- Thanksgiving; a time to count blessings.
- A visit to my massage therapist.
- Dan needing to get gas and missing a fatal car accident.
- Black Friday deals.
- Volunteering with my daughter sorting kids clothing.
- Devilled eggs and pumpkin pie.
- Clean sheets.
- Getting a good deal and planning a trip to the Caribbean this winter. We are going to an island in South America so I will be able to cross the continent of South America off my bucket list.
- I found an affordable futon couch to decorate my office with and will still be able to use my office as a bedroom if needed.
- I found the perfect Christmas trees this year. I got a traditional tree and found the white colored tree I was looking for. This is my second favorite time of year. This year Angel, Alex, and Lexi joined Paul and I picking out the trees and decorating. We finished the evening by watching my favorite Christmas movie, the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
It’s strange to think that people my age are starting to host the holidays for the first time. I’ve been doing it a good 20 years now. It’s just one of the many things my parents didn’t do. I can remember them decorating and having a Christmas tree twice in my life. Then my mom said Matt was allergic to Christmas trees and that was the end of that.
I don’t know how I became the responsible one. There is a big difference between wanting that and needing to be that because my parents weren’t able to step up. The normal progression of life never happened for me. I can’t remember being a child either. My in-laws hosted a couple times but they couldn’t handle it either. I tried to kill two birds with one stone and have my family and Paul’s family together for Christmas but that became the grandma wars.
Hosting does not make me nervous. I’ve been doing it long enough now. My brother Luke and his family stayed with us this past weekend for my niece’s swim meet. I wish I had that opportunity as a kid. I begged my mom for more than just beginner swimming classes but she said no. Maybe if I went to a school with a pool. Maybe if we had more money or if I could get a ride. Maybe if I wasn’t pulled out of school for three years when my brother Matt was homebound. Maybe if I wasn’t so far behind the other kids in sports when I went back to school. That’s a lot of maybes but the answer was still no.
I wish I could’ve started swimming and running as a kid like my niece. Sports were not encouraged at home. My mom didn’t go to the swim meet. Paul, Angel, and I went. I told my mom if she wanted to come over to visit my brother would be over on Saturday night. My mom came to my house but we were still at the meet. I could tell she was upset no one was home. I wasn’t expecting her to just stop by expecting us to be home. It’s odd my parents never supported their children or grandchildren in sports. It seemed like a foreign concept to them.
I was happy to have the opportunity to see my niece compete. It’s a huge relief to know my brother is a good dad to his kids even though my dad was not a good dad to him. His kids probably have no idea the way it was as it should be. There were several times Luke helped host the holidays over the years. We are the healthy ones, the ones who made it through.
Tomorrow I will be hosting Thanksgiving for 16 people. I’m sure it will be a great time. We have a lot to be thankful for. I have to remember that when I start thinking of the things I’ve missed out on.
Usually I have my whole life planned out. Well, maybe not that extreme but you get the point. I thought I would be one of the few marathon runners that would run into their 70’s. That didn’t happen. Sometimes I still dream of running. I hate exercising now. I told the doctor all I really wanted to be able to do is run again. She chuckled at this and told me if I did she would be replacing both my knees in the next two years. It’s been a whole year since I ran and this year my husband and daughter will be doing the last race I did without me. I am happy for them and don’t want them not to do it because I can’t. I just never expected my life to be this way.
I thought I would be checking Europe off my bucket list in the summer of 2020. You all know what happened with those plans. Who would have guessed? When I plan things I pretty much plan on it happening. But I also learned life doesn’t always work out the way we plan.
Usually by this time I have next year all planned out as far as travel goes. This year I have no idea what I want to do. Right now I’ve set aside several dates on the calendar for going on a trip. That’s about it. My husband and I are thinking of trying last minute deals with these dates. My only rule is that I want to go somewhere I haven’t already been. The problem with this plan is that we aren’t spontaneous people. Even if we have absolutely nothing going on, we both plan our days. We are by nature extreme planners. We like our structure and lists. On Mondays and Thursdays I wash towels. We are going to try this but we might not like it.
Typically I would get some input from my husband about where he wants to go and I would plan everything. Checking off all 50 states and all continents is huge on my bucket list, but my husband does not have these constraints. These are higher priority trips for me. Now my husband is getting involved in finding the deals. Since at heart he is a finance guy, he spent hours creating a financial calculator down to the penny to analyze which is the best deal. I could care less about that but I am concerned I will find something and it will be gone before he can decide what the better deal is. Then who is in charge of the planning. It has always been me and it’s something I really enjoy. I have a systematic way of doing things. Hopefully this is not going to create conflict. Now I think all this spontaneity might not work. Part of the fun is doing all the research and planning the details.
There is also some uncertainty about the next step in our business. There is uncertainty regarding the economy. In my mind there is still some uncertainty around COVID. This year we had to cancel a trip because of it. If anything I am getting better living with uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’m not one of those we’ll see how everything pans out kind of person.
- With the way the holidays fall this year, I’m grateful to have found a date that works for everyone.
- I went in for my physical this week and there weren’t any new health surprises which I am very grateful for.
- I got my tetanus shot this week and thankfully it didn’t stop me from continuing to clean and fill up the dumpster we rented.
- Everything went really smoothly with the dumpster rental and we got the right size.
- We finished our room remodeling project and the flooring is completed!! It all happened a lot quicker than I had planned which is always a plus.
- I have my own office!
- We had our first snowfall this week and it is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately it is now bitterly cold outside and with last weeks record highs we’ve had a 50+ degree drop in temperature.
- Along with filling the dumpster, we also donated several boxes to the thrift store. While we were there, we got some good deals thrifting. Sadly, I think someone old probably died because I scored on a local collection of polka records. I also found a gorgeous tree skirt that looked like the skirt worn by Mrs. Claus.
- We spent an afternoon volunteering and helping others.
- We were able to visit with all our kids this week.
- My brother Luke and his family visited this weekend and we were able to go to our niece’s swim meet. They live several hours away so we are not able to do as much as we would like to. This is the first swim meet we’ve been to and my niece beat her record on a couple events.
- My brother Matt had his gallbladder removed and the surgery went well.
- Because Arabella missed a lot of work due to COVID and mono, she was taken off the schedule at work. She just started working for Door Dash making deliveries. I think this is a great opportunity for her to be able to work around her health and mental health issues.
Before and after…with a little help from our cat.
- The election is over! We are done with the crappy ads, middle of the night texts, an overflowing mailbox, all day phone calls, the surveys, and the constant pressure to go out and vote which had the opposite effect on me but I did anyway.
- Mom and I went in for a spa day.
- We had game night a couple times this week with Arabella. One evening she stopped in to do laundry and we ended up playing games.
- Paul and I had our date night at the arcade. It was something different to do. We surprised Will as he was cleaning up a spilled drink by me telling him someone puked all over the place. This was not true but it was funny. I think he was happy to see us.
- We got a lot of work done this week filling the dumpster. Yesterday Paul and I yanked out all the overgrown shrubs in our yard, probably somewhere around 20. I’m still on a plant killing rampage apparently. It needed to be done and I wanted to to do it right before the ground froze to avoid nesting birds. At least I’m not killing the birds.
- We have great friends who are helping today finish the flooring. I hope by next week’s gratitude it will be done. I will post pictures.
- Last night I went to a friend of a friends 46th birthday party. It was over the top. The birthday girl rented the biggest limo I ever saw, rented a hall, got a band, had an open bar all night, catered in wings, had a baker cater in gourmet cupcakes (the same as our daughter’s wedding), and rented a hotel room. I did feel bad because I know they can’t afford it. I’m grateful my husband and I are on the same page as far as finances go.
- Talking about finances, we had our annual visit with our financial advisor. It went really well and he gave us a lot of things to think about. It’s time to update our will. The last time we updated it was when several of our kids were minors. My mom is listed as our power of attorney for healthcare and it’s time to switch that. It’s strange to think I am at an age where I start handing the reigns to my children. I even had to update forms at the doctor’s office and gave them my daughter’s name with her married name. The receptionist noting the different name asked if she was my daughter. She didn’t ask if she was my mother.
- Tomorrow I go in for my annual physical. I’m really hoping for gratitude next week on that. I had my blood work done on Friday and so far everything looks good.
- We had another week with record breaking warm weather. That was strange with the combination of darkness at 4:30 PM. We were able to get out and enjoy the last bit of warmth we’ll be receiving in a while. Yesterday we had snow flurries and we are expecting snow this week so I think it was the last of it.
This week Will found out who his dad is.
Whereas my son’s girlfriend has a similar life story to mine my daughter’s boyfriend has a similar life story to Paul’s. A couple years back, we figured out who Paul’s dad was after doing an Ancestry DNA test. From what I gathered, his bio dad fathered 6 kids with 4 different baby mommas. Pretty much a kid per decade, the oldest being Paul and the youngest still a teenager younger than our kids. By the time we found out who he was, he was already dead. I have no idea how he died. The scary part is that he died just a couple years older than my husband is now. Paul hasn’t reached out to any of his siblings, although something tells me none of them would be surprised.
Will was also raised by a single teen high school dropout mom with mental health issues. When Will was in his middle childhood years his mom got married, had a couple more kids, then gave up Will for his grandma to raise out of state. My husband was raised by his mom and grandma in a household with no rules. It sounds like Will’s grandma was really strict. When he did something wrong, he was forced to read the Bible for hours. It doesn’t sound like it worked out too well since now he hates everything that has to do with God. But I give a lot of credit to single parents (and grandparents) who parent the best they can more than I give a coward who walks away from their own kids.
I feel bad for both men for the abandonment they have had to live with. Neither men really having a good male role model in their lives. Then this week Will found out who his dad is. He asked his mom who told him. Will and Arabella found him on social media. He is married with two children. From all outward appearances, he looks like a world class family man. He also looks a lot like Will. Will is planning on reaching out to his dad.
We also found out Will’s dad was paying child support for him. So his dad knew about him all along and never once bothered to reach out to get to know his own son. I wish him the best but I don’t think this is going to end well for Will. I’m afraid he is going to get hurt all over again. Especially since his dad has another family, one he never bothered to include his other son in. It’s too bad because he is missing out on a great son. Paul’s dad missed out too. Despite their upbringing, they are admirable men.
We have tried to include Will into our family as much as we can. I know it doesn’t make up for not having a dad. For almost a year, Will has worked at an adult arcade. We have been telling him forever we were going to visit him sometime while he was at work. We never did. Tonight we are going to stop by and surprise him. I know it’s not much but hopefully he knows we care.
I stressed out for a long time whether or not to get a dumpster. What did I know about remodeling or flooring besides it looking like fun on home renovation shows. They show the before pictures, show someone holding a hammer, then voila it’s done looking amazing. That and one summer when my son was in high school he worked for a company removing flooring. How hard could it be?
I researched dumpsters. I never was really good with spatial things. How would I know what size to get when I can’t even figure out if I have enough room in a parking space? I agonized over the decision. I shut off my computer and walked away for a couple days. Once I got the dumpster there was no turning back. I was committed to finishing the project.
I ordered the dumpster and still worried about it. I was anxious the day the dumpster arrived. The first project I was going to do was tear out the carpet. There was no turning back now. I had already painted my future office a bright light yellow. I took a couple before pictures. I budgeted 15 minutes to a couple hours to tear out the old carpeting. Fifteen minutes, now that is laughable as I think it took over 5 hours. Taking out the carpeting was the easy part. Then I had to pull out the carpet liner. Then all the nails and staples.
I’ve never even used half the tools before. I had zero knowledge or experience going into it which was very scary for me. On the day I started the project we had a plumber over. He must’ve took pity on me because he showed me how to use a razor blade to tear up carpeting and gave me a couple new blades. I don’t think my husband really appreciated his help as much as I did. Never having a dad to show him how to be a handyman, my husband doesn’t really know a whole lot more than I do about these projects. And to think his bio dad was a handyman for a living. What an asshat!
After I did all the painting, removing the trim boards, and tearing up the flooring my husband said he would like that room for his office. He likes the room because it is bright and sunny with a skylight and paint the color of the sun. I am a creature of the dark. I would be happy in a cave with the exception of the bats. We both decided he would be better suited for the bright room and I would be better suited in the room we are sharing as an office right now. We both agreed we weren’t suited to sharing an office. He likes all the lights blazing in broad daylight which makes me feel like my eyes are bleeding. He even has one of those intensely bright ring lights. I might turn the light on if it is dark. He likes to listen to his book or music while working and I like absolute silence. Plus he is on the phone quite a bit.
So I handed the project baton over to him. We found out on of his best friends has a lot of experience with flooring and he will be coming over tomorrow to start working on it with my husband. I had no idea what I wanted for the flooring anyway. Now he can pick what he wants. I would still be willing to help. I am very motivated to have my own office and doing some undisturbed writing again.
Other than that, we are using the dumpster for the carpet and all garbage real or imagined. I even went so far as throwing out some of the fake plastic plants from the previous owner. I went on an anti-plant rampage. When we got back from our trip my two remaining plants got decimated. The large one fell over onto the smaller one breaking the pots. I decided to throw them both out and in the process I sliced up my finger pretty good on the broken glass. If anyone ever buys me another plant I will probably punch them.
We are also getting rid of a whole bunch of junk from the garage. Some of it old crap left behind by my son’s friends when they were roommates. They are a bunch of slobs and have a lot of potential to be hoarders like my parents. The best part of everything is that the dumpster is located underneath the window of the second story of the garage. Because of this I was able to rage clean opening the window and chucking stuff into the dumpster. Or sometimes it would miss shattering everything to pieces on the ground next to it. All in the name of cleaning my friends.
Now I have been thinking about the environment as well in case you were concerned. I have several boxes filled for the thrift stores. I broke down and got rid of the last of the pairs of pants I can no longer fit over my big butt. Then there are the dresses I can’t zip up. But I didn’t have the heart to get rid of one of my favorite miniskirts. I haven’t worn it in years but maybe next summer. Until then it will be hanging up next to my orthotic shoes.
My house has so many projects I don’t even know where to start. But at least I am starting even though I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
Do we ever think about the hidden secrets beyond our knowledge after all the horrible things we already found out? This question has been haunting me since Lexi asked me this yesterday. What don’t I know about my family?
My son’s girlfriend has been opening up to me about her life. Alex and Lexi have been together almost a year and a half now. Sometimes she will come over just to talk. It’s strange because I see many parallels between her life and mine. I won’t share with you the details because it’s not my story to tell. But I can say she experienced a tremendous amount of suffering in childhood.
Sometimes I see myself in her. It was hard finding friends who could relate. I remember being the girl not fitting in with others entering adulthood with fresh memories of a carefree childhood. I never had those stories to tell. I felt like I just exited a war zone when I entered adulthood. Childhood was a time of worry, fear, and stress that left me careworn with a lifetime of fighting anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I could never get that time back and change it into something I wanted. It’s hard to explain that weight to someone who didn’t carry it.
I understood when Lexi said she didn’t want to totally cut her family out of her life. She said there are so many layers to it. How can you walk away when you are conditioned to be a lifeguard trying to save the family from drowning while they are always pulling you under? I told her it is okay to limit her contact with them although that is something I still struggle with doing myself.
Sometimes Lexi will talk to me about her relationship with my son. She talks more in a relational way instead of a complaining way. But sometimes I’m not sure what to say or do. My son still has not met her family. He has no intentions of meeting them because they are not good people. But how is that going to work if they get married or have children? They both do not want him to meet her family. I don’t understand. I usually wanted significant others to meet my family early because that could be the make it or break it point. How else do you really get to know somebody?
I’m not really sure what to do. Maybe I should just keep listening as someone who kind of understands instead of trying to fix things. Maybe this is what having a daughter-in-law is like. My son rarely sits down and has little talks with me. I’m glad she is opening up to me and we get along well. What more could I ask for?
Although she really did make me think when she asked me what I thought remains hidden that we just don’t know after all the horrible things were revealed. For the longest time I didn’t know the truth but it was still there. There is probably still a lot I don’t know. I never really thought about it before and that’s a scary thing to overthink about. Dealing with what I know is already hard enough.
- The first half of the week was unseasonably warm and sunny so we were able to get out and about walking on the area trails.
- We had a plumber come out again since one of our pumps was clicking almost non-stop. Turns out we had multiple leaking toilets and once those were serviced it fixed the problem. So, yeah, another home maintenance problem fixed.
- I’m also grateful we have a well and are not on a water line. Oh my gosh would that be expensive.
- Lunch with my friend Jen at a restaurant I’ve never tried before.
- My husband is going strong on his detox diet and is almost halfway done.
- We got a dumpster a couple days ago and not only is the future office painted but now the carpet is torn out. I did most of the work myself. Physical labor feels great and doing a home renovation project has always been on my bucket list.
- With the dumpster I’ve felt more motivated than ever to get rid of stuff and declutter.
- I’ve also been motivated to do a little redecorating. We bought our house furnished and I am satisfied with most of the decor. However, there are some things I really don’t like. The area rug under the dining room table is ugly, stained, and worn so I just ordered a new one I like.
- As strange as it sounds for someone my age, I feel like I am really starting to figure out who I am and what I want. I guess that’s the benefit of having adult children and a mostly empty nest. Most of my life I felt the need to be responsible for other people even people I shouldn’t have had that expectation for such as my mom and disabled brother. I’m done with that now.
- I’m grateful to have more time to volunteer. It has been a really enjoyable experience to help those in need. I volunteer through a program supported by area churches to give out diapers and kids clothing to families in need.
Lately I’ve been struggling a lot with indecision and uncertainty. Where do I even begin?
I’m not certain how I feel about my mom right now ever since she sent a picture to my daughter of her ex-boyfriend on her wedding day. Last week I talked to my therapist about it. She asked me how I don’t hate my mom. I don’t really…hate my mom. I just need space.
I just don’t understand how she could do something like that. Was it intentional? She had to dig back pretty far into her photos to find that one. Was she jealous my daughter asked me to be a bridesmaid? She is always making comments…must be nice…but it doesn’t sound nice. She was the one blemish on an otherwise perfect wedding day. My therapist said it doesn’t matter whether it was intentional or not. The issue is that my mom is always being the drama queen.
If it’s not one thing it’s another to try to get my attention. My mom has been to urgent care twice in the last week or so. Neither time for anything serious. The last time it was for a fever of 100. She has been calling and texting about how sick she is.
I’ve only seen her twice since the wedding a month ago. It’s been nice. I think twice a month is enough for me. But I know if I push back she is going to smother me. I just don’t know if it’s worth the fight.
I have to start planning Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s another thing, my mom never once hosted those holidays. I started taking it on after my grandma no longer could when I was in my 20’s. Seems kind of young looking back now. I think I feel a lot of resentment towards my mom for that. Sometimes my brother Luke would take it on and he’s younger than me.
This year everyone is invited to the big extended family Christmas party regardless of vaccination status. Last year we were not invited because my household is of a mixed status. Now we are invited but I don’t really want to go. I probably will anyway because the aunts and uncles that are currently not in the family feud went out of their way to be great towards my daughter on her wedding day. Better than my mom was. Actions speak louder than my mom’s words. She sometimes exaggerates things to stir up drama and I can’t overlook that.
I’m not really sure what to do about my mom and my relationship with her. So far I’ve opted to do nothing and be noncommittal which is the opposite of how I try to live my life. I don’t know seems to be my answer for a lot of things these days and I don’t really like it. I’m the type of person who always has to have a plan.