Gratitude week 127

  1. I was able to visit with Angel and Dan after not seeing them for a couple weeks.
  2. Opening the cabin up north for the season.
  3. Last minute my brother Luke came up north with his daughters. It was the first time I saw them this year. We played games, went for a hike, and sat by the campfire. It was too cold to swim yet.
  4. One thing that has taken some adjustment, my husband is gone a lot with our seasonal business. I do most of my work out of the house. That being said, I find myself alone a lot for the first time since all the kids moved out. The first night I spent at the cabin by myself. It was different. I was feeling this melancholy nostalgia. I missed my husband, the kids when they were younger, and my dog who went there with us year after year until this year since his passing. I started to feel sorry for myself. Then the next day, my brother came up with his kids and dog. The next door neighbors had kids and a dog. Kids were fighting, the dogs were always trying to get away, not to mention the noise and commotion. It was in that moment I became grateful for the stage of life I’m in. I don’t think I have the energy anymore to be chasing after kids and dogs that get away. I didn’t have to be responsible for anyone and I kind of like it.
  5. I’m grateful for the time to discover what I like to do. I really like going thrifting and to rummage sales. I did both this past week but no huge finds.
  6. Angel and Dan checked out some local city wide rummage sales and asked if there was anything I was looking for they could find, and they did! I have been looking for a motorcycle helmet for Alex’s girlfriend. He only has one and he has been taking his off to give to his girlfriend when she rides with him. Angel found a pink motorcycle helmet for Lexi, her favorite color. Her birthday is next month and I have the perfect gift. Win, win, win.
  7. My mom and autistic brother Matt went up north this weekend too. Matt is more on the severe end of the autism spectrum and is not very socially aware. Two things happened this weekend that are worth mentioning. Matt asked me if Paul was coming up north too. He didn’t ask about my kids. This tells me he somehow knows Paul and I are linked together but that the kids are grown up. I was impressed by his awareness when most of the time he is oblivious to relationships.
  8. The other thing that happened is this…We were sitting around a campfire. My mom asked my 12 year old niece Gracie to move out of grandma’s chair so she could sit there. A few minutes later my brother Matt wanted the chair, so my mom moved out of the chair to an empty chair so Matt could sit there. I called my mom out on it. My mom said she is just a really good mom to Matt. She always gives him special treatment which I am not keen of. Later, Matt wanted my chair and moved all my stuff off of it while I was tending to the fire. I told him I was sitting there and it was rude of him to take my chair when I got up to do work especially when other chairs were available. But he did it anyway and I was pissed. My mom did nothing. A few minutes later Matt came over and apologized to me. I was floored. I never in a million years thought he was going to do that. I actually thought he was coming over to me to steal the other chair I was sitting on.
  9. Matt has been involved in a day program for the last several years for autistic children and adults. It’s made a big difference in his life. I know they have been working with him a lot on social skills and how to interact with people. Matt noticed I was up north alone. But the big thing was he noticed I was irritated at him for his behavior and he apologized. My parents didn’t teach him that. My mom always wanted us to give him special treatment like she does without giving him the opportunity to learn what appropriate behavior is. I’m grateful for this program and that even though he is in his 40’s, he is learning how to interact with others in a way that is also healthy for him.
  10. I’m grateful for warm spring days and cool nights. No need for the heat or the A/C.

Timshel

I first heard of the concept Timshel in the book East of Eden by John Steinbeck. It means thou mayest in Hebrew. Timshel is saying we have a choice between good and evil. You can choose the path you take. Will others rejoice upon our passing or will there be great sadness based upon the choices we made in how we love one another. I know I am not giving the 600 page book justice with my mere 600 words.

I wouldn’t consider the book to be a happy story. But it was a feel good book because of its realistic perspective. Some of the big themes dealt with relationships between siblings, sibling rivalry, and the parent/child relationship. One of the things that really hit home for me was the struggle the characters experienced within. If my parent chooses evil, what does that make me? The book brings up the thought that although your parent may choose evil doesn’t mean that you are destined for the same choices. They have a choice just like you do.

I won’t lie to you, I sometimes struggle with this. I try hard to be a good person, but plenty of times I fall short. My dad did a lot of evil things. Does that make me evil even though I did not make the same choices he did? Sometimes I see him in myself. I hate to be reminded of him when I look in the mirror, how I talk, or how I walk. But it’s there. I have to wonder if that is the only thing there. Maybe he passed his evil down to me.

Logically, I know it’s crazy to think that, yet sometimes I do. The weight of his decisions has brought many people down. My mom is really struggling with her mental health over it. My brother Luke will not have his kids around my dad. I rarely see my brother and haven’t seen him, his wife, or my nieces yet this year. My dad is not invited to holidays. He is not invited to my daughter’s wedding. We always wonder if and when the police will be back to my parent’s house. But those are all just the external things which make life difficult and complicated.

I think the internal pain is worse. The anxiety that somewhere deep inside I might be guilty just for being his daughter like choosing evil is an inheritable trait. Sometimes I have to keep telling myself I am not responsible for my parents. I am not responsible for my adult children. I am responsible for me and my choices alone.

I don’t have a dad I can be proud of. He has brought nothing but shame to the family name. I wish I could say his choices affected only himself. If the evil choices other people make cannot be attributed to us then neither can the good. Having a child who chooses good does not equate to having good parents any more than having a child who chooses evil equate to having bad parents. Why is this so hard to understand? Why do we need something or someone to blame for the bad choices others make? It’s true some people have more obstacles than others. But is that really a good excuse? Maybe they just made a bad decision because that is what they wanted to do.

My grandparents were wonderful people. My dad, not so much.

Timshel. Everyone has a choice.

Again, I would highly recommend reading East of Eden. It’s very well written and thought provoking. It had a lot of interesting twists and turns in the classic drama by John Steinbeck. I’ve read several other books by the same author decades ago, Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath were among my favorites. I hope to read more of his books in the near future. They always have a way of making me think about things differently.

Honoring the dishonorable

Next week my dad will be celebrating his 75th birthday. It should be a grand celebration surrounded by his children and grandchildren. There should be a cake with candles a blazing, birthday cards, thoughtful gifts, and laughter. But there won’t be any of that.

On his birthday, Paul and I will be going to a Wisconsin Dells waterpark with our children and their significant others for an extended weekend. I planned it that way so I wouldn’t have to think about my dad’s birthday and how a relationship between a father and daughter should be. It’s painful I won’t be celebrating with him. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Maybe I’ll call him. I tried to find a card to avoid an awkward conversation, but all the cards talk about love, admiration, honor, and respect. My dad doesn’t bring to mind any of those things.

On a side note, I totally think there is a market out there for shitty dad’s greeting cards. Who wants the sappy love stuff when their dad is a deadbeat? Or it could be for anyone for that matter, an annoying mother-in-law. It could cover all the major holidays so an awkward phone call isn’t necessary so I can feel like a good person although the recipient is a total ass. But I digress…

I talked to my brother Luke yesterday. His daughter Eva has a swim meet near our house and he was wondering if they could stay with us the weekend of our dad’s birthday. I told them they could stay at our house even though we will be out of town. We talked about our dad’s birthday. Luke said he would be driving by our parents house on our dad’s birthday. He wondered if he should stop by, then decided not to.

Luke said our dad never taught him anything. The only time my dad and him ever spent alone together was when my dad was whipping his ass. But beyond all of that, when my daughter Angel found porn on my dad’s computer and turned it over to the police it changed things for all of us. My brother’s daughters are the same age as some of the children in the images. My brother told my dad if he ever wants to see his grandchildren again, he needed to do several things. I can’t remember what all the conditions were. One for sure is that my dad needed to seek counseling. He didn’t do anything my brother asked him to do. Should he go back on that because it’s our dad’s 75th birthday?

His daughters have not seen my dad for over two years now. He said that once he opens that door it will be hard to close it again. I totally agree. We had the same issue with our brother Matt. Matt heard voices to hurt and/or kill our children. I did not allow contact between my brother and children when they were little after he attacked my daughter. Christmas was so hard. My mom would drop off the gifts then leave. The kids would cry. We had to be very careful. That was before Matt went to a group home and was on anti-psychotic meds.

So, yeah, how lucky I’ve been to have a brother and dad we didn’t/don’t want our kids around. I told my brother to just keep driving. I told him not to tell his children it’s grandpa’s birthday. They don’t understand the situation. Because they don’t, they might think their dad is in the wrong for ignoring his dad on his birthday when their dad has been everything our dad never was. For that I am thankful.

We both feel a tremendous amount of guilt for not spending time with our dad on his birthday because we still want to honor our parents. We want a relationship that will never be. Sadly, our dad made a lot of bad choices and we have to accept that and the pain that comes with it. We have to do things in the best interests to protect our children. It’s not the way we want things to be, but that’s the way it is.

So, in recognition of our dad, my brother and I became the parent he never was. I’m going to spend his birthday celebrating that with my own family and my brother will keep on driving.

What a mess! Holiday stress

Last night I got a call from Arabella. She told me she loved and missed me. She told me she was coming to the Christmas party this weekend and she wanted to bring Will along. When I expressed hesitance, she told me he was her boyfriend. I said I didn’t meet him yet, I didn’t get him any gifts. But she knew she had me at boyfriend. I always told my kids significant others were welcome during the holidays.

Arabella asked if she could give me her gifts this weekend. I told her that would be fine but asked her why. She said she was going to visit Will’s family out of state for three weeks for the holidays. She said she didn’t get me any gifts yet though. I told her she didn’t have to.

She asked how I was doing. The conversation seemed comfortable and normal like speaking to an old friend. Arabella said she was gaining weight because she stopped taking all of her medications, even the one for her thyroid. She said she wanted to get all new doctors. When I asked her why, she said it was because I turned them against her.

Something struck me about the conversation was she was concerned about gaining weight. When she got COVID, she lost weight and thought she was starving. She thought I was starving her. The truth is that she could have lost half her body weight and still no one would think she was starving. But now she is concerned about weight gain? She doesn’t think she is starving anymore?

After the conversation was over, I was confused. Arabella seemed so normal. It left me wondering if I was crazy. I want so badly to think she is back to her normal self. I want to think I made everything that happened up. I felt stressed after I talked to her. She was going to be bringing Will to the Christmas party this weekend. My son Alex told me this Will guy was bad news. They graduated together. I started to imagine conflict between Will and my son.

Then my brother Luke texted me and said there was a snow storm coming this weekend ending right before the party starts. I was expecting a shit storm, but a snow storm on top of that?? How wonderful the first named snow storm of the season. Now I’m not even sure they are coming. My son will probably be called in to work during the party. What a mess!

My mom feels stressed out around Luke now. She said he triggers her and that is why she is having a hard time sleeping again. Luke has a lot of boundaries with my mom. Luke’s wife doesn’t like my mom. My dad isn’t invited because of the whole child porn thing. Understandably, Luke won’t ever have his children around my dad because of it. My son and my daughter Angel never want to see my dad again. Then there is Arabella who is living with my parents.

My brothers Mark and Luke have to drive several hours to get here possibly through a snow storm. Mark’s wife Carla is difficult. She is angry with my daughter Angel for turning my dad in. She just lost her own dad this year so she is extra mean. I’m not even sure why she hates my daughter. She has also had conflict with Arabella in the past. She is very critical and will probably say something about my son’s girlfriend’s pink hair. But she has always been nice to me.

Carla is also mean to my brother Mark. She belittles him and calls him stupid in front of everyone. This summer she got mad at him because he ate his cheese separately from his burger. Didn’t he know she cut it for his burger? MARK how could you be such an idiot?? My brother just laughs it off but it is very upsetting to us. One time my mom told Carla off. My mom never tells anyone off. But then she felt bad for telling her off and apologized.

Now my mom is planning on leaving my dad after Christmas. I’m not sure if that will happen or not. I joked that now she wants to leave my dad after Arabella moves in. I just cleaned Arabella’s room so my nieces have somewhere to stay if they do make it for the party. Arabella is a true hoarder.

My brother Matt can be hard to deal with as well. He burps and farts at the table. But at least he is medicated and won’t hurt the kids. Did I mention all my brothers have special diets? Matt is gluten and dairy free. Mark is gluten free. Luke is dairy free. I already bought all the food. Did you know that a small ham costs $30 now?? I do! Holy crap!!!

Oh, and my dog is not doing the best. He hasn’t had much of an appetite the last couple of days. Oh, and the boiler stopped working again.

This is why I don’t like hosting the holidays! It’s just way too much stress!!! If I make it through this weekend I’ll have a lot to be thankful for on my gratitude list. But as for now my anxiety is through the roof.

A break

Compared to the rest of the week, Saturday was all puppies, unicorns, and cute cuddly kitties.

Just a quick recap of the week:

  • My daughter Arabella left home and I wasn’t sure where she was staying.
  • I tripped over my elderly dog and he could barely walk.
  • I got a call saying my brother Luke was on the way to the ER with a possible stroke.
  • At the same time as I got the call about my brother, a neighbor threatened to call the police on my son who was smoking across the street in the woods with his buddies.
  • My brother Matt’s cell phone was stolen by a caregiver in his group home. Not only one, but two caregivers stole money from him and his roommate. The police needed to get involved.
  • Arabella called in the middle of the night from the ER but wouldn’t tell me what was going on.
  • My husband left for a business trip.
  • My microwave started on fire.
  • The power went out.
  • Arabella was delusional and told people that I starved and tortured her. She threatened to dox me.

The week sucked so bad I came up with the idea of having an anti-gratitude list for everything that went wrong during the week. I still might do it. I mean it could be funny. People call me a pessimist anyway. But really, I think it could be a good idea. I could start a list of the good and the bad. On Saturday I could share the bad and on Sunday I could share the good. I will overthink on it some more but I like the idea.

But back to the story…On Saturday I went up north to celebrate my niece’s birthday with Angel, Alex, and his new girlfriend. I felt like I adequately warned Alex’s girlfriend about what she was getting into. I told her she still had time to change her mind about being a part of our family. Alex said his girlfriend has a crazy family too. I highly doubt she would win that contest.

But anyway, we spent the day up north at the family cabin. We went for a walk enjoying the fall colors. I took the scooter out for a ride. I felt so free and happy riding the scooter that I still think I might get a motorcycle license next summer. We played a board game inside with a fire in the fireplace to keep warm. We laughed a lot and for a little while I didn’t worry.

The best part of the day is that everyone got along. Angel and Alex were joking around and laughing together. It meant a lot to me because they don’t always get along. Everything went well with Alex’s girlfriend who also got along with Angel. For a short blip of time there was peace and harmony.

We did talk about Arabella a little. My other kids said I was a wonderful mom and they always loved me. I told them it was hard to understand Arabella’s hatred of me since I never did anything mean to anyone in my whole entire life. Of course, we laughed about the comment I made too. Maybe I was trying to take the wonderful mom thing too far…

I had a great day on Saturday with family. That night I had a great night’s sleep, the best sleep in years. I almost felt happy for awhile. But I couldn’t sustain it for too long. Why can’t it always be like that? Then I started to think about other families with envy. They have what I want all the time, a happy healthy family. It was just a taste of what it could be like.

It was in that moment I realized I left behind the rage I felt burning fiercely for most of the week and replaced it with a deeper darker melancholy.

Finally time for MY nervous breakdown??

Last Tuesday I had an appointment with my therapist. I was actually feeling pretty good. I mean, we had a diagnosis and that was going to solve everything. The puzzle pieces finally fit together and I was able to psychoanalyze my whole family.

I was still a little annoyed about my mom trying to drum up support for me by telling everyone I was ready to jump off the Kennebunk bridge. My therapist told me that my mom is giving me support in the way she wants to receive it. That resonated with me but angered me. I’m almost 50 years old and my mom has no idea how to support me yet I had somehow figured out how to support her before I was 10.

My therapist asked me if I was feeling suicidal. I told her I was angry not depressed or suicidal. Gauging how angry I am if it burns into depression then I would be pretty screwed. Later in the afternoon, I had an appointment with the eye doctor. I found that to be stressful because I hate it when people poke and prod my eyes. To make it even more stressful, the doctor who we’ve been going to over the past decade asked how the kids were doing. Boy, Arabella must’ve graduated and should be off to college by now. Yeah, I would’ve thought that too if I was you. Is she working somewhere? Yeah, she is a waitress but I don’t tell her that she most likely lost her job. Maybe she just needs to figure out what she wants to do? I finally admit Arabella has mental health issues. I try to change the subject. Yeah, my oldest daughter is getting married. Wow, you have a lot going on.

I wish I could say small talk isn’t painful but these kind of conversations happen all the time. It’s normal. My daughter graduated and people who don’t know want to know what she is doing with her life. Before all this happened she was on the honor roll college bound track. For a time I even thought by having her go to residential, she would be fine again and go off to college. Maybe if she had a diagnosis, there would be a pill that would fix her and she would go to college and everything would be fine. The denial is over now and the anger burns.

I had had enough peopling for one day. Screw it, I was going to sit in my hot tub and relax with a beer. My mom called me twice while I was trying to relax, but I didn’t answer because I was trying to relax. Her calling me multiple times a day was nothing new. She calls and calls until I call her back. I just didn’t want to deal with it.

It was a nice day so I decided to sit on my front porch with a beer before making supper. I was sitting there when my mom texted me she was trying to get a hold of me because my brother Luke was on the way to the ER. They thought he was having a stroke. WTF?? My baby brother, a stroke?? I called my mom back right away.

Simultaneously, while I was on the phone with my mom there was a commotion in the front yard. Paul told me the police might be coming. My son was skateboarding with a couple of his buddies and they decided to light up in the woods across the street. A lady walking by threatened to call the cops on a bunch of kids smoking something, somewhere they weren’t supposed to be.

Great, my brother is having a stroke and the cops are coming. I was already angry before all of this and flew into a rage. I chucked my almost full bottle of beer smashing it onto the sidewalk. I repeatedly bashed my fists against the wall. I screamed fuck so many times that it put my brother Matt’s Tourette’s to shame. I said the word more in that 5 minutes then I’ve ever probably said it my whole entire life up to that point. This was my kind of nervous breakdown. I had finally snapped.

The cops were coming and they were probably going to end up taking me away, a middle aged woman having a complete and total meltdown in her front yard. By that time, pretty much all of Alex’s buddies scattered. The dog was lapping up what was left of the beer on the sidewalk. I didn’t want him ingesting broken glass so I started cleaning it up. Not only did I feel bad about tripping over the dog the night before and he could barely walk, now he is drinking up the beer with glass shards. OMG!! I’m going to go crazy, crazier. I couldn’t take it anymore.

My mom called and said the doctors thought Luke had a migraine not a stroke. While I was on the phone with my mom Arabella kept calling her. I already told my mom not to give her money. My mom said she wasn’t going to give her money but was going to put her up in a hotel room for a couple nights. Again, I felt upset because it seemed to me that my mom was going along with her delusion we were abusing her.

The police never showed up that night. I had a talk with my son. I told him he needed to knock that shit off. Maybe that would’ve been acceptable in our old neighborhood, but not here. Don’t make an enemy of the neighbors. I don’t need the extra stress in my life right now.

Guess how much sleep I got that night?

Gratitude week 94

  1. I went to the eye doctor this week and will be getting new glasses. I was a little worried about my eyes because they are so sensitive to light, but everything is fine.
  2. I have been having problems for years doing the eye puff test. Any time I have to look into any of the eye machines my eyes start blinking and watering. About half way through I asked if I could cover one eye and then I was just fine. The lady thought I was having a hard time with the machines because of my sensitivity to light. I’m grateful to finally find a solution to the problem as it was really embarrassing and caused me a lot of anxiety about going to the eye doctor.
  3. Two family members ended up going to the ER this week and I am glad to report they are doing fine.
  4. Yesterday I went up north to celebrate my niece’s birthday with Angel, Alex, and his new girlfriend. We had a great time visiting and playing games. It went so much better than I expected.
  5. My daughter and son got along great too. I’m grateful for that because they don’t always get along. Angel got to know Alex’s girlfriend better. It was great to see them all talk and laugh.
  6. My son got the old moped running up north. I haven’t been on it for years and took it out for a ride yesterday. I had so much fun that I am seriously thinking about getting my motorcycle license next summer.
  7. My husband got wood from a tree that was down at my parent’s place. It was nice to help him haul wood along with our son. Afterwards, I took the 4 wheeler for a ride. It was also a lot of fun.
  8. Besides yesterday’s trip up north, the week has been incredibly stressful, but I made it through. I was even considering starting an anti-gratitude list.
  9. I slept really good last night for the first time in months. Maybe having fun and getting a break from the stress did me some good.
  10. My husband was out of town for work half the week. I will be leaving soon to pick him up from the airport and bring him back home.

(A)part of the family

I feel like I don’t belong to my family of origin anymore. I can’t say I remember ever feeling that way before.

It started when I went up north to spend time with my brother Luke, his daughter Gracie, and my mom Saturday morning. I’d driven several hours after spending the night on the boat with Paul. I didn’t sleep well the night before, actually several nights before. I’ve been feeling fatigued for awhile now. I don’t have the energy I had before. I think it’s a normal part of aging. Other than that I was feeling like my normal self.

My brother Luke asked me what my story was. I asked him what he meant. He asked why I seemed so quiet and sad. I assured him I was fine. Yes, I am tired, quiet, and sad. That is my normal state. I was not feeling troubled in any way. There really wasn’t much to say. He almost seemed offended I didn’t have much to talk about. He accused me of being hungover from the night before. I was offended by his statement. Did he not know me? I told him I have not been puking drunk since 1995 when I was 21 and some old guy kept buying me shots at the bar. I was so sick I missed class the next morning. I told myself that day it wouldn’t happen again and it didn’t. I drink, but I don’t get drunk to the point where I am puking and hungover.

I felt judged by my brother the whole time I was there and it was miserable. I didn’t do anything to deserve being treated that way. He and his daughter Gracie pretty much judged me and everyone in my family except my son Alex.

Luke said someone he knew died the day after he retired because he got in a car accident from a teenager that was texting. My mom told everyone that my daughter Arabella texts while she drives. Then everyone launched into how bad Arabella is. I don’t even know if it is true. My mom just likes to add fuel to the fire. I’ve never seen my daughter text while driving. Yes, she probably uses her phone to play music and navigate. Who doesn’t? Why would my daughter tell my mom anyway? If it was really true and my mom was concerned, why didn’t she tell me in private? Now I am worried that my brother and niece will confront her about it during her graduation party this weekend.

Then my brother found some cigars in the back of the cupboard. My niece confronted me asking if I was a smoker. I told them they belonged to my husband. On special occasion he will have a cigar, like once every couple of years. There was a four pack of little cigars with one missing. I believe my husband smoked that cigar at least 7 years ago. I don’t know why they were making a big deal out of it. He wasn’t breaking any law.

Then my brother told me that he didn’t feel like his daughters would be welcome at my daughter’s wedding because of the music she was planning on playing at the reception. My daughter as a music major picked out her whole playlist of songs already. From 6 to 8, it will be jazzy dinner music like Frank Sinatra. Then from 8 to 10 she picked family friendly dance music like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Then from 10 to 12 she wants to play club music. Some of the music may not be appropriate for younger kids. But usually by later in the night the little ones go home anyway. I listened to the music and I don’t think it is anything out of the norm for a wedding. My nieces will be 13 and 15 when my daughter gets married so I think they can handle it. If not, I can remind him of the music he listened to at their age.

Then he also was judgmental that my daughter Angel went to the bar up north for her birthday. She is 23. We walked to the bar, had one drink, and played a round of darts. He was upset at the neighbors for drinking and swearing. I just can’t relax around him. I can’t crack open a beer and listen to the music I like. Everything I do, don’t do, or even think about doing is wrong to him. He is not much fun to be around. He expects everyone to be perfect, especially his kids.

We couldn’t even play a game and have fun. My mom had a really bad hand and said oh shit. He launched into her about her language.

I felt attacked and judged by my brother the whole time. I hope this is just a one off thing. Maybe he is just really stressed out or something. Everyone in my family is so dysfunctional and negative that I feel really down after a visit. I am considering not even hosting the holidays this year. Maybe I need to say no more for my own mental health. It’s really hurtful to be attacked and have my husband and/or kids attacked when I am hanging out with family. We didn’t do anything to deserve to be treated this way. Not only that but my brother has not even seen or talked to some of my kids in over a year. He doesn’t even know us.

The funny thing is my brother Luke was one of the wildest people I knew. He was wilder as a teenager than probably all three of my kids put together. He treats me like I am a bad person and parent. He is really strict with his kids. I actually was angry at first but now I feel sorry for him because he seems absolutely miserable.

We’ll see what the weekend brings and go from there.

Gratitude week 79

  1. Arabella was the only server that showed up to work on the 4th of July. So, yeah, I think they forgot about the day she slept through her whole shift.
  2. The fireworks were absolutely amazing over the lake.
  3. Summer! I was able to spend a lot of time on the water over the holiday weekend. The weather has been crazy this year. It has been extremely hot, in the 90’s, for the last couple of days. Later this week it’s supposed to be in the 60’s with rain. It’s either been incredibly hot or cool and rainy.
  4. I saw all three of my brothers this past weekend, one of my brothers I haven’t seen since before COVID.
  5. I put on my new boxing gloves for the first time this past week. My son is teaching me how to box. I gotta have nice looking arms for the wedding.
  6. It’s my birthday month. I can’t believe my birthday is next week already. I’m thankful for another year of life.
  7. I’m grateful that my husband was able to buy a new battery for Arabella’s car when it died.
  8. I’m grateful that he was also able to take our son in to get a new phone when it died.
  9. I’m grateful for the family that sent my daughter engagement gifts. It was very thoughtful of them.
  10. I was finally able to spend time with my nieces for the first time this year.

Gratitude week 76

  1. Arabella found a waitressing job! I am grateful she has a job now.
  2. I forgot to mention this one sooner…Last year my mom, Arabella, and I were planning on going to Europe with the school group on a music tour. Because of COVID the trip got cancelled and the tour company kept $1900 per person. Hundreds of people joined a lawsuit against this company and we won. We got our money back. I can understand if the company kept a couple hundred dollars as a processing fee for the work done, but $1900 that a lot of students (and parents) worked hard to earn and fundraise for. I’m grateful for justice.
  3. Friday night we went to a surprise birthday party for the guy my husband works for in the off season of our business. It was held at a bar and grill that had a live band. We ended up seeing a lot of people we knew that we didn’t see since before the pandemic. Everyone was dancing and partying like it was 1999. It was so nice to see everyone and hear live music again.
  4. We had our first graduation party for the summer this past weekend as well. Again, it was nice to see people I haven’t seen since the pandemic. Although I’m not much of a social butterfly, it’s nice to have the choice to attend parties again.
  5. My son is turning 21 this week and I have his birthday all planned out for him. (He wanted me to plan everything which totally surprised me!).
  6. Talking about birthdays, my brother Mark called me today to wish me a happy birthday. Funny thing is, it’s not my birthday. He was off by a month. But it was great to talk to him since I haven’t seen nor talked to him since before COVID.
  7. I also talked to my brother Luke and saw my brother Matt over the weekend. I haven’t gotten this much attention from my brothers since before COVID. Strange but nice!
  8. I spent the last couple of days up north. It was nice to relax, read a book, go for a walk, kayak, and swim. Last night I spent the evening up north by myself. It was a little creepy since a storm blew through at night. I can’t remember the last time I was truly alone. I didn’t really like it. But I did like to eat what I wanted to, listen to the music I liked, and just do whatever.
  9. I totally whipped my mom playing cribbage. I know, I know. But I enjoy being competitive.
  10. Summer!!!! I totally broke down and put on the A/C. In my defense, we had the earliest heat wave ever recorded. We had a good week of hot and humid days in the 90’s. Some summers we don’t even see temps in the 90’s, very rarely in June. It hardly gets over 80 in June. But apparently not this summer when I wanted to make it without air conditioning to save money. But I love it hot and want to spend as much time as possible pool side, at the beach, or on a boat.