I didn’t hit a deer, but…

Can you believe that I live in Wisconsin and never hit a deer?? I probably shouldn’t have said that, now I am doomed..I remember as a kid riding up north with Aunt Grace. She always said, “I wonder if we will see a deer?” It never failed that one would pop out of the woods after those words were spoken.

I didn’t hit a deer this past month, but I almost got hit by a car while out running. I was very angry and it prompted me to rant on Facebook about running etiquette for drivers. Seriously! After that post, the people that know me have given me a wider berth and do a lot of waving.

I also was the victim of road rage. There was a guy at the stop sign across from me. He was going straight and I was turning left. I waited for awhile and he didn’t make a move, so I started to head into the intersection. It was at that point that he floored it around me. I slammed on my brakes while he accelerated squealing tires, literally burning rubber, and spewing up rocks that scarred my car and scared me.

In both situations, I didn’t have time to respond. I didn’t honk my horn, give them the finger, or get a good description of the vehicle.

Then I hit a raccoon. This wasn’t just an ordinary raccoon either. It was the size of a small horse or large dog. It looked like it had been hitting up the Halloween candy big time, like REALLY BIG time. It left the front end of my car hanging on the ground and me having to come up with lies, more lies, something I am not good at doing.

Why would I lie? The dark evening that I hit the raccoon, I was picking up my daughter from a car pool. Angel had a day off of school and wanted to come home to surprise everyone. Paul was out of town for business and would come home to see our daughter unexpectedly there. I was the only one that knew of these plans. So I had no explanation for being out that night when I said I was going to be home all evening.

So here I was with a smashed front end that ended up costing over $1,000 in damages. That kind of excitement was hard to mask during a quiet uneventful evening spent at home.

My daughter received a ride home from the mother of a girl that she used to be friends with. This girl almost dropped out of college because she thought that the music program was too competitive and blamed it on my daughter. So the 4 hour ride included glares from the mom and awkward silence.

But apparently the long, uncomfortable ride home was worth it for Angel to surprise the family. It was pretty exciting to see everyone’s reaction. It was the first time she was home since she left for college.

Yesterday, I got my car fixed. I never would’ve guessed that a raccoon could do so much damage. Afterwards, I took a little detour and wandered through the garage to watch the mechanics work on vehicles. I knew I shouldn’t have been there. I felt like I was sneaking through the surgical department, but no one kicked me out. In situations like those, it is always smart to play the dumb blonde card.

My little adventure did cost me though. I ended up going out the wrong door and spent the next half hour wandering around the huge parking lot looking for my car. Embarrassingly enough, I had to ask for help finding my vehicle. I thought I would have to buy a new vehicle from the lot to get back home. Hey, it was starting to get cold out.

Being in the garage gave me a brief second of nostalgia for the old family auto business. I love the smell of garages, gasoline, and rubber tires (not burning ones though). It brought back childhood memories of my grandma ringing up the antique till, the rows of tires for sale, and Uncle Harold working on the cars. That is all gone now.. They are all gone now..

I am such a sentimental sap.. I picture them forever working there in my head..They are breathing, living on a faded out film that continuously loops through my head..they always look the same and wear the same clothes..

What can I say? It makes me happy, yet so sad.

Anyway, my car is up and running now. Let’s just hope I don’t hit a deer!



2. Describe 3 legitimate fears

Day 2: Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.

This required a lot of thought. Every fear that I could think of that I have boils down to one big legitimate fear…The fear of not being in control. I am not sure why I feel like I need to be in control all of the time or why I feel responsible for things that happen that are beyond my control. I think that I have some basic trust issues.  For a long time it seemed like my life was ordered by chaos. It suffocated me. I tried everything to feel like I had some iota of control. I wanted to force change and be the magnet that forces the pendulum to swing in the other direction.

I have a fear of driving. For a period of time, I took medication to face this fear. I refused to stay at home to hide from this fear. I feared being trapped in my car which would bring on panic. If concrete construction barriers or bridges lock me in, I feel afraid. For awhile, I expended a lot of energy trying to be the perfect driver. I kept my car exactly in the middle of the white lines. There also was a period of time that I avoided the highway altogether. This was difficult because it was slow going the back way and I like to drive fast. Highway driving is boring, when I’m not anxious I fear falling asleep or not having a quick enough response if there is an emergency. Again, this boils down to not feeling like I have control. I can’t control the other drivers on the road. I feel afraid that I can’t guarantee that I will be able to keep my passengers or myself safe. Long road trips where I am the driver scares me. I haven’t totally gotten over this fear, but I won’t let it control me. Again, control.

I am afraid of flying which is difficult since I love traveling. I don’t have control over, or even know, the person flying the plane. Again, flying sometimes requires meds to prevent me from panicking. Taking meds is a struggle because it makes me feel like I can’t control my fear. I think the fear of flying stems a little from my dad being a pilot as a hobby. For most of my childhood, he was in charge of a civilian based group that would search for downed planes. He often would take calls in the middle of the night to get search teams together. It made me think that flying was not safe. 

I am afraid of death. When my dad was in the Vietnam War, he thought that he wouldn’t die there because he could foresee his future death. He said that he would die on Christmas Eve of 2011. That day came and past and he is still here. Having a future death date had one purpose. It took away his fear of death in Vietnam when his friends were dying. 

I tell everyone that I am going to die of dementia like others in my family did. I dream of not knowing that I am dying. Will the heaven that I believe in really be there? Or will life end in an empty meaningless void like it did before I existed? Will it hurt to take my dying breath? Part of the reason why I am a fitness fanatic is that it makes me feel like I have some control over time. Exercise will make me live longer. Cancer doesn’t run in the family. I have low blood pressure and cholesterol, so I ruled out heart disease as my demise. Thinking that I won’t know that I am dying takes the sting out of it. Death is something I have no control over. Will it be tomorrow, next year, or decades from now?  It scares me to death. 

Not only do I fear death, but I also fear that my loved ones will die or be in incredible pain. I try to control this by giving unsolicited advice. Don’t drink too much! Wear your seat belt! The more I push, the more they pull away. I would rather be in pain than see the people I love suffer. I want to be in control of their change.

I am afraid that my life partner will die before we do everything we planned. 

I have to always have control over myself. I have to control my emotional response. I’m stoic. I fear things that could cause an outburst of emotion. I fear inappropriate laughter. I am afraid I won’t have complete control over my mind or body if I let go. This frightens me. Fear stops me from relaxing. 

I have to double check the oven and coffee pot because it gives me a false control that my house will be safe when I am gone. I have to be the last one to leave the house. I am afraid that if I don’t have things under control, the house will burn down. I also am afraid that my cat will get caught in the blind cords and die if I leave him alone for the weekend. I am afraid to be the first person back in the house when we return. 

I can’t stand being controlled by my circumstances, of being physically or emotionally trapped in situations I can’t control. 

I am more fearful of the weather controlling my comings and goings instead of the storm itself. No control over the weather.

I am afraid that I will get sick and have to change my plans. No control over my body.

I have to be the last one to bed and the first one up in a group setting. I feel like I have to be ready to step in and control how people get along. I hover. Watching. Waiting. Taking control of the situation, problem solving in my mind. 

Staying up until the last kid gets home makes me feel like I have control. 

I guess I am a control freak because the thought of not being in control freaks me out!

I try incredibly hard to not let any of this fear control my life…

On the plus side, I am not afraid of spiders, water, snakes, scary clowns, or public speaking.

No escape?

On Labor Day, we are having our summer staff party. Seems fitting, right??

We are planning on taking our employees for a sail. The last couple of summers, sailing has been the staff request.

Winter staff parties are a little more tricky. I always try planning off the wall kind of parties. One year we saw a laser light show at a planetarium after eating fondue. Another year we went to an Irish restaurant followed by a comedian. Last year we went to the Japanese steak house after taking a painting class. Year after year, it is getting harder to top.

Then I heard of the escape room. It is all the rage. You are given clues and one hour to escape from a locked room. The only question I have is….is there a bathroom?? Yikes! What a great staff party team building event. Except no one wanted to try it.

Really, what is wrong with being locked in a room??

Then I remembered, I am terrified of being trapped.

I don’t like feeling like there isn’t a way out.

I can’t stand feeling trapped on airplanes. Every bit of turbulence makes me feel like we are crashing. I have heard that turbulence is not risky, but take offs and landings are. Great, now I am afraid the whole flight. I’m trapped on a plane. I can’t leave when I want to. The cold fear lasts for hours. I break out in a cold sweat. I grip the arm rest or person next to me. My hands shake. My heart races. I hold my breath or breathe fast. I gasp. Some of my best flights involved being medicated.

I can’t stand feeling trapped in cars either. I am prone to panic when I have to cross long bridges or drive through construction. The concrete barriers trap me. I have no option to pull over or escape. My heart races, my breathing is fast, the sweat pours, I open all the windows, and at times I get tunnel vision. I have to pull over at the next exit sometimes. It is suffocating.

Year round I drive with my windows open a crack so I don’t feel trapped inside my car.

Sometimes I feel trapped by my circumstances. I can’t stand that either.

It is beyond me why I would WANT to go in an escape room. I think it has to do with the challenge of facing fears and figuring a way to get out.

I haven’t figured out the winter party yet, but until then I am going to enjoy sailing with our employees on Labor Day.

At least I am not afraid of water!

Maybe I will find another group of crazy folks to get locked up with in an escape room.

The end of the race

I ran my last race for this year, a half marathon. I was happy with my time, just a few minutes over 2 hours. Although when compared to my running friends, that is not impressive. 

Cori stayed up until 3 AM the night before. She drank a 12 pack of beer. I went to bed by 10 and only had one beer. She beat my time by 10 minutes! Lisa stayed up until 2 AM and had a couple of beers. She beat my time too. Then for the 5k we ran together, she stayed up all night long drinking and was probably still drunk. I went to bed early. She beat my time. WTH? Why am I so slow? I try to do everything right! 

I wish I was an ultra runner. It seems like I am prone to injury. I wasn’t able to finish any race this year without knee pain. This year I planned on running a 5k, 10k, half, full, and my first tri. I achieved my goal, however no PR’s. Every single race day was either hot and/or humid. Then there was my knee. 

Maybe I should find some friends that aren’t runners. Someone who hears the word marathon and thinks of Netflix. I can hear it now…. Wow, a 5k! You’re so amazing! Did you win? Would that be better than trying to do everything right and still not being good enough? Idk. I took second place so I am not bad. So, whatever. I just feel sometimes that they look down at me for not being as good as they are. In my defense, Cori doesn’t work and dedicated her life to running and working out. How can I compete with that? 

After the race, I picked up Arabella and her BFF from camp. I had to do a lot of driving. That made me a little nervous. Would I fall asleep behind the wheel? After I picked up the girls, we headed up north. We stopped by my in-laws on the way. Martha lost more weight since I saw her last. She looked like a feeble old woman walking around slowly with her walker. Cancer, the horrible devastating destroyer. Martha started giving away some of her items. She gave me a platter that she got as a free gift from some casino. I don’t know what to do with all of the “treasures” she is giving me. 

I would much rather hear family stories from her, like who Paul’s father is. Does she even know?? Does it even matter anymore though? Paul will never look for him. I want to hear stories of her childhood and growing up. This is our last chance to really know her. 

Martha’s husband Darryl invited us to stay for supper. He had some raccoons cooking in the crock pot. I politely declined. I’m not sure trying raccoon is on my bucket list.

We finally got to the cabin around supper time. The water wasn’t working and the pump was running nonstop. My dad decided to come up to the cabin to look at it. Thankfully, it was an easy fix. So I ended up spending the evening talking alone with my dad while the girls played games in the next room. It was strange since I don’t remember ever spending the evening up north with my dad without a lot of other adults around. It was actually nice to talk to him. Who knows how much time he has left?

Other than that, the weekend was rather uneventful. It is nice to be done racing for the year. I am already starting the think about next year…

Weak end

I sat alone by the lake close to the spot where my brother almost drowned. “Why didn’t you try to save me?” I heard him ask. Because I was only six. He told me that he still has nightmares about drowning. How can that be? He was only two. Sometimes when I am all alone the memories scratch my mind. 

I was hoping that my weekend up north would be peaceful and relaxing. For the first time all summer, I had a weekend without plans. I decided to go up north with my two daughters to prepare for Angel’s graduation party next weekend. I cleaned the cabin and hid the clutter. My parents still have boxes with my middle school books in them. 

Saturday morning I received a call from my son. He said that the car wouldn’t start. As I sit here typing, my car is broke down in the front lawn awaiting repair. There has already been fighting over the use of vehicles since Alex got his license almost 2 weeks ago. This is the start to the busiest week so far this summer. My youngest is in summer school and needs a ride. Angel got asked to babysit and provide transportation for 3 different families this week. Plus she took on Arabella’s pet sitting job while she is in summer school. We need a car! I had to find a ride to work and back. 

I ended up letting Alex drive my car this past weekend while I was gone. He was asked to pick up the mother of his girlfriend’s best friend who was too drunk to drive. Great! He was happy because she bought him food at the drive thru. I don’t even know this woman! It is not too uncommon for new driver’s to be the designated driver. That’s real life in the drinking state. I know people that have their kids pick them up from the bar almost every weekend. I suppose it is better than driving drunk. What kind of life is that for a teen? 

With all the driving around that my kids are doing, I should put an Uber sticker on the car. Maybe they can make enough money to pay for the gas.

The whole rest of the weekend my daughters fought something terrible. It even carried over into today. Arabella brought a friend up north. She made rules for her friend that she was not allowed to talk about how awesome her sister Angel is or spend time with her. The rules didn’t work out too well. Her friend didn’t like being bossed around. Arabella didn’t want to play the games that she wanted to play whereas her sister did. We tried playing badminton, Arabella would only be on the team with her friend. She didn’t want to play by the rules and got mad at her sister when our team was winning. Then she chased her sister around the yard with the racquet. 

They screamed at each other. Arabella accused Angel of stealing her friends. Her friend was crying because she liked both of them and just wanted them to get along. It was absolutely miserable. I just wanted to pull out my hair. I have never seen Arabella so jealous and angry at her sister before. She even told me that she was afraid that the dog she was pet sitting would like Angel more. It is hard because Angel is older and has better people skills. Last weekend her cousins told her that they liked Angel but not her. Then she tries to force them to like her and it doesn’t work. 

I spent the weekend worried about problems. I was irritated by the constant fighting when we could be having a fun time. Then I thought about memories that made me feel sad. 

I wish I could just do the whole weekend over. 

Driving? Me crazy

Last week my son got his driver’s license.

Initially I was happy to have another driver in the house. That makes a total of 4 drivers now. There is a bit of anxiety on my part having teen drivers. Although it is very nice having hours of extra time in the early mornings, evenings, and weekends not having to take them to practice, events, work, or social activities.

Apparently, a lot of other parents feel the same way I do. Well, the part about not wanting to have to spend hours of their week transporting kids. Angel even gets paid to provide transportation for other people’s kids. Really, it sucks that much! When you are single, you can go out on a Friday night. Married people without kids can do whatever they like. Even staying home is not that bad. You could have a nice romantic evening at home sipping wine watching Netflix.

Parents don’t have that luxury. Nowadays there are just as many events on the weekends as there are on the work days. The endless birthday parties, dances, events, tournaments, etc… Even going out on a Friday night is not sacred anymore. Sorry I can’t go, my teen has plans.. So, I totally understand.

Now that my son has his license, we are experiencing new problems that we never faced before. Angel was the absolute last kid in her circle of friends to get her license. Alex is the first. All of a sudden, he is the most popular guy around. Everyone wants a ride. But there is one problem, probationary license restrictions. He is only allowed to have one passenger that is under 18 and non family. We told him that we expect him to follow the law.

Over the weekend, Paul and I went sailing for the day. We weren’t very far from home, however a half an hour drive would take several hours on the boat. To be honest with you, I stalk my kids. While I was in the harbor, trying to relax, I noticed that my son was not where he said he was going to be. When I asked him where he was and what he was doing, his response was very elusive.

Of course, my mother mind goes right for the worst. I imagine that his girlfriend broke up with him and he is looking for a cliff to jump off of. Maybe he was drinking or doing drugs?? Drag racing my car? Getting into fights? Left for dead on the side of the road?? Parking with his girlfriend? A friend called me grandma last week and told me to get used to it. ALL bets are on my son to be the first to make that happen. What can I say? I am an anxious, worried sick, terrified mother of teenagers!

Later Alex told me what happened. He is honest to a fault. He picked up his girlfriend and her best friend disobeying his driving restrictions. He said that he spoke to each girl’s parents and explained his restrictions. They said that they didn’t mind as long as they didn’t have to do any driving. The new form of law breaking peer pressure. “But mom, I drive safer when I disobey my restrictions. I drive the speed limit”. Yeah, I heard that from a lot of drunk drivers too. 

But what is it to the other parents? They don’t have to do all of the driving. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Whereas, my son could lose his license if he gets in trouble often enough. Points are doubled for a probationary license. I’m sure there would be a hefty fine. Plus our car insurance rates would skyrocket. God knows that he is not getting the good student discount.

What does he get out of disobeying? He is winning the approval and becoming well liked by his friends and their parents. Automatic brownie points with the new girlfriend’s parents since she lives over 20 minutes away. Why would he want to listen to us after achieving this newfound popularity? 

Maybe I am making a big deal about nothing. It could be a lot worse. It could be texting and driving. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drag racing. Road rage. Lead foot. Highway hypnosis. Aahhh! I can’t worry about everything! Can I? Will I? I will try not worry about what I don’t have control over. I have to let God take the wheel and drive!!

God help me! I have teen drivers.