"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for May, 2016

The Big Switch

Madeline insisted that I write about how the Hunter and I went about insuring that he had a clean health check for his new job.  It is a funny story although at the time, I thought both of us would explode from stress over the situation. This post is for everyone who needs to pass a drug screening but isn’t clean. 

The Hunter’s new employer moved through the hiring process at warp speed. We thought it would take perhaps 30 days and instead he was offered the job in the same week he applied. Yes, we were thankful that things were not drawn out, but he had to pass the drug test hurdle and he was not clean at all due to his daily smoking. 

He came home happy but freaking out on how to handle the test. Interestingly, during his two previous drug screens for jobs prior to me, he said the staff was very suspicious., so he is incredibly nervous. He bought several drug tests and he failed the first one, which we knew would happen, but we wanted a benchmark.  We went on the Internet to research the situation and it came down to two ways: a cleanse or a swap of urine at the test. It is said that our internet search history is perhaps the most intimate, revealing evidence of ourselves. Mine will fascinate an archaeologist from the future. 

Anyway,  I suggested that we visit the local head shop for advice, after all surely they deal with this daily.  Our seasoned sale associate, with eyes as red as an albino bunny, advised us that the cleanse worked great or we could use synthetic urine. The Hunter opted for the cleanse.  I was ambivalent about the cleanse because THC is stored in fat cells, so how would a cleanse flush this?  We had the weekend to do a couple of experiments and trial runs. 

Saturday morning the Hunter gets up and prepares for the cleanse. He decides in the name of science, that he would keep a log of each action and reaction.  First, he needed a high fiber meal.  I made him steel cut oatmeal, which he had never had.  And he never will have again since he hated it with a passion. Next he drank the recommended amount of fluids including the cleanse.  I can’t recall all of the steps, but he followed  and documented them meticulously.  We waited the allotted time and he took another drug test. Fail. He grabs the paperwork and packaging to consult with the head shop.

He returns with synthetic urine. Apparently synthetic urine is sold as a novelty kink item for those who enjoy a golden shower.  It is real human urine which has been reconstituted from dried uric acid.  For about $50 you get a low-tech kit consisting of a rubber band, hot pack (think hand warmer) and the urine which is in a simple plastic squeeze bottle that has a temperature strip on the outside. I could assemble all of these elements for $5 at Walmart. 

The Hunter adamantly refused my idea of using my urine or his son’s (who was ironically clean).  He wanted the professional stuff. I created a pouch in his underwear by sewing a side flap shut. I purchased extra hand warmers just in case. He practiced the placement of the bottle.  He walked around the house so I could listen carefully for any sloshing liquid sounds — the jeans muffled the sound. We were ready. Nervous, but ready. The trick to the swap method is temperature. The urine needs to be between 95-99 degrees. You warm up the synthetic stuff in the microwave. Yes, I thoroughly cleaned EVERYTHING afterwards. 

We head off to the urgicare center. Our smartest move was asking to go to the branch closest to our then current home rather than by his new employer. Our local center was lax while we later found out the other was vigilant and strict because the employer is a high-profile client there. Anyway, we walk in about an hour before closing. Timing is critical because of maintaining the urine temperature.  The Hunter gets the paperwork and then they tell us that once we sign the drug screening consent we cannot leave the building until after the physical is completed. The clinic is packed, so I asked how long was the wait. One hour, we are told. I pause. 

“Honey, I’m sorry but I can’t wait an hour and then another hour for your physical.  I promised my sister we would go to her house for that thing.” The Hunter stares at me intently because he knows I don’t have a sister.  I turn to the staff and sweetly say, “I’m sorry, but we are tight on time.  I had no idea this would take two hours. Is it less crowded first thing in the morning?”  They assure me yes, it’s quieter. I turn to the Hunter, “Darling, I am so sorry, but I promised her and we would be too late if we stay. Are you OK with coming back first thing tomorrow?” He slowly nods and hands the paperwork back to the staff.  

I present like a very normal, nice, vanilla, professional woman. People don’t know that I will bend/break rules or step outside boundaries at the drop of a hat.  I have tons of stories of me using my Miss Innocent persona to my advantage. This is one of those situations.  I thank the staff, check my phone and say, “Honey, we must go now”, and head out the door. The Hunter follows gratefully. We decided on the way home that it had been a successful dry run. He was thankful for my decision to abort the mission.  

The next morning was flawless. The urine was easily maintained at the perfect temperature (he absconded my favorite digital meat thermometer for the second attempt – I sterilized it thoroughly afterwards). We had no wait and the Hunter tried my “kill them with friendliness and chitchat” approach which worked like a charm. He passed with flying colors, no one was suspicious. 

Now you know from the voice of experience on how to pass a drug screening. My hope is we never have to do this again — the stress was unbelievable LOL.  

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Stuff

Stuff (stuff) stack it on stack it on up
(Stuff) never gonna ever get enough (stuff)
Oh it’s treasure till it’s mine then it ain’t worth a dime

It’s stuff (stuff) spreading like weeds
Dragging me under in an endless sea of stuff
(Stuff) There ain’t no end
Got to get a bigger place so I can move in
More stuff

Diamond Rio

I am back in suburbia in a house, away from my cozy townhouse where I could walk to all of life’s conveniences. I never thought I would do this again, but it’s funny how life’s journey is a twisting path. 

I owned three homes during my marriage. A small starter home, then a little larger single family in the same general neighborhood and then the house in the “right” neighborhood with the best schools. 

I never got to truly make these houses “mine”. My Ex was reluctant (scared) to do any substantial improvements, so any improvements were a struggle with him. Due to the decade in the last house, I was able to renovate the kitchen (from its original 1968 condition), the pool/patio area and the family room. I painted the exterior and most of the interior, however color choice was usually a lopsided compromise. My bedroom was a hideous salmon color chosen by my Ex. I hated that color from the moment the first brushstroke hit the wall. Even the painter commented that he was betting he would be back to re-paint inside of a month. I left it there for years because I hated the forced intimacy of sharing a bed and living space with someone I no longer loved, so I had no need or desire to create a warm, loving environment. 

Now I am back in a house in a neighborhood that reminds me of my middle house. These folks aren’t the 1/2 of 1% of my last house, but they are friendly and quiet. My yard is a fraction of the size of my last house, but it backs up onto a small canal where the birds gather. It’s lovely and I feel good here. I live on the patio here.

I refuse to keep gathering more stuff. During my marriage, I went through a shopping for happiness phase. For a brief time, I had an assistant who was a true shopaholic and from her I learned that momentary burst of satisfaction from a good sale or buying some meaningless bauble that would bring a smile to my child’s face. When I was blue, I would take an afternoon off work and shop.  

Now I am a reformed shopper. Clearing out my mom’s house cured me for good. When I saw her stacks of towels, rows of Clinique makeup, hordes of batteries, a freezer full of expired food, I realized that unless I changed my ways, I could easily end up with the same mounds of crap. I didn’t want to do that to my kids. When I gave all of my mom’s belongings to an estate sales company to dispose of, I realized how meaningless possessions are. 

I still have moments when I struggle with my recovery. I was in Target with my son this week to get a few final items before his departure to Asia. I picked up some cute acrylic stemless wine glasses and thought that these would be great for sipping wine on my new patio. Then I put them down decisively. “No more STUFF”, I told myself. “Think about all the boxes you just had to unpack for this move”. I didn’t buy them and I don’t miss them, OK, maybe a little. 

I have accumulated more stuff than I thought during my past 3 years of freedom. When I moved out, I took very little because major things (furniture, china, even pots) I had not chosen. Funny right? I’m saying that I had a shopping problem, but the big stuff was chosen by the Ex. What the hell did I buy? Stuff for my kids a lot of times, clothes, books, shoes — things my Ex wouldn’t really notice. 

Anyway, I moved into my new place and carefully curated everything that went into it. I made meticulous lists of what was needed, shopped the Internet and stores before each purchase, returned things that didn’t work. I spent months on creating my home and I was proud that each and every thing was a reflection of me. I occasionally had a splurge of over-shopping, but I am much better. This project filled my weekends and nights so I didn’t feel lonely. 

Now I have the Hunter in my life, my home and my bed. This house is now OUR home, so I also have to let him have a say, a place and an influence in it. I just gave him a desk and file cabinet in my beautiful, large office so he has a work space of his own. This necessitates me getting a few things perhaps, but I am patient to see if they are truly necessary. We have open spaces in our home, not bare, just open and I like it. I don’t feel confined by the clutter like I have felt in the past. 

The Hunter and I have dreamed of living in an RV and traveling the country. I read about these full-time RV’ers and how they have scaled their belongings down to the bare minimum. It fascinates me. Then I wonder what I would do with my grandmother’s dining room set. Hopefully my daughter will want it. If not, I’ll figure out a good home for it when that day comes. 

The dining room set is a great example of subtle conflict in my marriage. My Ex didn’t like it. He wanted something contemporary and was constantly harping about getting rid of it. The seat cushions were needle-pointed by my grandmother. It is a charming, classic set with a table encompassing 3 leaves, 6 chairs, a corner hutch and a buffet. Not cumbersome or ornate, just charming and lovely. I need to eventually refinish it, but for now I just enjoy it. My Ex had no empathy for my sentimental feelings. I guess it’s fair because his mother was saddled with a dinning room set from her mother-in-law that I swear was authentically from the Middle Ages. It was black, heavy, gothically ornate in a hideous style that I hated from the first moment I saw it. It lived in my house in my dining room for about a year at one point. Thankfully, my gracious mother-in-law got rid of it before I had a meltdown. 

So this rambling post is just my meditation on stuff and place. Thunder is rumbling gently as I write. I hear dozens of birds, a low murmur of traffic in the distance and my dog is snuggled by my side. It’s peaceful here. I am content to sit here and write as the Hunter snoozes after our morning quickie. 

Moving Sucks

Moving sucks. Moving when life is already busy sucks more. Moving when you are busy and your love is hospitalized 3 days before the move was unimaginable until it happened to me. Yes, the Hunter had an overnight in the hospital (dehydration plus undiagnosed high blood pressure equals hospital).

I had just spent a lovely weekend at my brilliant daughter’s graduation. My parents joined us and the celebration was wonderful. My Ex behaved and all was well. OK, he did crack a really awful joke about the Holocaust, which garnered a glare from the lovely Jewish family sitting in front of us, but that is par for the course with him. Yes, I was out of town the weekend before my move. A little extra pressure.

I arrived home on Monday and was ubering from the airport when I got two calls from the same unknown number. Since my cell is my only number for everything in my life, I ignored it. Then I get a text from the Hunter. “My boss is calling you. I’m headed to the hospital”. Holy shit. I immediately call his boss. The Hunter is headed to a hospital an hour away from me.

I jump in my car and head up to him against his weak protests. His cardiac enzymes were out of whack, his blood pressure was very high and he felt light-headed among other things. The hospital said “welcome – you will be staying overnight regardless. We need to monitor you.”

The Hunter isn’t a great patient. He has his own ideas on his medical care (who doesn’t), but he acquiesced. He was thankful that I was there to not only keep him company but to also be his liaison with the medical providers.

But I was frustrated by our move. The Hunter left it all to me. The movers, packing – it was all me. He went to work. I had little packed and it was a bit overwhelming and stressful plus exhausting. I felt a bit abandoned.

On Move Day, the Hunter went to work and left me to deal with it all. He showed up at our new home to drop off tip money and grab food for everyone. Then he went back to work for a late meeting. After the meeting, he calls me to say he’s headed back to our former stomping grounds so he can buy some pot. Seriously?! The only help I had was 4 movers (who were paid handsomely), Nino (Hunter’s son) for 2 hours and my son who only does exactly what is asked of him. My brilliant, sweet son is like a burro. He will work hard, but only when asked. Otherwise he is content to get back to his studies and videos. I feel like any help he provides is a generous gift. I’ll write more about our relationship in another post.

Anyway, I’m exhausted. I have worked my ass off. The Hunter packed 3 small boxes of his hunting gear and that was it. I was officially annoyed on Move Day. He gets home and is on Cloud 9, bouncing around the new house happy as a clam and horny as a toad. I want sleep and several Advil.

The next morning I am chatting with him on the phone because he had to work and I finally get to the root of his lack of help. He hates moving. He has moved do frequently that he hates it with a passion. Ok, but I need his help.

We talk about it. I explain what I need from him and he agreed and apologized. I used my words without holding in my growing resentment. I am proud of myself. He wants me happy. I just need to tell him what I need. He has stepped up and has been steadily helping with finishing up at the old place, a little unpacking, groceries and he bought me flowers to celebrate OUR new place. He had to work all weekend, but he did make two trips to our old place to bring up the rest of our things, including his canoe.

I’m good now. With him. Now my bitching is I have 3 nails that broke below the quick (ouch) and I have had to adjust virtually every kitchen shelf. What the hell? I haven’t looked for, thus haven’t found, my shoe box so I’ve been wearing the same smelly sneakers for 3 days. On Day One of the new house, I couldn’t make coffee with any of our 3 devices because either it was missing completely or a key component had been left behind. That has been resolved.

My new backyard is lovely and peaceful. I hear the birds, enjoy the green and my dog is thrilled to have a yard again. We have a garage again which I have missed. We have more space than we need and I am vowing that I will relish the open space and resist any urge to fill it. I accumulated more stuff than I thought in my post-marriage three year span. Shame on me. I must remember that stuff doesn’t make me happy, experiences do and this new backyard….

Blustery Winds of Change

My life is a whirlwind and I need to accept that the wind of change is blowing fiercely this year. My children are brilliant in their own respective ways. Taz is poised for such an amazing, successful life.  Her hubby achieved the impossible — an amazing, high-profile job in their new locale. Their new apartment lease is signed, she is headed into one of the top programs in her field. Their lives are shining so brightly that I am secretly praying that it continues unabated forever.  They are at a high pinnacle of success and happiness that will probably only happen a couple of times in their life, but I don’t want to say that.  Instead, I savor their happiness and success. 

We just ran a quick errand in preparation of her graduation. We talked about her amazing synchronization of events.  We talked about her pending residency. We also touched on priorities. She is committed to having a family and being as actively involved as I was in attending the vast majority of my kids’ events. That takes determination and a willingness to subrogate your life for others, so we will see. I am grateful that she has such a strong sense of family and has already relayed this to her hubby. She is slowly realizing her years of fiercely fighting and competing for top spots and success can now wane. She is a doctor, her residency is set.  But I know her competitiveness will only shift, but never subside. 

The Hunter is also on a fantastic trajectory of success. His new job is tapping into his many talents and now he is truly appreciated and recognized as the rock star he is. His new boss insisted that he apply for a promotion and the job description fits his current duties to a T.  He loves his work and is happier than ever.  I love seeing his growing confidence, self-esteem and well-deserved success. He has just about doubled his income since we have met. The Hunter has big plans for us and how we can make even more money. I love his energy and creativity. I am so proud of him that I could burst. He is tapping into his true potential and making vast career strides. 

I, on the other hand, am still struggling to kick my business development into overdrive. Work was very complicated this week and my boss was unavailable.  His daughter is graduating,and this coupled with previous family deaths, has made him distant and not focused on our firm this year.  I need him right now, but since I re-negotiated my contract, he has become distant and I feel a barrier between us. Now, more than ever, I feel like only an employee or income stream. I don’t feel valued.  With my pending move outside our city, I believe he thinks I am leaving.  He may make it a self-fulfilling prophecy if we cannot bridge this abyss. His only communications with me that he initiates revolve around how I am servicing his client. No new ideas, no encouragement. Just whatever benefits him directly. Our day of reckoning is approaching.

My other wince is with the Hunter. His communication during the work day has waned as he has gotten busier. Even over the weekend, he has relished his solitude and hasn’t really missed me, I think. I am initiating more and more of our daily contact. He didn’t fuck me before I left even though I was horny. He was tired and felt sore. Rather than just pouncing on him (which apparently is a form of confrontation for me), I didn’t insist. He commented on my timidity as we snuggled up to go to sleep.  He gently said that other women would have just grabbed his dick, sucked it, then fucked it. Shit, I guess I just need to grab the bull by his horn. LOL. 

I am ending the weekend on a bit of a melancholy note. I didn’t feel up to going to one of the parties — I was just too damn tired. I don’t know when I will next see Taz. She can’t visit for the holidays, although I could go see her. But the first year is stressful and complicated with both her and Hubby tackling new, stressful jobs in a big, new city. As I hugged her today, we talked about FaceTime, Snapchat and my favorite, snail mail. Then we have my son leaving for Asia in two weeks. My dad told me today that both my kids are gone for all intents. He’s right. Those baby birds are now flying far from their nest, which is exactly how I raised them. 

But today is about the shining brillance of Taz. She is a rock star. 

I’m Still Alive, but Broke

I have been MIA because life is just so damn hectic these days.  Work is busy with everything skittering around and making me think that a comfortably numb state-of-mind (i.e. a few tokes or drinks) is the solution.  That’s nothing new in my work world because I do have a stressful job.  I just listen to my affirmations and plug along.  I do still need to work on my self-discpline because I have quite a few time-sensitive things to get done, but here I sit writing a blog post.

The Hunter and I are set to move next week and we had the walk-thru last night.  By the light of day and no furniture, the age of the house revealed itself, much like an older woman without makeup.  The landlord was a bit too intrusive and reality crashed on my head as I noticed all these things plus the distance between the house and my clients.  My feet grew icy cold and the Hunter noticed my panic.  He was wonderful.  He gently gave me a “I told you so” about the house, and we agreed that it would be a one-year scenario so we can get accustomed to the new locale.  My girlfriend, who up until last year lived in this area, is IM’ing me right now that she and her husband had not liked the area’s location so much — sigh.  Don’t tell me this now!

When we returned home, I walked the dog and reminded myself that I had studied the work situation thoroughly and knew that this new locale would be just fine.  Then I rattled off a list of colleagues who commute the same way I will be commuting.  I have the tremendous good fortune of being able to work from home oftentimes more than 50% of the work week, depending on matters at hand.  This morning I had some more thoughts of empowering my junior colleague so my presence isn’t as necessary as I would like to think.

Taz is graduating and moving in the next 30 days.  My son is headed to a summer study aboard for two months in Asia.  I am moving.  Isn’t that enough drama for now?  I have packed exactly two boxes and those are things that must be mailed off to their rightful owner.  My home office is strewn with papers and is a complete wreck.  As a matter of fact, the whole house is a wreck and I am failing dramatically as a domestic goddess.  Not that I have ever dreamed of being a domestic goddess, but I have hit an all new low in my domesticity.

But I have decided not to fret.  The movers can always help pack.  I can hire a housekeeper.  The great news is that the Hunter has flourished at this new job and is incredibly happy.  His new boss has encouraged him to apply for a new job which would be a huge promotion for him and another significant pay increase.  I am so very, very proud of him.  He is finally tapping into the potential I have always seen in him.  The other great news is that my kids are doing amazing, tremendous things.  My son, in lieu of a Mother’s Day card, said the most wonderful, heartfelt things to me that just about made me bawl.  Both of my children have told me this year how much they love me and appreciate all I have done for them.

I just need to accept the fact that life is very, very hectic and expensive this year.  With Taz’s wedding, birthday, graduation, etc., she has been quite needy.  My son’s pending trip to Asia requires money and planning.  The move requires money and planning also.  I have been so relieved and impressed with the Hunter with regard to the move.  He assembled 75% of the money we needed for the move.  I had to borrow from my 401k because cash flow is limited right now.

Now you can see why I haven’t been writing — too many plates are spinning and I’ll be damned if I let any crash.  Now I’ve got to go earn some money.  2016 is one very expensive year.

 

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