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Monday, October 23, 2006

I Wanna Be A Cat!

Look at that happy, peaceful little shit!

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We are moving this weekend, which means I'll be MIA for a little while. Behave yourselves while I'm away.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

First snowfall of the year, on October 12? What the fuck was that? What happened to all of that global warming I’ve been reading about? Oh man, first day with the new car in the snow. My car has never been in the snow. And I have never driven in snow so early in the year. The car and I were not ready. It sputtered in the cold and slid out of the lane. It really isn’t happy in the snow.

There I was, 7:30 in the morning taking the kids to school. The light turned green and I started to go. A car in cross traffic wasn’t able to stop at the light that had just turned red for him and he came centimeters from hitting us. Great way to start the day.

His eyes popped wide open as we made eye-contact. It was as if his eyes were saying, “Sorry in advance if I kill you. And if I don’t, have a lovely day, ma’am.”

It was at that moment that I realized I’d just thrown clothes on. I didn’t have any undergarments on at all. Don’t judge, people, it was a good night and my get up and go had got up and went. Getting ready just to take kids to school, was much more effort than I was ready to expel.

My mind considered my mother’s voice. You know the “clean underwear in case of an accident” lecture. Nowhere in that little talk did Mom think she needed to remind me to have underwear on in the first place.

Learn from my mistakes people, wear your skivvies just in case you have a close call and need to shit in them.

Glad you liked the video below. I’ll be sending it in soon and I’ll keep you updated. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lois Lane Loves Is Nuts

Thank you all for the condolences yesterday, it means a lot to me and the rest of the Lane Gang.

Now, for the story I wasn’t ready to share last week, while in the midst of the princess saga…

I was called out. It was like a triple dog dare, without the regular dare or double dare. They ganged up on me. They pushed me. They peer pressured me. Do you know who they are? A group of bloggers and fellow Ross Mathews fans, forced me into sending in an audition tape to The Tonight Show. The show is looking for another correspondent and for whatever reason, these goofballs wonderful people, think I’d make a good one.

I thought about what I could do for an audition. I mean, I’m not a TV person. I’m more of a behind the scenes kind of a chick. I love to write. It’s what I do best, I think. But their powers were stronger than mine and I said okay before I gave it much thought. Before long I was calling my local community college and university, looking for someone in a communications class who might need a project to work on for class. Brad, the camera angel with the perfect angle came to my rescue.

He braved the windy, cold weather and the crowds of nut lovers and met up with the crazy lady (that would be me) who had no fucking clue what she was going to do or how she was going to go about it. A diamond in the rough he is. Strangers helping strangers, what a concept, huh? And… even though Brad is a starving artist type, he didn’t charge me a dime. So without anymore hype than this stupid things needs, here’s the video.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Uncle Giant We Will Miss You

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An amazing man.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Part 8–The End?

This is the conclusion from the seven posts below. If you are just now tuning in, it’s a long story. I’m taking the rest of the week off to pack and clean in preparations of our move. So take your time, this post and the ones below aren’t going anywhere.

After the tournament, we were tired. Rather than going out with teammates to celebrate, we headed home. It took all of my inner strength to not return Mr. Lane’s call. My mind raced a mile a minute as I drove home. Passing the mall on the way, I caught myself looking for his truck. I’d become pathetic. I saw myself turning into one of those people who annoy the shit out of me. I turned the radio up loudly, opened the car window and turned off my brain while listening to my kids sing.

When I pulled into the driveway, the front door popped open and out came Mr. Lane.

“Didn’t you get my messages?”

“Yeah. I just don’t like to talk and drive. What did you want?”

I headed for the house. He stopped me by wrapping his arms around me and said we needed to talk. Still not wanting too I gave him the look. The look that told him I’d rather bathe in a cesspool than have a little chat with him at that moment.

“You’re daughter got to play on the varsity team today and she did a great job.”

He high-fived Lane 2 as she and her brother headed into the house. I looked at the outside of the place we’ve called home for more than five years and memories washed over whatever it was Mr. Lane was saying to me. It was very much like a movie where certain images came clearly to my mind, one memory after another as his voice became a jumbled slur in the distance.

A new beginning was coming our way but rather than welcoming it, I feared it. Continuing to ignore the words he spoke, I gently broke from his grip and walked into the house. I headed straight for the coffeepot, where Lane 1 was already getting a cup ready for me. He snapped me out of my thoughts long enough to appreciate my boy, my girl, and even my princess and my idiot. Reality came disguised in a French Roast. I sat at the kitchen table, took a sip and heard, “Aren’t you going to say anything?”

I looked at my old man, took another sip of coffee, and then a deep breath. “What do you want me to say, sweetheart?”

My tone sent the kids scurrying to their rooms. The sandstorm was kicking up.

“Did you hear one thing I said?”

“No. I kinda stopped listening when you blew off your daughter’s tournament to go hangout at the mall.”

“Low blow, Lois. Anyhow, last night, after you went to bed, I called Lois in Tennessee. I told her how difficult things have been, and said that Jane wanted to go to Iowa with me. She said if I took her there, she was going to run again.”

I looked around for a second and realized I hadn’t seen Jane since I got back home. “Where is she?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, babe. I took her to the mall where her aunt and uncle met up with us. She didn’t know…”

“You told her we knew where she came from, who she was…”

“I couldn’t. So I just let her aunt and uncle, ya know, accidentally run into us at the mall.”

“Where is she?”

“She is going to go live with them.”

I can’t say I wasn’t thrilled beyond words, because I was. Relief, like hemorrhoid cream to the bum, had finally come my way. My celebration was short lived because guilt swept over me. I must be a real asshole.

More than anything I’d like a happy ending for this saga, for Jane, her family and my family. Mental illness is something none of us are able to fix. We all love Jane and want her to have as normal of a life as possible. Knowing that she would be with her family who loves her, and could get the help she needed was a good thing. Mr. Lane said it was a tearful reunion and Jane seemed to “snap out of her weirdness around them.” Maybe she was playing us a little. (Again, I feel like a major asshole just thinking that.)

Her stay was short lived. Her aunt and uncle are in their 70s and have a lot of health problems. They tried to take her shopping and get her some nice clothes, which like she had done here, refused to accept them. After just two days, she told them that she needed to leave. She was getting ready to run.

Her cousin Sarah, in Oklahoma called Mr. Lane with the latest update. Her husband who works for an airline, was going to fly to Illinois and bring her back to their house. When he arrived, he found out that Jane had no identification. Flying back was not an option. He asked if she was certain she wanted to go to be with Sarah. Jane said yes. He rented a car and drove her all the way to Oklahoma. If that isn’t a strong show of love and support, I just don’t know what is. Jane is obviously loved by many.

They arrived the next day, and Jane’s cousin called me with an update. She said Jane has her own room and bathroom, both of which she stocked with clothes and toiletries, so she wouldn’t have to ask for anything. Sarah said Jane seemed excited to be there and was willing to help Sarah’s son with his school work. Jane felt needed and Sarah felt happy to have her safe again. She thanked me profusely, which again, I felt guilty about.

But after all of that, Jane played a disappearing act again. She only stayed with her cousin for two days. No one knows where she is. I received a call last night from her uncle who lives in Illinois. He was devastated.

“Lois, she must have liked you a real lot to stay over a week. God bless you for everything you have done and tried to do for her.”

I felt sick, sad, and mad at myself for letting the real me slip away in anger. The only thing I feel good about is not taking the money everyone of her family members have offered. The temptation was great, don’t get me wrong. To know that millionaires repeatedly tried to show their appreciation, and I was able to say “no thank you” means, I didn’t lose all of me.

Of course, Mr. Lane really wants to kick my ass, but that is a story for another day. Just kidding.

I wanted a happy ending. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be after all. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll meet again.

Have a great weekend everyone. And thank you for sticking it out with me through this journey.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Part 7–Rollercoaster Ride

This is a continuation from the six posts below.

Biting off more than I can chew is my forte. But my heart told me that seventeen years of a life that we built on love, compassion, trust and each other’s harebrained ideas, couldn’t be broken by something stupid like hurt feelings. I watched TV for about 20 minutes and fell asleep. My mind was overwhelmed and sleep was my sanctuary.

I awoke during the night, with my old man at my side. I got up to check on the kids. Who by the way, still barricaded the door at night since the first night our houseguest came along.

There was a silent calm in the air. The Lane Estate felt like home again. Maybe a little nap was all I needed. I told myself tomorrow would be a better day as I looked at my princess sleeping peacefully on the couch.

Bright and early we were up and having coffee. I was still getting the silent treatment from Jane, but I cared a lot less. A funny thing happened, for more than a week, I had a second skin, a little sister, someone who looked up to me in every way. Although she was not a coffee drinker, she drank coffee with me every morning. It was her way of fitting in. She used half of a cup of sugar and half of a cup of Coffee Mate to a shot of coffee. That morning, when Mr. Lane poured us each a cup of coffee, made the way he and I drink it, she tried choking it down. I finally said, “You need more sugar, don’t you?” and handed her the sugar bowl. She had that beautiful smile again, and it was directed toward me. It was another reminder that I was dealing with someone who wasn’t well. My anger subsided but my guard remained up.

Mr. Lane and I got in the shower together, which is something we always do but hadn’t since our guest came along. He thought it would be a good way for us to discuss last night in private. But I didn’t want to talk or listen. Selfishly, I just wanted my life back.

He told me he explained that he couldn’t take her to Iowa. And said she looked really sad. Then he said, “I’m taking her to the mall today.”

“What about work?”

“I called in. She wants to go somewhere and I know she loves the mall.”

Inside, my head was spinning. Anger and darkness boiled over once again. I didn’t say anything. It was a record breaking shower, and I doubt all of my 2,000 parts were clean. I just wanted to get away from him.

“I’m starting to wonder if insanity is contagious,” I said under my breath as I walked out.

Lane 2 had a volleyball tournament that was going to take up most of the day. I was upset for my daughter. How could her father blow off work to go hangout at the mall, rather than come and see her play? Being mad for her felt better than being mad for myself. Before leaving the house, Lane 2 asked Jane if she wanted to come to the game. She said no. When I said goodbye to her, she just turned away not saying anything. It was one of those bite your tongue moments, because my mind had plenty for my mouth to say.

The big tournament was at a school, five miles away from the mall. I found myself looking at the entrance repeatedly. I wanted nothing more than for Mr. Lane to walk through those gym doors. I finally stopped looking when my daughter was pulled from the junior varsity team to play on the varsity team after one of the older girls got sick. It was Lane 2’s big day, and all of my energy and focus turned to where it belonged. In all, she played five games and did a great job. It felt good to only think of my daughter.

My cell phone was tuned off but it said I’d missed two calls.

“Lo, your phone went right into voicemail. Are you avoiding me?”

All I could do was think, “No dipshit. I turn my phone off when I am being a parent.”

“Lois, it’s me again. Call me.”

I really didn’t want to go on the emotional rollercoaster anymore, so I didn’t call him back. Life was topsy-turvy and that volleyball game was my only sanity. I’d been facing Uncle Giant’s failing health, which besides breaking my heart, brings on missing my own dad more than I already do on any given day. On top of the move and packing, the school transfers, the houseguest, the idiot husband, the book and the big plans waiting in the wings, that I can’t tell you about right now, my life was turning into a sandstorm and unlike Jane, I had no one there holding my hand through it all. Volleyball and my girl were much more fun to think about… safer anyhow.

Stay tuned for the shocking conclusion coming soon to a blog near you.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Part 6–Outcast

This is a continuation from the five posts below. It’s coming to an end, I swear.

Jane’s family seemed to want her home, but telling her that we knew where home really was seemed impossible. Her aunt and uncle took a plane to Illinois. They just wanted to see her. Mr. Lane and I hoped they would approach her and take her home. They rented a car and drove by our house. I took Jane outside to help me winterize the garden just so they could get a good look at her. I saw the car parked down my street and tried not to look at it. Knowing we were being watched was an odd feeling. More than anything I wanted them to pull into our driveway and be reunited. Instead, they drove away and called to say thanks. And then they were back on a plane.

I tried several times to throw out hints but the conversation went nowhere. Dealing with someone who is mentally unstable is not my forte. I had no idea where to begin. I asked Lois if she would just call and talk to her sister but she didn’t think that would be a good idea. She said Jane was still upset about the last time they were together.

“Telling her that people go through terrible things in life was the wrong thing to do. I was trying to let her know there is help out there if she was willing to take it. I told her I’d gone into therapy so I could move on with my own life. And all she would say is she isn’t crazy and would have no part of it. That night, while we were sleeping, she left.”

It was clear to me that Lois wanted help for her sister. How to get it was the latest mystery. Three years ago was the last time the sisters saw each other. It is also when Jane could no longer face the nightmare of her past. Rather than seek the help her sister tried to provide, she took a drive to the site of the accident where she lost her parents and smashed her Corvette head-on into a telephone pole. She just wanted her nightmare to be over.

Trying to tell Jane that we knew who she was, just didn’t work. My old man and I couldn’t find the words or the right timing, and the newest information, just seemed to make the situation that much more difficult. I worried that she would attempt suicide again.

All of our secret phone calls seemed to be making Jane angry, paranoid almost. Plus, I began keeping a much closer eye on her because of the latest information. I can’t imagine the thought of one of my kids finding her lifeless body in our home. It was definitely time for Jane to get professional help.

Over the last couple of days, it was as if Jane knew we were talking about her behind her back. She tried following me every time I would get a phone call. She began asking a lot of questions, which was something she hadn’t done before. I talked around answers the same way she had every time I asked a question about her life.

She began giving me the cold shoulder. So much like a little sister in every way, Jane began ignoring me, arms folded across her chest, head turned away when I’d speak, refusing to eat what I’d make her for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Mr. Lane picked up the slack and got her to eat when she’d tell me no. He bought her things to try cheering her up.

Mr. Lane’s kindness became misconstrued. In her mind, he was doing things for her out of love. A love in her mind that was bigger than the compassion he was offering. I told Mr. Lane what I thought was going on in Jane’s head and suggested he back off a little. He thought I was being paranoid.

“You know I wouldn’t do anything with her, right?!”

“Holy shit! That is not where this is going. You are confusing her. She is very vulnerable right now and I think she thinks you are falling for her.”

Before it turned into major thing between us, we talked for a long time about things I saw her doing that made me think she was misconstruing his kindness over the last couple of days while she was angry at me. Like the time I caught her hugging and smelling his dirty shirt in the laundry room, which Lane 2 said she had seen her doing a couple of times before, which I shrugged off until seeing it with my own eyes. Or the way she rushes into the bathroom to put makeup on when she hears him pull into the driveway after work, even when it’s after 10 p.m. She also moved a picture of Mr. Lane from one table to another, closer to the couch where she spends most of her time. It seemed pretty clear to me what was going on in her mind. She could have been trying to upset me since she was angry at my way of talking around the truth, or she could just simply be falling in love with my old man.

I may be a lot of things, paranoid is certainly not one of them. But, a dark and selfish side of me shined through. It was more dark than I thought possible. It was ugly. I began feeling like an outcast in my own home.

I could sugar coat the whole thing, and give a completely happy ending to this saga, but truth is life. There we were, a family of four, and life made us a family of five. Yes, I jumped into something bigger than I was able to take on, but there was no backing down from those signs. I had to follow through with what became a painful journey.

On the second day of being completely ignored, a package came in the mail. It was the first time I smiled in days. Over the summer I worked on a book. I wrote eighteen tributes to people whose lives were lost over the years. People who are worth remembering is the focus of the book. The book was finally published, printed and delivered.

In June, on what would have been my mother in-law’s birthday, I wrote a tribute to her. I never told my husband because I wanted to surprise him. In my mind I imagined how he would react. I could see pride gleaming from his eyes.

The reality was so far beyond the images my mind conjured that I found myself completely depressed, hurt and left out. I began regretting everything I had done for this princess. I was so wrapped up in trying to give her back a normal life that mine was slipping away before my eyes, but I was too busy to notice.

My 14-year-old son seemed to be the only one in our five-person family who cared to read the tribute I’d written for his grandmother. He told me it was really nice. In fact, he was proud enough of his old mom to bring it to school and share with his friends.

When Mr. Lane came home that day and I showed him the book, Jane stepped in and asked if she could go on a road trip with him. Remember when I said paranoid is not my style? Well, it was becoming something I thought I might get used to.

Completely ignoring the open book with his mother’s picture and tribute, he closed it and set it on the table. Then he looked at Jane and said, “I’m only going to Iowa and there isn’t much to see or do there.”

“That’s okay. I just want to go with. We never get to spend any time together.”

I walked out of the kitchen when my husband closed the book. The fact that he considered for one second taking her after the long discussion we had, gave me a dark feeling. The way he dismissed the book, didn’t help either. My heart was thumping so loudly I could hear it. Pissed off? Paranoid? I couldn’t differentiate.

I turned the TV on. I didn’t want to hear his answer and I wanted to tune out my own thunderous heartbeat. My mind filled with thoughts that this, the right now, was supposed to be the best time of our lives. My feelings were beyond crushed. We should be celebrating the book being published. We should be celebrating getting our first home. We should be celebrating a new beginning for the entire Lane family.

I had bitten off more than I could chew. That sign was louder and clearer than all the rest. Stay tuned for the conclusion, coming soon to a blog near you.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Part 5 – Mystery Unravels

This is a continuation from the four posts below.

Lois told me that when Jane began her travels fifteen years earlier, she was trying to escape a recurring nightmare. A pain she couldn’t shake. She tried with all of her heart and soul to runaway from her memories. Her life was no longer that of a princess in a fairytale. Sure, she still had millions of dollars, but her life, as she knew it, was turned upside down.

During their late teens, Jane and her sister Lois were in a car accident. Their parents died. As if witnessing their parents’ death wasn’t traumatic enough, Jane was trapped in the backseat of the car, while her parent's crushed and battered, lifeless bodies were trapped in the front seats. It took rescue workers over an hour to pull Jane from the wreckage. Both of the girls were critically injured.

Jane’s legs were crushed and mangled. She required many surgeries and hundreds of hours of physical therapy. She had to learn how to walk all over again. But this time, there would be no Mom or Dad to hold her hand and help her take those first steps.

Why Jane always sat in the backseat of my car now made sense. Why she didn’t want to watch the news when they gave the traffic report, now made sense. Why she seemed so terribly sad while looking off in the distance now made sense. My heart ached for that princess. What I wouldn’t give to change things for her. What I wouldn’t do to take those visions and pain away. What I wouldn’t sacrifice to bring this princess a happily ever after.

“If she is slowly slipping away, can’t we get her to a doctor and find out why, and get her some help?” I asked.

“The last time I saw her, I tried. She ran.”

If her own sister couldn’t get her the help she needed, what were the chances that the Lanes could? When I relayed the story of Jane’s life to Mr. Lane, he took on a new level of understanding and sympathy. He too wanted to make life right for her again.

For a week we tried to unravel this mystery and now that we had, what could we do with the new information? Mr. Lane and I were completely torn. Quietly in bed at night, we would talk about how we could let her know that we knew what was going on. When the day came to approach her, neither of us could. By then, her sister, cousins, aunts and uncles and a couple of family friends made contact with us. It was clear that her family loved her and wanted her back home.

Stay tuned for the next installment tomorrow.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Part 4 – Sister-2-Sister

This is a continuation from the three posts below. Feel free to scroll down and catch up. I’ll wait right here for you.

Lois Patrice of Fox Bluff, Tennessee (not actual location) stood out like a sore thumb. I’d been scrolling page after page of listings with the last name of Patrice. I guess when I saw my own first name, next to my best friend’s first name, living in the same town as my best friend, I was simply wowed. It meant something. The pounding of my heartbeat was thunderous. The signs seemed even stronger than all of the others, so I grabbed the phone and I dialed.

I didn’t know what I was going to say. “Hi, I’m Lois too. Um… I have a Jane Patrice here… any relation?” No, because that just sounds stupid. My palms grew sweaty and my heart refused to slow down. My head was swimming.

I thought of hundreds of ways to begin the awkward conversation, but once the ringing stopped, and the lady on the line said, “Hello,” some words that I can not recall, popped out of my mouth.

“Oh my goodness! Are you kidding me? Oh gosh! Where? When? Oh my gosh!”

This woman clearly knew Jane. What are the chances? The one and only phone number dialed in the hundreds listed. What. Are. The. Chances???

“Lois, I know this all seems very weird for you. It is for me too. But how are you related to Jane?”

Crying, she said, “I’m her sister.”

I cried with her.

I have been playing the role of Jane’s sister. She even calls me LoLo, which I haven’t been called since I was little. She sits with me when I write, curls up next to me when I read. She looks to see if I am smiling at something on the TV before she smiles. She likes to help me help the kids with homework. She loves to help make supper. She always wants to go wherever I go. She looks up to me in so many ways and now, it was making sense.

I’d wondered how we had grown such a quick connection. You don’t typically run into a homeless person and feel such a bond as sisterhood, but we did. Childlike in so many ways, her voice, smile, carefree spring in her step even though her life was in a sandstorm, I was her big sister in her mind.

I caught Mr. Lane smiling at us on many occasions. One day I asked how the idea he was so against initially, made him so happy. He said, “I love how you are with her. I love how she glows when she looks at you. I just think it is the cutest thing ever, Lois.”

His words were strength for me. I wanted to make sure she kept that glow. There are times, lots and lots of times that Jane tries my patience to the limit. I bought her socks and underwear because she didn’t have any. She refused to use either. I bought her a razor because her legs are hairy. She refused to use it. A friend of mine gave me clothes for her. She refused to accept any even though they were much nicer than the few clothes she has. If I make something for dinner that she doesn’t like, she won’t eat. But she surely makes up for not eating supper with dessert. It is one of the very few things she will allow me to give her. I guess her sweet tooth is stronger than her pride. Those are only a few examples. There are countless other things she does and says that are defiant in that childlike way. My husband’s words and his smile, which I see clearly in my mind, get me through those difficult times.

After talking to Lois Patrice for a while and getting some background information about Jane, I told her how we found each other. She was absolutely mortified that her sister was sitting on the side of the road. She was thankful I found her, however. She was also surprised at the bond her sister and I grew so quickly, and then, suggested besides our names being the same, maybe we look similar. She said, she is 5’9”, with brown hair and eyes, and then asked what I looked like.

“Ditto,” it was the only word I could muster. Signs. Too many signs.

She told me that Jane likes to runaway. No one reports her missing anymore. Over all, she has traveled for nearly fifteen years. The last three years, something snapped and Jane changed. Her form of travel became much less conventional and her mind began to go.

Jane grew up in a well-known, wealthy and proud family. In school she was in accelerated classes, coming out on top every time. She was a star athlete, pianist, and ballerina. The more I learned from her real sister, the more I knew I had a princess turned pauper on my hands. But she was not a pauper at all.

“My sister has millions of dollars in her trust fund. There is no reason for her to be taking away from you and your family.”

That tidbit of information stole my breath. Millions, I can not fathom, unless I am playing Monopoly.

“She isn’t taking from us. We love having her here. I only made contact because I knew someone had to be missing and worrying about her. I only wanted her family to know that she was okay and that she was safe.”

Mr. Lane and I invited her to stay with us as long as she wanted. We even have an extra bedroom in our new house. She seemed so happy at the thought of being off of that couch and into her own room. She was as excited about it as our kids.

“There’s no reason for her to be on the side of the road. There’s no reason for her to be eating your family’s food and staying in your home, especially your new home, your family’s first home. You guys are heaven sent, Lois.”

“No we aren’t. And there is a reason for everything.”

But why she is no longer the person she was, made the mystery grow.

Now, I might be milking it. Come back Monday for part five, and have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Part 3 – The Sandstorm

If you are just now tuning in, you landed smack-dab in the midst of a continuation from the two posts below. Feel free to scroll down and catch up. I’ll wait right here for you.

Like I already said, everything happens for a reason. I believe this with all of my heart. It wasn’t time for me to know why all of these things were happening, but I was given a couple more clues to let me know I was on the right path, and doing what I was meant to do in this situation.

I felt bad, really bad, but I had to find out who she was and where she belonged. I snooped through her bags every chance I got. I wanted to find an ID or anything that might offer a hint to who she was. This is a beautiful and sweet woman, someone’s daughter, sister, aunt or friend. I knew someone somewhere was missing her. My heart ached at the thought, even more so than the aches I felt while snooping.

My detective friend came up empty when he ran her prints through the national database, which is a good thing. Knowing she wasn’t wanted by the law, as everyone else slept, I began my nightly secret search. It took me through hundreds of thousands of missing persons. I was beside myself with sadness and overwhelming depression, as I realized how many people, adults and children, are missing. I looked through page after page of photos as my eyes repeatedly welled with tears. I clicked on many that could have been my 5’8”, blue/green eyed, waist-length brown haired, 35 year old, princess turned pauper.

I posted some information and her description, along with her photo on various missing persons web forums. I also filed a report with the FBI. I asked them not to intervene too much because I knew telling her would break the trust we had built. She felt safe with me. Betraying her was not an option. They agreed to keep it on the down-low.

One day, while she was in the shower, I finally found an old bus ticket with her last name. She wasn’t lying about her first name. (Pseudonym being used) Jane Patrice was written in faded black ink. The first thing I thought when I read that was her last name is the same as my best friend’s first name. They are even spelled the same. (My best friend is the one who lives out of state, the one I call Honey and the one I wrote about a lot in July of ’05, if you want to read the archives.)

I immediately felt a stronger connection than I had already, which I didn’t think was possible. She has the same eye color and hair color as my best friend too. As soon as I had the chance, I turned to the internet. I e-mailed my detective friend the latest information. I began my own secret search. When I got to the Zaba site, one name stood out after I typed in “Patrice” while leaving city and state blank. Lois Patrice (Pseudonym being used but the first name is the same as my real first name.) was the name that caught my eye out of the hundreds listed throughout the entire United States. My heart thundered in my chest. The connection was growing stronger by the moment. I was sure I was being led in the right direction. The powers that be, the fate, that tug of nature, the whatever you want to call it, was beyond anything I’d felt before.

After I gathered my thoughts, and my heart slowed to a normal number of beats, I looked at all of the information about Lois Patrice, I could not believe my eyes when I saw that she lives in the same town as my best friend. And the thundering in my heart began all over again.

“Fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step.” -Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Jane and I are hand-in-hand walking through this sandstorm together. More to come soon. Thank you for hanging in there, and thank you all for your kind words.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Part 2

If you are just now tuning in, this is part two. See the post below for part one.

The drive home seemed longer than the ride out. And my Jane Doe friend didn’t have much to say. Mr. Lane called four more times and eventually, I told him what was going on. After he yelled loud enough for her to hear, I said, “Babe, remember two years ago, truck stop, Greyhound? Okay then, fair is fair, so zip it. I love you. Bye.”

When I hung up, Jane looked nervous and said, “He’s mad, isn’t he?”

“His bark is way worse than his bite. Besides, he’ll get over it.”

“No, I don’t want you to get in trouble. Just drop me off over there.”

Her voice was soft, childlike almost. She reminded me of a junior high school friend trying to talk me out of doing something to annoy my parents. And just like I would have back then, I ignored the suggestion.

“I told you, it’s not safe to be on the side of the road. Everything is going to be okay. Trust me, he’s not really mad.”

“Are you sure?”

“100% sure.”

“What happened two years ago?”

To pass the time, I told her the long version of what happened when Mr. Lane found a sad homeless man standing outside of a truck stop. He too couldn’t just walk by a fellow man whose eyes were filled with tears and not offer a hand. Without warning, he brought the man home. He’d just gone through a bitter divorce, and his finances were completely tapped out. He had hitchhiked and walked for days from Kansas to Illinois. He just wanted to get back to Pennsylvania where most of his family lived.

Mr. Lane brought him home, where he showered, got some clean laundry, ate and made some phone calls. One of his brothers offered to wire him some money. Mr. Lane took him to get the money, and then took him to the greyhound station. My old man gave him a little cash for food along the way. And then he was gone.

“So just because he had a little tantrum, doesn’t mean he isn’t a sweetheart deep down.”

“He sounds nice… when he isn’t yelling,” she said with a big smile.

It was right then, when she smiled, that I was 100% sure, this was the right thing to do. There was a beauty beyond words that shined from her blue/green eyes. I’d found a princess turned pauper.

Stay tuned for part three, coming soon to a blog near you.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Reason # 847 Why Lois Is Somewhat Absent

If you have been paying attention to this blog and all of these sporadic posts, I thank you. To say the least life has been nonstop busy and insane for months. I’m feeling the need for a vacation, badly. The biggest and most odd news of all is that…

Before I mention anything, don’t get mad at me or freak out, like my mom and Mr. Lane did initially.

Last week as I was running some errands, I saw a woman sitting on the shoulder of the road. I was driving in the opposite direction, but I’d slowed down enough to see dozens of other drivers pass her by. With her knees curled up to her chest and her arms wrapped snuggly around them, I could clearly see she was cold. She had duffle bags but no coat and it was dropping below 40 degrees. I couldn’t not stop.

I turned my car around and approached her. There was something not right about her, but not in a scary way. She hopped into my car and we headed in the direction she pointed. She smelled like your run-of-the-mill homeless person, minus the odor of booze oozing from her pours. As the miles rolled on and time ticked away, I tried to find out as much as I could about her. She talked around straight answers like a politician. Still, I didn’t feel threatened or scared. There was a reason why I spotted her, why I couldn’t keep driving away, why she was on the side of the road alone, and why she was now sitting in my car.

You never really know what the lesson of something is until the unfolding of the plan has finished. Even then, you may not find out. But without a doubt, I believe everything is meant to be.

We drove around for three and a half hours. She tried to locate old friends from her past. The past she wouldn’t share with me. I took her to a gas station to get a soda and a phone book. She looked up number after number. She made several calls from the payphone. She refused to use my cell, or take change I had in the car to make those calls. None of the people were home and she wasted her remaining cents on those unanswered calls.

I asked her what she wanted to do. I asked where she wanted to go. She had no answers. She looked so sad. Not just sad, lost in a way. There was something childlike about her.

Finally she asked, “Are there any homeless shelters around here?”

My heart was so torn. Could I leave this vulnerable woman behind? I started thinking about my kids and old man. If my judgment was off, and I brought her home, really bad things could happen. I turned off my heart and followed my head. I looked through the phonebook for shelters and found four within an hour of where we were. I called each and got no answer, except at one. The message on that machine said, “Closed for the season.”

My head said, “What the fuck?! People aren’t homeless in September?! Is this like wearing white shoes after Labor Day? Now what?”

Mr. Lane called my cell asking where I’d been. I tiptoed around a real answer and asked him if he would pick the kids up from school, since I didn’t know if I’d make it back into town in time. He sounded like he was mad. I kindly reminded him that the children were ours, not mine. He shut up and did what I asked.

When I hung up, I felt compelled to take a picture of her with my camera phone. Thankfully, she didn’t notice what I was doing. I asked if she wanted to go to the police department because they would make sure she got to a safe shelter. She was dead set against that. I really began to wonder if she was wanted by the law. I wanted to know what her real story was. I wasn’t getting any answers.

I drove to the remaining three shelters that didn’t answer their phones. All of which were closed.

My heart stepped on my head and my mouth blurted, “I have a couch at home that you could sleep on if you want.” I also mentioned that I couldn’t leave her on the side of the road.

On the way back to my house, I stopped by my friend’s house. He is a detective, which was information I didn’t tell her. I just told her that I needed to run in and talk to him for a minute. And then I asked her to hand me her empty soda bottle for me to “throw away”. I gave him the bottle so he could lift prints from it and do a search to make sure she wasn’t wanted by the law. I also forwarded her picture to his e-mail.

I got back in the car and we headed home.

Stay tuned for part two. Coming soon to a blog near you.

Monday, October 02, 2006

You Take The Good You Take The Bad

Our bid was accepted on the house. We should be moving at the end of October providing all the bank stuff goes through, and the other tedious details go according to plan. It's our first home. Mr. Lane and I have been together 17 years, and finally are getting our own house. It's an exciting time for us.

Even the kids are excited. I thought we would have a little trouble with them because they will have to change schools, but they are both taking it in stride and treating it like a big adventure, even though moving has been on, then off, and on again. And of course they are fighting over who gets which room. I love those two brats.

As if it couldn’t get any more exciting than that, our mortgage will be cheaper than our rent. How crazy is that? Plus, the schools there are better than the public schools here, which means, no more parochial school tuition. Being able to do more than get by will be nice. It’s been a long time coming.

My sweet and wonderful Uncle Giant has been fighting with all of his might. The cancer has spread quickly. Please send your good healthy vibes or prayers or whatever you got for him and Auntie Shorty.