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Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

Bah Humbug

Yesterday I planned to spend the whole day knocking out my Christmas shopping.  I put on a cute outfit, comfortable shoes with a small purse.  I was happily ready for action!  It ended up being a day of complete frustration and anxiety.  Good grief.  I usually enjoy it as much as it can be enjoyed.

First I went to a big department store known for coupons where I have a credit card with a zero balance.  “Ah ha!”,  I thought, “even though it’s not the best money management idea, I can do the bulk of my shopping here and pay it off in January when my sizable check arrives.”

The credit gods were not having it.  I bought a purse for Taz that was WAY too much money, mainly because the actual designer from London was there and we had a lovely chat, so how do you walk away?  I didn’t have it in me and beside the purse was cunningly beautiful.  At that moment, I thought, “hey, this is manageable, because I’m using my credit card.”  But then after 30 minutes, a manager, two calls to the credit department, more attempts than I can count, we all gave up in frustration, so I paid cash with a debit card.  Fuck, not on the plan.

I sat down in the mall and recalled that I have a credit card with actual ample credit available.  I called it to confirm via the automated system and yes, I’m right.  It’s fine.  So I reluctantly said, “OK, here’s my plan B.”

I left the mall and went to one that has more affordable stores, walked in to make a $20 purchase with said card and the credit gods said, “nope, not happening” and declined it.

Fuck, what is going on.  In the midst of this incredibly frustrating day, I have the Hunter calling and texting me from his hunting camp where he is sitting on the porch with the Kracken on a day filled with freezing rain.  Needless to say he’s bored.  I have my hands full both literally and figuratively, so I’m frustrated with all the communication.  He’s saying that he’s cancelling another hunting trip he’s been looking forward to so he can help more.  He’s offering all the money in his bank account.  He’s asking me to check the mail (that was before he realized how frazzled I was).

Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate it all because I know it comes from a place of love.  I really do.  I’m just really frustrated with my situation.  It just really hurts that I basically have no money to buy gifts for loved ones.  OK, I do have money, but the gifts will be inconsequential this year.  Except for Taz’s purse.  I’m torn between keeping it and returning it.  It is beautiful and I saw nothing like it elsewhere.  I’m still thinking about it.

I decided that today I will wrap up any remaining shopping online.  That includes some citrus orders and the Hunter’s gift.  What a frustrating day, but I ended it my way.

I came home, made a beautiful dinner of grass-fed steak (previous purchase and I found it hidden in the freezer the day before), stir-fry veggies and brown rice.  Add in two glasses of wine and an entire container of gelato and I ate my anxiety.  Then I went upstairs and had a lovely soak complete with tooth whitening & facial mask.  At Target, I found a bath salt bomb called “F Bomb”.  Yep, just what I needed.

Add in some loving and understanding phone calls from the Hunter and I’m OK.  Not 100% happy and a bit anxious about how this will all work out, but I’m OK.

Truth be told, part of my anxiety is stemming from how our place will present to the kids this week.  I mean I’m a 54-year-old woman with no living room furniture — only a day bed and a chewed up chair with crappy cushions.  This is not going to play well with the kids, but whatever.  Plus the backyard which I really wanted to be a zen den is dirty and a bit messy.  Once again, not what I wanted to present to the kids.

Perhaps I need to lower my expectations, but I don’t want to freak out my kids.   Maybe they won’t be freaked out, but this isn’t the mom they grew up with and Taz at least has a nicer place than me right now.   I don’t know.  I just don’t have the answers right now.  It’s 8:30 am on a Sunday morning and I’m in my pj’s, no coffee yet, just a burning desire to get this written down so I can re-read it later.  I think coffee will help.  Coffee and a day outside so I can breathe.

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Photo by Dieter de Vroomen on Unsplash

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How About Some F*@king Gratitude?

Argh!  Where is my patience today?!  I have been testy all day.  The Hunter needed some logistical help with dropping off his truck at the mechanic and I snarled as I had to wait an extra 10 minutes.  I was testy when our walk got cut short, when I had to help him with some paperwork and THEN I was snippy when I lost a project.  It hasn’t been a day of rainbows and sparkles.  Poor guy, he’s walking on egg shells.

It could be worse.  I need to think about how lucky I am for all that I have.  My father didn’t kill himself the day before Thanksgiving like a former coworker is dealing with.  She’s a wonderful person and her relationship with her dad was fraught, but my heart goes out to her.  He was in his 80’s.

My day is much better than another person who I found out killed herself several years ago.  She was a very talented vendor, but during the recession she was laid off, then her husband divorced her and I guess it was just all too much for her.  I only found out about this last week.  My heart ached for her.  The last time I saw her was when I was out with a friend at a super trendy restaurant.  We were trying to weasel our way in and the maitre d’ wasn’t having it.  Then I saw her and she was with a girlfriend.  Her girlfriend pulled the right strings and 5 minutes later we had the best seat in the house.  They loved having our company and a splendid time was had by all.  I am happy that was my last memory of her, but also sad that it is the last one.

My day is better than the client I met last week who had several cars stolen from their parking lot.  His car was one of them.

My day is better than many, many other people.  I need to remember this.  Now, let me go give the Hunter a hug and tell him I love him.  I am grateful that he’s in my life.  I have to remember that.

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Photo by gabrielle cole on Unsplash

Off the Grid – Day Two

This was written last week on my Thanksgiving vacation.  For Day One, click here.

Today is a quieter day.  Windy, a bit overcast with a sporadic light rain shower.  I refuse to entertain the notion of being even the slightest bit cold, so I’m cozy with my layers topped with a lap blanket.  This enables me to stay outside on the porch’s comfy sofa while breathing the clean, country air.

We are alone here.  Just me, the Hunter and the Kracken.  Another hunter is here, but he has a nearby girlfriend so he stays with her.  They have TV, internet and central heating — who can blame him?  They have popped in and out — two 20-somethings in the first phase of love.  She’s adorable.  He’s the handsome, quiet, military type.

Last night as I made some dinner, one of the camp owners burst into the kitchen.  He surprised us both — he didn’t know I was there and I didn’t know he was dropping by.  After our mutual surprise, we chatted and the Hunter arrived. I gave him the Hunter’s gift of Florida oranges and met his beautiful teenage daughter with the adorable country twang I lost many years ago.  The Hunter’s camp is in a rural area close to where I grew up.  These are my people.

I’ve enjoyed the quiet.  Being off the grid is nice.  Having an auto-reply email message excusing me is lovely.  Apparently activity around the camp will pick up by the weekend as more folks show up.  We’ll have to share the kitchen and bathroom.  I’ll be one of maybe 2-3 women and the only non-hunter.  It will be interesting.

The Hunter is so thankful I’m here.  He has company, he’s not alone or bored.  He confessed to me during our ride up here that he has been consumed by anxiety.  I’m glad he’s talking to me about it.  I wish I could wave my magic wand and fix it.  I listen and offer a different perspective.  Here’s an example:

The Hunter was musing out loud that maybe he was bipolar or had some mental disorder.  I said no way on bipolar and explained it to him.  He then said that as a kid his parents took him to a psychologist.

Back up:  I said he’s gifted and that was part of his problem at school.  Gifted kids oftentimes are disruptive because they are bored.  He said school was hard.  I said they weren’t engaging him so he could learn.  Now back to the psychologist.

He said that his whole family went (parents, sister and him).  He doesn’t remember how old he was but it was between 8 to 11 maybe.  They stopped going to the doctor after four visits.  He doesn’t know why.

I said that I knew why.  I told him his mom put a stop to it because her secret would pop out.  I told him that he would have told the doctor that she was beating him every day, then the doctor would have to report it and then all hell would have broken loose.

He was stunned.  That gave him something solid to chew on for about 100 miles.  I never excuse his mother.  What she did was horrible.  He was a very bright, energetic, loving kid — she didn’t understand him and I think she has some serious issues, but that’s a post for another day or not at all.  Those are his demons.

On Day 2, I had a call with my business coach (OK, my phone did work and I also had limited texting, but not much).  Anyway, she asked me why I’m not a Million Dollar Producer.  She said I have the ability, the know-how but my mindset holds me back.  I told her that I agree and I finally have the answers:

  1.  My marriage held me back.  The career had to be #3 and I had no support for my career ambitions.  That’s hurt me long term.
  2. Business development involves interrupting which is a form of confrontation.  Confrontation has terrified me due to the horrific response I would get from both my mom and my Ex.  I’m slowly recovering and learning that confrontation may be awkward but it isn’t scary with normal people.
  3. Consistency eludes me.  I’m working on small changes and small new habits to see if I can build a basic foundation.

She was impressed that I finally had figured it out.  We also talked about OppA and OppB .  It was a good call.  I felt strong afterwards.  My 2019 Business Plan is so simple I can fit it on an index card.

  • Embrace my CRM and use virtually every damn feature it offers.  I pay for the damn thing and it works beautifully.  The more I use it, the more I will love it.  When I returned, I spent part of my first day watching a few videos and getting back up to speed on it.
  • Small, consistent bites of the elephant I call business development. I just need to get into the DAILY morning habit of 15 minutes of cold calls, 15 minutes of emails, 15 minutes in LinkedIn and 5-10 minutes of warm/follow up calls.  Just an hour each day.  Once I get that hour going consistently every day, then I’ll add 5 minutes to each category or add another hour later in the day, but for now I want to make this DAILY habit a reality for at least six months.

I want 2019 to be the  year I prove to ME that I’m a Bad Ass Success.  At first I thought, “I’ll show everyone”, but I realized that I need to prove it to myself.  I need to prove to myself that I am a Bad Ass.

Here’s my 2019 Resolutions (sorry for those who hate resolutions, but I like goal-setting):

  • Financial Security:  make enough $$ to pay off all my debts and start some significant savings.  $200K will suffice, thank you very much.
  • Make 3 New Friends: Make some new girlfriends that I can hang out with and enjoy.  The book, MFF Seeking BFF, really resonated with me.  Friendships will only help to improve my mental health.  I realize that I need to have a plan for this, so I’m working that into my Daily Habits.
  • Get my Living Quarters Functional so said friends can visit me without me cringing.  I need a sofa.  I am determined to get one in January come hell or high water.
  • New Job that has the collaborative environment that I have been craving.

At the end of the day, my head is getting healthier and clearer.  I feel better.  This week in the woods is great.  I have fun books to read, business/self-improvement books to explore and plenty of great walks with a dog who lives to join me….

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I Feel Better, but…

I wrote this back in August/September 2018 and somehow it has been sitting in my drafts…

I do feel much better these days.  Mentally and physically I just feel like my mojo is returning.  My daughter, Taz, remarked as much this week.  I still have some demons to deal with like the IRS and a small mountain of debt, but I feel like the financial stuff will work itself out.  I still have days where I feel a little funkish, but they are fewer and fewer.

Working for myself and being really the only member of Maggie & Co is a lot of work.  I have a lot of things I want to get done and not enough hours in the day.  I keep making lists and trying to prioritize, but it’s not easy because I get interrupted frequently and these aren’t interruptions I can avoid.

Then I do silly things like plopping in front of the computer and writing a post instead of working.  I worked on some things for a potential small new client that will be a complete waste of my time and I didn’t start on the moneymakers until late in the day.  Plus I didn’t really do any meaningful business development.  This is the kind of shit that gets me into trouble.

I do have a lot of work — good work that makes me money.  But I’m finishing up these projects and it will be time to begin new ones, but I gotta find the new ones first.  I refuse to stress about it.  Yes, I have lots of things to do.  Yes, my time is limited. But, that’s all OK, I’ll get it figured out.

The Hunter’s new company is rolling along and gaining momentum.  He is creating income streams where we didn’t think they would be.  He’s trying out new concepts and he likes some and hates others.  We discuss that it is all a part of prototyping.  He has been making more money this year than he’s made in the past two, so we are excited for him (and it takes some pressure off of me).

I think we are headed out of the woods now and it’s a big relief.  I cannot give myself too much slack on the business development side of things.  I have to create my own opportunities, so I cannot sit on my butt and wait for the phone to ring.  I just need to be strategic about it.

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Photo by Joanna Szumska on Unsplash

Friendship

I am reading MWF Seeking BFF:  My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend.  I have mixed emotions about this book.  On the one hand, it has a lot of great information about making friends and different approaches to take.  Rachel Bertsche is a great writer who combines the science of research with the fun of a witty memoir of her own journey.   On the other hand, it shows me how much my fucked up childhood has impacted my life long term which in turn makes me a bit melancholy.

Before I start my pity party, let me first congratulate myself on recognizing the fucked up aspects of my childhood and refusing to replicate that for my kids.  They grew up in one town, basically one great neighborhood with two parents.  My daughter has an extensive circle of friends from middle school through med school and beyond.  She stays in touch to the best of her ability and that really makes me happy.

My son is a bit of a different story.  He’s a guy, and friendships are different for men.  But he did have continuity and stability plus great team sports throughout his childhood which lead to him rooming with his high school buddies in college.  Mission accomplished.

But this post is about ME!  As I read this book (and I do recommend it), I have moments of sadness and regret.  Regret that I don’t have many close girlfriends from my childhood.  Sadness that I don’t have many close girlfriends now and apparently I haven’t been using the proper methods to attract such.  Sigh.

I get it.  I had a tough marriage that did not lend itself to giving me time of my own.  My Ex hated and actively discouraged me from having friends or “Girls Nights” or anything remotely symbolizing Me Time.  Here’s a classic example of how he would punish me:

When my son was several months old, a GF invited me to go shopping.  We went to a big outlet mall and spent a great afternoon without kids.  I came home at dusk to a home with no lights on and a crying baby.  My husband was lying on our bed with the crying baby.  His explanation was basically it was all my fault for being gone so long.  WTF, can’t you man the ship and give me some time off?  The answer was clearly no.  I was furious.  Furious that he wasn’t caring for our children properly and then guilting me for trying to have some time to myself.

Now this is the man that would come home around 8:00 in the evening after usually having a drink or two with “clients” or his partner.  Now how the heck am I suppose to have friends with an active saboteur in my bed?  The answer:  it was impossible, so I pretty much gave up.  If I could have lunch with my friends during the work week, that was the best I could do.  Anything else was a logistical clusterfuck.

One of the few times I carved out time for myself was when I had a brief affair and then it was only once a week and immediately after work — I said I was working overtime.

Towards the end of our marriage, I met the woman who has become my BFF.  He actively tried to sabotage that.  Interestingly enough, he had met one of her work colleagues and at first was OK with it.  Then the work colleague ended up being a complete bitch to my BFF and of course the Ex agreed.  I’m convinced that work colleague traded sexual favors for his legal expertise….but I digress.

Between a childhood of moving around constantly and an Ex who discouraged any friendships, it’s no wonder I feel like a social pariah at times.  I was thinking about the town I lived in the longest during my childhood and that duration was only 3-1/2 years.  That’s insane.  OK, I know that military families are moving constantly but that’s expected and usually those families actively help their kids address that situation.  There was no reason for my moving except for an impulsive mother and virtually non-existent dad.

Now I have the time and a man that actively encourages me.  I am lacking money for serious friendship cultivation, but I think that’s surmountable.  I have a new goal:  expand my friendship circles by meeting new people and learning how to be a better friends.  Consistency.  Yikes, that nemesis of my character/being.  I need more consistency.  Now, let me go email a couple of women I have been trying to friend.

Oh and go read Rachel’s book.  It’s a good read.

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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.

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

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