A New Chapter

On February 7, 2014, I celebrated an anniversary.  On that day, I had not had a full-time job for two years.

holy cow

Those who know me already know this about me – I like not working every day.  I don’t like thinking about from where my next dollar will come, but I no longer place any value on myself in reference to my work status.  I used to.  After I was fired from Mintz & Hoke in 2003, I learned not to.  I figured if they could fire me after all I had done while working there, I needed to rethink who I was.  There is a party game.  It goes like this.  What are you?  Name three things.  The most true thing first.  For years and years, I was

1.  A production manager

2.  A wife

3.  A friend

production managerWife-t-shirt friend1

Two and three varied, but for 20 years, I was a production manager first and always.  A cruel lesson I had to learn, but like many tough experiences in life – I am so much better for it.  Cancer – better for it.  Battered woman – better for it.  Infertile – better for it.  All true.

Now this sound like it could be a depressing blog but I tell you, it is not and will not end up that way.

smile face

I am selling my condo that I have owned for the last 10 years.  I can no longer afford to live here.  It is my favorite place I have ever lived.   I suppose I could find two lousy-paying full-time jobs but I don’t want to.  And lucky for me, I have another option.  I am moving in with my parents. (Plus a huge shout-out to the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare.)

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And this is what this blog is really about.  Me, moving back to my childhood home.

home

You read about this all the time.  You are reading about this now.  We are living in a strange world.  This economy is in an uproar.  I always did the right thing.  I saved money.  I supported myself.  I owned my own home.  Three times I bought a home.  I started at the bottom and made my way up to a spot where I could do what I wanted.  Within reason.  I remember buying my first house in 1985 and when we came out of the closing, we had about $100 left.  But we made a comeback.  We were careful and frugal.  And later on we, and then I, went on nice vacations.  I drove a relatively new car.  I picked up the tab.  If I wanted something new, I bought it.  New Nikes.  A prime rib to feed my friends at dinner.  Sushi once a week.  A mani/pedi.  A book.  Flowers for the dining room table.  A pizza delivered.  A massage.  Just regular stuff.  Nothing too extravagant.  What everyone wants to make life nice.  I don’t buy any of these things now.

nike sushimani

When I was a kid, I moved to Florida.  It was 1977.  I answered an ad for a job with “Kelly Girls” to work at a printer as a secretary/receptionist.  Voila!  The rest is history – I went into printing – remember drinks around the table – what are you – I am a production manager.  I was made for that job.  I had never heard of a production manager when I was growing up and all at once, I was one.  And I was good at it.  But print is dying a slow and painful death.  It won’t die all the way.  It will reincarnate as a smaller type of business.  PDF and the internet took care of that.  And I’m OK with progress.  I love the internet.  I was a library freak when I was a kid and I’m an internet freak now.  I love looking stuff up.  I used to keep a dictionary by my bed.  I read in bed.  Every night.  I liked to open an encyclopedia to any page and read about what I landed on.  Encyclopedias are gone.  Now we have Wikipedia.  And I like Wikipedia too.  And Google.

librarycomputerencyclopedia

So I was laid off two years ago and I looked for a job.  But I had been working in printing since 1977.  This is 2014.  I am 58 years old.  It is hard enough to get a job at my age, but I’m a one-trick pony to employers.  I know what I am.  I know I am not a one-trick pony.  I’m smart and funny and patient and passionate and flexible and fast and a very good student.  But I have given up on convincing anyone new of that.  And I no longer worry about it.

I have done some volunteer work at the daycare at the Y.  That led to a job as a sub Pre-K teacher.  I helped a friend with an older relative.  That led to respite care.  And work through Care.com.  I’ve done some editing for a university alumni magazine.  Now I’m driving escort cars.  With the oversize load sign on top?  And the flashing lights?  And a CB radio and orange flags?  And I have to say, I love it.  And it pays quite well.  Not much going on in the winter but it’s good.  No politics.  No crap.  No fighting.  And if there is, I pay no attention.  I go where they tell me.  I do what they tell me.  Then I go home.  I am going to try to support myself for a long time doing this.  My “friends” say I am a paid escort.  I love them too.

pre-koversize loadcb

So back to moving.  I like my parents.  They like me.  Dare I say, it might be love?

C&V

At the end of last summer and early fall, I let a friend stay in my condo.  I spent most of that time with my parents, in both Maine and Connecticut.  I had been considering moving in with them and in the back of my mind, I was afraid we might drive each other nuts and I wanted to test the waters.  And you know what?  I dove right in and the water was fine.  I kept asking my mother, “Am I driving you nuts?”  And she kept saying, “No.  Are we driving you nuts?”  And the answer was no from my end too.  When I finally came back to my condo, my mother called me and said, “Come back.  I don’t want to do my own laundry.”

maine laundry

Another thing to know about me.  In addition to being Self-Appointed Hair Critic to the World, I am the Queen of Laundry.  Believe it.  I separate.  I do the hot, warm, cold loads.  Every single time.  I use bleach as needed.  Every single time.  Yes.  No short cuts.  I’m a good production manager.  Probably why I was able to stay in my condo for two years without a real job.  I sold my Wii, my grandmothers crocks and kitchen antiques, my china and crystal, my jewelry, my jewelry armoire, designer clothes, and many more things that I cannot recall right now.  And I will sell lots more before I am through.  Because I am moving.

old country roseswaterford j3

I am heading toward a new chapter in my life.  I will live with my parents.  It will be good for me.  It will be good for them.  I won’t have to work ever again in a full-time job about which I do not care. I will do for them the things that become more difficult as they age.  And they will make my life easier.  We will take turns cooking.  My father and I want a big garden.  I love yard work.  I will do dishes and laundry.  I will run up and down the stairs.  I can watch their dog if they want to go somewhere and they can watch Dante for me.  I will drive my escort vehicles.  I will be busy in the nice seasons and slow in the winter.

breadgardenmushrooms

I will enter a new phase of my life.  I will peel down another layer and explore the person who is there – someone different yet the same in many ways.   As I have done many times before.  I look forward to it.  I embrace it.  My life is good.  It was good and will continue to be.

I am at a party. I am playing the game.  I am

1.  A daughter

2.  A dog mother

3.  A friend

daughters dante friend

I another few years, I may be someone else.

But for now – with my family, my friends and my dog, I’m happy.

Happy

More Haiku

Haiku 又又

I have the best friends
I cannot thank them enough
For all their support

My dog is barking
I would like to whack him one
But I won’t do it

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Chocolate is good
Makes me happy and fat too
Should stop eating it

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Thanksgiving was here
Girly week at my condo
We did have a blast

ImageImage

It’s been forty years
Since high school graduation
But I think I’m young

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No real job two years
Worried about my future
But I’m still happy

I love my condo
My favorite place to live
More than my big house

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Did not ever think
This is where I would be now
But I’ve adjusted

Supper Club was born
At a parent’s funeral
You can do it too

ImageSupper3

ImageImage

Fix a kitchen shelf?
I don’t care if he’s eighty
Daddy will do it

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I miss my dog Mike
His smell and his big brown eyes
Won’t forget him soon

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All of my new blogs
Will be about getting old
Arthritis not sex

My last haiku sucked
I look in the damn mirror
I am thirty-six

Now we are cooking
I’m bitching and complaining
Please keep reading – thanks

Want to be better
At keeping my house cleaner
I hate vacuuming

Writing this haiku
Trying to figure out life
Please put up with me

My original goal
Was to write two blogs a week
Two years in the past

Very cold outside
February is awful
Enough is enough

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Furnace is running
Money right up the chimney
I will block my ears

One day I will live
In Florida once again
It is sunny there

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Almost three weeks without Mike

I have not cried about you in over a week.

I carried your jingly collar around in my purse for a bit, but now it is in my “Mikey box”.

Last Tuesday, I was at the Y longer than I thought I would be and started to worry about you and then remembered that you were no longer waiting for me.

Your pal came over Friday night.  You did not greet him and beg for cookies from his pocket.

I made soup on Saturday and dropped a carrot.  You did not dive for it.

I took a nap in the afternoon.  I thought how nice it would be if I had my nose in the back of your neck and I could sniff you.

I made an iced coffee and an ice cube slid from the fridge to the floor.   You did not come running like a big nut to grab it.  I picked it up and threw it in the sink to melt.

Nobody, I mean nodoggy has eaten any of my dirty laundry.

The back yard is all clean.  There are no pooper doopers.  The mulch is new and red and cedary.

I threw out your beds.  They were all lumpy from all the washings after your seizures.  I ran all your bowls through the dishwasher and put them in the Mikey box downstairs.   I windexed all your nose smurb off the slider and the front door.   I threw out all the toys you had chewed to smithereens.  I gave a couple that were like new to Boo.  I washed Kong and Orby and put them in the box with the bowls and the collar.  I washed the car blanket.  It is clean and will not smell like you again.

I picked up your ashes and it made me sick to my stomach.  And then I wondered – how could so much dog fit into such a small box.  And I don’t refer to your physical size but your emotional size – the hole in my middle.

But I am feeling better.  I just reread my last blog – 4 Days without Mike.  I no longer feel like I’m wading through an atmosphere as thick as peanut butter.  I can laugh without feeling guilty. I sent an e-mail to the nice lady we met last time we were at the vet – the one from Poodle Rescue.  You never needed anyone to rescue you.  You had me.

ashes

 

 

No Mike – Day 4

From the tap, I fill the Brita pitcher with water.  After it runs through, I pour it into both the Keurig and Mike’s bowl.

After I get out of the shower, I walk back into the bedroom and talk to Mike while I get dressed.

I pick up my coffee cup because if I forget and leave it next to my chair in the living room, Mike will be slurping in it in less than 5 seconds.

When I walk back from the dumpster, Mike barks at me out the door and I threaten to beat him with a stick.

I put a baby gate in the opening at the top of the stairs every night so Mike won’t wander and maybe hurt himself having a seizure.

I leave the slider open so Mike can go in and out 45 times a day without driving me crazy.

I put the small wastebasket in the bathroom under the sink because Mike eats yucky Kleenex.

If Mike doesn’t race me on the stairs, I look up to see if he is already there looking down and waiting for me.

I hear the mailman and immediately give Mike the stink-eye so he won’t bark his fool poodle head off.

I leave the bathroom door open when I pee because Mike will be unhappy if I close him out.

I give Mike phenobarbital every morning and every night.  I’ve been doing that for nearly nine years.

I take Mike with me when I do errands – he has a red and white blanket in the back seat of my car.

Every night when I go to bed, Mike settles in with his head resting on my legs while I read my book.  When I turn out the light, he jumps off and goes to his bed in the corner.

I talk to Mike at least 25 times a day.

Sometimes I sing the song “Wild Thing You Make My Heart Sing” and Mike jumps up and put his front paws on my shoulders and we “dance”.

Mike and I nap together on the couch – our heads on opposite sides.  We share a blankey.

Mike under blankey

I am lonely and sickened.  It is hard to move forward.  I feel like that TV commercial where the guy dives into the swimming pool full of caramel and can hardly move.  I wake up in the morning and lie there for an hour or two and think about Mike.  I’m irritable and distracted.  I think I need to have my head examined.  I feel like I should try to function better, but I really don’t care.  When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t look so good.  I feel guilty if I don’t remember Mike is gone for even one minute.  I wonder if I’ll ever be the same again.  I know I’ll be the same again.  I just don’t know when.

December 14, 2012

Did you watch 60 Minutes Sunday night?  It was about the parents of the children slaughtered in Newtown in December.  They were unbelievably reasonable and composed and realistic.

Here is what they want.  Right away.  They want straw purchase laws to be seriously enforced.  (A “straw purchase” is when someone buys a gun for someone who cannot legally own one.)   They want a law to require background checks.  They want large capacity magazines to be illegal.

They want their babies back.

These brave people are not talking about the mental health component right now.  We Americans are so dopey that we have made HIPAA laws that protect this information no matter what.  God forbid we should use common sense.  Nope.  Not us.

These parents don’t want your shotgun.  They don’t want your handgun.   They don’t even want your semi-automatic rifle like the Bushmaster .223 used to kill their kids.  They just don’t want you to have the 30-round magazines that Adam Lanza had.  More common sense.

And polls show most Americans agree with them.  These are three very sensible expectations.  But here is the problem.  Not only is the NRA lobbying against these three things, who can possibly explain this, but the NRA is fighting to prevent any new gun laws from coming to a vote.

This is a big problem, folks.  And it looks like they might succeed.  And this is wrong.  Really, really wrong.  I have been on boards before.  I am on one now.  Sometimes things have passed on these boards with which I did not agree.  However, we were all elected to these boards.  We were given one vote each.  We voted.  Occasionally what I wanted to happen did not.  That’s OK.  Boards are democracies.  We live in a democracy.  We vote for the things we prefer.

Remember President Obama talking about Newtown in his State of the Union address earlier this year?  He said, and I’m not sure of his exact words, but something like” these people deserve a vote”.  You bet they do.  I noted this comment at the time and didn’t exactly understand what he meant.  I do now.

If you’re interested, you can watch 60 Minutes on youtube or probably CBS.com – maybe even OnDemand.  It may break your heart.  But your heart will not be broken as badly as the mother who said the last thing she does each night before getting in bed, is to kiss the urn on her dresser that contains her son’s ashes.  And then she prays she will dream about her son so she can see him again.  And sometimes she does.

But if you really want to do something, the right thing – send an e-mail to your Senator and Congressional Representative and tell them you want them to vote.  Many of them have taken NRA money so they are afraid.  But that’s too frigging bad.  Time to man-up.  Or woman-up, as the case may be.

I keep saying and saying this – We have to try.  And like all good democracies, we will compromise. And these parents’ three requests – they are a good compromise.   I know some people think I am anti-gun but those people would be completely wrong.  I don’t own a gun but have been around guns my whole life.  I can shoot a gun.  Rather well, I might add.  I have never used a gun under duress.  But put me on the shooting range and I can aim at the targets and I will hit them.  Right where I’m supposed to.

It is very easy to contact Congress.  I am attaching a link here.  You can e-mail, call on the phone, or you can take pen to paper or type a letter on your computer and mail it.  All the information can be found in this link.

http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

So let’s all do this.  Take a minute and tell them you want them to vote.  You want to see a vote.  You want to see their vote.   It’s the right thing to do.

One of the fathers on 60 Minutes said something like this.  Go to your mirror, look yourself in the eye and say this can never happen again.  This can never happen to me.  Try to believe it even if it is not true.  It will happen again.

And I know and everyone reading this knows this is a fact.

We can’t solve all the gun problems with laws but we must make an effort.  We must try.  These babies, children, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, grandmothers, wives, mothers deserve it.  They deserve for us to try.

Newtown paper angels