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Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

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.

Chickens

My neck of the woods is entering Phase 1 of re-entry and my company is on a full court press to bring folks back to the office.  Although I understand the necessity of both, it makes me anxious. We all know C-19 cases will surge, and since we don’t have enough tests coupled with leadership who prefers to hide reality under a rock, it will be difficult to monitor hot spots. We simply don’t have enough data to make nuanced decisions.

Bringing people back to work means more people in my building. I don’t know where these people have been, who they have associated with, etc. There are several things that are helping me contain my fear:

  1. My company is being careful about how folks will return to the office.  It is being done incrementally spread over two months.
  2. Cleaning and other hygiene protocols are increased.
  3. Every morning every employee will undergo a temperature check and brief health screening.

Now we all know that the health screening is largely BS, but it is emphasizing the fact that the company prefers you stay home if you feel off.

The biggest thing at work that helps me tap down my anxiety is my environment. Nobody wanders into our area because it’s home to senior leadership and isolated. My area is self-contained. We have our own bathrooms, so there is no need to go out into the building common areas if I don’t want. We have large work stations with high partitions.  I scoffed at them when I started. Now I love them. They provide a good buffer both in terms of height and size. I can spend my entire work day in that area never having to leave if I want. I am already thinking about wearing a mask in all common areas and bringing cold lunches to avoid the kitchen.

My boss has a great question for this re-entry process.  “Will you be a raging chicken?” Meaning will you immediately be running around happy to be free and hitting stores and restaurants or will you continue to sit up in your roost? She and I along with our coworkers in our section plan to be the latter. Time will tell.

My county has already opened hair salons and restaurants.  The raging chickens are flocking to both.  The restaurants in particular make me shudder.  People sitting just a trifle to close and no masks because they are eating. Restaurants are packed. I am horrified.

The Hunter tempted me last week to be a raging chicken. He’s done with it all. He is one of those rebellious people who walks into stores without a mask. He invited me to a guided moonlight swamp buggy excursion complete with barbecue. It sounded like so much fun, however, I am a roosting chicken. I asked about masks, social distancing, buggy occupants (i.e. single family units per buggy or mixed) and the answers did not meet my comfort level because they are operating like pre-C19. I simply couldn’t do it.

Instead he apparently headed across the state to pick up some fishing gear and hang out with a new hunting buddy. Nope, not for me. He had been so good with quarantining and being careful up until now. I don’t know if he actually went.  We haven’t spoken in days.

Last week we had a conversation, several actually, about all of this. I explained that he is free to make all of these choices, however, I am equally free to decide he is too high risk for me. He is. Unfortunately this means we won’t be seeing each other and I don’t know for how long. It makes me sad.

The Hunter has been a comfort. I consider him my boyfriend.  Although we live an hour apart, we had been talking every day and would see each other every weekend. Most of our daily conversations are a simple check-in, but it is a meaningful human connection with someone who loves and cares for me.

I have never been particularly good at confrontation or standing up for myself when I am in a relationship. This current situation with the Hunter could literally be do or die.  Maybe that is an exaggeration, but do I want to risk it? I don’t have enough data to calculate my odds, so I prefer to be safe in my roost. Safe and boring. I will continue, albeit sadly, to say no thank you and no longer see the Hunter for the foreseeable future. It’s not just my health, but those I work with daily. I make a promise to them to avoid high risk situations.

The Hunter reads this blog and I can hear him snort with disbelief about my stand on this. He thinks I will get so horny that I will throw caution to the wind. He is amazing in bed, no doubt there, but even that isn’t enough for this chicken to leave the roost. I am sorry, Hunter, but this is the way it must be.

With much love,

Maggie

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Raging Chickens Not Social Distancing – Photo by Wolfgang Mennel on Unsplash

Here & Now

What’s missing? That is the feeling that has been rattling around in the back of my mind.  It didn’t materialize until I put pen to paper.  What is missing these days?

The answer for me is social occasions.  Forming new friendships with women in my new town.  That was my top 2020 goal and now a formidable one.

I am not lonely, but I do want to broaden my social circles.  My Zoom Toastmasters helps.  I did a pleasant Zoom Meetup with a women’s group.  We had 5 on the call and it was nice.  I had been seeing the Hunter every weekend. I talk to my kids frequently and check in with my dad and BFF weekly.  Plus I have an office of friendly coworkers for idle chitchat and lunch. I cannot complain.

However, I am looking 10 years out to my retirement.  Holy shit, I only have about 10-14 years to go.  Crap, I am getting old.  What is my retirement going to look like?  Will I move close to Taz to help her with the grandkids?  My dad advocates for that.  I am happy to help.  I would love to do something like help run the marketing for her medical practice or help oversee the management side of things.  That would keep me busy, but that is the future.  What is here and now?

Here and now is no Meetups, no clubs, no concerts, no festivals, no beach, etc.  Here and now is a brilliantly beautiful day with cool air wafting on my bare legs.  Birds chirping, traffic humming past.  Here and now is a delicious cup of coffee.

Instead of searching for the missing, let me have a moment of pure gratitude.  I am so grateful for everything I have:

  • My kids – they are wonderful, accomplished and a source of joy, not grief or angst.
  • My cozy apartment – it’s cute, perfect for me.  It has nice, upgraded appliances,  granite countertops, a nice balcony with a pleasant view.  My apartment is filled with decor and furniture I selected.  It is a trifle eclectic, but very comfortable and I like it.
  • My job and steady paycheck – something I will never take for granted.
  • My health – I am strong, healthy with absolutely no issues other than my weight.  My thyroid may be a bit wonky, but I am taking no medications and feel great.
  • Friends and family – I have people in my life who love me and who I love in return. No drama – what a blessing.

I am so incredibly lucky and blessed.  My only debt is my car, which is very manageable and soon to be paid off.  This time last year I was in such a panic.  I had over $40K of debt and little income.  I was praying night & day that I would get this job because there was nothing else in sight.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?  All I know is that today is a blessing and I am happy with all that I have.  I need to remain present and not fret about the future.  I am missing nothing, not a damn thing.

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Mother’s Day 2020

I have ranted about Mother’s Day in the past.  You can read a rant here.  I recognize that my mothering woes are nothing like those facing moms today.  My heart goes out to all of you.  The world we are living in rapidly skittered to something never seen before.

As mom, you somehow have to keep your shit together even while home schooling, feeding, cleaning plus worrying about finances, job security or lack thereof, work if you are lucky enough to have it.  Wow, it truly blows my mind.

I salute you all.  Please be kind to yourself, be forgiving and all that self-care stuff because we need you.

Peace & love,

Maggie

The reality of family photos… Photo by Jose Escobar on Unsplash

True Colors

I sent Taz and her hubby an Easter card.  Here’s what I wrote:

Oftentimes it is during times of struggle that we learn more about ourselves and our relationships.  It also peels back the layers and shows a person’s true self. The two of you are showing your bravery, love, humor and so much more.  Stay strong and know that you both are cushioned and surrounded by the strong love of your friends and family.

Their friends and family are rallying around them.  One of Taz’s BFF from high school works for a name brand spirits company.  She sent a serious care package of top shelf vodka.  Others have laid their hands on precious Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer which they have sent to Taz.

After listening to Taz talk about her decontamination protocol, I sent her 15 pounds of baby wipes.  I scored big at Target at 8:00 am this week.  I was allowed one package, so I chose the one with 750 wipes inside.  She uses a hospital disinfectant as she changes her scrubs, but she is wiping her face and other things with Neutrogena wipes because that is all she has at the moment.  That freaked me out which then caused the Target run because I feel like I have to do something.  I have offered hand sanitizer made by a local distiller because she can add it to a spray bottle to spray on the wipes.  She demurred saying that what I was sending was what they needed.

But the message I wrote to them applies to all of us.  How are we handling this crisis  shows our true self.  I am still trying to control and contribute, so I attack it with gifts and actions.  Thus far I have:

  • Sent oranges to Taz, my parents and my son
  • Bought and sent Taz disposable coveralls and safety glasses I found at Home Depot
  • The aforementioned 15 pounds of baby wipes for Taz
  • Bought the Hunter a rice cooker for Easter because he needs one
  • Bought my son an Instant Pot to perk him up for Easter.  He needs a little boost because he has been inside for so long.
  • Bought 6 cloth masks from three different sources – some for me, some for loved ones

The above is all my retail actions because I am an over-buyer, so if I can buy something to fix a problem, look out!  This doesn’t even include all my grocery shopping so I can huddle up at home, my DIY hand sanitizer for me and more.  For morale support, I am

  • Talking to friends and family at least every other day.
  • Helped my dad register for grocery curb side pick up and delivery with his local grocery store
  • Discussed financial options with my son on various scenarios he will be facing.
  • Talked to the Hunter about his business and his situation
  • Emailed cousins about their situation (including the ones who just lost my uncle).

One pending action item is to donate blood.  The US is having a blood shortage, so I will be heading to my local organization to donate blood.  It will be for Taz and all the other healthcare workers out on the front line.  I plan to continue donating throughout this shit show and perhaps longer.  I just heard an NPR story about a 90-something woman who donated 20 GALLONS over her life time.  She finally stopped in her 80’s because the blood bank convinced her she had done enough.  Now that is a worthy contribution.

True colors, my Dear Readers.  We are having the moral, physical, psychological, relationship test of a lifetime.  All of us will have low moments, but who will have a shining moment?  Will all of us do what we can to help?  Will we quarantine and be bored out of skulls to save the greater good?  Will we be supportive of loved ones and neighbors?  This is our test.  I am hoping for a better than passing grade. How about you?

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Into the Abyss

Today started off great. I had a good mindset even though I still report to the office. I realized how blessed I am to have a job, caring coworkers and more. I realized that part of my mixed feelings includes guilt. My life is still pretty normal, especially when you compare it so many others. At the end of the day I got a text from Taz that dumped a bucket of ice cold water on my mood.

Earlier this week I found some full body coveralls with booties and a hood. Four mediums at a Lowes. A coworker’s brother had found masks at another so I had been looking for N95 masks, but found those and safety googles instead. I bought them all and sent Taz a text asking if ehe wanted them.

She sent a calm text that no she didn’t need them. She had her scrubs. We joked about my tendency to overbuy when anxious. Her overbuying is groceries. I was holding the coveralls with the thought of giving them to my apartment maintenance guys. Until today, two days later, I got Taz’s text. “No, I lied. Send them”. I immediately overnighted them.

I called my son-in-law thinking I wouldn’t be able to talk to her. She picked up the phone. I told her that the coveralls and my citrus shipment would arrive tomorrow and I would send her the tracking numbers. Then I asked the dreaded question – who are they for? They are for her.

They are putting the surgeons into the COVID units beginning tomorrow. They do not have the proper respiratory training to keep these patients alive. She insisted on training because she doesn’t want patients dying because her team hasn’t had training. They have promised to train them. She will now go into a hellish rotation that includes 24 hour call several days a week with several days in the COVID unit. She knows she will get COVID, and will transmit it to her husband.

I am terrified. Absolutely terrified. I am living a mundane normal life compared to the absolute shit show my daughter is living. I cannot imagine. I know the best way to support her is to stay strong. To love and support her no matter what. To tell her I love her. I sent her a quick note in the box telling her how proud I am and how much I love her. I want to do more, but I am at a loss.

I want to call every person I know and collect PPE for all the healthcare workers. Harbor Freight is donating all their masks to hospitals. I told Taz to have the hospital sign up. I know others are working on this too, but I want to do more to help.

My daughter is an incredibly responsible adult. She has a kind heart, great sense of humor and is beautiful inside and out. She is a highly trained surgeon who graduated at the top of her class since high school. She graduated from a top 5 med school and is in a top 5 residency for her specialty. She is amazing. She wants kids and they had planned to start trying this Spring. She has such an incredible future in front of her. She has spent almost a decade getting the training necessary to be at the top of her field.

Please, God, keep her safe through this. I pray to you with all my heart to keep her safe. Please Lord, keep her and those other healthcare workers safe. Their selfless sacrifice is the bravest thing I have seen. Please, Lord, hear my prayer. Amen.

What Will Be, Will Be

I have been thinking about my upcoming discussion with my boss when we implement Work From Home (WFH).  It is coming.  A senior leader needed my help formatting a document that outlines the guidelines. I couldn’t read much of it, only the title.  I also overheard him talking to another senior leader about out of our top 30 competitors, we are the only one not WFH.  Damn.

My problem is that my boss, being the loyal lieutenant, isn’t a fan of WFH.  I have to figure out how to discuss this with her when the time comes.  She treats the situation like it is on hourly accountability.  I am an exempt employee, so I am not too much into the “tit for tat”.  She is from the world of billable hours, so she is.  I was hired for my expertise, not so much hired to be a butt in a chair, although I do that to make her happy.  She hasn’t managed someone of my level before.  She typically deals with admins and the like (no slight to them, it is just that they tend to be more task-oriented which is not my situation).

Plus I have to consider that it will come to light that I really don’t have enough work to fill a 40 hour week.  I had mentioned it to her before, early on, but she didn’t come up with more responsibilities.  After two mentions, I shut up.  Why shine a spotlight on it?

I need to prep for this conversation and I am not too sure how I want it to go.  Plus we are headed towards massive national unemployment, so this prepping could be for nothing. Since I am overhead, I could easily go early.

The result I want is employment.  I could compromise and reduce my week (and salary) to 32 hours.  For the interim, perhaps I could use PTO to make up the missing 8 hours.  I would like to keep my full salary, but I think everyone needs to make sacrifices.

If they decide to fire me, perhaps I could make some $$ with them as their consultant.  I have to be flexible.  Nerves are frayed, so who knows what will happen.  During the Recession, they managed to navigate it without laying anyone off.  They reduced hours, but the company was smaller then.  The CEO does know how to navigate tough times, however, these are times no one has ever endured.  He is freaking the fuck out.  The weight of the company and everyone’s livelihoods rests on his shoulders.  I do not envy him one bit.

Today I have a zen acceptance that what will happen, will happen.  Work will end up as it should.  My credit card balances are zero except for one.  I do not owe the tax man a penny.  My only debt is that one credit card balance of $1,500 and my car payment. Financially I will be fine.  Not great, but I will be OK.

What I really want more than anything is for my family to come out of this intact and healthy.  Say a prayer for Taz who is on the frontlines of Brooklyn.  I think about her all the time.  She is so brave, so calm, so reassuring when we talk.  Her stress reliever is to order groceries and watch stupid shows like “Love is Blind”.  Then she gets up and heads back to patch people up.  I am so incredibly proud of her.  What a remarkable woman.  I am so blessed and lucky.  What will happen, will happen.  Karma is in control, not me. I have to remember that and stay positive.

My wishes for your continued health and safety.  My prayers for any of you with sick family and friends.  My love for all of you — love and kindness are what will pull us through.

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Photo by Joel Henry on Unsplash

Merry Christmas!

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Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

I am packed and ready to go.  I spent a lovely weekend with the Hunter.   One of my cookie batches was a fail, but I have other goodies to take, so I’ll leave the gooey (still delicious) mess at home.  Taz, my son and I are giddy with excitement about our upcoming visit.

I hope you, Dear Readers, have a peaceful holiday season.  Best and warmest wishes to you all.

With much gratitude,

Maggie

P.S. If you want to read about the type of man I wished for the Christmas before the Hunter and I began dating, read it here.  It’s only a little naughty….

 

Santa

One of my step-aunts shared a photo of my 80+ year old dad in his Santa suit waving to commuters. This has been his holiday tradition for untold years. It is pretty cute, but as his child, I am mildly irritated. Irritated enough to write this post.

First, a little background. My parents divorced when I was 6 and I saw my dad for holidays and two weeks in the summer thereafter. He wrote monthly and made little effort to spend more time with his kids. He quickly married my stepmom, but they had no kids. I always felt that a) she didn’t like me and my brother because we were a reminder of his previous marriage and 2) she really doesn’t like kids generally.

This meant that any holidays spent with him were with her family. I liked them, but we were the only kids there. Her three sisters had no kids until the youngest adopted. One has a stepson, but she’s divorced from the father. They had their own holiday traditions and we fit in where it was convenient for them. Suffice it to say, those Christmases were not packed with fond memories. They were what they were.

Back to Santa. To me, my dad’s Santa tradition is an example of how little I know about the man. Did he start this because he missed Christmas with his own kids? I seem to recall he was Santa for a non-profit he volunteered for and things grew from there. But I don’t know for sure. I guess I could have a conversation about this with him.

This man, a pillar of his community, put virtually no effort into parenting. He allowed his wife to delay child support checks and write scathing letters to my mom. He is smart and funny, but I have always said he does much better with young adults rather than kids. He tried harder with my brother who went to live with him when he was 15. That didn’t go particularly well, but he paid for my brother’s college and fraternity which is a lot more than he gave me. I got one year of college paid and $2500 for my wedding.

I am asking myself why is this bitterness emerging? I don’t know. I guess I wish I had a better father, but I could have done far worse. I will take benign neglect over abuse any day. I was lucky my stepfather, who was a horrible person, never physically abused me. Here I am 55 years old with my childhood so far behind me still grappling with the aftermath of my childhood. Interesting.

But I agree with Maya Angelou and wouldn’t take nothing for my journey. And most importantly, I have to remember a quote of hers. “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

So in the spirit of Christmas, I forgive the adults of my childhood. I forgive them for the times when they put their needs before a child’s. I forgive them and I fulfilled my promise to myself. Do better. Be a better parent and a better person. I proudly think I am.

Wonderful

My 6-hours with Taz was magical.  We don’t get many moments like this, so I reveled in the time we spent together.  We kicked the day off with a mimosa-filled breakfast, enjoyed the beach for a couple of hours and then got manicures.  I had plenty of solo time with Taz because my Ex and his fiancee finally rolled in around lunch time.  We enjoyed some appetizers and drinks with them.

I had suggested that we all hang out at a nice hotel so Taz would have access to the spa locker room for a shower before her cross country flight.  Thus, the manicures secured our access to the locker room.

We chatted about how things were going for her work, her hubby’s work and all the mundane things going on with me.  She is doing fabulous.  The hubby is kicking butt and getting steady promotions.  They are very happy.  Working incredibly hard, but happy.

The Ex was pleasant and gracious during his portion of the visit. Apparently the row he had with Taz is behind them.   He had the opportunity and invitation to show up earlier, but he didn’t.

Interestingly, he had more info on my Son than I was aware of.  Sigh.  My son is a pretty tight-lipped young man and I realize that having to tell his news to both of us leads to him forgetting who he told what to.  Meh, not that big a deal.

It was a really pleasant day and I was happy, happy, happy the whole time.  Then I popped over to see my BFF.  She is winding down on her miserable job and figuring out her next chapter.  The good news is that she suddenly has two very good, lucrative job leads.  I told her that 2020 was destined to be her year.  I just feel that she has hit her bottom and will now begin working her way out, just like I have done.  Time will tell.

However, there was one cloud over the weekend.  The Hunter.  His holiday angst has kicked in.  He is feeling very depressed.  He describes it as a pressure sitting on his chest.  This has caused him to push me away with some angry words about my neglect of him during his struggle.  I do empathize with him.  He pushed me away on Sunday, so I just drove down to his apartment anyway and waited for him to show up.  He was relieved and happy to see me.  We took the Kracken to a nearby park and spent a few hours sitting in the park enjoying the outdoors.  It was nice and mellow.  We grabbed a late lunch and then he was tired, so I headed home.

I am not the most nurturing, empathetic person, so I have to pause and remind myself not to be callous.  I need to treat my loved ones the way I would want to be treated if I was feeling so anxious.  I actually did the right thing with my impromptu visit.   Whew.

Life is wonderful right now.  I am very blessed.

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