Sunday, 31 December 2006

The long kiss goodnight, or goodbye 2006. Forever.

For my final post of the year, I could have copped out and written down my resolutions for 2007. I could have detailed the previous seven out of eight New Years Eves, which is what I originally sat down to write about, spent with Jacob in attendance (except for one) and a maddening record of forehead kisses, ones I held an exemplary disdain for.

Hell, I could write about that one year we all drank too much and Cole lost me in a game of snooker. What fun. I think I'll save that story for another day. Maybe tomorrow.

Life was a confusing blend of pure comfort and total awkwardness when Cole and Jacob were in the same room and we all refused to acknowledge it but put ourselves in our familiar places year after year, seeking out the same pain all the while hoping for some magical promise that the year we were starting together would be different at last.

Bridget and Jacob survived long enough to see that promise find the light of day, and Cole will not.

Everything is going to be okay.

Jacob said that to me back in April and I still believe him.

Very early this morning I looked outside and the steps and sidewalk were shovelled and I saw Ben's truck pulling away. On the porch just inside the door was a big bag of our favorite coffee beans and a note to us. An apology and a hand given because he knows how sick Jacob is, because the grapevine is alive and well in this small-town neighborhood wrapped in a big city shell. And Caleb sent a very long letter and all the presents back to us again because he said he was trying to find some way to continue to give me everything on Cole's behalf and oddly I believe him, if only because he had the guts to do this even after Jacob humiliated him spectacularly, without meaning to be quite that mean.

No, that doesn't mean anyone has been forgiven, it just means I'm in a generous mood. Or maybe they were, for Bridget's sugar daddies rarely seem to drop the ball.

Before this year went to hell I had some very close friends who love me in their own ways, fucked up as they might be and I love them right back, like I loved Cole when he hurt me. Misguided as it all is, and sordid and messed up, these are my friends. They just have no clue where all the boundaries went. It all blew up and we're all going to start over. All of us. Together. Well, not really, but the enemies have somehow turned back into acquaintances and may well re-earn their friend status if they can keep their own perversions in check.

Hell, if I can do it, maybe they can too.

    The outcome was predictable
    Our banditos were despicable
    Of blood we lost a dozen litres
    A small price to pay for las senoritas
    The town mayor was happy but his face was glum
    The maidens numbered only one
    But there weren't seven brides for seven brothers
    I knew I had to get rid of the others

This morning Jacob struggled through his opening remarks and had to leave the pulpit mid-sentence, unable to breathe, leaving his lay minister to finish the service and to read the sermon Jacob had prepared, because Jacob was sitting in his office doubled over and attempting not to cough. I found him there around 1 pm and drove us home and made him more soup. He is tired of soup and unwilling to slow down any more than absolutely necessary but I'm forcing him to stop and rest, at last.

He's too sick to kiss me, for fear of my struggle with pneumonia returning because I'm rundown. He's too sick to make love, too sick to play, too sick to lie awake and talk late at night, instead sleeping lightly, feverishly, talking in his sleep and waking often. He has relented and has resorted to just holding me close to him and being here. He's more miserable from the lack of affection than from the sickness itself, frustrated and miserable.

In a few days he'll feel better and he said he wants to take me out for a decadent night of dinner and dancing, a delayed celebration of the promise fulfilled, and maybe possibly a few perversions of his own.

It's a huge promise, but I'm just as happy to stay in tonight and have a very understated evening at home with my family. I've been to more than my share of champagne-swilling, fireworks-watching, auld lang syne singing, celebratory black-tie New Years parties and I don't think I want to go to any more of those.

But the promise remains.

One that tells me 2007 is going to be better. A normal year, just once. Happy. Contented. Appreciated. Pain-free. Commonplace, even. Oh, bring it, please, God.

    Love is stronger than justice
    Love is thicker than blood
    Love is stronger than justice
    Love is a big fat river in flood

Would that be too much to ask or have I earned it?

Is this a promise that will be kept?

I guess 365 days from now, I'll have my answer.

Happy New Year, everyone.

And I really hope I don't get a forehead kiss again. I hope we're past that now.

    It all ended so happily
    I settled down with the family
    I look forward to a better day
    But ethical stuff never got in my way
    And though there used to be brothers seven
    There other six are singing in heaven

Saturday, 30 December 2006


We're snowed in.

This is awesome. The kids have three movies to watch, Jacob woke up with the worst cold he's ever had and I'm tired. Just worn out. He's going to work from home in his flannels and I'm going to spoil him with chicken soup and later we're going to pile on the couch and rot out our brains.

I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Saturday. I don't even have to shovel, it's still snowing too hard.

This is very cozy.

Yes, there's lots of cake left. Emergency provisions and all...

    In this life I'm stubborn to the core
    In this life I've been burning after more
    We both know what these open arms are for
    You're everything that's fair
    In this life, you're my only one

Friday, 29 December 2006

Bridget's game face.

(This post got lost and should be listed before the last one, if you're wondering.)

I've had a busy morning.

First I drove down to the fire station and gave away all the cases of wine and assorted new bottles of vodka that found their way into my house over the holidays. Whatever was open I poured out. Alone.

Because I'm trying.

Then I went to therapy. Alone. Which is great. It's my confessional, only I'm not given a gamut of counted sorrows to run, instead I'm forced to confront everything I hate about myself and everything that scares me. So much fun.

But the alcohol is gone which means the anti-depressants make their welcome return.

See look! I said welcome. I'm trying.

Then I hit the doctors office, alone, for my IUD. Why? Because nothing else works. I can't keep track of anything and anything Jacob can get his hands on will of course, be sabotaged or debated until it's meaningless. He can't talk me out of an IUD every night so it was the next logical step. Because vasectomies in this province carry year-long waiting lists and he doesn't want one and the simple fact that Jacob has not fathered any biological children is making the urologist hum and haw anyway so it's not something we're going to explore any further, frankly.

Hell, I'm just trying to keep the peace for a little while. My doctor warned me today that couples who have difficulty coming to some sort of agreement when it comes to how many children to have often wind up unhappy and divorced as a result. He knows our struggles, knows our history and frankly I know we're in danger and it's from far more than just deciding on one more baby. Far more.

But we're trying to fight for it.

Surprisingly, couples therapy went better than anything else. My proactiveness was duly noted and I got my verbal pat on the head and appreciative murmurs from everyone in the room and then we proceeded to dissect Bridget without benefit of painkillers, which hurt like hell, like it always does. There's a pain I now look forward to because it's become my replacement for the pain I felt with Cole. I can simply carry it around and lavish it onto a new aspect of my life. I dove right in today and was the first to agree with the assessments levelled on me that I'm playing with fire.

Yes, I know that. Old habits die hard and fire brought forth Jacob, now, didn't it?

He is having no luck losing his good-boy, savior-complexed, hands-tied bystander image. For some reason he holds back. Maybe it's because he can't believe his wish to hold me in his arms brought with it all this other...stuff that's going to take up so much space he can hardly hold on to me anymore.

Why is life more complicated now than it was before? Maybe it just seems like it is because I'm writing it all down now and working on it, instead of pretending it doesn't exist. That is a world of difference, doing it. It makes me see it all and I don't like what I see and I want things to be better.

Onward and upward. We left the office, not in tears, but in love. Somehow the worst, most honest revelations tend to kickstart a fresh new morning, a proverbial proving ground from which we seem to take three steps forward. We did it this morning and we'll do it every morning until the past recedes again and until we can do it without trying to bring each other down. Because when I stop and look at Jacob I love him. I don't see or care about anything else, I just see him and I love him and I want everything else to just go away now.

I told him that and his eyes welled up and he said,

Now you finally know what happens every time I look at you, princess.

Deepest blue.

Nights like these make life worth living a hundred times over. Jacob was home in time for a late supper and went to read a book to each child separately as he does on days when we've had few spare moments to give to each individually.

He never came back. I went looking for him after he had been upstairs for over an hour and found him stretched out full on Henry's bed, the tattered story of Rip Van Winkle (how ironic) opened face down on his chest, one arm around Henry, who was snoring in tandem with Jake's deep breathing, arms flung out in total trust, one across the pillow and one right across Jacob's face. I took just one moment to reflect on how alike they are in appearance, all eyelashes and blonde curls. Reluctantly I had to wake up Jacob, he moves so much when he sleeps I could see him landing on the floor, a sea of matchbox cars, hurting himself and waking Henry up.

I shook his shoulder and he opened his eyes so sleepily and I told him maybe he should go to bed.

Come with?

Not yet, Jake. It's only 8:30.

So? You have better plans?

Maybe. Peace, quiet, and writing?

Sure, but sex and cake and a warm bath would probably be nice.

Maybe I can have both?

Huh? Cake in the bathtub?

No, a half hour of writing and then bed?

Done, princess. I'll wait for you up here then. Wake me up if I goof off again.

Okay. Be up soon.

I don't have the heart to wake him up again. He was asleep before I wrote the end of one sentence because I snuck back upstairs to look.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Rifling through.

(I found this, written last night but not published. If you want to look inside my head, then know that sometimes I sit down and write miles and miles of words, but only a few steps will ever reach your eyes. Most of it just sits here, in drafts, forever. Some of it cuts too close to the quick, like this one.)

    Maybe what Caleb said about me still walking the tightrope while everyone watches me struggle and teeter sparked the wheels. I don't know. In any event, I'm coming down into some sort of valley of miserable frustration tonight that is sucking the life out of me.

    So long. So long to keep secrets that explode and then you knew them anyway and still you're simply dumbstruck. Floored and hurt and blown apart once again by things you knew already, things that get confirmed along the way and still knock you on your ass.

    I think therapy is going to kill me. Why is it beneficial for me to know that Jacob did indeed love his ex-wife? Why do I need to know this? Why do I need confirmation that Cole slept with people I knew he slept with?

    This shit, this meaningless bullshit is what drags me down, and again I come home and I get through the remainder of the day and all I can think of is that if I can just kill myself I can avoid such a terrible onslaught of pain.

    And then I look in Jacob's eyes and I see him shaking his head because he's going to force me to endure all of it because he's selfish.


    And yes, I threw the other hearing aid in the garbage. I had a high, noble week that week when I got them. I thought I could change the rotation of the planet. I was pregnant, married, fresh off vacation and on a high that I never thought would go away but it did.

    It went away, along with the baby and the one hearing aid that worked really well.

    But he is still here.

    And maybe I'm selfish. Maybe I don't want to hear everything. Maybe I don't want to take pills and tell all my secrets to some overpaid sap in a houndstooth coat. Maybe I don't need to be forced to admit shit that I don't need in my life.

    Maybe I need something else.

    I don't even know. I just know that he is still here and I'm wary and weird and I didn't sleep last night and I''m tired of everyone checking in to see if Bridget went crazy yet. Poke her and see if she yelps. Covet her and see if she wavers. Break her and see if she heals. Crack her, watch her crumble. Fragile Miss Bridget doesn't need this. What she needs is continuance, and consistency and caring. Support. Love. The right kind, not the difficult kind. I wasn't crazy, I wasn't fragile. I was doing okay. Jacob blew the lid off all of it. Somehow he gave me permission to stop holding it together all the time and so I let it fall apart and now I can't get it back together for any length of time and I can't do this anymore. And what he thought he fixed, he broke more. Only I can't tell him that. Somehow being with him is a license to not be very strong at all.

    I can' this. It has to stop.

    And soon he'll be back. Stroking my hair, telling me shhhhhhh, baby, it's okay, everything's okay. Holding me while I cry and not letting the demons anywhere near me. And then he's gone again and what happens then? Huh? Who fixes that?

    Crumbling is the perfect description, and it's exactly what I've tried not to do since Saturday night.

    And I can't. I can't figure any of this out. It shouldn't be hard, but it is. I shouldn't be conflicted but I am. I don't know why I would want to take that key and fuck up my life and I took it. And I knew he was smiling but I didn't look back. Caleb knew that I knew his hotel room number, he always stays in the same room, I've been in that room, I've felt the sexual tension between us, hell it was there for 2o years. One of the reasons I couldn't spend much time around him. One of the reasons our first meeting after Cole's death was so fucking awkward.

    Yup, I've got a laundry list of guys. One drops out, the next queue up to take his place.

    Such a lucky girl.

    Only I stopped that. Because I don't want any of them. Only one. Only Jake. Jake who laughs at me when I'm drunk, like now, because he turned off my phone and locked the door and the children are asleep and I'm allowed to have a sanctioned drink spiel because I fucking earned it and he hasn't figured out any other safe way to blow off steam. He loves the fact that I fail to measure my words or contain my emotions, I simply dump it all on top of him and then spin off to the other side of the desk and take another sip.

    He's on the phone now making some calls while I empty the remainder of the Stoli and blow off more steam than he ever imagined.

    Hey, write a little bit, honey, see what you come up with.


    Will do.

    Oops, he didn't mean online.

    He really should have fallen for someone less freaky.


    Oh, Christ. He is still too good for me. I can't stop my brain from thinking about what a night with Caleb would be like. He knows what bad girls like. He cultivates a repetoire that would fulfill desires that Jacob can't manage because he's too nice.

    Bridget likes nice everywhere but one place and that place is very very important to her.

    And I'm sorry. I can't help it. Sure, I caught the eye of the unreachable, unshakable preacher boy, and all his friends laughed and teased him to no end as he was visibly taken by Bridget, the whore, Cole's bride, the freakishly psychotic wife with the streak of utter depravity. Cole had the ride of his fucking life on me and it was painfully obvious that Jacob wanted a piece of that action and he got it. Oh boy did he get it. He fell so hard and I love him for it. And it's obvious that he thought he could fix it but that isn't working so well because it didn't go away. It's not fading, we still struggle, we fight, we get thrown when out of the blue an offer comes to fix it all and I want that and I can't have it and Jacob is horrified and territorial and scared that after everything that has happened he might lose me now.But he won't because I'm not her anymore.I just hope he loves who he ended up with after all.

I let him read it first and then he asked somberly if I really felt like that. Most of the time I don't and yet still I wrote it down. And still I post it because it's here, in my head and I'm just trying to deal with everything. Still. And I printed it and put it in my bag and tomorrow I want to talk about it in therapy. I just don't want to talk about it tonight.


It's not all rage and drunkeness and woe around the Reilly household. Oh no. I feel fine this morning. I was trashed late last night and the hazard of keeping a laptop handy in case I get struck by a momentary inspiration also means that even my mom knows just how drunk I got last night.

I was sober enough to be fun though, so Jacob gets as much out of those kind of nights as I do. I feel like a million bucks today, six ways from Sunday. Rather than crack like an egg, I used my other method of blowing off steam. The methods that help me forget painful stuff.

Those are easy to discuss. Hey, I find it easier to share those stories some days than the ones that involve Bridget waking up on Christmas morning, flying out of bed in an effort to reach the bathroom before my bladder explodes and then falling spectacularly into the toilet bowl because...

...because men who live alone for as long as Jacob did often develop some serious laughter-inducing new-swear-word-creating habits like leaving the seat up.

Or I could point out in my quest to try and squeeze some pennies for all the cash outlay recently thanks to things like Christmas, new trucks and second homes (okay, tiny cottages, just let me have my fantasy) I bought generic Oreos, which apparently heralded the beginnings of the rapture in this household.

Jacob ate one, made a face, and asked me if I would kindly eat the rest of the Poor-reos because they're awful. Hmmph. Mr. flashy truck is becoming a brand snob.

But really, you know you want to hear about last night, after drink number four, because three is the absolute cutoff, and I did not reach for the Christmas tree to keep myself upright and not miss.

Causing said tree to fall over. All nine feet dry needled goodness. Yup. Which didn't bring down the bookshelves and dump all four hundred CDs and change into a pile on the floor. Nope.

Oh noes.

Oh this is bigger than oh-noes, princess. You're not going to be able to 'cute' yourself out of this one.

Aw, come on, Jakey.

Jakey, nothing. Sober up and help me clean up this mess.

Or we could leave it for the morning because I think it's bedtime.

You could use some sleep.

Oh, I don't want sleep, handsome.

Oh Lord. Bridget, you're like a runaway train tonight.

No, but you could be, if you want to make a girl happy.

Okay let me prop up the tree using my muscles that subsist on your generic food-like substitutions.

At least you didn't spend Christmas morning with festive wet-butt.

Oh let it go already, please.

Done. Now come up stairs and get out of these jeans before I pass out.

Well, now, that might be fun too. Maybe I'll wait.


Okay, okay, a guy has to have some fun.

Oh, you'll have fun, no worries.

Who said I was worried?

Well-meaning neighbors who gift Bridget with cases of alcohol should be shot.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Bad night.

Oh yes, bring vodka and cake.

That fixes everything. Jacob isn't stupid. He knows what makes it better.Bridget feeling no pain is always better than any alternative. Or maybe just don't ask.

Except now the vodka is empty and I'm staring down the fnal drink of the evening. And my fingers are getting clumsy and I have to bite my lip to concentrate and Jakey keeps looking at me over the top of his book and just staring like I am either themost beautiful creature in the whole world to him or he's just astounded at the amount of alcohol such a tiny person can consume and still write legibly.


Ha. I promsie I won't ha ve anymore. BEcause it's gone anway and he's taking me up to bed now because drunken sex with me is fucking fantastic. in a way that watching me write is just not.

Yup. Bye.

Hey and I'm well aware that everone thinks Im fragile. WHat would be so different about that?

Oh wait, and for Chase, who wanted to know what the tattoo is on the back of my neck, it's a letter B, a beautiful B in a calligraphical script with ivy entwining it. Pretty.


Destroy all monsters.

Writing this gives me a headache.

There's always two sides to every story. This would be Jacob's. Jacob who has finally become fed up with my mutinous male friends who have all suddenly confessed their secret agendas because my life was simply blown wide open this year.

I'm so glad to kiss this year good-bye. You have no idea. I've been gathering thoughts and plotting resolutions and finalities for days. I'll be celebrating the end of possibly the best and worst year of my whole life. The very essence, the bittersweet taste of life few people ever get to experience firsthand the way I have. If I could I would wish all this romance on you with none of the pain attached. None of this came easily for us, none of it was free.

Saturday night after I fell asleep, after reaffirming my loyalty to and my love for Jacob and assuring him that Caleb is not a threat to him to him, Jacob, well, he went out.

Because I had grabbed Caleb's card key on my way past him and he was probably waiting for me, and I sent Jacob instead. Jacob who was in a very confrontational mood after a very stressful evening where he was helpless once again.

Only he isn't helpless and Caleb picked a bad moment to offer me some sideline submissiveness.

Ouch, yeah, I know.

If there's one huge difference between Caleb and Cole in a world of similarities, it's that Cole would have sooner swung first and asked questions later, and Caleb would sooner back down and run before he'd risk bleeding all over his lovely Hugo Boss wardrobe, and so I knew there would be words exchanged but I didn't worry that bodily harm would come to anyone. I don't worry about Jacob anyway. No one could hurt him, even if they tried.

And considering Caleb met with Jake a whole six weeks ago for lunch to agree that Bridget would not be hurt, that my heart would be protected at all costs, Caleb failed to hold up his end of the bargain the first moment he saw an in, and Jacob wasn't about to let that slide past him. Stunned as he was when I told him what took place, he was quick to recover and even faster to fix it.

He fixes everything. Thank god. I walk a shaky line as it is. Caleb is bad for me, but I only want Jake and this whole mess just makes me laugh. It's gone past ridiculous and slammed right into outrageous.

I don't think he'll be calling again any time soon. Caleb tried Ben's trick of talking trash to Jacob and for his troubles he got pinned to a door and threatened within an inch of his life and his name and if I know Caleb he won't mess with that. His reputation is very important to him. So is his personal safety. Jacob was ashamed of himself when he came home because he said when he slammed Caleb into the door Caleb pissed himself. That's why Jacob left without inflicting any further psychological damage on Caleb. The goal was achieved, Caleb was scared.

Because Jacob can be very scary and he doesn't realize exactly just how scary he can be because he's never been on the receiving end of his own rage. He doesn't get that mad very often in his life.

I have very little sympathy for Caleb right now. I know how it feels, only worse. He was put up against a door, but he had been expecting a visitor. He just received the wrong one. Me, I was thrown into a door and smashed around when I wasn't expecting anyone. It's my own sick twist on poetic justice. I want Caleb to leave me alone. I never should have gone with him in the first place and my lesson is that I had to subject Jacob to once again working through feelings that he shouldn't have to. I never baited Caleb, I thought he was going to make things easy, not make them worse.

He did succeed in doing one thing. He brought Jacob and I even closer, yet again, united in our efforts to be together despite distractions and histories and baggage, despite outside attempts to drive a wedge between us.

And for that gift I will thank Caleb. Just not in person.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Poets, kisses and keys.

My, you're an inquisitive bunch. And that's okay by me, I love questions. So many people wanted to know what Jacob gave me for Christmas.

This holiday didn't turn out to be nearly as minimalistic as I originally planned. Or maybe it did, but in a sweet, simply wonderful kind of way.

Somewhere late last night between washing dishes and sleeping, Jacob pulled a blanket down onto the floor by the fireplace and patted it while I stared at him in surprise.

What are you doing, Jacob?

Constructing a cliche, Bridget.

Oh, I see.

So come here, beautiful.


You'll find out.

First I grabbed the bottle of wine, almost empty anyway, and our glasses and then I snuggled down into his arms. My favorite place of all. I asked Jacob if he had had a good Christmas and he said it was the best he'd ever spent. The whole time he talked he was pulling me out of my clothes. And sipping wine. Being silly. There hasn't been a lot of silly lately. Soon we only had that blanket between us and the rest of the world and there wasn't anything left that we hadn't done. But then he reached up to the table and pulled down a small yellow envelope.

For you, princess.

What is it?

Hold out your hand and see.

A small rusty key fell into my hand. I held it up curiously. No idea. Hints required.

Key to your heart, Jakey?

You've held that key for years. This is the key to your summer castle.

I don't get it.

He explained that my unspoken dismay at his acceptance of the university job sent him on a mission. Please understand I'm so proud of him, the job is a terrific opportunity, the problem lies in the fact that it means we stay here. I didn't want to stay here. Maybe until the end of the school year but this job is a good chance for Jacob to do something wonderful and if all goes well we won't be moving for years. Years.

So, true to form, Jacob fixed that.

He bought a cottage for us. Back home. A tiny windblown little frame house by the ocean, just a stone's throw from some of my favorite childhood beaches on the south shore. A retreat, an escape. A place to call our own that is uniquely ours. Castle indeed.

He bought it weeks ago and has been arranging to have it painted, furnished, repaired, and now it's ready. He had his sister take pictures and send them up and it's so beautiful. Floors and woodwork are white, the main rooms are my favorite shade of celadon and it's less than fifty steps to sand. There's a well with a bucket and an ancient cellar. There's a tire swing and a blueberry bush. A porch, screened in, with a lantern hanging on a hook by the door. He had a woodstove put in. And tin-punch cabinet doors. Because I saw it in a magazine once and said it was pretty.

But he wasn't done there.

He bought the land on either side of the cottage, too.

And he promised me someday we'll build a big house there.

I don't even remember what happened next because my brain snapped with a happiness overload. I do know I made him smile, I tired him out and I believe I proclaimed him to be something out of a book that I couldn't write if I wanted to, he's that incredible.

Jacob laughed and said that's exactly what he was shooting for, which was funny because he is too humble for words, he puts himself down, he dismisses his actions most of the time, one of the reasons I love to share his grand romantic gestures. On the way to bed, with my small hand disappearing into his larger one, he stopped and hung the key on a hook by the kitchen door, where it will stay until it's warm enough for us to go and visit the cottage for the very first time.

I keep going to look at it. Not the pictures of the cottage, but the rusty key itself. That key fascinates me. But then again, so does Jacob. Because just when I think he's outdone himself with his own brand of earth-shattering romance he conquers that too, and just keeps finding more ways to surprise me. That key signifies our future. A plan. A new dream for us. Sorely needed after a difficult year.

The ironic part is that I thought I had outdone him for gifts, finding and hiding a rare edition book of Marlowe plays, one of his favorites, having bought it months ago, knowing he would be positively dumbstruck by it and he was.

Just not as much as I was by that key.

Monday, 25 December 2006


The biggest Christmas miracle of all would be two children who slept until 8 am.

On Christmas day.

Yeah, I'm kinda wow too.

Saturday night has a whole part two that followed but I refuse to spoil what is shaping up to be a wonderful, cozy, quiet day by writing about it right now.

Harry Connick Jr. and vintage Glen Campbell are taking turns singing Christmas songs on the stereo, turkey is in the oven, and the fire is crackling and popping, warming up the whole house. Jacob just made a fresh pot of coffee and is busy doing nothing but watching the kids play with new board games while he sips from his cup and traces the tattoo on the back of my neck, the one that surprises people when I wear my hair up.

His phone didn't ring much yesterday and these have been two very close, very warm and devoted days.

I hope you're warm and happy too.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Blow up the moon.

(Never, ever meet the Devil in his own element. Which would be anywhere your defenders are NOT.)

I thought I was so prepared with my emotional shields in place, ready to deflect Caleb's charming and oh-so-familiar appearance, an older, wiser Cole. In an expensive but meant to be casual suit, shooting his cuffs, a gesture that leaves me a little weak in the knees as it is. Slightly nervous, still with his customary heavy-handed approach of poise and chivalry. He was always smooth and seductive where Cole's charisma had an abrasive, wild edge to it. A simple matter of being less refined, an accidental appeal that he didn't cultivate so carefully the way Caleb does. Caleb is, quite simply, a ladies man. And he knows it.

Of course I wasn't prepared, who am I kidding?

When a sleek black car pulled up to collect us after his brief visit he hugged each of the kids and wished them a merry Christmas and then he turned and shook Jacob's hand and told him he was a lucky man and that he hoped the holidays were enjoyable and that he would have time to spend with his family. Jacob nodded and didn't say very much at all, gracious in allowing Caleb in the house at all. But he was reserved and politely formal, and he helped me into my coat, kissed my cheek and frowned as he searched my eyes, hoping I would change my mind and stay home.

I told him I loved him and I'd be back in an hour. I kissed the kids goodnight and Caleb held the door for me.

When we got to the car, Caleb told the driver to take us to an overpriced cocktail lounge downtown. I looked at him with a mixture of surprise and anger. I leaned forward and asked the driver to pull over because we hadn't agreed on that destination.

They have coffee there, Bridget.

I'm not going to a bar with you, Caleb. If you want to get coffee, then we're going to a coffee shop, or an actual restaurant.

How about the one at my hotel then?

Why are you trying to cause problems for me?

What? I only know of a few places here.

Then ask me for suggestions. I've only been here for years, I know a few.

You're absolutely right, Bridget, my apologies.

I gave the driver the address of a coffee shop nearby and we arrived in silence. After ordering coffee and cake, I decided to try and mask my difficulties with being near him by being nasty to him. Very nasty. Hoping it wouldn't be mistaken for the petulance that his brother adored.

So why do you need to know things about me?

What are you talking about?

Continuing to read my journal, asking Ben things that are clearly not your concern, trying to undermine my marriage. What are you up to?

I'm concerned. Bridget, spending time with you is watching our tightrope walker teetering back and forth at the middle and you know there's no net down below. Oh, and would you please stop referring to me as the devil when you write?

No one told you you needed to spend time with me, or analyze me, for that matter.

Cole was very worried about you.

Cole's dead.

He died worrying about you, baby.

I stood up.

Don't call me baby. Fuck, what is wrong with you guys? I'll take a cab home. I'll be sure the kids send you thank you notes for the gifts but you need to go home now, Caleb.
He stood up but made no move to stop me. Shot a cuff and checked his watch.

Oh Lord. Help me.

Please sit down and let me explain. I'm running out of time. You only gave me an hour.

I don't think so.

Then stand up, but let me tell you why I'm trying to make sure you're okay.


I sat. And rolled my eyes.

God, you can be so childish.

Your brother loved it.

Does Jake?


I see.

Start talking, Caleb.

Name the one person who ever knew you best?


No, not Jake, Cole.

Sorry. You're wrong.

I'm right, Bridget.

If you were right, Caleb, things would be vastly different right now. Your brother wouldn't have lived his life to hurt me.

No, he knew everything you liked and he indulged you even though he hated himself for what it meant for him. We talked more often than you think we did.

I stood up again. Someone came over and asked me if everything was alright, giving Caleb the once over. People had been watching us since we came in anyway, they do that. I murmured that I was fine, thank you. I sat back down. I must have looked like a pogo stick.

On the inside I felt sick to my stomach.

What are you talking about?

You know exactly what I'm talking about. The things Jacob won't do. For you, to you. Things you want.

Why would you want to hurt me like this, Caleb? How dare you?

He won't do them because he's selfish, Bridge! Forcing you to try and get pregnant, cutting you off from everyone you love. Cole went out of his way to give you everything, including time and space alone with Jake, if that was what you asked for. He gave you everything you wanted. And he felt like a monster but he did those things because he loved you. He wanted you to have everything.

Up she goes, holding back tears with characteristic success. They rolled down my face. These were revelations I already knew. Ones I can't acknowledge.

Caleb, your brother also tried to kill me, when he wasn't farming me out to you. I'm done here. I'm going home to Jacob now.
I tossed my napkin on the plate and stalked to the door to get my coat, shaking like a leaf. Fragile to a fault. Stupid princess. Caleb followed me. He helped me into my coat and then he wiped the tears from my cheeks with his fingers. I didn't stop him. I didn't stop him when he put his arms around me, pressing his mouth against my hair over my ear, speaking low so no one could overhear.

Bridget, you can have it all. All you have to do is say the word. If he won't do it then I will. And you don't have to leave him to get it.

He pulled back and held out a card key. For his hotel room. I stared at it while he talked and I could barely hear him for the blood pounding in my head. For one brief horrible moment I could envision myself taking that card in some desperate, fucked up attempt to turn back time and have just a few more intimate moments with Cole, somehow. Because it was familiar. Because...because I don't even know how to explain why.

But that's not what I want and that's not what this would be.

I don't want this.

I looked up at Caleb's face then as he spoke, not really listening but just staring at his dark blue eyes and noticing for the first time that he somehow looked nothing like Cole on this night.

...I can have the card dropped off and you can meet me whenever I'm in the city...

I don't know what else he said, because I wrenched out of his grasp and pushed past him, walking right out the door.

When I got home the children were still up and climbing all over Jacob while he told them the Christmas story in his own colorful, animated way. I waved and said nothing so that he could finish uninterrupted and then together we put the kids to bed and retreated to the den, not with coffee, but with cognac. Full-on full-glass cognac, warm, soothing tonic for my broken nerves.

I told Jacob everything and I told him that I'd box up the gifts and have them returned to Caleb's office. He nodded. I think he was too stunned to even react, and honestly I downplayed it because I can't handle not minimizing it. I got up to go get ready for bed, not remembering the last time I felt so sick to my stomach. I told Jake I was going to have a shower and why and he just nodded like he really hadn't heard.

Upstairs in the bathroom I stripped out of my dress and drenched myself in a hot stream of water. I turned around, put my head up to rinse my hair and my nose bumped Jake's. He had followed me in quietly under the cover of the noise from the shower, knowing how vulnerable I felt, he was ready to catch me.

Only I didn't fall. There was no risk involved.

He held me, smothered in his arms. He trusts me. He loves me.

He was worried anyway.

There's only one man I love on this earth, only one who's ever going to touch me ever again, only one I would ask those things of, knowing full well he won't concede to doing them but I'll keep asking until I learn to relax and calm down, and only one that is so incredible that none of those other things even fucking matter anymore.

That would be Jake.

As if anyone had to ask.

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Oh and to keep him accountable, Caleb said he would fix the laptop when he gets here tonight, having changed his plans to be able to spend a little extra time in the city. Call me selfish, I want it fixed. We can use each other. God.

This isn't Tool, Jacob.


Karaoke man has discovered the Christmas carols. And I am doomed. He's been warming up with The Christmas Song and Doc Walker all morning.

I used to like this song. Now I'm ready to throw the switch and blow Tool's Four Degrees through the house on 11.

But I think Jake would be insulted. I'm making a stab at tolerating liking country music because he listens to everything. Literally everything. Please don't forget this past spring when I was tortured with a week of Xavier Rudd. A week I will never get back. I couldn't stand the sacred Tibetan chanting stuff he put on this morning and he balked at Bif Naked. Doc it is.

Well, poo.

So far I like one song, kinda, sort, mostly. But maybe I'm a sucker for a cute video, a lot of rain and a blonde guy with a guitar.

Like you didn't know that already.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Technical difficulties.

Bridget has a geriatric laptop on life support and is most definitely not allowed to hijack the church computer to post entries to her personal journal, never mind the fact that said personal journal is read here most days by unnamed husband who is cranky today.

So yes, tech guy #1 died (that would be Cole) and back-up tech guy is far away (Lochlan) and so the very technologically impaired duo will either successfully swap out the hard drive and I'll be back in business or we'll have to resort to constructing a hippie laptop made of hemp and good vibes so I can write.

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Warmest regards.

I think it's finally hit me. The elusive spirit that just kind of crops up out of nowhere as I take a look around and realize, it's here, Christmas. It's here whether I accomplished everything or anything on my list at all and I can do no more.

This year is light on presents and materialistic indulgences and rich and heavy on love. And thanks and Joy, which gets a capital letter for being free and bountiful.

Guys, I've got everything. The lights have been on all day long on that giant Christmas tree, I have helped Santa wrap the stocking stuffers, the turkey is just about ready to come out of the freezer for thawing and Jacob really doesn't have to eat cooked carrots this year if he doesn't like them. Mom's cookies are just about gone and Ruthie decided that school doesn't suck so much after all, especially now that there's one day left before vacation, two for Jake. Possibly three as he's the on-call chaplain for the fire station, being the newbie this year. So his phone stays on, hopefully people will stay home and be safe so that he can stay home the whole day.

Christmas could have been awful this year, but it's not going to be. And New Year's eve might possibly be epic, as I spent most of 2006 flying by the seat of my pants, and the pants finally gave out and I am permanently grounded in a fresh reality, one that I hope is a little less eventful and even more romantic.

And since there's a lot of you reading at work who may or may not have scored Friday off in order to travel or unwind before the festivities begin, I'd like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I'll be posting daily as usual, no worries. I just wanted to send out a big virtual Bridget-hug to everyone who has cheered me on and helped hold me up this year. Without you I would have been lonely.

Thank you. Happy Holidays!

Crosby, Stills, Nash and you.

Geez, I post the sweetest thing in the world and all everyone wants to know was howdrunkwasBridgetlastnight?
I was going to say not so much until I saw that I did indeed write something here. Geez, someone take away the laptop when they bring the alcohol please?

I haven't had a drink in a long time. But I have a feeling that if I can maintain whatever emotional plateau I have climbed onto as of this week I can avoid going back on the freaking stupid zombie pills and maybe just stay like this, because this is nice, and it's nice to have a nightcap or a cocktail or whatever.

In any event, it was a nice, quiet evening. The kids were zonked and asleep by 8, and Jacob turned off all the lights except for the Christmas tree and we danced in the living room but I don't think my feet touched the floor, and I don't think his lips left my shoulder.

    All your life
    You were only waiting for this moment to be free
    Blackbird fly

Obligations and carrots.

Every year for the past ten years my Christmas dinners have been a round table of wayward folks. Cole, our friends, his coworkers, random guys he knew who were far from home, or just plain alone, or didn't want to have to do the fam-thing because of so many reasons. We've always hosted a big dinner to give people a hot meal and some new memories, and because I think I'd rather die than think someone was alone on Christmas.

I can't tell you how many years straight Loch and I got shitfaced on cheap wine and stuck Cole with the dishes. I can't tell you how many years in a row Jacob sat across the table after eating almost half of all the food and started a discussion about going out for dessert when everyone else, who had eaten a fraction of what he had, were stuffed. Or how many times we sang Christmas carol parodies until we couldn't stop laughing. I can't say how many times I left the table at the end of the meal and went outside for a fresh breath of air only to have Jake sneak up on me with some funny little present, a hug and a wish for a Merry Christmas in which we held each other a little too hard, a little too close and perhaps a little bit too often in one night.

This year I'm out of luck. We've all got colds, it's been a long, crowded year and for the first time in recent memory there appear to be no stragglers in need of an emergency Christmas dinner. Not to mention it's our first real honest-to-goodness actual Christmas together, married and together.

And since we're so far behind this year, Jacob asked me to make a list and he went to the grocery store to get everything while I helped Henry with a project.

He came home and we switched places, I went to put away the groceries and he sat down with Henry to see what progress we had made.


What is it?

You forgot to get the carrots.

No I didn't.

They were on the list.

Bridget, I hate carrots.

What are you talking about? You eat them all the time.

Raw. I hate cooked carrots.

But..every year you've eaten them. I've seen you. You clean the plate.

Right. Yes.

Okay, you've lost me.

Bridget, I only eat them because you make them. But truth be told, I can't stand them cooked.

You only ate them because I made them?

Because you made them, princess.

Well, now, that is the sweetest thing I've ever heard. I think I could fall in love with you.

So we'll skip them? And I love you too.

Are you kidding me? I have to make them now! It'll be a new tradition.

He smiled, defeated, and looked at Henry. Henry reassured him,

That's okay, Jake. I hate it when mommy makes carrots too.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Cheer in a glass. Uh oh.

I think Jake has a forehead fetish. He put my drink on the desk and then kissed my forehead and headed out to the garage. Then later he comes back in and smooths my bangs back from said forehead. My forehead is a fivehead, okay, I won't lie. I sometimes put a bit of powder on it so the sun reflecting off it doesn't blind people walking toward me.

Next he rubs his thumb across it when he puts his hand over my ear. My drink? Long dranked.

Okay enough.

This is not a post. This is Bridget enjoying a loopy semidrunk minute far too early in the evening.

What's in the glass is eggnog. Or mostly brandy clouded with just enough eggnog so that it can be called Christmas Cheer and not OhfuckBridgetsdrunkagain. But it is five o'clock and dinner is almost done and I'm cut off and lord I hope no one comes by tonight because this hit damn hard

Coming in from the cold.

Jacob came in from the cold at lunch yesterday and said he needed me, come quick, hurry. I ran down to the porch door and he came through it and grabbed me up in a hug, forcing my arms down and then putting his hands up the back of my shirt until I squealed for him to stop. His hands were giant ice cubes. He didn't need me, he just wanted to freeze me out because the squealing is so funny.

I wish he wouldn't do that, but he insists it's payback for when I put my cold toes between his ankles in bed every night. Of course, he doesn't squeal so instead I get a rounded-out litany of swear words with the full-on Newfie accent. So I'll keep doing it forever because he usually keeps the accent in check, except when he's cursing.

He was starting to come around, albeit slowly. My biggest argument against another baby is finally becoming clear to him when he looks at me now. Just now escaping the underweight label but still pale, dark circles a permanent feature of my face. And tenuously clinging to that shred of sanity I talk about that gets rubbed raw and then somehow heals itself. On and off medication. Prone to nightmares and middle of the night crying jags that wear him down and leave me depleted. Not stronger. Coming out of this surprisingly and permanently frail. Fragile Miss Bridget never changes much, you guys.

Somehow balancing my emotional landmines with sex, cake and rock n' roll.

Jacob confessed that one of his earliest dreams after I told him I was pregnant with Ruth was that he wished so badly that he could be in Cole's place from that moment on, waiting for his baby to be born, watching me grow and change, being able to hold the baby and love that child.

And in my frustration at another round of his guilt shoved down my throat I lost it and I reminded him that he did all those things. That he didn't miss a goddamn thing and now he is in Cole's place and he has me, he has two children now that are HIS and why isn't that good enough?

And then Jacob did something he's never done before. He looked at me as if he was hearing me for the very first time and he laid down the gauntlet.

It is.

Then why are we fighting, Jake?

I have no idea, Bridget.

Then we need to stop before we ruin this. You can't have those years back, Jake, they're gone, just let them go. You made me do it and now it's your turn.

He came over to me and put his hands up to my face and he apologized, formally apologized for being argumentative and still incredulous at the fact that I wouldn't stand up to him and say no, instead talking around the issue and making it known that I didn't want this without flat-out refusing him.

You need to say no to me, princess. You won't and when I push you to stand up for yourself you have to do it.

I...I can't.

Yes, you can. It isn't right and you can and I'm not going anywhere and I'm still going to love you.

You say that now.

No, I say that forever, Bridge. Forever. You're right. We really have no business having another baby.

I don't want you to resent me.

I don't. I couldn't. I love you more knowing you would give in because you knew I wanted it.

How is that any different from you giving in?

It's not the same thing. I'm letting a bad idea rest. I got carried away. I get jealous. I get angry when I think about some of the things that have happened over the past few years and I forget where I am now. I'm not perfect. But I'm not going to be a monster, either.

I cringed when he said that. How many times did I describe Cole that way, or insist that he wasn't one?

I had to breathe. I left the house and went for a long walk, alone. He kissed me goodbye, sadly. When I do return I give him back his kiss and retreat to the den to work. He's already cooking something that smells wonderful that I probably won't eat because I don't eat when I'm upset.

But don't talk to me about it because again, the explosions.

You can't be angry with me forever, princess.

I'm not angry at all, Jake. I'm frustrated. I don't know what to do with this. Or where to take it.

It goes wherever we go.

That's what I'm afraid of.

Bridge, everything will be okay, why won't you believe me?

Because it never has been before, Jake.

Maybe we're not trying hard enough.

Maybe we're not trying at all.

I don't believe it. Do you?

Sometimes, yes.

Aw, Christ.

I can't help it.These are some pretty agonizing growing pains.

That's an apt description.

What if they kill us?

They can't. We're indestructible.

We were. Are we still?

Moreso. I love you more now, not less. Coveting wasn't something that magnified my feelings for you, princess. Marriage did that. Arguing does that. Frustration does that. When we need each other the most, I feel the most.

Lucky for us.

It's not luck, princess. It's true love.

Then why can't we sort this out?

Maybe we're overthinking it so that we can put it to rest at last. I'm satisfied, I'm blessed, Bridget. You three as my family is more than I ever imagined and I wouldn't change a thing.

I nodded, still not sure.

What's wrong?

The last two times we fought about this so hard you assured me much the same thing.

And look where it got us? Almost divided once again. I'm done fighting. I don't want to fight with you, princess. I've got too much to be happy about and too much to lose.

So then how do we resolve this formally?

You mean permanently.


I'll go see about getting the big operation.

No, I'll go. It's not a big deal anymore for me to be in a hospital.

No, you've been through enough. Besides, mine would be outpatients, I think.

Then you'll hate me forever.

I couldn't hate you if I tried. And I have tried so many times so don't think you're immune.


Just about every time you went home with him over the years, princess.

Wow. That's harsh.

So was watching Cole touch you and knowing what he was. And I promised I wouldn't be anything like him, that I would never put you through pain or fear or uncertainty and that's just what I did and I feel like the monster now.

You're not.

Don't take this personally, Bridge, but you're a shitty judge of character.

I didn't start this argument to rip you to shreds, Jake.

Then just forgive me and we'll call and get an appointment.


When you pull your head out of your ass you're very easy to get along with, you know that?

Nice, Jake. Nice. I could say the same for you.

Sometimes, princess, I wish you would.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Familiar orbit.

Not pregnant.

And with mixed-the-hell-up cycles to boot. I'm so off-kilter I think I've drifted to a new orbit.

Not pregnant.

I knew I wasn't. I wasn't sick at all, not nauseous. Just the damn cold. And our odds of successfully conceiving are so low, come on. So today I'm just sad for Jake. I watched him as he buttoned his shirt this morning and he talked about nothing, pretending he was fine with it when he's clearly not. I brushed my hair and agreed with everything he said, and I clearly don't and we both know it.

This is what makes my life difficult. When matters of the heart are at odds with logic. When the smart decision isn't the decisions of your dreams. It's a phenomenon that seems to be unique to us and every time I think I'll survive another round it reaches out long fingers to hook me and pull me back in.

I'm drowning in it. But this time we don't have nine years to make a decision. And what's worse, it's a decision with a small chance of success, so why are we putting ourselves through it at all?

But now I'm making my own case, and that's not what this post was about.

More later, if I feel inclined. My brain is overfull today.

Monday, 18 December 2006

An appointment with the Devil.

    You have been dying since the day
    You were born
    You know it has all been planned
    The quartet of deliverance rides
    A sinner once a sinner twice
    No need for confession now
    Cause now you've got the fight of your life

Note to self. People who work tirelessly to wear you down will eventually prevail.

I'm rambling again.

I agreed to allow Caleb to take me out for a coffee before he leaves the city. He's coming by Friday to spend a bit of time with the kids, and drop off presents (which he's never done before but maybe now he's feeling guilty and wanting to shower the children of his poor dead brother with kindness or something) and he has a car that takes him around and so he said he'd arrange to have it arrive at 7 and we'll find a coffee shop and he can explain why he's being such a creep.

I'll allow you to take turns guessing exactly how impressed my husband is by this.

Yes, of course you're right. He's not. And he wasn't invited. And Caleb declined my diplomatic offer to make coffee here at home for crying out loud because it's no secret how lovely my coffee is (yuck) and I'm well aware that he would refuse because he wants to get me alone to charm his way back into my good graces because when he and Jacob are in the same room I defer to Jake and that doesn't allow Caleb any room for maneuvering.

They know all the tricks. I tell you, it's mind-boggling.

I have allowed an hour for his nonsense, mostly because I love good coffee after dinner and I want to know exactly what the heck they're talking about, from his own mouth. I'll indulge the gossip and hopefully usurp Ben in the process.

Because I can be catty and bitchy too.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Humbled and pie.

Despite Jacob's best efforts and attempts to reassure his parish that he has so much more than he ever dreamed of, they ambushed him anyway this weekend. He was joyfully hoarse from spreading his messages as we delivered cards (and pies!) yesterday.

He has been spending weeks encouraging the congregation to reach out, support the food banks, donate warm things, give to local charities that could look after people without a place to lay their heads and in general to step outside of themselves and abandon the materialistic temptations of a commercialized season, instead helping others and showing the spirit from within. This time of year it's especially important. It's so cold out there you would freeze in moments. And the holidays? They're just difficult as it is. People need to be reminded that while they are celebrating, others are suffering. Dark times, my friends.

Of course it's preachy.

He is a preacher.

He puts his money where his mouth is, too. So do I. You would be surprised how many times I cried last week over things that had nothing to do with my life. How many times I was smacked in the face with something bigger and more difficult that anything I have ever had to face personally. These are financial pledges and personal obligations that I have grown to covet, for they keep my perspective fresh and my selfishness in check. In years past I have always gone down for a few hours and packed boxes or helped cook or serve somewhere heartbreakingly full of people but this year it's become an urgent, all-encompassing endeavor. A brand new full-time job for me, a welcome addition by Jacob's side, though I am sick and not quite as tireless as he is.

It's been a welcome distraction from my usual life and all the other stuff we're going through.

And still I watch as Jacob comes home with presents for the children from members of the church, 'little somethings' for us as a family, generous outpourings of acknowledgment for Jacob who has become an extended member of the family to everyone he's ever met, and the kids and I an unexpected completion, a compliment to his life, in their eyes.

He remarked this morning that his record of 54 invitations to Christmas dinner received last year as a single man (read: long-distance estranged husband to his ex-wife) will not be broken because this year he received exactly one invitation, dinner at his own home, with his wife and children and that it was the best invitation a man could have and that he hoped everyone had a home wrapped in love and surrounded by faith and touched with the true spirit of the holiday season.

I came home with a stack of cards in my hand two inches thick. When Jacob arrived later on, the backseat of the car was covered with gifts. He's thrilled and yet chagrined. This money and effort could be better spent.

It's difficult. Everyone knows that this is his last Christmas with the church. They want him to know he is unforgettable and will be missed. They have few other ways to profess their love for him, their appreciation for the work he has done, the sacrifices he has made, the hours he has spent. They understand why he's leaving and that he's not really leaving.

And we got a very special completely unexpected gift this year from one of Jacob's community minister friends, who requested to perform the Christmas Eve service, which was printed in the bulletin as a surprise after Jacob signed off on inclusions. So he'll be home, here with us, for the first time, for our first Christmas as a family.

Who needs presents when you have this?

In gracious acceptance of the gifts we received this morning we're going to attempt to put a value on all of it and donate that same amount in addition to what we do already. We can't come up with any other way to make this generosity right.

We are blessed. I'll end this with a small part of Jacob's closing prayer. (He rambles spectacularly, so I put in the good parts remembered in spite of the Dayquil haze-forgive me if some of what I wrote is poorly strung together today.)

Dear God,

Bless our family and all its members and friends. Bind us together in your love and in your light. Give us kindness and forethought to help each other in difficult times and support and knowledge in everything we do...May peace enter into our hearts and remain with us...May we rejoice in the blessings you have given us and thank you for this one day that we have shared together and for all the days that remain.


Saturday, 16 December 2006

Just for a moment.

Someone is sitting across from me reading the paper and just for a moment, this morning I'm going to do a study in the here and now because sometimes a fresh outlook makes it all better. Sometimes in our rush to complicate things we can irrevocably change them forever and I don't want that.

I just want this:

Jacob is sitting sideways so he can cross one foot over the opposite knee. He's wearing navy plaid pajama bottoms and a long-sleeved waffle knit t shirt that is at least a size too small (not to call attention to his wall of a chest but because I shrunk it, stupid 100% cotton shirts). His big bare foot supports the middle of the newspaper, the rest is balanced on his thighs and he's holding it up with one hand and with the other he's sipping his coffee very quietly and then making a face every time he stops which means it's a little bitter. When he put his cup down he automatically rubs his left eyebrow and then frowns back at the head lines. He has cleared his throat three times since I started this entry, which means he's getting a cold.

He hasn't shaved since last Saturday, his beard has reached the soft fuzzy stage. It's so blonde it's a golden-white, matching his eyebrows and eyelashes. I can just see slivers of pale blue beneath his lashes as his pupils dart all around the page. His hair, just a little darker than his beard, is messed up like someone walked past him and rubbed it. It's completely flat but curls up around his ears and against his neck and he has a cowlick right in the front that sticks up enough to show his smooth, unlined forehead, pushing his long bangs off to one side. Oh, now he's sucking in his dimples, hollowing his cheeks, which tells me he has no idea I'm documenting his weekend ritual.

His hands are strong and smooth, short, ragged, clean fingernails in need of some attention, softly calloused fingertips, big hands, huge hands, he really has to search to find gloves and gear that fits those hands.

No jokes about big hands and big feet. Yes, the rumors are true. Happy? I am.

What are you doing, princess?

Oh, just working on a story, Jakey.

'Jakey' this morning? What's in that mug?

He laughs, I usually only call him Jakey when I'm slightly drunk.

Bitter coffee.

I watch his right eyebrow grow up. I wonder if he wonders if I can read his mind? He resumes scrolling through the sports section now, telling me which of our favorite teams are doing well and which are not. He makes a few comments about coaches needing to shake up their players.

Now he stands up, folds the paper and offers it to me. He does this every Saturday and I have declined every Saturday but he still offers. And then he bends down to kiss my cheek and-

..ha. I'm busted.

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, 15 December 2006

Princess in a snowglobe.

Here's the lowdown today, in case you thought that I had retreated to my ivory tower with my typewriter in hand, having Jacob run up trays, muscles ripped and toothy grins and all sexy-like.

That's only on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I'm kidding. It's whenever I damn well feel like it. He's awesome.

I woke up in the middle of a coughing fit this morning. Drippy, miserable, scratchy-voiced and I got that super-woozy feeling in the shower this morning and I called Jacob and he came in and I burst into tears and he canceled today for me just because.

I still haven't shipped the gifts home yet and today I was going to finish pulling everything together but it's nicer to sit at the keyboard and write a bit, one hand firmly wrapped around a perpetual cup of warmth.

I haven't touched the spinning wheel in recent memory and I even bailed on running today (which I have barely resumed as it is) because of the weather this morning and I feel guilty even though it's stupid to go running when you're sick and even dumber when you're detoxing and half insane. I need a new outlet. Oh, besides the crying. Lord.

So I babble endlessly. I called Caleb to reschedule his visit since he's here in town every second week for a few days, even though I honestly don't feel I can face him anymore, so much has changed. That was a hard conversation.

Caleb C______.

Caleb? Hey, it's me.

Bridget! How are you doing? And is this a new number? You sound sick.

It is. I'm okay. It's just a cold.

Is he treating you alright?

Of course.

Your journal makes me wonder.

That's my padded room, Caleb. And it's none of your business.

I know, that's why I didn't call.

I appreciate that.

Did you find a time when I can stop in?

Yes, any time from now til Christmas, the kids are finished school in a week if that helps.

Maybe I can take you out to lunch.

Right. So, just let me know when you want to see them.

You've going to avoid me, aren't you?

I won't lie and say no. Self-preservation is a must.

Tell that to your new husband.

I'm not asking for your input, Caleb.

I realize that and I apologize, Bridget. But I'm asking you point-blank if I can take you out for a drink or a coffee while I'm there.

Maybe, I don't know.

Fair enough. I'll let you know when my flights are as soon as my assistant books them. I've got meetings there end of next week as it is.

Okay, thanks.

Thank you, Bridget.

Jacob made his disapproval clear when I repeated the conversation to him and he doesn't understand why I would allow Caleb anywhere near here but I reminded him that he (Jake)was the kids' favorite uncle/godfather forever and how would he have liked it if I had said he couldn't see them anymore? He pointed out Caleb's once a year previous contact with them and the facts that Jake and I were so close, everything is completely different. He has a point but I continue to try to do the right things for the kids' sakes and I don't think I'm going to go out with Caleb at all because it's not necessary.

Christian, in his infinite red-headed, freckled wisdom made a funny observation the other day and the more I think about it, the more it fits. He said my life is like a snowglobe, you can shake me up and slowly watch as the music plays and the glitter swirls madly around in a tornado and then slowly the music begins to wind down and the glitter eventually settles down all over everything and all is peaceful for a few moments or days and then someone comes along again and picks up the globe and gives it another violent shake and it begins all over again.

That says that I still have some of my sparkles but it also highlights the lack of responsibility people hold me to these days. Which would be fun if I was anyone else, but no, I'm uptight, responsible Bridget. At least most of the time I am, anyway. Oh, please. I'm not. I'm not that stupid that I don't see it.

I'm going back to bed for a bit.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Bay boy.

When your husband of two weeks takes you home for the first time it's bound to be an adventure of revelations, and a journey of discoveries that further melts your hearts together into one.

This is the story of Jacob's closet.

This past summer we took a long and windy trip on a very large ferry home to Jacob's Newfoundland. His mother and father were ready and waiting for me with open arms, photo albums and the memories of his first twenty six years on the rock, before I knew him. He was already well versed in the history of Bridget, as we know her, because my parents and friends have had years to subject Jacob to my past whenever we all were together. Jacob moved to Halifax to attend graduate school and that's where I grew up. He's been privy to odd things like my figure skating badges and camping photos of chubby little Bridget in dirty swimsuits when she was six years old for an embarrassing amount of time.

So it was time for him to fill in the blanks, the places marked for completion in our new book of memories, the one we started writing when our lives intersected for good, never to separate ever again.

I wanted to see his room first. Why? I don't know. I guess because it would have represented the nucleus of Jacob's whole being. The bulk of his time was spent there. He grew there, changed there, and wished and hoped there. His faith was planted there. He became the man he is now there.

On the very top floor of the Reilly house is the room where Jake grew up. A white painted door at the top of the stairs leads in to a small bedroom with a wide wooden plank floor and baby blue walls, crowded by steep eaves that require you to stand in the centre of the room so that you don't bump your head. The only thing on the walls are bookshelves, a cork board over the desk and a painting of a boat, his father's boat, that he painted in junior high school.

The bookshelves were atypical for a young adult male. Classics. Homer. Melville. Stevenson. Hemingway. Three bibles. Tattered Hardy Boys tucked in amongst never-opened Star Wars comics. National Geographic in stacks. A microscope. A homemade sock monkey that might be as old as Jacob, later confirmed to be his favorite toy from toddlerhood. Records. Dozens of records. Zeppelin, Floyd, Rush, Eagles, Doors, Lightfoot, Beatles.

On the corkboard were pinned now-faded pictures from the early nineties-Jacob and his younger sister Erin at a wedding, Jacob hauling traps, Jacob and three of his high school friends with his once rustbucket truck, before he and his father restored it. Stubs to an Aerosmith concert in Halifax. A tiny floating buoy keychain with his very own boat keys, because his father trusted him with the true family vehicle.

It's a very small room. Tiny considering Jacob had reached his full six foot four status just before high school started. The only furniture is a double captain's bed and a small plain wooden desk with a plain wooden chair. I was told Jacob helped his father make the furniture when he was around nine years old, in his dad's workshop, which is part of the garage.

On the bed was a mariner's star quilt made by his grandmother in shades of yellow and blues and green. On the floor, a braided blue rug, because the floors are so cold in that house. A lamp on the desk cast a soft warm light so that he could read and study and dream.

From the window he has a view I might pay for, nothing but blue water and a bit of the cliffs across the bay. The wind beats a constant presence on the ripply-glassed, chipped paint window frame. If you stand there too long you get cold. There's a constant draft. Jacob never minded, he likes a cold room to sleep in.

There is a smaller door in the wall beside the closet and for a brief moment I thought maybe he was one of those really lucky kids who had their own bathroom off their bedroom growing up. Instead it was another ice cold spot, this time leading up seven wooden painted stairs to another door. An outside wooden door which leads to the widow's walk which is perched on top of their white-painted house like a steeple and his mother told me she always found him up there and he was never in his room much at all. She said growing up it was his favorite place in the world.

The biggest discovery for me wasn't that he had a secret hideaway. No, my favorite revelations came from his closet. His folks never asked him to take the rest of his things, or made any plans to take over his space, it's just there, as he left it. His, to come and go if he pleases, taking something if he needs it, leaving things behind that he doesn't need for a bit. That surprised me, because my old bedroom was transformed into an office for my mom within a few weeks of my leaving home, and my sister Bailey's room is an upstairs library.

That night as we got ready for sleep after a day spent soaking up sunshine and wind, I asked him about all the girls he may have loved in that bed, and he smiled and said there may have been one or two or possibly three even. I could almost imagine him from his teenage and young adult pictures, with a girl, wrestling under the sheets, skin exposed, feelings on the line, lustful wishes granted in secret with his parents sleeping obliviously in their own bed two floors below, or maybe even away for a few nights. He said he felt like a teenager again when he took me in that bed and it was the quietest, warmest love we had ever made thus far. Then when he stretched out full length beside me he confided in whispers that there had been only one girl ever in his bed and that it was me but that I shouldn't think his father's boat wasn't a much more secretive place in which to take his girlfriends. And I was thrilled to know I'm not the only heartbreaker in our universe because Jacob spent his high school years breaking hearts and crushing spirits all over the place by falling in love and then right back out again, not sure what he wanted out of life quite yet. Half the town's adolescent female population was a bird in his hand at one point. His own memories are fond, but he was searching for meaning as far back as we could see.

Part of me had actually feared he might have grown up in a room completely devoid of creature comforts, reading a bible and possibly committing himself to a life of deprivation in God's name. He laughed and said if I looked very very hard in that closet I'd find a glass bong and a case of empty screech bottles. He said he spent years cultivating his world famous inability to consume anything logic-altering, except for me, of course.

And I did. The next morning I found everything he talked about in that closet. I also found a notebook that constituted one of his first journals. All this hidden up on the top shelf above a rod sagging in the middle with the weight of warm wool sweaters and flannel shirts and a heck of a lot of plaid in that flannel. Thermals by the dozen. Corduroy! An ancient jean jacket. A few early editions of his infamous moss green blazer. A funeral suit. Two rugby team shirts. His University frosh shirt. Hip waders. Hockey gear that would no longer fit him now with such muscular arms and thighs. A couple of pairs of 'good' shoes. Trophies. A toolbox. A record player on a pull-out shelf. A silver peace symbol on a leather cord hanging in with his belts. Everything smelled like salt and Old Spice and cedar.

When you love someone so deeply, returning to their childhood with them is a gift, a confirmation of your uncertain reasonings on how they became the person you know. I got to see that my husband did indeed grow up in a drafty, fiercely loving farmhouse perched on a windy cliff by the sea and that he was indeed a minimalist and a dreamer and he found God and loved and lost and won and cried and laughed too. He picked tomatoes from the garden for his mother and helped his father fix engines and he spent his free time hauling lobster traps and sailing and he lounged on beaches and wrote poetry and listened to music and he drank sometimes and he was grounded from taking the boat out for leisure trips and he tried to trip his sister on the back stairs every single morning and he drank all the milk back then too, just like he does now.

It was such predictable treasure I found there, in his room, that made me love him even more.

But mostly it was the book from the top shelf of his closet. An entry dated Thursday, June 22, 1989.

    I'm told that today is the first day of the rest of my life. Yesterday I graduated from high school and since then everyone has been asking me what I want to do with my life. I answer flippantly and Dad is not impressed. I say fame and fortune. Dad wants me to be humble, do a hard day's work and keep an honest living. I'm starting university in a few months and I don't have a plan quite yet, though I might go for my teaching degree. Maybe history or psychology. Right at this point the only thing I know is that I want to stay near the sea, have a good job that I love, a pretty wife that I love and hopefully a boy and a girl. I'd like to keep driving my truck if it still works and I'd like to keep the same friends even though most of them are going to away to school. No one wants to stay here and I might not. I'd like to see the planet before I settle down, I'd like to see what the girls are like that I haven't met before. I'd like to get better at guitar and maybe learn to cook. That's more than I can fit into a day, so maybe they mean to say this is the first year of the rest of my life. That would be better.

Wednesday, 13 December 2006


We finally stopped arguing long enough to see what it was doing to us and have agreed to call off the battle until we find out if I'm pregnant or not. Then obviously we'll know where our energies need to be focused. If we're having another baby then all of this will have have been for naught. If we're not having a baby we'll resume hopefully with a breather and at least a little perspective lending us some help to get through it once more.

Jake brings far more baggage to this marriage than either of us initially realized. He has an unrelenting biological clock that is ticking away madly and he can't seem to control his desires when it comes to sex or fertility and this has less to do with me than I realized. Neither one of us are being selfish, we're being human. Difficult, troubled, confused humans who sometimes don't have answers for why we feel the way we do. He gets something in his head and pursues it relentlessly and I get something in my head, am permanently scarred by it and subsequently flinch for the rest of my life. Oddly I have discovered a lot of my biggest fears surrounding another baby are not scenarios that I need to be concerned with this time anyway. It was a revelation to say the least but we still need to put it all aside, for now.

Believe it or not no one in this house has a book on remarriage kicking around the house. He is as unprepared as I am for this new experience and therefore we're going to follow the marriage counseling advice we thus far attempted to wait out. My God, we're like two kids playing house, only with consequences. It's so unreal, being in love with Jacob, that sometimes it literally doesn't even feel real and I have to remember that this is it. This IS my life now. The cautionary fairytale.

I'm also going to leave unrelated problems out of this fight and I'm not going to cave in to his charms. He's going to not bully me and he's definitely not going to play his soothing comforts off my insecurities to get what he wants. He's a little too smooth and I'm too unsophisticated to see it. I would have thought it would have been the other way around but he's the enigmatic worldly one and me, well, I'm just a pretty, albeit messed up girl. He only has this power with me. Surprise. That makes him sound like he plays head games with me. It's not deceitful, it's honest. Instead of saying nothing he simply wears his heart on his sleeve and lets the chips fall where they may. This is how I fell in love with him. He'll tell you what he wants and then deal with the consequences. In any other situation it's positively endearing. In this situation it's stupifyingly painful.

But I got my hug. And when we finally let go I got another. I'm about to go get one more, and some food now. And then some sleep if I can convince the kids to go to bed at 7.


Tomorrow, something uplifting like one of my short stories or maybe our very first kiss. I need some good words.

Through the motions anyway.

I had a long, exposed and very painful rant written and when I was about to hit publish I realized something.

It's pointless.

Posting it would serve to open my brand new husband to the scorn and judgment of everyone we know and don't know, the same people who would love to point out that possibly I fell into the same hole all over again just with different variables, this time. And right now that's the last thing I need.

I could detail the continuing argument and you would hate both of us, and I won't have anyone hating him. Hate me all you like.

Right now what I need is no more yelling, no more pain and no more upheaval. What I need is to find a way around today's new irritable mood, and the shaking, God, to be able to hold a plate long enough to wash it without breaking it and to be able to sleep through the night without waking up my entire family with my screams of fright.

All of that might be too much to ask but I have asked anyways. A hug would be nice too, but my nice guy has so many raw nerve endings today he's offering up nothing, just to protect what's left of his own emotions. He's tired of talking, he's tired of groundhog day, he's tired of me and was in his office before 7 am. It was still dark out. I got the kids ready for school and then we walked over and now I'm back home alone and no one appears to care. That's something new, too.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Addicitve bittersweet.

Bridget's paying the piper, having requested a forbidden song. Whoops.

I have almost two weeks or so to wait out this music and expect my period. And yes, I'm effectively abashed, having not paid close enough attention to the instructions on the patches that tell you to use a back-up method of birth control for the first week. Which means last weekend wasn't the problem, but last month was.

So I can begin testing in about 6 days and until then I've been yanked off all medications (which I would have stopped anyway) and am going to cold-turkey my way through til Christmas because I have no idea whether I'm going to land upside down or rightside up right now. The good news is I feel fine, and I never feel fine when I'm pregnant.

We had no answers for our recklessness in therapy today, the only thing we could all seem to collectively acknowledge was that based on Jacob's spectacularly painful and very recent grief over the last two attempts at biological fatherhood, it is too soon to be gambling against the odds. Far too soon and instead of taking his knocks, Jacob attacked me verbally for writing about it. Hell, I think at that point he was attacking me for being me, for being there. I don't even know. But it's all too much too soon and I'm watching him get his hopes up while mine plummet again because right now I'm in no state to be running around this world unmedicated and the idea of having a newborn to care for when I'm so fragile frightens me.

We were less irresponsible when we weren't married to each other. You would have thought all the fallout would have taken place then. It's difficult when something you can't really seem to agree on carries such high stakes. And as much as I changed my mind when I found out I was pregnant in September, he had also changed his mind and decided he didn't want to endure the heartache involved or the physical risks I would have to face.

And here we are all over again. Him with the joy, me with the fear. And if there's anything I do know for sure it's that Jacob gets what Jacob wants. Eventually. Every time. And yet we're stuck again.

I really hope the therapist thinks we're both crazy.

But I'm absolutely not allowed to write about it anymore. So you didn't hear any of this from me. I hate being yelled at for doing something that is supposed to be beneficial. Even if it's not private.

    It's easier to leave
    It's easier to lie
    It's harder to face ourselves at night
    Feeling alone,
    What have we done?
    What is the monster we've become?
    Where is my soul?

On a more exciting note, tickets for Switchfoot's spring tour go on sale this week. I'm so excited I could burst because seeing a band you adore play live is like....well, it's like cake. It might even be better than cake.

Monday, 11 December 2006

Hugging trees and making fresh mistakes.

Jacob didn't cut off any limbs or digits while playing lumberjack on Saturday. He didn't scratch the new truck or break any of the wraparound porch windows bringing the tree inside the house and he absolutely declined somewhat impolitely to use any of the ornaments from my collection unless they belonged to the kids or were from pre-1986 Christmases. I refused to pack away the tiny white lace angels that my grandmother made over the years, and Jake refused to use them, saying they were joint gifts, not just for me, but for me and Cole.

We were probably overdue for an argument. Hence the cabin getaway to make up for his obstinance and my stubbornness. Because we once again managed to haul in everything but the kitchen sink into the argument, padding our insecurities and positions with things that had no business there. It was dumb, it was overblown and I sat through church yesterday looking everywhere but at Jacob while he struggled to get through his announcements without his mood distracting him. By the time he made it to his sermon I had softened, I was meeting his eyes and he walked down and squeezed my hand and treated us to one of his travelling orations, and then he smiled at me when he returned to the front and we were somehow back on track, trying to ignore the now-dull barbs we had stuck into each other on purpose.

His need for an identity within this marriage, fighting to call the shots in an established family unit, having come in at a time when our habits and traditions are well-entrenched and finding that he possesses a surprisingly fragile ego about it. My need to defer to him and hating myself for falling into old patterns of behavior, placing all my eggs in one proverbial basket, Jacob's.

I fight that every step of the way and I've been losing this battle for months now.

He brought up how much he HATES the birth control. That it's pointless. That if all of this is meant to be then we should just dispense with it and see what happens. I was incredulous, I had assumed that the baby subject had been resolved. So I threw my pill bottle at him and pointed out that lunatics have no business having babies. He yelled that I was not a lunatic and that I needed to trust him and work with him to get better and that I was going to be fine. I don't listen, much like a child, ignoring suggestions to get some food or go to bed at a reasonable time, and get a ton of fresh air and not wallow in my sad songs.

Jesus, Jacob, if I could fix this shit with some fresh air and a bagel would I be taking all these pills right now?

No, Bridget, I mean I think you ignore ideas that help you, and you like dropping all your responsibilities into my lap so that you don't have to be in charge. And then you resist.

Well, duh. And I hate that.

Why? What's wrong with it?

I'm an adult. I shouldn't have to rely on you for everything.

No one said you were.

But I do.

And someday you won't.

When, Jacob?

When you're ready, princess.

The cabin provided a cozy retreat, an unspoken no-fault zone in which we could simply get back to the basics, the blessings we have. We took turns having sled races in the snow, we built an igloo and then we played Old Maid and had hot chocolate by the fire before bedtime. The kids were asleep before 7:30 pm, exhausted from a second full day of fresh air, and it gave Jacob and I many uninterrupted hours of hardly talking at all, just holding each other and kissing and him tracing every inch of my skin, eventually realizing he hadn't found the birth control patch I should have been wearing but wasn't anymore.

And then he hesitated.

Don't do this if you're simply trying to please me.

I would do anything for you.

Then we won't do anything, because this isn't my decision, it's ours and we're not ready, even if I am.

I don't even know what I'm doing anymore, Jake.

Then make me a new promise. Never do something unless you want it. Not for me, not for anyone. We're a team, we do everything together. No one has to make concessions.

Jacob, that's unrealistic. Marriage is about give and take. It's not selfish.

Bridget, I'm being selfish and I'm sorry. And I think it's glorious that you would take this risk for me but you're right and I need to be patient.

Well then what do we do now?

Oh, there's all kinds of things we can do, princess.

Of course, this is Jacob and Bridget you're reading about, and so when one thing leads to another and we have about as much self-control as a nine year old in a cotton candy factory. He grabbed my head and met me eye to eye at one point and I nodded and his eyes filled right up and then mine did too and we reached one of those irrecoverable moments for the second time in our long history, those ones that we know as wrong but we indulge in them anyway.

Jacob got up to add more wood to the fire afterward. He shook his head and smiled at me.

Bridget, how in the hell am I ever supposed to resist you?

He's asking me this question? Hell, I've been asking the same question about him for years.

It can't be done. Last night he confirmed what I've always suspected. Our infatuation with each other is so strong that it supersedes everything else. Even our collective common sense.


And in other news, I lost one of my hearing aids in a freak sled accident involving a snowman and Henry. I'm back to my muted world for the time being and I forgot how much I like it here. It somehow makes it easier to deflect the pall of sanctioned recklessness we slept under last night.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

Cabin fever.

Q: What do you get when you put a bee in front of an owl?

A: A Bowl.

You all know what the owl jokes mean. A trip to the cabin! Yes! In the snow, with hot chocolate and the wood stove and the crackly AM-only radio which means Jacob gets a captive audience for his acoustic loves ongs. But a Sunday night trip means we get up really early and will be back in the city by about 8 am, in time for school.

It's worth it, it will be the last night away for the year. We're not going away for Christmas because of so many reasons. I must go pack, the kids are so excited and the temperatures are almost bearable outside so this is a good night to head out.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

300 and a permanent eclipse.

125 days married was marked quite sleepily with Bridget closing her eyes and letting her head slip to one side and then jolting awake when it hit Jacob's shoulder. I did this so many times in the dark overly-warm movie theatre while watching The Fountain that we're going to have to try to see it again because my only recollection involves a bittersweet scene that involved kissing in a clawfoot tub. That's it. That's all I've got. And Jacob laughed sheepishly and admitted he didn't pay much attention to the film because he was having much more fun watching me nod off repeatedly.

Instead I'll point out that this is my 300th entry. And that it's really not so much a relationship blog as it is a blog about Jake. Poor guy, he never had a chance to escape my attention. He's been a very good sport nonetheless, while I alternately build him up and tear him down here because although he isn't perfect, he is as close to it as any man will ever get, in my eyes. And he puts up with his Bridget without ever demoralizing me, disrespecting me or hurting me all the while with the clear expression in his eyes of love and longing for me that knocks people flat.

One of these days I'm going to build a pinhole camera so I can look directly at him without imploding when he does that. If I did it without some sort of shield I would be a perpetual puddle of mush. He's an amazing man and I can't believe he's all mine.

It's even harder to believe when he's running around the house this morning with his hair standing on end and an axe, spouting lines from The Shining and making me laugh while we get ready to go to the Christmas tree farm. Because yes, as freaking adorable as he is, the thought of him out in the woods chopping down a nine-foot tree by himself scares me even without all the Jack Torrance references.

Friday, 8 December 2006

Battle braids.

Bridget's rocking to Eulogy this morning.

    No way to recall
    What it was that you had said to me,
    Like I care at all.
    But it was so loud.
    You sure could yell.
    You took a stand on every little thing
    And so loud.

I can't take credit for coining today's title phrase, Jacob came up with it many years ago to describe my method of operation for getting things done. I put my hair in two long braids and over the course of the day little wisps and waves escape but I don't have to take time to tie it back and put it up when I'm trying to get a lot accomplished. And jeans. I hardly ever wear jeans anymore but they're on today with one of Jacob's big long-sleeved t-shirts that has a jolly roger on the front.

Battle indeed.

I wrote two short stories this morning for a publication, called in a few favors for a little extra work while I'm on a creative (read: medicated and loopy) bender and planned to finish wrapping and packaging the away gifts that I'd like to mail this weekend. I'm trying to get some things out of the way so we can go and get our Christmas tree this weekend and maybe bake cookies for the kids' classrooms.

I've been pulling out the rubbermaid totes full of ornaments and lights and stockings and trying not to cringe at all the hard moments. The First Married Christmas one from 1993, Cole's stocking that has his name on it, we had a set of four that my mom made, though she's hurriedly knitting one for Jacob now.

But it's Friday and I'm alive and I'm happy and I have rosy cheeks and 6 new pounds of flesh to carry on my frame since my last weight check and I've asked Christian not to tell me any more insults that find their way to him regarding me because I can't listen. Ben said I was just a typical whoredinary girl and it stung, even though I'm well aware it's sour grapes. I just can't do it right now.

I need to ride this high while it's here. In front of me.

I'm so excited about getting a real tree. With a real truck. We went for a very long drive last night. The kids fell asleep on the way home, which meant that Jacob had to carry them into the house and straight up to bed, where I managed to get them into their jammies and tucked in tightly and cozily for the night. They like the big red truck.

I pointed out to Jake that it seemed a little flashy for him and he explained that he was trying to find some sort of happy medium between my old car and his older truck and it seemed like a real pretty truck was a good choice. You should hear what Ben said about Jacob having a shiny new truck and a shiny new wife and a new job and a whole litany of bullshit about selling out his ideals and Jacob laughed and said that Ben could go fuck himself, which wasn't generous or empathetic at all but somehow entirely appropriate.

But yes, a few hiccups a long the way but I can manage them because I'm wearing my battle braids.

    Don't you step out of line.
    Don't you fucking lie.
    You've claimed all this time that you would die for me.
    Why then are you so surprised when you hear your own eulogy?
    You had a lot to say.
    You had a lot of nothing to say.