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

Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Bebopping Along

I’m happier in our new place.  Both the Hunter and I feel like a cloud has lifted.  Stress has lessened and we like our new environs.  I still have some unpacking to do, but it’s primarily in my office so it can be ignored easier than other places.

I’m trying the trick of hanging all my clothes backwards so this time next year I can see if I wore everything.  If I didn’t, I can more easily determine what to dump.  It will be interesting to see what survives.  My closets, shelves and drawers are organized.  The Hunter is great to have around because he’s fearless with a drill.  He puts up shelves, hangs pictures and organizes things so handily.  I empty the boxes and he gets rid of them.

The only room that we are still experimenting with is the family room/living room.  It’s really small, so we don’t have a margin for excess.  Right now it has a daybed that the Hunter adores.  Last weekend he took such a solid nap I caught him sleeping like a toddler complete with drool coming out of his mouth.  I cannot deny a man the ultimate napping spot.  We just need to figure out the other seat.  Right now I brought in an outdoor chair with its ottoman and changed out the cushions.  It’s OK, but the Hunter and I agree it’s not the long-term solution.  We are thinking…recliner.  Yup, just like old farts.  We want comfort and screw everyone else.

We added Roku so we can stream our cable, Netflix and Amazon Prime.  That lead to the Hunter adding Sling because the man is desperate for his ESPN.  We have been loving all of the new channels.  I binge on Project Runway until he howls in protest.  He happily watches hunting shows and basketball playoffs.  We’ve really enjoyed the improved TV situation.

Now that the cloud is lifting (only metaphorically because it has been walls of water for over 10 days now), I look at my work situation and say, “Hmmm, Maggie & Co isn’t a bad thing, perhaps what I need is some form of side hustle to supplement it.”  I realize that I have things most people dream of:  freedom, flexibility, decent income (albeit sporadic as hell) and NO BOSSES, just some crazy-ass clients at times, but really nobody looking over my shoulder day-to-day.

Speaking of bosses, after I got Robin her job, she called me this week after a couple of weeks of the new gig.  She’s quitting.  WTF?, you ask.  I can’t blame her.  Her church (which amuses me because I don’t see Robin as being religious) offered her a full-time job.  She’ll be working with her daughter and seeing her grandbaby every day.  Robin is not even 50 and she’s a grandmother — go figure.  Anyway, she’s making less $$, BUT she was commuting 1-1/2 hours or more each way, getting home around 8:00, less freedom and flexibility (limited vacation/holidays), dress code — all those things that come with a reasonable, responsible job.  The new church job is less $$ but it’s a 10 minute commute, business casual and she spends her day with her family.  How can you begrudge her?  The Hunter asked if I was upset and honestly, I am not.  Everybody’s journey is different and if she wasn’t happy, then she needed to do what is right for her.

I’m keeping myself busy.  I just signed up for some business events.  I got annoyed when I tried signing up for one and missed the deadline by an hour.  It was an event I created for a group that kicked me off the board (my 2nd term was up and it was time).  I sent a nice email apologizing for being a ditz and asking for them to squeeze me in.  Nope, they won’t do it.  Yep, that’s why I don’t want to sit on anymore professional non-profit boards.  No good deed(s) goes unpunished.  That’s OK, it saved me some significant bucks and time — I think Karma was telling me not to go.

Gotta run, the Hunter is walking in the door and I gotta go give him a smooch!

 

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I’m Alone Now

The Hunter just took off in his beat-up pickup for a week-long hunting trip.  It could be shorter, but it won’t be longer.  He kissed me and the Kracken good-bye and hit the road for a long, long ride to his hunting lease.  That leaves me alone with the Kracken.

I know he was feeling a little guilty when he insisted on taking me grocery shopping so I had some food while he was gone.  Good — he should feel a bit guilty because I will state for the record that his hunting is a bit selfish.  Having said that I will also say that he tries hard to incorporate me into the plans.  He asked me to go with him the morning after I had my meltdown — no way, I simply cannot take off to the woods right now.

I mentioned to him during a morning walk that this arrangement leaves me stuck at home, so as he was leaving, he left me some money to put the Kracken in Doggy Daycare if I want to slip away for a few days.  I’ll think about it.  I was pleased that he immediately offered that up, but I doubt I’ll have time for that.

Robin got the dream job.  I had introduced her to a company that was perfect for her.  It’s locally owned and the company’s rockstar told me they were looking for someone.  I knew immediately that Robin would be perfect.  I put everyone together and Robin survived a 4-person interview, an afternoon shadowing the rockstar and yesterday they formally presented her with a written offer that exceeded her expectations.  She is beyond thrilled.  I am beyond thrilled for her also.  She needs the stability of income, health insurance, etc.  I had coached her that no matter what they offered to graciously thank them and tell them she would let them know within 24 hours. This will give her time to digest it all.  She also got her start date which is about 4 weeks away.

These two events leave me alone — in different ways and with different timing, but I’ll be alone.  I’ll miss Robin. She is a steady, dependable person who has always cheered me on and gave me the comfort of having the semblance of a team.  She is a dear friend. I’m hoping that the Hunter’s recent distance wasn’t a relapse, but his cabin-fever to get to the woods.  I’ll write some more about that later, but for now, I’ve got a very busy week remaining in front of me, so I have to get going…..

 

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Photo by Jean Gerber on Unsplash

Crazy Lives Beside Us

The Hunter had a really funny run-in with one of our neighbors that I haven’t written about.  I’ll try to keep it short but this will provide context to to my next post.

About 3 months ago we had a code enforcement officer stop by the house.  We weren’t home and he didn’t leave any information on why he was here.  My son was home and the officer was asking if the Hunter was running his business out of our house.  My son didn’t confirm or deny this and he duly informed the Hunter when he arrived home ahead of me.

I pulled into the driveway to see two cardboard signs attached to the trees out front. “Neighbors, we have a snitch who calls code enforcement” (I don’t remember the exact words, but that’s the gist of it).  I laughed and admired the Hunter’s audacity.  He thought I would be upset, but in my mind he was merely exercising his First Amendment right.  He wanted to add “Snitches get stitches”, but I advised him that this additional language was threatening and could get him into trouble.  He changed it to “Snitches are bitches”.

We knew who had turned us in — our batshit crazy next-door neighbor.  She is a screaming shrew who has fought viciously with our landlady after a BFF falling out.  I won’t go into their drama but let’s say that both sides probably bear responsibility.  Couple that with my landlady who has never seen an argument go unargued, and I can only imagine the fireworks when they lived side-by-side.

Anyway back to our drama.  We know it was our neighbor because the previous week the Hunter had given his business card to her teenage stepson because he wanted to have him help do some techie work with his GoPro camera.  Nobody else in the neighborhood knows the name of his business and the code enforcement officer had the name when he talked to my son, so it was an easy puzzle to solve.

Keep in mind that the Hunter named no names on either signs.  Neighbors drove or walked by regularly because it was early evening and folks were arriving home from work.  They read the sign and laughed or waved.  Within the hour, Crazy lady (CL) pulls into her driveway while we are sitting out back enjoying the early evening breeze.  “Motherfucker!!” she screams.  The Hunter looked at me and we giggled.  “Guess who’s home”, I say.

The Hunter has some big ass balls.  He grabbed his GoPro and walked into the front yard.  She had gone ballistic and marched over to the neighbors next to her to gain some allies. We had discovered early into our tenancy that they were also jerks (birds of a feather) but we never really had to deal with them, so it had never been a big deal.  They start screaming at the Hunter.

“Look out!! He’s got a gun!!!” was Neighbor’s first scream.  The Hunter calmly replied, “No, it’s a camera”.  The GoPro was on a selfie stick.  “Don’t film us!” Neighbor screams.

“We have lived here 20 years and we aren’t going to have that that kind of shit in our yard.”  Ummm, it’s in our yard, I think.

“We have called the cops”  Excellent because we need some protection from your crazy selves, I think.  Keep in mind that I am cowering in our house because I don’t have the Hunter’s confrontational chops.  I can hear everything though.

“You are just a tenant!” Um, what does that have to do with anything?

As the police arrived, we decided to sit inside and watch a pre-season football game, so the cops can deal with the crazies first without having to deal with us as well.  As we are sitting there, my phone began exploding.  My landlady was texting and calling me to ask what is this sign and demand that we remove it.  I ignored her because I needed to live thru the chaos in front of me.  I was also wondering how the heck she knew when CL basically has a restraining order against my landlady and cannot contact her directly.  Apparently CL enlisted the Neighbors to contact landlady who had no idea who was texting her all kinds of crazy messages.

Eventually the police came over and knocked on the door.  There are two — both young.  One is soft-spoken and polite; the other is a bit tougher.  We stepped outside to chat with them.  They told us that they explained to the crazy neighbors that we are well within our First Amendment rights to have the sign in the yard.  We began discussing the catalyst of the code enforcement officer visit.  The neighbor came to the edge of our yard to videotape us.  All 4 of us ignored her.

The cops told us that the neighbors were upset with the profanity.  Tough cop, with a straight face, said that they were cursing like sailors as they said the profanity offended them, so he told them he couldn’t believe that.  The tough cop then asked if we would remove the profanity.  “I would hate for the neighborhood kids to see it, ” he explained.  I refrained from being a smart ass by saying that if they could read it they had probably already learned that word.  The Hunter graciously said that he had made his point and would bring the signs inside and did so.  He had made his point, so the signs weren’t necessary.  All 4 of us mulled over why CL would have such a strong reaction to signs that didn’t name anyone…..interesting…..

There is more to the story.  I dealt with our landlady using the beautiful strategy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, so our relationship has improved significantly.  I sent her the GoPro video which she put on her Facebook, shared with friends and family and probably caused CL more drama because they have mutual FB friends.  I never intended her to distribute it, but, hey, that’s her choice.  In my email to my landlady, I warned her that if CL harassed us in any way, we would find it to be a threat and violation of our quiet enjoyment which could result in us moving out early.  I called her and softened it by explaining that I needed to give her formal notice just to protect us both.  She understood.

The other neighbors around us loved the dramatic evening.  We heard from several, “she got what she deserved”.  One sat with his wife in his backyard which ended up being a front row seat for the entire saga.  He said it was one of his most enjoyable evenings in the neighborhood in years.  CL had sicced code enforcement on him several times apparently.

Although at the beginning I was really nervous about such a huge confrontation with a neighbor, I ended up finding the whole episode ridiculously hilarious.  It was a good learning experience for me about difficult confrontations.  The stepson saw us the next day and gave us a sly grin and “What’s Up”.  He and his dad are no longer allowed to chat with us, but he continues to say hello and wave.

All of this leads up to the past week where the Hunter has shown himself to be a better, more restrained, less vindictive person than me.

Irmageddon Part 1

This will probably be the first of many posts about Irma.  That bitch is hellbent on destroying my hometown for the past 30+ years.  She is very dangerous.  There are so many newbies to SFLA that they have no idea what Irma is really like, however, people are preparing.

My FB feed is exploding.  People evacuating, people staying, everyone panicky and no supplies to be found.  The Hunter and I gassed up at 4:30 am on Tuesday.  We were one of the last customers at a station that dispensed 9,000 gallons since 7:00 pm the night before.

We have a sturdy bunker of a house in an area that is inland enough to be out of all evacuation zones.  The roof was replaced in 2005, so it’s as good as it gets.  The windows are impact-resistant and the house is a low ranch facing south-southeast — one of the best profiles for the wind.  The Hunter is getting the outdoors ready while I do things like…pack up important papers, write, deal with a dreadful migraine that left me vomiting this morning, monitor friends and family thru FB, etc.  In other words, I am trying to deny the existence of a hellish weekend.

My adorable son-in-law from the Northeast can’t fathom why we don’t evacuate.  I calmly explain that it’s not an option.  Florida has tens of thousands of tourists from the Keys, cruise ships, attractions who all need to get the heck out of the way.  The highways are packed with no gas at the exits.  We also have elderly, special needs and kidlet folks who shouldn’t be here before, during or for the aftermath, so let them get outside of the Zone.

Our building code is designed for people to shelter in place.  We need to trust it, although, a Cat 5 wasn’t part of the plan.  If we can keep the roof intact, we’ll be OK.  To that end, all doors will be kept shut during the storm to keep the pressure compartmentalized, so if one section goes, we can hopefully slow or prevent other roof sections from going.  Yes, that’s the type of thing we are discussing on FB.  It worked for me in Andrew and it worked for others in other hurricanes.

In the meantime life goes on for others.  I see on FB that a work colleague lost his father on Tuesday.  Another whose husband has been so very ill for the past two months and was just re-hospitalized.  His prognosis is grim.  Another friend’s dog passed away yesterday.  I have friends with wee babies, others with pregnant daughters and wives (who have been sent far away).  My life is simple now, so it’s easier to cope with the preparations.

Pray for the folks of SFLA.  The poor folks don’t have the financial means to stockpile food and water for a week. The rich folks are dealing with full-house generators that suddenly decided to go on strike at the moment of true crisis.  Lots of friends are figuring out what the heck to do with their boats.  It’s crazy right now, but I just keep reminding myself to eat this elephant one bite at a time.

See you on the other side, Maggie

 

 

 

Another Anniversary

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Here is a fun fact about me — I am a Hurricane Andrew survivor.  Today is the 25th anniversary, so my fellow PTSD victims and I are re-living memories of that day and the aftermath.  Hurricane Andrew was a compact Category 5 storm that touched down in South Florida less than 10 miles from my home.  Taz was 2-years old at the time.  At my insistence, we evacuated inland a mere 5 miles, so we got to hunker down in a townhouse with about 18 family members wondering what the heck was going on. Through a skylight I watched a satellite dish turn inside out like an umbrella.  That’s when you know shit is getting real.

I have tons of memories both good and bad, but one of my FB friends decided to remember the good, so since I’m a tad grouchy at the end of a challenging day, let’s focus on that.

I remember my neighbors, because we were the only block with quasi-habitable homes, pooling together money so two people could drive up to 60 miles to buy everyone groceries.  We didn’t really know many of them until after the storm and then we knew EVERYBODY.  I remember having a block party every night so we could share food, propane and most importantly the fellowship of survivorhood.  It was actually fun.

I remember getting free medicine from a mobile clinic when Taz got pink-eye from bathing in the lake (God, it was hotter than Hades after the storm — a high pressure system that was unbelievable).    Taz didn’t think she was treated by a real doctor because it was a man, a kindly internist who had to ask his nurse the right dosage for a 2-year old. LOL — even at that age she was challenging authority.

I remember, after 10 days of camping at the house, moving in with some old friends and we lived a hippie commune life for a month.  We had at any given time 6-10 adults and various kids coming and going.  It was a blast. I cried when it was time to return home.

Days before the storm I had given notice at a job and was scheduled to start a new one.  Both employers were concerned and offered all types of help and assistance.  I felt blessed.  My old employer paid me even though I never went back (except to pick up the final check).

My neighbors behind me lost everything.  Her contraceptive sponges were inside my house.  I found their clothes, pictures — you name it and it had blown into my house.  They came by to check out their house and realized it was gone.  I handed them a box of their personal effects.  The next day I saw them on the side of the road by the shopping center grilling and giving away hot dogs to anyone who stopped.

The local strip joint was up and running in days.  They were making money hand over fist even though last call was at 5:00 pm due to a dusk to dawn curfew.  Any restaurant or store that was open was making obscene amounts of money — cash money.

The housing developer for the area handed out free food, diapers, water — they were the first aid that arrived.  Followed by looters selling stuff from the back of pickup trucks.

I had neighbors that were helpful and on the lookout for any mischief.  One of them was an Army staff Sargent we called Rambo.  He set up a nightly patrol system complete with passwords, 2-hour shifts and did a weapons check on everybody.   I felt safe even though a block away a good friend had his Jacuzzi stolen out of his backyard in broad daylight. Within a week, our security force was INS until the National Guard was mobilized with enough people to handle things.  INS was the best — they were badasses and our neighbor worked there.  Our street was their #1 priority.

My house was habitable and we had a new roof and windows before Christmas.  We were lucky.  I had power in a month, cable in two months.  The cable folks thought I was nuts when I placed my order to have it turned back on.

It was tough though.  My father-in-law had cancer and they lived a couple of blocks from us.  My Ex’s siblings packed up their dad and mom and shipped them out of the country for a few months until the dust settled.  They lost the house they were renting and the house they had a contract on, so why stay in chaos?

I had insisted that we all evacuate on Sunday (Andrew hit on Monday).  My Ex didn’t want to, so I told him to sit in front of the TV for 30 minutes and then decide.  I told him regardless that Taz and I were going to stay at his sister’s and I was packing up.  He watched and without another word packed up his parents.  We grabbed some South American friends that lived a few blocks away.  They didn’t want to leave, but we were in a mandatory evacuation zone, so we insisted.  As we drove away, the wife exclaimed that they needed to go back because she forgot to turn on the alarm.  We laughed hysterically at the time.  They had been in the country two weeks. They lost everything and I found their couch cushions in a lake a half mile away a few days later.

We had a neighbor that stayed in his house even though we were supposed to leave.  He and his dog rode out the storm until the side of his house fell off.  Yes, our neighborhood had houses that lost entire sides — it looked like a giant dollhouse.  Ceiling fans, scattered contents and no exterior wall — bizarre.  Anyway, when the side of his house disappeared, he made the brilliant decision to make a run for his car.  He grabbed the dog, opened the door and saved his own life by clinging to the column of the front stoop.  The dog was sucked away by the storm.  He spent hours clinging to the stoop.  He lived albeit with scratches and cuts all over him.  He spent a day or two in the hospital and we never saw him after that.

A friend of mine rented a house a couple of years later in an older, nearby neighborhood.  The owner said that during the storm (he was another idiot who didn’t evacuate) he looked out his sliding glass door and realized that the water was 5 feet deep outside the house.  How that glass door held up is beyond reason — he retreated to his attic until he lost the roof.  Geez, people, evacuate for goodness sakes!

Anyway, I could go on and on about this, but let me mention some of my lessons learned:

  • Possessions don’t mean shit.  You can always get a new couch or a new house, but you can’t replace photographs/memories/loved ones.  Now I grab all my important papers and old photo albums.
  • If you are told to evacuate, do it.  Don’t hesitate, get the heck out of there as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t buy tons of canned foods in a crisis — I lived on crackers and canned fruit with a lovely grilled steak occasionally.  It was too damn hot to eat much else.  Give me lots of water and a battery-operated fan.
  • Focus on the kids — make sure that they feel safe and taken care of.  Taz came through with flying colors.  We had to stop potty-training because that was asking too much of her.  The moment we got back into the house and her old daycare, she was potty-trained — she just needed life to stabilize.  It broke my heart during the first week when all she wanted was a Popsicle, but dammit, we figured out how to get her one by the end of the week.
  • Have a good hurricane box.  Paper plates, trash bags, wet wipes, the list goes on.
  • You can live through pretty much anything if you just keep your calm, but sometimes you have to unleash your crazy to get shit done.  Example:  a couple of months after the Hurricane, we were back in our house but my landline kept going out.  Always on a weekend, always when I was alone with Taz while my Ex was working.  With his dad so sick, limited communication was not an option.  I remember standing in the grocery store on a payphone multiple times until I finally had a meltdown.  Meltdowns were common occurrences in our local grocery store, so nobody thought twice about it.  Anyway, I burst into hysterical screaming tears with the phone company rep and pleaded my case:  hurricane survivor, sick father-in-law, 2-year old, all alone — they had to do something.  She put me on hold, got a supervisor and I awoke the next day (Saturday) to the sound of men with pickaxes digging up my underground phone cable.  Apparently the salt water from the storm surge corroded all the underground cables.  They fixed mine first and then worked their way through the entire neighborhood.  I thanked her in my prayers for many nights.

Hurricane Andrew was my first hurricane.  I told my Ex that living through one natural disaster was enough.  We went to live through many more hurricanes.  I’m cautious about them.  I have to be inside and preparations are thorough.  Now, it’s time to say a prayer of thanks for all my blessings.

Happy WP Anniversary

It has now been 3 years of posting my thoughts, feelings and adventures.  What a journey.  I’m sitting outside this morning catching my breath and re-grouping. But I wanted to take a moment to thank my Dear Readers for being an unexpected part of my journey.  I blog for myself in order to gain some clarity, but along the way I found a community of other soul-searchers.  Thank you for your comments, thank you for reading and writing your own blogs.  I have learned a lot.

Have a beautiful day and life.

Losing Sight of Shore

Losing Sight of Shore is an amazing documentary currently on Netflix. It is the story of the Coxless Crew – 4 women who ROWED across the Pacific from San Francisco to Cairns, Australia. They started with the quote “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Of course that quote was Christopher Columbus, but I had never heard it before this documentary. Grab a bottle of wine and watch it – it’s amazing. These are among the bravest women I have ever seen.

final_ocean_quote_pictureIn any case, that quote has been rattling around my brain this week. It’s been a week of highs and lows. Let’s start with the lows and get them out of the way:
• I have been rejected for new business (OK, shit happens),
• Today marks the last day with a lovely client (I will miss them and the $$)
• A frenemy is riding that high of launching his own company and he’s on that early wave of beginner’s luck that I had. (My green-eyed monster reared its head.)
• I asked a long-ago boss for some business and he soundly rejected me, but I have to say the conversation was really constructive and he was kind enough to walk me through why he was saying no and he was right. (Life lesson, sigh).
• I can’t seem to get myself up on a consistent schedule/routine. I’m really frustrated about this.

Now let’s talk about the high’s for the week:
• I’m winning a new piece of business that isn’t easy, but it could be very cool with a nice payday.
• I have a new project that launched this week – also not easy but cool.
• The Hunter gave an amazing presentation to a small group of his ideal type of client and hit it out of the park.
• My son is hanging with us and it’s been lovely to see him
• I just had a lovely chat with a great friend and we made plans to see each other next week. She’s always a great inspiration and mentor to me.

I didn’t have a lot of wins, but these were good. It wasn’t a particularly busy week (another problem). I spent time on some things that I shouldn’t (correcting that course!). I didn’t spend time on things that do matter (like my cold calling course and other business development).

I am now headed out to sea without the shoreline in sight. I have very little to nothing in my pipeline. Yes, my bank account is now safely in the black with about 6 months of reserve, but I feel anxious and the pressure of an empty pipeline. I have to remind myself that Robin needs to pull her weight with the business development and she can’t be included on every $$ that I bring in unless she has actually worked on it. I’ve been down that road before and I ended up broke & resentful.

I talked to my BFF because I feel the stress. I wake up (unless I exercise and take a melatonin) in the middle of the night thinking about work. I’m having a few anxiety dreams (a man stalking me down a street with the intent of killing me – that was a lovely one). She sadly told me that this is all perfectly normal and probably won’t go away anytime soon. WTF? My other great friend just told me that I just need to give it another 6 months and then I’ll be more stabilized. She should know – she has been an independent business owner for many years.

The Hunter took me to the beach this week with the Kracken. I had an active, not even resting, bitch face on which scares him. LOL. The walk was fabulous. He dealt with the dog and I strolled up and down the beautiful, windswept beach watching the waves, the light dim – it nourished my soul. I have started listening to my daily affirmations and it calms my negative self-talk.  Today we are knocking off early to celebrate his great day and I hope we do a replay. This man truly gets me.

 

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