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You and Me, Bobby V.

Deep-cleaning days. They were a thing while I was in the Navy. They were a thing when I was a kid, too. My mom would wake up early (early for her, which was about 8 a.m.) and would crank up the radio to the tune of old Spanish and Puerto Rican songs while waking us up with the determination of a drill sergeant. It was time to clean. All day long. While we listened to her music.

And it was not easy cleaning jobs. Furniture would be removed from the house. It would be placed in our driveway. The water hose (this was in Puerto Rico, where the interior walls of the home were made of cement) would come INTO the house. She would clean the floors, the windows, the walls, and the ceiling. It would take ALL day.

The cushion covers would come off of all of the couches. They would be laundered, twice, sometimes three times. And line-dried.

It sucked. 

So bad.

Then, I joined the Navy and learned about Field Days. There were no fields. Just brooms and swabs and foxtails and dustpans. Wire brushes. Sweeping and sweeping and sweeping and sweeping. And swabbing. And then more sweeping. There was usually no music during sweepers. Just bitching sailors. And reminders to sweep announced from the 1MC (general announcing system).

“Sweepers, sweepers: man your brooms.   Give the ship a clean sweep-down both fore and aft.   Sweep down all lower decks, ladder wells, and passage ways.   Dump all trash and garbage clear of the fantail.   Now sweepers.” 

It sucked.

So bad.

But…I was getting paid for it. Also, I had other sailors to commiserate with.

These days, it is a lot more low-key. I am a good housewife. Mostly. My bed is made as soon as I (or my former-sailor husband) climbs out of it. The kitchen stays clean. We don’t like gear adrift (sorry; clutter). Trash is taken out. We are a biohazard-free home.

Still, I am not in love with cleaning. If I am doing dishes, I am a bit bitchy about it. I like doing laundry, though. In this house, laundry is washed, dried, folded and stowed (sorry; put away) the same day it is washed.

But the fridge and the oven are areas that I hate. So much. I don’t get to those as much as I should. However, today, I decided that I would listen to Bobby Vinton on my record player while I did a bit of cleaning. I took the grates off of the top of my stovetop and scrubbed. Bobby Vinton sang in a beautiful soprano about lonely soldiers while I thought of disgruntled sailors (and kids) who hated to clean.

I honest-to-God think that listening to old music did something to make it feel okay to clean. The nostalgic music was company of a sort.

Maybe my mother was onto something.

However, I don’t turn into a tyrant when it is time to clean. My son cleans up here and there. I don’t want to scar him with my yelling about cleaning. But maybe I can create a few memories for him; his mother cleaning up the harder things while listening to old music.

Maybe it will help him clean through the hard times.

 

 

Cyndia Rios-Myers

Blog

The Meanings We Lost in Translation

A favorite song of mine is Anything for You by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. It’s a girly-girl song. It’s a vulnerable song. It is a song about a person being the bigger person in a relationship. I’ve had a few relationships. For the end of a good bit of them, I was  not  the bigger person. At least, not in the demises of said relationships. In this song, Gloria is showing her love to her lover by letting her know that she will be the one to end things, consequently, showing love for herself, too. Still, she allows for the possibility of a reunion, but she does not demand it. What she does demand is the friendship. She will be there for her lover forever. Just beautiful.

And then, there’s the song titled No te Olvidare  by Gloria Estefan. Gloria still sounds friendly. But…she’s not as vulnerable. I think that it has to do with two things, the omission of the lyric “anything for you,” which does not simply translate to Spanish. To get from “anything for you,” you’d have to say, “hare cualquier cosa para ti.” Doesn’t really roll of the tongue. The “anything for you” lyric is essential to the song, I think. It exemplifies Gloria’s vulnerability. In Spanish, she conveys most of everything else that’s said in the English version of the song.

The other thing that is different is her voice – the way she sounds in English and Spanish. In English, she sounds so sweet and vulnerable and loving. In Spanish, she sounds mature and…a bit hurt.

Many, many years ago (when the songs were released), I tried to explain to an aunt why the songs were different. She disagreed. She said that the Spanish version was great. I think that’s the first time I realized what it meant to lose something in translation.

I homeschool my son. Spanish is a daily, mandatory class. He’s great at it. Something I strive for now is identifying when something is lost in translation. I don’t want those tiny words to slip through our fingers be blown away by the wind. Vocabulary is a wonderful thing. Expressions are wonderful. If we chip away at those things, we aren’t completely understanding communications.

I  have  to mention how truly brilliant the instrumentation is. The guitar, the brass section and every other instrument played on this song reminds you of the highs of a relationships, the lows, the hopes, and the dashed dreams. Their musical notes leave behind a memory of moments in time that will never be lost.

I understand why Gloria had to change Anything for You.  She had to make the Spanish lyrics fit into the marks and spots that the English words had created. But who knows? Maybe someone who might describe “Anything for You” as being overly sappy might listen to an interpretation of “No Te Olivdare”  might find a mature telling of a love that’s changed, but a friendship that will endure.

Whatever. My money’s on Anything for You.  Romantic relationships are social contracts denoting the fact that the partnership is paramount to anything else that happens. When that partnership fails, hearts will break, and not in a neat manner. Those failures are things to think about (and write about).

 

Cyndia Rios-Myers

Blog

When Did You Know?

Women are my biggest inspirations for writing; their stories, their dreams, and their heartbreaks.  It was the inspiration behind The Song of the Sleeping Grass.

Recently, a dear friend of mine told me that her husband no longer wanted to be married to her, as he wanted to start a life with the girl he’d had a crush on in high school.  Her pain is so great.  Her daughters’ pain is immense, too.  So, thinking of them, I thought I’d write an imaginary question session from her to him.

———————————

When did you know?

When did you know that you didn’t want to love me anymore?

When did you know that you wanted to have her more than you wanted to have me?

When did you know that having your high school dream girl was more important than keeping your wife of 16 years?

When did you know that our marriage vows mattered none?

 

Did you know how much you would break my heart?

Did you know how much you’d break your daughters’ hearts?

Did you know what words you would craft in order to tell me that you no longer wanted me?

 

Where were you when you decided that it was over?

Where did you think we would end up?

 

How much is this supposed to hurt?

How long will this hurt for?

How am I supposed to get over this?

How am I supposed to forgive you?

 

Do you  know that I am the only one of us who is living in the now?

Do you  know that you were the cause of your daughters’ first heartbreak – one that they’ll never get over?

Do you  know that my friends are speaking truths to me while your friends are holding up your lies?

Do you  know that you are building a false narrative of our marriage just so that you don’t feel guilty over leaving me?

 

I   am learning that I will be okay.

I   am learning how to live in the truth.

I   won’t be sorry over how much I fought to save my marriage.

I   won’t look back and wonder if I should have fought harder.

I   gave you, our marriage and our children my all.

 

Will you  remember how much time and energy I put into educating and raising our children, saving our money, and building your professional future, all while deferring mine?

Do you  know how much you’ll regret this one day?

***

Hugs to you, K. You know where to find me.

 

Cyndia Rios-Myers

 

 

 

Blog, My Books

Going…Going…Gone

So, I went and did something. You all probably didn’t notice, and that’s okay. I didn’t want you to notice.  (And I am not being passive-aggressive. I swear!)

I removed one of my books from the online bookstores where it was offered. Before I tell you which book it was, I’ll tell you why.

  • Because it was too long
  • Because it contained smutty scenes

At the time, I enjoyed writing smutty scenes. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t like them as much. I want readers of all sorts of backgrounds to enjoy my books.

Will I edit the book and re-publish it? Maybe. But definitely not right now. I’m still in the trenches with Marta Morales.

But thank you to the readers who got hooked onto my books by first reading The Song of the Sleeping Grass.  Perhaps it will be our secret book.

The inspiration for that book is still alive and well – military spouses who gave their all, but were still discarded and forgotten.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Blog

If An Older Person Says Things are Bad, Trust Them

Goodness. The title for this entry almost sounds political. This is not  political. I don’t want to be another voice in the media, influencing others with biased reporting.

The good thing about getting older…actually, there are TONS of things that are good about getting older. It’s a privilege denied to many.

Anyway, the good thing about getting older is the accumulation of experiences. A “bad” situation for a sixteen-year-old girl, versus a twenty-year-old woman, and the bad situation of a forty-two-year old woman are perceived differently. The way that a person can quantify goodness or badness increases with age. If you are a peaceful person and you learn to let go of the bad crap (if you can), you have a higher threshold of bad situations.

So, it is at the age of forty-one that I learned of a heartbreak that made me stop what I was doing. For a few minutes, I did nothing, but hurt for my injured friend.

I won’t get into what my friend’s husband did to her. Because it is a perspective thing. But I will say that a single gray hair can hold many experiences. The more you get, the more you know.

So, embrace aging. And if an older person says “I have a story for you,” then sit down and listen. You might learn something that will change you. It might reset your barometer on the good and the bad. It will give you another story to tell, too.

 

Blog

I Can’t Make This Up – Kevin Hart

So, I’ve been on a biography/autobiography book-reading kick lately. There’s just something about hearing someone tell you their life story. It is very personal. It makes you reflect on your own journey.

I just finished reading Kevin Hart’s I Can’t Make this Up – Life LessonsAfter reading this book, I discovered the difference between books that I can’t put down, and books that I don’t want to put down.

When I read a book that I cannot put down, it means that it is so engrossing that I do not get to other things in my life that I need to. Sometimes, a distraction like that is great. Life gets crazy and you get stuck in your head and then a good story comes along. It becomes the thing you need to have fun again.

But, in reading I Can’t Make this Up, I found myself deeply engaged, but also taking breaks in reading (for chores and life stuff) where I would then ponder what I’d read. I told my husband (not a huge fan of comedians) about Hart’s journey. I found myself inspired by Hart’s hard work ethic. That ethic engineered and crafted a niche and a career. It’s making me get back to Marta and the re-write.

So, you should read it. Tell others about it. You’ll come out of it impressed and inspired.

Blog

How The Conversation Could Of Gone…

***The following is an imaginary conversation between my daughter and I.***

In the car, driving Kiley from her college to our home for the Fourth-of-July holiday, which she’ll spend two days at home for.

Kiley: “Mom…so, Beck invited me up to Erie for the weekend.”

Me: Holding back a long sigh. “What about college? What about studying?”

Kiley: “Oh! We’re going to do it up there! Beck totally gets that I have to study and he’s going to study, too.”

Me: Working hard at holding back the sigh. “Really? Truly? You are going out of town with your boyfriend for an ENTIRE weekend and the plan is to….study? Really?”

My Husband: “Beck?! What kind of name is Beck?”

Kiley: “Dad! Ugh. We’ve been through this. His name is Beck! He didn’t have a choice in the matter in his naming, you know.”

My husband: Shrugs. “It’s a stupid name.”

Kiley: “Stop saying that!”

My husband: “I’ll stop saying that he has a stupid name just as soon as he stops  having a stupid name. Also, no. No going to Erie. You can stay in town at your dorm.”

Kiley: Grunts, sucks at her teeth and smacks the tops of her thighs with her hands. “Mooom!!! I want to go!!!!”

Me: “Dear, God. You sounded like you did when you were twelve.”

Kiley: Takes deep breaths and squeezes her hands. “You know, I could go and not tell you about it.”

Husband: “Fine. I’ll disconnect your cell phone!”

Me: My heart rate increases and my left eyelid is starting to do a dance. “Kiley? Can you understand why we might be doubtful as to the…studying that will happen in Erie?”

Kiley: “Mom! We are going to study!”

Husband: “Your coursework, or other things?”

Me: “Stop it!” I say to my husband. “Kiley: Why do you want to go to Erie?”

She was quiet for a moment. Ha.

“Because…it will be fun. College is supposed to be fun.”

Husband: Scoffing. “Yeah, right. College sucks.”

Kiley: “Dad! You’ve got four college degrees.”

Husband: “And every single one sucked.”

Me: “I don’t know why you think it’s supposed to be fun. With the exception of Anthropology and Business Law, I hated all of my college courses. Also, when I was your age, I got in trouble during my non-working hours. With guys.”

Husband, as he turns the blinker on to turn at a light. “Oh, good. This’ll be fun,” he says on a groan.

Kiley: “I’ll be responsible,” she says.

Me: “What does that mean? Tell me; what does responsibility look like, for a nineteen-year-old college student?”

I watch as my gorgeous daughter tugs at her bottom lip as she looks out the window. “You were happy to have me as a single mom,” she whispered.

Me: “I was. I am,” I said, my voice full of conviction. “I also had a job, an apartment, and a car. You are at year two of college. You aren’t on your own yet.” I let out a sigh, not wanting to attack her. She isn’t looking at me, and I know that I am about to lose her interest. “Tell me more about Beck.”

Kiley: “What about him?”

Me: “What will a…successful weekend with Beck look like? What does Monday morning look like – for you?”

She looks at me with a furrowed brow. Her pitch-black eyes look super dark. “Ummm…we’re closer? He tells me he loves me? I meet his family.”

I look at my husband, who lets out a sad sigh. He says nothing, though.

Me: “Is that a plan this weekend? Going to Butler to meet his family before going to Erie?” I gently ask.

Kiley: Lets out a sad sigh. “No.”

Husband: “I get it, Kiley. Traditional is boring. It’s easier to go with the flow. It’s easier to keep things uncomplicated.”

Kiley: “I know,” she says on a sigh.

I don’t know if I am supposed to let her f*ck up or not. I don’t know if I am supposed to give this Beck guy the benefit of the doubt, or not. I mean, what is she supposed to do in downtown Pittsburgh over a weekend? Could she get into worse trouble by staying behind? For sure.

Me: “Okay. Go on up and go.”

Husband: “What?!”

Kiley: Says nothing, but beams from the back seat of the truck.

Me: “But keep in mind that…little choices add up to big choices. A little compromise here and there can lead to bigger compromises down the road.”

Husband: “Just…keep in mind what the results might be for every decision you make.”

Son: Our son pulls off his earbuds from his ears. “Hey. Are you coming to watch my Parkour tournament this weekend?”

Kiley’s smile drops as she regards her little brother. “That’s this weekend?”

Son: “Yeah. I texted you about it,” he angrily says. “Twice.”

Kiley: Forces a smile and nods. “Yeah. I”ll be there.”

Son: “Awesome!!!”

*****

But all of this is fictional, of course. My daughter doesn’t go to college. She didn’t go to high school, junior high, or elementary school, either. But it is nice to say her name out loud – a lot. It’s nice to fantasize about what could of been.

 

Cyndia Rios-Myers