Gratitude week 117

  1. I am grateful for the friendships I’ve made on WP. It means so much to me to be a part of a supportive community as I tell my story and to share the joys and struggles along with other people all around the world as I hear your stories.
  2. Today when I woke up, the sun was shining for the first time in a week. It still is cold out with no foreseeable end in sight…but for now the rain and snow ended.
  3. We’ve had a couple of fires inside this week to stay warm. I guess that’s one thing I’m grateful for with the cold weather. I miss having fires inside in the summer.
  4. My tattoo is healing nicely.
  5. My best friend and I went out to eat for the first time this calendar year. I’m grateful to have a best friend who always checks in on me.
  6. I went out to eat with my brother Matt for his birthday. A couple weeks back I found a record for him at the antique store of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My brother was obsessed with that movie when we were kids, so I was excited to find it for him.
  7. My husband made his famous homemade pizza and we had Arabella and Will over for supper and Mahjong.
  8. Paul and I had a date night on Friday night. We went out for sushi and had tickets to see a comedian. We did a lot of laughing, probably too much laughing because things were going too good. After the show, we walked back to my car. The winds were whipping rather fiercely and the snow was falling. We got back to my car and noticed I had a flat tire. We also found out that I do not have a spare tire. Seriously?? Why? Was it because I let my guard down and was having too much fun??
  9. Thank God I have a good sense of humor.
  10. While we were at the sushi restaurant, I saw something on TV about a store that sells records and realized we were only a block away. So…since we went out to eat really early as not to miss the show, we had some extra time…I ended up buying three new records; Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Prince’s Purple Rain, and Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity.
  11. Last night Angel and our employee James (the only one who still works for our previous business and who does some work for us now) came over for beer sampling, pizza, and to watch the Bucks game. James is the only employee who worked for us that we are still in touch with. He is pretty much an honorary family member now.
  12. Angel’s fiancé Dan came home very early this morning after spending a couple weeks out of state for work.
  13. It was nice to have a really busy week so I could forget how miserable the weather is. Spring is coming, I know it is…

Gratitude week 115

  1. This week I planned a trip out west for my husband and I for our 25th wedding anniversary. We will be staying a couple days in Idaho and Montana, two more states to check off my bucket list. I thought it would be funny to visit Yellowstone and see Old Faithful on our anniversary. Funny story, when Paul and I were in New Orleans we met a lady on a tour who was from Idaho. I told her I would like to visit her state and asked her what the best thing to do was. She said don’t, go back to New Orleans instead. My daughter told me to bring back some potatoes for her. I know it doesn’t sound like an exciting 25th anniversary trip, but I believe there are good things to see and experience in every part of the world. If you are looking for it, you will find it.
  2. Since Paul and I cancelled our trip to Puerto Rico in January because non-essential travel was not recommended due to COVID wrecking havoc and running rampant, Expedia gave us an airline credit. The extra protection travel insurance was total crap. They wouldn’t refund anything even though travel was disrupted and not advisable. So, I booked the above trip using the credit which was an absolute nightmare. What should have taken me a couple hours to plan literally took me all day. I didn’t get anything else done, like write on this blog. But anyway, I was unable to apply the credit when I tried to book it myself. But to talk to an actual live person through Expedia and the airline itself was a two to three hour wait. I tried chatting through the airline and got nowhere. I almost gave up on being able to use the credit, but finally tried Expedia’s chat. The person I worked with was absolutely amazing and was able to book the trip for me using my credits over chat. I’m grateful they also gave us credits for the cancelled trip since the insurance company refused to cover any of our costs although it was advertised as being refundable for any reason.
  3. My husband learned how to play Mahjong and taught me how to play. The game was a Christmas gift a couple years back from Paul but we never learned how to play until this past week. It is rather time consuming and intimidating to learn. We ended up having Angel and Dan over for homemade pizza and Mahjong this week and it was fun.
  4. I had a dentist appointment this week for a cleaning. No problems!
  5. Last night we set the clocks ahead an hour for Daylight Savings Time. Spring is coming, even though we woke up to a couple inches of snow. But at least it will be light later.
  6. Yesterday we had some friends and family over for a board game day. It was nice to do something fun and get our mind off of things. We played several new games.
  7. It’s been hard with Arabella in the hospital. Paul and I have been having a difficult last couple of days and haven’t been getting along well. I thought we would get used to it over time but it doesn’t seem to be going that way. It’s stressful and doesn’t bring out the best in us. However, our relationship is going better now.
  8. I’m grateful that Arabella is talking to me now and we are getting along a lot better than we did before. It’s easier to help her through her depression this way.

Gratitude week 111

  1. It’s Valentine’s Day, I’m grateful for those I love and who love me.
  2. This past weekend, Paul and I went to a couples retreat. I’m grateful for the time we spent focusing on our relationship. The speaker was insightful. We both were able to look at things in a new and different way. Plus we did a lot of fun activities like ice skating, cross country skiing, tubing, games, fuzzball, painting, and a murder mystery dinner.
  3. When we got back home, our dehumidifier for the pool stopped working and it was pretty much raining in our house. The good news is that we were able to have someone come out and fix it today before any damage was done.
  4. New clean sheets. When we bought our bed 5 years ago we got two sheet sets to go with it and one wore out so we bought another.
  5. Last week I went grocery shopping and a baby, probably a little less than a year old, smiled and waved at me when her mother’s back was turned. It made me feel hope for the future. I can’t even explain why because it was something little. Once COVID started, I realized I haven’t seen a lot of little children out in public anymore. I didn’t realize how much I missed it.
  6. Last week Angel and Dan invited us over for supper. I’m grateful my daughter is getting settled into her new house. Over the weekend they moved out some of her last remaining items such as a dresser and hutch I gave her.
  7. I’m grateful at the moment life seems to be settling down a little. Hopefully it stays that way for a while.
  8. I made an appointment to get my second tattoo next month. I’m grateful l didn’t chicken out.

Bittersweet emptinest

Yesterday Angel and Dan put an offer on a house and it was accepted. I am excited for them. They are getting sick of people asking them if they are going to each live with their parents after they get married.

It’s really starting to feel real now. In a couple months my daughter will be getting married. She will be changing her name. They will have their first house. She will be moving out never to return.

I knew when she moved back home after college that it was temporary. I enjoyed the time she spent back at home with us as an adult. I can’t help but feel incredibly sad she is leaving.

It’s bittersweet, it really is. I am happy for her. Angel is marrying a wonderful guy. They will have their own house and will be starting their own family. I have to let go now.

Last year at this time we had all of our kids living with us. Now they are all moving out. I can’t even guarantee our pets will be with us in a couple months. There is an emptiness inside of me. Hence the empty nest I suppose.

Today as I thought about it, I feel old. My best days are behind me now. My hair is mostly silver instead of the gold it once used to be. I gained 15 lbs. since last year at this time. Almost all of the pants I wore last year are too tight. If I can get them up past my thighs, I might not be able to button them. But I don’t want to get rid of them because maybe I’ll get back to the way I once was.

I don’t see or hear as well anymore. I don’t remember things like I used to. Sometimes I forget what I’m saying as I’m saying it. My body has aches and pains. Things I did effortlessly before seem to take a lot more effort. Aging is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. Then there are the getting close to 50 crazy lady hormones to deal with.

But in some ways I’m ready for it. My kids are all adults now. I don’t have to run myself ragged anymore doing all the things parents have to do with young children. Maybe my life can be more peaceful and calm. I don’t have to actively take care of my children anymore. Now it’s just me.

Now I can spend time with my husband. By our first wedding anniversary we had our first baby. I don’t regret having children right away, but we missed out on having time alone with just the two of us early in our marriage. We can do that now without having to find a babysitter or worry about the things we had to worry about before.

I really have to look at this whole empty nest thing as something positive. There are some perks to getting older. It’s just the changes I have to adjust to. It feels like everything is happening all at once. Or maybe that is what I am focusing on instead of the pain of my daughter, or in essence of all my children, leaving me and moving on with their own lives.

I’m not sure what the future holds. It is scary and exciting at the same time, bittersweet.

Gratitude week 99

  1. Because of my insomnia I was able to see the lunar eclipse. It looked like a big eyeball in the sky. It was one night I was happy to be up in the middle of the night. Who says good things can’t come out of something bad? LOL
  2. My 15 year old cat had a thyroid check up with the vet. Not only is his condition staying stable but he gained some weight.
  3. I got my haircut and I really like how it turned out. This is the shortest I ever went.
  4. I am finally starting to feel less depressed. Why should I allow other people’s bad decisions ruin my life?? Especially since I don’t have any control over it. Letting go is a process and I finally feel like I am accepting things the way they are. I am in a pretty good mood so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.
  5. I’m grateful for my husband. He has two days left of his month long detox diet. He did an awesome job with it. He is also willing to make some positive changes and compromise which I appreciate.
  6. Angel took me out to eat and to see a comedian Friday night. I’m thankful for a daughter I can go out and do fun things with. We spent the evening laughing and didn’t talk about problems.
  7. Yesterday I spent the day baking with my best friend. We made four batches of cookies and two batches of candy. We both made some new recipes. We aren’t much for baking but it was nice to spend a couple hours together chatting.
  8. I’m sitting next to a roaring fire while I write these words. I love having a fireplace on cool wintry days.
  9. I finished reading the first edition of my book and started the writing process again.
  10. I am getting excited for the holiday season. My husband, daughter, and I are ready for the race on Thanksgiving day. We will be hosting a small party at our house that evening. Then the following day we will be getting our Christmas tree and decorating the house.
  11. This past week Dan, Angel, and I met up with the DJ. All of the major things are now done for the wedding which is a relief.

Gratitude week 96

  1. Clean sheets
  2. Cool autumn evenings sitting by the fire in our fireplace.
  3. We took our dog to the vet this week because he was still having a hard time getting around. The vet said our dog was having muscle spasms and back pain from arthritis. Thankfully we were able to put him on an anti-inflammatory medicine with pain reliever and he is doing a lot better. I’m so glad we didn’t have to put him down.
  4. I’ve come to the point of accepting where my daughter is at and am ready to get on with my own life. It’s not the life I want for her but at least she is safe right now. I’m sure there will be ups and a lot of downs on the road ahead, but as for now I am okay. I need to focus on what I can control which is getting myself healthier and stronger.
  5. Paul and I were talking this morning about our future and we decided that I would run our seasonal business. He would still have a big part in it but if I ran this business he could work year round for the other company he works for which will provide a better income for our family.
  6. Last weekend we were able to reconnect with some friends at the Halloween party. They invited us to go on vacation with them at the party. I didn’t think all that much about it until they reached out to us about it again. We decided what the hell let’s go. So for a week in January when the weather is icy cold at home we will be on the beach in Puerto Rico.
  7. I also signed Paul and I up for a couple’s retreat at a Bible camp we went to when the kids were little. Our marriage took some big blows the last couple years. It’s time to build it up again.
  8. This past week I went out for lunch with my good friend Jen.
  9. Tonight we are having a game night with my best friend and her family.
  10. Paul is on the same detox diet I was on two years ago. He is doing really well so far. He’s already lost 13 lbs. in less than a week. It really isn’t about weight loss as much as it is about getting healthy. It is a coffee, alcohol, and sugar free diet. Right now he is mainly eating vegetables. He has been making a lot of soups. He is a great cook and can make just about anything taste great so that helps. He can’t eat any meat right now but next week can add fish. I’m grateful for a husband who is always working on improving his health.
  11. I’m grateful they caught the man who attacked the woman with the baby on the trail I mentioned a couple weeks back.
  12. Angel and I went for a run this morning and the tree colors are still quite beautiful.

The price you pay

Right before Paul left to go back to work away from home a couple nights, we had an argument about the COVID vaccine. We weren’t on the best of terms when he left. But nonetheless, he called me that night and everything seemed to be alright.

It was the next day that was a problem. I found out on Facebook that someone we knew was going to be at the same place Paul was with his clients. I commented on their status to say hi to Paul if they saw him. Now these people are really nice but are heavy drinkers. Part of the argument too was over Paul drinking. That evening the people we knew sent me blurry pictures of Paul saying they found him. He didn’t call me that night like he usually does. Now going through my head were a lot of scenarios. I thought perhaps something happened to him or maybe he met up with these people and had too much to drink.

While I was waiting, my mom called. She said that she and her siblings decided that no unvaccinated people were allowed to go to the family reunion in a couple of weeks. I was no longer welcome. I was angry but I didn’t know why. After I processed it I realized why. That excluded my brothers and I from attending as we were planning on doing. She could have suggested the plan that all unvaccinated people needed to get tested before attending and abstain if they were sick. They could wear masks. That has been the protocol for a lot of events. But I hardly think my mom would suggest something that someone else might not want even if it excludes her whole family. Maybe if Matt couldn’t go she would put up a fight. She never stood up for us with anything and that was triggering.

I was also angry because she is the one that drilled into us as kids that chemicals of any kind were bad. While our cohorts were guzzling down Kool-Aid, we weren’t allowed to drink the Kool-Aid. Artificial colors and flavors were of the devil. We didn’t have Twinkies or any of that stuff in our house. Fluoride was bad so we had to rinse our toothbrushes in peroxide and dip them in baking soda. I wasn’t allowed after awhile to take the green fluoride rinse that was wheeled into our classroom on the little carts about once a month. Just another way I was the weird one.

My mom took it a step further and also said what Matt ate caused him to be violent. He ate something with dairy and had a reaction that caused him to attack a stranger. We didn’t have milk or cheese often at our house. We weren’t allowed to drink it at school. Chemicals and allergens caused his hallucinations. We had to be extremely careful about food in our house. Because of the Agent Orange his body couldn’t handle any more chemicals. They ripped out the wood stove because wood causes allergies. We couldn’t have a Christmas tree because of allergies. Tree pollen caused violence. I literally freaked out once I got into the real world where people used chemicals liberally.

Imagine my surprise when my mom and Matt were the first in line for the shot.

Now she says I can’t be around the extended family if I’m not vaccinated? But it’s okay for her to live at our house.

I also realized not only do I have a lot of fear but I’ve lost a lot of hope. I thought that life would be back to normal by now. I thought if we did our lockdown and wore our masks everything would settle down. But I don’t see it ending anytime soon. Not only that but there are so many negative things happening in the world right now that it’s easy to feel discouraged. I’m sick of people arguing about who’s vaccinated and who’s not. Can’t we just agree that we don’t know when this is going to be over and everyone is doing the best they can? No, let’s fight about it because you didn’t make the decision I did and I’m right.

People are ending long term friendships and families are torn over this. When is it going to end?

Then my mom told me that my brothers were planning on getting together the following weekend to work on a huge project at the cabin. Again, this left me upset. They didn’t even talk to me about it and I know they will be complaining that I don’t do my fair share. I’m not going to be around when they want to do the project. We could’ve set up a time where I could help along with my husband, son and his buddies, daughter and future SIL. I could’ve offered up more manpower but they didn’t bother to ask me.

I didn’t sleep hardly at all that night. I was furious. I thought my marriage was in trouble. I entertained the thought of not seeing my family for another year of holidays. I started thinking seriously about leaving. I wanted to go to an area where no one knew my name. I was at a point where I just didn’t feel like I could take it anymore. I was done with COVID. I was done with being responsible for people and situations I have no control over.

I was still angry at my husband the next morning when he called. He apologized for worrying me. He said he got back late and didn’t want to wake me. He said he is so afraid that something is going to happen to me because I didn’t get vaccinated. I worry that his drinking is going to hurt him too. We were only worried about each other. Once I understood that, I felt a little better.

Special treasures

The washcloth I used to wipe the tears from her eyes last week was the same one I used to wash off the makeup from my face last night.

It was a wedding gift; a peach towel set. So special that it was rarely used for the first fifteen years. Why do we do that? Set aside clothes too special to wear until they no longer fit, or are out of style. The crystal wine goblets, the fancy china, the expensive dry clean only clothes, the silverware set from great-grandma… Why do we wait for a tomorrow that never comes today? Why are the best things just uselessly taking up space? What would happen if we used it? Are we so afraid that which was once special will become ordinary?

Who even gave us the wedding gift anyway? That memory long forgotten. Even our wedding attendants long gone, dead or otherwise. At the time it seemed like our friendship would last forever. Once it also seemed that our love would always stay young just like we were.

But now I use that washcloth to wipe the tears off my daughter’s face. Tears from love that was there for but a moment and is gone. Tears on a washcloth given to us by a guest long forgotten. If I don’t remember who gave the gift, do they ever give it a thought?

I thought I would remember every detail of our wedding day forever. But everything not written down gets washed away from our memory by time. Even as I write this, will this post be remembered? It’s nothing special. Will anyone even care that once I received a wedding gift that I thought was too special to use everyday? It was waiting for over a decade in the back of the closet for that perfect guest who never showed up.

Time stops for no one. It doesn’t even slow down to let us savor our best moments a few minutes longer. Sometimes we don’t even realize they were our best days until they are gone. If only I’d known that would be the last good visit before grandma died. I would have enjoyed it more. We would have eaten off of the fancy china and I would’ve worn my dry clean only dress.

Someday I should pull out the fancy china and crystal wine glasses that have been on display but never once been used.

Who cares if the special washcloth is used for makeup and tears? Life is meant to be lived today not just in wait for a tomorrow which might never show up.

Gratitude week 78

  1. Oh my gosh guys, this is super exciting!!! My daughter Angel got engaged over the weekend. Finally some good news!
  2. Summer!! Even though it’s been raining hard the last couple of days. (We do need the rain though).
  3. My daughter Arabella paid us back the money she owed us and so far loves her new job.
  4. I had two appointments with my therapist this past week. The last couple of weeks I’ve been really anxious and am starting to have stomachaches again. I’m hoping to manage my stress better, so here is to taking steps to do that.
  5. Yesterday I celebrated the graduation of my best friend’s son. Again, I was able to catch up with some acquaintances that I haven’t seen since before COVID. It was cool and rainy so we huddled inside their garage most of the afternoon. But it was nice to celebrate with friends on a rainy day that I wouldn’t do much else on. I won’t take for granted celebrating with friends after last year with COVID.
  6. I can’t believe that it will be the 4th of July next weekend. I have plans to go up north with my family to celebrate. It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen Luke and I haven’t seen my brother Mark and his wife since before COVID.
  7. Thunderstorms without severe weather.
  8. Oh my gosh, my daughter is getting married. How can that be??
  9. My daughter’s fiancé Dan is a really great guy.
  10. I’m just grateful right now to be home and sleeping in my own bed.

Gratitude week 75

  1. I found my favorite pair of sunglasses that I thought I lost.
  2. Summer!!! So last weekend we had a couple of days with highs around 50. This weekend the temps are in the 90’s. I am totally embracing summer so much so that I typically drive with the windows down. Also we are so cheap that we are planning on going the whole summer without A/C. The past couple days have been a test of that. I am totally happy that my husband is on the same page as I am as far as embracing the heat goes although it is a little on the side of crazy.
  3. I was able to spend a couple days up north as we opened up the cabin for the season.
  4. I am learning to live with the uncomfortableness of letting go. There is a certain freedom to be found in it after having to be responsible for others for so long.
  5. I just finished another self help book. After spending the last couple months reading that genre, I’m going to read a novel that I found in one of those little free book boxes up north.
  6. We are taking Paul out to eat tonight to celebrate him being on TV.
  7. We also started thinking of new business strategies and ideas to help us move forward with our business.
  8. Paul and I went to a session together with my therapist this past week that was really helpful and eye opening.
  9. Kayaking around the lake on a hot day and jumping into the cool refreshing water at the sand bar.
  10. We had a nice Memorial Day with Paul’s step-dad Darryl and his new fiancé. My mom and all the kids were around too. It was nice to have a cook out and play some games. It seems like that doesn’t happen often enough. It didn’t happen at all last summer. It’s nice to see life getting back to somewhat normal.