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Joy

Ever notice how we human beings have ways of marking the passage of time? Sure, we have our calendars, our reminders, our clocks and gizmos. I’m talking about the not-so-obvious ways of marking time. The methods which mark time in subtle ways that leave you realizing after the fact how time has passed rather than noting it up front.

I am not a winter person. I like cool weather but I’m really a sunny, summer person. I mark my years mostly by noting the passage of the seasons. The months from January to the end of March are dreadful for me. In the region where I live winters are relatively mild, but temperatures can vary from a balmy 60 degrees one day to snowing and freezing levels the next. I find this pretty tough on my system. I’m always glad when Daylight Saving Time arrives. Even though I lose an hour, I can see that summer is on the way, and with it, some more consistent temperatures.

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The Holiday Season

Here in my neck of the Pacific Northwest woods, we’ve experienced some strange weather this winter. First, it started off with an unusually long summer. We were still having 80-90 degree weather in October. Summer was followed by an unusually short autumn. I think it lasted two weeks. Since then, we’ve had more rain than we usually do, more flood warnings than we have had in years, and wind. Wind warnings of all things! We’ve also had snow, something that usually doesn’t happen here until January or February, if it happens at all.
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There’s No Place Like Home

Autumn was late in coming to my small corner of the world. Summer, with it’s wearing, energy-zapping heat hung around till well into October. We”ve had one night of frost, three days ago, and though the rain finally made an appearance, the temperatures during the day haven’t really dropped much below the mid-60’s. In fact, as I write this, it is pushing midnight, and I am sitting outside on my upper deck, in my anti-gravity lounger, wearing loungepants and a camisole, covered only by a lightweight comforter. The weather went from an Indian summer to late winter, verging on spring. I can’t say I mind in the least. It is cool enough to be somewhat reminiscent of fall, but not cold enough that I need to worry about winter. Today, the weather forecast accurately predicted rain, but the temperature remained in the 70’s.

At one point this evening, I decided to head outside to get the mail and turn on the one lonely, but very creepy jack-o-lantern light we have. I live in a neighborhood of townhomes, some of them connected to another, others are solitary buildings, houses, if you will. I happen to live in one of the larger ones, with three large decks rather than a yard. I am also not adjoining anyone else’s home. The best part is that my home is the remotest, most private in the neighborhood. I like i t this way. I’m one of the few in the neighborhood who have children, which kind of makes me an anomaly. Most people living around me are, empty-nesters, or not yet married with children. I also like this.

But tonight, as I returned from getting the mail, I noticed how many of the homes were dark and silent. I took a moment t to gaze around. I counted only two other homes that had lights on. It was uncertain if anyone really was home. I shrugged to myself, thinking this was an interesting thing. As I turned back to my own place, I noted how drastically different my place was, I  contrast. The decking above and below, combined with it’s unique and very private location in the neighborhood, set it apart instantly. But tonight, I noticed something else, something more. While all the homes in my neighborhood are well maintained, mine actually looked like someone lived there. I don’t mean this the way some might when they try to excuse the “kid clutter” or haphazard maintenance that characterizes their place. My home is as meticulously maintained as the rest of them. What was different was the element of warmth. My home appeared warm and inviting in a way that these other homes, even with their lights on, could not. 

“Someone who cares, lives here,” I thought. “And it shows.”

I walked back to my home, once again grateful that, in spite of all the challenges and difficulties I face, I have a warm home where I truly enjoy being. I have children who are great people, and I love spending time with them. I have four cats who annoy the crap out of me at times, but tonight I wouldn’t change a thing. There is just no place like home.

Interviews

Back in the day, when I was younger, squeaky clean, freshly stamped with that Bachelor’s Degree, and looking for work, I had to go through the arduous,  intimidating, and emotionally exhausting process of interviewing.  I hated it.  I hated the way I was often scrutinized, picked apart, rejected.  And that was if I even got the interview.  Because I was able to present myself well on paper, and because I legitimately had some decent grades, a fair amount of extracurricular campus leadership involvement, and held down a 30-40 hour job, I usually got any interview I sought.  The problem is, I’d crash and burn on the interviews.  The only time I didn’t crash and burn on an interview was the interview for the job I have now.  Of course, by the time I interviewed for this job, I was in my 30’s, had a bunch more education under my belt, and was far more confident in my abilities to do the job I was seeking. Looking back, I was so terribly frightened and unsure of myself  in those wide-eyed, innocent days, that it is amazing that I got the jobs I did get, when I got them, that gave me the experience which ultimately landed me a position in a nationally recognized and cutting edge training program for the profession I am currently in.

I was young and unsure. I felt inadequate. I was afraid to fail. All of this showed through in those early interviews, I am sure. Like I said, I’m surprised I ever got a job to begin with. Read the rest of this entry

Humorous…Or Not

The beginning of love is always fun, exhilarating, scintillating, exciting, happy.  The end of it, if analyzed, is bound to be many things.  Sometimes volatile, dangerous, and painful.  In my case, this ending is interesting, if not completely humorous. How can I possibly refer to the end of a relationship that was (or so  I thought) the love of my life, certain to go the distance, as…humorous?  I mean, after all, I am devastated.  I really am.  I would never have considered living with a man if I wasn’t 100% certain this was the real deal. We really had so much going for us in so many ways. I can’t even begin to explain or list the ways this relationship seemed so right.  And yet, apparently, it wasn’t.  I have yet to learn all the lessons from this.  Much of what has transpired and will yet transpire will teach me important lessons only after the throbbing pain of loss has subsided and I can try to look at what happened with a bit less emotion. I get that.  But right now, I’m riding an emotional roller coaster that rivals anything Disney or Six Flags could come up with.

So, in spite of the pain, how can I view this as humorous?  Well, having two very stiff drinks helps.

The truth is, I am crushed.  I am hurt.  I am in all sorts of pain.  (So much for that “calm before the storm.”)  I’ve cried a lot today.  He does not know this.  I will continue to brush back the tears, to sob silently behind closed doors (read in the shower), until he is finally gone from my residence and, sadly, from my life.

Since there is now no “faking it” in our relationship (I never did, but I know he did…if not in the bedroom, then certainly elsewhere), we’ve had some very interesting conversations.  He is one who likes to dodge issues; pretend like things are fine when, in fact, they are not.  I, on the other hand, prefer to know the truth straight up.   So, as people do, we had yet another conversation about the details of unwinding this thing.  Mind you, we aren’t storming around tense and antagonist.  We woke up this morning had coffee together, and began talking about the “unwind” like an old married couple might discuss the return on their mutual fund or the sale of some property or the latest developments with the grandchildren.  Since the Non-Boyfriend (NBF), is not exactly one to be direct and honest about his feelings, and since I for some idiot reason felt I needed to know where he stood (this is critical, because I have absolutely no clue how he feels about me and how he feels about “us” in general and haven’t for a very, very long time). So…I started out asking questions and got some good information.

He admits to being such a neat freak that he makes Felix Unger look like a slob.  He admits that this is not healthy, has created problems for us, but he’s at a loss as to know what to do.  (Read:  He’s unhappy with me because my teenager doesn’t leave his room Better-Homes-And-Gardens perfect every day. )  Here’s what my son’s room looks like…normally.

This is my 17-year-old son’s disastrous room

And the downstairs guest bathroom that he complains that my older daughter leaves a disaster (Yes, this is normally how it looks, not cleaned up for the picture.) :

This is the downstairs bathroom that is, apparently, always a mess. Hmmm, no one has been in to clean it. Is this messy?

And here is the kids’ bathroom, another source of contention for him:

Again, I did not clean up for these pictures and they haven’t been photo-shopped. Is this a messy bathroom?

He says he just cannot deal with the mess anymore and he is tired of cleaning up after everyone.

Whoa!  Screeeeeech!

Let’s make it very clear, folks.  This man is NOT paying rent.  He is NOT contributing to the bills.  He only pays for anything when asked and NEVER volunteers. And he DOES NOT clean up after anyone.  Lately, even though he’s making more, he doesn’t even pay when asked. He comes and goes as he pleases and he is tired of cleaning up after everyone?  (I was careful to point out to him that he had done absolutely nothing to clean or contribute to this place, without being directly asked, for the last two months.  He agreed with me.)

I responded to his above statement, by reminding him of the fact that he pays nothing to live here and, lately, he contributes nothing, and he comes and goes as he pleases.  I told him, if I were in that place, I would consider it my rent to do whatever I could around the house to keep the landlord (read: me) happy.

I pressed him further about his perspective.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Me:  So, how long have you known that this relationship was a dead end and you weren’t willing to go to the next level? (Read: how long have you known you wouldn’t every marry me?) Has it been, what?  January?  December?

Him:  Oh not quite that long.

Yeah, end of conversation.

I have only two words for him at this point:  GET OUT!

Actually, that’s not true, I have four words for him:  GET THE FUCK OUT!

Instead, what I said was this:

“Well, then.  You could have at least have been a gentleman and gotten out once you were sure, instead of taking advantage of me.  I’d like you to work on finding a place where you can stay immediately.”

He mumbled something about working on it and named the 10th as a deadline.

I followed up with, “Well, since I just paid your rent, your utilities and your car insurance, and since you have absolutely no ability or motivation to pay me back, you will make sure this house is spotless.  You can start with the floors downstairs and making dinner tonight.”

I’m changing the locks on the afternoon of the 10th, maybe even before. (He does not know this.)  He cleaned the floors and made dinner tonight.

He can’t leave my life soon enough right now.  (And, yes, obviously, he is not telling me the entire truth about where he is with things, which is really the reason we are breaking up; he simply cannot be honest, not with himself or with other people.)

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

~ William Shakespeare

I find it humorous how relationships can turn on a dime.

I find it humorous, how, when a relationship end, the emotions can turn on a dime.

I have one week…just one more week.

 

 

Tucson Summer in the Pacific Northwest

Well, you know how this goes, don’t you? We complain because the weather isn’t warm enough. It’s June, by God, and still raining! Many in the Pacific Northwest are ready to pack up and move elsewhere where they might be guaranteed more than three days of sun this summer. I am not one of those people, though, I do live in the Pacific Northwest…but…just barely.

I, on the other hand, complain (well, I hope not too much and not in a negative way) about staying up late at night because of the rain. I don’t mind the rain, really. I don’t even mind staying up late at night, really, except that I know that it is not really the best thing to go without sleep. Especially for one, such as I am, who is attempting to recover from a brief (yes, six months was brief, I have friends who have lived to tell of battles lasting 13 years) skirmish with cancer. Please ladies, don’t skip the mammo’s. Anyway, they tell me that sleep is important when you are healing, so I suppose, it frustrates me when I cannot sleep for that reason.

But otherwise, being awake late at night is really the best time to blog.

I have no interruptions. I have no guilt about which people in my life I am neglecting as the result of my writing. It just kind of works.

But, the rain is gone, and now I have yet another reason to be awake. You probably saw this coming. Yep.

It’s heating up here in the Pacific Northwest and in my particular area, the air conditioning kicked on at 8:00 this morning. My bedroom, being upstairs with fully half of the entire wall (or more) glass and being the only room on the south-facing end of our home, gets a tad bit warm.

I couldn’t sleep because I was hungry. I have no idea why I was so hungry. I just was. I’m not prone to midnight snacking at all so the fact that I actually got up out of bed to get a bowl of Life cereal and eat it was pretty unusual. After eating as quietly as I could (the entire upstairs opens up to our living/dining/kitchen area in the form of a balcony and I didn’t want to wake anyone), I drug myself up the stairs. The house was deliciously cool and I was tempted to grab my black velour blanket from my bed and curl up on the couch downstairs. I walked into my room and it was like I’d entered Tucson in the middle of the summer. Wow! Outside my door, deliciously cool. Inside my bedroom door, Tucson summer. Something is wrong here.

Then I remembered about the glass windows which I usually don’t pull the shade down on, and the sun which beats in my bedroom all day long, and the fact that I’m upstairs and heat rises. I should have seen this coming.

I can fix all that for tomorrow night…but for now? Well, for now, I can just add one more thing to the list of things that keep me up all night.

Tucson summers right here in the Pacific Northwest.

P.S. I actually spent a summer in Tucson. That’s it, just a summer. From April to September the year my oldest daughter was four and a half months old. She’s turning 22 this year, so that was a while ago, and, yes, I am old…but not infirm by any means. Back then, we lived in an apartment complex and our 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment rented for $250 a month. It was the only time during my then married life that I didn’t work and I stayed home with my child. Our complex was built around a swimming pool. It was the perfect arrangement. The worst part of the deal was packing the not-yet-walking child down the stairs with the laundry and the detergent to the laundry room to do the laundry. That was truly awkward. Since then, if/when I ever rented, I insisted on space for a washer/dryer in the unit. Other than that one little laundry thing, I truly loved Tucson in the summer.

Summer Rains and Insomnia

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Interesting weather we’re having here, isn’t it? While most of the country is burning up, my little corner of the world is experiencing a deluge that might become record-breaking. The water is pouring from the sky in monsoon-like torrents. The thing is, I live in a region not known to ever experience monsoons. We don’t have tornadoes either, so I’m hoping that’s not next on the weird weather agenda these days.

The rain is definitely good for us. Though my area is known to be a bit rainy at this time of the year, rains of this magnitude usually occur in January and are accompanied by colder weather and snow in the mountains. It’s raining like it is January, but it is 64 degrees out. And it’s the middle of the night.

I love summer rains. I love them even if they keep me up at night. I’m tempted to go brew a cup of coffee and sit out on my upper deck. Sitting in the rain soaked air with a cuppa joe at night, just listening to the rhythmic cadence of raindrops on roof, and on cedars sounds like a heavenly idea. Maybe if I took a blanket, I could fall asleep out there.

I won’t do it though. I’m certain to wake someone up. I don’t mind that I’m up at night. In fact, I’m becoming more and more accustomed to these late night rendezvous with my tiny iPhone screen, and the WordPress app. This does not mean others in my home would view wakefulness at this hour with the same charitable nature. So, out of consideration for them, and to save the neighbors from hearing the rest of the family yelling at me in the middle of the night, I’ll save the coffee-in-the-rain idea for a night when I am all alone.

The rain does sound so very nice…and far away…so does the rumbling thunder accompanying it.

April Recap And Random Money Musings

May 2012 is already shaping up to be a better month than April was. That’s pretty decent considering it isn’t even May yet. I get paid at the end of the month, and have already paid all my bills for May. That’s also pretty decent considering I paid up the ones I had to skip on last month just to survive. I absolutely detest living like this but one of the first things I learned in Divorce 101 is that sometimes you just have to survive. That was April’s mantra. May’s, I hope, will be more about recovering and stabilizing rather than just making it. By July, I actually hope to be moving ahead.

So, I’ve paid the bills, and there is money to eat on for the rest of the month; another reason May is already better than April. In addition, I did this without planning on the rental money, from the old Someday-The-Bank-Will-Decide-To-Foreclose house. I’m going to terminate the contract with the renters whether they pay or not on May 1. We are on a month-to-month and i can terminate the agreement with 30 days notice for no cause. The income is nice, the hassle is not. It is also a good idea for me to just get used to not having that income. After that, I’m probably going to need to begin not planning on the money from The Evil Ex, because I suppose that will go away soon also. I just can’t worry about that now. On the up side, I have a few gigs that opened up over the summer that will hopefully do much to get my savings going.

On another note, my son was sick all last week and he gave me whatever he got. I spent most of the glorious spring weekend indoors, sick with a killer cold. I’m feeling slightly better now, but won’t be heading in to work tomorrow. I’m certain my clients would not appreciate me coughing, sneezing, and hacking phlegm all over them. I’ve already called in my assistant. She can handle most of the important stuff, and reschedule the rest. I will be spending the day in bed sleeping, hoping like anything to speed my recovery. God knows I’ve taken enough sick time this year.

In all, April sucked. Bankruptcy is no fun and things were super tough. On the other hand, I do believe the home we are in right now was divinely appointed. There were not and still are not any homes of the kind and size we have for the amount we are paying. I’m not sure this is necessarily a forever home for us, but I can think of much worse places to land for a few years while we get back on our feet financially. Plus, it is low maintenance and I love this place. Things could be much, much worse.

So, here’s to moving through the roadblocks and challenges in life. After every hill climb, there is a glorious descent. Let’s hope the ride smooths out for the rest of 2012.

Global Warming and Insomnia

I love summer. I love it for a number of reasons, not the least of which is, I don’t have to punch a time clock and report to an office away from home. I also enjoy the things everyone else loves about summer: the blue skies and the warm weather.

Where I live, we usually have four seasons. The last few years, however, we have observed a reduction in the amount of the year allocated to Spring and Fall with an increase in time for winter and summer, with summer edging out winter a bit more with each passing year.

This year, we went straight from winter, to summer in April, and it happened this last weekend. I love that. Spring isn’t my favorite season anyway. But after experiencing the first dreadfully hot night where I tossed and turned till well past 3:00 a.m., I think I have come to appreciate the gradual lead-in to the summer heat which Spring provides.

Tonight seems like its going to be another hot one as well. I need the sleep. It gets tough to perform well on the job with no sleep, and it looks totally unprofessional when you begin nodding off in a marketing meeting with important clients that you really, really want to sign. Further, I started radiation treatment and the big concern about radiation is the fatigue that sets in somewhere around week three or four. I was hoping to be able to rest up in a feeble effort to avoid the fatigue and consequently having to take even more time off work.

What I need right now is a really dull movie.

Rain On

It starts softly
the barest, tiny tap
Of water
On roof, deck, leaf.
Followed by
Another, hesitantly.
Then…
Another and another and another
In quick rapid-fire succession
Until what started out softly
And sweetly
Turns into a
Loud continuous pouring
Of water
Over everything.

Pour on.
Soak through.
My day is not ruined.
It is 3:00 am.

Rain on.

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