Saturday, July 28, 2007

Quick Celebration

Back in 2003, when I moved out of my ex-husband's apartment for good, I realized I was in enough credit card debt that the interest was killing me. Between the debts David and I had incurred, and my moving expenses, I was in a pickle. After a good long frustrated cry, I got on the horn to my bank. I'd been their customer in one capacity or another for about ten years, and they practically salivated at the notion of getting some customer-initiated business. They approved me for a five year loan with a variable interest rate, not to exceed... etc etc.

Four years later, I have paid off that loan. $15,000 worth of debt. Gone. As of yesterday. Fifteen Thousand Dollars. It looks like more when I write it in words. In a year's less time than I was provided.

I want to shout it from the rooftops. This feels like one of the biggest accomplishments of my life so far.

Part of me hasn't quite realized it yet. Gimme a month, when I find myself with an extra $314.29 that I get to spend on something else. Better yet, gimme four months, after I've been shoving some of that cash into my student loan, doubling my monthly payments. My student loan really isn't much - I wonder how much this will shorten my repayment period?

BETTER YET. Gimme six months, after I've started funneling the rest of that cash into the Deidre's New Car Savings Plan.

I just want to cartwheel down the street!

The sweetest part of this is G. He has been anticipating this day as much as I have. He sees that debt as the last remaining vestiges of my first marriage, and all the unhealthy habits I fell into, living with Dimarc. I lost most of the weight I'd gained. I've gotten better jobs, more schooling, more healthcare... pretty much changed everything about my life I didn't like, and added a lot to it. This loan was the last reminder of how things used to be - the irresponsibility, the hiding, the bad habits, the borderline addictions, the layers of depression, futility and resignation.

And now it's gone. All of it. Now the good memories fill in all that space. Talk about cleaning out the closets - I've totally remodeled my inner space.

Party at my place!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The More Things Change... the Less Surprised We Become.

Although, no less sad.

I meant to post this on Monday, but things are a bit hectic these days...

I can't belive Rose's turn and Copeland's closed on the same weekend. The New York Times had profiles on each of these New York institutions, including a touching video of the regulars at Rose's taking their last turns at the mic.

Part of me wonders, if I do finally leave New York State, and come back to visit, will I recognize anything? But then I know: of course I will. And I'll be full of stories about what used to be here, and who I used to go there with, and the crazy things we used to do.

There's something sweet about that.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Horse First, Please

This morning I couldn't lounge in bed. My right hip, thigh, and lateral lower leg were aching, almost a dull burn. False sciatica, from a squeezing-tight piriformis muscle. In laymans terms, my ass is so tight it hurts.

I've had this problem for around six or so years. For a little while it woke me up in the middle of the night, stabbing pains shooting down the side of my leg. As I recall, it was the right leg back then, just as it is now. I need to get some help.

Back then, I went to a medical massage clinic that my insurance paid for. A gifted therapist named Hugh made the pain go away in three visits. This time, I think it's going to take a little more. I'm looking into Chiropractics. My old school chum Penny (and fellow Massage Therapist) recommended a Chiropractor in my town who sees a lot of Massage Therapists, so I left her a voicemail this morning. I'm hoping for an appointment after work Tuesday.

There's a lot more wrong with me than my ass. My lower back on the left has a nasty knot. My neck has been stiff, with this burning ache - nerve pain. I can't sit still for too long at work without random aches and pains flaring up - arms, legs, wrist, shoulder, ankle... I can't sit still. I have to be in constant motion or I literally freeze up and have to crack and pop joints for relief.

The holistic view of this might point to a feeling of being stuck in my life. Of course I'm stuck. I happen to like where I'm stuck right now. And it's not like I can't leave if I need to. I don't feel stuck - I feel finally able to sit still. Is my body simply unable to accept this, and something inside me is rebelling in fear? Have I, on some level, forgotten what it means to settle down?

Weird. But it kind of makes sense.

I don't have the day off today. I have one client this afternoon, at 3:30. So I went for a leisurely breakfast at the diner with G, and treated myself to jeans and the wicked cool Amy Brown tank top I bought on vacation. It's black and has a painting of a bad-ass red-haired gal with black feathered wings, and a huge crow head behind her. She's got celtic spirals tattoed on her arms and looks ready for business. When the store told me this was the last top with that design in the store, and that it had been discontinued, I tried it on, and it fit perfectly, despite being labeled "small." I slapped $12.50 on the counter and walked out with a gleam in my eye. Anybody who visits me in my dreams, and then shows up on a random tank top, is coming home with me.

As G and I waited for our breakfast to arrive, I confessed that I'd been "dealing with" these aches and pains for a couple of months. G did that eyebrow thing, where they practically dissolve into his hairline. "Damn, woman," he said. "You sound like you're sixty years old."

I gave him The Look. "I told you about what happens to athletes and FORMER DANCERS when we stop doing our thing. Our bodies rebel! I've been dealing with this since I was in my mid-twenties!"

"But," he persisted, "You seem healthier than ever. You're kicking ass these days. You're in a good frame of mind, your gym workouts are better than ever, you're enjoying the massaging..." His face shifted slightly. "Could this be psychological?"

"I believe it is," I said. G's hands lay flat on the table, my hands resting on top of them like little blankets. He loves me, and he goes to all lengths to understand me, and do everything he can think of the help me feel my best. His surprise at this latest set of complaints ruffled my feathers. I still think that, on some level, he thinks one day I'll be "all fixed." I don't think he's going to leave if that never happens, or anything dramatic like that, but I do think that idea sticks in his mind.

I guess it's natural to hope our loved ones never have pain again, never get sick, never feel discouraged or despair.

"What really bothers me," I said, "Is what our daughter might inherit. What if she wants to be a ballerina like I did? What if she's twelve years old, and dancing Clara? What if she's doing Swan Lake or Giselle in high school? What if she's really good and wants to do this?"

What if I have to watch my childhood repeat itself in my daughter?

"Wow..." G breathed, looking at me sharply. "I'm more concerned about YOU right now than any offspring to come."

I had to laugh at that.

I fear the heartbreak that comes with seeing your child adopt unhealthy or dangerous drives. I fear the over-protective panic that kicks in when your child rushes determinedly into one of those minefields life is peppered with - the arts, a relationship, experimenting with drugs, adopting a personal style rooted in rebellion...

Most people wake up with ass pain and difficulty walking, and think about how this will affect the upcoming workday or other activities. Me, I start obsessing about kids I don't even have yet.

This could be my latest brilliant strategy for ignoring my problems. Clever me! Not working. With G around I'll never get away with that again. He slices through my screens in seconds. S'mabaybay.

I want to leapfrog over certain smelly swamps, when I really have to just plod through them. You know the feeling? Once we identify the problem, we want to sidestep the work it takes to fix it. Like quitting smoking. We want to just slap the patch on and not smoke anymore, and we don't want to have to crave and yearn for days or weeks or months on end. Wouldn't it be great if life was more like Tivo, and we could just fast-forward through the sucky parts?

Yeah, I had to laugh at that.

So I'll see the chiropractor on Tuesday, and schedule a deep tissue massage for myself the following week. And most importantly, it's time to cut myself some slack. It's time for me to tell my boss at the spa that I need to scale back my hours.

Wish me luck on that one. My boss can be manipulative. She gets people to give a mile when they only offer an inch. And she's hardly ever at the spa, making it hard to nail her down for a serious conversation.

Ok, so I know what I need to do, and what to expect.

I'm ready for business.