Gratitude week 86

  1. Arabella has recovered from COVID and is back at work.
  2. Everyone else in our house tested negative.
  3. Just to be on the safe side, I cancelled the plans I had for the weekend and had a nice weekend at home.
  4. I finished a couple of books this week. It’s been a long time since I could say that I read more than one book in a week. I really enjoyed My Sister’s Keeper. Although a piece of fiction, it really made me think about what life was like with a disabled sibling. The disability aside, I remember feeling as if I didn’t matter. There was always something more important than me. I’m not saying that it was always a bad thing that my mom favored Matt, he did need her more. But things were always chaotic. Nothing could be planned or counted on in case Matt was having a bad day. Unexpected change is very triggering for me. I’m trying to have more compassion for myself in that regard as I read stories of other siblings having a hard time cancelling plans they were looking forward to because their sibling was sick, etc. I’m starting to go deeper to the more subtle effects the little things had on my life. It makes more sense why I respond the way I do if I start delving deeper.
  5. I ordered 4 more books, three of which are memoirs about people struggling with mental health issues.
  6. To a great weekend spent with my daughter Angel at home reading, writing, swimming, and watching movies.
  7. For having an adult daughter that is more like a best friend.
  8. Indian takeout food. Angel and I both ordered cheese naan and chicken tikka marsala. It was excellent!
  9. Summer!
  10. For health and healing in general. Last week was really hard because I didn’t know what was going to happen with the sickness in my house.

Certain uncertainty

If we traveled back in time to January 1st of this year, I would imagine quite a few of you had inspiring goals and new years resolutions for the new decade. It’s 2020, finally we would have a clear vision of the future we wanted for ourselves like never before. This year was going to be the best.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really like change. Maybe it’s not even change that I don’t like. I mean, I’m always striving to be a better person and that involves change. What bothers me more than anything is uncertainty and not knowing what is happening.

If you asked me in January what I would be doing this weekend, I would have told you that I would be attending my daughter’s college graduation. At the time, nothing except death or being deathly ill would have kept me away from her special day. I found the perfect dress to wear. Maybe it was a little too dressy, but it was on sale. I should’ve been going in to have my nails done to match the dress and getting my hair done.

But that brings me here to today. I won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Me, the person who has to have a plan. The person who schedules spontaneity 6 months in advance.

As most of you know, I just went through a 10 day bout of colitis. I went through expensive and uncomfortable tests to get some answers, some certainty, about my health. The morning of the procedure I brought along all of my paperwork from the wellness clinic. The doctor brushed me off with the comment that he does not approve of me seeking help at a wellness clinic and refused to look at the tests that were done.

I thought that the doctor’s bedside manner was horrible, but if he had the answers and could help me I didn’t care. When I called the doctor’s office on Monday expecting answers the nurse said that I had colitis but they have no idea why.

The doctor’s office told me something was wrong with me but they have no idea what. Is this going to happen again? What can I do to prevent this if I don’t even know what caused it? What the hell is going on? I was sick and all you can tell me is that I was sick?? Yesterday I fell into a deep despair. What is wrong with me? I wanted an expert to give me answers so I would know what is happening in my life. I want a plan that I can follow. I want to have a map to see where my life is going.

If I learned anything in 2020, it’s that everything is uncertain. It’s been a big lesson for me to learn. Everything I took for granted as certain has changed. It’s okay to grieve what has been lost. Then it’s time to continue on down the dimly lit path.

It’s time to throw away my security blankets of structure and routine. The only thing I can cling onto is that uncertainty is certain. That is now a big part of my life. I can’t be afraid. I have to think of this as an opportunity for growth. It’s time to strengthen the non-dominant hand I’ve been dealt. Maybe going with the flow won’t be all that bad. I DID say I wanted to be more easy going and laid back. Of course I wasn’t expecting to achieve that goal by having everything literally wiped off my calendar.

I’m being forced to change but maybe I will be a better person because of it. At least that is what I’ve been telling myself.

Garbage day

We were supposed to leave for Florida today.

Today we found out that our music trip to Europe for this summer has been cancelled as well. I was going to go on the trip with my mom and daughter Arabella.

I suppose it’s just as well because I don’t know if we can afford to go any longer anyway.

I just want to take my 2020 calendar and toss it in the fire. I wrote too many things into it in pen that will no longer happen. Every time I look at it I will be reminded of that.

With everything going on, I don’t think my daughter wants to be a foreign exchange student anymore. She was planning on staying with Estelle’s family. But Estelle and Arabella haven’t been getting along that great. The honeymoon is over and now they are like real siblings. I don’t think Estelle wants her at her house anymore anyway.

Yet we will continue on with our foreign exchange students. Although I have a new worry. What if one of their family members die at home while they are stuck here? It is stressful having four teenagers in the house and sometimes I just want to send them home.

I am feeling really bummed out by the change of plans. I’ve always lived by structure and routine. Now everything I thought was certain is uncertain.

The gym closed so today I dug out one of my old exercise videos. In the process I found out that my DVD player no longer works. Maybe it conked out in the 1990’s. Who knows? Then I got the video to work on my computer but messed up my TV. My 45 minute workout turned out double than that. In the meantime, Estelle fell asleep on her exercise mat.

Then I thought to dig out a puzzle. It seems like half the pieces are missing to make the edge. I might have to throw that out too. What a way to clean the house. If this never happened, I might still think these things worked into the next decade or two.

I’m afraid I might lose track of time. The garbage truck never came yesterday. Did I have the day wrong? How will I remember without my schedule?

Ah yes, today. Today is the day we were supposed to leave to go to Florida. It is still written in with pen on my calendar.


I told you this was going to happen!

Earlier this week, we had the warmest day of the year. It was a windy, sunny day with temps topping at almost 70 degrees. I was able to go for a long run in shorts and a t-shirt!

Today winter is back. I think some schools must be on their 12th snow day this year. I actually lost count. This year we had the most snow days that I can ever remember.

We got the wet heavy snow mixed with a little ice. During the night it was tapping on my windowpane. This morning we had thunder snow. Tonight we are supposed to have thunderstorms with rain.

What a mess!

This snow storm happened just as the last of our snow began to melt. I just heard we are supposed to get another snow storm this weekend. And that is why I don’t like spring! The warm weather got me to thinking about getting out my summer clothes and spring cleaning, all that fun stuff! I was just starting to sneeze and sniffle.

It seems like I didn’t get much done today. Plan A was replaced by Plan B and now I think I am operating under plan J.

I don’t feel overwhelmed though like I did before. Summer is just around the corner. We got a peek at it this week.

Please don’t tell anyone, but I think the snow is kind of beautiful. Oh, I am losing my mind!


29. What people misunderstand about me

Day 29: What do you think people misunderstand most about you?

Let me give you a brief overview of what I told you about myself so far…

I am moody.

I have a tendency towards melancholy.

I overthink and worry too much.

I am honest, sometimes too honest.

I seem to lack genuine compassion or sympathy if I think you caused your own problems.

My life is all about structure, schedules, routine, practicality, organization, detailed planning, and control. I lack all sense of spontaneity.

I am stubborn and resistant towards change.

I am a clean freak. I don’t ask others for help, yet complain when I shoulder all of the work.

I am so highly motivated and hard working that I often make others around me feel bad.

I am a perfectionist with very high standards.

I don’t listen to the advice of others. I could care less about doing what others want me to do and fitting in.

I have a very intense personality, especially under stress.

With that being said, I can see how you could misunderstand that I am a drag to be around! I come across as shy at first, but I really am a lot of fun! Seriously!!

There is never a dull moment when you are with me. I am eccentric enough not to be boring. I am up for just about any new adventure. I have a quick wit and a great sense of humor. It doesn’t matter if we are friends or strangers, our table will likely be the one filled with laughter. I absolutely love making people laugh and play the part of comedian.

Just this week, my employee and I were reminiscing about our grandmothers. Just as she was on the verge of tears, I was able to bring her to tears of laughter. She said that she really likes that quality in me. I have the ability to have deep meaningful conversations about serious issues that end in tears of laughter..

I didn’t always play the part of comedian. Previously, I played the part of serious and overly responsible first born. My baby brother was the clown. The funny thing is that over time, our roles flip flopped. He has become more serious and I have become more of a clown. I am not sure how or why this happened…

I don’t know how it happened, but I am going to celebrate the fact that someone with an anal personality can be such a smart ass. Nothing but wise cracks here. Better keep it clean though…Ha ha ha ha… Just the clean freak in me, no pun intended!

Now get back to work!


I could’ve been a millionaire…

I have been sworn to secrecy about this for over a couple of months now. But it really doesn’t matter anymore. I decided to do the 30 day writing challenge partially to avoid talking about it. I am really good at avoiding things. I should’ve listed it as one of my greatest strengths a couple of posts ago. Or maybe it is a weakness?? Who knows?

Nevertheless, a secret is a secret no matter how hard it is to keep.

It all started back in August when my husband Paul was approached by a multi-million dollar company that wanted to acquire us. We really didn’t think much of the idea at first. We weren’t interested in selling. But they wined and dined us. After a couple of meetings, this company offered to fly Paul across the country (all expenses paid) to tour the corporate office and meet with all of the bigwigs. The meeting went well, REALLY well.

After Paul returned from the meeting, this company requested all of our financial reports. Paul keeps meticulous financial records and they corresponded with each other over the weekend. Over the weekend! Although we weren’t looking for a relationship, they relentlessly pursued us. They even spoke of us moving in together.

We thought things were serious, like we would be getting a big honking diamond ring.

Then we started to dream… Suddenly our small 3 bedroom house wasn’t good enough any more. Our college age daughter already expressed disinterest in coming home for the summer. She didn’t want to have to share a room with her younger sister. I noticed the worn flooring. I grew tired of the neighbor yelling obscenities at his dog. I wanted something bigger. I wanted a 4 bedroom house out in the country. Then I got tempted. I started looking at houses online. We even went and looked at one.

Then I found “the house”. It had everything I wanted and more…It had 4 bedrooms on 6 acres of land. It even had an in ground indoor hot tub and swimming pool. I imagined myself throwing lavish parties there.. But it would be practical too.. I could train for triathlons in my pool without having to spend money on a gym membership. It was almost 7,000 square feet of pure bliss. I know, it seems excessive…But who cares when I could buy it in cash??

Then I started to dream bigger. I had it all planned out. We would go through with the acquisition. I would work many hours over the next 6 months training my replacement. Then I would have the summer off to spend with my kids and train for my races. In the fall, I would start working on my Master’s degree in creative writing. Then I would start writing my book about growing up with an autistic sibling..

Paul started sharing our good news with close family and friends at the time the deal seemed certain to go through. I told my mom my plan of writing the book and she was excited to work on it with me. It seemed so perfect. I wouldn’t have to work or worry about money. I could be a writer. Let’s face it, I am not going to write the next Harry Potter series..I’d probably only sell a few copies…I would do it because I enjoyed it, not for money.

I admit, perhaps I was a bit greedy planning my new life as a millionaire. It seemed like all of the hard work of starting a business was finally paying off. All the years of pouring ever extra penny into our business. I thought especially of the early years when we barely had enough to pay our monthly bills and we had three little mouths to feed. I thought of the long hard hours when we couldn’t get away. I remember dragging Paul to the office after major surgery when he wasn’t supposed to work. I thought of Paul working hard to earn an MBA while running a start up business, raising a family, and still making time to volunteer in the community. Finally, we could enjoy the fruits of our labor. Or so we thought..

Not only were we planning on paying off all of our debt and investing our money, we were planning on helping others. We were thinking of helping out the woman at church whose husband lost his job. We just found out that Martha’s (Paul’s mom) cancer has spread and that the chemo is no longer working. She needs a new medication that she can’t afford. We could help her pay for some medical expenses. Hell, I was even thinking of supporting some of your blogs..

Then the day came and went when we were expecting the initial offer. They kept putting the meeting off. Our patience started to run thin. I became edgy, worried, and depressed. The uncertainty was killing us. What was going to happen? Were they going to offer us what we were worth? Would it be months of bargaining? Would someone else buy the house that my heart was set on??

Then yesterday we heard the bad news that they were no longer interested in acquiring us despite having every reason to believe otherwise. Instead, they wanted to see if we might be interested in consulting with them in how to start their own division. Consult our new competition with deep pockets! Hell no!!

The CEO wanted to go forward with the deal, but the owner said “no”. The CEO said the owner might change his mind and come back to us in a couple of months if things don’t work out. I really don’t want to be with you anymore, but maybe we can still be friends with benefits (without health insurance)… Yippee!!

I was expecting a nice big fancy engagement ring, but instead got a one night stand. Talk about leaving a bad taste in my mouth!!

This all happened yesterday. I felt so angry that I couldn’t even talk. I wanted to be alone because I thought I might scream at the first poor hapless person who stumbled upon my path. I am still pissed. I am disappointed. I am depressed. I want to break something.

How can I explain how it feels? How can I expect sympathy when others around me are struggling?? Losing their jobs…barely able to make ends meet…getting divorced…Woe is me, I am not a millionaire..condolences please..

So we will continue to build our business…slowly placing one small block upon another…until one day hopefully this all pays off.

We will continue to live in debt…mortgage…two car payments…high health insurance premiums…another kid in braces…college tuition, for my daughter instead of me…business loans..

I will continue with my 30 day writing challenge…

Although a few tears still drop for my dreams that died..

At least we still have each other…

Maybe this is for the best… My husband won’t be gone all of the time playing the corporate game…We can come and go as we please now that our business is not in its infancy anymore. I can take a long lunch to train for a marathon without anyone to answer to. I can tell you all of my secrets while I am at work if I want to. I can even leave early to attend my kids endless events…or to go to all of the wonderful orthodontist appointments..

I have to think this is for the best, otherwise I would be devastated.

22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?

Day 22: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?

This is a really difficult question for me right now… I see myself approaching a major fork in the road.. I don’t know where it will take me or what I will decide because there are too many unknowns right now..

I have been thinking more and more about going back to school to get my Master’s degree and then writing. I may have the opportunity to make this dream come true. If things don’t work out, I will simply keep on doing what I am doing….Nothing changes.

In 5 years…. I will be sending my last child off to college. I will have my Master’s degree and have finished my first book about growing up with an autistic sibling. I am almost done with my second book which I will write about my husband. It will be an American success story about a boy growing up in poverty, working hard, and succeeding in business. I also will complete my first Half Iron in this time frame. 

In 10 years….. I will be traveling the world with my husband taking pictures and writing about our adventures. I will be very active on my trips from all the endurance I gained from years of exercise. We will be free from anything that ties us down….Work…Debt….Pets…Our kids will be out of college and settling into their own lives. 

In 15 years…. My years of adventure and excitement are behind me now. I will be ready to settle down with a house full of cats. I will spend a lot of time in a rocking chair telling my grandchildren the story of my adventures. 

It is hard to guess what I will be doing next month, but I can see this being a plausible way of spending my next 15 years…

5. Five things that make me happy

Day 5: What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

  1. This weekend Paul and I will be visiting Angel at college for the first time since we dropped her off in August. I am happy about that. I am also happy that all of my children are doing really well right now. They are all getting great grades, hanging out with good kids, and dating people that I approve of.
  2. I am happy that all of our hard work is finally starting to pay off. We could finally afford to trade in our rust bucket of a truck for a newer vehicle, get new windows for the house, and pay for things that we have been neglecting to take care of for a long time. Even the new shoes and winter coat I ordered online fit and are exactly what I wanted. That’s a happiness plus..
  3. I am happy to cross a lot of items off of my to-do list. It is fall cleaning time. Although I don’t love cleaning, I love a clean and clutter free house just in time for winter. Cleanliness makes me happy..
  4. This is the time of year that I start planning and thinking about next summer. Planning summer races and weekend getaways are almost as much fun as summer itself. Also, Paul and I are going to be celebrating our 20th anniversary next summer. I am going to start planning a trip to the most beautiful place in the world to celebrate, Bora Bora. I am possibly planning a vow renewal and getting Paul a new ring for this ceremony (since he lost his). Planning and thinking about exciting new adventures makes me happy. Plus, after being together over 20 years, I am happy to be married to a wonderful man.
  5. Lately I have been able to run without having knee pain. I feel healthy and strong. This makes me feel hopeful and happy that I can advance my fitness goals for the next season.

Crafty staff party

Tonight Paul and I are taking our employees out for a staff holiday party. Another thing about me, I love to organize and schedule things especially parties. The summer staff parties have always been easy to plan because our staff really seems to love sailing, so that is what we do. The winter staff parties take a little more thought on my part because winter sailing is not an option. Last year we took them to a laser light show and fondue. The year before we saw a comedian and had Irish food. This year we are going to one of those wine drinking and painting classes followed by a Japanese steak house. 

Now I have another confession to make. I think I am a fairly good writer and photographer. It sure helps having a different and interesting story to weave. It also helps to live in a beautiful state to take pictures in with a lovely family. But I absolutely suck at painting, drawing, or anything considered remotely crafty or artsy. I don’t keep anything in my life within the lines. Stick people are a challenge for me. And straight lines, phew, forget about it. I don’t think I could even paint you a picture of how bad I am at it. 

So forget about me posting any pictures. I may hang it up in my office. Unless it really sucks. Then I will adjust the painting a little with a paintball gun and call it abstract art. I know it is not competitive painting. No office awards will be given. It looked like something fun to do. 

So while I won’t share any pictures, if something exciting happens today I’ll be sure to paint a colorful story. 

Just one of those days

It’s been one of those days. It started with an argument with my husband, well more of a disagreement. Over what? Making plans for next summer. It has started before the calendar has even been turned to 2016. Next summer is getting booked up. What about this date? You know it is my mother’s birthday. Maybe she wants to go along? Well, don’t forget that is when the school usually has their summer school musical theater show. And when do you think we will need to move our daughter into college?? Yadda, yadda, yadda. Oh my, we surely don’t want to start double booking summer events already. Summer is short and the list of things to do is long. I have an idea, maybe we should plan summers 2 years in advance. Geez.

Then I decided to go for a 12 mile run before work. It went pretty good except now I am tired and every part of my body feels sore. Yes, even my toenails. Yes, even my hair. My stomach has been upset all day. I just don’t feel well.

I got to work and the internet and phone lines were down for hours even though our provider said that our service would be disrupted for about 20 minutes. There is nothing more frustrating than sitting around doing nothing when you have work to do. Except paying someone to sit around doing nothing. I decided to send our employee home to work out of the house after she came in this afternoon. I also went home. When I got home, I received the great news that everything was up and running again. Then the calls started pouring in from clients asking why things were taking so long.

Maybe I should just go back to bed! But I can’t. I volunteered to sing for the Advent service tonight.┬áSome days I feel as gloomy as the empty grey days. Blah. It’s just one of those days.