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Archive for the ‘Middle Age’ Category

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.


I Need a Hobby

I was watching the HBO documentary “Read the Obits Before Breakfast” which features Carl Reiner and a bunch of 90-year-old youngsters discussing how they are so vibrant at such an advanced age.  They interviewed a geriatric expert for scientific background.  It all came down to staying busy and having a passion.

I don’t really have a passion – a hobby.  I putter on this blog, read, go to the gym and beach irregularly, but I don’t have that consuming passion.  In my youth, I took piano lessons for a year before switching to the violin for about 5 years.  I wasn’t a prodigy and just sawed away in the 2nd section quite contentedly.  I loved horseback riding but never had the mount or means to test my limits.  I ended up doing a lot of trail-riding although I dreamed of long-distance endurance competitions.  Horses are also way beyond my budget these days.

I enjoyed photography in college but not passionately.   With the kids, I sat on the sidelines of  ballet, soccer, flag football (all short-lived), lots of baseball, tons of horse shows and lacrosse.  I had no desire to jump in, with the exception of a brief equine flirtation.  

I’m boring.  When I moved out and got divorced, I thought it would be hiking.  I like hiking a lot, but it’s not my passion.  I have no interest in volunteer work – I did 2 petition drives this year and I’m done with that.  I need something that excites me like hunting for the Hunter.  He is all excited about his Fall hunt. He’s scouting, planning and I’m so happy for him. But what about me?

Let me think about it and I’ll report back……

I’m Fat

Yep I cannot ignore the scale, my non-fitting clothes or my flubber any longer.  I’m fat and I am perilously close to a weight I swore I would never see again.  I have gained 25 pounds since the Hunter entered my life.  WTF

I know how it happened.  The first 6 months or so we ate, smoked pot, ate some more and trust me we weren’t noshing on carrot sticks.  I quit the gym. I ignored the creeping pounds.  The Hunter gained weight too but he has shed it effortlessly.  

Then I hit my funk – more food to fill the emptiness.  Next came the stress of moving, the Hunter’s job situation, both of us starting our own companies and that kept the scale moving up. Add in the delicious, but not healthy, meals the Hunter prepares. It’s been a perfect storm, but now it’s time to get serious.

I tried the Fasting/One Meal a Day of no-carb, high fat diet/lifestyle but that sucked.  Not for me.  

Instead I been going to the gym and over the past couple of weeks my attendance continues to improve.  I’m really out of shape, so I’m trying to be patient and not be hard on myself. My next step was to rejoin Weight Watchers after a 15 year hiatus.  My first meeting was tonight.  I’ll try a couple of meetings until I find the right group, but I need the accountability.  WW has changed a few things so I’m re-learning parts of the program.  

It sure was easy to get to this point, but it won’t be easy to correct. Once again I need patience,  action steps and kindness to myself.  

The Hunter Turns 50

Happy Bday HunterToday is a big day for the Hunter.  It’s his birthday, but I have made it a point to have celebrated throughout the month of May.  We took a fabulous road trip, which was too short, but so much fun.  We had a great dinner with his son, Nino, and Nino’s girlfriend over the weekend.  We hung out with my dear friends and spent a beautiful day on their boat.  It has been wonderful.  He is not big on presents, because he gets shy and thinks I have done too much for him already.  The trip was a present and he’ll be getting some much-wanted work clothes, but he isn’t getting that “Oh My” present.  It’s simply not one of our Love Languages.

In the midst of all this great stuff, he has a very dark cloud looming.  His mom has very advanced Alzheimer’s and over the weekend hospice has moved in for the final days.  That woman better not have the audacity to die on his birthday.  That is my most fervent hope.

The Hunter has a Love/Hate relationship with his mom (and his extended family) that really sheds a bright light on the man he is today.  His parents are immigrants.  Neither finished high school and they worked hard their entire lives.  His sister is about 8 years older than him and she went on to become quite successful financially.  But this is a family of very negative attitudes.  They constantly belittle and snipe at one another.

Apparently the Hunter was the runt of the litter — the youngest.  With an older sister and much older cousins, he was that super-active, sometimes annoying kid in the background.  He was a behavior problem at school at times.  His mother, according to the Hunter, beat him every day.  Yes, beat him.

Apparently the worse beating that really left him scarred was when she forgot to pick him up from baseball practice.  After waiting and waiting, the coach gave him a ride home.  She beat him until his sister finally interceded because “you made me look bad”.  Yes, this is the type of household he grew up in. She finally stopped when he turned 14 and grabbed the belt out of her hand…..

It’s interesting, from an armchair psychologist view, to see the child/mother dynamics of an abused child.  The Hunter tells many stories about his mother’s great cooking, meals she would make, her amazing domestic skills — she could sew pretty much anything.  He has many good memories of her, but then he has ugly ones too.

However, his parents always sided with his son’s mother, the Hunter’s Baby Momma, when Nino was young.  They never defended him, only blamed him.  Now obviously I am hearing only one side of the story, but….  hopefully you are getting a picture here.

In any case, the Hunter had to spend a very long afternoon with the family as they all paid their last respects to his mom.  The mom who beat him.  The mom who years later denied ever touching him.  The mom who never defended him and only berated him.  He is paying his respects with a family that he refuses to spend holidays with.  One that continues to belittle him and not support him.  It’s difficult and complicated. Actually, as I was wrapping up this post, he walked in with an old photo album he brought back from her house and we spent about 45 minutes looking at his childhood photos.  It was lovely and he enjoyed the memories.

But, the Hunter is worried that his mom’s death will send him spiraling into a depression — it happened before, after another death which ended up destroying his marriage.  I can’t do much for him except listen and love him.  I feel his pain and conflicted feelings.

He wants to have a family for the holidays, so I have told him that we have our children and, in the future, their children plus friends that we love.  I told him that we will create our own family.

That bitch better not die today.  It’s the Hunter’s special day, not hers.


I just re-joined my Toastmaster club after a multi-year hiatus. Some of my best friendships grew out of this club and it’s great for tuning my communication skills. Anyway, I just gave the classic first speech, the Icebreaker, and realized that it makes a great post (once I discreetly filtered out a few specific details).  Here we go into the history of Maggie……

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. — Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  

Today is a momentous anniversary for me and it’s fortuitous that I am doing my Icebreaker on this special day. I’ll tell you more about this anniversary later. I believe that life should be a journey of constant growth and exploration. Oftentimes I take lessons from people of how NOT to do things, so let me explain how I have applied these lessons in my life.   

I was born and raised in North Carolina. I consider myself a Southerner although somehow I lost my drawl along my travels. My parents divorced when I was 6, and my mom went back to school. My dad, who is a great guy and I love dearly, has never been a father figure for me.  He has been merely an interested observer of my life. Between my mom’s education pursuits and impulsiveness, I lived in 9 towns in 12 years. I graduated high school at the age of 16, went to University One for a year, then University Two on the other side of the country (which I consider my Study Aboard year because a Southern girl in the Pacific Northwest is a story in itself) I ended up in our fair city at the age of 19 and sank my roots. I finally finished my communications degree at University Three.    

I met my husband when I was 19 years old. We married when I was 23 and our marriage lasted 25 years. We had two wonderful children and many happy times. Today’s anniversary is the second anniversary of my divorce becoming final. Before you assume that this is a sad day for me, please don’t. I celebrate this day because it represents an important transition in my life. You see I consider my marriage a success, but a chapter in my life that had a beginning, a middle and an end.   

I just read a quote the other day that personifies my parenting style:  There are two things we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings. I was able to take the lessons learned from my parents about what NOT to do and apply them my marriage and raising my children. These lessons were: Create roots for my children and be actively present in their lives for all their pursuits.  

Raising my kids was an incredibly busy, rewarding time of my life. Their father and I kept them close to their aunts, uncles and cousins. They grew up in a very stable, two-parent household and I am thankful they had the childhood I didn’t have. My children are perhaps my greatest success. 

My mother-in-law passed away in January 2013. Her death caused me to reflect and once again I took away several valuable lessons of how NOT to do things. I loved her dearly. She was a wonderful, smart woman, but she also sacrificed for everyone and never put her needs first.   

As I approached 50, I suddenly realized that my life is halfway over if I’m lucky or more than halfway over otherwise. It was time to get serious about living the life that I want to live. This led me to divorcing my husband because it was time for me to live my life on my own terms. My children were out of the nest. I won’t air the dirty laundry of our marriage, but suffice it to say that from the outside our marriage looked perfect, but inside it was not.   

I have been stretching myself outside my comfort level. I went to Jamaica by myself, I tried online dating (huge waste of time). I joined a hiking club, thanks in part to our fellow Toastmaster, P. This hiking club has pushed me outside my comfort zone with canoeing and hiking. Through this hiking club I met my boyfriend, The Hunter. Any man that would date me after seeing me with no makeup, sweating is the right man for me.   

For my next push outside my comfort zone experience, I am bravely moving and leaving our fair city after 30 years for a new one an hour away. Yes, by summer I will be living in a beautiful house on the water with a fruit tree. It felt like home the moment I drove up.   

This chapter of my life is amazing. I know that I am living my life on my terms. I was so incredibly flattered by the note my daughter wrote to me on her wedding day this past February. She described me as fearless. How flattering. Particularly since she’s seen me react to cockroaches. 

There you have it, Dear Readers. Quintessential Maggie in a nutshell. By the way, I got an awesome evaluation and then retreated to a nearby bar with two girlfriends and drank the afternoon away with rounds of prosecco to celebrate my anniversary. What an outstanding day!

Twistin’ the Night Away – Not

Here’s a man in evening clothes
How he got here, I don’t know, but
Man, you oughta see him go
Twistin’ the night away
He’s dancin’ with a chick in slacks
She’s movin’ up and back
Oh, man, there ain’t nothin’ like

Twistin’ the night away
They’re twistin’, twistin’
Everybody’s feelin’ great
They’re twistin’, twistin’
They’re twistin’ the night

Sam Cooke

I am not a party girl.  I was never into the club scene when I was young. Screaming small talk into somebody’s ear was never my preferred way to meet someone. Combine that with my inability to hold my liquor plus a lack of dancing skills  and you’ve got Baby in the corner (without a hunky Patrick Swazye to teach me — RIP sexy man).  Anyway, it surprises a lot of people who know me that I am not a fan of a big party. Give me a small dinner party, cocktail party and I shine, but large events are making me sigh because damn they are a lot of work.

Last night the Hunter and I went to my boss’ annual toy drive Christmas party. It’s my fourth time at this 100+ person event and I have to admit — it’s boring. A bunch of old fart country club types who do not have any tilitillating small talk, small bites of food, drinks heavy with cheap liquor and a host and hostess working like crazy. The upside was a great excuse to get dressed up and go out with the Hunter, a stunning setting, a great band (who took the longest breaks I have ever seen) and saying hi to my co-workers and some folks I use to work with (but never really liked).  I tapped out after 2-1/2 hours. It just doesn’t ring my bell. The Hunter was a great sport for going because he doesn’t like these big parties either. It was the first time he met my boss and it went well.  

I had two parties yesterday plus I hosted a business party for over 300 this week and now I can say that I am a bit of a snob when it comes to parties.  I also now realize how amazing my house parties were back in the day. The daytime party yesterday was for the girls and I was grateful that a new friend invited me. We are in the same business and I had taken her to lunch so we could get to know each other better. She reciprocated with a party invite. It was fun — her friends are not my type (sorry, but I can be snobby on my blog if I want), but everyone was fun and in great spirits. You can tell that they are all very close, which can be a tough circle to penetrate, but they were welcoming. We did that crazy gift exchange/swap where everyone gets a number and can either swipe or unwrap a gift. I love these — it brings out my evil streak. I got a fabulous candle.  

The priceless moment of that party was the unwrapping of the second gift. A woman, who is a hoot, grabs a tall rectangle box and tears the paper off the top.  It says “Rabbit”.  Every soccer mom perked up like a lion that caught scent of its prey. The look on their faces was fantastic. It was an electric wine opener, but I immediately said that I knew what I would be bringing next year…and you know I will. 

The business party is put together by a very seasoned team, so it is effortless on my part. I am the hostess and have to run it, but that’s easy when you have awesome professionals behind the scene. It’s just a long afternoon and evening. We keep it to a firm two hour cocktail party but when you give people free food and drink, I am always amazed by the gluttony that ensues. 

My next party will be my daughter’s bridal shower. That will be a measure of my diplomacy and a taste of how the wedding will play out. It’s coed and a former sister-in-law is having it at her house. The Hunter and I decided that perhaps he will stay home for this one. I think it’s the wiser course of action. My Ex is one of 3 brothers and a sister. The sister is completely cool — she was at the Engagement party, but the brothers have been childishly ignoring me and rude, so I know it could be potentially volatile since we will be on enemy territory. The Hunter and I prefer to keep the focus on the happy couple…I mean the soon-to-be newlyweds and not us. Some may call us cowards, but I prefer to think that we are being diplomatic. 

Judge Not

Don’t you look at me so smug
And say I’m going bad.
Who are you to judge me
And the life that I live?
I know that I’m not perfect
And that I don’t claim to be.
So before you point your fingers,
Be sure your hands are clean.

Bob Marley 

There is one blip on the radar with me and the Hunter these days. It’s about his pot usage (yes, Bob Marley was oh so perfect for my lead-in artist).  As I had mentioned earlier, now that the Hunter has his great new job and drug testing isn’t in the future, he has started smoking again.

While he was on the wagon, he had said that he wanted to smoke and would always smoke, however, he would limit his smoking to probably only the weekends. When we recently talked about it, he said he didn’t want to go back to smoking morning, noon and night (literally) because he didn’t want to live in that kind of zombie state.  But he is smoking almost every night and I caught him grabbing his pipe one morning to see if there was any left for a quick hit.  I was afraid that once he started, he would fall right back into the same frequency and perhaps I am right. He has admitted that I have a point.

Then you have me, Maggie, who has changed her opinion on pot-smoking. While he was a heavy, daily smoker, I didn’t say anything or judge him. At least I like to think I wasn’t judging him. I was OK that he wanted to smoke every night. I don’t think I realized how addicted he  was  is, but I knew he smoked in the morning — I didn’t know about his lunchtime toke until recently. I always told him that I preferred pot to alcohol for a daily  addiction  habit. That is true, but somewhere along the line during his sobriety, my mind changed. Let’s jump back to my past and my baggage for a moment.

My parents separated and divorced when I was 7.  My mom then went on to date men who were losers. She loved an alcoholic and her longest two relationships were with marginally abusive alcoholics.  The last one she married and I detested him from the very beginning. In any case, my first college boyfriend had a serious drinking problem and my Ex has a drinking problem, so the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  I never have been a heavy drinker since alcohol sends me puking in the bushes if I get more than slightly buzzed. Add to the fact that the Ex would throw back 4-5 drinks in a two-hour span, so out of self-preservation I became the Designated Driver and sober person at all events. I have found that I don’t like to be too much out of control and I despise a hangover.

Pot is different though. Potheads never (in my experience) get aggressive.  They are relaxed and silly — just don’t give a fuck too much. I enjoy the great sex that comes from a couple of tokes. I don’t like to be too high because then I don’t feel too much in control and find myself either munching out or lost in Walmart. But I do like a toke and I did slightly miss it during the Hunter’s hiatus, however, now that it is back, I find myself not so OK with it. I have been wrestling with the question of why my change of heart?

There is another problem that relates to my change of heart also. The Hunter can tell that his smoking bothers me and he is now feeling judged. That creates a line between us. We have talked about it a couple of times. I have told him that I want him to excel at this job and that he had said that he wasn’t going to smoke as frequently as before. He has said that he hears me, but he will always smoke because he enjoys it., but he hears me about the frequency. I have said that I am afraid that he won’t be able to control himself as it pertains to frequency and that he will immediately go from zero to 70 and smoke throughout the day. Now I watch him smoke with a slight concern peeking out. Why? He smoked frequently when we met and he moved in. He has smoked for decades, so I know that this is probably outside of recreational usage.

I find him gently pushing me a bit more to join him or perhaps it’s my imagination. Menopause has already taken it’s toll on my memory, so I tend to abstain during the week although if it’s been a stressful day, I will take a hit. I don’t like to get really high, but a light buzz is pleasant. Plus sex on pot is awesome.

In any case, I have to come to terms and accept the Hunter for who he is. He has never hidden any part of himself from me and I knew this about him from the get-go.  On Thanksgiving, he got up and decided to make a quick run to BassPro to pick up some ammo.  I didn’t fuss or pitch a fit even though part of me was thinking, “Seriously? Are you trying to see if you can piss me off?” While he was gone, I realized that he had made a subtle shift and was reacting to my cranky persona. He has been testing me and the BassPro run was a perfect example. I have been slightly judgy about the pot.  I got a bit cranky this week as I worked my ass off preparing for Thanksgiving. I have been lapsing back into my former bourgeois self who wants the perfect holiday, the “right” lifestyle — whatever that is. I was a bit judgy in my former life. The Hunter was only reacting to the energy and signals I was sending. He even said in one conversation that he knew one day I would end up judging him for his pot usage. I had changed my tune and the Hunter wasn’t digging this new song. How I had this revelation in the middle of Thanksgiving morning food prep is a miracle in itself.

In any case, he returned.  I wrapped my arms around him and gave him a big hug. I told him that I was sorry.  I told him that it wasn’t fair of me to change my mind about his pot-smoking. We went into this relationship with me being OK with it, so I need to let go and realize that he can handle it and it’s OK.  I told him I just want him to excel at his new job and would hate to have that ruin it., but he is a grown man and it’s for him to deal with.  He wrapped his arms around me and murmured words of love in Spanish into my ear.  The day was brilliant and we were so happy.

I am still thinking about this.  I have discovered that the Hunter responds best to unconditional love and I suddenly had put conditions on my love. It was a subtle shift, but I saw a change in him immediately. He couldn’t quite put his finger on what was bothering me.  I saw him teasing a bit harder, a slight lessening in true, loving affection. It is similiar to ripples in the water. You don’t know the current under the water, but you see evidence of the change on the surface.

This weekend of separation is good for us.  I need a little space so I can think about this. Am I truly OK with the pot?  Interestingly I think I am learning more about myself in all of this. We all have our short-comings, vices, issues, baggage from our childhood and past relationships, but when you love someone I think you need to accept it simply as part and parcel of who they are. If it is a deal breaker, then leave because changing a 48-year-old man (or a 51-year-old woman) is simply not going to happen unless he (or she) truly wants it. The Hunter is a complex man (aren’t we all complex creatures?), but he comes home every night, he is kind and thoughtful to me, he listens to me and is my biggest fan and supports me 110% unconditionally.  He treats me better than any man has ever treated me and loves me deeply. He deserves better, so I am glad I apologized and I will strive to be a better partner by not bring so judgy and controlling — yes, I think my judgemental thoughts are a control issue on my part. I need to let go and let someone else drive for a change. We can discuss that in a future post.

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