- It’s the last day of February and it feels like spring is coming.
- I enjoyed a spa day with my mom. Her COVID anxiety dropped drastically after the second dose of the shot.
- My daughter’s name finally came up on the waiting list for residential care.
- Arabella finished all of her high school coursework online and will be graduating on time! I’m grateful she has completed school before residential. I honestly didn’t think she would be able to pull it off, but she did. Yeah!!
- My daughter Angel achieved great success with her hobby business and her work will be displayed online with a popular brand.
- I’m grateful for a coffee date with my best friend.
- I’m grateful I was asked to give my testimonial for the wellness clinic. I thought maybe they just wanted me to write a little something. But they want to do a video of my success story. I think it’s pretty cool to have the opportunity to share my story.
- I’m grateful that my hard work paid off so I could have a success story to share.
- I’m grateful that my daughter Angel spent a couple days visiting at home. We watched some old movies while I worked on my puzzle.
- I’m grateful that my husband and son are on their way home after spending a couple days on their annual fishing trip with the guys.
My husband and I ran a business together for 10 years. We worked amazingly well together. Running a successful business with your spouse is a huge accomplishment that few couples wish to tackle. Both of us are rather type A task oriented people. There aren’t any back burner lists or room in our lives for procrastination. What can be done tomorrow should’ve been done yesterday. We worked together for a common goal.
At home discussions commonly were about our shared experiences. Our frustration about working with a difficult client. How we were going to solve a work related issue. Our kids got used to shop talk at the dinner table. It was a big center of our life and created a level of intimacy rarely found in most marriages.
Together we built something so amazing that it was coveted by others. It’s been over two years now since we sold our business. The new owners kept me on for the first year then outsourced my job to a centralized corporate branch. It was a huge adjustment for me.
One of my favorite ways to outrun my demons is to throw myself into the distraction of work. I didn’t have time to think about my problems because I was always too busy. I rushed to this and rushed to that. I had kids to race here and there. I had a new bigger house to clean. I filled every minute of my day. I started writing. I trained for marathons.
It was hard for me when I lost my job and my husband continued on. It was harder to push the demons down when I could finally hear the cries of my inner child. Then two out of three of my kids became adults. I was starting to feel the emptiness of losing them. My health went downhill and I haven’t fully recovered. But even worse, the foundation of my once enviable marriage started to crack.
My husband’s hours were drastically cut. He is pretty much a figurehead for the company we sold. They wheel him out every now and then as needed. But he is pretty much semi-retired. Retiring early sucks! I’m just going to say that now. It’s a huge adjustment. You really can’t do anything during the week because all of your friends are still working. It is really hard for two task oriented workaholics.
So we fought. A lot. We fought about the big things. We fought about the little things. How come we worked so well together when we had so much stress and things to do? There was no longer anything new to talk about. Our relationship got stagnant like putrid water. Everything he did annoyed me. Everything I did annoyed him. I tried to fix him. He tried to fix me. Many times we wanted to throw in the towel but we still both wanted to keep working on our marriage.
It was hard because there was nowhere to go for advice. Neither of us wanted marriages like our parents. Most of our friends are on their second or third marriages. Where do you turn? We kept talking and working through our issues, some days that was all we accomplished.
We decided to start a second business where we could once again work together. Things were going pretty well.
Then this whole coronavirus hit. Once again we were forced together with nothing productive to do. Everything we were looking forward to is now gone. My structure and routine have been replaced with chaos and uncertainty indefinitely. We are getting ready to launch our new business. How will that work in this economy? Plus the money that we were counting on living on is simply not there. Who knows when and if it will rebound? Then we started fighting again.
We are still working on our marriage. I have to be a healthy me and Paul needs to work on himself. We can’t fix each other. If I learned one thing about being married over twenty years it’s that. Both people need to be willing to work on themselves to work on their marriage. We will get through this too.
Sometimes…money costs too much.
Money…along with sex, religion, and politics are the topics I was taught not to talk about.
Money…how can it cost too much??
I think greed costs too much. If you spend your life chasing the almighty dollar at the expense of having close relationships with others, in my opinion the price is too steep.
But wait, aren’t all rich people greedy?? Absolutely not! Greed can take the hearts of the rich and poor alike. There are a lot of rich people that do wonderful things with their money. If you don’t have money, you could be generous with your time.
But, doesn’t money buy happiness? It certainly can make your misery a lot more comfortable. My husband always said that the only ones he hears say that money doesn’t buy happiness are poor. It’s unusual because he has lived his life at both ends of the money spectrum. It gives a different perspective.
Paul is the type of guy that if we go on vacation, he spends a lot of time talking to the servers or staff. He can relate to almost everyone. Neither one of us feels comfortable being served. We like to clean our own house, mow our own lawn, and pull our own weeds.
I think we all tend to get used to our mode of living. If our fortune changes in either direction, it can be rather shocking.
For us, there is always the ‘can’t afford’ warning bell going off in our heads. It’s strange to live in a big house. Our electric bill this last month cost more than our mortgage on our old house. The more you have, the more everything costs.
I grew up middle class. I had a rich uncle that paid for my college tuition. My aunt told me to never tell anyone that he was paying for my college. There seemed to be a certain hush hush involved in having money. Like it’s some big shame to work hard and be successful.
In fact if people talk about how much money they are earning or how rich they are, I mistrust them. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But how come we don’t feel that way when someone tells us how broke they are?
I admit, though, I am jealous of a few rich friends that don’t have to work. It must be really nice to be able to devote all of your time to your hobbies. Maybe it would get old, boring, or be unfulfilling. I tell myself that often while I am at work on a beautiful summer day.
Although I’ve lived in my dream house almost two months now, I posted zero pictures on Facebook. I’ve told only the people that I’ve had to. I live a very secretive life and I like it that way. Money makes me feel very uncomfortable. It doesn’t fit. It’s a huge adjustment from the way we grew up and how we have been living up to the point of selling our business.
It has always been us and them. Now we are not us anymore, we are them. How would you act? I don’t want people that liked me to love or hate me. I don’t want to be treated differently. I just want things to stay the same, but they’re not. So I tend not to talk about it even though it is part of my story now. I’m afraid to be honest with you about money because it has been so ingrained in me that it is taboo. But who really cares?? There are people out there smarter, richer, and better looking than me. That is okay, I guess.
I think most people know where other people are at even if we don’t talk about it. Even if you never posted about money, I could guess where you are at just by the things you post about.
But, isn’t money the root of all evil? It depends on how you use it. There is a lot of weight on the little piece of paper that doesn’t grow on trees. And sometimes it costs too much…
I’m not 100% unpacked yet, but I want to start getting back into the swing of things. I’ve made a lot of progress.
I am going to try to get back on a regular blogging schedule.
I even went for a run today for the first time in over 2 weeks!
So what if the house is not finished yet? I have a lifetime to unpack because I am never moving again!
I have so many things to tell you and they are piling up higher in my mind than the boxes in my garage. I never finished my whole fortune cookie thing and I’ve had some moral dilemmas that I wanted to run by you.
Moving has been a big adjustment…literally!
Our new house is 4 times the size of our old house.
The garage itself is 3 times the size of our old house.
You don’t know how many times I’ve set down my phone only to have to search a half an hour to find it. Over the weekend, I set down my beer and by the time I found it, it was warm. I won’t even tell you how long it takes to find my husband and kids. By the time I find them, I forgot why I was looking for them in the first place. There are still several things that are lost, but at least my son found his wallet.
My kids think that all of their friends should move in. I’ve had more people stay overnight in my house the one week that I’ve lived here then I’ve had for several years in the old house. Plus they leave things behind like clothing and broken phone cases. Maybe I should set up a lost and found box next to the pool. Oh, and they all left behind their swimming suits. But they used every single towel I have in the house.
My kids get upset that I don’t want to have people over every single day and night. Apparently that makes me a selfish person to want the house to myself (or just my family) every once in awhile.
My house has become like Hotel California. Once they come in, they never seem to be able to leave. We had friends over Sunday night. They had so much fun that they stayed until almost midnight on a work night. I ended up falling asleep on the couch.
Even the movers loved my house. They said it was the most beautiful house they have ever seen. They took pictures to show their significant others. They said they hope they win the lottery someday so they can afford a house like mine.
It makes me feel uncomfortable and guilty in a way which is probably why I didn’t tell a lot of people that I was moving. I feel bad being excited or talking about the new house in front of others. It makes me feel like I am talking on and on about how wonderful it is having 3 children when the person I’m talking to has been dealing with infertility for decades.
I wish I had what you have.
But they didn’t see the years, decades of struggling…the perseverance that we didn’t know if it would pay off…putting every penny and pouring everything we had into this business. They don’t know me. They don’t know that the first half of my life was a living hell.
They don’t see my husband as the boy that started out in the inner city of Chicago without a dad, born to a poor single teenage high school drop out. The boy that had a dream of starting a business…The boy from the projects that is now living in a mansion like some sort of celebrity rapper. How many others do you know with a similar story? I really don’t know of anyone else personally. But I do know it is possible.
So I watch as people I know and don’t know take pictures of my house to share with strangers.
Maybe you would like to see some pictures too. Sorry I didn’t ask. You could post the pictures on social media…show the kids, your neighbors, maybe even your cat.
Or maybe you don’t like me now. Maybe you view me as a greedy selfish rich bitch with a foo foo dog in my purse type.
Will it change me?
Maybe I’ll get used to it. I’m not sure how to respond or act.
Right now I feel like a cactus that has been thrown into the sea.
The luck that is ordained for you will be coveted by others.
I want you to think of the most beautiful person, the most talented athlete, the richest acquaintance, the biggest blogger you follow, and the most intelligent person that you know…Close your eyes if you must…
They are lucky, right? I mean, otherwise you would be as great as they are.
Admit it, you are jealous just like I am.
Don’t we want what makes them great?
But they have struggles too.
Maybe we just can’t see them.
The most beautiful girl has the best of luck. She can get any guy that she wants. She knows that her beauty has opened many doors that for others are closed. But she feels alone because no one seems to get past her looks and see the real beauty inside of her.
The most talented athlete has the best of luck. He is sure to win almost every game. But no one sees the pressure to perform, to continue being the best. His fans only love him when he is at the top of his game.
The richest girl in the room has the best of luck. She throws the biggest and best parties. When she goes to bed at night she wonders if the same people would be her friends if she was poor.
The biggest blogger has the best of luck. He scribbles some dribble and has over 100 likes. He spends hours every night responding to the hundreds of comments of people that he doesn’t know and not sure he would even like. He starts writing to appeal to the masses and losses part of who he is in the process.
The most intelligent girl has the best of luck. She aces every test. It comes easy to her to succeed. But she has no one to talk to because they don’t understand things at her level. She is expected to solve everyone’s problems and to do more than her fair share in group projects at school and at work because she is so much smarter. She often feels overwhelmed with the weight of her responsibilities.
All of these people have haters.
They have people that would give anything to be more like them.
So no one cares, no one listens..
There are things that are not acceptable for them to ever talk about to people who aren’t as “lucky”..
Oh, poor you…you can get any guy you want and you complain that they are only interested in your looks….I wish I was half as beautiful as you.
Poor you, you always have to perform at the top of your game and can’t handle the pressure…I wish I was coordinated enough that people would want me on their team.
Poor you, you are so rich that you can afford anything you want…Who cares if your friends are real?? I wish I could just pay my bills on time.
Poor you, you are so popular online that you have to take hours of your limited time to respond to every comment. I wish a couple of people would read what I write.
Poor intelligent successful you, you have to be surrounded by idiots all of the time…because face it, no one is as smart as you. I wish I didn’t have to work so hard for something that comes easy for you.
Even the “luckiest” people in the world have their struggles.
But why bother listening because we already know how wonderful it must be to be them…The grass is so much greener over there that I can’t even see how it blends in with the weeds..
Maybe being average is not so bad after all…
This whole last weekend was a roller coaster ride of emotions.
On Saturday, Alex went to state for solo and ensemble. We didn’t know if he was going to state for sure until Thursday evening. He was failing some classes, including band, which would make him ineligible. It was a stressful week not knowing. Plus he had a duet and trio, so it wasn’t just himself that he would be letting down.
Friday night, Paul and Darryl started the project of replacing light fixtures in our house to get it ready to sell. Friday night after the work was done, we played cards.
Paul’s step-dad Darryl joined a couple of new dating sites. He showed us a couple of women that he was interested in meeting and let out a few obscenities when his computer didn’t work right. He is totally lady crazy..
The next morning we went to state. We saw Julia, the mom of the girl that Alex was doing the duet and trio with. She leaned over and said that she heard he almost didn’t make it. She would’ve had every right to shake her head, but instead said that the reason she made it out was to see my son play even though she was sick. The first time I met her she called my son the genius, the savant. She kept pouring out the positives, which is something I don’t hear a lot of people say about my son. Julia said she tries to see the best in everyone.
I told Julia that we should be friends. Every time I feel discouraged about my son, I could give her a call. Julia said that she could use a few more friends in her life. She said that just the day before she quit her job. She was too sick to go to work, but they wanted her to come in anyway. She said that she has lupus and has been in and out of the hospital over the past year. She is quirky, eccentric, neurotic, blunt, and fun…everything I want in a friend.
Julia met up with us later to watch Alex’s solo. It was getting close to his time, so I couldn’t watch her daughter perform one of her group songs. Julia said she recorded her daughter performing, but she couldn’t get the whole group in the recording. She said she cut out the homely girls at the end of the row and asked if I still wanted to be friends. I laughed and said that made me want to be friends with her even more. I got her number.
Alex’s solo was the last one of the day. I was a nervous wreck. Could he pull it off?? He was playing a graduate level piece as a junior. It was the hardest piece that he could play. My heart was pounding. I thought I was going to have a panic attack. I felt extreme fear and exhilaration at the same time. It was like riding a roller coaster that is way out of your comfort zone. He pulled it off magnificently. The judge said that hearing Alex play made his day at state worthwhile.
Alex got 3 firsts at state and achieved an exemplary award of excellence. He now has a total of 2 exemplary awards at state. I was so excited and proud of my son’s accomplishments that we decided to take him out to eat at the restaurant of his choice.
While we were eating, Darryl was hitting on the hostess. He asked her if she had a boyfriend. It was rather embarrassing since she appeared to be around 30 years old. After the meal, Darryl went off searching for the hostess. Our waitress sent the hostess to our table. We pointed to Darryl across the room saying that he wanted to talk to her. She told us not to worry that her parents do embarrassing things too. It really annoyed Paul, but he didn’t say anything.
It was an interesting start to the weekend…
The price of greatness is responsibility.
My husband received this fortune cookie last week when he was touring our state on a public speaking route. It was meant for him.
My husband is a great man. That being said, he carries a lot of weight on his shoulders.
My husband is a great leader of our house. It is no easy task raising 3 teenagers. It requires the perfect balance of love and discipline. All this he has done without having a father to show him.
My husband is a great business leader. He started a successful business out of an idea. He had no clue what he was doing, but was willing to learn. He earned his MBA. Over time and hard work, he became the expert in our state. Running a business is a heavy weight to carry. The responsibility is enormous, but so is the reward.
Over the years, he has been involved in many boards and committee chairs. He volunteered to get the finances in order for several organizations. If there are conflicts or issues, his phone is the first that is ringing for advice, problem solving, and resolution.
He gives, and gives, and gives..Someday he said he might retire from it all. But I’m not so sure that will ever happen.
I don’t say it often enough, but I am proud of how great Paul is and everything he does to help others. So often I am guilty of heaping more problems on him instead of showering him with appreciation.
I would thank him personally, but he is at a meeting right now.
Last time I shared how my feet swept the ocean floor. It was pretty raw, but not at all pretty. Today the pendulum is going to swing in the opposite direction.
Both the deepest lows and the highest highs are hard to talk about. People just don’t do it, unless they are writing a novel about the life of someone else. It somehow seems too personal.
But to talk of everyday life is boring. It is like a flat line on a bell curve. Today I did a load of laundry, ran the dishwasher, and went to work…blah, blah, blah…Nobody wants to be flat lining!
I learned a long time ago not to care what others thought of me. Having a severely mentally ill brother and an obese father that is known to walk out to get the mail in his underwear would do that to you.
Seriously, I would’ve been soooo screwed if I was sensitive enough to care what people thought of me. Instead, I do what I want whether people like it or not.
This thinking opened the door to new adventures. Literally!
In two months, I will be moving into my dream house.
Who could’ve guessed that the business my husband started and I helped him build would be such a success? We struggled to make ends meet for so many of our early years. We almost bit the dust with the recession. Then we slowly earned enough money to start remodeling our modest little house. And now after selling the business (but still working there) we are starting our life over.
He is having an identity crisis now, my husband. What happens when you accomplish more than you set out to achieve? Should he start another business? Would we, as workaholics, end up destroying ourselves when there is nothing left to build? Should we retire early? How could we sit still and do nothing? Should we start new careers?
My husband always thought of himself as the underdog, scraping and scrapping to get by. Who is he now??
People are stopping by our new house just out of curiosity and showing pictures to all of their friends. Remember that boy who didn’t have a dad that we thought wouldn’t amount to much?? People are talking. Rumors are spreading like wildfire. People are asking…How much are the taxes?…Are you going to clean your own house?…Why would you want such a big house when your kids are ready to leave??…They swarm around us with a buzz of questions like busy bees.
I’ve always wanted a swimming pool. When I left home, my parents bought an outdoor swimming pool for Matt’s therapy. What??!? When I begged them for one, they always said ‘no’. I could swim in the lake up north. It always made me feel a little hurt. But in our climate, we can only use an outdoor pool for about 2 to 3 months of the year. It doesn’t seem worth it. My parents haven’t even used their pool in years.
My dream house has an indoor pool in a room that is probably the size of my current house. It is an older house, but full of character and charm. It has hardwood floors, wood burning fireplaces, and a big yard for my dog to run around in. My kids will each have their own bedrooms.
At least people cannot say that I married my husband for his money. He didn’t even have the proverbial pot to piss in when I met him.
I married a boy that spent his earliest year growing up in the projects in the inner city of Chicago. When I met him, he didn’t own a house. He didn’t have any money in the bank. He owned a rusty old Chevrolet. That’s about it. He had a mediocre dead end job. He wasn’t going to have an inheritance. He didn’t have a father and had no clue how to be one. He didn’t have any siblings. He didn’t know how a husband should act. His mother wasn’t the type to offer help.
He had nothing and knew nothing about family life. But he had this dream to start a business. It was a big risk, but it paid off.
I am really excited to start this new adventure.
I’m ready to move on…
Last week my daughter Angel was home from college for spring break. We watched a couple of rockumentaries. We watched the Kurt Cobain documentary “Montage of Heck’. I found the documentary to be rather disturbing. It showed raw footage of his drug addiction. What a tragic story of a brilliantly troubled mind. He was so talented, yet died so tragically young. Sadly, it really isn’t unusual anymore to hear of talented performers dying from suicide or drug overdoses. I wouldn’t wish the life of a performer on my worst enemy.
Then it occurred to me that this is the kind of life two out of three of my children want to have. They want to be performers.
My firstborn, Angel, is in her second year of college for vocal performance. Recently she competed in a very elite competition and was one of the very few students from her college that was chosen to sing in front of an opera star. She never had singing lessons before college. It might even sound stupid, but maybe I never fully realized her talent. She was the only one ever in the history of her high school to get as many perfect scores at state for her vocal performances. Now she is in college competing with students that have had singing lessons for their whole entire lives.
But don’t all parents think that their children are the brightest, most talented, most intelligent children even if they are not? I also had the opportunity to listen to performances of strangers for solo and ensemble. I sat through one of the worst vocal duets I ever heard to look around to see parents recording the blessedly miserable event on their phone beaming with pride.
Parents often wear blinders. Why would I be any different?
My son is going to state for a piece that his piano teacher couldn’t even play the accompaniment for. It has a difficulty rating of 9. She said that it was a PhD piece. The ‘second chair’, who is a senior, played his level 4 difficulty solo from last year and bombed it. It was the song that my son got a perfect score on at state as a sophomore. After my son played his solo this year, the girl’s mother introduced herself to me. She told me that my son is a genius, a savant at music. She went on and on to the point that I almost was embarrassed. What could I say back to her? Her daughter as a talented senior bombed the solo my son aced at state last year as a sophomore. It was awkward.
I have two children that are the top performing musicians from their small town school. They are joining the hordes of a million other talented young wannabe famous musicians who are just as good if not better than they are.
In all honesty, who doesn’t want to be a star?? I sure would love to have 20,000 followers on WP. How about you?? If you have that many followers, how worried are you about continuing to write brilliant posts? Point made.
But do I want the life of a performer for my children?? I am not so sure anymore.
I picture them searching from city to city for a mirage they can’t seem to grasp onto. They will deal with the fear of failure. But guess what? The fear of success is just as terrifying. Rejection. Not having a stable lifestyle. Not having a steady income. The possibility of finding permanent residence in my basement. Not being able to pay off college debt. Maybe being famous? Having to keep performing at a stellar level to keep their fame. The possibility of drug addiction. Fans worshiping them but not knowing who they really are. Haters. Critics. What do you think a beautiful girl might have to do to make it to the top? A life on the road. What about a family? Broken relationships. Constant pressure. The isolation from a lack of anonymity. Broken dreams from not succeeding. Not being able to handle fame.
Why do I worry that it might not go well for them either way?? Didn’t we teach our kids to follow their dreams when we followed ours? Performing is one of the most exciting career journeys that anyone can follow.
Who knows? Maybe it will end well. As I overthink about it, maybe I am just worried because that is what I do as a parent. Worry. Sure, my kids are talented. But are they talented enough??
Maybe not pursuing a dream gives a life of more regrets.
And maybe I shouldn’t have watched that documentary.
We sold our start up company today.
It wasn’t something that we were planning on doing. Not yet anyway.
We were approached by a huge private equity company and we turned them down…several times actually…until they gave us an offer that we couldn’t refuse.
We will be staying on for the next couple of years as employees. It will be a big change. Yet nothing will change at all. We will still go to work and do what we have always done.
Someday when we are able to walk away, I will tell you all about it. But not now. Although I think that you would find it rather interesting.
Today I feel like I won the lottery. Although luck had nothing to do with it. It seems surreal. I don’t think it really has sunk in yet. How do we live this way?
The last several months have been a roller coaster ride of emotions. We weren’t expecting that. Surprisingly, a lot of the emotions were negative. We didn’t talk about it to anyone since we didn’t expect to receive much sympathy. Change is stressful, even if it is for the better.
There were arguments about money of all things.
There was fear…fear of failure. What if we fail now after we have succeeded? Will we be able to keep up our sales? Will we be able to impress our new employer? Will we mess it all up? Will we have to start at the bottom again scraping and scrapping to get by? Will we become spoiled and soft? Will we lose our grit from struggling for so long?
It has been a big shock.
Will our friends still like us if we have more money than they do? Will we attract new fake friends? Will we change? Regardless, it has now become a part of our journey. If we could do it, anyone can. All you have to do is take the first step…then run as hard and as fast as you can.
Today we are putting in an offer on our dream house.
We noticed lately how poor we have been living. A majority of our furniture is falling apart. Most of it came from long deceased relatives. We bought our kitchen table at a rummage sale and it looks like it. We never had a new table for our family to sit around. Most of our towels are torn around the edges.
We feel like the Beverly Hillbillies.
It is time to get rid of the old and start all over again.
We have worked so hard to get to where we are today. We earned it.
I never would have guessed all the sacrifices that we made would pay off.
It’s time to pop the champagne!