I do not believe in astrology. However, I am a Gemini, the sign of the twins, and I’m only speaking for one twin. The other twin is a believer. I also admit I may be prone to exaggeration, but I promise you the following story is true.
In January, I attended my good friend Lisa Schmagenbuch’s monthly party (remember her birthing experience?). The interesting twist on Lisa’s monthly parties is that you never know why she is throwing one. I have attended jewelry parties, life coaching parties, home good parties, clothes parties, and raising your self-esteem parties. There are always two things in common with her events: 1) plenty o’ food and drink and 2) the need to bring a checkbook.
But this party was more esoteric than her usual shindigs. For a mere $60 (cash only, please) you could purchase 12-15 minutes of time with Jorianne (aka Sister Christian), The Coffee Psychic. Sister’s claim to fame was her ability to read your future from the cream she poured into an average cup o’ joe. Apparently, the way the Coffeemate settles into the coffee means a lot more than you think it does.
(FYI – in case you’re in need of an exorcism, worry no more. Sister can get rid of that devil once and for all for the bargain rate of $500. Unless you have a particularly stubborn demon - then it’s negotiable.)
A fool and her money
So there we were, all fifteen suburban moms waiting anxiously to hand our money over to the local clairvoyant (yeah, do the math – Sister was netting almost $300/hour).
Things got off to a rocky start though when our telepathic tutor announced that no alcohol was to be consumed until after we had finished our session with her. A hush settled over the room and an awkward silence followed. It was only until Lisa offered to babysit each of our children for a night that the gals even began to come around, but the natives were restless and trouble was a brewin’ (no pun intended).
Sister stood before us – a handsome blond, in her early fifties, with plenty of nice jewelry. She looked sweetly around the room, staring at each of us as though she knew our secrets and announced, “If you see me barking like a dog or baying like a sheep, there’s no cause for concern. I sometimes channel animals.”
But this was cause for concern because I do not channel animals nor do I speak their language. I also am concerned about taking advice from a cow – we usually just eat them.
“Also,” she continued, “If I say something that doesn’t apply now it’s because I might be referring to something that has happened to you in a previous life or something that will happen in your next life.”
Wow, what a disclaimer – when else could something have happened?
“Lastly,” she stated, “I want you to hear something.” She pressed ‘play’ on a small hand-held tape recorder and we listened to Sister Christian and a client talking. All of a sudden, a loud and clear ghostly voice interrupted the session. “Sister,” the spirit continued, “Sister . . . Sister.”
“Did you hear that?” Sister shook her head and held the recorder up to the heavens. “That was the client’s dead grandmother contacting me – right in the middle of our reading! Can you believe it?”
Frankly, no, I couldn’t believe it. Was she kidding me? I’m no techy, but in this day and age I’m going to need to meet that spirit and get something in writing before signing on to that program.
Not as smart as I look
Sister wrapped up her intro and we all chose lots to see who would go first. I, of course, drew #15, so I would get to spend the next 3 1/2 hours eating chips and guacamole and waiting for my turn at bat. The good news – I would have the opportunity to listen to the stories as, one by one, the gals came back from their reading and spilled on what had gone on.
“She told me I would get warts and my husband’s ex-girlfriend was stalking him,” Dawn grabbed her first margarita and chugged it.
“She told me that we would have catastrophic financial troubles this year,” Jenny added as she poured herself a glass of wine.
“Yeah, well, Sister told me . . .” Meagan took a deep breath, “I would have another child.”
“NO!” we all shouted in unison. Who was this woman that was wreaking havoc on the lives of innocent people? I couldn’t wait to get my shot with this poser.
Taking matters into my own hands
Finally, at a time that I normally would have been sleeping for a couple of hours, Sister called me in. I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep or the lack of margaritas, but the bravado I had planned on had lost its charm. I knew I would do something, I just didn’t know what. Sister smiled sweetly at me and I offered up a cheery “hello.”
She put her hands to her temples, closed her eyes and asked in a quiet voice, “Is there a ‘Bob’ in your family?”
“That would be my brother,” I answered. But this is not true. My brother’s name is Mike.
“How about a ‘Sue’?”
“My mom,” I lied.
She looked up at me, surprised. “Dave?”
“Oh, my gosh. That’s my uncle!” I exclaimed.
At this point, I wasn’t sure why I was fibbing to this poor woman just trying to make a buck (or three hundred). Maybe I was waiting for her to be psychic and call me out on my obvious falsehoods, but she didn’t. Either I was a really good liar or she was a really bad psychic.
Now this is the crazy part . . .
She was visibly elated and her hands shook as she poured the creamer into the coffee and watched as it sank into the swills. It was a moment before she sat back. “The cream has spoken. You have some kind of a gift.” She rubbed her temples and continued. “But you are afraid to share it. Hmmm . . . what is it? What are you hiding?” She was genuinely curious.
“Well . . .,” I started. I now knew why I was jerking her chain – after three hours and enough artichoke dip to kill a horse, I was enjoying myself.
“Go on – don’t be afraid. You’re in a safe place. Sister is here.”
I took a deep breath before I went on. “The thing is . . . I’m a psychic, too. I see . . .” I almost said dead people, but I didn’t want to push it so I finished with, “the future.”
“I knew it!” She tapped the desk with her palm. “In a previous life you were a witch or a shaman or a mystic. You had psychic powers and they have stayed with you.” She closed her eyes and shook her head. “You need to explore your gift, don’t let it scare you, let it lead you.”
“Praise Jesus,” I said, caught up in the moment. But she was so excited about my supernatural abilities that I was beginning to feel sorry I had lead her on. And oddly enough, I do feel like sometimes I know the future – like when the boys get home from school, I always know there will be a fight.
She pulled out her business card and pushed it across the table. “I want to show you how to use your gift. I want to teach you how to explore all the universe has to offer. I can help you.” She reached out and touched my hand. ”And I’m running a special this month for a price you can’t beat.”
Only if she teaches me how to communicate with my dog. I’d like to know why he bites people and poops everywhere but in the yard.
I don’t usually like to brag, but there are some things I do, and I do well. The first that comes to mind is yodeling naked in the shower, a close second is starting a land war in Asia, and the third is birthing babies. I don’t kid myself that I can compete with Octomom, or Kate, but four times is nothing to shake a stick at. I’ve done it alone, in front of an audience, twice with no drugs, and once as I was arguing with my mother . . . on the phone.
As a matter of fact, my reputation was such that my presence was requested by my good-friend (let’s call her Lisa Schmagenbuch), at the birth of her first child. She knew that I had expertly handled all of my own birthing events and was impressed with how effortlessly I had sailed through my personal sea of pain. Of course, I agreed. And frankly, being a role model comes as second nature to me.
But, it’s no secret that the bigger they are the harder they fall. This is the story of my tumble from grace and the valuable lessons learned as I plummeted from heights of greatness to the humbleness of defeat. It’s not easy to show weakness and vulnerability, but know this – I share this story with you for one reason only, and that is – it is a required step in a particular “class” I am associated with.
Looking for Lisa
Lisa Schmagenbuck was clinging tightly to the hope that a certain aging rock star would marry her. But, besides a few brief stalking episodes, they had never met and we all thought Lisa would become an old-maid waiting for him. Then she was introduced to “Dave” and we were all thrilled when he asked her out. He was not a rock star, but he was successful, handsome, intelligent, and it didn’t bother him in the least that Lisa practiced witchcraft as a hobby. I’m sorry, not witchcraft – astrology (I always get the two mixed up).
Within the year, Lisa broke up with the rock star she had never met and accepted Dave’s request for her hand in marriage. They had a fairy-tale engagement, marriage, yada yada, and a year later Dave and Lisa found themselves staring at a cross on a urine soaked stick.
Lisa has always looked up to me and since becoming a wife and now an expectant mother, she relied on me more than ever. I couldn’t go five minutes without her calling, wondering whether she should have a bagel or toast for breakfast. Now, we all know that a bagel in the first trimester is a given, but these are the kinds of things that Lisa was clueless about. Please don’t blame her. It wasn’t her fault – she was the youngest of four and had been waited on and babied her whole life. Once again, I think this is another example where we can point the finger at the parents.
It was apparent she was headed for trouble when, during one training session I held, she put my infant son’s diaper on backward and inside out. Then there was the time she made a tuna-noodle casserole and forgot the peas! Her washcloths were always folded incorrectly and don’t get me started on her silverware drawer. Dave appeared unscathed by these “issues”, but I knew the hard, cold slap of reality would be a painful one for my dear friend, and I vowed to be there to witness it when it happened. I just didn’t know that I would learn something in the process.
You don’t know what you don’t know
When Lisa asked me to be in the delivery room with her and Dave, I knew at once that it was a duty that I would have to perform. Besides my own experience, I had actually never see a live birth, but judging from my successes, I felt confident I could assist. We talked at length of the things she would need in the delivery room: lipstick for pictures, refreshments for the hospital staff, “Footloose” on DVD, flattering birthing wear and of course, a CD mix of her favorite tunes.
For a brief time, Lisa seemed preoccupied with the Lamaze Method. It took a few weeks, but I explained to my inexperienced friend, over and over, that breathing came naturally – she didn’t need to pay someone to help her do it, and besides, I wasn’t sure how legit the whole methodology was. Sometimes these “necessary” classes are scams. I can say this with confidence as I had taken the class three times and I didn’t remember it doing much more than relaxing me when the pain became the greatest.
We discussed our birthing plan in great detail. The brownies were in the freezer – ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice and Lisa had chosen a couple flattering shades of lip stick. We went with basic black for the birthing wear but were still up in the air on whether or not to include her former flame’s songs on her CD mix. Other than that, the stage was set.
I sometimes say “Hindsight is 50/50 – could have gone either way”. Looking back, this was definitely the case. We could have sailed through Lisa and Dave’s birthing debut, but it didn’t happen that way. Like most disasters, you either blame someone else or wonder “what if?” “What if” I hadn’t lost my temper? “What if” the brownies had gone over better? “What if” the whole epidural debacle was just a dream? Could I have done something differently? You betcha! But what?
To be continued . . .