Yard Gnome III

gnomeThe Yard Gnome Part III

I didn’t think things could get any worse, when Jessie devised a plan for catching her husband. She had found an old dolly in the shed. It wasn’t a baby doll, it was one of those gizmos men use to move heavy items. She thought we could pick up the gnome and move him back to the house on the dolly. It wasn’t a bad idea, considering the problem.

I wish you could have seen us trying to move that stupid gnome. We had a terrible time getting it onto the dolly, and when we did, neither of us had to strength to push it over the grass. We were groaning and moaning.

“Paul’s fallen off the dolly!” Jessie screamed after the gnome slipped and crashed onto the grass.

“How will we ever get him to the house?”

It was a predicament. The gnome was the heaviest thing I had ever tried to lift and even together we could hardly get him right side up. He was at a weird angle and pretty far away from the bird bath.

“He’s leaning over too much,” Jessie whined. “I hope he doesn’t notice.”

After our dolly folly, neither Jessie nor I could figure out what to do. Since I didn’t really believe Paul had turned into a yard gnome, I decided I needed to spy on him at night. I didn’t mention to Jessie that I thought he was seeing another woman, but she thought he must be moving around at night, doing the yard work by the light of the moon.

The next night we hid outside behind the bushes near the bird bath and watched the gnome. It was back in its original place, with the hose in its hand. Nothing happened for awhile and I almost feel asleep, when we heard a funny noise and something whizzed past us into the woods. The yard gnome had moved!

“Did you see something whiz past us?” Jessie whispered.

“Yes I did, and I heard it too. Do you think it was………could it have been…..Paul?” I couldn’t believe it. How could he move that fast. I must have been asleep.

I couldn’t see Jessie’s face, but I knew she was excited. We began calling out Paul’s name into the darkness, sneaking through the yard quietly. Jessie handed me a flashlight and I lead the way, as we walked round and round the bird bath and through the yard. She was calling Paul in a plaintive voice.

“Paul……Paul, please come in….Here Paul…..I’m sorry I made you do all the housework…” She repeated it like a mantra for awhile. Finally she screamed “Come here you idiot.”

The situation was getting scary. Was Paul a ghost? Suddenly, something touched me on the shoulder and I jumped and screamed.

“I’m sorry I scared you,” Jessie said. “I see something in the woods. Turn the flashlight to the woods.”

“Of course,” I whispered. I pointed the light toward the woods, checking out the trees and the bushes, but no Paul. There was a slight glow coming from behind one of the larger trees, and suddenly I saw the top of a pointy red hat. I grabbed Jessie by the arm.

“Look over there,” I whispered. We both saw the red hat. We moved closer and I turned off the flashlight so Paul couldn’t see us. Then we saw the tops of more than one hat.  My thoughts were running wild. Could there be more of these little men? More yard gnomes? Was this a meeting?

“He has friends!” Jessie whispered.

There was a small fire in the middle of the group and we heard quiet laughter. We slipped up closer to the little fire and counted the gnomes. Six in all, and sure enough, there was a female gnome standing next to Paul. She looked almost the same as the other gnomes, but she had blond hair, no beard and she was wearing a skirt. Jessie was really mad by then, and I hoped she knew better than to make a scene.

I was wrong.

“Paul!” Jessie cried. “What are you doing out here?”

“I’ve met some other gnomes,” he answered. “This is Tiny and this one’s Cutie, and……”

“I don’t give a darn what they’re names are,” she yelled, piercing the quiet night. “Are you coming home to bed, or not?”

“Not!” he said. “I’ve met someone else.” He nodded his head towards the cute little female gnome. “You know what they say, gnome, sweet gnome.”

I was astonished, but I had the sense to make Jessie turn around and leave the woods. Soon after, the glow went out and the laughter stopped.

On the way home, despite her anger, a tear ran down Jessie’s cheek. “I had no idea my husband would become a yard gnome. Do you think I forced him into it? I miss Paul, and I am so lonely sometimes. It’s just not that nice at home anymore.”

I finally had the answer she needed. “Well, at least your yard is beautiful! The lawn seems to be perfectly groomed, and I got you a subscription to Gnome and Garden magazine.”

 

 

Yard Gnome II

This story becomes sadder and sadder every time I tell it. Jessie was coming over to my house every morning to discuss her problem. As I sat with her, I realized she was slipping over the edge.

“Perhaps you should see a psychologist,” I suggested.

“What!” she gasped. Oh, oh, I had offended her.

“You think I should go to a psychologist?” Jessie was definitely insulted and she got up and left, slamming my kitchen door so hard, I thought the glass was going to break. I felt bad about it, but I breathed a sigh of relief.

I didn’t see Jessie for several days and then one morning she was back. She had mellowed a bit and she said, “Wouldn’t it be better if Paul saw the psychologist?”

“Yes, but he’s not even able to speak anymore, Jessie. I think you need to get help for your own sake.”

“I guess you’re right. Do you have the name and number of a psychologist?” I gave her the number and she left. When I drove past her house I saw that the yard gnome had not moved and was still holding the hose, smiling. I was amazed that Jessie’s yard still looked perfect. How could that be? I asked her if she was doing the yard work.

“No, I haven’t done a thing. It still looks good though, doesn’t it?”

“Yes it does,” I agreed. Over the next few days I really tried to figure it out. How could a man turn into a yard gnome, I kept thinking. There had to be some explanation. Maybe Paul had put a stone yard gnome in his place and was sneaking off to see another woman. It certainly made sense considering the way Jessie treated him. But how could the gnome look so much like him?

Later that week Jessie knocked on my door. “Oh no, here we go again,” I thought. I was glad to hear she had visited the psychologist, but sad to hear the results.

“That psychologist is a nutcase. He kept asking me about my feelings. How did I feel about my husband turning to stone? Had I done anything to offend him? How did I feel about doing his household chores? Was I willing to give up my soaps? It was just hopeless. When I got home it was dark. I hoped Paul had returned to being a man, so I ran in the house hoping he was watching TV, being his normal self. He wasn’t.”

She started crying again. “It doesn’t matter how I feel about it, it only matters that he’s not around any more. He’s not around to do the dishes, or take out the garbage or wash the car. He doesn’t do the vacuuming, or dust. He’s just standing in the yard. I knew he’d find a way to avoid doing his chores.”

My Neighbor, the Yard Gnome

gnome A Three Part story by Nancy DeLaval   Miller

Part I

When I first met Jessica and Paul Yardley I thought they would be great neighbors. They were polite and friendly and their place looked like a picture from Home and Garden magazine. Often, during those first weeks after they moved in, I would see Paul working in the yard – mowing, planting, pruning, watering – he did everything with a pleasant smile on his face. He seemed very happy.

However, I soon learned that Jessie wasn’t happy at all. When we got together for coffee one day, she expounded on her husband’s faults. He was lazy and stupid, shirked his chores in the house, and all he wanted to do was work in the yard. I came away realizing she was very bossy and quite dysfunctional, even crazy perhaps.

Friday, she came rushing over to my house and knocked loudly on the back door. “Can I talk to you?” she asked, pushing her way into the house. I agreed and we sat down at the kitchen table. “Paul won’t come in the house!” I had no answer for this and she went on. “Paul went out to work in the yard on Wednesday and never came back in. He finished the mowing two hours later and I kept expecting him to come back in the house, but he didn’t. I didn’t really care at first. I needed my nap and I had to watch my soaps, plus I had to prepare dinner. It seems like the work never ends.

“When dinner was almost ready, I went out to call him. I saw him standing by the bird bath with the hose.

“Paul,” I called out.

“I’m over here,” he yelled back. His voice sounded a little weaker than usual, but I didn’t think anything of it. He was some distance away.

“It’s time for dinner.”

“I’ll be in soon,” he said smiling at me. I thought his smile was a little stiff, but I was too far away to get a good look. I was tired from a long day’s housework and I went back inside. I called him two more times that evening, but I finally ate dinner alone. I even ate some of his, but I left him some on a plate. Then I did his job, washing the dishes. That made me really mad and I called him several more times to come in, but didn’t get an answer. That evening I fell asleep in front of the TV, alone.”

Unbelievable as it seems, Jessie told me that Paul never came in that night. In fact, he never came back in at all, and it made her very angry. The next day she went out to find him. He was still standing by the bird bath with the hose. She decided she needed to check him out carefully, so she trekked all the way out to the bird bath to see him.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Making sure the flowers and the birds have enough water.”

“I see that, but what about you? Aren’t you hungry?”

“No, I’ve just been sipping a little water from time to time.”

She noticed that he looked shorter than usual. “Aren’t you going to come in soon? I’m sure the birds and the flowers have enough water by now!”

“I stop sometimes and wait for the birds and squirrels to get a drink. A deer came by last night with two fawns and……”

“I don’t really care if the president came by,” she screamed. “I need your help in the house!” She was finally losing her patience with her husband. Didn’t he know that he had responsibilities in the house? The dishes were piling up and he forgot she needed help with the vacuuming. And why would she care if the wild animals had enough to drink?

After an uncomfortable silence she said, “Well, I’m going ahead with my day. If you want to stay out here all day, I guess that’s up to you!” She was mad and stomped into the house.

The next morning she called me and asked me to come over and try to convince Paul to come back in the house. When I saw him I was shocked. He seemed much shorter than I remembered, so I looked down to see if he was standing in a hole. He wasn’t. His white hair had grown longer. His face looked the same but his body was much smaller than it had been. Paul Yardley seemed to be morphing into a little yard gnome. Even his clothes and shoes must have gotten smaller, because they still fit the same way. And somewhere he found a long pointy red hat.

“Take that hat off,” Jessie demanded. “It makes you look stupid.” He just looked at her and laughed. She didn’t want the neighbors to see him wearing it. She grabbed at the hat, but then grimaced.

“Feel this hat,” she said, giving me a direct order. To my surprise, the hat was as hard as a rock. I was taken aback. Jessie and I couldn’t pull it off. We looked at Paul with total bewilderment. Then I touched his shoulder and it was hard too.

“What happened to you?” I asked. He just stood there watering and smiling and didn’t answer. I wondered if he could even talk. Could his mouth move if it was stone? His eyes were still alert and moved around, looking at me and the lawn.

“Quit turning into stone and come in the house,” Jessie demanded, but by noon Paul had turned completely into a yard gnome. All the yard work was meticulously done, but we never saw him move a muscle or a stone arm or leg, or give a toss of his hard head. He was as hard as a rock, and couldn’t talk, so Jessie turned off the hose and went shopping.

“I knew he would figure out a way to avoid doing his chores,” she said.

Stay tuned for Part II of  The Yard Gnome

Therapists, a DID Diagnosis and Iatrongenesis

The writer at Surviving Out Loud wrote a great blog about trying to find a good therapist for DID. Hope you enjoy

Therapists, a DID Diagnosis and Iatrongenesis.

I apologize for being offline for so long. We had a lot of trouble sorting out the problem. Hopefully everything will go smoothly from now on.

The Iron Cage

I often dream that I live in a giant cage made of iron bars. Inside the cage is a circular iron staircase, and I start climbing. Step by step I ascend the stairs and as I climb I can hear the sounds of people moving around and talking. I climb higher and stop at a landing and look around. If I look down I get dizzy and I realize that the iron bars aren’t very stable and that I might fall at any time.

There is a wooden door on the landing, so I knock and soon Nola Peters answers the door. Nola doesn’t like me. She thinks I’m dirty and spoiled, and she hates me when I scream.

“Please let me in, I’m afraid I’ll fall,” I say.

“Okay, come in, but watch out for all these boxes. I’m unpacking.” She waves her hand around the room, which is filled with dusty boxes piled on top of each other.

“What’s it like to live up here inside the cage?” I ask her.

“Oh, it’s not bad. I have lots of friends in here.”

Soon I remember that I have a purpose in climbing the stairs. “I’m searching for a way out of the cage. Do you know the way?”

“No, sorry. I just got here,” she answers and turns back to her boxes. “If you look through the bars you can see Bonnie across the way. Maybe she knows the way out.”  I looked hard and realized that Nola’s room didn’t have any walls, just bars around it. A few yards away, past another room, was Bonnie, my old friend from college.

Suddenly, without walking or climbing, I am in Bonnie’s room.

“Nancy, come in,” she says. “I’m sorry I’m very busy sorting the clothes in my closet.”

Bonnie likes me and talks to me about serious issues that affect our lives, like grades and what we will do after college. I think she may know the way out of the cage.

After a few minutes she says, “Would you like to see the sky?”

“Yes, I would love that.” It seemed like I had not seen the sky for a long time. I guess I forgot to look up.

“If you come over here and stand on the chair, you can see it,” Bonnie continued. She holds the chair and I climb onto it and I am thrilled when I look up through the bars of the cage and see blue sky with puffy clouds moving along slowly.

“It’s so pretty,” I say. “It makes me feel good.”

“Me too,” she says. “That’s why I am going to be moving,” Bonnie told me. “I am getting an apartment a few blocks away.” I am astounded that she will be leaving the cage.

“That is very exciting,” I say, “but I’ll miss you.”

“Why don’t you come and visit some day for lunch?”

“I would love that,” I answer, but I am wondering if I can find a place that is outside the cage.

I suddenly realize it’s time to go, and I run back down the iron steps to the ground floor and wake up. I am not in the cage anymore, but I feel like part of me is still inside.

 

AFTERWORD: The iron bars symbolize the place where my abuser lived. She was a juvenile delinquent and lived at the Gumbert School for Wayward Girls north of Pittsburgh. My parents took my sister and me to see the home one day when they had an open house. The school was home to many girls and had a tall iron fence around it. To get to the house we had to park far away and walk through a very tall iron gate.

Today I am wondering what my dreams would be like if my mother and father had not chosen to hire one of these girls to move into our house and babysit for my sister and me during the summer of 1946. Would I still dream I’m in a cage made of iron bars?

 

 

 

 

 

Throwing Away Women’s Lib

Thinking about our coming holiday, Mothers Day, reminds me of how much women lost because of the Women’s Lib movement. In order to understand my unpopular opinion, we have to look back in history to the role women played before Women’s Lib became popular.

During the fifties and early sixties, most women didn’t work. They stayed at home and were housekeepers and mothers, living useful, comfortable lives. They kept the home looking nice, cared for the children and prepared nutritious meals. And they had time leftover for pleasurable activities. How many women have that today? Are the Housewives of Hollywood the only ones?

Now, women have to be housekeepers, mothers and have jobs. They had idyllic lifestyles and threw them away, insisting women be given jobs that were traditionally filled by men.

The men said, “Okay, then work!” I think at the time women were aiming to get good paying office jobs, and they wanted paid the same amount as men, something that has never really materialized on a national level. I know there are exceptions to this lower pay scale, but for the most part I think men still earn more.

The worst thing about it is that we didn’t only lose our easy lifestyles, where we could spend a little time in recreation during the day, but we lost a lot of respect from our husbands. Women began to feel “equal” to their husbands and insisted they be considered for all kinds of labor intensive jobs, such as factory workers, highway workers and soldiers. I don’t know how these women do it, unless they are in excellent physical condition.

I’m sure there are many of you who believe Women’s Lib was really a great liberation for trapped woman. I welcome your opinions in my comments section. Are you happy with the changes that Women’s Lib made in our country? Or do you agree with me that we lost more than we gained?

Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them