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Archive for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

Vacation Thoughts

Here I sit in bed on vacation. Is it a vacation? I could say perhaps no — merely a round of visits to family. I had a migraine today that left me a bit under the weather for the most part. I did rally for lunch & a bit of shopping that left me wiped out. I got some excedrine migraine which is truly a miracle drug and now I feel much better but due to the high amounts of caffeine unable to sleep.

I’m restless. I feel like I’m not getting the vacation I wanted. I envisioned walks in the woods communing with nature, writing in my journal/blog, thinking of my life (personal & professional), planning, reading – just days of quiet reflective time. It ain’t happening.

My parents are great and thrilled to have me visit. I am having a lovely time with them, but it’s not what I envisioned. It’s OK. I’ll have some alone time soon when the Hunter takes off to his hunting lease for 10-14 days.

I should have packed my vibrator. Both my parents are hard of hearing…

I haven’t disconnected from work as much as I wanted, but that’s OK to a certain extent. I haven’t turned off my phone or my social media. Not so good.

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Now, five days later, here I sit at a rest stop as I finish my drive to home and I realize that my vacation was a great success. I listened to three great books on tape as I drove, read one book and most importantly perhaps I reconnected with the members of my family that I love the most.

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When I returned home last night, the Hunter greeted me with a very clean house, a lovely dinner and then he fucked me really good twice.  What a great way to come home.

I had thought the month of September was a big loss due to interruptions from Hurricane Irma and Labor Day, but I was wrong. It was actually a great success because I was able to spend time with Taz, my parents, and my son. What more can I ask? It was great quality time too and I have nothing but love in my heart for all of them. It was great to reconnect with all of them. I am a very, very lucky woman and I was blessed to be able to have this time and freedom to go visit with everybody. The Hunter has been nothing but supportive of these visits and I’ll have more quiet time when he heads up to his hunting lease in two weeks. All is well.

It was a great vacation after all and I’m ready to get back to work this week.

 

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Taz Reunion

I really needed last weekend in the Big Apple with Taz.  Our agenda:  nothing.  We hit the Highline because I hadn’t seen it, we had mani/pedis, we ate great food, we drank a lot of champagne, we watched movies and we talked — a lot.  It was delightful.

Her new place is great and has a wonderful rooftop terrace that overlooks the Empire State Building.  I was comfy and cozy.  Her Hubby was out-of-town having a guys weekend with an old friend, so we had the place to ourselves.

Taz has settled down.  The insanity of 2016 with the wedding, interviews for residency, graduation, moving and the million other things are behind her.  Now it is the insane daily grind of a high-profile residency program, but she is learning how to manage it.  Her temper is cooler, her voice of reason has reappeared and we spent the entire weekend without her snapping at me once.  I think that is a first in about 4 years.

She is also becoming a very wise, insightful woman.  She told me of the plans she and Hubby are making for their life.  They share all their hopes and dreams with one another, fully support the career and other goals of each other — it is a wonderful relationship.  They are both very blessed to have found each other.  I am so incredibly happy for them.

Taz also touched my tender heart.  She told me that she appreciates how much I have sacrificed for others over the years.  She gets it and she thanked me.  She also understands why I adore the Hunter.  Taz explained, “when you told me he grocery shops and cooks for you, I totally understood the attraction.  You finally have someone who wants to take care of you.  I am so happy for you.”

We also laughed about one of her insights.  Our attachments to certain things.  I told the story of my meltdown over my shoe graveyard one Sunday.  She completely understood.  We have a quirky attachment to our stuff.  We don’t want others to break it or damage it because that just pisses us off immensely.  She had an example of a crystal vase that had been in the family for forever (I got stuck with a bunch of crystal vases over the years so I have no idea if it was a wedding gift of mine, my mom’s or MIL).  Anyway, Hubby broke it by accident.  She got pissed.  Really pissed.  He didn’t quite understand her anger.  We commiserated that a fucking photo doesn’t do justice to the item.  We want to hold it, see it.  We talked about how my move from my adorable townhouse to my new locale was a big sacrifice in some ways for me.  How I need to get back to having an adorable place that I love.  It does feed my soul.

Anyway, it was fabulous.  I gotta run because I’m packing for my road trip and leave tomorrow.  I’ll write some more while I’m away….I think…..

I Definitely Need a Break

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I needed to sleep because I was up before dawn to catch my flight.  I laid in bed listening to the Hunter’s deep, relaxed breathing.  He was sleeping that great rest that comes from a day of hard, honest work.

I, on the otherhand, laid in bed with my eyes wide open in the dark. I thought about my taxes – they aren’t done.  Not only do I need to do them, but I have to come up with the $$ to pay my awesome accountant AND to pay the taxman.  He cometh whether I’m ready or not.  My plans to tuck money aside fell by the wayside as I scramble to pay my day-2-day expenses.  Then my anxiety creept to other money issues, my need to push business development and thoughts of success versus failure. Then I got anxious about getting from the airport to Taz’s apartment.  That’s when I thought, “WTF, I love to travel and that should be a cinch”.  Then I realized that my anxiety may be more of a problem than I thought.

I need to do some research and reading on anxiety.  

I have been thinking about success and failure quite a bit lately.  I run amongst a crowd of very successful people.  They have multiple investments/side hustles that generate additional income.  Multiple homes, expensive cars, amazing trips — all the trappings of success.  I live in a house I rent and dislike, have no savings to think of and a modest 6-figure retirement fund as my major asset.  My dad and stepmother are very comfortable, her sisters all have comfortable retirements,  but somehow I feel like I fucked up.  Like I missed opportunities, never realized my potential during the critical years.  

I was always an underachiever in school.  I made A’s and B’s with little effort throughout school.  When I hit college, I realized I never learned the art of studying, but I cruised through college in liberal arts and graduated with little drama.  

I read books on what makes people successful.  It’s structure and self-discipline.  I have officed next to highly successful people and watched them first-hand.  They are structured, delegate, network unbelievably, perhaps a bit more ruthless than me, but not that much smarter.  They are selfish with their time and don’t waste it. I don’t do that.  

I am thinking perhaps a business loan will give me sone breathing room.  I have no idea if I can even get one since I have no assets to secure it.  My Ex had Lines of Credit for his law firm.  I just know that this aniexty will be the death of me.  I cannot let it get the better of me.  It can hurt me in so many ways: physically, emotionally, my relationships with others, the list is endless

But this weekend is all about my mental health. I wrote the above on the plane.  Then I successfully and effortlessly navigated the airport, train & Lyft to Taz’s apartment.  I strolled through a lovely park, chatted with the Hunter while watching dogs frolic and then grabbed a sandwich & chilled on the rooftop terrace of Taz’s building.  I’m relaxed.  Now pour me a delicious adult beverage.

Stinkin’ Thinkin’

I talked to Robin, my colleague, today and she said what I have been thinking all week. September is gone — a complete waste.  Between Labor Day, 2 weeks of Irmageddon and my pending vacation, the month is over.  It has created quite a bit of anxiety for me and a bunch of negative thoughts.  I have to get my taxes done and money brings up a tsunami of anxiety for me.  I just have to remember to take small bites of the elephant.  The Hurricane has given me an extension, but I probably will still have to pay taxes and I have no idea how I am going to handle that.  I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I am taking steps to alleviate the anxiety.

  • Retail therapy:  I went clothes shopping yesterday and spent $$ I really don’t have on clothes and shoes that really made me happy.  This isn’t always the best solution, but I felt great afterwards and still felt good about it today as I sorted my new stuff to decide what to take on my trip tomorrow.
  • Book Club:  the ladies decided last minute that they would descend upon me since it was my turn to host the monthly meeting.  I had less than 24 hours to prepare and when you add in my 4 hours of retail therapy, I was under the gun to have a quasi-clean house, food and wine.  I pulled it off and ended up enjoying the evening.  I was a bit frazzled at the beginning, but with a glass of wine and interesting conversation, I calmed down quickly.
  • Planning:  I spent a lot of time contacting old, new and current clients to see if they needed any help after the storm.  I fixed by CRM to move all my tasks to new dates so that I don’t have to see all the Overdue ones.  I’ve been thinking about the steps I need to take for the remaining three months of 2017 to insure that 2018 will be extremely successful.

I need to get myself on some strong routines.  Routines are one of the things that separate extremely successful people from the rest of the pack.  I need to focus on self-discipline.  Once again, a trait of very successful people.  And patience.  That important quality that is in such short supply with me.  That and money.  Money is in short supply, so I better get back to work and hustle up some new clients.  Sigh.

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

hurricane andrew

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.

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