Monday, February 22, 2010

So, can Rod Stewart help me?

It was not hours, but days before I approached my mother again about my move to NYC. The talk my father had with my mother didn't go as I would have expected it to.
Without having all the specifics- I just remember my father telling me- (in his best soothing voice) "just let her digest this idea you gals have".
I'm far from being a patient person. I've been sitting on pins and needles for hours-days now waiting to give "L" an answer so she can let her friend, of a friend, of a friend know we are coming. And then it happened- I walked up stairs from our family room and caught my mother in the kitchen- boom box blaring, dancing to Rod Stewart! She loved that man (my shoulders are rounding as I can barely type his name) however, if Rod made momma happy this girl was going to join the jam.
We ended up dancing in the kitchen to "If you think I"m sexy"...... (stop laughing) Rod was setting the tone for a New York City moment.
The song ended- we were laughing I'm sure to the point of peeing our pants.
(My mother and I had a lot of those moments)
However, the laughter stopped when I brought up my move. Deadly silence!
**I've been told that I look like my mother.....and then I hear you look like your thing I do know I have A LOT of both of them in me! An Italian temper with a dash of Scottish/German stubbornness: mix well and you have Polished Cockiness**
I know darn well I was trying my best to convince her she is totally over reacting.
I'm going to be turning 21 in less than 2 months and geez, why not? Why not try to move on with my young life....who taught me to be "myself"...don't be a "carbon copy"...."we believe in you" did that....YOU DID! (again, the tilted head, lips slightly pinched)
After being grilled for what felt like a eternity the conclusion came. "Okay". "Fine".
Now I probably had that look my father did- remember the "dad, I'm pregnant" look?
The agenda: wait until I turn 21. "L" was already 21, so we decided that would be the month we head out. Now, if you're thinking any contact to the friend(s) in NYC was made by "L" it wasn't. Oh, was that important?
I'm 21.....I've been christened at a dance club in Maryland. Dancing the night away with Madonna, Banana-Rama and U2. (punk princess) This dance club was in the old Power Plant in Baltimore. My "Punk Princess Posse" splits up at 2pm in the city of Baltimore... and I'm sick...really sick. My friend "LK" drives me home and kindly places me over the banister of my parents front porch- rings the door bell- and pulls away. Can't remember much, but I do remember my fathers voice: "mama mia..*^##@!
Life lesson learned.
Road trip: "L" and I are off to find that friend, of a friend, of a friend.
He's nowhere to be found....but we locate McDonalds. I'm 100% sure this will NOT be my future employer. After hours of using the corner pay phones, "L" finally gets ahold of a "friend". That evening, "L" is getting a tattoo on her shoulder in this guys apartment- as I sat there watching in horror. Too much beer for her and she begins to get sick.....the tattoo expert (not) tells us we need to leave. WHAT? Where's my job locator? Where's this guys apartment index? Where's the welcome wagon?
Doomed and gloomed. After "L" sobers up, we find a place to crash in Lower Manhattan (old YMCA turned motel) and head back to PA the next morning. Now, there were a few other road trips with "L" and we did not track down any more of her so-called "friends". But finding a job that would support us both while trying to take classes was not happening. And to be honest, we were probably not a good *fit* for one another. Friends yes, but not room mates, certainly not future New Yorkers together.
Some time past and our move was put on "hold". I was beginning to think my mother was right..what was I thinking? "L" and I still took our road trips to NYC. Weekends and "sick days" from work-primarily for the social scene. Now working as a part time teacher for Kindercare Learning Centers teaching 2 & 3 year olds. Not exactly what I planned, but it got my foot in the door of this brand new Daycare&Kindergarten that had the highest rates of any center in our area.
But after time, I was beginning to really love my job! I loved these little munchkins. This job came pretty easy to me. Met new friends at KC1025. Life continued- I found myself celebrating my 23rd birthday and my 2 year anniversary at KC1025. Still taking ECE classes and still living with my parents- still no NYC. During my birthday celebration (but calmer than my 21st) my gal pals (note: no longer a punk princesses) and I headed out to try a local dance club- The Golden Bear. While minding my own business- dancing- sipping the one glass of wine that I nursed the entire evening- I was being "stalked" by a Michael Keaton look-a-like. What's with this guy? He's all decked out in a leather motor cycle jacket and those horrible black parachute pants (what was with the 80's?) If it wouldn't have been for his angelic like face- this stalker could have been in a Judas Priest MTV video. What Michael Keaton didn't know was that my best guy pal Mark was along for the night. (Mark and I were friends since high school. I think my father secretly hired Mark to keep guys away. I do remember hearing guys jokingly say: "Lisa's dad will breaka youra facea- don't mess with her".) ************** Michael Keaton decides to ask my friend "JC" to dance. I'm laughing inside because this leather head banger was going to look like an idiot! Insert foot in mouth. He actually had rhythm! After a few dances (urrr) he walked over to the table where we were all sitting- I pretending not to be watching. He introduces himself- asked me if he could buy me a drink (oh, what a typical line) - even after I said no, he sits down beside me and begins this conversation.....doesn't he get it- I'm so not interested in this head banger- I'm going to find myself a respectable man in NYC!
Ten dates later- this head banger and I were inseparable. His love of Motley Crew and my love of not Motley Crew balanced itself pretty well. This motor cycle speed racer was able to tame the heart of this wild spirit. His name: Michael. My father thought he was a gift from God. My mother adored him. My friends and family truly liked him- leather and all. He came from a good family- and he was a respectable man. Our relationship blossomed- NYC was on the back burner on a stove in the Himalayas.
**Catch up: During my early 20's I forgot that I was actually a "christian". I did attend Mass on major holidays- I wouldn't miss Christmas Eve service at midnight. I met some interesting people in these years- Buddhist, Muslims and then some.... I began to read about Buddhism....but didn't actually "follow" it -yet. And this was hush-hush, never even a whisper to my parents.

By now, I'm living in an apartment in the city. I had the coolest neighbors. I had a dog. I had the life!! Still working as a teacher for KC1025.
And then it happens.... the worst....the unthinkable....the WHY did GOD allow this to happen? Michael was killed in a motor cycle accident. This expert- professional racer - no way. Michael knew what he was doing at all times....this isn't happening! But it did. Needless to say, this is when I cursed God. He is not a good God to allow this to happen. Why take someone so dear and kind? Why did God take this wonderful person from ME?

It's a year or so after losing Michael. I'm still working at KC1025. Bouncing back in my social world with my friends and enjoying my family as before. My older siblings were married, with children. When a couple from my past that I met in the Bahama's came for a surprise visit- things were about to change-again. We went out to Jo-Jo Ma's for dinner when Elizabeth tells me her grandfather died and left her his home in Napels Florida. She and Alex are going to move before the end of the year. Florida never appealed to me....until Lizzie says: "wanna come along...the house is huge!" YEP! Okay, now I have to find a tenant that is responsible enough to pay my mortgage on the 2 unit apartment building I owned. Easy. I'll transfer from KC1025 to a KinderCare Learning Center in Napels. Easy. I'm so ready I can smell the ocean air and taste the bland Florida crab cakes now! Lizzie informs me that her grandfathers house- our future house is 4 blocks from the beach! I always loved the beach- my family vacationed in Ocean City NJ and Atlantic City (before the casino days) and not to forget my summer in OCM! one mentioned that Napels was primarily retired folks that took early morning laps in the ocean wearing skimpy black speedos.
The good news for me was that my director from the school informed me there was a center that I could transfer to just 25 minutes outside of Napels. GREAT! Lizzie had her job lined up as a cocktail waitress at the Holiday Inn, and she would also be taking Early Childhood Ed. classes during the day. Alex, well...his parents were going to foot the bill until he landed his writing gig with one of the popular news magazines. {{head shaking}
So, I take a train to Philadelphia to meet the odd couple so we can fly down south and check out our future house. We planned on staying for about 2 weeks- just to get a check list of items we would need- call the pool guy out to open the indoor pool- utilities...blah blah blah. We get to our future home by taxi- and from the outside I'm drooling. The house is beautiful! We walk inside......what the what? The house was crawling with roaches the size of my palm. {{Palmetto Bugs}} Cute, but not cute enough to share a home with, were teeny tiny chameleons rushing into the what was once a beautiful indoor pool- now filled with algae and the smell of something nasty. I remember the three of us standing there with our suitcases looking pretty stupid. Did Lizzies grandfather live like this before he died? Did he just walk over the bugs and the other creatures that lurked in the night?
No...he was in a nursing home- and no one took care of the house for months!
Yes, we stayed for the two weeks. We knew this was a loss cause. No money in the bank for we three 20 somethings. Certainly not enough anyway to fix this palace up. And to think- only 4 blocks from the beach! All those senior citizens I missed in their skimpy black speedos, swimming laps with the friendly Florida dolphins.

Life Lesson: My eggs are cracking before I can even count them.


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