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

Archive for July, 2020

9 Years Ago

A memory popped up on my FB feed this morning. It was me posting about leaving a company I had been with for 9 years. I didn’t say the raw truth because it’s social media for goodness sake. I didn’t say that the company kicked me to the curb. I didn’t say that my new female boss fired me and my older female mentor and attempted to replace us with cute, young men. That bitch. My then husband turned my farewell Happy Hour into his own drunk fest and I had to drive us home because it always had to be about him. But that’s not what I wanted to write about.

What I was really thinking about this morning is how much life I have lived in the past 9 years. I have had some great highs and lows. Today I am in a great place, even with a tropical storm and raging pandemic.

Highlights of the past 9 years include:

  • Within 18 months of being fired, I successfully completed a very public, career defining project that got a lot of press and accolades. Ha! Plus it was business my old company passed up. Hehehe….
  • I divorced on my terms and started my next chapter.
  • My kids moved on through to adulthood in ways large and small that make me ever so proud of them.
  • I left Miami and eventually have ended up 2 counties away from its insanity (although I will always have a soft spot for that crazy city).
  • I have had 3 jobs including starting my own company.
  • I learned about failure and went bust with my own company.
  • I learned about dating and found love.
  • I learned to set limits and say no.
  • I learned a lot about money, spending, not spending, getting out of debt. Oh so much in this area.
  • I reconnected with friends and family.
  • I have embraced my inner introvert and enjoyed my solitude.
  • I lost 40 pounds and unfortunately found it again. LOL. I’m back to working on the losing part again. Sigh.

I think the biggest thing is that I have been LIVING. I have done so much personal growth and change during these years. I feel different in some ways, but I still have my ready smile and great sense of humor. I am happy to be where I am,

The amazing Maya Angelou said, “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter the defeat, so that we can know who we are.” I know who I am. Being fired 9 years ago lead me to where I am today and I am grateful.

Test Results are In

The news have been full of woes about COVID testing, but I have to say my experience wasn’t that bad. I got a text 2 business days and 4 actual days from my test date.

I waited until I got a second text days later because I didn’t recognize the company texting me. I googled them and said, “Crap, this could be my test results”. They do need to do better on that part of things. Anyway, my test came back (drumroll…) negative. Hallelujah!

However, my work colleague (who is also a dear friend) came back positive. She’s the one who is also a kidney donor. She felt crappy one weekend, has had an upset stomach, only ran a fever for 2-3 days. She is lucky it appears.

COVID is a very strange virus. Her hubby got it at work – both his boss and a coworker tested positive. The coworker was briefly hospitalized. The hubby, by the time he tested, came out negative. He had mild symptoms, mostly digestive.

With Florida spiraling out of control, we are seeing/hearing more cases at work. People have fled back to work from home, thankfully. This leaves fewer people in the office. I am now mask on all day, eat lunch outside, use only one bathroom and really minimize my movement around the building. That is all I can control.

I got my hair cut today (mask on, temp check, etc). My stylist is very careful and sanitizes the area, mask, gloves. But people around her and me for that matter aren’t. Young man comes in for his haircut and only puts a mask on when told to do so and then wears it under his nose. Maskhole. A barber waltzes in and doesn’t have his mask on. He dumps his bag on his chair and heads back up front. I don’t know if they checked his temp. He too is a maskhole wearing his mask under his nose. WTF. I held my tongue because the owner was right there and had told the young customer to mask up. The barber had no excuse.

My young stylist tells me her very young roommate who just moved down to SFLA got COVID. This caused my stylist to flee her own apartment for two weeks. Apparently the roommate was quite sick. She was and is running around on Tinder dates, partying in Ft Lauderdale. What is wrong with people? Sigh.

Once again, this is not something I can control, so I will let it go. I will keep my focus on the things I can control. Thus here I sit at home, safe with a really cute haircut.

2020 Simply Sucks

Taz called today to check in. She had sent me a tub of banana pudding from the world-famous Magnolia Bakery and I had sent her a series of really funny pictures ending with one of me with my cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk because my mouth was full of that amazing pudding.

After we chuckled about that, discussed my health and lack of test results, she segued way to what she really needed to talk to me about.

“Mom, did you ever have a miscarriage or problems conceiving?” My heart sank. No, I had been blessed. Taz was not. She miscarried at about 4 weeks and had to have a d&c.

We talked about it. She is hesitant to tell a lot of people. She is not telling her dad. I told her that this is her story to tell and I won’t share it with anyone. I mentioned her aunts by marriage had struggled. I mostly listened. That’s what she wanted. No platitudes because they never work with her and I find them to be a trifle condescending.

This had happened about 2-3 weeks ago. She had felt a bit broken at the time and didn’t feel up to talking to me about it. She talked about having genetic testing afterwards and she’s fine on that front. Her doctor reminded her that a third of pregnancies end like this. She said twice that it had not reached the stage of having a heartbeat.

That hurt. When your strong daughter repeats something like that, you know that it is the mantra she is using to try to put it behind her. Her husband was crushed. My heart aches for them.

“2020 absolutely fucking sucks,” I spit out. “The only damn good news has been your fellowship.” Now, I know there are a lot more good things in my life, but at that moment I felt the searing pain of all that she has endured this year. The stress of fighting for her prestigious fellowship, working a COVID ICU when she had no training for it, the stress of the pandemic in general, struggling to keep her and her hubby safe from the virus. She has been through so much.

I knew that they wanted to try for a baby this year. I had not asked if it was put on hold due to the pandemic. That is none of my business. Now this news answered my unspoken question. They had hope. They have the love, courage and strength to bring life into this crazy world.

Tonight I am so sad. So sad that these two amazing people are going through yet another difficult time. It is always so hard to watch your kids suffer and only be able to wring my hands on the sidelines. I say a prayer for Taz and her hubby. May their hearts heal.

Birthday Reflections

My best writing and thinking takes place early in the morning with a cup of coffee for company.  I wrote all of this while on vacation and am just getting around to transcribing and editing my handwritten notes.

I had a lazy day on the couch during my vacation.  I simply vegged either in front of the TV or on the front porch with a book in my lap.  I think it was because my mind was examining some big questions and needed the time and space.  Here are some of the topics I examined:

  • The repercussions of being single with limited nearby friends during a pandemic.  This issue has resolved itself somewhat.  Friends, family and coworkers have stepped up to volunteer assistance should I need it.  I am blessed and thankful.
  • Now that cases are escalating exponentially, working in the office, even with a mask is a bit fraught to say the least.  No shit, Sherlock.  I wrote this BEFORE I realized I might have been exposed and before Florida hit over 15K cases in a single day.
  • Vacations for the next few years will be limited for many reasons.  I do not see myself flying anywhere unless there is a damn good reason.  Rats because I yearn to travel.
  • What and where will retirement look like for me?  That is always a question for me.  I like to plan and this is the biggest unknown for me.  My pragmatic side hates the uncertainty of this.  I just need to accept that I have limited control over this.  I need to identify what I can control and focus on those things.  A topic for another post.
  • Can I handle a decade of my boss who can be a handful on occasion?  This is looking like it will be my last full-time job if all goes well.  I believe the answer is yes.  Everyone has their moments of questioning their employment.  Will the company navigate this recession successfully and without major layoffs?  Too soon to say….

I wrote all of this as I sat outside on the front porch of my parents’ mountain home.  It was a beautiful morning.  I listened to the birds and watched the chipmunks scurry around the yard.  I turned 56 this year.  I am pensive because I am on the downhill slide to 60.  LOL.

I have a decade of full-time work left in me, hopefully.  A decade to save and plan my retirement.  A decade to make a home in my new community so I can decide if I stay or leave during my golden years.

I am happy having my free time be for just me.  I am happy to be doing little to no compromising these days.  It is a first in my life.  I have spent a lifetime compromising and letting loved ones’ needs come before my own. 

Birthdays are a great time for reflection.  50 years ago I was a young girl living about 2 hours from this mountain home.  My parents were in the midst of splitting up.  My mom had a breakdown and was hospitalized for a few days.  My dad was having an affair with his now current wife of almost 50 years. It was 1970 and all the adults in my life were acting in self-centered ways to the detriment of me and my older brother.  My mom was a borderline personality.  She claimed their psychiatrist labeled my dad a sociopath.  Let’s not get hung up on labels and let’s just generalize it and call them both selfish.

The result of selfish parents, for me, was to counter balance with over-giving.  I have always given too much.  Too much time doing for others, too much time putting others before me, too much time for futile causes, too much money for others rather than saving for myself, too much, too much.

Now I am learning to value myself and my time.  I am learning the value of no and boundaries.  It is a bit uncomfortable to express those boundaries, but each time I flex that muscle, it becomes stronger and easier.  I look forward to it becoming more effortless and less guilt and anxiety producing.  When I first wrote out the previous sentence, I wrote it as a limiting belief “I am never going to think…”.  As I transcribed my handwritten notes, I recognized the limiting belief.  That is a minor victory!

I feel safe these days.  I feel like I have navigated my little lifeboat into a tiny, safe harbor while a storm of catastrophic proportions rages around me.  I feel small when looking at the vastness of chaos all around me. I know this single year of 2020 is a turning point in history, yet I will carry on having normal days of work and home.  I am very fortunate.

I also feel incredibly fortunate to have my little boat safely anchored.  I now longer strive to have trappings of success like expensive clothes, car and a fancier home. Minimal suits me far better. I am happy in my cozy oasis of an apartment.  I may decide to redecorate.  I need to do something with my grandmother’s dining room set.  I think I will get it refinished.  Maybe change the seat covers even though she needlepointed them all.  Perhaps I will frame them instead or just store them for the kids. Fewer belongings mean fewer ties and responsibilities.

I have led an incredibly interesting life compared to many.  Yes, I know many others who are even more interesting and that’s fine. I am no longer competing.  I am content to realize I will always have a story, an experience, an understanding for almost any conversation.  That is an accomplishment.  I also have learned to be a good listener and appreciate the stories and experiences of others.

I have kids who are simply amazing.  I listened, on vacation, to my son’s friend tell him how amazing my son is for living in Asia for a year.  What an accomplishment that few people have achieved.  My son felt and looked rejuvenated and recharged from this vacation.  He needed it as much, if not more, than me.

My daughter is in a league of her own.  Finding her soul mate has made her journey easier.  Their communication with each other is light years ahead of my relationship communication.  She is still wrestling with conforming to society norms.  I continue to encourage her to follow her heart without guilt.  What do I mean by that?

For example, she has discovered she doesn’t like to teach.  I get it.  Her patience is a precious commodity.  She feels guilty because her residency program has encouraged her to teach others, but it is not in her DNA.  I asked her how many doctors of her specialty teach and she responded less than 20%. I replied that her mentors knew from the beginning that the odds were against them for her to teach.  I said she shouldn’t sweat it. 

Perspective – perhaps that is my best gift to friends and family.  I offer gentle perspective when appropriate.  Blunt, but I also hold back at times.  It is a nuanced diplomacy that I have been blessed with.

There you have it.  Maggie’s morning reflections on a porch swing with delicious coffee….

Photo by Jeb Buchman on Unsplash

Covid Testing

I took my Covid test on Friday. It was a straightforward, rapid process and now I am waiting for my test results.

Have you been tested? If not, here is the skinny on my experience. I went to a free, drive-thru site sponsored by the county health department. I made an appointment two days prior. The appointment making was the most time-consuming of the entire process. I spent over 30 minutes on hold and registration takes about 10 minutes. The actual test process was faster — I was in and out in about 10 minutes.

The instructions are to keep your car window up until the actual test and just show your drivers license through the window. I drove to Tent A and they confirmed I was on the list. On to Tent B where they again checked my ID, scribbled some code on my windshield and put a test bag under my windshield wiper. On to Tent C, the actual test.

In Tent C, they showed me a test vial with my name and address. Confirmed yet again that this was me. Then came the dreaded swab. It was…unpleasant. She stuck that thing up there and swirled around like a champion. I realized two things: 1) I can breathe no problem during this test and 2) I can speak. Yes, you can voice your opinion. I said that it was unpleasant, but thank you. LOL. I do feel for these healthcare workers, so I don’t want to be Negative Nellie.

My left nostril felt violated for about 30 minutes. It mainly was a slight burning sensation waaayyy up my nostril. Not a big deal at all. I think my left nostril just wanted to document the indignity of the test. As I write this post, it harbors no ill will about the test. The dread of the test is much worse than the actual test. Much like many things in life — your brain worries you into a senseless frenzy.

I feel fine. No symptoms. I don’t think I have Covid, however, I take my temperature twice a day and log it. I bought an oximeter just in case. I am as prepared as one can be. I have plenty of Tylenol and other supplies.

Today my lovely state of Flori-DUH logged in over 15,000 positive cases in a single day. The same weekend Disney World reopened. It is a shit show down here. I am happy to be working from home for a couple of days.

This scare has taught me a valuable lesson. I cannot let my guard down for a minute. I cannot let my guard down with friends. I cannot be too careful at this point. I will wear a mask at work all the time now. I don’t like it, but unfortunately, it is necessary. The odds of more folks at work testing positive are too great for me to let my guard down.

I think I have been lucky this time, but I don’t think I want to try my luck at this game of Covid Russian Roulette again.

May luck be with you.

Vacay – Part II

I was being lazy after my son left and hung around the cabin. My birthday was the final part of my trip. My son had guiltily left the day before (I didn’t need or want guilt about his departure). My dad and stepmom planned to hang with me for the birthday afternoon and evening, then we would all leave the next day. A short, but sweet visit with them.

Until I got the Happy Birthday text from my GF at work. She called me. She may have COVID. However, I have been directly exposed not only through work, but she gave me a ride to the car rental and we didn’t wear masks. Sigh.

I immediately cancelled my afternoon rendezvous with the parents. My dad then said what I was thinking. Go home. Immediately. So much for my birthday. Fortunately I don’t get hung up on that type of stuff. My poor dad had gotten me a cake. Sweet thing.

There were multiple reasons for immediate action. I didn’t want to get too sick to drive. I didn’t want to further contaminate their house. I had to pass a Florida checkpoint, so I needed to be reasonably healthy for that. If I am going to be sick, I want to be home.

I packed up, washed the sheets, wiped down the house with my Clorox bleach spray and hit the road. Shortly after midnight I was tired, but home and the car was unloaded.

Today I slept in, returned the rental, picked up some groceries, made an extra key to my apartment. I am ready. I received official notice from work (via my GF who is HR) that I am not to return to work for another week. I am to work from home.

This will be interesting. I am waiting to speak to my boss who does not like WFH at all, even though she does it successfully when on a deadline. I have my laptop with me and I don’t need much else.

With the logistics all in place, let’s talk about me. How do I feel? No fever, my neck is a bit achy, I have a mild headache and a slight dry cough. Sounds ominous doesn’t it? I called Taz. Not much to be done at this point. I am scheduling my own COVID test right now. No sense in waiting if I already have mild symptoms.

Am I scared? Not yet. I do want to know if I have it. I am very worried for my GF. She donated a kidney to a family member a couple of years ago.

Like Tom Petty says, the waiting is the hardest part. Sigh.

Photo by Morgan Lane on Unsplash

Vacay – Part I

Vacay has been nice. I enjoyed the company of my son and his friends. They are smart, well-mannered guys. We sat around with a beer and discussed adult stuff. I enjoyed their opinions and stories. I think they enjoyed listening to my stories and thoughts as well.

We did a couple of low key hikes ending with a picnic. The boys took one day to hike something more strenuous while I hung around the cabin reading and relaxing.

They all left a day or so before me. I spent most of one day home alone. Initially I thought I would go walk around my favorite lake, but instead I have puttered around the cabin.

I am feeling a trifle blue, but at first I didn’t know why. As I thought about it, I think my minor funk is more about this never-ending pandemic. Before I left, two work colleagues reached out because they lost their jobs. I have tried to ignore the real world, but I see the surge of COVID cases in Florida and sigh.

How long will I have to abstain from activities, restaurants and the like? I think it will be 2 years. Taz agrees. I don’t want to be one of the first getting a vaccine. I want someone else to be the guinea pig.

Two years of limited socializing. Two years of probably not expanding my social circle with new girlfriends. I am doubtful I will be able to do any group lessons for any activity.

So that is why I have a funk today. It’s OK. My dad is popping in to celebrate my birthday.

Not my hike, but we saw similar beauty…

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