Diner Chronicles


No, not dandruff.  Gray hairs maybe, but nothing gross or flaky.  I mean the stuff inside my head.  I have too much stuff boppin around in there, which serves only to needlessly paralyze me from getting anything productive accomplished.  I’ve always had problems focusing (the ADD diagnoses finally came at age 39.  A case of NOT better late than never.) So when there are overwhelming amounts of stimuli around me, requiring my attention in some form or another, I do what any rational person with an anxiety disorder would do.  I avoid.  

While I may not actually be actively addressing any of the aforementioned shitbox full of stuff in my head, at least I can write about it.  Or bitch about it as the case may be.  Yes, this is heading toward the bullet points.  Bear with me dear Kitty.

  • Stress inducer the first:  moving again soon.  Yeah, cuz we haven’t done enough of that.  And even though one might think I’d have it down to a science by now, which I do, it isn’t any less stressful.  Particularly when I’m pretty much on my own with the packing aspect.  Oh believe me, we have definitely used up all of the from-the-goodness-of-their-hearts assistance we might have asked for from friends during our last 231 moves. I am on my own with this one!   All I’ve managed to accomplish so far, for a move that is scheduled to happen in T-minus 16 days, is to bring the plastic bins down from the attic.  That, and have panic attacks every time I open a closet in the house.  I swear, in the 6 months that I’ve lived here, things have multiplied like horny bunnies.  How all this crap manages to accumulate is beyond me.  Interestingly, the epicenter of clutter breeding seems to be in my 13 year old’s room.  Coincidence?  I think not.  This child saves every damn thing that gets into her hands: gum wrappers, clothing tags (“but mom! I love the little moose on it. It’s cute!”), study guides, scraps of paper with cryptic messages on them, pictures torn out of teeny bopper magazines (oh how I loathe thee, Justin Bieber), and too many unidentifiable things of questionable origin.  Most of which lives on her bedroom floor.  I think I may just drop a dumpster under her bedroom window and shovel it all out of there.
  • Stress inducer the 2nd:  the above-mentioned 13 year old girl.  I don’t think I need to elaborate.  She’s 13.  I can’t believe I ever thought 4 was hard.
  • Stress inducer the 3rd:  the spouse.  Or lack thereof.  I’m essentially a single parent these days, who just happens to be married.  The diner is consuming every second of his life, which though my logical self understands this, my emotional self is the main bitch in charge here.  It’s much more difficult to cope with than I’d ever imagined, particularly because in the few precious moments I do get to see him on a daily basis, he’s completely exhausted.  And by exhausted, I mean “cranky bastard”.   I depleted my stores of patience with this several weeks ago.  It sucks. I wish I was more understanding. I get a strong sense that he wishes I were more patient too.  However, I feel as though not only am I attempting (poorly) to cope with my own stress and worry about everything, I am bearing the brunt of his as well.  Add two young children, who voice their own anxieties on a rotating whine schedule, and you got yourself one crazy momma.  I am tired of explaining to the girls why daddy is never home.  It breaks my heart over and over again to hear them cry because they miss daddy.   It gets even more unbearable because I feel I have to always “prepare” the girls for the times he is home:  “Now girls, I beg you, please be on your best behavior tonight.  Daddy works hard and is very tired, and has little patience for any bickering or nonsense” (you know, like the normal behavior for siblings?)  But the pressure to be the perfect Cleaver family for him so he won’t get upset or show his temper is too much.  He is with us maybe 1 or 2 hours, 2 or 3 nights a week (I only count waking hours.  He spends more time sleeping here than anything else) so in that small amount of time, nobody wants anything but love and butterflies and rainbows.  And we all know how likely that is when it comes to kids!  Inevitably, one of the kids pulls the usual crap–eye-rolling or nasty attitude is the behavior du jour for the teenager.  For the 8 year old it’s whining or pestering the sister.  Again, it’s usually typical stuff that I’m inclined to ignore if it means an hour or two of peace rather than WWIII in my house.  So I’m not sure if husband feels he must step up when he is actually home, or he feels I don’t handle it like I should (in spite of the fact that I handle it all gaddamned day long) but he has a habit of overcompensating either way.  Not to mention he has even less than normal patience for the nonsense because he is exhausted or stressed or both.  It all adds up to ugly.  Someone always ends up crying when he’s home, and it’s usually me.
  • Stress inducer the 4th:  wondering how to cope with items 1-3

That’s where I’m at these days.  I’m sure there’s a silver lining in there somewhere.  I guess I could say it’s the diner itself, which is a great little place.  We seem to being doing a good job of making plenty of customers happy.  It is indeed the fulfillment of a long-held dream and I love seeing the business flourish.  With the diner’s lovely, curvaceous, shiny stainless exterior looking every bit as gorgeous as she did in 1948, I suppose I could in fact say she is indeed our literal silver lining!

Hanging in there…

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Wow.  Here we are, almost a year after that last, pathetic post.  I can’t believe that much time has passed already.  (Insert any cliche resembling “seems like just yesterday” here.)  I’ve thought about my Hello Kitty diary from time to time since then.  I’ve often yearned to sit down and commiserate with the internets, or at least bang out a few heartfelt words here and there, just to get them out.  I’m not sure what stopped me, other than laziness or inconvenience, or even, at times, crazy busy-ness.  There were mostly those times when I yearned to simply sit down.  Period.  So when I finally did get the opportunity to just sit on my ass and chill, I generally chose to use that time as a brain-drain instead of a brain exercise.  I couldn’t write when warming the couch was so much more fulfilling.  And fast forward 11 months.

In the meantime however,  I’ve actually been keeping a good, old-fashioned OFF line journal of sorts.  It feels refreshingly old school to sit in bed, with a pen and a real composition notebook and just scribble out my thoughts as they come to me.  There’s no thinking about “who may read this”, “what’s my audience” bullshit.  It’s just me and my uncensored emotions, as it was intended to be, before the internet came along and stole our souls.  Sometimes my hand can’t move as fast as my thoughts and it is tough to be coherent with my chosen words.  I don’t care though.  The only negative thing about that is the inevitable cramping in my wrist, from writing so furiously for such a long while.   But at least I don’t have to worry about someone else’s reaction to what I wrote.  (Unless of course I’ve been careless about where I leave my journal.  Which happened, once.  And it was UGLY.  More on that later.)

Which brings me back to the online journal I keep here, for reasons still unclear to me.  Tonight though, something compelled me to check in.  I was remembering that last post and thought, well, it’s about damn time I followed up on that sumbitch.  I mean gee, my audience of what? 4 or 5? may have been holding their breath since then, wondering what’s happened!!  Hardy har har.  Well, that and the fact that I’ve missed writing.  I’ve missed expressing myself to no one in particular, with a few possible particulars here and there.

So here we are. Almost a year later.  Sadly, my emotional and romantic status has remained unchanged since that last post.  Everything else however, is, well, “change” isn’t quite the right word.  We’re definitely not in the same place we were a year ago.  Yet, we somehow have found ourselves in exactly the same place we were approximately 4 years ago–at least geographically!  Yes, without great fanfare, I can announce the official (and holy shit it’s about friggin time) opening of our Diner.  We did it.  Just when we thought it would never happen, it finally did.  The details and emotional peculiarities of this development would constitute an entire epic novel, or at least the last few hundred pages of my offline journal.  So I will just say this:  it’s been a crazy road back.   We are finally back “home” in the place where we started, though this time, the Diner is not just sitting up on blocks of wood, waiting for a miracle (or a buyer).  It’s open for business.  And even though my personal life is a godforsaken mess, I am very proud of what we’ve managed to finally accomplish professionally.  The diner is a beauty.  Best of all, other people seem to love it too–enough to part with their own money over breakfast, lunch and/or dinner anyway.

We are back where we started things, all those years ago.  Yes, we are back to begin again.  It’s a very strange place to be–familiar, yet unchartered territory.  The places and people are all the same as I remember, but this is not the past I have jumped into…it’s the future.        Here we go.