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

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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

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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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The sky was pink tonight

Tonight when I left work, the western sky was pink with yellow streaks.  It was not dark outside.

From The American Academy of Family Physicians – “It’s a fact:  Your risk of clinical depression is three times higher right now than at any other time of the year!  And the hormone shortfalls behind the cold-weather blues are linked to a host of other health hassles, including headaches, back pain, achy joints, fatigue and more.”

Yup.  That about sums it up.

Oh Summer how I miss you.  When people say you are humid and hot, I agree right away.  I love that about you.  I look at you and I am happy.  I love how you make me feel.  Your warmth surrounds me.  Your moist air touches my skin.  Your arms hold me in a sensual embrace.  I love to wake up on a Sunday morning and make a cup of coffee and get the paper off the front steps.  Then out to the deck with my puzzle and pencil and dog to be with you and the sun rising up on a sharp angle toward noon.  I love to sit with you at the end of the day.  After work, in my shorts and flip-flops and tank top and sunglasses.  I like to look at my bare feet with their shiny bright pink toenails.  The feeling of your partner Sun going into my skin.  The pool.  The lake.  “They” say Sun is not good for me.  I do care about that but the feeling he gives to me is worth a little risk.  A small treat now and then.  Sitting in Maine in the front yard.  The comfy padded lawn chair and the novel and the sudoku and the crosswords.  Looking up at the boats going by.  A cruise around the pond in the afternoon.  Floating on the blow-up rafts or bobbing around on the noodles.  The only good thing about heading home from Maine, for I would spend all the warm months there if I could, is heading straight south and then west and having sun company all day.  A little extra to finish up the weekend.  Hurry back Summer my friend.  I can’t wait to see you again.

Blue

I‘ve got the blues.  I’m fighting it like crazy but I do.  It’s winter.  This happens to me every year.  And every year I know winter is coming and I swear to not let it happen again and it does no matter what I do or how hard I try.  And the older I get, the worse it gets.  I just hate winter and cold weather and how it’s dark when I drive to work and it’s dark again when I get out and drive home.  I don’t care if I do anything or go anywhere.  And my feet are freezing.  All the time.

Depression.  That’s it.  Plain and simple.  I use my energy to go to work and not be down and poopy when I’m there.  I don’t want to go out on the weekend.  I never even took a shower last Sunday.  I did brush my teeth and put on sweats.  I think that was it.  I did laundry because I needed the clothes to go to work.  And the only reason I left the house on Saturday was because the dog had a vet appointment.

I haven’t even been blogging as you may, or may not, have noticed.  I don’t feel like talking about anything.  I don’t feel like I have any opinions.  Quick.  Get the thermometer.  This could be serious.  I talked at length to my friend Susan about this in the fall, how I wouldn’t let it happen again this year but it just isn’t working.

I don’t care if I blog.  I don’t care if I stick to my diet.  I don’t care if I watch TV.  I don’t care if I go anywhere.  I don’t care if I get a manicure and a pedicure.  I do want to play scrabble on line.  That’s about it.  And read in bed.  And sleep.

It’s snowing now.  I will have to go out and clean off my car and move it for the plow.  I hate doing that.  It’s too cold and wet to be outside.  If I wasn’t having dinner with my friends tonight, I would not shower or get dressed today.  And don’t get me wrong, I’ll make myself shower and put on make-up and my favorite jeans.  And I’ll go out and have a good time.  But the effort to make myself do that will be huge.  And I’ll be complaining to myself all the time I’m in my car freezing waiting for it to warm up.  And I’ll have to stop and fill my tank and I keep waiting for it to be warm to stand there and pump but that isn’t happening until May.  And when I get home tonight, I’ll try to convince myself that I will go somewhere and do something tomorrow.  I’m not really hopeful this will happen.

Intellectually, I know my life is pretty good.  Not too bad at all.  But it doesn’t seem to matter.  I’m depressed.  Just reread.  This is a big downer but I feel a need to explain why I’m not writing.  If not to you, to myself.