Gratitude week 107

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a shitty week. I started the week out with COVID and ended the week by putting my dog to sleep. So…I think I’m good on my share of problems for awhile. Oh, if I could bet against my luck I would be most fortunate indeed. Anyway…

  1. About the only good thing about having COVID is now I don’t have to worry about getting COVID.
  2. I’m glad my kids were all able to say their final good-byes to our dog. They all gathered around our dog when the vet came out to put him down.
  3. I’m grateful all my children are in good relationships and their significant others really helped them through the process.
  4. The vet who came out to our house was kind and compassionate. She did everything she could to be gentle to ease our dog’s suffering and our own.
  5. I’m grateful for the 14 years we got to spend loving our dog. I feel at such a loss, my kids lost their childhood pet and their childhood is over. It’s a strange feeling, the regret of not being able to go back. It’s over. It’s final. But it was good.
  6. I’m grateful that Arabella’s boyfriend is going to be taking her pet frogs home to his house today. I have been taking care of them since she moved out and it will be nice to give them back to her.
  7. I have an appointment to get my haircut today and just got my nails done for the trip.
  8. I am getting excited to get away for a couple of days. I seriously think betting against myself would be a wise plan in Vegas. But I’m not much of a gambler.
  9. I was FINALLY able to get a good night’s sleep last night.
  10. It will be nice having high temps in the mid-60’s for a few days. Right now the wind chills are below zero.
You will be missed, my puppy!

Update 1/11/22

Sorry if it seems I dropped off the side of the planet the last couple of days. I think COVID finally caught me. Or maybe I caught it? Besides having a fever for a day and severe body aches, my symptoms have been relatively minor. No sore throat, a slight cough, mild congestion, no problems breathing. It started out like the flu and is ending like a mild cold.

Practically everyone I know is sick or has been sick in the last couple of weeks with the exception of my husband. It’s crazy, but my husband in the last 26 years I’ve known him has only been sick once that I can remember with strep. I hope he stays healthy.

We decided to cancel our trip to Puerto Rico next week. They are at a COVID level 3 right now. Basically non-essential travel is not recommended. The government would track us while we were there. We had some friends who got stuck there an extra week because their flight got cancelled. For the money we were spending it sounded a lot more stressful than fun. I booked the trip on Expedia. The hotel is giving us a total refund, the airlines are giving us a credit for around half the cost of the flight. The real kicker is that I bought travel insurance and they said a COVID outbreak is not a valid reason to cancel the trip so we will not be getting a full refund. I am so pissed. What a waste of money that was.

Instead, we decided we are going to go to Las Vegas next week for half the cost of a trip to Puerto Rico. I am hopeful we will be able to go.

I am hoping to do my gratitude list within the next couple of days for the week. I just haven’t been up to much. Not only that, but we are in the process of having to make a difficult decision about our dog. He is 14 years old and is on 5 different medications just to keep him alive. His quality of life has been poor over the last several months and is declining. The last couple of days he has been having accidents in the house.

Today we called a couple of vets that do at home euthanasia. My husband had one call on speaker and I pretty much sobbed the whole time. Why do I feel a tremendous amount of guilt at the thought of putting him down when his quality of life is so poor?? Saying good-bye is always the hardest part of having a pet. I think it’s time, but it’s so hard to let go.

That being said, I’m not sure how much I will be blogging in the next couple of weeks. I will try to do the gratitude for this week and last. Other than that, we’ll see how things go. I just wanted to let everyone know I might be posting erratically.

Fortune cookie wisdom #42

Stop searching forever. Happiness is just next to you.

Ah, the elusive happiness. To tell you the truth, I think happiness is overrated. I just want you to be happy. I don’t care what my kids do as long as they are happy. If you’re not happy with _______, find another ______. We hear it all the time, don’t we? The pressure to be happy all the time is making us all quite miserable.

Recently I was thinking about the happiest days of my life. Big spoiler, my happiest days were not in high school. I find it seriously pathetic when people who are close to 50 years old say the best years of their lives were in high school. Haven’t you done anything with your life since then?? Maybe I’m just jealous because my high school years sucked.

Back in the day I was voted most likely to be a supermodel on the cover of Vogue by my high school senior class. Better than most likely to be barefoot and pregnant (won by a girl with 12 siblings who only had 1 kid) or most likely to never leave this small (sucky) town (won by my best friend who still lives there as far as I know). True story.

At 17, when I was in my prime for looks, my classmates thought I was the most beautiful girl in the class. That should’ve made me happy, right? At 17, I was going through a really hard time at home. I was really struggling with depression and coming to terms with the trauma I was experiencing. Some people seemed annoyed with me for not being happy. I was shamed for it. There were girls who got mad at me if their boyfriends checked me out. I was blamed for it. Don’t get me wrong, in a lot of ways it was wonderful but it didn’t make me happy. If you really saw what I was going through on the inside, you wouldn’t want to be me on the outside.

This past summer an acquaintance told me she thinks I have the perfect life, the perfect family. (She obviously doesn’t read this blog). I do portray myself as having the dream life because like most of us I am really good at hiding. My husband started a company he built from nothing. After 20 years (10 years of me working with him) we sold the company to private equity. Now I live in my dream house complete with 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, an indoor pool and hot tub, 3 fireplaces, and an indoor grill. My detached garage is twice the size of my old house complete with two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchenette. I probably never have to work again if I don’t want to.

I should be happy. I should have everything I’ve ever wanted in my life. But with everything that happened with my dad and my daughter’s serious mental health issues, I again fell into a deep depression that has been hanging on for the past two years. Not to mention COVID. There were many a days I sat in my mansion dreaming of ending it all. How messed up is that?? None of the things that were supposed to bring happiness to my life did.

The happiest years of my life were when my kids were young. I was happiest when they were sitting on my lap and I was reading them a good book, Toad and Frog. Story times at the library. I was happy when we danced around in the living room to silly songs. The early childhood years when I stayed at home with the kids. When I drove a 10 year old minivan and lived in a small house. Back when we didn’t have any money, the poorest I’ve ever been in my life living on one income with 3 kids right after my husband started a business. Back when I had the extra baby weight to lose. After the sleepless nights of having little babies and before the sleepless nights of having teenagers. Those were the best years of my life so far and I didn’t even know it.

I feel like I am finally starting to pull myself out of this depression. Maybe the best years are ahead, maybe not. Regardless, looking back to the time of my life when I was the happiest made me recognize something very important. I wasn’t the happiest when I had the most money, was young, looked my best, achieved the most, or really had anything the world deemed as highly valuable. Quite the opposite in fact.

It’s a trap if you are searching for happiness in the wrong things. I will be happy when I lose some weight or have more money. I will be happier when I have what my neighbor has. I will be happy when I have a thousand more followers. I will be happy when I get that promotion or go on that vacation. I will be happy when I earn the diploma or get that medal.

I don’t have all the answers, but I know what happiness is not.

Fortune cookie wisdom #41

As a cure for worry, work is better than whiskey.

As someone who is a worrier warrior, I can say that work is a better cure than whiskey. It also leaves you with money in your pocket. Plus you have to admit being a workaholic is a lot more admirable than being an alcoholic.

Back before we sold our business, I really threw myself into work. Honestly, looking back I don’t know how I did it. How did I work full-time, raise a family, train for marathons, and keep a clean house?

I was happy at work when it was busy. Slow days left me with too much time to think. Super busy days added to my list of worries.

I love to keep busy. I love having tasks to complete. Is that so bad? Every day I have a plan. Every week I have a rough plan for the following week. I live my life through routine, structure, and planning. Spontaneity drives me absolutely bonkers. You might think my rigidity sounds a tad bit boring, but I can assure you it is not. Although I am a structure freak, I am also totally neurotic which makes me fun. As proof, no one has ever called me boring. I’m not really sure why.

Now I no longer work full-time, train for marathons, or raise kids. You might wonder if I miss it. No, not really. Now I’ve got whiskey. Okay, okay I am just kidding. It’s been an adjustment, but change is not always a bad thing. I’ve had to learn to cope with my anxiety without being a workaholic. I’ve had to learn to slow down and take better care of me. I can’t always outrun my demons.

There still never seems to be a shortage of things to do. Maybe now I’ve become the project, a work in progress.

Gratitude week 105

  1. The year 2021 is finally over!!! Although at this point I’m not feeling too certain 2022 is going to be better. The year started out kind of rough. Right now I’m thinking we might have to cancel our trip to Puerto Rico we were planning for this month because of COVID. Yippee!
  2. Seriously, nobody died so far this year. My best friend got over COVID. Although Dan has it right now, he doesn’t seem to be too sick. The rest of his family didn’t get it. The drunk stranger in my driveway found her way home before freezing to death in my yard. So…
  3. Angel took me out to try bubble tea. Basically it’s this tea with small bubbles of tapioca in it. She also took me to see her new house from the outside.
  4. The holidays are over. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays but I don’t enjoy all the extra stress that comes with it.
  5. Arabella and I are finally getting along better. That being said, I received 5 missed calls from her in the middle of the night last night. My husband, daughter, and mother missed calls from her too. She didn’t leave a message with any of us. When I tried calling her back, she didn’t answer. Last night she left with Will to drive to Colorado for a road trip. It turns out the heat quit working in his car. It’s a long trip without heat, so they turned around and came back home. Thankfully everything is alright. Nothing I hate more than missed calls in the middle of the night and worrying what is going on.
  6. I was able to fix my WP site after finding out I had nothing but a blank page on my site with no working widgets. I was also able to fix some problems I was having with my personal email without asking for help. I feel proud like a little kid being able to tie their shoes without having to ask a big person.
  7. Finally the boiler is fixed for our hot tub and pool. We have been having problems with it for months. That and having problems with our furnace, I got to know our heating and cooling guy really well. He probably regrets giving me his personal cell number for as much as I called him.
  8. Before it got bitterly cold out, my mom and I were able to go snowshoeing together.
  9. I took down the Christmas decorations and spent some time redecorating my house. I enjoyed planning what I wanted to do.
  10. Today I cleaned the kitchen. I cleaned out the refrigerator which was disgusting. I cleaned the microwave, sink, descaled the Keurig, and wiped down the cupboards. I absolutely hate deep cleaning the kitchen so I’m grateful to be done with that job for awhile.
  11. Since my daughter will be moving out in a couple weeks, I decided I want to really declutter my house. I am planning to go through a lot of my clothes and get rid of things that no longer fit me. I have no problem getting rid of things I don’t wear, but there are clothes I absolutely love that no longer fit I have a hard time getting rid of. Then I can buy some new clothes that fit better.

Kicking off the new year

I finally was able to fall asleep after the cops left almost 24 hours after I awoke. It wasn’t a great start to the new year. Sometimes I have to wonder why these kind of things always happen to me.

I was starting to feel stressed about New Year’s Eve. I mean, why not?? I was planning on having a few people over. Then I got the call from Arabella that she was planning on coming home which stressed me out even more. Apparently Will’s mom kicked them out and they wore out their stay in Kansas. I had no idea why.

On New Year’s Eve, I awoke to find out Dan started feeling sick the night before. Angel was around him a few days before. We both became extremely anxious. Maybe we were getting sick too. Was the sneeze just a tree allergy or something more sinister this time? We were tired and must’ve taken our temperature a half a dozen times and it was always within the range of normal. Then Dan tested positive for COVID.

I called all the people who were coming to let them know. Basically it was just my best friend Cindy’s family and my own. Cindy just recovered from COVID the week before. Since all of the guests recently had COVID and Arabella still wanted to come home, the party was still on. By this time, I put everything on hold and was now behind on the cooking and getting ready for the party.

The party itself was fine and relatively uneventful. I talked to Arabella more about her boyfriend Will. She said he was a Y2k baby. The world was ending the next day might as well hook up with a random stranger, then 9 months later a baby without a daddy. His mom ended up marrying someone later and had 3 more kids. The step-dad didn’t get along with Will so when he was in middle school they shipped him out of state to live with his grandma. Every Christmas he goes home to visit his mom. Apparently when he goes home there is a lot of screaming and yelling. Then all of a sudden they show up here and I am the world’s greatest mom. I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

The party wound down at 1:30 AM and I was off to bed. My son was also having a party in the garage apartment. From the sounds of it, his party was still going because I could hear the bass drum beating from my bedroom. Paul put his earbuds in and was soon snoring while I laid there awake. An hour later, still awake, I heard noises and a car alarm going off. I got up to look out the window as a car took off swerving around the driveway almost hitting another car. Then the car came back.

Outside it sounded like fighting and someone was honking their horn over and over. I looked over at Paul who was still asleep as I put on my robe. I opened the front door to listen. There seemed to be a problem and I was getting upset. How inconsiderate to the neighbors to have all that noise at 2:30 in the morning. I put on my boots and stormed outside.

There were two guys yelling at a girl I didn’t know who was screaming and crying behind the wheel of the car. Next to those two guys were 5 more guys. I only knew my son and his roommate. I asked them what the hell was going on. They didn’t know. They just said the girl was upset and wanted to leave. The car was running and she was ready to drive off in her boyfriend’s car. No one really knew what to do. The boyfriend was yelling that she was too drunk.

I decided to talk to the girl. She was crying saying she just wanted to go home. She said her boyfriend was mad and accused her of talking to other guys. She said he was in jail before for beating her. I tried asking her questions which she didn’t respond to in order to decide for myself if she was capable of driving or not. She seemed pretty incoherent and I thought she was drunk, on something, or both. She was in no position to be driving.

Everyone just stood there as I was talking to her not sure what to do. I told her boyfriend that he needed to reach into the car and take the keys out of the ignition which he did. It was freezing outside and I was still afraid all the ruckus would wake up the neighbors, so I shooed everyone back into the garage. I was hoping things would calm down, but they didn’t. The woman was still screaming and now flailing her arms at her boyfriend who was yelling back. He was a pretty big guy, bigger than most of the guys there. But he didn’t put his hands on his girlfriend, it was more the other way around.

Then the girl took off screaming and sat back in the car again. It seemed like she was on her phone and I was hoping she would find a ride home. By then it was 3 AM. I decided to try to go back to bed, but laid there staring at the ceiling listening to my husband snore. I worried about the girl. I worried about Dan.

At 3:30 AM, I heard sirens and saw a police car outside of my house. I just about died. I had to run to the bathroom because I felt sick. I called my son who said the girl called the police and he was going to talk to them. The police were there about 20 minutes.

At this time I was in full PTSD flashback mode. When Matt would be physically aggressive towards strangers we tried to get him out of there right away. Mom said the police could arrest him and he would get locked up for the rest of his life wearing a straightjacket and having people hurt him. I had to run to the bathroom again. I was so horrified.

After the police left, I called my son and he didn’t answer. A million scenarios flashed through my mind. What if my son was arrested? What if this girl was drinking underage? What was going on?

It seemed like an eternity later when my son called back. He said he talked to the police and told them what was going on. He said the girl had too much to drink (thankfully she was 22) and they stopped her from trying to leave but she was upset. They talked to the boyfriend and ended up arresting the girl. It was probably for the best. What if she tried walking home or passed out outside and froze to death? Those things have been known to happen around here when people drink too much when it is freezing outside.

Everything was done and I could finally sleep. I looked over at the clock, it was 4:15 AM. I had been up since 5 AM the day before, almost 24 hours. My husband and I woke up at 7 AM. He asked how I slept. I told him pretty good after the cops left. WHAT???!? He slept through the whole thing.

So, yeah, my new year started out a little rough…

Goals for the new year

To be honest, I haven’t done New Year’s resolutions in years. But every couple of months I try to come up with some bucket list goals and check my progress on making them happen.

Today I decided to go back to my first blog post in May of 2015. I wrote a list of goals. Here they are:

  1. Write something that gets published. I’ve wanted to write a memoir for the longest time. I am currently working on the second edition of my book. I hope to complete it in 2022.
  2. Run a marathon. I wrote I ran 18 miles that day without stopping. I am totally jealous of myself! Since then I’ve run multiple marathons and a 50K. I just stopped running after doing it for 15 years. Now I want to focus on stretching and yoga. I mean, I haven’t started yet but I want to try to at least maintain if not gain some flexibility. I have been having joint pain and stiffness but I still want to remain active as much as I am able to.
  3. Travel to all the continents. I haven’t gotten too far on this. I did check off Asia since then. If it wasn’t for COVID, I would’ve checked off Europe and Africa too. Instead I have been trying to visit all 50 states. So far I’ve checked off 39 states. I visited 8 states in 2021 and plan on adding another 5 in 2022.
  4. Read the Bible in a year.
  5. Be a lead singer in a band. I still think this would be fun, but I don’t want to do this as much as I did before. It sounds like a lot of work.
  6. Drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. That one was pretty easy.
  7. Get a tattoo. I got my first tattoo this year of an anchor. I am planning on getting my second tattoo in 2022.

I have some other new goals for 2022. I would like to be more bad ass. Ha ha ha. Actually I want to get my motorcycle license. I picture myself on something loud blaring my rock music as I drive down country roads on sunny summer days.

I would like to get half way done with the remodeling project on our garage apartment. I also have a list of home renovation projects. I would like to cross off half of my list this next year on house projects as well.

I also want to continue growing and working on my self-improvement projects. I want to be more accepting of myself as I age. I have always been a go, go, go person. It’s hard to adjust to being a go, go, go slow person. This coming year will be the first full year that all of my children are adults and out of school. I no longer have parenting commitments. I want some time to just be responsible for me. I want 5 years of not being responsible for others. I will not take on any long term foreign exchange students, foster children, or new pets. I will also keep working on the relationships that are important to me.

That’s about it. See ya next year!

Have a happy, happy new year!!!

Little illiterate me

Last night I was catching up on reading some blogs before supper. My friend Ashley at Mental Health @ Home (you should really check out her blog if you haven’t already) posted something about checking your blog to see how easy it is to find and follow. I figured it’s been a couple years, why not? I was appalled with what I found. My theme was gone and there was nothing there but a plain white background. My follow button along with all my archived blog posts were gone as well. I just about died.

Of course it had to happen when I didn’t have hours to fix it. My husband was making homemade pizza and the kids were visiting after supper. Not only that, my search engine had some sort of child safety lock on it which I couldn’t seem to turn off. I was in a horrible mood which spiraled into my total hatred of technology making me sound like a bitter old lady to the twenty agers. Nothing makes me feel older or stupider than not being able to make something work and having to have my kids help me.

It’s my own fault. I should check my blog more often. To me going on my site is as repulsive as watching a video of myself singing, and I am a pretty good singer. It’s a cringeworthy form of torture. So needless to say I didn’t sleep very well last night.

I think for my age my computer literacy is average. I always learned what I needed to know to be able to get by. But quite frankly I’m old school traditional. I have a calendar I keep on the wall to keep track of appointments. I like to read books that are made out of trees. My blog is very basic. I update my profile picture every two years. I have had the same cover photo since I started once I stopped using the theme picture.

I don’t like change. I don’t like useless updates. If something is not broken, why fix it?? Why not stick with the tried and true? Do you really think I care if the search bar is at the top or the bottom of my phone screen? If updated was better that would be one thing. But usually it’s frustrating because I have to learn a new way of doing things after finally figuring out the old way which was a million times better. It’s almost as if they are doing updates just to look good for doing updates.

Thankfully I was able to take the kid friendly setting off my searches. That whole thing was a crock anyway when my kids were young. I had to have my kids set up the parental controls which was useless. I pretended they worked and they pretended they couldn’t get around them.

This morning I updated my blog. I found out my theme was rewritten and that is why I had a blank screen. My archives and follow button were old and inactivated widgets. Everything was just garbage and I was tempted to just delete the whole damn thing. But I figured it out without having to have my children hold my hand. It just drives me crazy though! I have no idea how long it was like that.

Thanks Ashley for prompting me to check out my own blog. Besides being frustrated with my own blog, nothing frustrates me more than wanting to follow a new blog and being unable to because it just isn’t user friendly.

I’ve noticed other glitches too over the last couple weeks. I have somehow unfollowed blogs accidently and sometimes when I like someone’s post it shows up later that I didn’t like it. I also stopped receiving notifications, although it is turned on both on my phone and WP.

I am not as computer literate as I would like to be, but I will keep on trying.

Gratitude week 104

  1. Christmas! Attending church Christmas morning with my husband. Then having the kids over for lunch. Getting and giving a lot of awesome gifts. Another meal followed by watching old family movies.
  2. Cindy, although she has COVID, is doing really well and the rest of her family did not get sick so far.
  3. Having a low key Christmas Eve since our plans got cancelled because of COVID.
  4. A pajama day today.
  5. I found out that a favorite local Pink Floyd tribute band will be having a concert in a couple of months. I bought tickets to see them with my kids. I also purchased tickets to see a comedian I like who will be visiting.
  6. Looking forward to New Year’s Eve and the new year.
  7. Planning a trip to Wisconsin Dells with the kids to the indoor waterpark as a Christmas gift. As a quality time person, I really like to give experiences as gifts.
  8. We saw Arabella on FaceTime for Christmas which went really well.
  9. The kids will be coming over tonight for Paul’s famous homemade pizza. It’s so nice when everyone is getting along plus his pizza is absolutely amazing.
  10. Playing games with Paul, Alex, and his girlfriend on Christmas Eve.
  11. The pets made it through another Christmas with us.
  12. It’s been two years of having a weekly gratitude list. I’m really glad I started doing this because the last two years have been difficult and it’s important to remember the good that is happening as well.

Christmas Eve

And the saga continues…

My best friend told me she has had a head cold since Wednesday. I’m sure you can tell where this story is going… Cindy tested positive for COVID today so we won’t be heading to her house for dinner and the Christmas Eve service.

We decided to just stay home and have Alex and his girlfriend over for supper and games. I feel bad for his girlfriend because she doesn’t have a very good home life. She didn’t go home for Thanksgiving and she won’t be going home for Christmas either so we are pretty much all she has.

Tomorrow morning Paul and I are going to church. We will have our kids and their significant others over for lunch and gifts with the exception of Arabella who is still in Kansas. Angel is spending the day today with Dan’s family.

Other than that, it is raining and really foggy outside. It probably wouldn’t be fun driving later tonight anyway. The snow that fell yesterday has been washed away so we won’t be having a white Christmas this year. That is okay. Sunday we are getting more snow.

Our dog has been hanging in there. I bought him some moist dog food so I have been having better luck convincing him to eat. He is on 5 different medications now. It looks like he has one last Christmas in him. We have been blessed with 14 years of having the most wonderful dog. Our cat is 15 with health issues so it will probably be his last Christmas too. Again, I am happy to have such wonderful pets and made the commitment to provide them with a good home for their whole lives. What more could a pet ask for??

I am disappointed that plans fell through for the night, but I am thankful Cindy is not really sick. I hope the rest of her family stays healthy.

Other than that, I wish you all a merry Christmas in whatever way you celebrate the holiday.