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

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Teamwork

One thing I will say about my Ex — he’s a very good dad.  When my son arrived at his new digs in his new city to start his new grad school a few months ago, he discovered his new roommate was bat shit crazy.  He was signed up with a company that master leases various houses and then it leases out the individual bedrooms to different folks.  They handle the cleaning of the common areas.  For my son, it was an elegant solution to his housing need.  That is until he got Crazy Girl.

Without going into details, the situation was untenable and my son needed to move immediately.  Literally the day he arrived, he started making plans to leave.  It was that bad. The landlord had other options for him, but was a bit slow off the mark to remedy the situation.

My son called me the second or third night in a full on panic.  I texted my Ex and we spoke the next morning.  My Ex is an attorney.  We quickly debriefed one another, voiced identical concerns and agreed to the same immediate course of action.  I voluntarily said I was standing down and would await updates from him and my son.  I had to wait for updates from both my Ex and my son — I was on pins and needles all day.  I promised that if I heard something from my son that perhaps was unknown to my Ex, I would advise him.  He promised to do the same.

Fortunately my son has a cousin (my Ex’s nephew) in the same city so that provided an immediate couch-surfing solution.  We wanted him out immediately because we would not put it past Crazy Girl to #MeToo him.  They were two people living in the same house alone which could create a He Said/She Said situation.  She was that kind of crazy.  Now keep in mind that I am very pro #MeToo.  I believe all the Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Brett Kavanaugh and Jeffrey Epstein accusers.  However, in my son’s situation, all of us were highly concerned — even the property manager was concerned about it.

Luckily, property management leaped into the situation with a viable solution and rushed the process so my son could switch houses within 48 hours.  Luckily, my son had his car so he was able to move everything in a single trip.  Luckily, we all kept the channels of communication open and nobody pointed fingers or cast blame.  It was a successful team effort.

Yet another example of the fact that even though my marriage is over, and I am happy it is over, it was still a successful one.  It was simply one that had run its course.

Now my son is in a house with three other guys with like interests.  A bunch of introverted, intellectual nerds.  A match made in heaven.  As for Crazy Girl?  She apparently was evicted.  Good riddance.

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Photo by Daryn Stumbaugh on Unsplash

Family Xmas?

It appears that Taz won’t have much time to spend with me at Christmas.  Probably only Christmas Day.  I understand 100% why and am not upset, only disappointed. I began to question if it even made sense to spend all this money and time for such a short visit.

Then I had a flash of melodrama — what if this would be the last time I could spend with my kids at Christmas?

But it will be a very expensive trip due to traveling at a peak holiday time to a peak holiday city.  Am I being a fuddy dud?

I haven’t seen Taz for almost a year.  My frugal side tries to justify not going. “She’s super busy and you are broke.  That money could pay down some of my debt. Have a stay-cation exploring your new neighborhood.”

The holidays are always fraught for me since my divorce.  My options are to spend it with my parents or the Hunter.  Neither are fun.

I didn’t spend much time with my dad and his wife when I was growing up.  I like/love my dad, but he really did not parent me in any way as I grew up.  I don’t feel any obligation to spend holidays with them.  They spend it with my stepmom’s three sisters.  I did that one year with the Hunter and it was weird.  Really weird.  Not what I wanted for my holiday.

The Hunter always get consumed with holiday anxiety and depression.  He becomes a hot mess and really just needs to spend the time alone.  Seriously, I don’t say that to be mean.  I say that because he seems to prefer it.

After ruminating on this, I decided to go see Taz.  This will be the first holiday my kids will have spent together since my son returned from Asia.  I haven’t seen my kids together for a long, long time.  Let me take the time they are offering and appreciate it and be grateful.  The trip will be fun.  I’ll be somewhere cold with beautiful Christmas decor and who knows, perhaps I’ll have my first White Christmas ever….yes, I have never had a white Christmas.

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Over 50

I was texting with my daughter, Taz. She was watching “Otherhood”, so she texted me saying how much she loved me. Awww, that was so sweet.

Our conversation continued and she was inquiring how packing was going. I did a quick count and I am over 50 boxes AND I AM NOT DONE! Taz was laughing and challenging if I was truly downsizing. I am! I promise! WTF? How is this going to fit in a one-bedroom apartment?

Let’s break it down:

  • First, these boxes are smaller in size. Slightly bigger than liquor boxes. I only have 3 wardrobe boxes. Yeah, yeah, Denial is not just a river in Egypt.
  • 4 boxes of heirloom Christmas decorations- non-negotiable, these will be divvied up between the kids in the next 3-5 years.
  • 3-4 boxes of kid mementoes. I’ve saddled the kids with about 6 boxes. Once again, another 3-5 years before they are ready.
  • 4-6 boxes of photos and other mementos of mine. This is my next big project. Over the next 12-18 months I want to sort and organize these. Once again in preparation to dump them on the kids.
  • 4 boxes of wine glasses, serving bowls and platters. Stuff to entertain.
  • 5-6 boxes of books, financial records and office supplies.
  • 7-8 boxes for kitchen stuff.

Yada, yada – you see where this is going. I recognize that I have a bunch of memory stuff that the kids want and I refuse to callously toss. I just need to suck it up and finally organize it. I have ideas like a family cookbook complete with photos of past celebrations and the like. The kids know I’ll be working on this for them and they are grateful.

I reviewed my floor plan to see make sure things will fit. Thankfully, I don’t have a sofa so I can get the dining room table settled and then measure out how big a sofa I can get. I think it will be more of a loveseat instead of a sofa. Everything will fit, and hopefully not feel cramped.

This week is tightly choreographed. Pick up keys on Wednesday, movers Thursday, garage sale Saturday, Monday is internet installation, cleaners & Salvation Army pickup Tuesday. Sunday is for unpacking and my girlfriend volunteered her very handy hubby to build my IKEA dresser. Bless them both!

The Hunter came over so we could do some admin work for his company plus he did some laundry. His washing machine in his new place isn’t working. He’s happy. He sent me the sweetest text last night about how grateful he feels towards me. I too am grateful. The man taught me to love again and how to enjoy my sexuality. For that I too am forever grateful. I’ll write more about this later.

Now, time for bed amongst the boxes. I better get that extra storage the new place offers. I’m gonna need it…

Hurricane Andrew

When we get these hurricanes brewing, my PTSD pops out a little. I lived in one of the areas destroyed by Andrew. Not Homestead, where the eye passed thru, but about 10-15 miles up the road.

My neighborhood was leveled. They discovered the tornadoes within the hurricane based on the debris swirl patterns in the cul de sacs of my neighborhood. Building codes were revised partially based on the damage patterns found in my development.

Our house was actually deemed “habitable” by the county. I think they used that term loosely because who wants to live in a house in a war zone. Our block was occupied and we had nightly citizen patrols for over a week before INS showed up to be our protection. A nearby friend has his jacuzzi stolen — WTF that was bold because he was living in his place.

Taz was 2-years-old when Andrew arrived. Her potty training ended abruptly. I have no idea how I gave her as much normalcy as I did. Our dog went nuts after the storm and bit her and another child before I insisted she be put to sleep.

I was just thinking about how the Hurricane Dorian drumbeat has been steadily thumping away for a solid week. It’s exhausting and mind-numbing. For Andrew, we realized that we were in for trouble only the day before. We spent Saturday setting up computers at my Ex’s office. We came home, turned on the news and said, “crap”. The next day the grocery store was so packed we had to park across the street and follow someone to their car to get a shopping cart.

We only evacuated (it was mandatory) about 10 miles west to my sister-in-Law’s rental. We rode the storm out in a 2-bedroom townhouse with about 12 people. My father-in-law was in and out of diabetic shock throughout the storm.

We returned home the night after the storm. We slept there with no electricity in the pitch dark with looting all around. It was hot, buggy and scary as hell. Our small local bank was wiped out and my Ex went by as they forced open the vault to distribute cash to customers.

I can go on and on about our survival after the storm. My temporary home for 6 weeks with friends, the never-ending recovery, the friendships, divorces, hurricane babies and more. My point in all of this is that what you see on TV and read about is not even scratching the surface. What the folks in the Bahamas just survived is only the beginning of their nightmare. It takes years, up to a decade, to recover from a storm like Dorian. I am thinking of the Bahamians tonight. No electricity, devastation as far as they can see and nothing but a very long slog of heart and back breaking work ahead of them.

They are all in my prayers and I hope they are in yours as well. I am incredibly grateful that we were spared. I feel blessed and very, very fortunate.

My neighborhood after the storm. My house was 2 blocks away

I saw this in person. The water in the bay where this ship landed is usually less than 2 ft deep.

Adulting

This week was one of “getting shit done”.  I tackled packing up my son which involved a lot of sorting through stuff that has been in storage for the past year, creating an inventory of things he may need (lost in the break-up of his girlfriend) and then packing his car to capacity.

We actually had fun with all of the drudgery.  I coaxed him into saying good-bye to five garbage bags of old clothes.  We literally did the Marie Kondo method of “does this spark joy?” .  We were entertained.  He patiently tried on tons of clothes during the process.  We also had some shopping and a few miscellaneous errands, so the time went quickly.

He has already arrived in his new city and has hit the ground running.  He has a lot of “adulting” tasks to complete the next week, but his spirits and attitude are great, so he should be fine.

All of this sorting and packing for him has inspired me to get started on my own stuff.  Fortunately I have weeded out most of the superfluous except for the damn china and silverware.  Despite a huge purge for my last move, I still find things I won’t need or want, so a dreaded garage sale is in my near future.  I did tackle some administrative stuff like getting a new auto insurance quote, finding a cheaper cell phone plan, changing my renters insurance and adding a jewelry rider to it.  I have been quite productive.

I am still working on the Hunter’s big consulting project.  The client has been dragging their feet a bit about launching everything.  That’s actually good news for me because there is a ton of behind-the-scenes administrative work to do and I am about 75% complete.  I should be able to wrap it up soon.  He has another new potential consulting client that we are meeting next week.  My fingers are crossed on this one.

Work was a short week since I took two days off to hang out with my son.  That threw me off a bit, so the week ended before I knew it.  I learned some new technology out of sheer desperation.   I’m not familiar with Zoom meetings, so I coaxed one of the IT guys into giving me a tutorial.  He was laughing when I said that I needed more skills so I didn’t break out in a cold sweat whenever I had to lead one of these meetings.  He was a great teacher because later that day I successfully lead a meeting, shared my screen and multiple files with about 6 people.  That was a big win!

Nothing exciting to report.  I was a bit glum driving home on Friday because I have nothing fun planned.  Life isn’t full of adventure right now.  It’s just a huge re-positioning slog right now.  That’s OK, I am super-excited about my move and I know that by the end of the year I will be on a much better financial footing and I will have room in my life for more activities.  I miss being outside every day, so I can’t wait to get settled and be able to take a long walk every morning.  Commuting two hours every day has eliminated my walk time right now and I really miss it.  Now, let me step away from the computer…

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

He’s Back!

My son is home safe and sound, but he is visiting for less than a week.  He is literally passing through to pick up his stuff and head off to grad school.

He is staying with his dad, which is fine with me.  His dad is living with his GF, now fiancee, in a large house (even larger than what we had when we were married).  My son will be more comfortable there because at least he won’t be sleeping on a camping cot.

But his dad is once again trying to plan everything and those plans don’t include me.  It leaves my son stuck in the middle.  Nobody handles any of this with any finesse and my feelings got hurt. Ugh.  That’s the short, non-ranting version.  But I don’t write this blog to spare readers from my rant, so here goes.

I had made arrangements to have my son’s car taken to a repair shop that is owned by a friend of the Hunter.  This way the car could be thoroughly inspected before my son embarks on his long trek to school.  That repair shop is very close to where my Ex lives.  I set it up so my son could pick up the car a day or two after he arrives.

My son arrived late at night, so I didn’t go the airport thinking we could all get together for lunch the next day.  I had even texted that to his dad.  Somehow that all seemed to go sideways for a spell.  My Ex wanted to take him to do fun activities and things that didn’t include me.

It finally got straightened out, as I sat at the mechanic’s getting new tires.  My son really needs to manage both of us better.  Now I have to wait about 48 hours before I see him again.  I hate taking turns.  I hate when my Ex tries to monopolize him.  I feel like a second-class parent.  My son needs to be more assertive with his dad.  I know he just landed and what not, but really?  There were going to be no plans for me to see him the first day he returned from a YEAR away?

It all sorted itself out and the three of us grabbed a quick lunch.  I got to hear some about my son’s most recent adventures.  I heard recent news of the Ex and his family.  I just have to take a deep breath and relax.  My poor son is dealing with jet lag, culture shock and two very demanding parents.  OK, OK, I get it….grudgingly.

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My Son is the rope in this Tug-of-War…LOL    Photo by Darinka Kievskaya on Unsplash

 

Changes Abound

I have been meaning to write about the upcoming changes that will be occurring in the next two months. I have found a new place that I absolutely love and have passed the application phase, so I am just waiting for my lease.  I can walk to a bunch of stores including Target. I am 10-15 minutes from my beloved beach and only 15 minutes from work.

I have been busily figuring out what will fit and what won’t. I am incredibly excited about the place.

Then we have the Hunter.  I truly have mixed feelings.  I want him in my life, but I don’t want to live with him.  Does this make sense?  I want to have my own space, my own free time.  He snorts and says I just want his “pinga”.  Maybe, but I also enjoy the intimacy of having someone to chat with and share day-to-day stuff with.

However, I am so over living with him and the Kracken.  Both are messy.  Both destroy my belongings.  I want to cook certain things and he doesn’t like those things.  He keeps crap in the refrigerator and freezer that I don’t like and we should just toss out anyway.  When I am home in the evening, we don’t really spend time together.  I scrounge up something to eat and he sits outside all evening smoking a cigar.  I live in a place where I would never invite anyone over because it’s a mess and has no sofa or seating for guests.

Having said all that, the Hunter treats me with respect always.

But I can’t afford the place where we live.  I can’t afford to be the primary breadwinner, nor do I want to.  It has been four years and I am still the primary breadwinner and by a long shot.  The lease and utilities are in my name.  Over the four years, if I add up the direct $$ I have given him, the things I have bought him (clothes, laptop, 2 cell phones, etc.), the furniture & other things he and the Kracken have destroyed, I am over $40,000 over the past four years.  Probably closer to $60,000.  I am not as generous and giving person as I like to think I am because I am a bit resentful about that.  A smidgen.

Yes, he has made a promise to pay me back about 25% of that and he is paying me for the work I am doing for him now.  But….I am broke and I need to get my financial house back in order first and foremost.  I am 55 years old and I need to be focused on retirement planning, not debt reduction.  I have $40,000 of debt between the IRS and credit cards.  Add in my car and we are over $50K.  I can’t live with that weight on my shoulders.  I don’t want to.

I have a plan and with the little bit of income Maggie & Co. has generated, I should be able to put the debt behind me by the end of 2020.  I’ll explain more about that in another post.

I imagine waking up in my new, cozy apartment designed by me, for me and I am so excited.  Yes, I will need to buy a few things, but these will be frugal purchases.  Space will be limited because my grandmother’s dining table is taking up some valuable real estate, but the buffet will become my TV stand and the corner china cabinet is too adorable to say good-bye.  I have been laying things out on a scaled plan and it looks like a roomy love seat may be my best option.  That’s fine with me.

I am ready for my next chapter.  But first I have quite a bit to do:  get my son back from Asia and off to school inside of a week; help the Hunter launch his new, lucrative consulting gig and pack.  Lots of packing.  All of this has to happen in about 45 days.  Wish me luck.  You probably won’t hear much from me until I get to the other side…

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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