Monday, February 8, 2016

1994

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

January

The 3rd - Took Andy to lunch, and next time he would treat me. We went to a place called the Elephant Bar, but it was only so-so, just like the Black Angus Tom and I went to.

Then we went to the Christown mall. He got a new pair of sneakers and I got bubble gum, red lipstick and blue nail polish.

The 8th – Got an offer for a free dance class and loved it. It was loads of fun. Decided not to bother signing up, though, cuz no one would be straight with me when it came to pricing, and I doubted we could afford it anyway.

The 13th – The disability people (SSI) had me meet with their clinical psychologist. He asked for current and past medical and mental info. Also did some memory tests.

Pissed off as the band across the street continues to annoy me, sometimes waking me up as well, and starting to seriously believe a noise curse had been put on me. It seemed I just couldn’t find any peace no matter where I lived and what I lived in. Excessive noise would follow me everywhere.

The 20th – Tom’s friend Geri, which he knew for several years, was to move back to Arizona with her daughter from South Dakota. I'd always gotten bad vibes from Geri and so I wasn’t looking forward to her return at all. Tom felt bad for her daughter, otherwise he wouldn't have bothered being friends with Geri.

Began doing “wall art.” This was where I would draw various designs on the walls using special markers. I mostly did trees and flowers.

The 29th - Got a really nice letter from my dad and called to thank him. My mother answered and reminded me that she only wanted me calling once a month and no sooner. I hung up on the insulting bitch.

February

Got a new sewing machine for $80 and hemmed a couple of shirts for starters.

Dad had stents put in a couple of blocked arteries.

Tom and I went out to get him a nice pair of black Velcro sneakers, which he needed badly. Then at a thrift store, I got a satin bodysuit for only $2.

We also went to Denny's and it sucked. The food was cold, it took forever, and the place was infested with rowdy kids.

Some of the shows I watched were: Cops, Tales from the Crypt and America's Most Wanted.

Watched the Olympics in Norway. This was when the scandal with Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan went down.

Kim and I were stunned to learn that Bob was in jail. He was being charged with giving alcohol to minors as well as the rape of a minor. It was the rape charges that shocked us. We could see him being stupid enough to be too nice to say no if some of the neighborhood kids tried to weasel booze off of him, but forcing himself on anybody? We just couldn’t see this, especially for a guy who was older and not very strong.

March

We removed some of the old, ugly wall paneling from the kitchen and repaired a damage spot in the ceiling.

We planted lettuce and carrot seeds in the backyard. I was never a fan of carrots, but I was sure our guinea pig would be.

One night we ordered dinner to be delivered to the house. He got a pizza and I ordered a prime rib dinner. It was supposed to be $19, but they screwed up and the whole thing only cost $11.

Decided to play around with watercolor paints. They were different than any other medium I was used to using.

The city came and spray-painted out the graffiti on our outer block wall. We were on the corner, so the back faced the alley while the side faced the street. Someone spray-painted the word Kraze on the side.

Kim visited Bob who had now been moved to a correctional facility near Boston.

We began discussing possible dates and places to be married. We knew we wanted something small.

Plans to eliminate Tom’s job at the company he worked at was underway, so he put it in for a job in another department.

April

My SIL, Evie, had a baby girl named Nickolena.

Bob called collect and said he was just trying to hang in there while his appeal went through, and keep his charges secret. His cellmate was in for robbery.

He told me he was locked down 22 hours a day. The other 2 were for showering, eating and making phone calls.

He said he’s soon expected to be moved to Gardner, and was depressed over Kim because he loved and missed her.

Andy and I were both receiving hang-up calls, and we wondered if it was someone that knew us both.

Tom didn't get the job he was trying to get at AMEX, so he would apply for another job.

For hours on end the kids next door drove me crazy one day when they were running through their sprinkler and screaming like little hyenas. I hoped to hell Lenore wasn't kidding when she said they were going to Idaho for the summer!

I was terminated from disability and saw it as a major turning point in my life. I was still covered by Medicaid but Tom assured me that if they stopped it the next day, he'd marry me right away. I thought this was so sweet of him, and I knew he had come to love me just like I had come to love him.

May

The weather warmed up and so did the pool. The only problem was that the constant screaming coming from next door made it very hard to get any peace within our own backyard. It went on for hours at a time, and I was never as glad as I was when they finally took off for Idaho for the summer. I understood the kids needed to be kids; I was just sick of hearing it on my own turf, and beginning to wonder why the hell I ever thought I wanted a kid of my own.

Kim sent stamps and envelopes for my letter-writing, and a couple of tapes containing funny outgoing messages for answering machines/voice mail.

Bob asked if I was interested in being pen pals with another inmate. At first I considered it as long as the person wasn’t a sex offender, but then decided against it. The guy he had in mind was in for involuntary manslaughter, a common plea bargain for murder. Not only that, but he was familiar with the area I lived in. The last thing I needed was for him to eventually get released and then return to Arizona and stalk me.

We fixed the one and only toilet we had which was rather sluggish.

I began typing up my handwritten journals and to worry about my weight… now just over 100 pounds rather than under.

Eldon gave Tom an old VCR for working for him one day.

I began to look into home jobs like sending mailing lists, stuffing envelopes, etc.

When I went for a check up it was determined that my white blood cell count was high and I was put on antibiotics.

June

On June 15th Tom and I were married in Vegas. A Limo took us to the Ex-Caliber Hotel from the airport. The room was done in a medieval theme, which I didn’t find very attractive, but it was spacious enough.

We enjoyed the casinos, gift shops, restaurants and more. For me it was so cool to see things that I’d only seen in pictures, like the lighted cowboy and cowgirl. We gambled at other hotels as well like the MGM Grand, Pyramid, Luxor and Tropicana.

We decided on a non-religious ceremony at the Las Vegas Garden Wedding Chapel. It was a beautiful place.

He wore black pants and a light blue dress shirt, and I wore a royal blue spaghetti strap jumpsuit that was short. I also wore my black pumps and the diamond earrings my mother gave me. My long hair was left down and flowed to my waist.

I had a bouquet of silk flowers and they also took pictures and videotaped the little ceremony we had. It was a very special day for us.

I got two packages from mom and dad after we returned home. One with jewelry and another with silver candlesticks.

Since I was getting older and keeping weight off wasn’t as easy, I decided to order Denise Austin's 1-2-3 Tone Up kit. It was an exercise video that came with weights you added to a holder that strapped to your leg. It also had wrist weights.

Andy's sister Marla and her then young son Timothy came to visit one day. The kid was surprisingly calm and nondestructive.

July

We built our guinea pig a huge wooden cage that was a lot like a rabbit hutch. It was long and narrow.

Never had I been more furious with Fran and forever done with him. First he billed long distance calls to us, which he did later apologize for, not that “I’m sorry” was enough after all the shit I had to deal with on account of him over the years.

Then the bastard called the Glendale Police Department, which contacted me to ask about a friend of Andy's that had stopped being pen pals with him. The girl stopped corresponding with him probably because she got sick of him, and Fran, being the insane asshole that he was, thought something bad happened to her. The woman I spoke to, however, was very understanding and said she could tell when talking to Fran that she was dealing with someone who wasn’t right.

I never spoke to Fran again after this incident. He tried to call Andy and I a few times afterwards, but we ignored him and he eventually dropped out of our lives for good.

I took his last letter and mailed it to the gigantic family next door as a joke.

Tom's parents gave us a wedding card and a check for $250. We also received gifts and money from other family members as well. Some of those gifts included a food processor and a deep fryer.

My parents sent us money as well as a couple of Florida T-shirts, a mug, a watch, sun block, a handbag, and a funny newspaper with O.J. Simpson jokes, gay jokes, and other jokes in it.

I closed out my checking account and we opened a joint account.

We went to an art store one day where I got some books on drawing, as well as some paints and figurines. They were about 10" high and one was a cactus while the other was a cowboy boot.

I got a nice floral sundress and white pumps for my sister-in-law, Mary's, wedding. She married a guy named Dave, a native New Yorker. I liked him. He had a good sense of humor. It was at Mary's wedding that I met her, Dave, and other family members for the first time.

Mary didn’t look like I pictured her to look. Since she was getting older I thought she would have short hair like most of the others had, but it was long. It looked nice on her and made her look younger.

Mary could never have kids of her own, but Dave had some from a previous marriage.

We got them a really nice wall clock as their wedding present.

The wedding and reception were nice. There were about 20-30 people and the reception was at Mary's house. I loved the layout of her three-bedroom house. Where we had a play pool that was shallow on the ends and only about 5 feet deep in the middle, she had a diving pool. Unlike us, she didn’t have a Jacuzzi. Her lot was also wider and shorter where ours was skinnier but deeper.

I ordered this thing called Phase-Out in hopes of quitting smoking. It punched tiny holes in the filters of the cigarettes, but it didn’t do me any good. If anything I just smoked more.

Andy brought over 50-60 hotdogs one day. He had a friend who drove a truck and delivered food, so they’d end up with lots of extras. I was never big on hotdogs, but Tom was thrilled since it was always one of his favorite foods.

August 

Had my second meeting with Larry at our house in Phoenix, and this time he brought his then 10-year-old daughter Jenny. Jenny looked remarkably like her mother. She was only two inches shorter than me and had hair past her ass.

I saw the inside of the cab of their truck in which they had a little dog with them named Brandy. The back of the truck was full of whip cream waiting to be delivered.

The only shitty thing was that Tom had to work, so he couldn’t meet them.

We were pleasantly surprised with late wedding cards and checks from Charlotte and Jim as well as Goldie and Al.

September

I received a pretty strange piece of mail in early August. It was a good luck chain letter mailed from Hartford, not that I ever believed in those things.

Tom speculated that someone who knew me and knew I got married sent it, but I was unable to think of who would send such a thing. There was no return address on the letter, and it was handwritten. It looked like a female's handwriting, though I didn’t recognize it. I wondered if it was from one of those home money-making jobs I so stupidly sent away for information on. But then Tom reminded me that I sent away for that under my maiden name.

My ENT told me that one of the reasons my bad ear might have been so sensitive at the time was because I may have had skin growth building up over the years. He wanted to do a CAT scan as well as some hearing tests, and asked if I could try to get my old medical records from when I had cosmetic surgery on my outer ear at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in the 70s.

Tom was very encouraging and supportive, but first we had to verify that our insurance would cover the possible five-hour operation to create the artificial ear canal.

When I received my medical records from my old PCP in the middle of the month, I was incredibly insulted and downright stunned when I read her personal notes. The older me would’ve called her and had something to say about it, but I simply blushed with embarrassment and ignored it. I hated to share it with my new doctors, thus giving them the wrong idea about me, but I didn’t see any way around it.

They say there’s a difference between basing an opinion on a belief versus a fact. Well, this one certainly based hers on either false beliefs or a very vivid imagination. Not sure which one it was. Nonetheless, she apparently took me a little too seriously when she quoted me as saying, "Am I gonna die? I have to live long enough to be a famous singer."

When I said this it was strictly a joke and nothing more. By then I had lost the so-called famous singer dream, though I did still enjoy singing to the radio and things like that.

She also wrote some bullshit about me supposedly saying, "I'm not nuts, just nervous over seeing a new doctor."

I could see myself saying I was nervous with a new doctor, but “I’m not nuts” was not something I would say, joking or seriously.

"She really hated the projects back east because of all the noise, even though she's deaf in one ear,” she included.

What, did she think I was making it up or something? Deaf in one ear doesn’t mean deaf all around, does it?

Lastly, it was “inappropriate” to call her with an emergency late at night.

Then what did she become a doctor for?

I realized when I read all the shit she wrote that you can never really know what someone’s thinking. I found it sad – even a little scary – that a professional such as a doctor could be so two-faced. She had always been kind to me and so I was surprised to learn what she was really thinking the whole time.

I painted Piggle's cage a variety of colors at the end of the month. It kind of came out a bit childish looking, but it still looked cool.

My in-laws gave me 5 different cactus plants that we planted around the pool.

Also, a drawing/drafting desk I'd always wanted where the table was slanted.

Tom talked with Geri and Eldon one evening. Geri wanted to meet me, and Eldon had a super fast computer brain to give us at the time.

I appreciated Eldon’s computer stuff, but I still wasn’t looking forward to meeting Geri. Not after all the nasty things she said to Tom about me in the throes of her jealousy.

October

We met with the doctor that would be operating on my ear. He looked younger than I expected. Tom made a good point in saying that he was old enough to have experience, but young enough to have a steady hand.

The first thing he said to me was that if he had to choose from a number of people to do this kind of surgery on, it'd be me. The CAT scans looked that promising.

He planned to do the skin graft under my arm. He was almost positive I'd be able to hear, and the risks were quite minimal. He planned to go in right where the canal was supposed to be, then find the bone and follow it, careful to avoid the facial nerve.

I learned that when you're an embryo your ear canal forms, then shuts, then reforms. Mine never reformed. The inner ear did, but not the outer ear.

I was to have out-patient surgery at Phoenix’s Good Samaritan hospital and I wouldn’t have to have my entire head bandaged as I did in Boston. Only the area operated on would be bandaged.

Andy and I became phone buddies with a girl named Karson. Karson was a little strange, but interesting. I don’t remember how Andy “met” her, but it would be quite a while before they’d actually meet in person. I never met her other than over the phone when Andy introduced us via three-way calling.

Andy quit his job as a waiter at Denny's. He got so fed up with his manager that it was the first time he quit a job before finding another.

One day my parents called and Tom answered. My mom said, "Hi Tom. Do you know who this is?" Tom guessed it was Andy as he could only pick out the definite northeastern accent.

Mom gave a quick, "I hope not!"

Tom was just as quick to explain how Andy would sometimes call and disguise his voice as a joke. After my no doubt embarrassed husband said he hoped no one was offended, I was cracking up over it as I figured my mother was, too.

Larry was no longer trucking so he could spend more time with his family. Instead he was driving a local gasoline truck.

November

We went to the state fair early in the month for a couple hours. It was lots of fun and a lot like the Big E back in Massachusetts. They even had the same wavy yellow slide. I got cotton candy and we both got ice cream. We also went on the ski lift and the Ferris wheel.

For only $12, I got a lavender crepe skirt with a matching top. The top had white lace trim with a tiny purple satin ribbon in front. It was very feminine.

We came home we ordered a 1,000-dollar camcorder through Fingerhut.

Got a letter from Minnie, a former friend of Bob’s. We’d become pen pals.

On another day, Tom and his parents went to the horseracing track. It was a family hobby of sorts.

I began to have bad sneezing fits unlike anything I’d experienced back east.

My parents were now selling decorative flags at their local flea market. They got a taste of Hurricane Gordon as well.

They sent us a variety package for the holidays that contained clothes, household items and decorative knickknacks.

This month from the Christown mall I got some lotion at Potions & Lotions in China Musk and April Rain. I also got some Chinese food, one of my favorite cuisines.

Andy went to visit friends and family back east. He stayed with his friend Mary.

Toward the end of the month I was surprised with a phone call from longtime friends of my parents’, Goldie and Al. They were to be in Sun City to move Al’s aging sister back east and wanted to see me, meet Tom, and take us both to the Olive Garden for dinner.

We had a wonderful time. I hadn’t seen them for about a decade and it was great to catch up on each other’s lives.

December

Other than the kids next door driving me nuts, and getting attacked by ants when hanging laundry on the clothesline, I would have two operations on my ear this month.

The first operation on the 7th to drill the ear canal lasted five hours, a little longer than expected. I was extremely sore afterwards and could barely move my jaw because the doctor took a piece of muscle from it.

After I signed some papers once I arrived at the hospital, they took us back to a little room, which was sectioned off by curtains and sort of looked like an ER. A nurse put my clothes in a bag, which she put in a locker, and Tom hung onto my purse.

The nurse also took my vitals and inserted an IV. Then she injected something into it that made me very woozy. I remember hugging Tom, and then that was it.

When I came to, the nurse was moving me from stage 1 to stage 2 of recovery. It seemed to take forever to get me up and going enough to get dressed, which Tom basically had to do for me, and then into the car so we could head home. I was immensely groggy and achy.

Things sounded weird and my head felt weirder. Loud sounds like airplanes flying overhead where especially strange, and many sounds seemed muffled and distorted like when you have a severe head cold. My face was swollen and I had a black eye from all the pressure.

Tom was wonderfully supportive and I was ever so glad that I never attempted to have this surgery while I was still single. It was definitely nothing anyone could go through alone. I was pretty out of it for the first week and in pain.

I got cards and flowers from some people, including my parents, and they also sent Tom a really nice watch to show their appreciation for his support.

Tom changed the gauze on my arm regularly where the skin graft was done.

I could already hear some sounds and looked forward to when the doctor removed the inner packing. Until then, dissolvable stitches and packing were present to keep the eardrum still until it healed.

When it came time to remove the packing inside the canal, we found that part of the skin graft didn’t take, unfortunately, and there was some exposed bone by the eardrum. I had to be sure to keep water out of it, but knew I would probably have to have a second surgery.

It was the first time in my life I could block the good ear, scuff my feet on the carpet and hear the sounds it would make! When Tom was on the phone talking to his mother, I could block the good ear, walk into the bedroom and still hear him! Larry used to joke that I could now tell people that what they said went in one ear and out the other. Over the years, however, I would lose a lot of hearing in that ear.

We bought 4 boxes of dye so we could tie-dye some T-shirts. We got neon pink, rose pink, mauve and fuchsia.

From his family for Christmas he got an electronic horse racing game from Dave and Mary, and a magnetic bowl for parts like nails and screws from mom and dad.

We both got a calendar and a chicken roaster from David and Evie. A Tupperware container of cookies and candy from Ray and Nora, and a glue gun from mom and dad. We each also got a $50 bill in tiny Christmas socks that mom made with our initials on it. His was red and mine was green.

I received one of those bags you use to cover clothes with in which mom made. Two 3-D posters from David and Mary and lots of other stuff mom had like a tie-dye book, various art books and supplies, and two journals.

I spoke with Andy several times that month and he told me how he felt very abandoned by his family and friends back east. He received no cards, calls or letters from anyone and this depressed him greatly.

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