The first weekend that *Someone* and I were in the new ant farm, and already I'm dealing with a mini-crisis  ... as detailed in my frantic e-mail to my pal Edmund.


Subj: Re: hello girls
Date: 02/01/98
To:    Shell Pile

<< notice that your computer is hooked back up.... I'm expecting mail from you >>

Yeah, I'm "hooked back up" ... but I'm still trying to get settled in.

CRISIS #4,548,092,231 OF THE WEAK-END: the one and ONLY box o' stuff that appears to have fallen off the planet during this move is ... of coarse ...

... the box of *my* office stuff. Including

* ALL of my desk toys

* ALL of my Tot photos

* A really cool clock Feef sent me for my


I am tearing the place apart but the box is nowhere to be found. Mr. Organized swears that he brought it to the new place ... but I can't find it. It's 9 a.m. now and I've been looking since 5:30 this morning. I think I'm gonna throw up.

More later.


Crisis averted.

Subj: Never Mind.
Date: 02/01/98
To:    Shell Pile

*Box o'stuff* = LOCATED. (It was outside in the SHED.)

Disks = all present & accounted for. (That's it. The ARCHIVES are going into a safety deposit box, once and for all.)

Big Baby = ME. Next I shall no doubt feel compelled to complain about my DEFECTIVE RUBBER DUCKIES. (They don't float ... they just sorta lean over in the bath water.)

I'm wearing myselves out ... and I've only lived in this new apartment for 12 hours.



Daughter #1 checks in.

Subj: Re: Hey!
Date: 98-02-01 14:05:33 EST
From: Daughter #1
To:     SecraT

Well, I will send you out the picture on Monday or Tuesday. I don't think that you really need to send Kacie money for her dress because Debi took her shopping for everything. If you want to, you could always send her money for pictures, if you can. Since she is going with Jason's cousin Rick, we will all get our pictures taken together so we will send you one.

Have you seen Titanic yet? I have seen it three times now and I cried everytime. I also cry everytime I hear that song from it. I really hope that you see it before it's out of the theatre.

Me, Jason, and a few of the other sophomore class officers are going shopping now for the dance decorations, since we put the dance on, so I'll talk to you later.




From "The Big Book of Fun Stuff To Drink"

Ginger Lemonade

Fresh ginger
Hot water
Cayenne pepper

No need to peel the ginger; just grate it on the large holes of a four sided grater and put 2 T. of the shards into a teapot. Pour in 2 cups of boiling water, cover and let steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain out the ginger, add 1 T. of honey, 2 T. of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir, drink and get well.

Note: Ginger Lemonade tastes best in a tempered glass or a very thin china mug.


Louisville Lemonade

Jigger of bourbon
1 T. honey
Juice of half a lemon

Stir all ingredients with a swizzle stick; drink and get well.




Hadn't heard from the Tots in a few days, so I threw a rock in their direction   ...

Subj: Anybody Home?
Date: 02/06/98
To:    Daughter #2, Son #Only, Daughter #1

Hi guys.

I only have a minute: it's 7:30 a.m. and I've got to leave for work soon, but I haven't heard from any of you in a few days & I thought I'd better check in and make sure everybody's OK ... ?

We're thinking about coming up to Tic Tac weekend-after-next (Valentine's Day weekend). Anyone gonna be home? Interested in lunch or dinner, maybe a movie or something?

I'll try and write more this weekend.

I love you!




E-mail from Feef, re: the state of her life.  Very long read  ... but worth it.

Subj: White On White or "This, My Week-ness"
Date: 98-02-07 17:25:04 EST
From: Feef
To:     Bottle, Edmund, SecraT


Monday, 2/2/98, 9:00 p.m.:

THE KID is released from a Loo-uh-vulle Hospital after being surveilled for 24 hours. The doctor who releases him says he shouldn't go to work for a couple days, but other than that, all is well. His head is okay, despite the fact that it's never been ON straight, and also despite the fact that it got butted by 250 pounds of brute force travelling at the speed of "hurl" in a friendly Sunday afternoon football game.

X-rays show that his jawbone is not broken, nor is it fractured, despite the fact that -- for all practical purposes -- THE KID'S vocabulary has been reduced to three words -- "My jaw hurts" -- which he has been uttering every three minutes since 5 p.m. on Sunday.......which slowly has driven me to the brink of sheer madness.

When we get a safe distance away from the hospital, I tell him if he doesn't shut up I am going to make him smoke a joint. He is horrified and now begins muttering unintelligible phrases about abusive drug-using mothers. "Nevermind the disapproval," I tell him. "It would probably make us BOTH feel better." Then I take him home. Instead of brownies though, I cram 4 Advil down his throat and send him to bed while I dash to the grocery for soup, pudding, applesauce and ice cream......which is pretty much all he can eat for the time being.


Tuesday, 2/3/98, 11:00 p.m.:

I get back to Loo-uh-vulle after visiting Pop in the hospital in Lexington and feeding HIM soup, pudding, applesauce and ice-cream........listen to 21 messages on the answering machine and flip on the TV just in time to hear the weatherman tell me how hard it is snowing to the south and east of me, but how Loo-uh-vulle will only get a few flurries before the storm moves out of Kentucky.

This is good news because one of the messages on the machine was from Pop's doctor who wants to meet with me at 9 a.m. the next morning so that together, we can give my Pop some news that sucks: He has small cell lung cancer in the form of a huge mass that is pressing against his esophogus and is the reason he has not been able to swallow or speak above a whisper since early December. The cancer has already metastasized to his hip. He has two choices.........chemotherapy, which is "iffy" at best.......or no chemotherapy, which will give him a life expectancy of approximately 45 days.

I call the doctor back and say "yes" I will meet him at 9 a.m. sharp. I ask him please not to say anything to my Pop until I get there. Then I pace and muse and muse and shower and finally go to bed, setting the alarm for 6:30 a.m. I don't expect to sleep, but just in case.


Wednesday, 2/4/98, 5:30 a.m.:

I am awake so I decide to go ahead and get up. I look out the window. There is about an inch of snow on the ground and it is coming down out of the sky to beat forty. Holy SHIDT! I've got 85 miles to drive! I skip the morning routine of treadmill and CNN, throw on some clothes, jump in the car and head for the Interstate. I cannot see two feet in front of me because I am driving in a blizzard.

An hour and a half later I am only 24 miles out of Loo-uh-vulle. An announcer's voice emanating from my car speakers allows as to how last night's weather report was a slight goof and that we currently are in the midst of "Storm Warning '98."

"No SHIDT, Sherlock!" I screech at the radio dial, "You think I can't SEE that???"

Traffic is barely moving. The snow in front of me looks like a white voile curtain that someone hung sideways and there appears to be about 3 inches on the ground so far, but it's hard to tell because the wind is blowing like a bat out of hell. I already have seen three "sport vehicles" go off in the ditch and now even the truckers are giving up. It's no use. I cannot get to Lexington. I start to wonder if I can even get back to LOO-UH-VULLE!

I pull off at the exit to Podunk and do an about-face, hoping I can get to a phone before 9 a.m.

The radio announcer tells me to stay off the roads. Sheesh.

I make it back to Loo-uh-vulle and get to the office at 9:15. I call the hospital and page the doctor to tell him I can't make it. He says it doesn't really matter because Pop is not at all coherent this morning anyway. I tell him (again.....for the third time!) that Pop has been drifting in and out of lucidity for a week. The doctor says "Well, he IS 85."

To which I reply in my "pleasant but-I'm-not-kidding" tone of voice: "Please. LISTEN to me! As I have EXPLAINED on SEVERAL occasions now, a week and a half ago he was 85 too! And I'm TELLING you he was a HELLUVA lot more clear-headed than most 25-year-olds!"

The doctor says "Really?" and says he will order a spinal tap to see if maybe Pop has "carcinogenic meningitis" which, roughly translated, means cancer of the brain lining and nervous system. He will call me back when he has the results. Christ.

I take off my "adult child" hat then and put on my "Chicken Plucker's Advocate" hat. We are busier than a colony of ants in a dollop of Mrs. Butterworth's, which is good. I don't have to think........just make deadlines, write decks, supervise, and put out chicken fat fires.

By 2 p.m. we have 8 inches of snow. The entire city is paralyzed (reference a previous e from me explaining how a heavy dew throws us into a school-closing mode) and the Mayor declares this to be "Operation Snow!" -- asking all downtown employers to send non-essential employees home. Debbie, agency owner and CEO -- who was born and raised in Buffalo, NY -- takes Mayor Abramson's name in vain repeatedly to anyone within hearing distance.

At 5 p.m. Debbie announces we can all "go ahead and leave early." There is a mad rush for the door, but it is not hard to get home because by this time, there is zero traffic on the road. Downtown has been abandoned by everyone else hours earlier. I grin and tell Debbie that I know this is precisely whut she had in mind by keeping us 3 extra hours. She tells me not be be such a fudking smartass or she'll make me stay 'til nine.


Thursday, 2/5/98, 8 a.m.:

The roads are semi-passable and the weatherman says the storm has left our area and headed east again. We have seen the worst.

Close to 3 o'clock my ex-sister-in-law calls me from Pop's room at the hospital. He is very lucid and wants to talk to me. His whisper is a little hard to understand, but basically, he tells me that "Diane is talking too goddamm much as usual" "be sure to pay my (his) goddamm bills".......and to "stay off the goddamm highway until the snow melts, goddammit!" Hallelujah! It is a truly rapturous moment, and I hang up with a huge grin on my face.

About 6 p.m. Pop's doctor calls me and says that the spinal fluid is clear. No carcinogenic meningitis.

And he has seen Pop, who is very clear-headed today, so can I please meet him Friday morning at 9 a.m. "Yes I know, and yes I can," I reply.

At 6:30 p.m. THE KID calls ranting and raving that our neighbor has shoveled himself out a parking place in front of the house and dumped all the snow on OUR sidewalk, which THE KID had painstakingly shoveled off earlier. He wants to know if he can go out and shovel it again......this time onto the neighbor's goddamm car. For some reason he sounds amazingly like his grandfather for that one instant.

"No," I reply. "I'm feeling incredibly benevolent at the moment. Go chill out and smoke a joint." THE KID is not amused and hangs up.

11 pm. Thurday: Repeat of Tuesday's 11 p.m. weather forecast. A few flurries before morning. I ignore my little voice that 's saying "Hey! Feef!! It's deja vu all over again!!! Better go to Lexington RIGHT NOW!" and I go to bed instead.


Friday, 2/6/98, 5:30 a.m.:

It IS deja vu all over again. Almost. During the past 6 hours, we've accumulated another 8 INCHES of SNOW and it is STILL snowing! GAWD!

"Tough shit," I say and throw on some jeans, a sweatshirt, and the moon boots I used to wear when I delivered pizza for a living. (I kept them all these years because you never know when you might want to return to a previous career.) I am going to get to Lexington this morning come hell or high snow drifts.

I shovel the Saturn out of it's spot in the alley.......and then I shovel most of the alley, throw the shovel in the car and gun it. I do okay getting to's only about 4 blocks away. Then, I get out of Loo-uh-vulle okay too and I'm feeling pretty good until I get past the city limits, where the highway becomes a skating rink for all moving vehicles. But at least I can SEE (no blizzard) so I keep going.......along with about 30 other cars and trucks.

Inch by inch, at 15 miles per hour, we make our way in a convoy for the next 50 miles. I am so twitchy by this time that I am ready to rip the steering wheel from its moorings, but finally we see reasonably clear road ahead. The speed picks up to 40 mph and I cruise the rest of the way into Lexington.

I make it to the hospital by 9.......but Pop is in a fog again this day. The doctor says he'll come back at 11. Pop is STILL in a fog. The doctor says if I can stick around, he'll come back at 5. I look out the window. It's snowing again, but yes, I will stick around.

Pop sleeps most of the day and at 5:30 or so, we have to wake him up to tell him the diagnosis. Great, huh? "Wake up,'ve got CANCER!"

He was really weak, but I could tell he was "with it" at this point because of the expressions he got on his face as the doctor spoke.

Doctor: "You have lung cancer Mr. O'Toole. A very large mass in your lung, and it has spread to your hip."

Pop's look: "I figured as much. Tell me something I DON'T know."

Doctor: "Chemotherapy is the only way to try and shrink it, but it will make you lose your hair."

Pop's look: "You stupid jerk. I'm already BALD for crissakes......are you BLIND?"

Doctor: "It might make you sick to your stomach."

Pop's look: "I can't swallow a goddamm thing except soup, pudding, applesauce and ice cream as it is.......or haven't you noticed, you condescending son-of-a-bitch?"

Doctor: "If we don't treat it with chemotherapy, we can keep you pain-free, but you'll only have about six weeks, at best. The decision has to be yours."

Pop's look: "Some choice, asshole."

And then Pop, because he couldn't speak, raised his fist in the air, ever so slowly, and shook it. That was his answer. He's gonna fight. And my heart almost burst.

Me (to doctor): "That's his answer. Start the chemo."

Doctor: "Are you SURE he knows what I'm telling him?"

Me: "Yeah. He knows. He's an EXTREMELY intelligent man, Doc. It's just that he's very very sick right you're not getting the true picture."

Pop looked over at me, raised his eyebrows, grinned a little sideways grin, closed his eyes, and pretended to be asleep then until the doctor left.

When I told him the "jerk" was gone, he opened his eyes again and I said I was glad he'd decided to try and fight this thing. He managed to croak out, "I know you are."

"And hey! I'll bring you joints to smoke if you get sick at your stomach," I added.

He made another fist.......only this time he aimed it at me.




Shortly after that, with twenty-two inches on the ground, it quit snowing.









Subj: Sunday Morning
Date: 98-02-08 10:12:29 EST
From: kbeeson

It's 6:30 a.m. on Sunday and I just poured my first cup of coffee.

Let's see if I can string any coherent thoughts together this early in the morning.

Hope you're all settled in by now, nothing left but the boxes you threw the last minute junk into and can't figure out where to put all that  little stuff--at least that's always been my pattern. For what it's  worth, some of it is still upstairs in a spare room closet--in the same box I threw it into. I will no doubt wind up throwing it all into a "useless or outgrown stuff for the handicapped" bag one of these years.

Richard called last night. We hadn't heard from him for over a week and were beginning to think he had relapsed. He didn't, he's  fine--just going on with his life. He and his roomate had been discussing dreams, past life possiblilities, etc. and he called to ask me if I was aware of the possible origin of one of his childhood dreams. He remembers a dream of emotion, total terror and betrayal, and wondered if there had been any kind of abuse in his very early childhood. I could only tell him that I never witnessed or participated in any.

I spent last weekend at Bobbi's. There was a WAEOP meeting in Mt. Vernon on Saturday morning so I drove up early. The drive was gorgeous! The sun was shining and all the mountains were out. There was already a haze of green on the bulb fields in the Skagit Valley.

After the meeting, I drove across the Deception Pass bridge and down Whidby Island to Bobbi's house at Greenbank. We had a nice visit. She's teaching computer classes at Skagit Valley CC and at the senior center in Langley (on Whidby Island), in addition to her accounting business and private computer consulting work--busy lady. She and her dog, Nick (a huge, part Great Dane, part Labrador) live in a very nice modular which she can write off because she uses the whole house for her business.

School is going well--we've been through Word and Power Point and are now beginning to work in Excel. Of course, I have enough experience with all of them to find my way without a lot of effort but I'm completely self-taught and am learning all kinds of easier ways to do things. Yay!!!

This missive is painfully short of news about the tots and siblings. I've only seen Deb and Jaymi when I've been in the office on the last two Thursdays and they were busy both days--no time for family chit-chat. I do know that things seem to be progressing with Ray's buying the house and that Chris is not REPRESENTING him in your divorce, only gave him advice on where to get the papers to do it himself.

Guess I should call it quits for now and get some meeting minutes taken care of before I get tired of the computer. Write soon and let me know how things are going in the new digs.

Love you,



My reply to my mother's e-mail:

Subj: Hey! It's *Sunday Morning* Here, Too! [whutta cooincidence .......]
Date: 02/08/98
To:    kbeeson

Hi Mom.

Thanks for the long, wonderful e-mail: I must have signed on & read it just a few minutes after you sent it. I "slept in" this morning until the UNHEARD-OF hour of 6:45 a.m. .... now I'm sitting at Tim's computer in my jammies, drinking my Starbucks and trying to catch up on a week's worth of e-mail and cyber junk mail.

Yes, we're pretty much settled into the new apartment -- and loving it. It's clean, it's spacious, it's pretty .... and best of all, it's FREE this month. (First month rent deferred because we signed a one yr. lease.) Tim had us mostly unpacked by the second or third day, although I still have a box or seven of my personal junk to sort through eventually. He's a very organized person, as you may have deduced from previous e-maileage. (I have my own bathroom for the first time in a long time, and I am purposely keeping it as chaotic as possible -- little rubber ducks and half-empty bottles of shampoo and damp towels everywhere -- just so I don't lose touch with my messy inner child. Also because it makes him crazy, which is always sorta fun.)

Tim quit his job last week. Long story there .... the gist of it being that his knees are really bothering him & he felt Starbucks wasn't giving him the support he was entitled to. I would write more about the situation, but the fact is that he comes into the bedroom every 2.3 minutes to "say hello" and to glance furtively at the computer screen .... [so much for letting me have a little *alone* time once in awhile] ... all I can say for now is that he appears to be actively looking for a new job, but we'll just have to wait & see what happens. He's using this down time to pursue the handful of lawsuits he's got going and to tinker on the 'puter and to organize the apartment some more.


There is a possibility we may drive up to TicTac in the next week or so .... Ray has some papers for me to sign, apparently. He called one night this last week, sounding downright PLEASANT: said he's paying for all the divorce stuff himself, plus he's going to handle our IRS debt for the next six months in order to give me some time to establish myself at Benchmade & get some money together. Hmmm. If we do decide to drive up it would just be for the day, but I'd let you know about it ahead of time so maybe we could at LEAST do a cup of coffee or something.

I hear from the Tots about once a week these days. Jaymi is supposed to be sending me another copy of the portrait she & Ray & the other kids had taken for Christmas, since the first one they sent me *disappeared* at the old apartment. I've promised to send them all mony for Valentines Day, so I imagine I'll be getting e-mail from them toward the middle of the week .... "Hi mom, how are you, I've been thinking about you, by the way did you mail that Valentine money yet?" ....

Glad school is going well. I'm envious. We live a couple of blocks from Clackamas Community College -- I walk right past it on my way to the bus stop -- I gaze at it wistfully every morning.

I would love to write more ... in fact, I was planning to spend a long lazy couple of hours getting a bunch of e-mail written ... but *Someone* is getting cranky on me here and I've gotta relinquish The Royal Computer. Maybe we can talk on the phone later this week and I can fill you in on the rest of the stuff that's going on around here. Tell Deb and Tim I said hello.

Love you ... sorry I have to end this so abruptly ...




Some back & forth between Daughter #1 and I, re: my possible trip to see them.

Subj: Re: Anybody Home?
Date: 02/08/98
To:    Daughter #1

  << Well, if you come up that weekend, me and Kacie have our dance, remeber?>>

Yeah, I remembered about the dance, but if we do come up -- and at this point it's still "if" -- it would be early in the day. Tim and I would leave Portland at the crack of dawn and make it to TicTac before noon .... then head back late in the afternoon. I figured we could find some way to work around your schedule .... I could give you guys your Valentines in person .... maybe even snag a photo or two of my lovely dotters as they prepare for the dance.

The details are still being worked out, but I will definitely let you know what's going on by the middle of this next week, OK?

<< I sent you that picture but I accidently put on the wrong address so I will re-send it -k-. >>

Just hang onto the picture until next weekend ... we might be able to save you 32 cents postage that way. [smile]

Love you. I'm gonna go find some breakfast.




Subj: Hi!
Date: 98-02-09 22:30:59 EST
From: Daughter #1
To:     SecraT

Well, if you come up on Saterday, you will most likely get to see Kacie and Kyle, but I'm in charge of the dance, so I have to be at the school at 7:00am to set up and then me and Christina have hair appointments for 3:00, so I'm pretty much busy.

Also, are you planning on sending me and Kacie money for the dance? Or at least Kacie? She kind of thinks that you are. If your not, then we are going to try to borrow money from Tim and Debi.

But I'll talk to you later.





Subj: from kacie
Date: 98-02-09 20:56:51 EST
From: Daughter #2
To:        SecraT

are you coming up next week? oh ya , allso are you going to send me and jaymi the money for the dance this saturday? i havent seen you online much so write me back.




My somewhat-exasperated reply to both daughters.

Subj: Money ... That's What I Want
Date: 02/10/98
To:    Daughter #2, Daughter #1

From Kacie:

<<< are you coming up next week? oh ya , allso are you going to send me and jaymi the money for the dance this saturday? i havent seen you online much so write me back. >>>

 And from Jaymi:

<<< Also, are you planning on sending me and Kacie money for the dance? >>>

Yes, my darling dears .... I'm sending money, I'm sending money. It went out yesterday. It's not much, but I hope it helps. Tell Kyle that he's got something coming too.

And I guess we'll just wait to come to Seattle, given the fact that no one seems all that excited by the idea. Maybe in a couple of weeks.

Talk to you later.





Daughter #2 did not take kindly to my e-mail.

Subj: hey
Date: 98-02-10 09:40:03 EST
From: Daughter #2
To:     SecraT

well beleave it or not i was excited about you coming up , but all you seem to think i care about it money.




I tried to make it all better.

Subj: Re: hey
Date: 02/10/98
To:    Daughter #2

In a message dated 98-02-10 09:40:03 EST, you write:

<< well beleave it or not i was excited about you coming up , but all you seem to think i care about it money. >>

What I MEANT was that neither your dad nor Tim seem very enthusiastic about the idea. I talked to your father on the phone yesterday and he left me with the impression that no one would be home that day .... and Tim is sorta dragging his heels about the whole idea of driving up there. Had nothing to do with you.

And I was just teasing you about the money. I know it's important to you.

Please quit taking everything I say so personally. I love you, you little knucklehead. And I WILL come up and see you within the next couple of weeks ... even if I have to f**king drive MYSELF. OK?



Meanwhile .... *Someone* (my new nickname for The Oregon Boyfiend, before I started calling him "The Oregon Boyfiend") was very depressed about quitting his job.  Here I attempted to bolster his flagging spirits.

Subj: *Words*
Date: 02/10/98
To:    *Someone*

Hi Honey.

I only have a couple of minutes before it's time to hit the shower and get ready for work ... you're still asleep ... we both had a restless night (I spent most of it watching the clock).

I'm sorry if I seemed to be at a loss last night to help you. You were in so much pain, and any words I might offer as comfort -- "I'm not going to leave you," "I understand how you feel," "I'll support you in any decision you make," "I love you" -- seemed ineffectual at best, and patronizing at worst.

But I'm not going to leave you.

And I do understand how you feel.

And I will support you in any decision you make.

 And I do love you.


Have a productive, uplifting day.





Edmund and I, enjoying one of our famous *mini-crises.*  I was growing steadily unhappier about the way my life was going.

Subj: Re: One of *those* e's
Date: 02/10/98
To:        Shell Pile

<< Boy, Terri.

You've taken *innocuity* and elevated it to an ART FORM! Nice work! >>

Uh huh. Do I take this to mean that you're among the 45,439,210,162 bazillion people on the planet who are irked with me today?


I am SORRY that I'm not writing more. I'm sorrier than you can possibly imagine. Or maybe you can. Every day that passes that I don't write something -- and I don't just mean e-mail to you (although that's a huge part of it), I mean typing ANYTHING besides endless lists of Knife Factory customers -- I feel my creative drive slipping away. I am VERY not-happy about this.

I am VERY not-happy about a lot of stuff right now. But that's just sorta the way it is, the way it's always been, the way it's (apparently) always gonna be.

I'm not gonna see my kids this weekend. The money situation is back to sucking big time, now that Tim has quit his job. The A.H. is on my freaking back about "changes to the child support." I have absolutely ZERO time to myself for anything, short of going to the bathroom. (And even then ...)

I'm feeling all sorry for myself. I'm gonna quit writing this *e* now because it's just making things worse. Call me one of these days,and I'll ask someone to cover the phones for me so we can talk w/o interruptions.






Little note to The Tots.

Subj: Here's What *Mom* Would Like For Valentines Day
Date: 02/11/98
To:   Son #Only, Daughter #1, Daughter #2

It was nice talking to all of you on the phone last night.

Let me know when the Valentines & the checks arrive, OK? They should be there by tomorrow.

The one thing I would love the most for Valentines Day ... besides actually BEING there with you, I mean ... would be a nice long e-mail from all three of you, all about what's going on in your lives, how school is going, what you're thinking about these days, who you're hanging around with, what music you're listening to, etc. etc. I know we don't spend as much time online as we used to -- it's sorta like Kyle described it on the phone last night when he said he's "just not into it that much anymore" -- but I love hearing from you. So sit down in front of the computer for a few minutes, sometime in the next few days, and write to me, OK?

I'll talk to all of you soon. Gotta get ready for work. I love you.




The 'Grillaz celebrate "Wichita's" (Bottle's) birthday.  He is now officially older than dirt, btw.

Subj: Aw, Shucks
Date: 98-02-12 13:28:17 EST
From: Bottle
To:        Edmund, Feef, Secra

Dear Guerrilli:

Thankyou very much for your warm birthday greetings. You guys are great. (You really are.)

The age odometer keeps turning, but much to Mrs. Bottle's dismay, the advancing years have not yet forced me to cease acting like an adolescent.

Last night I answered the phone, and it turned out to be the third telemarketer in a row:

TTIAR: "Congratulations, Mr. Morris!"

ME: "That's Norris."

TTIAR: "Sorry. But congratulations are still in order, Mr. Norris."

ME: "Why's that?"

TTIAR: "I'm So-and-So with Such-and-Such Home Security Systems, and I'm pleased to inform you that you've been selected to receive a free home security system."

ME: (suddenly ecstatic with excitement) "GET OUT OF TOWN!!!! I REALLY WON SOMETHING???? NO SHIT???????"

TTIAR: "Well, um, yes, you did."

ME: "COOL!!!! I NEVER WON ANYTHING BEFORE IN MY LIFE!!!! (Hey, Honey! We just WON A PRIZE!! YEAH! WE DID!!! I didn't believe it EITHER!)"

TTIAR: "Uh, Mr. Norris? Mr. Norris?"

ME: "OH, yeah, sorry. This is just SO COOL!"

TTIAR: "Yes, well, the security system is free and the installation is free. We only ask that you pay a $19 per month to cover the monitoring charge."

ME: "Man, I WON A PRIZE! This is SO cool. But there is one little problem."

TTIAR: "What's that?"

ME: "I already have a security system."

TTIAR: "You do?"

ME: "Yeah."

TTIAR: "Oh."

ME: "So I really don't need another one."

TTIAR: "I see."

ME: "And that really sucks. Because I never won anything before, and I'd really like to have a prize."

TTIAR: "Yes, well, I'm sorry we weren't able to help you this evening, Mr. Norris. If you have any questions, you can call 1-800..."

ME: (Interrupting) "Could you send me a ham instead?"

TTIAR: "Beg your pardon?"

ME: "Since I already have a security system, could my prize be a ham instead? Maybe one of those honey roasted ones? I really like ham."

TTIAR: "I don't think that will be possible, Mr. Norris."

ME: "Oh."

TTIAR: "It's been nice talking to you, Mr. Norris."

ME: "How about just some lunch meat, then?"

TTIAR: "Goodbye."




I was sad because I hadn't heard from any of the "Tots" on Valentines Day.

Subj: Happy Valentines Day
Date: 02/14/98
To:    Daughter #1, Daughter #2, Son #Only

Hope the checks arrived, and that you all had a fun Valentines Day.

I love you. I miss you.






My Valentine to The 'Grillaz

Subj: To All The 'Grillaz I've Loved Before
Date: 02/14/98
To:    Edmund, Bottle, Feef


Don't look for cards
Don't look for candy
You're getting THIS
Because it's handy.


(So bite me.)


Warm, tender Valentines wishes to my three best friends ...





Belated Valentines wishes from Daughter #2:

Subj: hi
Date: 98-02-15 14:31:53 EST
From: Daughter #2
To:     SecraT

sorry i dident write you before , i was really busy getting ready for valentines day . I had alot of fun and we went to the marriot for dinner . I got a wholeeee bunch of pictures to. Ill make sure to send you some of course. My dress was really pretty to black with sequence (cant wear it for rainbow but thats ok)





Feef, sharing her pain with the Grillaz ...

Subj: Identity Crisis
Date: 98-02-15 16:05:45 EST
From: Feef
To:     Bottle, Edmund, Secra name is Fifi O'Toole and today I am having a mildly severe identity crisis. It's not quite as bad as it was YESTERDAY......or FRIDAY.......(gawd......Friday SUDKED!)...........but it's still quite relentless and therefore annoying as hell.

This is not my favorite type of crisis to have. I much prefer knowing exactly who I am on any given day and whut I might expect from myself. Furthermore, just as a general rule I prefer to pick and choose whut sort of crises in which I become involved or, better yet, create my own because they're much easier to manage that way.

But I didn't get a vote this time.

THIS particular crisis was brought about by one of life's little "gifts" -- designed to sneak up stealthily, slam you up against a concrete block wall, double you over with a two-fisted gut punch, and then while you're puking up the spinach salad and tomato bisque soup you had for lunch, kick the shidt out of you with 17 pair of steel-toed combat boots.......being ever so careful the entire time to keep you mentally alert enough so that you'll be sure to FEEL every agonizing nano-second of the pain.


The hospital released Pop last Friday.


Well......maybe "released" is not exactly the proper word here.......but that's the word THEY used. "Released" to me connotates something to celebrate......or at the very least an act of "freeing" or the lessening of one's burdens. (Ref. Dylan's "Any day now, I shall be released.") THIS act more closely resembled throwing Pop out on his catheter bag because he is no longer "sick enough" for Medicare and his supplemental insurance (which is very expensive and supposedly very good, btw) to pay for him to be hospitalized. Right.

Which brings us to the definition of another word........sick.

He hadn't eaten anything in four days prior to this "release"........and I mean NADA..........nor can he even sit up without assistance, much less use his legs for anything other than kicking off the covers. He's lost twenty-three pounds in two weeks.......has no bladder control........his mind comes and goes more often than flies on a sack of shidt and no one can seem to tell me WHY goddammit...........he gets so "out of it" that he keeps ripping his IVs and catheter out and slinging blood all over the place so they have to keep him tied down..........and he has in-fudking-curable lung cancer for crissakes!!

But he's not "sick" enough to be in a hospital.

Jesus H. Christ.


My first reaction to all of this was "okay.....I'll take him home and find round-the-clock nurses. He'll be happier at home anyway."

Nope. Medicare and the other stuff won't pay for THAT either. They'll pay for nurse "visits" but the rest of the time you're on your own......which would be great I guess if I were a cross between a sumo wrestler, an independently wealthy bitch who didn't have to hold down a freakin' JOB that's 85 miles away, and someone who could snort enough cocaine so as not to require 4 to 5 hours of sleep in every 24.

But I'm NOT a sumo wrestler. Pop still weighs l60 pounds and I can't even scoot him up in the bed.

And I DO have to hold down a job.

And I've never snorted coke in my LIFE because I'm scared I'd LIKE it.

I spent every single goddamm DAY last week trying to find SOME way to take Pop home. There IS no way.

And so Friday, there was no choice but to accept that little "gift" that life had for me. I had to sign him in to a nursing home. It was totally out of character for me........and THAT is when the identity crisis REALLY kicked in. Full force.

While I was in another room getting slammed and gut-punched and signing papers and puking and signing more papers, Pop was throwing a few punches of his own. Somehow, even though I explained EVERYTHING to him in detail the night before, he got it into his head that the ambulance guys had taken him to New York and were leaving him there. I dunno why......he hasn't been to New York in 40 years......but he must not have liked it much when he was because Friday he went totally ballistic.

He may be 85 years old with his upper body strength only a smidgen of whut it was six months ago, but he is still one strong son-of-a-bitch and he was swinging with everything he had. He blackened the eye of a male nurse and knocked one of the rescue squad guys halfway across the room before one of the aides came running to get me yelling "Miz O'Toole! You've gotta come quick! Your father thinks he's in New York and he's trying to kill us!"

Me (out of breath from tearing through the halls of Country Manor like a maniac): "Pop! Whut the heck are you DOING? Calm down!"

Pop (in the frog voice I have now grown accustomed to): "The HELL I will! They're not leaving me in New YORK, goddammit!"

Me: " aren't IN New York. You're in Lexington."

Pop: "Huh?"

Me: "Yes Pop. You are only a few blocks from home......and you have to stay here to try to get STRONG enough to GO home. Remember? We talked about this last night."

Pop (calming down): "Well it sure as hell LOOKS like New York!"





Geez. I'd never NOTICED that New York was so awful!!!


He slept after that......he was EXHAUSTED of course.......and I spent about an hour attempting to convince the staff at "Country Manor" that he's really a wonderfully sweet and lovable man. They were predictably skeptical.


Then I went back to his room and just sat there loving him and watching him sleep and thinking that all of the sudden I'm not his kid anymore.......I'm his parent. And the identity crisis hit home again and I realized that I fudking HATE this job.......I do not WANT this job because I do not know how to DO this job.......and furthermore, life sudks.

But I can't change it, so I did whut all good parents do. I went to Sears and bought him a TV set for his room.


When I got back, he was semi-awake and fairly clear-headed so we visited awhile and he apologized to the nurses for hitting everyone and bitched about me giving him a TV and I told him it was for Valentine's Day which appeased him somewhut. Then he refused to eat lunch and then he said he was sleepy and kicked me out, so I told him I'd see him Saturday and to please remember that he was not in New York. He just laughed and closed his eyes.

I drove home to Loo-uh-vulle. I considered crying all the way, but decided there was no point in messing up my mascara because I had to go by the office for a couple hours, and besides, it would not have changed the fact that Pop isn't Pop anymore. Besides, there was a 400-pound petrified rock sitting on my chest the entire 85 miles and it was all I could do just to inhale and exhale at that point.

The rest of the day and night was a little shaky, but basically I did okay until 2 a.m. the next morning when my phone started ringing:


Me (in a state of terror): "Hello?"

Night Nurse from Country Manor: "Miz O'Toole? This is Michael from Country Manor."

Me (with my heart in my throat): "Uh huh....whut's wrong?"

Michael: "Miz O'Toole, your father is having a fit of some kind. He has ripped out his catheter and he is BLEEDING and trying to HIT everyone. He thinks he's in New York!"

Me (hearing whut I'm saying and not even believing it): "Michael......I am so sorry, but I am in LOO-uh-vulle, you see. REALLY in Loo-uh-vulle. You are going to have to sedate him because I cannot GET there fast enough to keep him from committing mayhem from his bed. You ALSO may have to RESTRAIN him while the sedative is kicking in so that he won't rip his dick off when you put the catheter back in."

Michael (babbling nearly incoherently by this time): "Miz O'Toole! We are NOT a RESTRAINING facility! I've already given him a sedative and two aides are holding him down! Nursing homes are not ALLOWED by LAW to restrain people the way that hospitals can! And also........I wanted you to know that we don't, as a rule, like for our guests to be drugged!"

Me: "Michael......calm down and listen for a second. Do you have any choice here?"

Michael: "Well no.....but in looking at his chart I saw that you are a friend of the chairman here......and also the director of nursing. I didn't want to do anything against your wishes! And I want you to know that I really LIKE my job!"

Me (in a pleasantly controlled voice): "Michael......I appreciate you more than you could ever know.........but right now, I am going to do one of two things: I am either going to smoke a joint or I am going to take a Xanex. I will probably cry a little, too. I would suggest that you do the same, with the exception of the crying part. I will see you and my Pop tomorrow. Thank you ever so much for calling. Good-night now."


And then some more of that identity crisis snuck up on me and I did something ELSE totally out of character. I called one of my friends in the middle of the goddammed night and bawled my eyes out.


Pop would NOT have been pleased. In fact, despite the fact that he has recognized me every day for the past three weeks......even when he didn't recognize other people.........he definitely would not have recognized me acting like THAT. Gawd.

He would have dragged his HANKY out and told me blow my goddammed nose and to quit being such a stupid baby.




So I guess I'm really glad he couldn't see me.




Damn, you guys. I cannot RECALL when life seemed this shidty. I am turning into a freakin' MENTAL case.


Please continue to send email........but hold the sympathy, or I might start sobbing again. I just want some wonderfully normal insane and/or inane guerrilla news........even if it's just that you burned the breakfast PANCAKES for crissakes.


And be patient with me while I regain control of my personality and figure out who I am again.

Because like Pop's always told me, "This too shall pass."




Me (or someone who closely RESEMBLES me)

Everybody who thinks Feef should be writing her own Internet journal, raise your hand  ... 


More belated Valentines stuff  ... this time from Daughter #1.

Subj: Sorry about that...
Date: 98-02-16 14:45:46 EST
From: Daughter #1
To:     SecraT

I'm sorry that i didn't write to you this weekend, but I just checked my e-mail for the first time in a week. I have been SO busy with the dance since I was in charge of it, that I have lived at school for the past week. Plus, I was really sick on Monday and Tuesday, and I had to work so I'm really sorry.

Thank you very much for the card and money. Sorry we kept bugging you, but dad was mostley worried that he would have to give us more money, so he kept asking us about it. I would have paid for everything, but I have to buy my ticket to Alaska.

The dance was really nice, but I was so tired and sick so I sat around a lot. Then towards the end Patricia, my best friend and our class President, got up on stage and dedicated a song to me in front of everyone and then she and a few of the other officers gave me a small boquet of flowers since I did so much for the dance, and since they didn't help me as much as they should have. So that was pretty cool, but I just wanted to leave since I had been there since 6:30 in the morning, setting up.

What did you do for Valentine's Day? Have you seen Titanic yet? But I have to go now...I have a doctors appt. at 1:00 and the I have to go to work.



My reply:

Subj: Re: Sorry about that...
Date: 02/16/98
To:    Daughter #1
From:   SecraT

Hi James.

Don't worry about not writing ... I knew you were busy, and I knew that I would hear from you when all the commotion died down. I'm just glad the dance was a success. Will I be getting some pictures from you & Kacie? I would LOVE that.

Are you still sick? Are you going to have any time off this week to recuperate?

Do you need/want any help with your ticket to Alaska?

Valentines Day was OK. I gave Tim a knife -- (I've been with the company for 90 days, as of last week, so I get a 60% employee discount on all merchandise) -- and his gift to me was going to see 'Titanic,' FINALLY! And of course you were absolutely right ... I loved the movie ...  but you shoulda warned me that the boat sinks at the end.  Sheesh.

Tim and I are thinking about driving up to TicTac next weekend, btw. You gonna be home at all? Saturday afternoon/evening? Nothing is definite yet ... thought I would check with you guys first and see if you've got plans. Let me know, OK?

I just got home from work and I'm my usual exhausted, frazzled self ... think I'll write something to my mom, just to say hi, and then get off the computer for the evening. I'll check for messages the next couple of days, though, so we can make a decision about coming up by the end of the week.

Take care of yourself. Get well. Know that I'm thinking about you all the time, and that I love you, Puss.






Another one of those "Dad wants you to call him" e-mails I loved so much.  

Subj: a short note
Date: 98-02-17 21:37:37 EST
From: Daughter #2
To:       SecraT

im deep frying so this is a short little letter , well anywaz i guess dad wants to talk to you , he seems in a pretty good mood , oh ya he said after settles the house and everything he'll get me brases so i wont have to not smile cuz i look like a deformed vampire hehehehe.




I'd written to Edmund, asking him (for the bazillionth time) for his work address. 

Subj: The Envelope & The Itinerary
Date: 02/18/98
To:        Shell Pile

<< Sheesh how many times do I gotta tell you? >>

As many as it *takes,* I guess. I'm the same way with jokes. Tell me the one about "Why does Bill Clinton wear boxer shorts?" at 6:00 a.m. and I swear I'll have forgotten the punchline when I hear it again at 9:10 a.m. ... and again at 11:17 a.m. ... and again at 4:44 p.m. ...

(Thank GOD.)

Look for your snail mail soon. I've got an open envelope sitting on my desk at work, and I've been tossing all kinds of bizarre odds & ends into it for the past couple of days ... mostly stuff that has made me laugh this week. I'll ship it off before I leave for TicTac this weak end.

And then next week I'll start a new envelope!

(And thus a *trend* begins .... )

We'll be leaving here crack-o'-dawn-early on Saturday morning and getting to TicTac shortly before noon. I'm gonna take my kids out to lunch, and then the A.H. and I are going to meet with the LAWYER and sign all the PAPERS. (Sheesh ... this is actually starting to sound like a DIVORCE or something, isn'tit?) Then we're going to head back down the Washington coast and spend the night somewhere, visiting *his* parents in Westport, WA on Sunday. (Did I tell you that his dad refers to me as "The Shack Job?") Home, hopefully, sometime early Sunday evening.

I'm excited as all getouttahere to see the Tots ... but also weirdly nervous. (What do I wear? What will we talk about? Am I still a *Mom,* or more like one of those favorite aunts who lives four states away & visits once every couple of years & takes you to see "Cinderella" even though you're old enough to have an in-home pregnancy test and half a pack of Marlboros hidden in your underwear drawer .. ?)

I'm also weirdly weirded-out by this whole divorce thing. In my head & heart I stopped being married years and years ago ... if anyone knows that, you do ... but here it is, finally almost-legal, and it's a decidedly ... WEIRD feeling. When I come up with the words to describe it, you'll be the first to know.

In the meantime, I'm toying with the issue of my married name vs. *maiden* name ... should I remain "Terri P." or go back to "Terri V."? Or maybe come up with something ENTIRELY NEW and DIFFERENT? Like ...... Terri Aki? Terri Anchula? Terri Tory?

Terri Bull?

(Any thoughts?)

Gotta go hop in the shower and get my day rolling. Give me a call before the weak end if you get a chance, even if it's just to say hi. In the words of the immortal somebodyorother ... you are always on my mind.

* * *




A new crisis erupts.

Subj: Panic In TicTac
Date: 02/19/98
To:    Daughter #1


It's 8 p.m. and we just got home a few minutes ago. Your message on the answering machine scared the living Christ outta me, sweetie. You OK??

I immediately called your cell phone but I was asked to leave a voice message ... so I called your dad and talked w/him for a few minutes, just to make sure everyone is still breathing. He said that the two of you had had a fight over weekend chores or something, and that you were in the bathroom & probably didn't feel like coming to the phone. Finally I called your cell phone again (thinking I could at least leave you another message, letting you know I'm home) but I got Jason instead. Does he have custody of your cell phone these days?

I'm sorry you've had such a miserable evening. You sounded tired and sick and frazzled, and from three hundred miles away my heart aches for you. If you need to talk, I'm home for the rest of the evening. Call anytime, day or night.

Hang in there, Puss. I love you.





Subj: Early Thursday Morning
Date: 02/19/98
To:    Daughter #2

Hi Kacie.

Can someone please call me at work today (Thursday) and let me know if Jaymi is OK ... ?

The last thing I heard last night, when Jason called me the second time (at 9:30), she'd tried to cut her wrists and had possibly taken some pills. I slept with the phone next to me all night, in case someone called, but never heard another word. Naturally I'm worried sick.

My work number is 1-800-800-****.  I have two meetings today so there will be times when I'm away from the phone, but if you call & I'm not there just leave a message with Jill (the lady who answers the phone) and I will return the call IMMEDIATELY.

All of you are very much in my heart & thoughts today. How are you dealing with all of this? You OK?

Love you .......


P.S. Also -- let Jaymi & Kyle know they have e-mail, OK? And try to encourage them to read it. Thanks. xoxo




Subj: Early Thursday Morning
Date: 02/19/98
To:    Daughter #1

Hi Puss.

Needless to say, I am worried sick about you this morning. Are you OK??

I slept with the phone next to me all night, in case you or Jason called ... and I'm sending e-mail to Kacie and Kyle, asking them to keep me posted on what's happening there ... but I would really rather hear from you, as soon as you're possibly up to it, please.

I realize this probably doesn't help at all, but I know EXACTLY how you feel: overworked, overwhelmed, unappreciated and under pressure. It's no fun at any age, but it's especially tough to deal with at sixteen. You are carrying far too many pressures & responsibilites right now. When I come up this weekend, I'm going to talk to your dad about ways to lighten your load.

In the meantime ...... please know that you are the dearest thing on earth to me, even if it doesn't seem that way sometimes, and that I love you with my whole heart. If there is ANYTHING I can do to help in this situation, I'm there. We WILL figure out some way to make things easier for you, I promise.

Call me at work today if you get a chance. The number again is 800-800-****.  I've got two meetings today that I can't get out of, but if you call and I'm away from the phone just tell Jill that you're my daughter and she'll make sure I get the message right away.

Please take care of yourself. You are incredibly precious, not just to me but to everyone who knows and loves you.





Subj: Early Thursday Morning
Date: 02/19/98
To:    Son #Only

Hi Boo.

I didn't get a chance to talk to you last night during all the commotion ... you OK?

Thanks for picking the lock on the bathroom door so Jason could get Jaymi out of there. I always knew those burglary lessons would come in handy.

Could someone PLEASE call me at work this morning (1-800-800-****) and let me know if everything is alright? I'm sorta running out of fingernails here.

See you this weekend.






And then there was THIS.

Subj: The Cutting Edge
Date: 98-02-19 19:09:55 EST
From: *Someone*
To:      SecraT

Hi Honey,

Just a note to you today, cause I know you are starved for e-mail attention, otherwise known as EMADD (E-mail Attention Deficit Disorder).

I wanted you to know that I love you very much and Oh yeah, I really like my knives. In fact I used mine today to cut open a package. See I'm already getting some use out of it. Next up I'll be practicing my surgical technique with a Benchmade Knife. I can just see it now in print ads in all the magazines. "How a Benchmade Knife saved my brothers life, (remember to insert a Hick accent in the dialog) If'in it weren't for my Benchmade Knife, my brother would have died, but thanks to that "Life Sharp Service" my knife was there when I needed to preform an emergency heart and lung transplant." Thank God that goat was available as the donor"

Anyway hon, I'm a little more worried about getting a job real soon, with ole' Jennifer not returning my calls. Just last week there was reason for optimism when Chis was handling the process, but Jennifer I'm not too sure about.

Guess that's why I decided to just send off a resume on my own to InFocus. Someone has got to come through here wouldn't you think. Actually, I'd prefer some temp assignments over the next couple of months so when Dwayne is here I can spend more time with him. But if I can get a full time job, I guess I should take it.

I really don't want to rely on the Tax Refunds for living expenses, I'd rather have a little fun with the dough. Like you and me taking off for the coast for a romantic weekend. But maybe there's a reason that I'm getting "so much" back in a refund. Hold me over till that perfect job comes a calling? I hope that's not the case.

I wish you'd actually talk to me about finances, but you probably won't. You have a strong tendancy to run away from subjects that you don't want to deal with, that you should be dealing with, ie., money, divorce. "Shutting them out" doesn't make them go away, it just prolongs the angony and hampers solutions. Plus I'm here to love you and to help you if you need it.

My name is not Ray, and I'm not your Mom, ( oh, I made a rhyme) I don't want you hand over your paycheck or your decisions to me so you won't have to deal with life, have an opinion, or a say in how you and I get through this life .....TOGETHER. I guess I get frustrated sometimes at not being able to talk to you and find out what you have to say, or what you think about stuff.

Maybe, if we could carry on this relationship "on-line" I'd be able to find out what you think and feel about you, me, the world, money, divorce, whatever. I say this cause I can hear you furiously typing away on the computer, so you obviously have something to say, and you obvioulsy are letting someone know how you feel, what you think etc.

When it comes down to it, I don't feel like I'm your "best friend", a role I'd really like to be in. Feef, Edmond, Bottleneck, Cave Dog (the only names I know off hand) are collectively your "best friend". Which is not a bad thing. It is just one of those things that makes me go, hmmm, why can't I be that close to you. Sex doesn't count here, it's the emotional closeness of the "best friend" role I am talking about. You know the feeling that leaves with a warm and secure knowing you can talk about everything under the sun, have an opinion, share what you think and feel.

It's just lately, I know I've babbled on about this and about that with what's in the news, "sharing" what I think and feel, but there's no relpy. I keep hoping for a conversive reply but it doesn't come. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM?????

Does any of this make sense or am I just daft? I was just sitting here pondering stuff.

E-mail me and let me know what's going on with you these days, K?





Subj: Panic in TicTac ... Subsiding
Date: 02/20/98
To:        Assorted Online Friends

Sorry about yesterday's *scare,* folks.

Daughter #1 has been spreading herself wayyyy too thin, the past couple of months, and everything just sorta blew on Wednesday night.

[As a former sixteen year old girl, I can say "Been there, done that."]

I've spoken to her on the phone a couple of times (as well as to her dad) ... written a lot of frantic e-mail back & forth ... ingested several metric tons worth of fingernails and caffeine ... and the worst of the crisis appears to have passed. This time, anyhow.

Tim and I will be driving north to TicTac tomorrow (Saturday) morning, and hopefully the itinerary will include some private, one-on-one time with Jaymi/Jamie, wherein I can gently but lovingly reassure her that

* I love her dearly

* I'm always here for her

* If she EVER pulls this kind of shit again, I'm cancelling her subscription to "Teen People."

Anyway ..... thanks for the show of support yesterday, everybody. It always helps to know that my taste in FRIENDS is just as exquisite as my *taste* in *Tots.*

I'll be mostly off the radar for the next couple of days, but I'll be back in touch after we return from the trip north. (And don't be looking for POSTCARDS, either. I'm only gonna be gone for TWO DAYS, forcryingoutloud.)




Subj: Feeling Better?
Date: 02/20/98
To:    Daughter #1

Hi Sweetie.

I'm just getting ready to leave for work, but I wanted to write you a quick e-mail to say *hi* and see if you're feeling any better ... ?

I left a message on Chris's answering machine yesterday afternoon but never got a call back. Your dad called me last night, though, and said he would try to get hold of Chris & see what his schedule is. I hope that by this afternoon we'll know for sure which day we'll be in TicTac.

Call me at work today if you need me or just want to talk for a few minutes.

I love you a bunch.






In spite of his protestations otherwise, this IS another one of *those* e-mails.  

Subj: Re: Panic in TicTac ... Subsiding
Date: 98-02-20 18:20:08 EST
From: *Someone*
To:      SecraT

I say cancel that subscription right now, she obviously doesn't have the time to read Teen People anyway.

Sooooo? How come you included me in your broadcast mail? :-) Just wondering since I live right next door in that other room. You could have just walked next door sat down with me over a cup of Starbucks and expressed your relief and conclusions about the situation.

Now on to another subject.

Wow, you're probably thinking "Oh No, another one of "those" e-mails"...................


You said something this morning that left me wondering. Something about your affairs (more than one?) and does that make you a bad person. I remember you once started to mention "all my affairs" then quickly changed that to "just the Doc." Were there more than just the Doctor?

As far as being a bad person, I guess that depends upon whether you believe having an affair is WRONG or no big deal.

In Clinton's case I believe it makes him a bad person because of multiple affairs, engaging in illegal activities, unethical activities and other indiscretions followed by lies followed by more lies to cover for the first lies and acting like there is nothing wrong with either the affairs or the lies. It comes down to TRUST. As the leader of our country he as a moral obligation to "set the moral tone" for the nation. In other words stand up for "right and wrong" and be someone of good character.

President Jimmy Carter, whom I disagreed with on most of his policies, I still had enormous respect for him because of his character, his honesty and values.

I still carry around remorse for my affair. It still creeps into my consciousness once in awhile and I think back to what a slug I was . Whatever else my ex's and my relationship was, it was my fault for the affair and was an incredibley selfish thing. I'm the one who betrayed a trust. I'm the one who failed to communicate what was going on inside, what I was feeling about the realization that maybe our lives were going in different directions. The distance that grew between us was mostly my fault. But it did not justify what I did, and I still feel like shit about it, even 12 years later.

Hope you don't feel like I'm prying too much, I'm just trying to really know who Terri is and what makes her tick, what her value system consists of. In the above paragraph, I hope it gives you some clue as to who I am and my beliefs and the why's, sort of a , what's going on beneath the surface of Tim.

I really do love you ya know.




Subj: On My Way
Date: 02/21/98
To:       Daughter #1, Daughter #2, Son #Only
CC:       (kbeeson)

Morning, folks.

It's 6 a.m. Saturday morning, and Tim & I will be leaving Portland in about an hour and heading north.

Today we're going to drive up to Westport and visit his parents ... go to the ocean for awhile ... take care of some legal business for Tim ... and then spend the night in Olympia.

I will call you guys tonight and we'll make our lunch arrangements. I'm thinking maybe we'll all meet either at Southcenter or else at a restaurant (someplace cool) close to Southcenter around 11 a.m. ... then we'll come back to your house and I'll do some work on your computer & visit with you & stuff until it's time for Dad and I to meet with Chris.

I'll have to start heading back for Oregon no later than 3:00 Sunday afternoon, since it's a looooooooong drive & I've gotta work early Monday morning. It's a short visit, but at least I'll get to see you.

I'm sleepy right now because I just woke up, but I'm very excited about seeing all three of you. Talk to you soon.

Love you ...


P.S. Let Grandma Beeson know that I will try to call her tonight, too .. OK? xox



Subj: Seeya
Date: 02/21/98
To:    The 'Grillaz

I'm headed north to TicTac ... in search of Tots and divorce papers. (And maybe a half case of contraband Rainier Ale to bring home.)

Talk to everybody soon.





Subj: Re: Panic in TicTac ... Subsiding
Date: 98-02-21 01:17:26 EST
From: Feef
To:     SecraT



Dunno if you'll get this before you hit the road north.......but just in are a couple bazillion wishes from me for it to be a good weekend. Not that you don't know you've got 'em anyway.....right?

Thanks for the update on Jamie/Jaymi........I've thought about you all day and night. I'm glad things seem okay for now, Terri. And I'm REALLY glad you're gonna get to SEE her!

Safe trip and enjoy the tots!






Subj: Sunday Morning
Date: 98-02-22 10:30:33 EST
From: kbeeson

Well, I didn't hear from you yesterday--don't know if you're up here or down there.

Debi says things seem to have calmed down with Jaymi. Apparently the kick off issue was a letter Ray received which said she hadn't been attending her 6th period class. Her story is that it's a clerical/computer error caused by her having changed classes. Since I know about the problems a major computer system conversion have caused in the schools, I tend to think she's telling the truth. Just for the heck of it, I'll call the attendance clerk/registrar at Tyee tomorrow and check it out.

Anyway, there are apparently a lot of issues we're dealing with here and I hope they will follow through with the counseling.

I hope to hear from you today and maybe even have a cup of coffee together but if not, drop me a line.

Love you!




This was no exaggeration: the sight of Kyle, waving 'goodbye' from the window as I drove away Sunday afternoon, haunted me the entire four hour drive home from TicTac ...

Subj: How Many Mints Ya Got Left??
Date: 02/23/98
To:    Son #Only

It was GREAT seeing you this weekend!  I thought about you during the entire drive home.

I'll write more when I get home from work tonight.






Subj: Re: Wow.
Date: 02/23/98
To:    Edmund

<< like uh...........
how was everything shmoop? >>


It was an intensely emotional weekend, to put it mildly.

It was like going back and visiting your fourth grade classroom when you're in fifth grade: everything is pretty much the way you remember it, but it's weird because you don't really belong there anymore.

The two most *telling* moments of the weekend, I believe -- for no particular reason other than the fact that they're sticking with me, today ...

* Standing on the beach in Westport, Washington on Saturday afternoon, looking at the ocean for the first time in TWENTY YEARS ... and sobbing like a baby at the enormity & beauty of it. (While *he*, in the meantime, is frantically trying to button up my jacket for me so I don't freeze to death) ..

* Sitting in my old laundry room on Sunday afternoon, doing a little maintenance work for the kids on the piece of shit computer while the A.H. and I waited for Lawyer Guy to show ... and suddenly Kyle was standing right behind my chair at the 'puter, with his hand on my shoulder, the way he used to do all the time. I'm still choking up every time I remember that one.

And sorry if I sounded whiney this morning, about the Derf of e-mail waiting for me. It would have been NICE to come home and find some *you* in my mailbox ... but it's not worth making a big deal over I guess.


(Still emotional.

Gotta go to the NEW laundry room now and get my stuff outta the washer.)




Subj: To: Major Sighs in Shell Pile
Date: 02/25/98
To:        Edmund

<< Your letter of yesterday was very touching....specially the part about The Boy >>

Yeah, I'm pretty much thinking about him (and the girls) all the time right now.

Six months and three hundred miles had sorta taken the edge off some of the pain, I think. I still missed them, of course, but I was able to keep it under control.

But seeing them again last weekend ... did I tell you that Kyle stood at the living room window and waved goodbye to me, as I was driving away? ... reminded me how crazy in love I am with my kids. And how fucking much I do miss them, even when I'm telling myself otherwise.

Hug Miniature Edmund & Kristin for me, wouldya?




Subj: Grillaz Just Wanna Have Fun ... Dammit
Date: 02/26/98
To:    Edmund, Feef, Bottle


**** Attention K-Mart Shoppers. ****

Secra is having a Poopy Week ... with a capital OOPY.

 * She misses her Tots.

* She's sick of stuffing Benchmade catalogs into Benchmade envelopes and mailing them to cranky Benchmade CUSTOMERS ... even if they do live in cool places like Horny, Texas or Boring, Oregon.

* She missed the Grammy Awards last night so she still doesn't know if DREW BARRYMORE was a presenter or not.

* She hasn't had any GRILLA MAIL in days. And it's making her cranky, vilicoferous and perpendicular. With a capital ENDICULAR.



(OK. I made up "vilicoferous." I don't care. It's 5:30 in the fudking morning. You know the drill: BITE ME.)



Is everybody OK?

George is absent, I know. And Shell Pile is suffering from unfortunate temporary insanity or something.

Feef I'm afraid to ask about.

I believe it's time that everybody checked in, folks ... before I get any more perpendicular.






Subj: Saturday Morning
Date: 98-02-28 10:37:35 EST
From: kbeeson

I'm suffering from separation anxiety. Our phone conversation was too short to satisfy my maternal needs!

There isn't really much news to report from up here but there are a couple of little things to share. I ran into your father at Fred Meyer in Burien when I was there on my lunch hour on Thursday. Valerie was somewhere in the store but I never did see her. Roger and I had a nice chat about his family history (he made a copy for me) and the pictures I have for it, which I've promised to drop off at the house one day next week. (I've scanned a St. John family picture, circa 1950; a school picture of me, taken when I worked at Puget Sound in 1971; a picture of my dad with a large fish, taken about 10 years before he died; a picture of my Grandma and Grandpa Torg, taken beside a lake in Minnesota when they were about the age they were when you were born; and a picture of Grandma deGrasse, taken on her 70th birthday.) I have the pictures in my computer for anyone who wants them--if I can ever figure out how to send a GIF on the net, I'll be happy to share them with you.

Debi and Tim were out of town all week, so I was feeding the cats and keeping an eye on the house. Stopped by the office on Thursday to check on Jaymi and gave her some money for softball. She seemed just fine. We talked about the 6th period class issue and I told her to get a note from the teacher in the class she had been attending and take it to the attendance office. The whole thing is the result of a computer system conversion. We've converted all four major systems in the district within the last four months and EVERYTHING is screwed up. (You should have been in my office on the first payday, when they had entered the wrong IRS deduction codes. Talk about a nightmare!)

Having truly entered the "third age in the '90s," I have ordered and received CD's on the net and am listening to my copy of the "Titanic" soundtrack. Have you seen it yet? I'm taking Little Karen tomorrow afternoon, something her father was supposed to have done a month ago. It seems his recovery was short lived--I haven't heard from him for a couple of weeks, he owes both Deb and I money and it didn't sound like he was still going to meetings the last time I talked to him. He turned 39 yesterday, I hoped for better things for this birthday.

Your dad asked if I had heard from you. He doesn't have your new address (did he have the old one?) and said he has a package to send.

I have e-mail at work now: -if you're ever home with a cold or have a chance to drop me a line during the day.

All for now--I love you.





Subj: Hey...
Date: 98-02-28 13:36:46 EST
From: Pimpjaymi
To: SecraT

Well hey, whats up? Sorry that I haven't talked to you in a while!!!! I almost never sign on anymore, so I just got your mail. You will have pictures of me and Kacie in the mail real soon, probley Monday. They turned out pretty cute.

About Alaska... Softball starts this week, so I have to ask my coach if I'll get cut for missing 3 tryout days, and if he says yes, then I'm not going. But if you want to send money, I'll use it for Alaska, but if I don't go, then I'll put it towards my warm-ups and uniform for softball, ($205.00). So it would be nice if you could send money, especially since because of softball I can't work very much, then that would be great. But if something comes up and you can't, then that's fine. Just e-mail me and let me know. I'll try to check my mail later today, ok?



P.S. Jason says "hi".








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