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Storm is Brewing

How do you stay calm in the face of the rising public hysteria? It is not easy. If you already suffer from anxiety, my heart goes out to you because it is a Herculean task to manage it today.

When the community is facing a crisis (mostly hurricanes and now COVID-19), I somehow feel a drumbeat in the background. A beat or rhythm that builds. I started feeling it during the run up to hurricanes. I guess it is one of my ways feeling anxiety. It has been thudding in the background for me over the past three weeks.

Yesterday between a cascade of events including talking to my daughter, Dr Taz, reading Angela Merkel’s speech and listening to our own president finally facing reality, I sat back and thought, “We are facing a new normal for quite some time”. Huge changes that none of us have seen in our lifetime are beginning.

My company has instituted very strict travel bans. No mixing and mingling or wining and dining. No Corporate Run, which is a bummer because I have been training for two months. I am fine with that and I’ll write about my Plan B later.

For me, no MeetUps. Limited gym time. This has the potential of being an isolating event. My very social SIL begins working from home today. We all know Dr. Taz at some point will bring it home plus his colleagues traveled extensively, so he wants to avoid spreading it to others. He is young, incredibly fit so his risk is low for a serious case, but he potentially will be a strong transmitter.

On the other hand, my Ex is a smoker who just turned 60. He spent his birthday weekend in late February with the kids, so I asked Taz if he was worried. She said he was oblivious. When my candid SIL (I adore this guy), said that it was targeting older folks who smoked, etc., Taz gave him some major side eye, but my Ex was undeterred. How many people will be like him?

When Angela Markel told Germans that as many as 70% of them will get COVID-19, I took note. When the scientists explained it could take up to two years to reach that saturation point, I took note. When my daughter said that hospitals are telling certain specialists like psychiatrists that they may be called upon to treat patients if the hospital becomes overwhelmed, I took note. When the CBS News studio in NYC was shut down due to a COVID-19 case and they scrambled to use a Boston affiliate, I took note. Sports teams suspending games or paying to empty stadiums are part of our new normal.

When the medical scientists explain that a vaccine is 12-18 months away and how they need to protect the herd so we don’t overwhelm the healthcare system, I take note. How do I stay safe, so I don’t need healthcare? How will I keep food in the house and keep myself entertained and not feeling isolated? Will our supply chain hold?

My strongest trait in the Clifton Strengths is Positivity. I don’t fret too much, but I am also a strategic thinker (my second strongest trait). I see all types of implications for those I love and for me.

I see big implications for my company. Can the CEO steer the ship through the storm with all the crew? I made a suggestion to my boss earlier this week that would save us hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is being considered by Senior Leadership. It will save jobs.

Hang on folks, we are in for a bumpy, stressful and scary ride over the next year. Be smart, stay strong.

Wonderful

My 6-hours with Taz was magical.  We don’t get many moments like this, so I reveled in the time we spent together.  We kicked the day off with a mimosa-filled breakfast, enjoyed the beach for a couple of hours and then got manicures.  I had plenty of solo time with Taz because my Ex and his fiancee finally rolled in around lunch time.  We enjoyed some appetizers and drinks with them.

I had suggested that we all hang out at a nice hotel so Taz would have access to the spa locker room for a shower before her cross country flight.  Thus, the manicures secured our access to the locker room.

We chatted about how things were going for her work, her hubby’s work and all the mundane things going on with me.  She is doing fabulous.  The hubby is kicking butt and getting steady promotions.  They are very happy.  Working incredibly hard, but happy.

The Ex was pleasant and gracious during his portion of the visit. Apparently the row he had with Taz is behind them.   He had the opportunity and invitation to show up earlier, but he didn’t.

Interestingly, he had more info on my Son than I was aware of.  Sigh.  My son is a pretty tight-lipped young man and I realize that having to tell his news to both of us leads to him forgetting who he told what to.  Meh, not that big a deal.

It was a really pleasant day and I was happy, happy, happy the whole time.  Then I popped over to see my BFF.  She is winding down on her miserable job and figuring out her next chapter.  The good news is that she suddenly has two very good, lucrative job leads.  I told her that 2020 was destined to be her year.  I just feel that she has hit her bottom and will now begin working her way out, just like I have done.  Time will tell.

However, there was one cloud over the weekend.  The Hunter.  His holiday angst has kicked in.  He is feeling very depressed.  He describes it as a pressure sitting on his chest.  This has caused him to push me away with some angry words about my neglect of him during his struggle.  I do empathize with him.  He pushed me away on Sunday, so I just drove down to his apartment anyway and waited for him to show up.  He was relieved and happy to see me.  We took the Kracken to a nearby park and spent a few hours sitting in the park enjoying the outdoors.  It was nice and mellow.  We grabbed a late lunch and then he was tired, so I headed home.

I am not the most nurturing, empathetic person, so I have to pause and remind myself not to be callous.  I need to treat my loved ones the way I would want to be treated if I was feeling so anxious.  I actually did the right thing with my impromptu visit.   Whew.

Life is wonderful right now.  I am very blessed.

Teamwork

One thing I will say about my Ex — he’s a very good dad.  When my son arrived at his new digs in his new city to start his new grad school a few months ago, he discovered his new roommate was bat shit crazy.  He was signed up with a company that master leases various houses and then it leases out the individual bedrooms to different folks.  They handle the cleaning of the common areas.  For my son, it was an elegant solution to his housing need.  That is until he got Crazy Girl.

Without going into details, the situation was untenable and my son needed to move immediately.  Literally the day he arrived, he started making plans to leave.  It was that bad. The landlord had other options for him, but was a bit slow off the mark to remedy the situation.

My son called me the second or third night in a full on panic.  I texted my Ex and we spoke the next morning.  My Ex is an attorney.  We quickly debriefed one another, voiced identical concerns and agreed to the same immediate course of action.  I voluntarily said I was standing down and would await updates from him and my son.  I had to wait for updates from both my Ex and my son — I was on pins and needles all day.  I promised that if I heard something from my son that perhaps was unknown to my Ex, I would advise him.  He promised to do the same.

Fortunately my son has a cousin (my Ex’s nephew) in the same city so that provided an immediate couch-surfing solution.  We wanted him out immediately because we would not put it past Crazy Girl to #MeToo him.  They were two people living in the same house alone which could create a He Said/She Said situation.  She was that kind of crazy.  Now keep in mind that I am very pro #MeToo.  I believe all the Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Brett Kavanaugh and Jeffrey Epstein accusers.  However, in my son’s situation, all of us were highly concerned — even the property manager was concerned about it.

Luckily, property management leaped into the situation with a viable solution and rushed the process so my son could switch houses within 48 hours.  Luckily, my son had his car so he was able to move everything in a single trip.  Luckily, we all kept the channels of communication open and nobody pointed fingers or cast blame.  It was a successful team effort.

Yet another example of the fact that even though my marriage is over, and I am happy it is over, it was still a successful one.  It was simply one that had run its course.

Now my son is in a house with three other guys with like interests.  A bunch of introverted, intellectual nerds.  A match made in heaven.  As for Crazy Girl?  She apparently was evicted.  Good riddance.

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Photo by Daryn Stumbaugh on Unsplash

Family Xmas?

It appears that Taz won’t have much time to spend with me at Christmas.  Probably only Christmas Day.  I understand 100% why and am not upset, only disappointed. I began to question if it even made sense to spend all this money and time for such a short visit.

Then I had a flash of melodrama — what if this would be the last time I could spend with my kids at Christmas?

But it will be a very expensive trip due to traveling at a peak holiday time to a peak holiday city.  Am I being a fuddy dud?

I haven’t seen Taz for almost a year.  My frugal side tries to justify not going. “She’s super busy and you are broke.  That money could pay down some of my debt. Have a stay-cation exploring your new neighborhood.”

The holidays are always fraught for me since my divorce.  My options are to spend it with my parents or the Hunter.  Neither are fun.

I didn’t spend much time with my dad and his wife when I was growing up.  I like/love my dad, but he really did not parent me in any way as I grew up.  I don’t feel any obligation to spend holidays with them.  They spend it with my stepmom’s three sisters.  I did that one year with the Hunter and it was weird.  Really weird.  Not what I wanted for my holiday.

The Hunter always get consumed with holiday anxiety and depression.  He becomes a hot mess and really just needs to spend the time alone.  Seriously, I don’t say that to be mean.  I say that because he seems to prefer it.

After ruminating on this, I decided to go see Taz.  This will be the first holiday my kids will have spent together since my son returned from Asia.  I haven’t seen my kids together for a long, long time.  Let me take the time they are offering and appreciate it and be grateful.  The trip will be fun.  I’ll be somewhere cold with beautiful Christmas decor and who knows, perhaps I’ll have my first White Christmas ever….yes, I have never had a white Christmas.

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Job Stability

Job stability is always an issue.  I don’t care who, what, when or where you work — job stability should always be lurking in the back of your mind.  It’s on my mind right now for several reasons.

  1.  My first review and goal-setting is coming up.  When I look into 2020, I have things that will keep me barely occupied.  Not enough in my estimation.  2021 has some good projects but not too earth-shattering for my position.
  2. My company is about to lay off some folks.  It’s a group that hasn’t been producing income.  Gulp.
  3. I finally got the overdue money from Maggie & Co.  This will help my IRS bill fortunately.  I have to chat with my accountant before I go crazy and send the IRS a big payment, but I’m looking forward to it.

I have mentioned to my boss twice that I “still have some capacity” for additional work.  She hasn’t come up with anything extra for me. I would like to stretch and be busier than I am, but after two mentions it is time for me to shut up.  Sometimes I am just sitting  reading the NY Times or some online BS.  I hate that.  I am just not a person who enjoys being paid to do nothing.  It worries me.

Granted, this is a brand new role and they haven’t had someone in it.  I have worked on several things and have some other long-term projects that I can pick at, but there really isn’t a tremendous work flow.  At least not a work volume that I am accustomed to.  I am not too worried.  My boss seems to like me tremendously and I have won over my admin (remember, she was the one who ignored me for the first 30-45 days).

Perhaps this goal-setting review process will help, but I have never seen those exercises produce any meaningful insights.  For now, I will revel in a steady paycheck, a 10 minute commute and great health insurance.  Hopefully I will get my financial house in order quickly and be ready for whatever comes next.  I am very, very grateful for what I have. When I added up my Maggie & Co income, it would not have sustained me this year.  Yes, I am very fortunate for this second chance.  Thank you!

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Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Here We Go!

The move went very smoothly. The truck was loaded in 1-1/2 hours. I even had notes taped to everything that said either “yes” or “no”. This directed the guys on what went on the truck.

The Hunter walked in before they arrived and burst out laughing. “Are you indecisive? ” He saw it as equivocating on a marriage proposal. Silly man. When he left he hugged me hard and whispered “I love you.” I love him too. It’s just a bit complicated right now. More will follow on this.

The $1400 (including tips) for the movers was money well spent. They bounded up and down the stairs hauling my 50+ boxes with ease. They grabbed EVERYTHING and stuck it on the truck.

I have my storage closet on the same floor as my apartment and have already started filling it up. It’s a weird shape – not what I was expecting, but we made it work. I need to think vertical with it.

I ran to the grocery store and should be set for about a week (I hope).

I am pooped. It was a very busy day. Now comes the unpacking. I decided that right now, my objective needs to be getting rid of the boxes. My Pinterest organization self needs to calm down and wait.

My new bed is set up with clean sheets and looks fabulously comfy. The frame makes it tight to get the linens on. The jury is out on if I love it. I have to watch my toes on the frame.

I am eager to get settled. Tomorrow will be spent unpacking. That should get things under control. Then Saturday is the garage sale (ugh).

I don’t have internet, so I’m using my HD antenna. Something is up with my TV & the universal remote, so I’m stuck watching only ABC right now. That’s OK, I found my wireless speaker. I discovered I like having some noise, so this is important to my zen.

I need to take a shower and find some Advil. I’ve had 2 glasses of Prosecco to celebrate. I feel good like I’ve come home. Time will tell.

Family Love

I had the beautiful realization that I have been blessed with my kids.  Although my Ex and I split after 25 years, we spent those years creating a good family atmosphere for our kids.  They love one another and everyone helps the other out.

Taz called me yesterday to chitchat about life.  I love to hear from her.  I don’t have much to add to the conversation these days, so I like to listen and ask questions about her life.  We started talking about my Son who will be returning from Asia in a few very short weeks.

She had a frank discussion with him about money, his budget, student loans and the like.  She is the Queen of Student Loans because let’s face it — med school was not cheap.  Taz told him that he needed a little more of a buffer and he needed to factor in some fun money.  She’s right.  My Son tends to be too frugal.  Think hermit — monk.  He still wears his t-shirts from high school and he’s 23.

We decided I needed to see if he is willing to share his actual budget, so we can make sure he has enough $$.  My Ex is helping him with housing and will co-sign on the lease.  I am helping him with resume, LinkedIn, recommendations and job-hunting.  We are all happily wanting to help him but not in a bossy, overbearing way.  He asks and we jump to attention.

What a beautiful family.  How wonderful that everyone is looking out for the other, proud of each other, no competition or jealousy.  What a miracle.  Today, this is what I am grateful for.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My Son & I

I had a very long chat with my son, who is in Asia.  We hadn’t spoken much recently because he took off on a solo 10-day road trip during a break from his teaching job.  It was nice to get all caught up with him and hear some of the highlights of his trip.  I am so proud of him.  He’s now virtually fluent in a difficult Asian language; he planned and completed a road trip that highlighted areas he wanted to see and I can hear his confidence growing.

He was telling me that he is feeling momentum building for his return to the U.S.  Our chat started because he wanted me to read an email to his grad school advisor.  It’s time for him to set up his school email and select his courses for the Fall.  I helped him tweak the email and that lead to the phone call.

When he returns to the U.S., his plan is to visit with family for a week as he packs up and prepares to move up the East Coast.  We walked through that timeline so I could put some dates in my calendar.

Then we talked about logistics of where he would be living for grad school.  His girlfriend has pushed the housing selection responsibility onto him, the guy who is living literally halfway around the world.  That was my opening…

“How are things going with her?”  He admitted that they have been bickering more frequently.  We then began the discussion of how it would be much harder to break up with her once they have moved so far away and are living together.

We talked about how living with her and her “emotional support” dog (a Pitbull mix) is going to make housing incredibly difficult and probably more expensive.  His post-grad school is in an expensive, urban area.

He mentioned that during his orientation for his current overseas position, they specifically said that if you have mental health issues, they do not go away with a change of environment.  “If you are depressed in the U.S., you will continue to be depressed in Asia with it possibly worsening due to stress.”

His girlfriend battles anxiety and some other issues.  She is in therapy and on medication.  She is somewhat estranged from her family.  I have seen a tendency of hers to battle with those around her.  Her roommates moved out, her apartment complex manager fights with her and other stories give me pause.  She’s a smart young woman, but she will hold my son back from his goals.

My son wants to travel the world.  He wants to work in areas that require high security clearances.  It will be stressful and demanding.  Having a stressful, demanding home life isn’t conducive to his career and life goals or his own mental health.

I explained to him that I was going through the situation of planning to break up with the Hunter.  I told him that it was going to be really hard since we are living together.  I suggested that he NOT follow my example.

It will be interesting to see how he handles the situation.  This has been his first serious relationship.  Time will tell.  I am hoping that sharing my experiences will help him make his own decisions, but at the end of the day, he has to decide how and when to act.  Good luck, dear son!  I’m on your side.

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Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash

Going Dark

I want to make my blog private for awhile.  Mainly because when job hunting, I am not sure it is a wise decision to have this sitting out there for the world to see.  I don’t know if potential employers can find it, but I also don’t want to find out the hard (and very embarrassing) way.

However, I want you, Dear Reader, to still be able to read and comment on my posts.

This blog has helped me immensely to process my thoughts and feelings.  I want to keep writing, but I need to keep it on the down low for awhile.

I’m going to make this blog private. So if you don’t follow me on the blog and want to, now is the time.

If you can’t access me in the future, simply email me at maggiemayat50@gmail.com  and I’ll provide you with the password.

I’m going to wait until April 6th before going dark.  I hope all of you will continue to follow me on my journey.  Your support and thoughtful insights have meant the world to me.

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I’ve Got Cooties & Insomnia

Ever since my fiasco of an interview with the OppA CEO, I haven’t been feeling good.  That eye infection moved on, but then I got some other crud.  I think it came from this hussy who SHOOK MY HAND and then told me she had a throat infection.  Guess what I have had for the past week — a throat infection.

I don’t know if it combined with the eye infection, but man, I have been under the weather for the past 10 days.  Operating at 75%, not sleeping worth a damn (more on that) and just not feeling good in general. Last weekend I spent a day with my BFF and while I had fun, I felt off (sore throat) and was wiped out the next day.

With a modest amount of congestion plus my sore throat, I am apparently adding quite a bit of volume to my snoring.  The Hunter has been complaining more than usual and this has lead to me having horrible sleeping habits this week.

I have bursts of bad sleeping habits.  I am a recovering Sunday Night Insomniac.  During my 40’s I would have Sunday nights where I just didn’t want to go to bed and would stay up late.  Then when I crawled to bed at 1 or 2 am, I would wake my Ex who would get all bitchy, so then I would just stay up virtually all night to avoid that drama.

I have lapsed back into that when the Hunter complained about my snoring.  He’s a light sleeper, so it doesn’t take much to wake him up.  I have been hanging out downstairs with the ipad and TV — horrible, horrible companions when it comes to sleep.  Once again, I justify it by not wanting to wake him.

Then I don’t get enough sleep which leads to a migraine (my Friday treat), not giving myself enough rest to fight my cold and generally contributing to my resting bitch face.

I know what I need to do, but I need to do it.  Let me break this down and see how I can fix this:

  • Issue #1:  the Hunter’s sleeping patterns.  This man is an Early Bird/Long Sleeper.  He loves about 9 hours and heads to bed around 9:00 – 9:30.  He takes a shower around 8:30 and he’s out by 9:00.  Sometimes he falls asleep in front of the TV around 8:00.  It doesn’t take much for me to wake him up if I come into bed later, then he may gently grumble a bit that I wake him up.  I will say that the Kracken gets him up once or twice to go outside, so I’m not the only one waking him up.
  • Issue #2:  I’m a Pleaser.  I try to be considerate and avoid disturbing him. This involves both my snoring and my Bedtime routines I want to do before bed, but can’t if he’s already asleep.
  • Issue #3:  Stress management.  When I am nodding off, I have to stop my brain from racing to my To Do List or my Stress List (things that are concerning me).  If I’m alone, I listen to music or a podcast — some voice to focus on other than the one in my head.  I will fall asleep in about 15 minutes this way.  Listening to my inner voice can keep me up all night.  Sigh.

What are my solutions to this:  I have thought of a couple of things.

  1. Do my sleep prep early (wash my face/take a shower or whatever) by 7:30 or so.  This will allow me to slip into bed quietly if the Hunter has already gone to sleep, so I’ll be ready and not have that as an avoidance excuse.
  2. I need to climb into bed at 9:30 and have NO screen time for that 1/2 hour of relaxation before lights out by 10:00.  If the Hunter is already asleep, I need to figure out a reading light (perhaps a camping headlamp).
  3. Maybe I can use the wireless earbuds my son gave me for Xmas so I can listen to something as I go to sleep.  The Hunter likes quiet.
  4. Make sure I’m taking a decongestant, some Vicks and use the snoring nose strips to help minimize my snoring.  Losing weight will help this also, but for the short term, I think it’s more of an airflow situation.

Most importantly, I need to use my words and have a chat with the Hunter.  We need to figure out a compromise of some form here.  I need to stabilize my nighttime routine because it truly impacts my day.  In a perfect world, I want to be asleep by 10:00 (yep, I’m an old fart) and up by 6:00 so I have time to exercise and journal in the morning.

He’s heading back from the woods later today, so I MUST chat with him about it today.  It’s Sunday and I can’t continue to lose so much sleep.  I need to take care of myself first and foremost.  (Yes, I have to remind myself that what I need is incredibly important and essential for my happiness — I’m a work in progress).

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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