Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Prepaid Cremation

Last weekend I inadvertently poisoned myself. I wanted to poison the weeds, so I went to Pini Hardware, mine and Toshi’s favorite store, he for treats, me for good customer service, and bought two of the giant size Ortho concentrate and one of those doohickeys you attach to the hose.  Usually in the directions for the poison, it will say what number to put the doohickey on, but I couldn’t find the number so I guessed. I think I used #6.

Well, halfway through, I started to feel a weird sensation on my lips and tongue. I actually did know this was not right, but I continued to spray because I am just plain out of steam for that backyard and the never-ending weeds coming out of the gravel --which I can’t see anymore until the weed-whacker kicks it up and it hits me in the head, the leg, the face... wherever. I do wear sunglasses to protect my eyes.

Anyway, I decided to look at those instructions again and when I still couldn’t find the magic number I took the remaining bottle back to Pini and asked one of the supremely knowledgeable customer service people if I was missing something.

“Oh, that’s not for spraying with a hose, that’s for a sprinkler. It’s way too toxic to spray with a hose.” He said.

“Well I guess that is why I felt like I was killing myself.” I replied and then laughed.

I’m sure he thought I was some kind of nut because who jokes about this kind of thing?  (Especially in Marin County) But really when you think about it, of all the crap I have put in my body, this is probably not the worst.

I’ve had enough booze, cigarettes, McDonalds and more than enough raw cookie dough to drop an elephant. I’ve consumed more sugar than some countries have total and I have ingested a variety of medications meant to kill something.

What is a little poison, really?

Now, because I’m a good mom, I did keep Toshi out of the back. And, when I told Nick the story he was laughing his butt off (he does have my sense of humor) because he pictured the whole thing having witnessed this behavior his whole life. His mom on a mission, doggedly spraying against the wind, lips slightly blue; nothing will stop her, especially not some stupid poison, not Ortho, not Black Flag, not anything.

But here is the sad thing. I still have weeds. Now they are dead weeds but they are there. The backyard looks even worse… if that is possible.

This weekend I took a break from the weeds, I decided to clean my office and the rest of the house instead. I breathed pledge, and Pinesol and just a bit of bleach. I breathed dust mites I’m sure, when I cleaned out the vacuum and dusted under the bed. I inhaled, God knows what, when I dusted the ceiling fans.

I cleaned up the garage and found a bit of mildew, which is always good on the lungs too. The stuff to clean that smells scarier than the Ortho. 

So really it’s no wonder I’m not dead already right?

Yesterday, I received an invite to win a prepaid cremation.  (With my name misspelled of course) Coincidence? I sure hope so.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

There Are No Winners

Buddha said,  “Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love”. I can attest to that.

I was explaining to someone the other night, how it was that Nick’s father and I went from World War III to best friends. Well maybe not best friends- but certainly two people who were there for each other when needed.

Our hate ran deep, both of us vying for the love of a little boy. A boy, who was always his own little person, with his chameleon- like demeanor for the parent whose hand he held on any particular day. A boy, who always had a smile for everyone, until it turned to a frown and then later a grimace.  

I hated my son’s dad so much that I once picked poison mushrooms from my yard and planned his last meal, his favorite of course. A friend convinced me it would not be wise and assured me my son would not forgive me if he ever found out and he would find out.  I’m sure my son’s father had numerous conversations with people about my demise. Too bad for him—I was the one with connections.  

One day, after our war, and then our cold war, he sat in my kitchen and declared. “I don’t hate you anymore.”

I laughed at him and told him I didn’t hate him either, even though sometimes I still did. He was being magnanimous because he thought he was the winner. It was before we found out there are no winners.

Neville Chamberlain said, “In war whichever side may call itself victor. There are no winners. But all are losers.”

I understand this now. I think my son understood this when he was in Iraq. Or, maybe when he was ducking verbal bullets from his parents mouths.  I remember my letters from my son when he was in Iraq. He was there to do a job, but he didn’t attach hate to it. He didn’t hate all Iraqi’s or all Muslim. When I asked him what he needed in his care packages, he asked me for things that would help the Iraqi people, especially the kids. I wondered if he felt some camaraderie towards them?  They were stuck in the middle of a war, liking Americans because they brought toys and medicine, hating Americans because they blew up their homes. Just like divorce. Smiling for their photographs. Smiling for whoever held their hand on any particular day. 

Maybe the war at home gave my son a better perspective on the war in Iraq. Then at least something good would have come from it.

Last week my sister and I went to see my son where he works. As we sat at our table eating our sushi, I remarked that I miss his dad. “Do you?” She asked, astonished.

My eyes started to well with tears and I replied, “Yes, I do.” Then my son appeared over my right shoulder. “Hello Mother.” He said. For a second, I thought, maybe his dad nudged him from Nirvana. Go bail your mom out.  But, no I thought, he would like that I miss him, he would let this go on a little longer. 

People who don’t know me very well, which is just about everyone—may not believe in my capacity to forgive. I know now, that forgiving is the only way to move on. Being mired in hate and ill will towards anyone is not who I want to be. I’m not saying I can’t feel anger, because I can and do. My temper is quick and sometimes violent, my mouth volcanic venom if you cross me or mine. If you hurt a child or an animal, I will come down on you like a mountain of crazy and you will be sorry. But, I can forgive.

What I don’t understand is how can this country ever move forward if it stays in hate mode all the time. The left hates the right, the right hates the left; the gun reform people hate the guns for everyone people; people hate immigrants, Muslims, Christians, Catholics, Jews, Blacks, Mexicans, and vegetarians. People are full of hate.

My son’s father and I found out there are no winners when our son joined the Marine Corps. We both lost custody. He was always his own person—and we lost sight of that on numerous occasions. We put our own wants and needs before his because we were blind with our hate instead of enlightened with our love.

I think towards the end, the one we didn’t know was coming, we both saw that was not the answer. I wished him a Happy New Year seven days before he died.  “Thank you!” He said. “Happy New Year to you too!”