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

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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

Family Love

I had the beautiful realization that I have been blessed with my kids.  Although my Ex and I split after 25 years, we spent those years creating a good family atmosphere for our kids.  They love one another and everyone helps the other out.

Taz called me yesterday to chitchat about life.  I love to hear from her.  I don’t have much to add to the conversation these days, so I like to listen and ask questions about her life.  We started talking about my Son who will be returning from Asia in a few very short weeks.

She had a frank discussion with him about money, his budget, student loans and the like.  She is the Queen of Student Loans because let’s face it — med school was not cheap.  Taz told him that he needed a little more of a buffer and he needed to factor in some fun money.  She’s right.  My Son tends to be too frugal.  Think hermit — monk.  He still wears his t-shirts from high school and he’s 23.

We decided I needed to see if he is willing to share his actual budget, so we can make sure he has enough $$.  My Ex is helping him with housing and will co-sign on the lease.  I am helping him with resume, LinkedIn, recommendations and job-hunting.  We are all happily wanting to help him but not in a bossy, overbearing way.  He asks and we jump to attention.

What a beautiful family.  How wonderful that everyone is looking out for the other, proud of each other, no competition or jealousy.  What a miracle.  Today, this is what I am grateful for.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’m Chugging Along

Life has been chugging along without any awful drama.  Work is great.  I’ve been there for 3 paydays and another one is coming up this Friday.  Some of my Maggie & Co. business has taken some wicked turns that would have left me gasping in panic if I had continued.  I thank my lucky stars, Karma, God, whatever you want to call it, every day.

I tried joining a gym to exercise in the morning before work and shower at the gym.  I hated the showering part, so I’m cutting my losses by cancelling the membership.  Instead I will just run around my neighborhood several times for 20+ minutes in the morning.  It’s dark, but my neighborhood is lit up like it’s daylight and I feel comfortable doing that.

The Hunter and I took an amazing road trip over July 4th.  It deserves its own post.  Suffice it to say, we had a fabulous time.

I want to write about how I am feeling about the pending move and all the upcoming changes.  It’s daunting.  Tomorrow I go to look at places in the new town for the first time.  I have someone from work helping me.  She is a realtor and does most of the company’s relocations.  She is super nice and I see our friendship continuing (hopefully) after this.

I have no complaints other than the drive is tiring.  Two hours of highway driving every day does wear me down, but at least traffic flows.  I am preparing for a very frugal life once I move.  The Hunter and I have struck a deal that will be my side hustle going forward.  He is winning a new piece of business that will be substantial.  I am so proud of him.

Anyway, I am alive.  I am fat and happy.  I figure the fat will solve itself once I get settled.  Both kids are doing great and my son returns from Asia in about four weeks.  I can’t wait to see him.  He will be packing up and heading off to grad school shortly upon his return, but at least we will once again be in the same time zone.

My oh my am I relieved that I have come out the other side?? Abso-fucking-lutely.  Now I have to help my BFF get there.  She is in her valley of despair.  Fortunately she says that I give her hope.

Anyway, let me get some rest.  My 5:30 am wake up and jog will be here before I know it.

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Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

Peace

Good morning! My friends who have dragged me along as their third wheel are playing golf this morning. This leaves me with a precious morning of privacy.

I’ll write more about the trip later. It’s been magical for me to return to a place that holds so many happy memories.

I will slowly be unlocking bits and pieces of my blog. I don’t like having it hidden. I like having people read and follow me. Just be patient and I’ll open it back up. Except maybe the juicy bits like my topless photo. We’ll see. No hurry.

Cleaning Out My Closet

This weekend I was cleaning out my office and going through boxes of photos & crap in an effort to get rid of more stuff.

Mission accomplished. One huge bag of shredded papers and junk tossed. Lots of paper recycled, a box of books donated, 3 boxes mailed to Taz (one was her wedding dress), etc., etc. It was a long, vastly productive weekend.

The first day was a bit slow as I went through boxes of photo albums and I came across boxes of old letters both from my mom’s stuff and my stuff. My mom’s correspondence was interesting. Letters from my dad (post-divorce), my grandparents (both sides), my mom’s sister and more.

At the beginning, when my parents separated and my mom moved 3 hours away to go back to school, my dad wrote a couple of nice, warm letters to her. He missed his kids. Then something must have happened and the tone shifted.

My mom always thought he had been having an affair with my stepmom. Maybe. Later on my stepmom wrote some nasty letters to my mom calling her a slut & accusing her of keeping us kids for the child support money.

My grandparents sent letters about me being unhappy, personal loans that needed to be repaid to them.

I came across one lovely letter from my brother raking me across the coals for not sending my dad a birthday card. I was 13, he was 17. Mind you this is now the brother that has nothing to do with any family member.

It was boxes of evidence of the dysfunctional family I grew up with. Then I found 4 shoe boxes full of letters from friends and family to me.

One poignant letter stood out. It was a draft that I never mailed to a boyfriend. I had picked up and bolted across the country after my first year of college to rejoin my mom and awful stepdad. They had encouraged me to do this. My letter was about what an awful mistake I had made. My stepdad was drunk, nothing was they had represented. I was struggling to figure out my options including joining the military. I had burnt my bridge with my dad so returning wasn’t an option.

I stopped reading the letters. I don’t have the emotional capacity or time for them right now. I want to read them though because they contain information I have long forgotten.

My dad is sending me two more boxes of such memories including my long lost yearbooks and diaries. Oh boy, there is gonna be some interesting stuff there.

For now, I am putting it all aside. The past is the past. I want to focus on the future.

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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

My Son & I

I had a very long chat with my son, who is in Asia.  We hadn’t spoken much recently because he took off on a solo 10-day road trip during a break from his teaching job.  It was nice to get all caught up with him and hear some of the highlights of his trip.  I am so proud of him.  He’s now virtually fluent in a difficult Asian language; he planned and completed a road trip that highlighted areas he wanted to see and I can hear his confidence growing.

He was telling me that he is feeling momentum building for his return to the U.S.  Our chat started because he wanted me to read an email to his grad school advisor.  It’s time for him to set up his school email and select his courses for the Fall.  I helped him tweak the email and that lead to the phone call.

When he returns to the U.S., his plan is to visit with family for a week as he packs up and prepares to move up the East Coast.  We walked through that timeline so I could put some dates in my calendar.

Then we talked about logistics of where he would be living for grad school.  His girlfriend has pushed the housing selection responsibility onto him, the guy who is living literally halfway around the world.  That was my opening…

“How are things going with her?”  He admitted that they have been bickering more frequently.  We then began the discussion of how it would be much harder to break up with her once they have moved so far away and are living together.

We talked about how living with her and her “emotional support” dog (a Pitbull mix) is going to make housing incredibly difficult and probably more expensive.  His post-grad school is in an expensive, urban area.

He mentioned that during his orientation for his current overseas position, they specifically said that if you have mental health issues, they do not go away with a change of environment.  “If you are depressed in the U.S., you will continue to be depressed in Asia with it possibly worsening due to stress.”

His girlfriend battles anxiety and some other issues.  She is in therapy and on medication.  She is somewhat estranged from her family.  I have seen a tendency of hers to battle with those around her.  Her roommates moved out, her apartment complex manager fights with her and other stories give me pause.  She’s a smart young woman, but she will hold my son back from his goals.

My son wants to travel the world.  He wants to work in areas that require high security clearances.  It will be stressful and demanding.  Having a stressful, demanding home life isn’t conducive to his career and life goals or his own mental health.

I explained to him that I was going through the situation of planning to break up with the Hunter.  I told him that it was going to be really hard since we are living together.  I suggested that he NOT follow my example.

It will be interesting to see how he handles the situation.  This has been his first serious relationship.  Time will tell.  I am hoping that sharing my experiences will help him make his own decisions, but at the end of the day, he has to decide how and when to act.  Good luck, dear son!  I’m on your side.

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Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash

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