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

Archive for November, 2016

Perfect Day

This past weekend the Hunter and I had a perfect day together.  It was Sunday.  I had spent Saturday getting my ex-boss’ assistant shitfaced during a 3-hour late lunch that included unlimited mimosas.  Robin and I needed information; the assistant needs a new job so it was a win-win all the way around.   But the drink fest was unplanned and I had work, chores and a host of errands that went by the wayside.

The Hunter asked me to go to the woods with him on Sunday.  He was putting up a tree stand and asked for my help.  I paused, thought and agreed.  It was totally the right decision.  The Kracken stayed home, so it was just the two of us.

We left really early, but stopped at our favorite café for breakfast.  Then we drove out to the woods.  The day was brilliantly beautiful.  The sky was that amazing shade of blue that you only see in November.  The air was cool and it was simply perfect.  We walked into the woods and he strapped his tree stand to a beautiful tall pine tree in the middle of a small cluster of trees.  Then we hiked for about an hour or so.  He had me set the pace and distance so I was comfortable.  We found all kinds of tracks, saw a half dozen turkeys and other wildlife.  The wind was blowing through the trees and its rustle was mesmerizing.  I was relaxed and totally enjoying it all.

We stopped by the campground where we will be spending Thanksgiving and then returned home.  Once we got home, we jumped in the shower to get cleaned up before heading out to an early dinner.  As I got out of the shower, the Hunter said, “Why don’t you grab your vibrator and have some fun while I take my shower and then I’ll fuck you.”  And that’s what I did, and then we had a great fuck, showered again and went to a casual dinner.  It was a perfect day.

As we sat at our table quietly chatting about a number of topics, the Hunter noticed another couple.  He said, “We are so lucky.  Look at that couple, together yet so alone.  They aren’t speaking or even looking at one another.  How sad.”  He was right.  We are so incredibly lucky to have one another.  Our hearts were so full of love that day and it has spilled over to the subsequent days.

The Hunter woke up early the next day and pulled me into his arms.  “I love you so much,” he murmured.  Then he pulled off my clothes, fucked me and headed off to work.  What a delicious way to start the week.  I am a lucky girl.

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Last Week’s Life Lessons

I am trying to track all my success big and small.  These include everything from making my bed in the morning to winning new business.  I am also trying to keep track of life lessons that I am learning so I can continue to grow both personally and professionally.  The past week was chock full of lessons both big and small.  Here are the past week’s life lessons, in no particular order:

  • I need to remember that I have to put my oxygen mask on first. If you have read Gretchen Rubin’s books on happiness or listened to her podcast (both of which I strongly recommend), you will understand when I say that I am an Obligor.  This means I take care of everyone before myself.  With the Hunter’s business getting active and mine launching with a flurry of activity, I need to keep this in mind when he needs help at the same time I’m swamped.  Same holds true with the kids, Robin, etc.  I need to get my shit done first.
  • He/She who sets the emotions wins the day. This occurred twice over the past week. I have to remember not to succumb to someone else’s crazy unless I decide too.  My former boss was creating anger and conspiracy ideas about me.  At first, I wanted to respond with the same.   Then I stepped back and reminded myself that my goal with him was to keep him calm and not ratchet up the drama.  Instead I called him and was sweet, kind Maggie.  I cleared the air and apologized for some things that looked suspicious, but in the light of day weren’t.  It thrilled him which resulted in Robin and I getting paid money that has been owed to us for a month.  Although Robin and I want to tell him to go fuck himself, we need to wait until we get ALL of our money.  Then we have the freedom to do so.  The other event was a story unto itself.  The abbreviated version:  I channeled my anger from my ex-boss to this guy (who totally deserved it).  Two of my best lines:  When he told me to go fuck myself, I replied, “At least I’ll enjoy it a lot more than talking to you.”  When he proudly told me he voted for Trump and he didn’t even have to ask who I voted for, I replied, “Yep, I am a Nasty Woman who is going to make your life miserable.”  I ended the call having vented all my aggression and happily feeling quite full of myself.
  • I need to better screen the people I trust implicitly. My boss (and his wife) is a fucking nutcase and I didn’t see it for quite some time.  Part of that had to do with him isolating himself from me, but I needed to wake up and smell the coffee sooner.
  • Everyone has a story, a journey and I need to listen more. I am meeting with a lot of colleagues these days and I’m hearing lots of stories.  It’s fascinating.
  • Look FORWARD. I have to realize that what’s behind me (crazy ex-boss, lost clients, etc.) is done and over, good riddance.  I need to look at the future which is so shiny, new and beautiful that it fills me with happiness and excitement.
  • I am the Master of My Destiny. So I better figure out where the heck I am going.
  • My Man loves me like I have never been loved before and I am blessed every day he is in my life. I’ll write another post about the perfect day we just had, but that preceding sentence says it all.

Defining My Journey

Cleaning the house is meditative time for me. I crank on music or podcasts for some of it, but sometimes you can’t hear it, so you end up spending time inside your head. As I ranted about Stuff, I have also been thinking about where I want to be in a year, 3 years, 5 years, etc. The Hunter mentioned this past week that we are coming up on two years together. Wow, really? It seems so short yet so long. Time is a funny thing.

In any case, he has a clear direction on what he wants and where he wants to be. He wants to be out in the country with his dogs, his toys, his land. I like that but only so far. We compromised with thought of two places. I just wrote a post about how Life is good and it is, but…..

I have been thinking about me. Am I living my dreams or someone else’s? When I was a growing up, I did as my parents wanted and what everyone expected of me: get good grades, get a college degree, get married, have kids, etc. Then I finally had enough and got my divorce. Some of the “what is expected” continued due to my son’s graduation, my daughter’s wedding, things like that. But old habits die hard….

Right now I have entered a period where the only “Expected” event will be my son’s college graduation next year. In the meantime, I want to ponder about what I want. During my entire life, I have subordinated my dreams, wishes, desires, career, etc. to what others want. Shit, I’m so damn submissive that I rarely picked out the restaurant, the TV show or the movie during my marriage – it was simply easier to acquiesce. Now that I can make my own decisions and have a say that will be heard and valued, I am realizing that I often don’t have an opinion. I don’t have a cool idea of something to do or someplace to go. I don’t know the hip things going on in town anymore. That’s a shame and it makes me a bit sad at times because my FOMO kicks up.

For example, next summer is the Hunter’s big 50th birthday and he wants to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail for a couple of weeks. Cool, but not really my thing. I will day hike with him, be a Trail Angel, but he can haul the 30-pound backpack up and down mountains, sleep in rat-infested shelters with other unwashed bodies while I cool my heels at a nearby B&B. The weekend camping trips are his thing, not necessarily mine. I enjoy them and it’s very relaxing, but I enjoy going to the beach, art festivals and other things too.

But what’s my next big trip? Where do I want to go? Italy has always been a dream, so perhaps that should be my goal. This summer I had a couple of poignant FOMO moments as everyone was on summer vacations and the like. This year I have been trapped during the first half with family obligations (Taz’s wedding and graduation) plus the new business launch for the second half of the year, so very little time or money is left for any big trip for me.

The other issue at hand is money. I need to replenish my savings and get my act together at work. This new company is fine and dandy, but I need it to generate revenue quickly because my savings are small. The Hunter is doing great, but he needs a year to 18 months for it to really solidify an income stream. I’m not sure he even realizes that it will take that long, but I’ve been there, done that and know this for sure. In the meantime, I need to put my head down and WORK. Work hard and work smart. I can make a whole lot of money if I put my shoulder to the wheel and really stay disciplined. Then I can enjoy 2-3 weeks in Italy…..

Too Much Stuff

I have been thinking about stuff over the past couple of days. Stuff and things that matter in life – very heady topics. The catalyst is a book I just started reading, “No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love & Wandering” by Clara Bensen. I will provide no spoilers since I’m not even halfway done, but it’s a charming memoir piece about a young (very intelligent) woman who is emerging from a 2-year despair of immobilizing anxiety. She falls in love with a guy who she meets on OK Cupid. This man values his freedom and avoids attachments yet he invites her on a three-week journey from Istanbul to London. The catch is that they have no luggage – only the one set of clothes each is wearing and they are using couchsurfing.com for accommodations. So far, that strategy is working beautifully for them, but I’m sure havoc will ensue.

As I began the book, I had a business event that the Hunter forfeited to Robin (a night full of my frenemies did not entice him, although when he saw the menu he had regrets). In any case, it was one of those evenings that the ½ of the 1% are familiar with: very expensive dinner (probably about $200 – $250 per person when you factor in the private happy hour complete with piano player) and great gift (another $50-$100 each) with other odds & ends including people flying in, so I’m guessing the evening for this group of 2 dozen cost about $15,000 to $20,000. Over dinner, the conversation was about how one guy bought used 3 engines for his boat because at the time he didn’t have the $30k to replace them with new ones; trips to exotic locales, multiple homes – you get the drift.

The next day, as I sat with the Hunter over a nice homemade pasta dinner, I began my rant against Stuff. I ranted about how complicated the lives of the ½ of 1% really are and how money of that nature usually makes life so complicated because you keep accumulating more Stuff which then requires more responsibility. “Enough!” I said. From now until the end of our lease on this current abode, I want to shed unnecessary belongings. I want things that bring me joy and don’t burden me. I want less living space so I have less to clean (I am in the middle of my Pre-Thanksgiving heavy-duty house cleaning which always brings out the Grinch in me).

The Hunter piped up that he wanted to accumulate things because he has spent years on the other side. His Wish List includes tools for a workshop, various recreational vehicles , another dog to keep the Kracken company. I paused and then amended my rant. “OK, if you are getting things that you will USE – not just sit around for a once a year use, then I would be OK with that. I’m talking about houses chock full of STUFF. So much stuff you don’t even know what you have.

I was guilty of the too much Stuff in my previous life. I walk the dogs around our neighborhood and shake my head at the number of homes that have garages so crammed with Stuff that they can’t even store a car in the damn garage. When my Ex moved out of the house (I left him with all of my Stuff because I realized I wanted very, very few things), he tried a garage sale and then literally threw all the Stuff to the curb. It was a mountain (I drove by). It was a shame to see my previous life all piled up on the curb. I told him to hire an estate company to liquidate it, but of course, he couldn’t take a good idea from me.

When I liquidated my mom’s house, I realized how much stuff she had crammed into an adorable 2-bedroom house. It was too much for one person. I vowed not to do this to my kids. I vowed that I would only have things that I use and bring me happiness. I have wavered intermittently because old habits die hard, but I have done much better. It is time to cull things back again. I want less Stuff in my life, but more experiences. Next up is the question, “What experiences do I want?”

Life is Good

I haven’t written about general life lately. The Hunter mentioned that we are coming up on the TWO-year mark of our dating. Wow, two years. Who would have thought? Life is good. I have to admit that I am still stunned (and relieved) at how compatible we are. Now that we are both working from home, we are together A LOT and it’s fine. We both have the freedom to do as we please, we both bounce ideas off one another and support the other 100%.

I need to get back onto a more stringent schedule, but it’s nice waking up a little later, fucking, walking the dog, having a big breakfast and then hit the home office or head out the door. Life is relaxed. I feel a bit out of touch with my business world, but I am taking the necessary steps to correct that in the weeks and months ahead. Once I begin planning to leave the old job, I’ve been keeping a low profile while I get my business launch prepared.

We just spent the past two weekends out in the woods. One weekend was an overnight camping trip and the other was a delightful cabin at an amazing gun club. Both were the Hunter’s idea and he planned and packed everything. I can’t tell you how nice it is to throw some clothes in a bag, jump in the car and be done with it. No effort on my part.
I remind myself frequently that the Hunter is an independent adult who doesn’t need me to coddle him. He is fine on his own and can quite capably plan all types of activities. I have a fancy business dinner coming up and can bring a Plus One. I, of course, asked him if he wanted to go. He didn’t and told me to invite Robin. She was thrilled, he was thrilled and I was quite content with the outcome. Nobody feels left out, nobody is being dragged along – awesome.

Our life is simple. Our house and living conditions are simple. We talk about the next chapter. Do we buy something and where? Last weekend while driving to the cabin, the Hunter came up with an interesting solution. He proposed buying a place in the woods and either renting or buying a small place in town because our work won’t allow us to leave 2 hours away full time. We are getting to the point where we can block out 3, 4, 5 days that we could spend in the woods telecommuting. I liked that idea. We need to reduce the number of pets (2 dogs & a cat will not make a 1 or 2 bedroom condo feasible for my sanity). My pets are older and the cat would be thrilled living in the woods, so my guess is that this is a non-issue. The other issue is money, but that will be resolved in the next 18-24 months.

I am content with my quiet life with the Hunter. He loves me and accepts me for who I am. I never hear a hint of criticism and when he does think I am wrong, he tells me honestly and openly in a gentle way that gives me pause so I listen. Who knew I would pick this guy? Who knew this guy would pick me? We cuddle, snuggle and laugh about the fact that we must be the envy of all the neighborhood couples as we kiss & hold hands during our daily walks with the Kracken. Life is good. I have so much to be grateful for.

Do I Suck at Relationships?

In my business it is always about relationships and I have come to realize that I’m not particularly good with relationships (both personal and business to be candid). I don’t follow up so much or keep in front of people. I have no idea how to wine and dine clients effectively and made them my bosom buddies. I don’t text my kids every day (we talk about once a week); I talk to my dad about once every 2-3 weeks when he initiates. For work, I’m the type that comes in friendly and approachable, gets the job done and leaves. Wham, bam, thank you! I don’t take them out for drinks, plays, business events – I’m shitty at that stuff and it’s getting worse as I get older because my tolerance for large events is fading.

I think it goes back to my childhood. My parents divorced when I was 6 years old and my compulsive mother went back to school, did an internship and flitted around with a new job every couple of years. This led to me living in 5 different cities in 10 years and 9 schools in the same time period. Friends became disposable because I was constantly moving. What’s nice today is that I connected with my dearest high school friends on Facebook, but I don’t go see them or travel with them – it’s mainly an online thing. My mom didn’t set a good example because she didn’t have many friends – who could with all that moving around. Once she retired, she struggled with making friends because she had no clue what goes into a friendship. A typical example is when she told me about a nice lady who she invited to a movie and they had a great time, but the woman never called her to invite her to something. My mom said, “I’m not going to call her, it’s her turn.” I said, “Why? Maybe she doesn’t have any ideas of things to do or maybe something is going on in her life or she’s shy. Why deprive yourself of a friend because of some arbitrary rule you created?” That stopped her in her tracks.

Right now, my days and free time are generally spent 80% of the time or more with the Hunter. Over the next couple of weekends, he will be in the woods every weekend which is freeing up some time for me. This gives me some space to explore my thoughts on relationships and see how I can solidify some of the great ones I have and perhaps develop some others.

As I was reading back through this post and some others that I wrote (I tend to binge write), I realized that I can solve both my relationship crisis (for a dramatic turn of phrase) and friendship issue by joining more things. My best adult friendships have come from joining things that I enjoy – damn, I met the Hunter in a hiking club for crying out loud. I met my BFF at a women’s networking event and other good friends through Toastmasters (nothing like a personal speech to get to know someone). OK, I need to join perhaps a book club or another Toastmasters club closer to home. I just have to remind myself NOT TO VOLUNTEER for any leadership roles –- I don’t have time for that.

Losing Still Sucks

I am still stinging from the loss of that one client. The Hunter and Robin have resignedly let me vent, talk about “if they come back”, etc. I haven’t been able to shake this and the “what if’s” pop in my head daily. I have not been in touch with them except for one follow up item this week, which my fave quickly responded to. Then the Hunter told me what needed to be said – they aren’t coming back. They picked the man, not the woman. They picked the testosterone, not the person who did all the heavy lifting.

Just now I realized that I am going through a break-up, much like my marriage, just like being fired. My former boss and I are dividing up the “married” friends. He is keeping some and I’m keeping others. It just burns me when I discover that they like him better even though I did all the work. The Hunter says that it isn’t a question of like, but the clients just didn’t want any change – they wanted the status quo. Yes, there are contracts in place. Yes, the contracts have to be cancelled and new ones signed, but is that really so much change? I was willing to use the same terms and contracts – dammit – I WROTE those fucking contracts. The people on the ground are changing for the clients, but apparently that isn’t enough to convince them to change.

It gives me a grim, dark satisfaction that my former boss is struggling to service these clients. He doesn’t have any files – his assistant is constantly asking for the information. I talked to her the other day. She called me on her cell when the office was empty because she is so afraid of the ramifications of consorting with the enemy. Yes, he’s struggling. He has no one of my level of expertise – even he doesn’t have my skill set in this particular niche. Yes, I agreed to be her reference because she wants out also and once she leaves he will be sunk. She confirmed that it was a “good old boy” decision. She told me to be glad I am rid of them. Then she went on to tell me that my boss is full of hate and anger with me. His fucking nutcase wife has gotten inside his head plus he is dealing with the shock of my blindside. It’s just like my divorce – one side (me) is comfortable with the decision, the other was dumbfounded.

It just sucks when they don’t pick you – the one that has spent countless hours with them, the one that worked the longest and hardest for them, the one that was always looking out for their best interest. They pick the fucking country club buddy. They pick the man. They pick the obvious choice.

Now I look back and second-guess the entire working relationship. What will I do IF they come back? Is the Hunter right, they aren’t coming back? Yes, this client has velvet handcuffs. They need a lot of time. Do I want to do that now? They have additional work they could give me if they fire yet another man (who is doing a shitty job also). At this point, my thought is that I have nothing to lose because right now I have 100% of nothing. I talked to Robin about it. IF they decide to call me (and not someone else and they won’t have a choice because my former boss is not going to be able to deliver and they will be forced to change eventually), my deal will have changed. I get both pieces of business and my fees are higher. I have to keep in mind that I don’t need them. My ego wants them, but my business doesn’t need them. My pipeline for next year is already looking robust without them.

ARGH!!! It just burns me that I gave them a great pitch and they had already made up their minds. I bought a $100 breakfast for them when they already knew they weren’t hiring me. In retrospect, I’m proud to have done that because I don’t want to owe them a goddamn thing. See—I just keep fixating on this. I have to let it go, but I hate losing. I hated losing the married friends, I hate losing business to someone who doesn’t deserve it. It fucking sucks, but it happened. The cards have been dealt and I need to walk away from that table and find a new game.

The Hunter has been reading the beginning of this post over my shoulder while waiting for me to join him to walk the Kracken. He said that on a couple of occasions he had girls break up with him (yes, he’s usually the breaker-upper). What did he do when this happened? He fucked their friends. Perhaps I need to do that. That was my initial reaction – bring them business from the other side of the table. I know them better than anyone else in town…. But I think I first need to create distance. I need them out of my head. I need to focus on what’s in front of me and not what’s behind me. Next week the PR blitz begins. It’s time to get the word out officially that Maggie, Inc. is up and running. Time to kick some ass on my own terms.

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