I’ve been saying this for several years now, but it bears repeating (mainly for myself):
I don’t have any expectations for New Year’s Eve. Or Day, for that matter. Or for the “new year” in general.
Back when I was still drinking, I placed a lot of stock in December 31st. Had to be somewhere, had to kiss someone, had to have SERIOUS resolutions involving self-improvement. Year after year, I couldn’t quite grasp the lessons that each New Year’s Eve attempted to teach me. From getting stood up to getting beaned on the noggin by a flying champagne cork, it was as if Something Out There was telling me, “Just stop. Seriously. You’re embarrassing yourself.”
And then there was New Year’s Eve 2001. My last New Year’s Eve as an active alcoholic. Nothing horrible happened that night. No screaming fights, no bouts of sobbing in the bathroom. I did pass out in the car on the way home, but on the whole, it pretty much was a “successful” night of drinking for me back then, at the end. But I woke up New Year’s Day 2002 exhausted to my very core. And I knew I had to stop drinking, if only to see if it would, possibly, make me feel better.
And so, since then, I’ve pretty much stayed home, with an array of snacks, and fallen asleep on the couch. Which is perfectly fine with me.
2013 was…rough. But it was also pretty great. I’m not one of these people with a wrist permanently affixed to my forehead come December, going on about how this year needs to BE OVER, already. I’m certainly looking forward to the HOLIDAYS being over, but condemning an entire year, to me, seems excessive.
On the not-so-awesome side, the house in which I spent my formative years was torn down to make way for a pre-fab “McMansion.” That hit me pretty hard.
And my mother-in-law continues to decline. This year was the most dramatic in terms of her loss of abilities and communication skills. Her stove has been disconnected. We’ve had to remove the stopper from her bathroom sink, after two instances of her flooding her bathroom (and subsequently, OURS). All of her meals have to be prepared for her now, either by us or her “companions” (who are with her during the day while we’re at work). Similarly, we also have taken over the feeding of her cat; that has to happen regularly – if we don’t keep the bowl full, she will put anything from potato chips to Kit Kat bars in it. In this regard, 2013 has been stressful and sad. We have been feeling the strain, as caregivers, especially hard this year. We’re both seeking help for the anxiety and depression, but we are remembering to laugh (because, come on, a Kit Kat in the cat food bowl IS pretty funny).
So we did the “Memory Walk” this year, with some friends of ours who just recently lost their dad to Alzheimer’s. So many people on that walk. So many photos along the way, of people who are still there, but not really THERE. I thought about this the other day, too, as I pulled out my copy of Music For Chameleons, which my mother-in-law had given to me years ago, when Kevin and I were just dating. I had admired Truman Capote’s work, but she turned me on to the stuff I hadn’t considered reading. She told me all about the La Côte Basque scandal, how it ruined him, how all these rich society folks felt utterly betrayed by him. It was clear that she was completely on his side. My God, she adored Truman Capote.
That woman is gone now. It’s no stretch to say it’s like a death. She’s here, in our house, but I can’t tell her now that I’m re-reading Answered Prayers, and can we talk about it some more? Holy shit, so catty. So filthy. So FABULOUS.
But, you know, maybe I’ll sit her down and read La Côte Basque 1965 aloud to her, see if that sparks something.
I don’t want to end this on a downer – 2013 marked 15 years of marriage and 11 years of sobriety. Both pretty impressive achievements if you know me.
I got to go to the Tony Awards, too, which was also awesome.
I performed several gigs with my Very Swell B-52s Tribute Band.
I spent several days in Los Angeles with my best friend, reconnecting in ways that I’d prayed would come about, and have. Ten fold.
I found the PERFECT. SHADE. OF. RED. LIPSTICK. That was thanks to the new great friend I made this year, Lisa Blankenship. Oh, she’s so foul and has such great taste. I love her.
And then there was the discovery of Keytar Bear:
There’s a great line from Tennessee Williams: “Sometimes — there’s God — so quickly!” That’s kind of how I feel about Keytar Bear.
I do have hopes for 2014. I’d like to think we’ll have more support systems in place for my mother-in-law, that we’ll get closer to getting her the total and professional care that she needs. (This is an ongoing legal and financial mire that we’re wading through…the best way I can explain it is that if you are super-mega-rich, or totally destitute, your needs will be 100% met if you get Alzheimer’s. If you’re middle-class, if you did what you were supposed to and socked money away into a retirement account for years and years…well…eligibility for certain benefits becomes ridiculously complicated.)
And I’ll try and drink more water.