I Survived The Deathly Hallows

Last night, I put on my "mother of a teenager" shoes (Cute little sequined flip flops, btw) and took my daughter to a midnight showing of the final 'arry Pottuh movie.

See how I did that? Wasn't that cute?


It wasn't?

Leave me alone, I've had 4 hours of sleep and damn it, that was fucking adorable.

Anyway, yes. I sat for two hours in a crowded theater, put on clever Potter-esque 3-D glasses and then watched what is being billed as the last movie that will ever. be. made. EVER, people. Not really, but jeez, the build-up on this is killing me.

And lo, it was good. It was actually great. I think. That may be the sleep deprivation talking. Alan Rickman has deserved far more acclaim than he's gotten for being the absolute embodiment of Snape. I WEPT, unashamedly, at his two major scenes in this movie. He made the movie for me.

Okay, movie was great, had actors and props and everything, yay. Now I'm going to actually get to my point. This was my first midnight showing. I'm not a night-owl, by any means. I'm also not a "need to see it, first rattle outta the hat" sort of girl. I like to wait until the crowds have died down, see it a relatively empty theater, or better yet, rent it. But this is the last of these movies, and Drama Queen is of the Potter Generation. These kids grew up on these books, with Harry, Hermione and Ron and attended midnight release parties for the books. (WTF with all the midnight shit, media moguls? What is your problem with 7 pm? I would pay more for a 7 pm release, hand to heaven.) They identify with him, both on the page and the movie screen. It was midnight release or nothing! THE LAST HARRY POTTER, MOTHER! THE LAST! LAST!

She wasn't dubbed Drama Queen for her acting skills alone, yo.

And that is how I wound up at a jam-packed, cinematic E-VENT!!! What a freak show. I say that with affection, love and more than a little eye-rolling. I get the newly-graduated, sorority sisters, engaging in a little PG-13 fun. And I really enjoyed the flocks of Hogwart robes. But I'm going to draw the line at slutty Slytherin/Griffindor school-girl uniforms. That was a little much, ladies. Though I will give props to the poison green bra lace, peeking out from the artfully tied shirt and the perfectly matching striped stockings. Apparently Hot Topic sells a kit. Charming.

Heh, get it? Charming? Cripes, you guys have no sense of humor when I've only had 4 hours of sleep.

There are a lot of negatives to the midnight showing. Standing in line for hours, then sitting in a seat for hours more? Yuck. Sitting cheek to jowl with strangers in strange garb? Um, no. Not getting home until 3:30 am? That's a big ole hell no.

BUT. But. There is an incredible sense of camraderie and excitement at these showings. I had conversations with several fun and interesting people about the books, the movies, theater and life in general. People are amped and joined in a common adventure. There is (forgive the turn of phrase) magic in the air. The applause at critical moments, the cheers and jeers, they are fun. It is lovely to share this last moment of a particular cultural phenomenon with a large group of friends, family and aliens. Am I sorry I went. No. Not at all.

But I ain't doing that shit ever again. Mama likes her sleep.


This post may be a bit...rambly. I'm currently halfway through my second glass of an excellent chardonnay.

It's Father's Day and as expected, I am missing my father. Crazy? No. Pain in the ass? Yes. My husband is a fantastic father and he deserves a fantastic day. That's hard to deliver when you're crying every hour. So in an effort to get it all out of the way, I went to the cemetery today.

Damn, that was a mistake.

I brought flowers and a bottle of water, since there is a vase affixed to my dads headstone. Actually, there was a vase. Now there is a large, muddy hole and several wasps. He'd appreciate that, I'm sure. What he would not appreciate is how I jammed the sunflowers in the hole, pissed that someone would dig out a fucking vase from a headstone. Seriously, call me. I will buy you a damned vase. (And break it over your grave-robbing head, you fucker.) But stuff them down a wasp nest I did, because had I brought those flowers home, I would have burst into tears, every single time I looked at them. Sort of what we were trying to avoid. Luckily, I did not get stung. (bitten? Wasps bite, right?)

All (hopefully humorous) ranting aside, I went because I needed to feel a connection to him. It's been a long time. I wanted to feel his presence again. But you know what? He's not there. I felt nothing. It was just mud and grass, marble and wasps. I'm sure there is a deep analogy somewhere in there, but I'm tipsy and you shouldn't attempt analogies while drinking. They never make sense. Sadly, I know this from experience.

Point is, he's gone. I know a lot of people take comfort from visiting the grave of a loved one. I am not one of those people. He's not there. He's in a better place and I know that, but I still miss him. I'm allowed to rejoice in his freedom and still miss him. To be glad he's with God and sad that he's not with us. And I am all of the above.

I'm not going back. I hope that doesn't make me a bad daughter. I prefer to find him in my son's smile, my daughter's eyes and my memories. Also, I really need get a handle on this.

The Answer is C: None of the Above

My friend, Tiffany, recently left this post on Facebook. Needless to say, I identified.

“I told a lie last night. A lady asked where my parents lived, I said California. What else could I do? If I tell her my Mom is in California, then it implies my parents are divorced. If I tell her my Dad is in heaven, then I just would have made her feel bad for asking. There's no damn good answer.”

No damn good answer, indeed. It’s a weird milestone, the first time you are forced to acknowledge the death of your parent to a stranger. How to do it? Do you just respond with a vague generality? That’s probably the easiest thing to do, until you start thinking about it, and then agonize under the crushing guilt of negating your father’s death with a polite lie of omission. Been there, done that, donated the T-shirt to Goodwill.

Or you can gently explain that your mother has been recently widowed and your entire family is still reeling with the grief of losing their patriarch, but thank you so much for you kindly meant and terribly hurtful question. Not awkward at all.

You could start crying. That’s always fun. I’ve been on the other end of that, and I can tell you that not only does the asker feel horrible, but also? They suspect you are a wee bit… well, unhinged. Not the image I like to project, since I’m already widely known as a ditz.

You could take the bitch route and stare them down. “My father died recently. Thanks for ripping the band-aid off that emotional scab. Want to kick my puppy a few times?” I don’t personally recommend this, but it almost certainly will circumvent any further questions. Or conversation, for that matter.

There are a lot of ways to handle it. I’ve developed a standard answer:
“My mom is widowed, but my parents lived in California for 55 years. They were actually high school sweethearts, isn’t that awesome?”
Told with a smile and an upbeat tone of voice, it relieves any guilt that might be hatched and relates a very sweet facet of my parent’s relationship. Of course, I get the requisite condolences. I’ve learned that they are unavoidable and honestly, I appreciate them. Sometimes, people ask about my dad and I have an opportunity to talk about ALS a little. Other times, they change the subject and we move on. Either is fine with me.

Of course, I’ve had a year and a half to get to this place. Tiffany is in a different place in her journey. I’ve had a lot of really excellent advice from people who were once where I am. That has been a tremendous blessing. Beth and Jessica propped me up, sometimes without even knowing it. If I can do that for someone, then I will be satisfied. We all need a hand. We all need a shoulder. And we all need a friend, especially on a path as dark and winding as grief.

Square One

This whole moving thing has been an anxiety sundae with uncertainty sauce. I'm allergic to anxiety sundaes it turns out. Also, far more superstitious than I would have believed. I think, from now on, I'm just going to stop talking about stuff until it happens. Yeah, right, Jen. Ya gonna duct tape that big mouth of yours shut?

Wait, I bet that would help me lose weight as well...

We've known we were going to move for about a year now. A smart woman would have sat on that information, at least until things were really underway. As I have previously established, I am not, in any way shape or form, smart. I say this because when you say you're going to move, people start asking questions. This is a natural human response. And for almost a year, I've had NO news to report. Other than, "we found an awesome house on Metrolist."

Oh, Metrolist. You are like eHarmony, promising happily ever after and delivering a fat dude with anger management problems and cheeseburgers in his pockets. I want to quit you, but I can't. I foresee myself, even after we are all moved, checking your offerings, seeing what's out there, just so I can be a smidge discontent wherever I wind up.

When you've been waiting to look for so long, you get impatient. You fall in love with the first thing you see, because OH MY GOD! It's a HOUSE! With four walls and a floor and it's new to me! So I LOVE IT! I love it so much I want to have its babies, even though it's got a damned galley kitchen and only three bedrooms! I'm actually walking through a house that isn't my own and after months of being secretly afraid this day would never come, it HAS!!! Let me propose marriage to this house!

Never propose on the first date. It is very bad manners. Also, you'll get rejected. And that will be a good thing.

We're officially looking at houses and I promise not to fall in love with the first house I see this go-round. I promise to hold out for a house I love. I promise to listen to my agent. And this time, when we've made an offer, I'm NOT going to jinx it by blurting that little factoid out to people in casual conversation. I'm going to hold this in my heart, until I know we have that house, even if I have to take a Facebook sabbatical.

Square one is simply a fresh start.