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OK, I finally figured out one reason I have been in a pissy mood lately. The holidays. I still haven’t figured out how to enjoy the holidays post-divorce. Thanksgiving is of a particular sore spot for me.
During my marriage, I was the go-to hostess for Thanksgiving. I’ve written about this before. Every year we would host anywhere from 18 to 24 people. I would take off the week in order to properly prepare for the day. I loved it. I make an amazing turkey — my Ex even said as much to my daughter recently. Everyone had a fabulous time, but it was a lot of work. A lot because my Ex did little to help. He cleaned the patio and asked copious questions — so damn needy. The most help I got was from my housekeeper who I always had come clean the day before. Post clean-up was all me. Set up — all me. Cooking: 75% me. It was my day and yes, it was my day by choice. I loved being the “hostess with the mostess” and when we sat outside at the beautiful tables I arranged, I felt happy. Frazzled, but happy to have everyone around.
Guests were my Ex’s family (he is one of 4 kids) so that made up the bulk of the guests. Then we had family friends round out the balance. Everyone was really bummed when we announced our separation. One family friend mourned the loss of Thanksgiving immediately. She told me, “the first thing my girls said was ‘oh no, Thanksgiving!'”.
Fast forward to today, four years later. Not once have I received an invitation to Thanksgiving by any of the folks I hosted over the past 25 years. Not one. OK, OK, yes, it’s a lot of Ex family, but what about the friends? What the fuck was I doing for these people all these years? I don’t even get a “Happy Thanksgiving” from any of them. I don’t get acknowledged, contacted, na da. It makes me angry.
It makes me angry because somehow I feel like after all those years of hosting, I am entitled to something better than what I have. I feel like I’m entitled to at least the societal nicety of a Thanksgiving message/touch from these folks.
The first years of my freedom I would go to a swanky dinner with my girlfriend. It was nice and I enjoyed getting dressed up for an elegant evening. It wasn’t exactly what I was seeking, but it was nice.
The first year the Hunter and I were together, I invited friends and our sons for Thanksgiving. I wrote about it and it was nice. The Hunter was concerned about how much work it was for me. As I re-read my post about it, I am realizing how much I really did enjoy it. It was about 8 people and that might be the right size.
Last year the Hunter and I went camping, just the two of us. It was nice, but I missed the turkey, the family togetherness and all the other warm, fuzzy things that Thanksgiving brings. We sat and watched large groups celebrating the holiday over the course of the weekend. I felt left out quite honestly.
This year is a bit different. Taz and her hubby will be down on vacation for the entire week. I wanted all of us (my son included) to go out for an early lunch, but Taz’s in-laws are flying in on Thanksgiving Day so that’s too complicated/stressful for all of us. Instead we will hang out at their beachfront Airbnb and eat stone crabs and drink champagne. Then we will part ways for Round 2 in the evening. Taz will join her dad and his family while the Hunter and I will join his family. This is the first time the Hunter has spent Thanksgiving with his sister’s clan in about 3-4 years. It will be interesting, but I’m looking forward to sharing the holiday with a family crowd.
The holidays are tough for me. I don’t want to make demands on my kids. My mom did that to me and it sucked. On the same token, I also don’t want to be the patsy or somehow overlooked. Part of me wants to get on a cruise ship for Christmas (this is a recurring destination choice for some reason) so I can just forget about it. Even that will cause me angst because being far away from everyone has proven not to be the solution anyway.
When I first separated from my Ex, my therapist pushed me to think about the holidays and what I wanted. Fast forward four years and I am still trying to figure out what I want. Now that Taz is married, she and her hubby have a rotation of holidays figured out. Very fair, very smart, very much their choice.
Last year the Hunter and I spent Christmas with my parents. My dad was pretty much an absentee dad once my parents got divorced. As Taz and I have discussed, he isn’t much of a father or grandfather to kids, but he’s fine once we grow up. Anyway, I hadn’t spent a Christmas with my dad since perhaps college. It was weird and we don’t want to do it again.
This Christmas we will probably stay put. I don’t particularly like trips over the holidays — too many other people are traveling, it’s expensive. Bah humbug. The only problem is that the Hunter has a yearning to see snow. He hasn’t seen snow. Not snow in serious quantities. Funny, right? A 50-year-old American that hasn’t seen real snow.
I need to put some thought into what makes me happy during the holidays. I think it’s a recipe that includes:
- Family and close friends
- Good food
- Relaxing fun
Perhaps now that I know the holidays continue to be a source of angst to me, I can recognize it and practice some forgiveness as well as some thankfulness. Geez, when will I ever let this crap go?
For context, you need to understand the Crazy Lady (CL) who lives next door to us and the recent neighborhood drama by reading the previous post. Things have settled down into a quiet truce. We don’t acknowledge them and they don’t acknowledge us — stepson is the exception for all. We like him. He’s a good kid.
Last week, I noticed some increased activity at CL’s house. Several pickup trucks there and I hear the sounds of power tools. What the heck are they doing? It’s been going on all week and I realized that they are doing a renovation in their house…. very covertly.
I want the Hunter to call his new best friend, the Code Enforcement Officer. Yes, the aftermath of the crazy neighbor evening resulted in the Hunter having to get an occupational license for his home business, the landlady having to register her house as a rental and address some landscaping issues. Total bill between all of us: $500 or so. The Hunter played this well and made nice with Code Enforcement. He befriended the guy and schmoozed him. He said he learned that tactic to me, but he is masterful.
But I’m pissed and I want to even the score because that was a shitty thing CL did.
On Halloween, we heard her screaming at her stepson that she is going to kill him because he apparently didn’t clean the cat litter boxes. Yeah, probably because he was busy mowing the grass and all the other yard work. According to our landlady, she allegedly has 7-8 cats (violation of city ordinances which only allow 3 pets per household) and she has 2 dogs. I can rant on and on about how the Dad is a shitty dad for not telling CL to shut her mouth and not talk to his son that way, but I digress. Let’s return to the construction project.
I really, really, really want the Hunter to call his buddy in Code Enforcement to suggest that he take a ride through the neighborhood. He won’t do it. The Hunter says that he is not that kind of neighbor. He is not the kind of neighbor that rats out others no matter what they have done to him. Dammit. The man has integrity. Dammit. I want revenge. I want her to go through some of the bullshit that we have gone through. Nope. It’s not going to happen.
The Hunter is out of town for the next week. He is deep in the woods hunting, so I am left to see the construction debris being removed under the cover of early morning darkness alone. Today I saw the new kitchen cabinets in their open garage. I hear the hammers. I see the trades come and go. ARGGGGGHHHH — I have to be a better person like the Hunter and hold my tongue. I don’t want to, but I know it’s the right thing to do. Dammit. Integrity. Nobody said it was easy…. My only hope
The Hunter is oftentimes a better person than me. Last week he demonstrated this twice.
He came home with two paper cones of peanuts that he bought from a little old man who was selling them on the street in a heavy industrial area. He tried to give the man a bottle of cold water, but the man explained he didn’t like to drink a lot of water because there is no place to pee.
The Hunter was saddened that this man who is old enough to be his father was working in the heat under harsh conditions. It bugged him for days because he wanted to help him more.
On Friday he went back, parked his car and approached him. “Papi, take this $20 and go home. You don’t need to work the rest of today.” The old man was deeply touched and even more so when the truckers and motorists began calling out to him to also give him money.
“I knew if I gave him the money that way, other people would too. That’s why I got out of my truck to give it yo him,” he sagely explained. The Hunter still wants to help him more, but it’s a start.
The Hunter doesn’t have a lot and yet he is always sharing what little he has. He pawned a gun last week to have some money — he’s tired of depending on me helping him every month. We both see his company’s potential and in another couple of months I think his income will double. He just needs to be patient and keep doing what he’s doing.
In the meantime, he is a kind man and I’m blessed to have him in my life. I’ll write about his other kindness later.
It is too soon to say if Irma is going to hit us directly. The entire Sunshine State is under a state of emergency. We have a week of crazy prep ahead of us. Already the stores are running out of water and other supplies. The gas stations are packed. The drumbeat of anticipation is relentless.
The Hunter and I grabbed a few things to beef up our usual camping supplies, but we are waiting until mid week for the rest.
I am concerned. Not about the storm, but the aftermath. Houston has unbelievable damage -estimated 500,000 cars damaged, plus we are all facing nationally rising prices on construction materials as demand soars. Now we are facing another catastrophic event. I don’t know if our country can handle it. I don’t know how my business will handle the disruption.
I don’t care too much about our stuff. I’m insured and I would be happy to cancel the lease due to damage. It’s the stress, the hard work, the heat, living without electricity for days and weeks — I’ve earned that merit badge several times. I know what’s ahead. Ugh.
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.
I have discovered several women (and guys) in a career funk. Obviously they are good friends or they never would have confided such a weakness to me. They have all lost their mojo and are stuck in the mud, but they are all at different points of this cycle. I find that Lost Mojo has a distinct cycle/path that has to be traveled.
I thought I was the only one to lose my mojo when I ground to a halt back in 2015. Looking back, I see how depressed I was. It stemmed from a bad job situation that I failed to fully recognize.
In my profession, the key phrase is “fake it until you make it”. You never tell the truth to anyone except your absolute closest confidantes and even then you don’t tell it all because you can’t be sure even they can be trusted 100%. You tell your frenemies that you are busy, life is good, your partnership is great, you are happy, etc. I did that, but my problem was I believed my own lies. Once I woke up and looked around, I realized: 1) my partnership wasn’t real, I was only an income stream; 2) my boss was not who I thought he was; and 3) the only person who cared and could make things right for me was ME.
The next step was planning. I had nothing to offer to another firm. No book of business that would earn me a signing bonus, plus I was sick and tired of the corporate BS at the firms. I couldn’t see the benefits of these corporate giants. I had been with one for a decade. It had been great on the resume, but so much of my earnings went into the black corporate hole that it made no economic sense to me. These corporate giants don’t value me. They consider my clients theirs and expect to keep them if I leave. They can even take them away from me if they decide someone else is better suited.
But going back to funks/loss of mojo. My dearest BFF is going thru the deepest slog of the muddy pit of despair. Her ray of hope has been watching me plow through and come out the other side seemingly sanity intact and happy. $$ are still my concern, but I refuse to be afraid or anxious about $$. Although my banker just called me and I trembled about taking that call….all was fine. She needed a referral!
Anyway, I’ve been in this crazy profession for 20+ years and I have spent 15 of those years eating only what I kill. I know that I’m a badass Amazon and I’ll be fine. It may only be rabbits right now, but my vision board is full of elephants because I know that I can land something that will feed me for a long, long time.
BFF has experienced far greater success than me. So perhaps her funk was a greater fall for her. To win her freedom, she made a not-so-great deal with an OK devil. She too wants to believe her boss is a good guy — not a self-centered prick who was sleeping with a bitch in her very small office. A bitch that methodically uses every tool at her disposal to sabotage BFF.
BFF wished for a man who would take care of her. She found him — he has volunteered to support her while she reinvents herself. He believes and supports her wholeheartedly because he’s an entrepreneur and understands the great risk/great reward gamble she needs to undertake.
I have suggested a plan that keeps her in the game while she waits out a new non-compete. She needs to make bold moves this year. She needs to open her eyes again and tell corporate America to go fuck itself. I know she can do it. She’s brilliant, likable, driven. The question is — can she let those of us who love her, help her? I’ll let you know….
My other GF is also in my profession. We bonded over trying to raise kids in our crazy careers. Her story is one of amazing heartache and I think she is one of the strongest, most resilient women I know. I’ll have to write her story one day.
This GF has just recovered her mojo. She is emerging from the mud pit of despair to once again kick butt and take names. She hasn’t changed jobs — she tried but couldn’t find a new spot that was an improvement over her current one. Last week over dinner, she told me that she admires my bravery in setting up Maggie & Co. Her niche does need a big corporate profile, but her competition is brutal. I have no desire for it.
She told me that I was invaluable to her breakthrough. I was so flattered! I think it was because I’m not afraid to speak the truth to her. She has told me her deep secrets and I have shared mine. We see each other for a monthly 3-hour gab fest and we always have each other’s back. Her outlook is bright once more and I am absolutely thrilled for her.
The guy who is in a funk was once at the top of his game. His fall from grace was stunning. He has an older half brother in the game and I’m convinced their father has some sort of crazy gene he passed on to these guys. Both had a fall from grace, both are a bit crazy but everyone loves them. I have heard the rumors of his depressive tendencies, some anger towards his partners, but I’ve never seen it.
This guy jumped out of corporate America when I did. He immediately started his own firm while I stopped at my previous job. He was doing OK but he has struggled with a sense of purpose. He’s tried different things, gotten divorced, found new love, just had a baby, but he hasn’t gotten back to his previous earning power. He was once part of a powerful team that was making tons of $$. The team is no more, but their friendship remains which says a lot about all of them.
This guy wants to be affiliated with Maggie & Co — maybe. He wants his independence and to keep his own firm, but he finds the daily solo slog difficult. He doesn’t want a boss, but I have never agreed to be a boss — only a facilitator. My brilliant idea is to match him with my BFF — they would both be formidable once again….That meeting will be soon. Very soon.
So if you have lost your mojo, it’s OK. It happens to us all. You just need to realize that the answers are within you. You and you alone are the only person who can fix your funk. Don’t look to others, don’t blame others — take a deep breath and look inside. And talk to people that you trust because they will tell you the truth. I’ll write some more about this on my journey out of the mud pit of despair….