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.)

condocondo1

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

I am like Popeye

I have a cold.
My dog hasn’t had a seizure for more than 5 weeks.
This is a four-day weekend for me.
I had a great Christmas (Jake and Grace).
I’m like Popeye.
I am what I am.
I appear to be over the worst of my hot flashes after 11 years thank you very much.
My world is mostly black and white.
I strive to see gray.
I have good sheets.
Sometimes, OK often, I bite my cuticles.
I love crossword puzzles.
I love sudoku.
I hate to vacuum.
I wish I had gone to school to be a French teacher.
If I found out I was going to die next Tuesday, the first thing I’d do is go out and buy vodka and wine and cigarettes and dark chocolate truffles.
Then I’d get laid.
I wish I was the kind of person who would read and actually enjoy Moby Dick.
This winter, I have been sleeping in a hoody.
Blue is my favorite color.
I really like to swear and put new combos of bad words together.
I can’t stop coughing.
I’m sick of coughing.
I love the smell of dirt.
My mother makes the best fudge on earth.
My mother makes the best pie crust on earth.
I know the difference between right and wrong.
I wish people wouldn’t be mean just for the hell of it.
I’d move to a warmer climate if I didn’t want to stick close to my parents.
I have $12 in my wallet.
I love the truth.
I like pink nail polish.
I like thick white socks.
Cancer made me a better person.
I want a cuckoo clock.
I love to sit in the sun with my book.
If I had more money, the first thing I’d do is own more big poodles.
I prefer white appliances to stainless.
I like waterbeds.
I really don’t like salt.
I would like a house with a sleeping porch.
I’d rather tell than sell.
I don’t really care what most people think about me.
I love big cities – to be more specific Paris and New York.
I wish I could retire.
I don’t like foam pillows.
I should have adopted when I realized I wasn’t going to get a child the regular way.
I despise cold weather with a bloody passion.
My dog snores.

I love

I love (in no particular order)
Sushi
My dog Mike
Paris
Hot weather, sunshine, summer
My third husband Terry Bradshaw
Chocolate
Floating in/on Lake Ebeemee
Pedicures
Maps
Supper Club
My parents and sisters even when I want to bop them over the head
Reading in my spot
Sex
Ben & Jerry
The thought of retirement – please please please
Girlfriends
My niece and nephew – Jake you are the child of my heart
The internet
Cooking
Living by myself
Books
My dog Dave, may he rest in peace, I will always miss you, you were my first
Vicky
Flowers
Being in love
My blog (or my blob as I like to call it)
Massages

I do not love (also in no particular order)
Alarm clocks
Lima beans
Snow, winter, cold weather
Potato salad
Arrogance
Vacuuming
Tattoos
Hard mattresses
Arthritis
Organized religion
Non-hairdos – for christ’s sake do something with it
Cancer

You’re so vain

Remember when

we danced in the kitchen?

we did it on Amtrak? and not in a sleeper car?

we moved the ottoman over in front of the couch, stretched out our legs, and sat there night after night with the blanket covering us?

you said I was born to be with you?

you held my hand when my best friend’s father died?

you pulled up the leg of my jeans and stuck your finger in the top of my sock because it was winter and we were dressed like Eskimos and it was the most easily available bit of my skin for you to touch?

we sat in the kitchen of my third floor apartment on top of the hill and smoked a joint and ate Subway and watched the blizzard out that huge old window?

my dog died?

we both had insomnia and so we passed Bartlett’s back and forth and quizzed each other half the night?

I had cancer and was afraid to get out of bed and you pulled me out and helped me?

you walked me to my car and wrapped me in your coat and kissed me good night and we turned around and went back inside and got in bed?

I read biographies out loud to you in the car to pass the time on long trips?

we were flat on our backs in the pitch dark looking for constellations?

I put my nose in the middle of your chest and smelled you?

we chopped together and made really good things to eat?

our hair froze in the hot tub during a snow storm?

we first met and I sat on my hands so I wouldn’t touch you?

that one persistent seagull kept dive-bombing my head and you had to fight him off? My hero!

we did the crossword Sunday mornings and you never left until we had every square filled in?

I got a new puppy and you came in and said how are we ever going to have sex with that nut around so I shoved peanut butter and broken dog cookies in his toy and you said you should contact those Kong people I see a new advertising campaign in their future?

we did it in your truck at lunch? 25 times?

I called you and said its going to storm come and be snowbound with me?

you said you’d never leave me?

Me too.