Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bolt and Run

I've been away for too long.  So I stopped in for a visit today, peeking around corners, getting the feel for old familiar rooms and faces.  My balance has been out of kilter.  I tend to focus on one thing intensely for a while and then remember to swing back to me.  I was in the process of re-designing my life when, whack, a major hit to the heart and head stopped me dead in my tracks.  It has to to with this phone call.  She may be living with us for quite a while.  This may be her "forever home" as she calls it.  Maybe not.  We don't know for sure yet how things will play out.  But I love her and have accepted whatever comes.  

I got a dog a couple of months ago.  I needed something to cuddle.  Something to distract me from my overactive mind.  Sounded like a good idea.  I love this little guy, too.  But I didn't expect to have five people at once in my tiny 975 sq. ft house at one time.  And I didn't expect that my youngest daughter, home for summer from college, would have such a strong allergic reaction to him.

My real estate career is frustrating.  I'm not sure it's going in the direction that I would like for it to.  My thoughts are scattered.  I lack focus these days.  A friend suggested Xanax but I prefer my red wine in the evenings.  I need to feel what I feel in order to work through it, not cover it up.  Sometimes I think I'm handling everything well and other times, I can't catch my breath and I feel like a ferret bouncing from room to room.  That I'm a failure.  That I lack what it takes.  That I'm getting old.  That it's too late to change.  But then again, I'm hard on myself and I recognize that I'm living in my head too much instead of doing.  And I come back here and write it all out and by the end of the page, I'm feeling lighter.

And I remember how much I need this.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Growing Pains

     It is February in Louisiana which means two things: gray skies and rain.  On this particular day, I have a team meeting.  I've recently started a new career as a real estate agent, only two months in, and I've yet to go to a team meeting.  This is all so new to me.  This is going to be my year of growth.  I tell myself that daily, over and over again.  I knew going into this that my biggest obstacle wouldn't be the laws governing real estate, or my lack of mortgage knowledge, or even my lack of computer knowledge.  My biggest obstacle would be me.  Or more specifically, my thought life.  My thought life, which leans toward the cynical and the self-deprecating.  My thought life, which can be negative and difficult to silence.  And of course it's raining today.  It has been for five days.

     I just turned 48 and my body is changing.  I'm beginning a new career at the beginning of a major life change.  The irony is not lost on me.  My children are out of the nest and when they are home, although I'm happy to see them, I'm unsettled when they're here. This makes me feel guilty and odd.  I don't understand it.  I suppose it's because when they're home, my process of evolving becomes stagnant.  I go back into good old Mom mode.  I don't know how to express to them that I am changing and I'm not even sure that I should.  It feels personal and so private.  And honestly, I don't think they really care right now.  They're not uncaring children, but they are young and with that, mostly self-involved.   It's an effort to pull out my positive words to help them push through this phase of young adulthood.  I find my mind drifting while they talk about school and their friends and the latest movies or problems that they're having.  But then again, I find my mind drifting often these days.  It isn't that I don't care.  Maybe the last two years, that last and final push to get them out of the nest, has left me exhausted.  This is my time, I think.  Please be quiet.

     And even this new career is partly for them, too.  I want them to be proud of me.  I want to inspire them.  I'm tired of the lack of money.  I'm tired of just getting by. As my family grows, so do their needs.  I want to help them get started.  Co-sign for a new car loan? Sure.  Help with a down-payment on their first house?  You bet.  Rent a huge beach house so we can all get away for a week or two?  Absolutely.  And then there's my aging parents.  They have no retirement, no pension, no 401K.  My father works nights at a nice hotel downtown and my mother works two days a week still for an optical doctor.  They're 68 and 69 and should be retired, or close to it.  I want to buy them a house and take them on vacation, too.  I want health insurance for my family.  I need glasses and dental work.  I want.   And what's wrong with that? Nothing.  Nothing at all. 

     So, today, I make myself shower and get dressed and head out in the cold rain to the office for the team meeting.  I don't want to go and this is why I know I have to go.  The part of me that doesn't want to put herself out there because she's not good enough, not smart enough, not interesting enough, really has to be silenced.  Because I'm pretty sure she's a big, fat liar.  I'm pretty sure that if I don't change what I do today, that tomorrow will be the same.  Cold and rainy and lacking.

     The meeting is good.  It's very positive, very win-win, very motivational.  And at the end, there is a drawing from the "money bag" for each agent who had a listing in the month of January.  There is one hundred dollar bill, one fifty dollar bill, three twenties and forty one dollar bills.  I'm the second to last to draw and mostly, everyone has drawn dollar bills and a couple of fives so I dig deep in the bag, searching for that 100 dollar bill.  My odds are pretty good and all the while I'm thinking, "See?  This is confirmation that you needed to come today.  You'll probably draw the hundred dollars and wouldn't be that be just perfect?"

     But I didn't.  I drew a one dollar bill.  And even though I really needed that money, I'm kind of glad I didn't get it.  Because that would be too easy and this year isn't going to be about easy.  Growing pains never are. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

My mom is cuter than your mom...

I'm falling in love with my mother all over again.  We haven't always had the best relationship, not the worse, but at some point, teenager years I'm sure, we drifted apart.  Mostly because we're so different and she had no earthly idea what to do with me or how to deal with me when I was younger.  And I didn't understand her either, for that matter.  Honestly, I judged her harshly when I was younger.  My daughters have done the same thing with me at times...what goes around, comes around.

My mother grew up very sheltered.  She's very innocent when it comes to the ways of the world.  She doesn't drink, never smoked, and has never cursed.  I remember once when I was a little girl, I heard her call my Dad a "titty-baby".  That was it for her.  The mother of all curse words.  I was a little wild, drank a lot, smoked and cursed...a lot.  Not that she knew that.  I worked very hard to keep it from her.  I take that back, one time she saw me smoking.  I was 20 and waiting for her to pick me up from the downtown bus station.  I'd had a really rough summer living in Destin, Florida and needed to come home to get my head together and rest.  She arrived early and when she rounded the corner and saw me sitting on a bench, duffle bag at my feet, with a cigarette in my hand, she cried. It broke my heart.

But these last 10 years or so, things have changed.  For me, things really started to change when my girls became teenagers and I saw myself in them.  And the way they treated me sometimes.  And the way I treated my mother all those years ago.  And the way she must have felt.  Not that my daughters are wild and rebellious, they're aren't.  They're good girls.  But there have been plenty of moments when they have made me feel like the most ridiculous, unintelligent woman on the face of the earth with one withering glance.

My mother, at the age of 68, is changing, too.  She's becoming more independent.  She's trying new things.  She texts like a 13 year old girl.

Mom's text:  have i told u how much i luv u 4evr?

Me:  I love you too, Mom!

Mom:  Sweet.

So stinkin' adorable.

Last week, she bought a Kindle Fire.  We've had a few tutoring sessions as she has never, ever, even turned on the computer at their house.  The internet is a foreign concept to her.  Please.  Email?  No clue.  Pandora blew her away.  I don't blame blows me away, too.  She calls me and asks me how to wake up her Kindle, how to compose an email, how to turn it off, and how to turn it back on.   She wants to learn how to put her things "up in the cloud" as she says.  She needs lots of apps, she says, because all the girls at work have apps.  What is an app, by the way, she asks? 

The first day she bought it, after a two-hour long tutoring session at Starbucks, I reminded her how to purchase books at Amazon.

"Oh, no...I'm not buying books for this thing.  I only read real books," she said.

"Never?" I asked, "Because it's pretty cool to buy a book and never have to leave your house!  It's right there!  Instantly!"

"Naah....I just want to learn how to transfer money from my savings to my checking account.  Oh yeah, and I want to shoot people emails.  I definitely want to do that."

So adorable.  

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Put the Crazy back in the Closet

I admit I don't follow politics very much.  I'm not alone in this.  A lot of people have grown tired of the endless child-like arguing between the parties and tune out.  I'm registered as a Democrat but haven't always voted that way.  I consider the candidate when I vote.  But over the years, and especially these last four years, the extreme Republicans seem to have lost their ever-loving minds.  There's a mob mentality, "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out", sort of feverish pitch to their rhetoric.  For all their talk against big government telling them what to do, they sure do spend a lot of time telling everyone else what to do.  And how to believe.  And who to marry.  And all in the name of God.  It isn't the first time that God has been used to further people's agendas.  You don't want to marry someone of the same sex? Then don't.  You don't believe in abortion?  Then don't have one.  You think everyone on welfare are lazy, opportunist tearing down this country?  They aren't.  I'm a Christian.  I've had an abortion.  I've been on welfare.  I haven't married someone of the same sex because I'm not homosexual. When I see posts on facebook telling me that as a Christian, if I care about my country, I better vote Republican, I see that as bullying.  I see that as pushy.  I see that as a complete manipulation and slap in the face to the God that I believe in.  And I don't want any part of it. 

There are other issues, besides the ones I've mentioned, that this writer, Jane Devin, addresses.  For me, she nailed it. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Thoughts about empty nests and Hurricane Isaac

A week and a half ago, I moved my daughter into her dorm at LSU.  LSU is in Baton Rouge.  Baton Rouge is about an hour away from New Orleans.   She's the last of my three children to leave the nest.  I've been writing about nothing else except for preparing for the empty next for about eighteen months now.  I'm fully prepared.

I've got this.  

I grieved for a few days but now I'm getting used to it.  My bathroom stays clean for more than two hours.  So does the kitchen.  My grocery bill is like eleven dollars and 32 cents.

And now Hurricane Isaac is moving in.

1.  I've adjusted, rejoiced even, in my new empty nest status.  I think I can get used to this.  The crying was minimum.  As I said, I prepared in advance for this.  Hell, I've been preparing for turning 50 since I turned 31.  I've been preparing for the empty next FOREVER. 

2.  They are coming home.  Classes have been cancelled.  I'm glad. 

3.  I've barely had time to adjust to my clean bathroom and my tiny, grocery bill.

4.  Isaac means "laughter."

5.  I'm glad I only have a handful of readers so I don't get pummeled with comments about how heartless I am about the approaching hurricane and how its name means "laughter."

6.  It's not funny.  I get that.

7.  Life is strange.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Girl

When my son was younger I prayed that one day he would find the right woman for him.  That she would get him, encourage him, make him a better man, be a good mother to their children.  I prayed that often.  I pray the same thing for my daughters.  Because I know how important that is...I know how getting involved with the wrong person can set you off on the wrong path for years. 

When he met Samantha, we call her Sam, I wasn't so sure. 

It's been rough for the both of them, for sure.  But I continue to be amazed by her.  She is the woman I prayed for.  She is strong.  She is smart.  She is funny.  She is an amazing mother.  She is always herself, never making apologies.  She calls him out when he needs it because she loves him, not because she has to be right.  In short, she sees my son the same way I see him and fights for their marriage and their family.

She has become a daughter to me and I just wanted you to meet her.  I don't feel free to tell her story here and how she's evolved because it's her story, not mine.  But I can tell you she means the world to me.  And I'm so proud of the woman she's become.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ahhh..beach time

I made it to the beach, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina a couple of weeks ago.  This is the place where I feel most at home, most relaxed, most content.  Not necessarily Myrtle Beach, any beach, anywhere.  It's been five years and so long overdue and all I can say is...ahhh.  

I feel so much better. 

This older gentlemen walked the beach everyday, same time every evening.  I can think of nothing I'd like better when I'm his age.

Watching the seagull, watching the waves.

  The sweetest sister in the entire universe, my sister, Pammy.  

 The boardwalk.  

 This is my, youngest, Sara.  She was so pleasant, so easy-going and so much fun for the entire trip.  Stevey couldn't make it because she's having her own beach time in Los Angeles while she's interning at Current/Elliott.

My Mom, on the left, and her sister. 

 My beautiful nieces.

Did I mention it was a girls only trip?

This visit ought to hold me over for another year.  I'll never let this much time pass between beach trips.

And one day, I will own a little beach cottage. I will.

And this song will constantly be playing in the background.