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Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

Shadows

 

Although I was at a noisy conference yesterday, I kept my eye on the senate hearing of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  I was able to listen to most of her opening statement.  I believe her.

I believe her because I have been in similar situations during high school and college.  There but by the grace of God….in my case, I was surrounded by good, decent people who didn’t take advantage of the situation.  Well, except for one — my first college boyfriend, but I’ll get to him.

Drinking and hormones are not a great combination for the young.  They have the adult bodies ready for action but the minds aren’t ready.  In my case, I was looking for love in all the wrong places.  I had classic Daddy issues.

I listened to Dr. Ford, who is slightly younger than me, and thought back to those high school days.  She ran with an elite crowd — the country club/private school set.  That’s the set my kids grew up with even though they went to public schools.  In my youth, I also went to public high school, but I ran around with the smart kids — the kids of doctors and attorneys — in a small college town.  The kids who look perfect on the outside, but can definitely get into trouble.

I woke up from a dream this morning and in it were some folks from high school.  I realized that Dr. Ford is triggering me to remember parts of my young adulthood that I have buried.  I remembered several instances where I was drunk, but others kindly looked after me and got me safely home.  What if they hadn’t been there?

What about the frat party I went to when I was told I had a phone call?  I went into a bedroom to take a call and was locked in a room with two guys.  I grabbed the phone and there was nothing but a dial tone and when I spun around I realized my predicament.

Little did they know that the reason I actually thought I would have a phone call is that my mom was in a turbulent time with her 2nd husband who was an abusive alcoholic.  I thought she needed me to come rescue her.  Looking back, I wonder how they knew I would fall for the phone call trick — I guess naivety shows.

Anyway, here I am in a bedroom with two guys and a king size bed separating us.  They are between me and the door.  I was terrified.  I wasn’t drunk.  Thankfully, they only wanted my sorority pledge pin.  They grabbed me and fumbled for it.  You have to wear it over your left breast.  I submitted, they got it and I fled.

I went barreling out into the party, immediately went to senior sorority sisters and I don’t remember much else.  I just know I had people around me for safety.  To get that damn pledge pin back, we had to go sing at their house.  My sorority sisters were great — we moved all their furniture out onto the front lawn for our performance (so we would have room) and then left it there.  Months later, I exacted an even better revenge — we stole their antique firetruck.  But that’s a story for another day.

As Dr. Ford told her story, that bedroom incident kept popping into my mind.  Over and Over.  As I write this, I get teary.  I have no idea who those men were.  I don’t have names.  I was so, so lucky.

I was also lucky when later that same year when I was initiated into the sorority, I went out celebrating with friends.  I was somewhat seeing a much older man (32 to my 18).  We were at a big sorority/fraternity party and I downed 3 screwdrivers.  That landed me on the couch unable to move or speak because I was so drunk.  I was so lucky.

Nobody bothered me, nobody preyed upon my inebriated state and later a couple drove me home and made sure I got in safely.  OK, I opened the door and fell over the threshold much to my mom’s shock, but I was home safely.

That was all in my sophomore year.  In my freshman year, which was at another college, my predator became my boyfriend.

I was young when I got to college.  I was 17, having graduated from high school a year early.  A well-meaning high school friend told me to call this guy who was a year older.  She wanted me to have some friends or know somebody when I got there.  I met him, a ginger-haired, outgoing guy.  Now I know that he probably has ADHD.  Even then I knew he had a drinking problem.

We went to a frat party.  I got drunk, as frat boys preferred, and threw up.  That dude still kissed me with vomit-breath.  Ugh.  He got me back to my dorm room and tried to fuck me.  I pushed him away.  I don’t remember if we fucked or not.  I was too drunk.

Non-confrontational Maggie, who only wanted to be liked and loved, agreed to keep seeing this asshole.  This guy who was constantly pressuring me for sex, sex that really wasn’t very good at all.  I liked his friends.  I liked being a couple.  He was bad news. I managed to escape him by moving across the country to another college.  Yes, I moved away to escape him and for other reasons.

My childhood was complex.  I wasn’t abused.  I always had food and clothing.  My parents were smart and educated, but self-centered.  As soon as my parents separated when I was six, my mom moved around.

She first moved to get a different college degree in what she really wanted.  I have to give her props, she was the oldest student in the class and this was the profession she wanted, not the English degree her parents insisted on. That process necessitate two moves:  one to the College Town #1 (grades 2-3) and then to another city for the 6-month internship.

Then we moved back to the city where my dad lived.  That didn’t work out.  He didn’t want her in the town, her job sucked, so we moved about a  year later. That was 4th grade.  I hated 4th grade.  My school life was consumed by bullies and nobody was interceding on my behalf.

Now we were in in Town 3 for 5th grade, for those keeping track, and it was a charming college town.  I loved that town.  I could ride the bus around, great schools, good friends.  I had a paper route.  I won an election for a school office (7th grade) right before Christmas.

Then I learned we were moving back to College Town #1 in January, so I had to relinquish my office, my friends and my great school.  College Town #1 was building a new middle school, but the current one sucked.  Ancient, dilapidated.  The blessing was that many of the kids remembered me.  I didn’t really remember them, but that was OK.

We stayed in College Town #2 until 11th grade.  Then my mom met Ed.  That motherfucker.  She didn’t want to be lonely and found this guy.  He was a piece of lying, alcoholic shit.  I came home from school in the Fall of 11th grade and got a call from a hospital in Florida.  Congrats, my mom got the job in Florida and they needed her to call to wrap up some of the details.  She never told me that she was looking for a job.  She never told me that leaving before I would graduate high school was in the cards.  She was moving for Ed, who needed to skip the state to evade his crazy Ex wife.  We moved 10 DAYS later to a shithole town.  My only escape was to graduate a year early, so I did.

I left behind in College Town #2 a kind, gentle boyfriend, tons of friends — friends whose parents were calling my mom and begging her to let me stay with them for my final year and a half of school. But my mom wouldn’t hear of it — she didn’t want my dad to have a reason to gain custody of me.

With all this moving around, I learned that to make friends quickly I needed to be nice, funny and accommodating.  Add to that the lack of any male father figure and that’s a classic recipe for a woman to have Daddy issues.

So Dr. Ford, I believe you.  I know you are telling the truth and I know that Judge Kavanaugh is a lying sack of shit.  I know that he had some serious drinking issues in his youth because I dated his type.  I know that his white-privileged mind cannot wrap itself around that fact that karma is a bitch and she is here to claim her due.

Let’s hope the US Senate realizes this as well.

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Fire in the Belly

My fire in my belly is not my rubber chicken lunch I just returned from.  Although my diet is part of my Fire in the Belly mindset these days.  My Fire in the Belly is Dave Ramsey.  Yes, I’ve heard of him for years and yes, I listened to his radio show rarely, but I never really dug into his message.  Now I have and oh, man, he has lit a fire in me.

As part of my getting my shit together, I was watching a FB discussion in one of my groups about how to get your financial shit together.  Two notable suggestions were You Need a Budget (YNAB) and Dave Ramsey.

I just finished reading Dave’s Total Money Makeover (thank you, public library) and now I’m incessantly listening to his podcast (which is simply a re-play of his radio show) every moment I’m in the car (which is a lot lately).  I bought Financial Peace at my Goodwill bookstore and am about to dig into that one.

I get his Baby Steps, I love the concept and I believe.  I believe that life can be so much simpler if I live below my means, have zero debt and build up my savings and investment portfolio.  He gives me hope that I’m not going to be on this damn hamster wheel of debt and money worries until the day I die.

Now I need to block out some time to work on my numbers.  Figure out exactly what I’m spending, what am I earning, how much debt do I truly have (gulp), what assets do I have that I can see immediately (good-bye ugly jewelry) and more.  I’m excited about the plan, much like I’m excited about my Big Hairy Project (weight loss plan).

Not only do I think I can do this, I think I can do this quickly.  I just need to lay the groundwork by gathering all the info.  That’s going to be my weekend agenda.  Plus I need to make sure that I get the Hunter on board.  To that end, a Dave follower told a great story about how he got his wife on board:  he bought the audio book and asked her to listen to it with him.  They would do a chapter, stop discuss, then move forward.  This guy sold his truck and gun collection to get them out of debt — I need to bookmark that episode for the Hunter (LOL).

But I have realized that I cannot do this alone.  I have a partner regardless of marital status.  He needs to be an active participant of the plan. I need to communicate with him not only my goals and desires, but I need to listen to his.  Really listen and that’s a big step for me because lately, I must admit, I haven’t been a good listener.  That’s something else I should write about….

For now, let me go make some money so I can put my emergency fund together….

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Photo by Ryan Cryar on Unsplash

Friendship

When do you intervene with a friend and tell her she’s wrong?  I am having that dilemma with my BFF.  I’m not rushing around preparing my remarks, but this idea has been slowly percolating in my brain over past the month or two.

I have found an interesting phenomena among some of my single acquaintances. I am talking about those that have lived alone for many years (7+ years).  They get a little wacky or sometimes a lot wacky.  Here are three examples to support my theory:

  • Exhibit A: My work mentor.  I had a work mentor that was a great help to me while I was building my book of business.  She is older than me and feisty, candid and funny — all a great combination for me.  But…we had our differences.  Politically we were polar opposites and we just had to agree not to talk about it.  When she retired, note the word retired, she accused me of stealing a client.  I did no such thing, the client called me and besides, my mentor was RETIRED.  Then she told me not to divorce my Ex no matter what — that really pissed me off.  I basically stopped contacting her.  I was done and then I realized that the relationship had been skewed for awhile.  My Mentor would get an opinion and it stuck — no matter if her facts were wrong or whatever.

I theorize that when someone isn’t intimate with folks on a daily basis, you don’t have anyone to push back when your crazy peeks out.

  • Exhibit B:  Hunter’s former friend (HFF) – he went off the deep end recently and broke off his friendship with the Hunter.  The Hunter made the mistake of trying to use him for a business venture.  HFF not only produced poor work, but then he disappeared for a few weeks.  This lead the Hunter to make other arrangements.  When HFF surfaced and decided he wanted in, the Hunter said nope and HFF was furious.  Furious enough that several weeks later the Hunter got a demand letter from an attorney for $$ for HFF’S time.  What a piece of work.  This is all being worked out by attorney’s and HFF will get nothing, but where was his buffer to tell him that he’s bat-shit crazy to attack a friend so maliciously.

Sometimes living alone and having to deal with all the day-to-day crap by yourself leads you to feel over-confident, invincible and unwilling to ask for help.  This is where my BFF is at (Exhibit C).  My heart goes out to her, she’s in a tough spot.  Her job sucks, her boyfriend of 3 years broke up with her and she’s trying to make some big life changes.  She is thinking about a huge redevelopment project of tearing down her house and building something else to sell for investment.  She has never undertaken such a project.  We had lunch with another friend of mine, a seasoned savvy real estate expert, who later called me and said, “she’s going to get eaten alive if she tries that”.  Yep, I know.

My BFF has had some health issues and never called me.  When her BF broke up with her, she didn’t return my calls for 2 weeks.  I was so concerned about her.  How do you tell your BFF that she’s a bit crazy right now and she needs to get to a therapist.  She wanted to use her mental health benefits for the therapy but couldn’t get a therapist she thought was appropriate for her.  She won’t call mine because mine is private pay.

I don’t know how to help her.  Do I tell her some cold hard truths?  Is she ready for that?  I don’t know.  I just don’t know….

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I wrote that about two weeks ago and last night sat down with my BFF to catch up.  I didn’t want to be stuck in rush hour, so why not pop over for a visit?  She was heading to Europe.  OK, that caught me off guard, but hey, she’s an adult and I don’t need to know all her day-to-day business.  She has a mysterious contact and meeting with a source of funding for her redevelopment project but she would share no information on that.  I found that strange, but whatever, I’m not going to insist on confidences if she isn’t feeling it.

I drove away thinking about something I read/heard/saw on LinkedIn where someone was talking about the first clue you are in trouble/over your head is when you are sublimely confident.  I agree.  That’s when Life loves to walk up and smack. you.  She’s sublimely confident and I’m afraid for her.  I’m worried about how she’s going to handle her work exit, her house situation and more.  I’m worried about her being alone too much.

I need to think about this some more.  It may be too soon for an intervention,but geez, I love her to death and at some point I think I should tell her that her Crazy is sticking up all over.

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Beautiful but a bit prickly.  Photo by Ember + Ivory on Unsplash

Friends

Since moving farther away from my girlfriends, I have become the geographically-undesirable friend.  They still love me but only when I come to their neck of the woods.  I met a lovely woman several weeks ago on a train, we chatted up a storm and exchanged business cards.  I finally cleaned out my purse and found her card.

I sent her an email inviting her to two things:  1) a professional women’s group event and 2) coffee/lunch when she’s telecommuting since we live close to one another.

OMG, writing that email was like asking somebody out on a date.  WTF?  When I checked out her company bio, she is quite the business exec, so that was a bit intimidating.  Then I thought, just be Maggie.  Either she likes you or not, but just go for it and be authentic.

She responded immediately saying yes to both!  I was thrilled.  Then came the really weird part….the Hunter knows her Ex husband.  He walked in and recognized her picture from her company website…she was married to a former boss of his.  We stared at each other and burst out laughing.  I’m never going to say a word….

This is a great example of how difficult it can be to make friends when we are adults.  My kids were a great source of my friends for years.  All those hours sitting on the sidelines for a variety of sports lead to the adults having no choice but to bond over covert glasses of wine/beer/water.  I made many a friend, many men surprisingly, watching my kids play their sports.

Now with an empty nest, it is hard to meet potential friends.  I have found I really have to make the first move and see where it goes.  I did meet another cool woman at the dog park the other day.  I need to bump into her again….

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Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash

Moving Pros & Cons

We moved.  I only have a couple of items to handle with the old place and we’ll be done.  The house is sparkling clean (cleaner than we got it) and the final walk-thru is later this week.  I’ll grab some stuff I’m donating and some other bits & pieces out of the garage, but that place is EMPTY!  Kudos to the Hunter for all his hard work and organizing the cleaning crew.  I’m so happy to close that chapter.

The new place is great, but it’s been a hard slog to unpack and organize.  I’m still tossing/donating stuff as I unpack.  I pull stuff out and think, “What the heck was I thinking — chuck this!”  It’s been great.  What is really nice is unpacking some boxes of china and dinnerware that I haven’t seen in 2 years.  I can’t wait to throw a dinner party in our tiny place.  We’ll just have to party from the driveway through to the backyard.

I love a two-story place.  Call me nutty, but I like the exercise of running up and down the stairs.  The Hunter hates it for the record.  He is always trying to figure out how to traverse the stairs as little as possible.  On moving day, I thought I would collapse after 20+ trips, but day-to-day I like it.  I feel like my office is in a treehouse.  My desk overlooks the front entrance to the community, so I see the kids headed to and from the bus stop, people walking their dogs and everything in between.  We have a tiny front porch that fits 2 chairs and an end table, so last night we sat out front with the Kracken and enjoyed watching folks stroll by.  It’s the perfect spot for a glass of wine and end-of-day chat. The backyard is also small, but cozy.  The whole place is developing a warm, cozy feel even though I still have tons of boxes to unpack.

When I unpack, I start with the essentials:  the kitchen first and foremost.  Even if it’s not perfectly organized, I have to get it operational as quickly as possible.  Then I figure out the basics of the bathrooms so we can at least take a shower.  The first night the Hunter and I each enjoyed a delightful soak in the oversized tub in the master bath.  I’m not a bath person, but it was awesome.

I don’t have the office up and running, but that is not a top priority at this point.  My laptop is hooked up and that’s all that really matters at this point.  I want the downstairs livable and it is very close.  I have a daybed frame arriving on Wednesday, so hopefully we’ll have a living room worth living in.  Right now the three of us fight over two chairs and one of them is a smelly patio chair desperately in need of new cushions.

However, it’s not all sunshine and roses over here.  First of all, it is so incredibly rainy and soggy that I wonder if we will ever dry out.  The Hunter and I have been stressed and at times a bit annoyed with one another.  We both take a deep breath and have been able to resolve things, but we have our moments.

One key moment was over trashcans.  With all the craziness in the world, we have a strong conversation about the placement of the main trash pick-up bin.  The Hunter wants it out of our tiny garage and his idea was to put it on that cute front porch.  It would be seen from inside the house, but he was going to put some plants to hide it from outside view.  He had it all figured out until I entered the picture.

My head almost exploded.  A fucking smelly garbage can right at the front door?  One that can be seen from the dining room table?  This is the first impression of our new, cozy home?  I put my foot down, hard.  He sighed, hard.  I explained that I wanted a nice place and that trashcan was ruining the vision in many ways.  I outlined my concerns and  he took a minute to listen to them instead of brushing me off like he has been doing recently.  Crisis averted and the bin went back into the garage where it belongs.

Another interesting situation for the control freak in me has been letting go which allows the Hunter space and a place to have his things on display.  His hunting trophy/mounts, books, vintage shotgun shells and the like.  He commandeered a cool shelf unit that I use to display a few of my odds & ends.  I took a deep breath, a step back and let him go at it.  It’s his house too.  Let’s face it, the majority of the house is for me, by me and filled with my stuff.  He’s not asking for much and he deserves that.

Anyway, we are chugging along and the move was basically uneventful which is all anyone can ask for.  Now I’m going to soak in some Epsom salts in my delightful tub before unpacking some more boxes.

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WTF was he thinking?  Crisis averted!  Photo by Paul Baden on Unsplash

Dammit – Be Grateful!

I’m cranky this morning and felt myself spiraling into a funk.  This time I refuse to sink into it and I’m fighting it.  I have so much to be grateful for — the week was a good one, even though a vicious migraine attempted to undermine me.  Here’s the good stuff:

  • Met two potential new clients and they are both lovely people
  • I had a fabulous send-off lunch with Robin who starts her new job next week.  She is happy, grateful and on the path to stability and great success.
  • Work is going well
  • The Hunter has taken over all dealings with our landlord (actually her boyfriend) and they get along great.  I am amazed at how much relief this have given me.
  • My daughter and son-in-law arrive next week so we’ll have some beach days followed by my son’s graduation.  I’m excited to see everyone.
  • I have figured out a couple of extra income gigs that won’t bring in a ton of $$ but at least they will be fun.  I’ll start in June once we are settled.  Now is not the time to add too much to my plate.

The things that have me anxious:

  • Money — it’s always about money with me right now.  I have lots of debt and not too much income coming in for now.  I haven’t been able to confront my fears by sitting in front of the computer and calculating it all out.
  • My computer is about to take a gigantic crap which has lead me to having to buy a new one today (more debt ugh).  OK, I should be grateful that this laptop has survived 8 years with virtually no issues and I should be grateful that I qualified for an interest-free loan to buy the new one and the Hunter is paying for both my laptop and his new one.  We are going cheap– we don’t need to launch a rocket with our computers, so cheap is fine.  Yes, I researched and figured out what would work.
  • Job search is flat — and it’s my fault.  Actually I can’t say that.  I have to send my resume to someone.  I had a lunch with someone who is being recruited by the same firm recruiting me to set up an office in this area.  It’s interesting, and I like the guy, but why do I need this firm?  He has the same thoughts also.  I’m having a meeting next week with their recruiting partner who is coming to town.  I guess I should be grateful to my coach for the referral and to these folks for finding me interesting.

It really helps me to write this shit out because then I can sit back and say, “OK, Maggie, calm the fuck down.”  I have had some stinkin’ thinking this morning about how poorly I have managed my career and that once the Hunter’s career shifts into stable prosperity he is going to dump my fat ass, that my ass is fat and I need to get my shit together and STOP EATING.  Yeah, I am fighting the funk, but these are the things flying around on broomsticks in my brain.

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Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash

The Hunter & I

The Hunter and I are in a good place these days — I think.  When he left for his hunting trip, he ended up turning around and coming back a couple of hours later.  He realized that he left me with a lot of things to do and by delaying the trip by 48 hours, he would be able to lend a much-needed hand.  I was grateful.

His return meant we could both look at the rental that we ended up taking.  It meant that he could deal with our current landlord’s BF and man-2-man they could arrange a walk-thru without the bitchy ladies getting into a pissing match.  Sorry, I know that sounds misogynistic, but it’s true.  I can’t stand my landlord and even a simple text pisses me off.  I guess my immaturity is related partially to her communication style and also to my green-eyed jealousy and indignation that I’m forced to rent and this bitch owns the place free & clear and uses my rent money to take awesome vacations.  Grrr.  Yeah, I’m a brat, but at least I recognize it.

The Hunter and I have had a few brief conversations about my need to control situations — particularly when I’m stressed or feeling out of control.  It’s been a bit of a revelation for me, but I’m appreciating the insight.  I asked him to speak up when I start down that path and we settled on a word:  Chuleta which means pork chop in Spanish.  Weird, but it’s a funny word and noticeable.  He forgot about using it until I reminded him and now he’s back on track.

I asked him about his pot-smoking yesterday.  It was an interesting conversation because I asked him if he was smoking during the week.  He said, “What you want to know is if I’m doing what I said I would do”.  I said yes, but that he was evading the specific question I wanted answered.  We danced around that for a minute or two — he said, “chuleta!!”  We laughed and he said that he was only smoking on weekends except for his hunting trip and 4/20.  That’s when we talked about my controlling nature and I reminded him to use “chuleta” because I needed the hint.  Before this conversation, which was in the kitchen after breakfast, I thanked him for doing the dishes earlier.  I’m remembering to appreciate the positive things he does to make our life better.

We have a lot on our plates these days.  He got a lovely call from the IRS — a legit call because they didn’t have our current address.  He’s being audited for a tax return I helped him with.  No bueno.  Add that meeting to our May To Do list.

We are talking about our careers.  He is thinking about adding a part-time job to his current consulting gig.  I’m thinking about the changes a 9-5 gig in a real office will do to me.  For the record, I think it would be positive even though the rebel in me wants to run around without a schedule.  I think structure is vastly needed in my life.

I saw a picture of me from when the Hunter first met me.  It made me sad.  I was 30 pounds lighter.  I need to figure out my health situation, make a plan and stick to the plan, but I’m hesitant to add that to my plate.  More walking and healthy choices shall have to suffice for now.

For now, the Hunter and I are a study of domestic focus.  We have a garage sale, a move, a rental clean-up and more ahead of us.  We snuggle and have the occasional morning fuck, but the wild flames that consumed us in beginning are now smoldering embers.  I’m OK with that right now, but I wonder if the Hunter is.  When his buddy joined us for the garage sale and we were sitting under a tree talking shit, I saw the Hunter’s eyes light up as his buddy talked about a bisexual conquest.  When I asked him later if he was jealous, he scoffed.  Do I believe him?  Maybe.  I should take him at his word, but I also think I could do more, but then don’t we women always think we should be doing more?

 

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CHULETA!! Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

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