August 2, 2010
In the fall of 2004 I decided I needed a house. I don’t know why. A 23 year-old has no business, no business, owning a house, but I wanted one.
I found a house I just loved. It was a white three bedroom farm house just down the street from where I was renting. It had a big lot, fruit trees, a shed and was totally remodeled…I just knew that was my new house. I called the agent selling the house and made an appointment to go look at it. For some reason, that I have forgotten, he talked me out of it and the hunt went on. I ended up ditching that agent before too long, he kept trying to sell me houses out in the country even though I wanted to live in Logan.
Three months later I called a realtor named Jette Youngblood; I remember her as a customer at the dry cleaners. She reminded me of my oldest sister Laurel. She dressed impeccably, everything she owned was dry clean only, she drove the cleanest car, and always looked like she was on her way to the most important meeting ever. The other reason I remembered her was she was funny, funny, funny, just like Laurel. When I called her she wasn’t taking new business and she referred me to an agent in her company, Holli. Holli was just like Jette, only with an awesome smokers voice. I still can hear each voicemail she left me “Hey Jeff, it’s Holli,” read that in the most gravelly voice you can. She drove a, then new, Chrysler 300. In 2004 that was the car to have and we got stares everywhere we went. It was black outside, black leather inside and had big chrome rims. We looked at probably 20 houses, but I kept coming back to two.
The first was a little farm house on the west side of Logan and the other was a little red brick house on the Logan River. The farm house was nicer, had a real garage and needed less work. The little red house had character, which Holli reminded me means it needs work, but it was so different.
The red brick house was tucked back in the trees and had a yard that suffered from years of neglect. The inside was stuck in 1961, 1988, and 1999 it was schizophrenic time warp. Horrible wood paneling painted beige, rose colored carpets and had a pink-brown-powder blue bathroom that was straight out of 1961. I lived about three blocks from this house and would run by it everyday just to peek in the windows, I wanted to be in this house all the time. I would climb over the railing to the deck and look in the big picture windows that over looked the river. I would walk through the trashy front yard to look in the new french doors…this house was terrible, just terrible, but I could see the potential in it, and it sounds crazy but it felt like home before it was mine.
Months passed and after eight offers and counter offers the house was mine. My first house and I was 23. Again, a 23 year-old has no business owning a house, but I did, and it was, and has been, a source of pride all these years.
I started out filling it with people, people I loved. Mikey, Brad, John, Kamille, Joey, Robert, “Sauerkraut,” Katie Jo, and Cameron have all called this house home at one time or another. I have fond memories of playing in the river, building “bedrooms” in the basement, late night movies, playing games with friends, talking until the sun came up, eating dinner on the deck and just enjoying every minute of life that this house provided. I have been happy, lonely, sick, in love, heart broken, drunk, stoned, confused and found, all in this home.
I still remember the first day I moved in, I was lying on a mattress on my bedroom floor and opened the windows to hear the sound of the river. I stared at the ceiling fan above me for hours just taking it all in. It was so peaceful, so scary and so exciting.
Moving was easy, I had almost nothing. I moved from my apartment in my Ford Focus. I had a mattress, a dining room table and chairs and one leather chair in the living room. No decorations, no furniture, no household appliances, no tools to work in the yard with…nothing. Slowly I accumulated things…a friend had an old water bed, a friend had an old living room set, a friend had an old couch…my little house was coming together. My mom and sisters came over to give me tips on how to decorate the house, we picked out paint, decor and other items for this sad little home and slowly it started to take shape.
I was determined to have a yard for Buddy…so I planted grass by seed, built a nice wood fence, planted all kind of flowers: day lilies, hostas, primrose, pansies, pin cushion, coreopsis, petunias, columbine, Asiatic lilies, daisies, ornamental iris’s, and about 20 other varieties of flowers. This little yard really took off. I moved load after load of dirt to level the gardens, I used brick to make a border for the new terraced flower garden, I even tied a rope to the back of the Focus to pull a fence upright…and don’t get me started on the trees…oh the trees. Load after load after load of branches were taken to the dump…I shut off the power to half of the Island when I cut a tree down and it landed on the power lines and blew one of the main transformers.
Oh, and there have been floods! A foster dog flooded the basement by eating a water line to the toilet, a careless roommate over-filled the clothes washer flooding the basement, a roommate tried to “fix” the sink flooding the kitchen, and I flooded the basement “bedroom” when a carpet cleaner I rented decided to explode.
My home hasn’t only been for humans, I have always had an open door policy for animals too. Buddy and Whitey love this house. They have a yard to play in, a doggie door to let them in and out whenever they want and tons of friends to keep them company. Whitey has a river he can play in and recently has gotten brave and started to run across the bridge to play on the other side. Whitey sleeps in the neighbors big willow trees and on their carport. Buddy runs and runs and runs all day trying to catch the Magpies that steal his poop. I have raised chickens in the bathroom, ducks in the back yard, have had fish, finches and three foster dogs (Ellie, Snoop and Beavis.) My old roommate John came with two cats Oreo and Tinkerbell.
I filled the carport with cars and toys. A Ford Focus, a Ford Mustang, a Mitsubishi Montero, a 1971 Mercury Monterey, a Chevy Blazer, a Mazda Miata, one motorcycle, one four wheeler and two jet skiis…and these are only the cars and toys I have owned.
I have laughed, cried, made life changing decisions, made life changing mistakes, and become the adult I am today in this house…and it’s officially for sale.
My heart is breaking each time I meet with my realtor. She is nice, and she is doing her job well, but how can I put a price on this house? How can I leave just when it’s getting good? No one else will know how to open Buddy’s treat drawer just right so it wont squeak. No one will be able to skip that one squeaky spot in the hall so they wont wake up their roommates like I can. No one will ever make as fond memories as I have in this house.
Oh, I am so sad. My sweet little yard with my personal spot on the river will belong to someone else. I just hope who ever buys my little spot will know how much this house meant to one boy, one boy who may never forgive himself for giving it up.
July 29, 2010
I generally don’t leave Buddy alone for too long, if I am camping or staying over at my parents house Buddy comes along. I don’t worry about Whitey though, I think he likes when I am gone, I picture him walking around in his underwear, eating cookies till 4 in the morning talking crap to the neighbor cats about how I never let him do anything fun. Anyway, over the Fourth of July I went to Mt. Rushmore for five days, and since I had to leave Buddy I called my co-workers son to come watch the house for me. Her son stayed at my house while I was in Oregon to see Scott and Traci for Thanksgiving, this kid does a good job. He plays with my animals, eats my food, sleeps in my bed and makes $20 bucks a night…I am just now realizing I have to PAY people to live my life…hmmmmmmm. Well when I got home I noticed a new stain in the carpet.
Some people, who have seen my carpet in person, might wonder how I would even notice a new stain on my pink carpet, circa 1987, but it was HUGE. MASSIVE. GIGANTIC. It was by Buddy’s, now empty, water dish so I assumed he tipped it over and it was dirt from the pad. So I shampooed the carpet, refilled his water and thought all was taken care of. A few days later…big ol stain was back and there is his empty dog dish. I shampooed, scrubbed, and refilled the water. This whole routine repeated itself over and over and over…I gave up. Big ol stain, empty dog dish was the new normal. Keep in mind this isn’t your ordinary water dish either. It holds 1 gallon of water in a container that sits over a long tray. When Buddy or Whitey starts to drink the 1 gallon container fills up the tray, I generally refill it once a week, tops.
I finally decided the 1 gallon container had a crack in it…duh, the water was leaking out, overfilling the tray which explains, big ol stain, empty dog dish. I threw out the 1 gallon container and was now using only the tray for the water dish. All was going well until, again…big ol stain, empty dog dish! WHAT.IS.GOING.ON! It was like some kind of cruel joke…it was like the movie Groundhog day, except not. So I fill the tray with water, lift it above my head, and guess what? It doesn’t leak, so what is happening? Why is a dish that has no leaks, isn’t overturned, and hasn’t moved an inch spilling water all over my house!?! Seriously…guess? It was MADDENING.
Monday I had a realtor come over and do a pre-listing inspection, all went well. We went room by room to go over what needs to be done before listing, took measurements, talked about comparables, all that stuff. I was telling my agent about the big ol stain, I said “It’s just water, it does clean up, so the carpet will be clean, but everyday I refill the dogs tray, and everyday the carpet ends up soaked and I don’t want to move the water dish because I don’t know what is going on and I don’t want two big ol stains.” We move the meeting to the living room and Buddy went running into the kitchen, I glanced back to see what he was doing…he was lying in his water tray like a little doggie hot tub. He literally straddled the tray and rested his stomach on the bottom of the water dish and just sat there staring at me like I was the idiot, while all the water splashed onto the floor. Even the cat didn’t seem to think what he was doing was insane. So today I bought him a kiddie pool, hommie is hot right? Just a lil dog cooling himself off in 100 degree temperatures, right?
I filled up the pool and showed him how to get in; yes, I climbed in and sat down to show him it wasn’t scary. Well he thought I was going to give him a bath and went running in the house with his tail between his legs. So I got out of the pool and went in after him. Guess where I found him? In his doggie hot tub glaring at me.
If you need me I’ll be floating in my new kiddie pool.
June 11, 2010
I really don’t know how I feel about this but it’s been a month since I quit smoking. I know smoking is bad for you, I know it costs money, I know it is becoming socially unacceptable, but I love it…and miss it.
My first cigarette was with a dorm mate in September 2001. It is the same old story, peer pressure and wanting to fit in, from my first cigarette I was hooked. Several times over the past nine years I thought about quitting and put in a half assed attempt at quitting. I would quit for two weeks, three weeks, six months, but I would always go back. I am a firm believer that smoking is a symptom, not the problem, but more of that to come. Smoking, for the past nine years, or the entirety of my adult life, has been a way to fit in, a way to deal with stress, sadness, anger, happiness; really a way of life. I met so many great friends by smoking; one thing about smokers is they pretty much always want to talk. At work, concerts, bars, parties, school and any other social gathering take a walk outside and you will find circles of people getting to know each other over a cigarette.
Smoking has been a way for me to think things through when I am conflicted. When I didn’t know what to do I could always take five minutes, go outside and have a cigarette and think it through, generally I could find clarity just by smoking. Smoking has been a reward for hard work; I always would say to myself “finish this task and you can have a smoke.” There has never been a better reward.
But I am getting older, I know I am not OLD, but I am no longer a 20 year-old kid. I am getting a few gray hairs, I am no longer in school, I find myself rolling my eyes at the actions of high school kids and I listen to talk radio. Somewhere between my first cigarette and today I became an adult, and part of being an adult is making adult decisions, and this one has been hard.
After my graduation I started to think long and hard about where I thought I would be at this age, and where I am. I work at a great paying dead-end job, I own a somewhat ghetto house, have a somewhat useless degree, live in a somewhat bigoted community, have had no meaningful, long-term relationships and am on a self-destructive path with my health. I have decided to change all this. Here is a small list of the steps I have taken to fix my mediocre life.
- Started to apply for jobs in an industry I think I would enjoy long-term
- Applied for jobs in communities that more fit my lifestyle
- Picked up working on my house again
- Quit smoking
- Started running
I still haven’t begun working on my lack of a meaningful relationship, part of me thinks I am not 100% ready to begin dating, but I really think that is what people who CAN’T find a date say.
So the problem all along, I think, is that I haven’t been satisfied with my life, I have always felt like I have been missing something and I have smoked to try to fill the void. Today I am facing the void head on. I am trying to take positive steps that will take me to somewhere better than I am today. I am lonely, scared and nicotene-less, but I feel healthier, can run further, smell better, and have a few more dollars in my savings account. I just am crossing my finger that in 10 years I am in a really good place and can attribute it to making these scary, difficult and adult decisions. I also hope I can reflect back to today without holding a cigarette.
May 3, 2010
So I have this friend at work…and I don’t know if this makes any sense, or if she feels the same, but our relationship is weird. I worked with her for a few years and left that job for a different one. At that new job I started to blog at the prodding of my friend Jess. I read a lot of blogs, posted somewhat frequently on this blog, and I started to get these comments from someone named “friyet.” I asked Jess if she knew her, because friyet also commented on Jess’s blog. Jess told me I knew her, I used to work with her. I really didn’t know her. Anyway I would read her blog, occasionally comment, and she would do the same.
In the summer of 2008 I went back to that old job and decided I needed to meet this person I had met online. Jess described her to me, and I guess Jess might have talked to her as well because one day a person I had seen everyday for 2 years said “I just had to come introduce myself I’m ‘friyet.’ It also turns out we live very, very close to each other…I see her driving by my house pretty frequently.
Anyway, this is going somewhere, I promise, so keep reading to see how this all ties in….recently I have been a bad blog friend. I try to read between 15-20 blogs, and it gets hard you never know when someone has posted, sometimes friends will post three times in one day and not at all for months…so I finally got Google Reader…yeah I know I am about 3 years behind on this one, but man does it save my blogging life! So I went through my blogroll and put all my blogs into Google reader…so I was catching up on friyets blog and guess what…I am almost 99% sure that a house she rented in the ’80′s I rented the summer of 2003. CREEPY! So to friyet, I am sorry for all the unspeakable things I did in your old bedroom.
Now for a wise word from friyet….one important thing president obama has accomplished ~ my white trash republican friends and family have finally stopped emailing me crap about bill clinton….
visit her here. Tell her I said hi.
Oh and I am in LOVE with the Arby’s commercial guy…the one who wants some “bang for his buck”
February 11, 2010
I just realized today is a very special day, it is the day I got Buddy. So for those who have been under a rock, here is the story.
Six years ago I was working at a dry cleaner in Logan. One of my favorite coworkers was telling me about her older brother. He had a hard life and was going back to jail in a few days. He had been arrested for some drug charges and was going in for sentencing. During this conversation I found out he had a little dog, and my coworker didn’t know what he was going to do with it, she assumed he was going to dump him off in the Layton Hills Mall parking lot, or kill him. I was appalled that anyone would dump their dog off in a parking lot or kill it because they were going to jail. I told my coworker I would go pick the dog up and find him a home. I had no idea what I was in for…
I drove to Syracuse in the evening and found his house, well it wasn’t really a house it was more like a shed that had been added onto a few times. I am not sure there was running water to the “house” but they did have electricity because I could hear American Idol playing inside. I walked through a field buried in snow and knocked on what I assumed was the front door, I heard a dog barking so I was a little more confidant I had found the right place. A few minutes later a dirty, spaced out and high old man answered the door. I asked if he was “Bob” and he said yes, I told him his sister “Jane” had sent me to pick up a dog and was I going to find him a good home. “Bob” was not a very friendly man and told me to wait in the “house” next door. Apparently “Bob’s” side of the duplex-shed didn’t have electricity, but next door was where “Bob” and his friend watched American Idol and did drugs. So I went to the other door of the shed and told that guy why I was there, it was at this time I noticed that not only was “Bob” high, but his friend was getting high at that point. Now, I am not some prude that has never been around drugs…but I have never been around these kinds of drugs, I don’t even know what kinds of drugs they were, but I am assuming by the needles it was meth? Anyway as I am standing there super scared and uncomfortable “Bob” comes in the door carrying this little half hairless, half dog crap encrusted little animal, honestly he barely resembled a dog. “Bob” called him Yazi.
“Bob” told me all about this dog and how he is wild and is hyper all day long and he is not potty trained and bites people, and is a terrible animal. I didn’t know if I really wanted a flea infested biting dog, but I knew the dog needed a better life than this, so I told “Bob” I still wanted to take him home. As “Bob” handed me the dog he suddenly had a change of heart, he now wanted to sell me the dog. I told “Bob” I had no money on me, which I am not sure was a lie or not, and all I had was a pack of smokes. “Bob” agreed to sell me Yazi for half a pack of Camel Lights. I quickly let “Bob” say his goodbyes and made a quick run for the car, “Bob” had another change of heart, he wanted his dog back. I got scared and was running at a sprint for my car, popped the truck with my keyless entry, threw the dog in the trunk and started my car. The tires on my car were spinning in the deep snow and I was getting stuck. I just kept spinning and sinking in the snow, then suddenly I got traction and flew through the field to the main highway, with “Bob” screaming obscenities and chasing me. He chased me to the street and was throwing stuff at my car the whole way. As soon as I got on the road I called my mom, I didn’t know what else to do. I was only about 15 minutes from her house, she told me to come by and she would look at the dog and see how sick he was.
When I got to my moms house I popped the truck (I stopped about a mile from “Bob’s” house and put the dog in a kennel I brought from home) my mom took one look at the dog and said “you need to take him to a vet, he is really sick. Don’t let him out of the kennel he might get your cats sick too.” I drove home freaking out about this mean, dirty, sick dog. I called my boss at the dry cleaner and told him what my mom said and he agreed to let me leave the dog in the kennel at work overnight so my cats wouldn’t get sick.
In the morning I called the vet and told them about the dog and they told me to bring him in first thing. The dog had bladder stones, feces in his ear and in his eyes, a skin bacteria condition which is why his hair was falling out, a rash, and a few other conditions as well. I put him in my car, and took him home. From the minute he got out of the vet’s office he loved me, and only me. He followed me everywhere, he would not leave my side for a second, and when we were apart he would whimper until we were reunited. He was my little buddy, and after a few days of trying to get him to respond to other names, Buddy was what I ended up calling him. I thought about finding him a different home, but we bonded so fast there was no way I could give him up.
We had a rough start, he needed to learn a lot of things, starting with potty training but he learned it all pretty quick and is now the best dog. He can do all sorts of tricks, knows sooooo many commands, and is very well behaved…..now. It was a tough battle for the first year but Buddy is such a good little dog, and I am so glad that I was able to find him and help him.
February 6, 2010
A lot has gone on since I updated this blog last, and the blame is laid squarely on Jess. You see, I hated the idea of Facebook, I was NOT an early adopter. I didn’t like that everyone I know, knew, and will know have access to information about me, it was under duress that I signed up for an account, well now I am an addict. Anyway, back to what has gone on in my little life.
First, the big news, I graduated from college. It took me nine years, yes nine years, to get my bachelors degree. I graduated on December 12 with a degree in Public Relations, and have no idea what I want to do with it.
When I decided I was going to finish school, I needed to transfer to the graveyard shift at work so I could go to school all day. Well when school ended I decided I liked the people and shift enough that I would stay on this shift. So I am staying on graveyards at work, I still don’t know if I am excited, or dreading it.
I now live alone. My roommate Kamille took a job in Layton and moved out. I have had a few people who wanted to move in, but I have politely skirted the issue, I’m actually looking forward to living alone again. I lived alone for a few years and think I enjoyed it enough that I want to give it a go again.
Anyway, this post wasn’t meant to be a list of all the crap that has changed recently, I wanted to post about how I got here, and where I am going as that is what has been weighing on my mind, so here goes.
In August of 2001 I packed up everything I owned in my Mustang and set out on a terrifying journey to Logan. My sister Laurel followed me up to Logan to show me around, she had graduated from USU eight years earlier and was going to serve as my tour guide. As we pulled up to San Juan Hall I was sick to my stomach, this was not my home, but then neither was my parents house…I didn’t know where I belonged. The year prior my plans were to go on an LDS mission so all of my friends had either moved away for school or were on missions, so I really had nothing in Davis County, and nothing here, I was stressed.
My sister Laurel helped me move all my crap up four flights of stairs to my dorm. I was sharing a room with Eder Ruiz, a student from Spain, he was nice but I could tell from the start that there would be a huge cultural and language barrier, and there was. My sister and I unpacked my belongings, which were clothes and a stereo, that is all, then went to Wal-Mart to buy food, toiletries, linens and dishes. After a brief tour of the campus and finding which buildings I needed to go to on Monday she was gone. I still remember the sinking feeling as I watched her walk to her car in the parking lot and drive away. For the first time I was alone. It was terrible.
I remember sitting on my bed in a cold sterile dorm room taking a minute to regroup. I didn’t know what to do. After a few minutes I decided I needed to get out of the cinder block prison and see what else was out there. I drove around Logan for a few hours then went back to my dorm and went to bed.
In the morning I was awaken by a crow screeching in my window, I wanted to kill it. Since I was awake, and going back to sleep was not an option, I decided I needed to get out and meet someone, anyone. When the hour became reasonable I went out to my dorm hall and started to attempt to be social. I met a few nice people, Amanda, a student from Taiwan who would later fall in love with me and bring me expensive gifts on a regular basis. David, Brady, Bradley, Brad, John, Shylow, Mikey and so many more. Everytime I met someone new the feeling of loneliness faded a little more. Everyone was so nice, but still unfamiliar.
I wish I could go back to that week. I wish I could tell myself how good it would all turn out. All of these people became my best friends and family for a year. Many of them I still keep in touch with, many of them I lived with for years, and one is my best friend. We have been though so much together, good and bad that I consider him my brother. This new life was scary and exciting all at the same time. And that brings me to what is going on today.
I moved to Logan for school. I stayed in Logan for school, and now school is over. I own a house, which I can sell, and I have a job, but I can find another…so what do I do? The fear of starting over is debilitating, paralyzing, and makes me sick to think about. The thought of leaving my old friends, my new friends, my job, the family in Lewsiton who adopted me…how can I leave all the people I love?
When my friends graduated from college they all moved to their parents house, found jobs then moved out and onto life…or they got married in college and moved with their spouse. What adds to the stress is the fact that I have no idea what I want to do with my degree. I feel stuck. I feel sick. I feel tired.
So in this time of transition I have to keep reminding myself I have it good. I have good friends, a good house, good pets, a good job and there is no hurry for change…but if I get complacent I know I will regret it forever so there is some pressure here.
This post is ending as it has turned into a novel and I can’t organize my thoughts.
October 3, 2009
Just because I am posting this doesn’t mean it will become a habit. I saw this on Twitter, yes I have an account which I am deleting today. “The Lor” commented about it, and it broke my heart. Please click HERE before going on.
I understand some people don’t agree with gay marriage, but what I don’t understand is how people can justify putting their values above the lives of someone else. I am FOR gay marriage, but this post isn’t about that, this post isn’t about forcing my beliefs on anyone, this post isn’t about trying to challenge the definition of marriage. This post IS about having compassion, having respect for people who are different from you, it is about acting humanly to another human; this post is about how far we haven’t come as a society.
August 10, 2009
July 17, 2009
This blog is like Moon Shoes and weight benchs…I have to have it, I will use it all the time, please can I have one!?! Please, Please, PULEEEZZE!?! Well, I almost broke my ankle on the moon shoes, I could barely lift the bar on the weight set, and I never update this blog.
Several topics of discussion for today, and to keep them all straight I will label each section.
A few weeks back I was cleaning the house. It was about 8 pm on a Saturday night, it was hot in my house, I was sweating, my breathe stunk and I was dirty from a full day of deep cleaning. I usually clean to loud music as it keeps my energy high, so I didn’t hear the knock at the door, but I could hear Buddy barking like crazy so I knew someone was there. So I turned off my music, picked up the dog and went to see who it was. It was someone I had never seen before so I put Buddy in the bathroom before I opened the door knowing if the dog had his way he would go for the throat. I opened the door and was greeted with a friendly “Hello I am your neighbor, how long have you lived here?” I told him more than four years. He was shocked that we had never met, he went on how he lives a few blocks away and has always wanted to come fishing in my backyard but he is so busy with work, church and the kids free time is a luxury. He went on about how the neighborhood used to be so young, and now it is all old people but there are a surprising amount of young people moving in. He went on and on for a few minutes then said, “The mail lady dropped some of your mail in front of my house, normally I would have just put return to sender on the postcard and would have sent it back, but I assume you need to pay this bill.” Yeah he was holding a disconnect notice for my electricity.
I have a neighbor across the street, I know this guy and he is okay. His mom is an alcoholic, he is on disability for a work injury and always waves to me as I drive by. I have had a few bbq’s with his family, and they are pretty nice. Yesterday I was looking for Buddy, as he developed a taste for the wanderlust, and this neighbor stopped me. He asked if I could do him a small favor. His puppy had died and he is moving and wanted to bury him by the river and asked if he could put him in the ground in my yard. I was a bit hesitant and told him my yard is probably a bad idea, but maybe behind my neighbors house would be a more suitable location. He responded “Well I need to get him in the ground soon, he has been in the freezer for almost six months.”
I was raking some crap up from the storms last month. Just random twigs and leaves and some weeds I had pulled and dropped in the yard. I had a main pile and a smaller pile. That is when I saw Whitey running across my neighbors yard, he scaled a 6 foot chain link fence, and jumped on the big pile of junk and took a big ol‘ Duke on the top of the pile. He was shaking and looked quite worried. I stood there shocked and somewhat concerned for his health as he did his business. About 30 seconds later he took off running to the river bank and weaved his way through the Day Lillie’s and Iris’s and again scaled the 6 foot fence and tore across the neighbors yard and sat under a tree and stared me down. I have no idea what that was about.
Ok, that is all, I am hungry and it is 11:35 a.m, which is my new bedtime.
March 14, 2009
2002 and 2003 were fun and interesting times for me. I was starting my second year at USU and was again living in the dorms. The summer of 2002 I had decided that I was going to give the LDS church another try, some would say I failed since I never really went back, but I feel like I seceded, I digress though. That year, in Snow Hall, I lived across from a dorm of girls that I instantly clicked with. There was the girl with the big gums, the girl with the mousy hair and thick glasses, the pudgy girl that thought she was Reese Witherspoon, the runner and then Sauerkraut. One day I was walking down the hall and saw S-Kraut sitting on the couch staring at nothing, I said “hi,” she looked as though I had just flashed her. She was shocked and amazed, but that was all it took to form a friendship with her. I never really got into the gossip of that dorm, but I guess most people viewed her as the “bad girl” and ignored her, after 6 years of her being one of my best friends, I would say she is misunderstood.
The Halloween of 2002, and you must know S-Kraut LOVES Halloween, S-Kraut’s two friends came to visit. One was a sexy cat who was living in Pocatello, the other a French Maid who was attending BYU, and S-Kraut a nurse…of course all of them had their toppsies hanging out like hookers, but that is how the Howl was. I went into S-Kraut’s room to talk to her as I would do from time to time, and you also need to know S-Kraut is OCD about clean, and I have never seen a room go from a sterile environment to toxic waste dump so quickly. I remember one of them was lounging in a pile of clothes on a chair, and the other was lying on a bed with no sheets, on her back, looking at a magazine surrounded in makeup, shoes, curling irons, fake eye lashes and anything else imaginable that could make you look like a tramp. I have never seen S-Krauts room like this before, I was very confused.
As I was talking to the French Maid who was going to BYU I said something about how she was dressed and how she went to BYU and it seemed a little risque, but then confessed I was a bad Mormon boy as well because I smoked and drank. We started talking about being judged and being repressed and all that stuff. I am not sure at my age, 21, I had all the answers, in fact I am sure I was repeating the same tired lines all LDS people use when they aren’t following the rules, but I liked this girl and it felt good to meet someone else who was feeling what I was.
From time to time these two girls would come back to visit S-Kraut and I always looked forward to it. One day my friend “K” and I were looking for an apartment to rent for the summer of 2003, we decided we just couldn’t afford it and had almost given up. As we were walking into my dorm I saw S-Kraut, again lying on her couch staring at nothing, and just said something like, “You should live with us this summer.” She said “OK.” And it was my favorite summer, which I have blogged about before.
The French Maid and I stayed friends since S-Kraut and I lived together, but she ended up going on a mission, so basicly it was “Game off” until she got home. After her mission she returned to BYU and I would see her every once in a while. S-Kraut graduated from college and moved to SLC in 2005 and I tried my best to go see her as much as I could, but eventually it was every three months or so I would visit, and a phone call was made mabey monthly.
In 2006 I was going through some tough times. I was finally leaving the church for good, I was telling people I am gay and really needed my support group of best friends. I had stopped eating and couldn’t get out of this depression. S-Kraut’s apartment became my second home. Every Saturday for months I would drive down to SLC in the evening to go clubbing with S-Kraut and the French Maid. I remember the excitement of walking up the plastic lined stairs laughing to myself thinking that in a few hours I would have to follow two screaming girls as they wobbled down the stairs in skirts that were to short and shoes that were to tall. I liked knowing that the first thing S-Kraut would say to me as I walked into her apartment was “God you stink.” It is interesting to note that I have never actually seen her say this phrase before because everytime she says it she is either speedily walking away from me, or has her mouth and nose jammed into the sleeve of her hoodie. In this apartment, one that was so unassuming, is where I discovered how much the French Maid and I had in common. She too was deciding her fate with the LDS church. Many hours were spent talking about growing up in the church; talking about the good and the bad memories. We talked about doctrine that we liked, doctrine we didn’t and doctrine we thought was silly. Keep in mind these conversations were a little here and a little there, but I always felt better after talking to her, even if it was for just two minutes.
S-Kraut had the most terrible apartment, it smelled like feet and fabric softener until you hit her door, once in the safety of her apartment it was like coming home again. My spot to sleep was on the brown carpeted floor, the French Maid would sleep on a bed that doubled, unsuccessfully, as a couch. Sometimes I would go to sleep drunk, sometimes I would go to sleep sad, and sometimes I would go to sleep with a big smile on my face, but every night on that brown carpeted floor I felt at peace.
In the mornings S-Kraut would get up as soon as the sun hit her face, I would hear her watching TV and would say “I’m hungry.” I would sit up and the first thing I would see was her sitting cross legged in her worn out USU sweats and a blue USU sweatshirt, both 4 sizes to big. Her hair was always in a bun and and she was usually painting her toe nails or whitening her teeth. When I would tell her I was hungry she would throw on a pair of old Nike’s and her big sunglasses and was instantly ready. I would put on a hoodie and my sunglasses, which were generally used to hide my bloodshot eyes from the night before, and was faced with the decision of what to do with the French Maid. The French Maid never made mornings easy for us. She would get mad if we woke her up, but would be mad if we went to breakfast without her, but if we waited for her to wake up on her own it could be mid afternoon, so what to do? We would wake her up. The French Maid would always sleepily open her eyes as if she were coming out of a deep coma and would say, groggily, “What time is it?” After scanning the apartment for her bra she dug out of her sleeve and carelessly tossed across the room the night before, she would sit up, rub her eyes, and tell me to turn around as she redressed, but it never took long.
At the IHOP in West Valley I am sure we looked like the most insane group of people. S-Kraut, who hates crowds, would be glaring at someone, for no other reason than that they exist. The French Maid still was to tired to know what day it was and I would come in after them reeking of cigarettes, again to which S-Kraut would proclaim “God you stink.” After we were seated we generally didn’t speak unless it was to criticize the kids in the next booth, or what a customer was wearing, obvious we were oblivious to how we looked. I would always leave first to get a jump start on another cigarette, I would give S-Kraut the keys so they could sit in the car and glare at me as I smoked. Back to S-Krauts apartment we would go, but this time there was a sinking feeling in my stomach. I knew the time to go back to Logan was coming. I knew eventually I would have to go back to my world of feeling second class, having deep discussion with my family about why I am a disappointment. It was the end of feeling accepted for another week.
Tonight I sit in S-Krauts new apartment, it has new carpets, a new couch, a new dining room table and and has a balcony that over looks a swimming pool and spa. Tonight I am sleeping on the couch because the French Maid now lives in Portland. I miss sleeping on the floor, I miss seeing the French maid eat Smith’s Deli Sushi and drink a Naked drink. I miss seeing S-Kraut roll her eyes after I came in from a cigarette. I miss laughing at the telephone wire where a loogie hung in limbo that S-Kraut spit across the living room and out the window. I miss the smell of burning Indian food in the hall, I miss laughing at the wall that S-Kraut punched a hole in and thought she fixed expertly, I miss trying to order dime bags and 8-balls at McDonalds. I miss the French Maid.
Come home Mel, it’s not the same without you.