRIZE FOR
ME. This was like publicly admitting that we're pregnant! I was so
happy, I felt like crying. Later, in the turmoil over Maggie's
disappearance, some of my happiness was misplaced temporarily. Now that
things are back to normal, Maggie-wise, the good feelings are
returning. I'm allowing myself to feel good. Happy, almost.
A couple of nights ago
Ray and I
were laying in bed. I had my head on his shoulder, and I felt very
close to him in an emotional as well as physical sense. Not a feeling I
have very often! He said, "Next year there'll be five of us." I could
almost hear the wheels turning in his head. Then he hugged me and said,
"I don't know why I'm letting you get away with this," and he laughed.
I had to turn my face away so he couldn't see me grinning like a
at the company picnic. I'm three months pregnant with Baby #3.
October 21, 1985
So much to tell. Three
have passed -- three very eventful weeks
-- and a lot has changed.
Where do I begin?
First things first.
home!!! Believe it or not, Jamie's long-lost doll has come
nights ago Ray came home and said, "I have an announcement to make."
Then he reached into the grocery bag he was carrying and pulled out
MAGGIE! Jamie's mouth literally dropped open in surprise, and me, big
sentimental dope that I am, I burst into tears. I honestly thought she
was gone for good. As it turns out, she was at Sheryl & Jeff's
house all this time, under Tanya's bed. If Ray had called Sheryl, we
could have avoided weeks of heartache. All's well that ends well,
though. Maggie is home and everything is back to normal. She seems none
the worse for the wear, and Jamie is elated to have her favorite
friend, back in her arms.
Jamie had an adventure
weekend ... she
spent three days at her Grandma and Grandpa P.'s house! They stopped by
unexpectedly on Friday morning and invited her for the weekend. I
hastily packed her bag and sent her off with hugs & kisses. She
so excited! I was secretly a little dismayed at the thought of her
being gone so long ... three days seemed like an eternity. Would she be
able to handle it? (More importantly, would I??) But as usual I
underestimated her ... she had a ball. Billy, who is now five, was
there for the weekend too, and the two of them had a wonderful time.
The folks took them shopping, to restaurants, out to Fall City for a
visit with Aunt Judy, even to a high school football game. She was
cheerful and excited through it all.
I was a different story.
Friday afternoon, when she'd only been gone for a few hours, I was
suddenly hit by an overwhelming case of "the blues." Some of it was
external -- some depressing mail, a persistent headache -- but mostly
it was loneliness for Jamie. The house seemed so quiet and empty with
her gone, and since Kacie was napping, I found myself completely alone.
It was an unfamiliar sensation, and I was very uncomfortable with it. I
guess I've evolved into a total Mommy. Several times during the weekend
I felt the wave of loneliness wash over me, usually when Kacie was
sleeping. TV shows about children brought tears to my eyes, and one
afternoon just the sight of Jamie's little red tricycle sitting
forlornly in the rain made me break down. Ray was gentle and amused.
"She's having fun, Mom," he said whenever he caught me with that
mournful look on my face again. "Don't worry about her."
The weekend was
though, because it gave me some time alone with Kacie. We don't get
much of that. I learned, among other things, that my littlest daughter
can count to ten, knows her last name, doesn't like raisins, and likes
to lean her head on her hand when she's thinking. A couple of time she
dissolved into lengthy temper tantrums over nothing at all, which I
attributed in part to Jamie's absence. She would literally lay on the
floor, kicking and screaming, for upwards of twenty minutes at a time,
while I alternated between trying to soothe her and completely ignoring
her. (Neither tactic worked.) But for most of the weekend, she was
good. She rarely left my side. To be more precise, she rarely left my
LAP. She wanted to sit on me practically every minute, and when I was
laying down, well, then she would just climb onto my stomach and sit
there, grinning. We talked and played and watched TV and snacked.
Occasionally she would ask me (without a trace of concern) where Jamie
was, but for the most part she seemed to find the situation eminently
satisfactory. She had my full attention (and Ray's, when he was here),
and she gobbled it up. I think the weekend was very good for our
relationship. Even now, with Jamie home once again and things back to
normal, I feel an increased closeness between Kacie and I. Maybe it's
more accurately a heightened awareness of each other. I catch her eye
from across the room, and we smile at each other. Every once in awhile
she leaves her toys and sits next to me on the sofa for a minute,
neither of us saying anything, simply feeling pleasure in being near
October 28, 1985
This journal entry
written between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1
A week later. Much news
about the pregnancy, as well as a few other odds & ends.
It's Monday morning,
almost-sunny after a weekend of wild storms and rain. The front yard is
littered with fallen leaves, and the world has a nice "freshly
laundered" feeling. The house is dressed for Hallowe'en ... two
grinning jack o'lanterns sit on the front porch, and the kitchen and
living room windows are plastered with Hallowe'en cutouts, most of them
Jamie's creations. The house is in its usual state of post-weekend
chaos. After I shower and drink a little coffee, I'll spend the day
restoring order. The kids have been up for a couple of hours already.
We put our clocks back an hour yesterday, and we're all feeling a
little turned-around today, still ... everything seems later than it
really is. I feel like it's almost lunchtime but the clock only says
News of my pregnancy has
leaked. Some of the "leaking" was deliberate ... the letter I wrote to
Mom, for instance, and one day when Dad & Valerie were here for
visit, I told them. Mom didn't respond to my letter for several weeks,
and I started to worry. Usually she answers my letters so quickly, but
this important letter went unanswered! I started to think maybe she was
more upset by the news than I'd expected. My fears were put to rest on
October 11, when she and Debi stopped in for an unexpected visit. Mom
hugged me and wished us well, and that was more or less that. I told
her I've only had one day of bona fide morning sickness (as opposed to
the persistent nausea I felt with both of the girls), and she said,
"Then it's going to be a boy this time." She was calm and accepting,
just as I knew she would be.
Dad was quite
the news, actually. I think he said "Oh really?," or words to that
affect. Again, this was pretty much what I expected.
Ray's parents found out
accidentally, a fact that still irks me even though it happened two
weeks ago. It was Ray's fault. He stayed out drinking all night one
night, and the next morning he was too hungover to go to work. So he
called his boss and told him that I was having a miscarriage! I don't
mind Ray using me as an excuse once in awhile -- telling his boss that
I'm sick, for instance, and that he needs to stay home and take care of
me. Even that is stretching the truth, but at least it isn't as
farfetched as saying I'm having a MISCARRIAGE, for crying out loud.
That's something you don't even want to joke about. Well, anyway, Ray's
boss said sure, take the day off ... hope your wife feels better. Ray
comes back from the phone booth happy as a lark, hops back into bed for
the rest of the morning, and things are just hunky-dory as far as he's
concerned. Unfortunately, he forgot that he'd made a date with his
mother that day: she was going to swing by Western Kraft in the
afternoon and pick up some boxes. They'd arranged to rendezvous in the
WK parking lot at 3:30. Apparently this slipped Ray's mind. Of course,
when Peg showed up and couldn't find Ray, she went into the plant to
ask about him. And of course Ray's boss said "No, Ray didn't work today
... his wife is having a miscarriage."
Well, as mortified as I
whenever I think of Peg hearing such a thing, I STILL would have loved
to have been a fly on the wall at that moment and seen the expression
on her face. She was probably thinking, Oh Christ, what are those
kids up to NOW?? Half an hour
later she and Barbara were
pounding on my
door in the pouring rain. Ray had gone out to run a few errands, the
kids were at Terry's, and I was alone when they showed up. Peg started
by asking me how I was feeling. Right away I knew something
was wrong. Then she said she'd been to Western Kraft and that Ray
wasn't there, and suddenly all the pieces fell into place and I knew
what was going on. She'd heard Ray's stupid miscarriage story, and here
we hadn't even told her I was pregnant
yet!! I tried to smooth things
over as best I could, mumbling something feeble about feeling "sick"
that morning and Ray staying home to take care of me. "We're pretty
sure I'm pregnant," I said, trying to look simultaneously wan and
"So you're not having a
miscarriage?" she said, and I felt my heart drop down to my ankles. I
said that Ray had "exaggerated a little" when he called his boss. A few
minutes later we were past the worst of it and Peg was offering to take
me to the o.b., but I was still so embarrassed I could have throttled
Ray. What a horrible way to break the news. Peg was pretty nice, but I
could hear the wheels turning in her head ... two more points against
Ray and Terri: can't believe ANYTHING they say ...
So, OK, the news is out.
single person has congratulated us! Reactions generally have run from
blasé to blasé! The only person in the entire
seems pleased about it is Jamie, and even she is fickle: one day she's
bursting with questions and ideas ("Let's
get our new baby THAT toy")
and the next day she absolutely refuses to discuss anything to do with
it. Ray and I are the only people more or less consistently pleased
And we ARE pleased about
took awhile, but we've both finally come to terms with the idea. When
Ray went forward in front of everybody at the Western Kraft picnic and
accepted the toy for the baby-to-be, that was the first moment I knew
everything was going to be OK. From that point on, except for an
occasional despairing comment about our finances next year, everything
he has said about the baby has been optimistic and positive. One night
he came home from the tavern and his face was aglow. His friend Sherrie
had just given birth to a baby boy ... Ray had just heard the news. He
said, pointing at my tummy, "I'm starting to feel happy about this!"
What he lacks in finesse, he makes up for in sincerity.
we were talking about girls and boys. "It'll be another girl," he said.
But this time he added something different. "That's OK," he said. "I
having girls." I could hardly believe what I was hearing.
My feelings are pretty
consistent. Whenever I think that there's a baby growing inside of
another child that I will know and love someday, the way I love Jamie
and Kacie ... I actually get goosebumps. Amazing how intense the thrill
remains, even the third time around. The wonder of it is as fresh and
exciting as ever. Other people may be blasé, but I'm not:
rejoicing in the miracle.
Physically I feel just
Some of the fatigue I felt all through September and most of October
has worn off, and I'm not a bit nauseous unless I wait too long between
meals. My breasts are very tender and sore, though, more so than in the
other pregnancies. The girls are constantly bumping and poking me in
the chest, and each time it happens I practically go through the
The other night when I
laying in bed I thought I felt a faint movement inside of me ... just
one quick flip-flop, nothing more. Baby?
My first appointment
o.b. is on Monday morning, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. Peg is taking me.
Considering the awful way she found out about the pregnancy, I think
it's pretty decent of her to offer. I'll have a new doctor this time. I
don't know his name yet but I probably will after my pregnancy test (ha
ha) on Monday. The good Drs. Heffron & Pheiffer have moved
practice to Lynnwood, so I picked a new place out of the phone book. I
really liked my last doctor, but seeing someone new might add a little
variety to this final pregnancy.
Sniff. I think Jamie is
beginning to grow up, right before my very eyes. I'm not sure if I'm
ready for this! If I had played this song for her a year ago - "Girls
Just Want To Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper, which she used to request a
dozen times every day - she would have been right here in the middle of
the living room, dancing her heart out. This morning I played it, and
do you know what she said to me?? "Oh no, not Cyndi Lauper! I'm sick of
Cyndi Lauper, Mom!"
Thank goodness for
least I've got one
in pigtails, whirling around my living
room this morning. (I look at her, and she smiles and kicks up one
chubby leg; "I DANCIN'!" she shouts happily.) This winter, I guess
Kacie will be Mama's little dancer ... God bless her heart.
crappy homemade "ghost" costumes.
[Frankly, they look more like plague victims than ghosts.]
seem to be
temporary (at least I HOPE it's temporary) run of bad luck. The past
couple of days have been awful. Everything seems to be unraveling at
once. This morning I feel sad and old and headachy, wondering what
could possibly go wrong TODAY ...
"appointment" -- I
use the term loosely -- was a huge disappointment yesterday. Hell, I
didn't even SEE the doctor. In fact I never even left the lobby. A
nurse took my urine specimen and my $122 and said, "That's it. You can
go now." I left feeling totally flattened. I was hoping yesterday would
be the "official" beginning of the pregnancy ... that I would meet my
doctor, listen to the baby's heartbeat for the first time, get an
official due date, then come home with my vitamin samples and my "Baby
Talk" magazines. Instead I came home empty-handed and let-down. I am
also worried. This new doctor has a payment-up-front policy that I'm
sure Ray isn't going to go for. That means I'm probably going to have
to drag out the phone book and go through all of the doctor-hunting
shit all over
November 7, 1985
A couple of days later,
things are much, much better.
Yesterday I called the
office for the results of my pregnancy test. Of course, by this point
there was no element of suspense ... I'd had a couple of fleeting
thoughts along the lines of, "What if I'm not pregnant? What if I've
got cancer instead?" ... but I already knew I was pregnant. And still,
heard the nurse say, "The test results were POSITIVE," I felt a surge
of joy I hadn't expected at all. It caught me completely by surprise.
I'm pregnant! It's official! And I'm thrilled!!!!!
I was right about Ray.
"No way" when he heard about the doctor's billing policy. It would just
be too hard on us, having to pay cash every time I saw the doctor,
especially with Christmas coming up. Reluctantly, I had to agree. I
hated the idea of having to find another new doctor and going through
the whole rigmarole again, but I knew he was right.
Happily, I managed to
dirt with the first doctor I called yesterday, Dr. Bell in Totem Lake.
His office assured me that they bill the insurance company directly.
Hooray! I immediately made an appointment for Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. I felt
so relieved after I made the call, I practically floated through the
rest of the day. When Ray came home last night, I threw my arms around
him and told him I'd found a doctor, and he was just as relieved and
happy as I was.
Today I feel light
hearted and a
little silly ... humming Christmas songs, munching on stale French
bread, teasing the girls ("Is that a
caterpillar on the stove??")
sun is shining and the autumn colors on our street are so vivid, it
looks like the trees are on fire.
November 19, 1985
Another two weeks later.
We had our first snow
morning. The kids and I woke to find a very light covering of snow in
the front yard, which (to their disappointment AND mine) melted within
an hour. Later in the afternoon we had a thirty minute snowfall,
glorious to observe but more rain than snow. Now, at 3 p.m., it's
raining. The Winter Wonderland we were hoping for has been reduced to
one big gray puddle.
Jamie is unhappy and
doesn't like being cooped up in the house, especially while Kacie is
napping, and I've been hard pressed to keep her entertained. (I put
some of my makeup on her ... made her a special cup of tea ... turned
on "The Flintstones" ...)
Last night she and I
"Dumbo" on TV. I was afraid she might not be able to sit through a
full-length movie, but as always I underestimated her. She not only
watched the entire movie, she also followed the storyline better than I
did! Her reaction to the movie was very emotional. When the mother
elephant went crazy and started attacking people, Jamie was very
frightened ... and then when Dumbo was separated from his mother, she
burst into tears. (Of course, so did I.)
Yesterday I had my first
appointment with Dr. Bell. Actually, the appointment was with Dr.
Bell's nurse -- I won't meet the doctor until next time -- but I am not
disheartened, the way I was last time. In fact, things went very well
yesterday, and I'm feeling really good about it. The minute I walked
into Dr. Bell's waiting room, I knew I'd finally found the right o.b.
Whereas Dr. A.'s office (that's the place I went on Nov. 4) was
cold, sterile and unfriendly, Dr. Bell's office was just the opposite.
Lots of bright cheerful colors, tables overflowing with magazines,
bulletin boards covered with notices about childbirth classes and car
seat rentals, other pregnant women sitting around ... it was a
cheerful, messy jumble, and I felt right at home. My appointment lasted
almost two hours. I had more paperwork to fill out, and then I spent an
hour with Jan, Dr. Bell's nurse. She took my medical history, checked
my weight and blood pressure, took blood, etc. I watched a short film
about complications in pregnancy. The nurse gave me a stack of
literature to read (a book called "While Waiting," the latest issues of
"Baby Talk," "American Baby" and "Expecting" magazines, some brochures)
and some vitamin samples. I asked her about the numbness in my right
hand, and she advised me to cut back on salt and drink more water. And
then my appointment was over.
Peg kept the girls out
car with her while I was in the doctor's office. By the time I finally
emerged, with my armload of reading material and a big silly grin on my
face, everyone was restless and hungry, so Peg treated us to hamburgers
at McDonald's. After lunch she dropped us off
at home. Kacie immediately went down for a nap, and Jamie went outside
to make mud pies. I spent my day contentedly reading my magazines and
enjoying the natural "pregnancy high" I always get after a visit to the
I was dying to tell
about my new doctor. Terry stopped by in the evening and I tried
telling her about my day, but I might as well have been talking to a
wall ... it was the
usual boring vapid conversation about clothes and boys and clothes and
boys. When she left I
felt nothing but relief. Sure will be glad when she's a couple of years
older and turns back into a human being. Oh well,
I thought, I
to Ray when he comes home.
He'd promised to come home and watch
with us ... so naturally it was almost midnight
crashing in. So much for his promises. He was obnoxiously drunk and
silly. I was already in bed -- not yet asleep, but pretending to be --
and all he wanted to do was talk about chili dogs (?) and breathe beer
fumes in my face. Miraculously, he did remember to ask about my
doctor's appointment, but by that point I was feeling too let-down and
angry to discuss it. "Do you really care?" I snapped at him, and then I
rolled over and held my breath until he finally passed out. My feelings
were hurt, although I'm not entirely sure why. I came home from my trip
to the o.b. feeling on top of the world and anxious to share my
happiness with someone ... anyone. But no one would listen. I should
know better, of course. This is the third time around for ol' Terri P.,
and no one gives a flying damn!! Why do I keep trying to get other
people involved and interested, when it's clear that I am in this thing
all by myself??
A notch or two better,
I'm still a little hurt about not having anyone to share things with. I
keep telling myself that as long as I am happy about the baby -- and I
am -- that's all that counts. But I'm not convinced. Not 100%, anyway.
It just doesn't feel right, going through this pregnancy all by myself.
Thursday 9 p.m.
November 21, 1985
A day later, and our
come true: the snow returned today, and this time it MEANT BUSINESS!
Would you believe we are totally
The snowfall began again
this morning and continued steadily all day, and by nightfall we had
almost six inches. Even now (at 9 p.m.) it is still falling, gently but
persistently. The whole world has come to a standstill. Traffic is
non-existent; our neighborhood is hushed and frozen. Ray finally made
it home around 8:00, thanks to a kindhearted friend with a truck. I
didn't expect him to make it home at all, so I was surprised and
relieved to see him. Now I feel free, finally, to kick back and enjoy
the snow, now that my whole family is safely assembled here under one
There is plenty of food in the house, and we are warm and cozy, and
everyone is in a silly, exuberant mood. Right now Ray is down on all
fours, giving the kids "pony rides," while I sit here writing, watching
the snow ...
Monday 9 a.m.
November 25, 1985
A few days later. The
was cold and wintery, but there was no additional snowfall: the six
inches we got on Thursday stuck fast all weekend, and our neighborhood
had a remote, isolated-from-the-world feeling. Ray and the kids and I
stayed warm and cozy here in the house. Ben from next door drove me to
grocery store on Saturday morning, and a couple of times Ray walked
down to QFC for extra supplies, so the cupboards were well stocked.
Last night Ray built a huge blazing fire.
Now it's Monday morning,
another heavy snowfall has just begun! The skies are filled with
millions of lazy, drifting snowflakes ... I'm sitting here with my mug
of hot coffee, watching them fall. Looks like we'll be snowed-in again
tonight. Sure hope Ray can get home from work.
I've NEVER seen this
in November. We must be breaking all kinds of weather records.
Time to shower -- clean
do laundry. See ya later.
Things I Am Thankful For
1. My husband. For all
faults (as I may perceive them), he is still a loving, loyal,
gentle-hearted man. And he makes one helluva chili!
2. My beautiful,
bright-eyed, sweet-faced little daughters, whom I adore wholeheartedly.
3. The baby growing
me, whose movements I am just beginning to feel, and whose presence I
feel already in my heart.
4. Our home ... for the
comfort, cheer and peace it provides.
5. Smooth, hot black
6. The beauty of our
neighborhood this past week, blanketed in snow.
7. Cold turkey
8. Things we have
the past year which have enhanced our home and/or simplified my life:
the washing machine, the collection of family photos on the living room
wall, the armchair Ray's folks gave us, the new vacuum cleaner, the
coffeemaker, the paint job in our bedroom, Kacie's new bed; Mitzi
Kitty; the thriving plants, scattered around the house.
9. Freshly shampooed
10. The opportunity -
blessing - of being able to stay home with my children while they are
of the 1985 Christmas Letter to myself.
not officially December yet, but I've dragged the boxes of Christmas
stuff down from the attic, and I'm letting the girls dig into them ...
this a real candy cane?" Jamie says, holding up a ten year old plastic
trinket. Oh heck ... I'm even playing the Christmas tapes. Holiday
music we haven't heard in a year fills the air.
no!" Jamie suddenly exclaims. She has accidentally broken the treetop
ornament -- the silver and blue one that The Balding Aluminum Sales Guy
and I bought for our first Christmas together, back in 1978. "I'm so
sorry, Mommy!" she sobs, as
though her little heart will break.
debate for a split second. Which is the more important: memories or
children? The latter wins by a landslide. I sweep away the pieces of
cheap broken glass (the memories will be with me forever, anyway) and
watch my daughters whirl around the living room to "Frosty The Snowman"
are three stockings on the stereo tonight: two large ones, one tiny
one. Jamie points to the littlest stocking. "That one's for our baby!"
says Jamie. I lay a hand on my four-months-pregnant belly and smile at
December 5, 1985
Well, my "favorite"
arrived, and Christmas is just around the corner, and here I sit
without a shred of holiday spirit. I feel grumpy, sick, worried and
sweaty ... a real holiday Mama, all right. Ho ho ho. Stuff it in your
(A few minutes later,
Good grief. I just
I sound like ... old Oscar The Grouch on "Sesame Street." I have all
his joy for life.
Well. Part of my
justified. I'm in the throes of a rotten cold -- my head feels like
it's filled with wet cement -- and, to make things even jollier, both
kids have it too, coming and going. (Kacie's cold is coming, Jamie's
thankfully is going.) All I want to do is climb into bed with a stack
of magazines and a pitcher of o.j. and sweat out my cold. Instead, I'm
playing nursemaid around the clock, ignoring my own pounding head and
throbbing sinuses, without a bit of help from ANYONE ... meaning Ray,
of course ... and I'm justifiably unhappy about it. I don't mind caring
for my children, but just once I wish someone would take care of ME,
just a little ...
Ray comes home every
night at 10
or 11, either wobbly from beer or else all pumped-up about his day --
or both -- and he's expecting a hot dinner waiting on the stove and
me to be in a conversational and cheerful mood, eager to listen to his
boring anecdotes about the box factory and the tavern. Instead, I'm
usually a weary mess by that hour, and
when I try to explain that I'm just plain too sick or EXHAUSTED for
talk or for sex or whatever, he gets all indignant and wounded. "I try
to be a nice guy," he says -- this is one of his favorite new lines,
implying that since he's been WONDERFUL enough to bring home a
half-gallon of milk at 11 p.m., why aren't I falling at his feet?? Or
"Nobody loves Daddy anymore." Which may be closer to the truth than he
realizes. Hell ... Kacie hasn't even seen
him since Sunday, and when he
sees Jamie he picks at her and teases her until she's in tears. As for
me, well, one hours' worth of husband per evening isn't what I'd call
the basis of a solid marriage. He doesn't listen to a word I say ... he
doesn't lift a finger around the house, not even to take out the
garbage or feed his dogs ... the little niceties I do for him go
unnoticed ... and sex is a definite one-way street (HIS way).
On Monday I saw Dr. Bell
first time, and I had a very uplifting, interesting appointment. Among
other things, I heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time, a
wonderful, exciting moment ... and then, as usual, I came home
afterwards and had absolutely no one to share it with. When Ray finally
at 10:30, he was so full of his own problems that he didn't even bother
to ask about my doctor's appointment ... not until
noticed how sad and
withdrawn I looked. Then, when I started telling him about hearing the
baby's heartbeat, he interrupted me mid-sentence to ramble on &
about his own feelings. All of my joy evaporated. I felt like, "God,
why do I even bother? He's not going to listen, and if he does listen,
he's not going to understand." And a door inside of me slammed shut
Oh well. I told you I'm
today. Everything I say or do ... or write ... is colored by my
temporary depression. And I'm sure that it will be temporary. Once my
cold dissipates and I get some Christmasey things done -- once the
money materializes, as I'm sure it must -- I'm going to bounce back.
I'm not feeling much holiday spirit right now, but I'm bound to
eventually. Christmas always has a way of infiltrating even my darkest
mood. This happens every year. I begin December worried and unhappy,
certain that the whole month will be a disaster, and yet by Christmas
Eve I'm ho-ho-hoing right along with everybody else. At this point in
my life I also have the added incentive -- or is it more a
responsibility? -- of bringing Christmas alive for my children. No
grumping & moping in front of them. They don't need to know how
Mama sweats and worries over money and shopping and all that other
stuff. I don't want them to pick up on ANY of that. I just want the
holidays to be fun and joyous and special for them. One way or another,
whether it happens naturally or whether I MAKE it happen for the sake
of the kids, Terri P. will be alive and kicking once again, before too
long. I'll put on the Christmas music, and get my cards written, and
make some paper snowflakes for the windows. I'll teach Jamie a few
Christmas songs, and watch Kacie's delighted reactions to everything,
and I know that some of the old holiday magic will wear away at the
edges of my gloom.
The baby just nudged me.
been feeling his movements for about a week now.
Sunday 3:30 p.m.
December 8, 1985
Late Sunday afternoon.
despair has turned into rage and helplessness. This has been one of the
worst weeks of my life, and I am at the end of my rope. I haven't seen
Ray since Friday morning, when he left for work. He didn't come home
Friday OR Saturday nights, and I have no idea where he is. Right
now I hate that goddamned motherfucker so much, I can barely stand to
write his name. Coming home at 10 or 11 every night is bad enough, but
not coming home at all, for over 48 hours ... well, that's something
else again. Honest to God -- if I weren't pregnant -- if tomorrow
weren't Jamie's birthday -- if it didn't mean uprooting the kids -- I
would pack our bags and walk out the door this very minute. I HAVE HAD
December 9, 1985
A new day. The sun is
our frosted neighborhood, and my heart is bright and hopeful. A new day
... and a new beginning? It has been so long since I've tasted hope. Is
this it? It tastes sweet ... so why am I still looking for razor blades
in the apple ... ?
Ray and I have struck a
tentative peace. I will write more about this another time -- maybe
later today -- but right now I'm involved in putting Jamie's birthday
together (she just climbed onto the sofa next to me and leaned her head
against me ... my sweet little four year old Puss), and there's no
my sweet daughter on her fourth birthday
There's a little bit of
this morning, but not much: the house is a shambles, and I have a full
day of housework ahead of me. My last two entries have probably left
you confused, though, and I feel I ought to clarify things briefly
before I plunge into my cleaning.
Ray was gone for three
-- from early Friday morning until 8 p.m. Sunday night. I won't go into
all the details, mainly because I don't feel like rehashing it this
morning, but it was a horrible weekend for everyone. The first night he
didn't come home -- Friday -- I
was annoyed and
worried, as usual, but I held it
together for the sake of the girls. After all, he has stayed out all
night plenty of times before. I don't like it, but I live with it.
However, when he didn't come home on Saturday night, either, or all day
on Sunday, I finally came unglued. This was the point at which I wrote
hating that "goddamned *!#%@!" (such was the depths of my pain,
loneliness, anger and fear). I cried out loud, I threw things, I
pounded pillows, I called him every name in the book. If the girls were
concerned about Mama's behavior, they didn't show it ... mostly they
just sat at the table quietly coloring pictures. I kept explaining to
them that even though Mama was angry with Daddy, she still loves him,
and Jamie just nodded as though this was perfectly normal and no big
deal at all.
Well, to make a long
short, he finally came walking through the door on Sunday night. He
looked like Walking Death ... sick, hungover, rumpled, unshaven. We had
a nightmarish, screaming argument - I did most of the screaming - I
kept demanding apologies and explanations, he kept mumbling about how
no one loves him anymore anyway so why should he bother coming home?
After awhile things calmed down a little. I didn't let him off the hook
completely, but he was so wrecked and depressed that I didn't have the
heart to flatten him any further.
Tuesday 9 a.m.
Dec. 17, 1985
(Continued a week later)
Ray made a lot of
his three-day "indiscretion," and to my amazement he has managed so far
to keep most of them. He wants to turn over a new leaf. I've heard
stuff like this coming out of his face before, but nothing ever really
changes. Promises are just words, after al. Maybe that's why I'm so
jaded now where Ray is concerned ... and why I've been so surprised
this past week to see him actually follow through on his promises.
Specifically: he has
at a decent hour (6 p.m.) every night this week, and he spent the whole
weekend at home with his family. We've been provided for (groceries,
diapers, etc.) in a consistent way. And his drinking has been sharply
curtailed. I haven't seen him drunk since the night he came crawling
home. He's been spending time with his daughters, he got us a Christmas
tree on Saturday night, and he made me a huge sumptuous breakfast the
morning of my birthday. When he's sober, he has a sense of humor and an
awareness of things that you never see when he's drinking. He has
cleaned himself up and gotten over the flu he had when he got home, and
now he looks healthy and well-rested and clear-eyed. A whole new man.
How long this amazing
transformation will last is anyone's guess. I'd like to believe it's
permanent, but ... well ... seeing is believing. My guess is that he'll
be reasonably "good" through the holidays, but that there will be more
problems between now and the time the baby is born. I seem to recall
that every time I'm just about to have a baby, Ray goes off the deep
end. I hope that doesn't happen this time, but with Ray you never know.
Some updates. We have
two birthdays -- Jamie's fourth, my twenty (gasp) eighth. Jamie's was
by far the most fun and eventful. It fell on Monday of last week, the
day after Ray came home. He left me the car that day so I could do some
shopping, so I left Jamie with Mrs. Kennedy and took Kacie with me to
Bartell Drugs and Albertsons. I bought Jamie's presents: some
Tinkerbell cosmetics for little girls (peel-off nail polish, a powder
compact and some lip gloss) and a deluxe ($20) Mr. Potato Head Family
playset. I also bought balloons, party hats, noisemakers and wrapping
paper. When we got home from the store I wrapped her presents, then I
got out the gifts that Peg and Don dropped off for her last weekend, on
their way to Arizona. Altogether she had TEN presents to open! Barbara
stopped by briefly that afternoon with a pretty cake -- it said "Happy
Birthday Jamie" on it -- so we had everything we needed for a decent
Before the festivities
begin, though, we had to go pick up Ray at 4:00. He was waiting for us
at Dave's Place (drinking a Coke!). The girls walked into the tavern
wearing their party hats and honking their noisemakers ... it was so
cute! Ray had two beers - I set the limit and Ray agreed -
while the girls raced around the tavern, fiddling with the video games
and spilling potato chips on the floor. On our way home we stopped once
again at Bartell Drugs so I could pick up two boxes of Christmas cards,
$2.50 a box. When we got home, we had Jamie's birthday party! She
opened everything as fast as she could. In addition to the things we
gave her, she also got a dressy pants & sweater set from Peg
Don Sr., a Barbie doll (her first!) and accessories from Aunt Sheryl, a
Care Bears cup from Aunt Barbara, candy & gum from Terry,
coloring books and crayons from her Aunt Judy, and several prs. of new
underpants that I took out of her Christmas stocking & gave to
early because she needs them. She was so excited about everything, it
was a struggle to get her to put her toys to one side long enough to
blow out her candles and have a piece of cake!
sobbed uncontrollably throughout the birthday festivities
(as Jamie blithely ignored her)
I should mention that
before Jamie's birthday (Sunday the 8th), Mom and Debi stopped by for a
nice, long, pre-birthday visit. Mom gave Jamie a little orange dragon
and a storybook called "Dragons Make The Nicest Friends"; Debi dazzled
Jamie with a really extravagant toy, a "My Little Pony Pretty Parlor."
Mom's visit came at a time when I really needed a little cheer. It was
the third day of Ray's drinking binge, I still hadn't heard a word from
him, and I was really in despair. Mom was calm, sympathetic and funny.
She also did not forget my upcoming birthday, and she and Debi gave
me my gifts early - a set of beautiful blank books, the kind you can
use to write poetry or personal thoughts in, and a bottle of my
perfume, Tabu. For some reason these small material tokens of my mother
and sister's love for me moved me deeply. It gave me just the lift I
My birthday this past
the same as always ... nothing at all. I felt a little blue and
disconnected from things all day. There were no presents to open, no
candles to blow out ... no celebration of any kind. There never is, and
you'd think I'd be used to it by now, but every year I expect something
and get nothing. I guess I still have some growing up to do. (I don't
expect hearts and flowers, but doggone it, even a card from my husband
would be nice ... )
We put up our Christmas
Saturday night. Ray and Jamie went to pick it out -- a lovely, full,
fragrant six-footer. I made an ornament for the top, to replace the one
Jamie accidentally broke a couple of weeks ago. It's a silver dove of
peace (the front of an old Christmas card), mounted on a large silver
star (cardboard & tin foil) and trimmed with dried baby's
I'm kind of pleased with it. Anyway, the girls and I trimmed the tree
while Ray made our traditional tree-trimming supper, tacos and tater
tots. The girls adore the Christmas tree. Each night now Jamie watches
out the window for the neighbors to turn on their porch light ... her
signal that it's OK to turn on the Christmas tree lights.
Jamie is really throwing
into the spirit of the holidays this year. When she isn't making
Christmas cards for the mailman or drawing holiday pictures for the
windows, she's humming "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph" under her breath or
wrapping "pretend-presents" for Maggie and putting them under the tree.
She sits through every Christmas cartoon on TV without blinking,
practically. Her favorites are "How The Grinch Stole
Christmas" and "Rudolph." Every day she requests a re-reading of "The
Grinch" ... we know whole portions of it by heart. She loves all the
little treats of the season: the gingerbread men Judy S. baked for
us, candy canes, tangerines wrapped in crinkly paper, hot cocoa with
marshmallows, cranberries, homemade jam ... she loves everything. (Well
week we got a big fruitcake from Helene and
Dora, and she gamely tried a piece of it - but spit it out.) She's all
caught up in the fun and the mystery and the specialness of the
holidays. Best of all, her belief in Santa is absolute. None of the
discrepancies bother her yet. She accepts my explanations without
visits the stores in
the daytime and flies back home
to the North Pole every evening")
and loves him with a pure,
wholehearted, unwavering faith that is lovely to behold. It is making
my Christmas this year.
Kacie is enjoying things
a sweet wide-eyed way, but for her it isn't as personal and as
important as it will be in another year or two. She'll watch a
Christmas cartoon for all of about three minutes before she's off in
search of juice, kitties, crayons ... she loves candy canes, but she
would rather play with them than eat them! She likes the tree,
especially when the lights are on, and she'll dance to any Christmas
music I play on the stereo. I know that next week she'll love "going
bye-bye" when we visit all the relatives on Christmas Eve. And of
course it's a sure bet she'll like opening presents! But to her, I
think, it's all a lot of nice but unconnected fun. She hasn't grasped
the idea that it all adds up to CHRISTMAS. Still, this year Kacie is my
baby, and Christmas without a baby isn't Christmas to me.
We've all got rotten
chest colds today, and unfortunately Kacie has it the worst of all. At
the moment she is laying on the sofa, covered with a blanket, drinking
a bottle of juice and listening to music with the headphones. She's got
a nasty, rattling cough and a drippy nose - no fever, thank goodness -
I've got her greased up with Vicks VapoRub and periodically I force a
half-teaspoonful of cough syrup down her throat. I've got the same
thing she has, but to a lesser degree, and Jamie, who had it last week,
is the healthiest of all of us.
of the 1985 Christmas letter:
don't know how much you recall specifically about the 1985 holiday
season, Terri in the Future, but it's the week before Christmas and I
sick. I won't give you the whole litany of complaints - it's just a
nasty cold, centered in my head and chest - you know the drill. For two
days I've been going all-out in my campaign to Get Well By This
Weekend. So far, no good. To make things worse, Kacie's got it too, and
she's just about as miserable as I am. (Jamie, fortunately, has already
had it & is on her way to being healthy again.)
a dark, quiet evening -- "quiet" being a relative term -- Kacie just
got up from her nap and is howling for no reason in particular, and the
omnipresent Sesame Street is blaring from the living room ...
flits back and forth, from the kitchen table where she is coloring a
picture, to the living room to catch a bit of Sesame Street, then back
to the kitchen again. She is in fine spirits this week in spite of her
(sick) grumpy mother. Christmas is almost here and she is positively
Mama: "What would you
like Santa to bring you this year?"
Jamie: "You makin' a list?
Ummm ... a See & Say. Some new paint. A new bubble baff. And a
... for my sister would be ... Baby Kickee. Um, for me and Kacie, Kacie
gets a Go Vin Driver and I get a fire engine. One more ding for me and
my sister - a new colorbook."
The house is (to coin one of my
favorite descriptive phrases) a "moderate shambles." I haven't done
much at all for the past two days, and things are on the verge of
falling apart. It's all pretty much the usual stuff ... dirty dishes
cluttering the kitchen counters, toys strewn across the living room
floor, garbage sacks stuffed to overflowing, my writing materials
covering the kitchen table ...
... still, from
beneath the clutter, a sort of homey holiday beauty emerges. The
Christmas tree sparkles and glows by the front window; Christmas and
birthday cards hang in rows from archways and doorways; little touches
of the season are scattered here and there, around the house. This
looks like a place that is well lived-in and enjoyed. It
looks like a home.
The baby inside of
me gives one well-placed kick. A reaction to the half-cup of coffee I
just had, or to my persistent cough? I think ahead, to Christmas one
year hence, when I will be the mother of THREE.
At this point it seems less a reality, more a far-off dream. The two
munchkins I have now are such a handful. (Kacie, running around the
house with a bare bottom and a greasy chicken bone in her hand ...
Jamie, gabbing a mile a minute about hairdryers and My Little Ponys and
candy canes ...)
How in the world
will I ever manage with three??
But manage we
will, I feel sure. Ray and I have just come through a terrible time in
our marriage and have survived - maybe even triumphed. I feel certain
that we can handle the year ahead ... the addition of our third child,
whoever he/she will turn out to be ... and anything else Fate throws in
our direction. Another child will simply be a blessing heaped on
My wishes for
Christmas 1985 are, in no particular order: for Kacie and I to get over
our colds ... a gold watch ... a record player for Jamie ... a relaxed
Christmas dinner ... new maternity pants ... no hangovers ... a clean
house on Christmas Eve ... one decent photo of the four of us together
... a better recording of "Happy Christmas," and the Bing Crosby/David
Bowie version of "The Little Drummer Boy" ... mince pie ... George C.
Scott's "A Christmas Carol" on TV again this year ... a new diary
(which I promise to write in faithfully, every single day) ...
Here's hoping that
you in December '86 are as confident and happy - but HEALTHIER!
- than I am tonight.
December 20, 1985
Ray and I are going
shopping tomorrow, and while we're at Fred Meyer I think I'll treat
myself to a new journal. This one has just about run its course, and
it's time to wrap things up.
I don't know why I
so sad when I must bring a journal to a close. When you think about it,
it's really kind of silly ... this is only a dimestore notebook, after
all. Not a flesh and blood friend. Still, I feel a little pang of
regret whenever the last page has been filled ... as though another
chapter of my life has been finished and now it's time to say goodbye
to someone who has been important to me for a period of time. My life
has been filled
with goodbyes. So why the silly regrets over a silly
Well ... this journal
ends on a
happy note, anyway. Things have been so wildly up and down since March:
it's nice to end things in an upbeat way, for a change.
This is Friday morning,
days before Christmas, and I am feeling my first genuine stirrings of
holiday spirit. Between our usual financial worries, Ray's horrid
behavior a couple of weeks ago, and this case of winter flu we've been
passing back and forth all month, I haven't been feeling too "jolly"
about anything. It's hard to muster much Christmas cheer when you're
broke, sick and lonely ... which is how I spent the
part of this
month, basically. Things have gradually begun to improve, though. Ray
home with us ... we've had a little money, and yesterday was payday so
now we have a lot of money ... my house is so beautiful to me, with all
the Christmas decorations and little homey touches everywhere, that I
bear it ... I don't know, things just seem to be finally falling into
place. And this year there is the special added joy of being pregnant
at Christmas. It gives everything a depth and significance that I find
very moving. I sit here, looking at the Christmas tree, and suddenly
the baby gives me a thump. It's a little reminder -- physical proof of
the blessing within me -- one blessing upon many other blessings this
holiday season ...
Now it's early evening.
house is warm and well-lit and pretty, and it smells of frying chicken
(my new specialty) and the lovely fragrance of pine. The girls are
crouched in front of the TV watching their millionth Christmas special
of the season, a silly thing with the unlikely title "The Leprechaun's
Christmas" ... Jamie, wearing Ray's floppy Rainier Beer T-shirt and
clutching Maggie (as ever) in her arms ... Kacie, rolling on the floor
with her legs in the air, chortling and giggling over some private
There's a Seahawks game
televised at the moment -- plus it's Friday night, the day after payday
-- so I have a feeling it may be hours before we see Ray. I'm sure he's
sitting down at Dave's Place this very minute, watching football and
swilling beer without a care in the world. However. Nothing, not even
Ray, can ruin my good mood tonight! If he comes home, he comes home. If
not, no big deal. I have my own plans for this evening. Nothing
world-shaking ... certainly nothing like the Friday nights I used to
have, back when I was single and childless and employed and footloose,
but nice plans nonetheless. I'm going to serve my children a special
supper -- my good fried chicken, broccoli, blueberry pie for dessert.
I'm going to run one more load of laundry and fold the clean clothes I
earlier. I'm going to admire my Christmas tree, and play Barbies with
Jamie, and sing "Old McDonald" to Kacie again, just to hear her giggle.
I'll mediate five or six sibling battles ... feed the cats ... review
my Christmas shopping list for tomorrow ... watch all my favorite
Friday night TV shows ("The New Twilight Zone," "Dallas," "Miami
Vice"). I'll eat odds & ends, whatever I find in the fridge,
I'll drink one cold beer (and not feel guilty about it) while "Dallas"
is on. At the end of the evening I'll slip unto bed, snuggled under the
new electric blanket, and read "Baby Talk" magazine until sleep
overtakes me. Then I'll dream. (Maybe, in my dreams, I'll finally give
that good-for-nothing Scott S. a long-overdue divorce, thus ending the
"series"! Or maybe I'll have another dream like I
had last night, where some kind of celestial being informs me, in a
voice that sounds like my mother's, that the baby I'm carrying "will be
And such will be my
But you know ... it's
Friday night used to be the cog around which my week revolved -- the
party night, the happening night, this big exciting part of my life --
I depended on this one night of the week to make up for the
ordinariness of the preceding week. And now, at age 28, my whole life
is excruciatingly ordinary, and you'd think I would need more than ever
for Friday night to give me something. You'd think I'd be dying for it
by now. Instead, I'm not one bit interested in excitement, male
attention or glamour. The things that turn me on tonight would probably
have been beyond my comprehension five or ten years ago. A kiss from a
two year old with a runny nose and a cookie-smeared face. A neatly
folded stack of clean towels. A crayon picture of a Christmas tree,
taped to the fridge. I've traded in the black slacks and tight sweaters
for maternity clothes and bathrobes. Instead of rock music blaring in
the background of my Friday night, it's "Rudolph's Shiny New Year." The
boyfriend of the week has been replaced by a preschooler, a toddler,
two cats and a vacuum cleaner. To say I've mellowed over the years
would be like calling Santa "an OK kind of guy."
And so this journal
Without fanfare. No one else in the entire world knows that Terri's
orange journal is coming to a close right now. It certainly won't be on
the 11:00 news. And yet, I do feel as though something ends tonight ...
just as something will begin in 1986. Endings and beginnings. I know I
am a hopeless cornball, but isn't that what life is? starts and stops?
beginnings and endings? This journal, incomplete and piecemeal as it
may be, chronicles a portion of my life I will doubtless cherish always
... the time when my kids were little. For that reason alone, this
orange journal is important. The next journal will be equally important
-- Christmas 1985, the birth of our third child, the continued growth
and change of our small family -- it goes on & on. This is the
beauty of being a lifelong diarist. There is always something ahead to
I've got to go. "Dallas"
about to begin, and Jamie wants me to draw some "fictures" on the
cardboard box that is Maggie's new "bed" ...
I leave you happy --
anticipatory -- full of peace and warm feelings for the year ahead.
December 20, 1985
I HANDLED MY ATTACK OF
THE BLUES TODAY
- starting a new
- writing to
- "Dallas" re-run
- playing with
- crying over a
Twilight Zone episode
- pizza, Cherry
hot buttered popcorn
- "Miami Vice"
- looking at baby
pictures of Jamie
NAMES: Kyle, Brett,
ends when? December
20, 1985 (nine months after it began) ... Friday noon
frame of mind? Good
- filled with holiday spirit, excitement about the baby, love for my
worries at the moment:
will we get it all done?
B. Getting the girls & I over our colds
are you looking forward
tomorrow; Christmas party on Sunday; Christmas Eve
on Tuesday; CHRISTMAS on Wednesday.
you pregnant? YES!!
big is Yogi? HUGE.
She's driving me right
I Like During This
"Emotion" - Barbra
"Run To You" - Bryan Adams
"Radioactive" - The Firm
"Strut" - Sheena Easton
"Trapped" - Bruce Springsteen
"She's Waiting" - Eric Clapton
"Glory Days" - Bruce Springsteen
"The Never-Ending Story" - Limahl
"Only Jesus" - Silverwind
"So Far Away From Me" - Dire Straits
"Crazy In The Night" - Kim Carnes
"Diana" - Bryan Adams
"Summer of 69" - Bryan Adams
"The Tears In Your Eyes" - Prince
"Bang A Gong" - Power Station
"Take On Me" - A-Ha
"Dancin In The Streets" - Mick Jagger & David Bowie
"Goin Down" - Bruce Springsteen
to throw a rock?