Here we go….

June 16, 2011

Today is June 16th and in 11 days I’ll be 52.  I remember when we took out our first Mortgage on this house, it was for twenty years and I would be 53 when it was paid off.  Well, life happens I guess.  The truth is I don’t even know how much money we owe or how long it will be before it is paid off, but I’m not sure we will live long enough to see it. 

I though at that time that 53 was old.  There is that word again.  Old.  From Aunt Dorothy I learned that “old is twenty years older than however old you are.”  Last week from Susan Miller I learned that young is also twenty years younger.  She sat on my patio and told me how young I was and how much potential I had in front of me.   When I reminded her I was 52 she scoffed and repeated herself.

Maybe it is the focus that I’ve had on death these past 6 or seven months.  Maybe it’s the current state of our finances (i.e. the change jar IS the emergency fund)  Maybe it’s the rainy day and I’m just feeling sorry for myself.  Maybe it’s all of the above.  Maybe not.

At any rate, I’m sitting here on my vacation day trying to motivate myself to start preparing for the garage sale next weekend.  It is the reason I took the day off.  We are hoping for a very good sale; enough to pay for Susie’s bankruptcy Lawyer and maybe a little more.  The basement is full, so there is some hope.

But this morning writing seemed more important. I’ve avoided writing for at least these past 7 months and even longer if I am honest with myself.  I spill things out on paper I won’t let myself say out loud.  I told myself I was too busy, but judging from the number of games in my Wild Games account and the history on my Spider Solitaire, I was busy avoiding writing.  So here I am again ready to make a go of it.  I will not make myself promise a daily entry, but I’d like to start putting words together again.  Maybe even finish that book.

So here we go…..

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The exciting adventures of Middle Age

February 20, 2010

All of us have read endless pieces, blogged or otherwise, about the fun and excitement of being in your fifties.  You know the ones.  The pithy comments about how “leaky pipes” and all those ads promoting the latest cholesterol reducer that have new interest and meaning in your life.  Well, this isn’t about that.  (At least I hope not.)

This loss of youth recognition is brought to you by the latest visit to the surgical center, not for me, but this time for my spouse.  I’ll start off by saying her “nose job” to deal with an unrelenting sinus infection was a complete success and she is resting comfortably, cat on lap, in our living room. I am grateful for the technology, and thankful for the skill and I might add the bedside manner of her very well qualified surgeon.

As I sat in the waiting room, it occurred to me that this was a new beginning.  Although I know there will be future hours spent in waiting rooms while dealing with surgery for those I consider elderly, (remember, elderly is twenty years older than however old you are) there will be more and more moments like this one, where the person under the knife or in the emergency room is my contemporary.  We are of a certain age.  It is just that simple.

Well, shit. 

I know that I should be thankful for every day that me and those I love are healthy.  I am.  And I know that I should embrace the reality that life is never as long as you think it will be, and that none of us come out of it alive.  I do.  What is hard to let go of  is the belief we all have in our youth that we are ten foot tall and bulletproof.  It seems very recent since I would tackle a job involving a lot of time on my knees without giving it a thought.  Now… if I don’t think about it in advance, my knees will let me know for days afterwards.

So here we are, refilling our toolbox of life one more time for the next set of  projects.  This time I’m packing a cribbage board and friends to wait with me, a determination to laugh at the ads on TV, even if I am making mental notes to discuss the new meds with my doctor, and hopefully, a quiet acceptance of this new phase.  I have no choice but to move forward.  I might as well cling to my friends and laugh as I go.

Oh, and I think I’ll bring kneepads.

Empty nesting the lesbian way

February 14, 2010

Today I said my goodbyes to my Niece Laura who has been in our city and actively in our lives for the past 3 years.  She is the only member of my family to ever live close since I moved away, and even as a child we held a special relationship with her.  Tomorrow she leaves for Pennsylvania to sort through her things and move on to the next stage of her life, whatever that may bring.

It didn’t occur to me until I was saying goodbye today that this may well be the last time I see her for a very long time.  There is a family wedding we both hope to make in October, but there will be no local connection to the Krouch clan.  That includes no one dropping in unannounced, hoping for dinner, no long conversations about people we don’t know, no insight into the world of 2o-somethings.

I suspect that Susie is releaved.  She never quite got use to having someone just let themselves in or walk in without knocking.  That is not the Adamson way.  That is, however, the Krouch way, and I will miss it.  Not that Susie won’t miss Laura, too.  It just doesn’t mean the same thing to her.

So, that begs the question, what does it mean to me.

The relationship I have with my niece is different from the one I have with my friends because she is family.  There is an expectation of understanding, tolerance and generosity that is always there and need not be earned or can not be denied.  Although it is abundant, it is not limitless, so unspoken but understood boundaries exist.  This all was programmed in our raising.  It is as comfortable and familiar as home, and in that lies the magic.

My childhood home contained those things, “an expectation of understanding, tolerence and generosity”.  It is difficult to find those things out here in the real world.  Out here, they must be earned, and rightly so.  Having Laura in town gave me a glimpse into the safety and comfort I enjoyed as a child.

I always knew I would miss her once she moved on from here.  Now I understand why.

Ohh.. Get Over It!

February 13, 2010

The grumpiness of yesterday lifted with this morning’s sunrise.  First of all, the sun rose.  I mean you could actually see the sun!  There have been so many gray and cloudy mornings that I missed how much lighter it is at my normal waking hour than it was this time last month.  The evenings are lighter too.  It is a very good thing.

After pondering yesterday’s events, specifically the reduction of my hours, I decided I was being foolish.  This is an opportunity to re-do my work schedule both at my regular job and on my side work.  So today I re-met with my boss and asked her if I could work three half days and one full day, allowing me to have a full day off for side projects.  I reasoned that I could do a whole room in a day if I had the whole day to do it, where it might take me three half days because of the repeated prep and cleanup when the day starts and is over.  I haven’t gotten the OK yet, but when we rehashed yesterday’s conversation, SHE cried.  And I think she meant it.

And even if I can’t change to a 4 day work week, working all five days as half days will give my side work better rhythm.  I often hesitate starting a job on Monday because I know I won’t be back till Wednesday.  If I work all five mornings that will no longer be a problem.

So I guess I’m taking one for the team.  I suggested to my boss that she tell my co-workers instead of me and gave her permission to show how not meeting  THEIR  goals has an impact beyond their paychecks.  It impacts mine.  So did I just give her permission to apply Catholic Guilt (intentional caps).  More accurately, did I just suggest she do it?  I did!

The Joys of Employment

February 12, 2010

I know I am not the only under-employed.  Just among my friends  are more than I can count on two hands.  And then there are the unemployed.  “At least,” I tell myself, “you have a job.”  And not just a job, but a part-time job with health benefits for both you and your partner.

Today I was reminded that it is a damn good thing I have a partner.  My hours were cut to the minimum necessary to keep my benefits.  Both good news and bad news all in one sentence.  At this point, after taxes, garnishment for past taxes and co-pay for insurance I’ll bring home less than $150.00 a week.  And I really can’t afford to quit because of the insurance.  So Susie keeps the roof over our head, and I buy insurance, one tank of gas and as many groceries as I can squeeze out of the rest.

Ouch.

I was never rich monetarily.  I have said all my life that I have been rich in friends and loved ones, and I still am.  But this one is hard to get my head around.

I guess the part I resent is the broad sword that was used here.  All part time people had their hours cut.  My boss has repeatedly told me how much I add to the team, and I even beleave her.  But I am the only one taking a pay cut here.  It’s hard not to be bitter about that. 

Welcome to working for a multinational corporation.  No matter how much you are fed that your contributions are unique, you are still a number at the end of the day.

I wonder if I had used this approach if I would still be in business.

just a thought…

February 9, 2010

When you start to look the world keeps reminding you.  From todays Ask Master Class:

“Going into an Ask thinking they will say no is a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

OK world.  You have my attention.

Familiarity and familes (or being close and being far away)

February 7, 2010

Yesterday was the make-up Christmas day with the in-laws.  at first we thought we might be snowed out again as we were on Christmas day, but no such luck.  The day was mostly uneventful, except for my growing irritation with my brother-in-law.  But we escaped unscathed.

Or maybe not.  Visits with the in-laws always remind me of the thousand plus miles between myself and my family.  The differences between our families is huge but could be summed up this way:  my parents raised us believing we could do anything we wanted to do if we worked hard enough.  The in-laws raised their kids believing failure was the norm and everything that goes wrong is someone elses fault.  Fortunately, as we always joke as we leave the in-laws house, we got my spouse out of there just in time!  Although she struggles with her roots, she is a take charge kind of girl.

So how is it that my family, who we both love and love us, are far away and her family is here in town?  My “exile” from my birthplace was self-induced.  I came here with a job, met my spouse, and stayed even after the job was gone.  We have made our home here for 28 years.  Every step of the way it has been my choice.  But I still get homesick.  And my partner knows that when we get in the car to leave after a visit, she’s driving because I’m crying.

I think the real reason for my closeness to my family may have a lot to do with my distance from them.  I do not live in their day-to-day world, nor they in mine.  The little irritations I experience with the in-laws are spawned by familiarity.  Every visit to my family is a celebration.  It is no wonder then that I get homesick!  How can you not miss a place where you are special every time.

It follows then that the loss of that “home” is hard for me to even consider let alone take hold of and accept.  And yet I know that is inevitable.  So I’m shifting gears.  From this day forward I will celebrate the time I have left with my parents and let go of the fear of loosing them.

 Big words.  But this is how I mean to do it.  The gift my parents gave to me by their presence in my life was the gift of self-worth.  The belief (see above) that I could do anything I want to do if I work hard enough.  It is time to believe that again.  It is time to stop beating myself up about my failures and creat new successes.  It is what they taught me to do, and doing it will be my farewell song to them.

Discovering loss and grieving

February 6, 2010

Missing Amy – Discovering Loss and Grieving

 To start with, this is not about death and dying.  I am happy to report that Amy is not dead, nor anyone else in my close circle of family and friends.  Amy is on an adventure of her own right now, trying to find her new home (seekinghome.blogspot.com).  And yes, I miss her.  But this blog is about the other losses in life, some big and some small.  The lost jobs, lost friends, lost favorite flower in your garden of life.

Say you’re feeling low and a friend asks why, if you tell them that you are grieving, they ask who died.  As a result, you stuff all the little grieving for the other losses deep inside.  For most of us it doesn’t come out until someone does die.  I have found myself at the funeral of an acquaintance crying my guts out.  People must have thought the departed was someone near and dear to me.  But actually, I was letting go of all the bottled up grief in a place where it was OK to grieve.

 Lately, there have been a lot of little losses, and some big losses. I have muddled through each event with various results, managing to avoid both alcoholism and suicide.  But I haven’t thought I managed it particularly well.  It took me a long time to realize that I WAS grieving, then even longer to realize I didn’t really know how to do that.  As a result, I feel stuck.

So that is why I’m starting this blog.

One recent afternoon over cribbage and cocktails, Amy pointed out that we are what we think we are, and that making changes in our lives require making changes in our thoughts.  It is my intention to learn to understand loss and grieving so that I can change the way I think, embrace the grief, and move on.

I will share the losses and the process on this page.  You are welcome to join me on the journey.  Let’s get started.

Hello world!

February 5, 2010

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