When Worlds Collide Part 1

You hear people talk about “rock bottom”.  For me, rock bottom was a nearly three-year period in my life, from 1993 to about the middle of 1996.

In late 1994, I left my first husband and began what would end up being one of the most painful times of my life.  Our separation was as ugly as our marriage had become and getting over him and the loss of the life I’d thought we’d share together was painful and long.

 

14344814_1756169254637766_7620597339186167284_n
Mini-Me and I, 1994-95

 

The summer of 1995, a friend and I decided to go to the flea market (jockey lot) and walk around just to get me out of the house.  I was working three jobs at the time and single parenting Mini-Me.  My social life was non-existent and I rarely left the house except to go to work.

While we were at the flea market, we ran across a table with a small tear-drop camper parked behind it and a sign for a reading of the future from the resident gypsy.

At the time, I didn’t know if I believed in all of that stuff or not, but it seemed like a fun idea to see what she’d say.

My friend, we’ll call her “T”, and I figured that we’d go in together and she’d tell us some outlandish crap, we’d get a laugh and a funny memory and be on our way.

As we approached the camper, the door opened.  She was everything you’d expect a gypsy fortune-teller to be.  Multi-colored flowing dress with a headwrap to match.  A dark olive complexion and dark eyes.

She sized us up and down and motioned to T to come inside.  I started to follow and she stopped me and said that she would speak to us separately.  I thought it was odd because in every movie I’d ever seen with a fortune teller in it, the person getting the reading and any number of friends, family, and relatives pile in around the table with them, but it was her show, so I did as I was told and waited outside.

I’d hoped I could at least hear them, but I couldn’t hear a word.  After about 15 minutes, T comes out with an odd look on her face.  After exchanging a long look between us, she nodded towards the door of the camper and I hesitantly walked inside.

I guess I expected a crystal ball, but there was none in sight.  The lighting was softer than I’d expected in broad open daylight and I found it hard to see for a moment.  When my eyes adjusted, I was motioned to sit across a small two person table from the gypsy and I took my seat.

She reached across the table and held out her hand for mine.

After gazing at my palm for what felt like a very uncomfortable eternity, she looked up at me and said,

“The one that you have lost was not the one for you, although your heart believed that he was.  You have received what you were meant to gain from that relationship and its time has passed.”

“I see travel in your future.  You will travel some distance to find the one that is meant for you.  I see a tall man in a uniform.  Red hair.  He is the one you are meant to find.”

At the time, I was caught off guard but as T and I compared stories later, I decided that although she’d hit the nail on the head about “the one I had lost”, she clearly was mistaken about the rest.  I was a single mom with a toddler and three jobs.  I couldn’t even afford to pay my whole power bill at one time and still eat.  There was no way I’d be traveling anywhere.  I promptly put the whole thing out of my mind and went on with my life.

1996 did not start out as a good year.  My first marriage had ended once and for all (we did the get back together and split up again thing for a bit before I finally managed to make myself stay away from him) the year before, not long after my encounter with the gypsy, and all of the ugliness that’s associated with people getting divorced who have a child, especially when one seems to make it their personal mission in life to hurt the other person as much as possible, was finally over.  He’d done his worst, and I’d survived it, but just barely.

15421008_1797252287196129_1233704057652229673_n
My Papa

There was a day towards the very end of it all when I found myself sitting in my garden tub crying as hard as I’d ever cried in my life and thinking about how easy it would be to just let myself sink down under the water and not come back up.  To be honest, even all these years later, I know that the only thing that really stopped me that day was knowing that my grandfather, who’d come to live with me to help out with Mini-Me, who was two and a half, would be the one to find me and I was afraid that the shock of it would kill him.

I didn’t realize it then, but I was having a nervous/mental/emotional breakdown.  What I needed more than anything at the time was for one of the people who claimed to care for me to put me in the hospital where I could get some help, but as is usually the case with people who are suicidal, my family didn’t notice that I was not doing nearly as well as I tried to act like I was.

What ended up happening was that I somehow ended up in another state, standing at the front door of a friend from high school and her husband’s house with a bag, a picture of Mini-Me clutched to my chest and a piece of paper with their address on it.  I have no memory of going there.  Even now, no one, including me, knows how I got there.  I had no car, no money…and no memory of at least three days.

According to my friend, we’ll call her “SR” and her husband “TR”, I spent several weeks in a kind of daze on their couch, barely speaking or eating.  I remember bits and pieces of those weeks now, but not much.

When I finally started to pull out of it, I decided I needed to get a job while I figured out what I was doing.  I was too embarrassed about just showing up like that unannounced on their doorstep to ask them to give me money to get back home, so I figured a job was a good place to start to get myself back together.

It was a military town, TR was in the Army and was stationed there.  They lived off-post in apartments and all up and down the main drag were bars.  I ended up landing a job at a little place called the Rock N’ Rave as a waitress, even though I was only 20 and technically not old enough to serve alcohol.  I guess the lady that hired me, who I became very fond of, by the way, saw something in my eyes that day and decided I was worth the risk.

I’d been working there a few weeks, long enough to start getting good at my job (I’d worked waiting tables since I was 15, but never in a bar and my knowledge of alcoholic drinks was more limited than you might imagine for 20 year old).  I’d started to get to know my co-workers and was even making friends with some of them.

One day I was scheduled to open, which meant that I had to be there late afternoon/early evening before the bar opened so that I could get the tables set up, get the kitchen up and ready and all of the things waitresses do before customers show up.

I was in the main room alone with my back to the door setting up tables when every little hair on the back of my neck stood up and a chill ran down my back.  It totally had the vibe of a Final Destination movie after all the characters start to realize that Death is stalking them and some kind of close-call happens.

I turned around and looked at the door to see a soldier in BDU’s standing there looking back at me.  He had red hair.

 

12717460_1673405892914103_5345269506392284345_n
Draco when he enlisted nearly 3 years before we met

My reaction was instant.  I threw a “we’re closed” over my shoulder, spun on my heel and headed for the kitchen where one of my coworkers had gone and immediately told them there was someone at the door, could they please go see what they needed.

In spite of the odd look they gave me, they went out and talked to him and when I finally came out of the kitchen, he was gone.

TO BE CONTINUED….

 

Cha-cha-changes…

Mini-Me got married Friday night in spite of what seemed like one problem after

19029517_425736561146839_3103473335025451382_n
Mini-Me’s Wedding 6-9-17

another.  Nearly everything that could go wrong did, and yet we still managed to pull off a wonderful wedding for her somehow.

 

I even ended up getting ordained again so that I could officiate their wedding.  I had to let Chicklet perform the actual ceremony though because I could not stop crying.

They spent their honeymoon at Lake Keowee State Park.  A beautiful place and their campsite had a lovely view.

We spent some of our Sunday there after having the grandbaby all weekend so that Mini-Me and The Pain could have some alone-time.  When we got there, they told us they had rented the site for an extra night and offered it to us.

We weren’t able to stay overnight due to the fact that the air mattress they’d taken sprung a leak Friday night and wouldn’t stay inflated and we didn’t have 19059601_1882819108639446_5566190478237499836_ntime before dark Sunday to see if we could find the leak.  We stayed until late, a few hours after the kids all left, and it was soothing to both of us after all of the stress we’ve been under lately.

We sat in the pitch black dark by a dying fire with the sounds of the water lapping at the shore and talked about things we’ve been needing to say for a long time and contemplated how easy it is for two people who love each other more than their next breaths, to lose sight of each other in the stress and hustle and bustle of adulting.  We reconnected in a way that I’d become uncertain that we ever would again and it was amazing.  Rediscovering each other was almost as wonder as when we first found each other nearly 21 years ago.

The hard reality is, we’ve been in trouble for a while.  Somewhere along the way, we lost19059081_1881714075416616_866955883426286232_n each other and forgot exactly what it was that brought us together.  The “D” word has even been mentioned, although no one took any steps in that direction and I honestly didn’t want either of us to.  Neither did he, but we’d also both reached a point where it was starting to look kind of hopeless.  It seemed like the harder we tried to fix it, the worse things got.

A lot of things can be said in the dark that can’t be said in the light, I suppose, and I’ve had some of my most profound conversations in the dark, I just never thought we’d one day need the dark to be able to communicate with each other.  Adulting is hard, ya’ll.

Monday was kind of an easy and playful day.  We both knew that since we’d finally broken through the communication barrier, that there were other things we needed to talk over, but neither of us wanted to then.  Instead, we waited until Tuesday and spent the day talking while we did things around the house to recover from the wedding/weekend with a grandbaby/day at the lake.

I also spent a fair amount of time Tuesday working on organization and overhauling my budget, calendar, routines, etc.  With all of the stuff that’s been going on the last few months as we tried to start pulling everything together for Mini-Me’s wedding, everything got out of whack.  The bills, my ability to feel like I was getting any of my “regular” stuff done and even my ability to find time to eat and rest properly.

I’ve barely eaten or slept more than three hours at a time in what feels like months and it was really starting to take its toll on my mental and emotional state, which was taking its toll on every other part of my life.

I’m a creature of habit.  Routines are good for me and always have been.  Getting too far away from them causes total chaos in my life.  That’s one of the reasons the FlyLady system fit me so perfectly.

So, it’s been crazy.  Really crazy.  I’m going to try to find time to start writing again regularly.  I’ve had people tell me for years that I needed to write some of my memories and experiences down and I’ve been thinking about that very thing lately.  I’ve especially been thinking about writing down mine and Draco’s story the last few days as I’ve fought to get my life back under control.

At any rate, I’ll leave you with a pic of me and my girls from Friday, right before we all went out for the wedding…

 

18921926_1881101755477848_9132174310480543617_n
Left to right:  Chicklet, Lizzy, Me and Mini-Me

 

 

 

 

SOC Sunday ~ 5/7/17

What a week!  Things have been even crazier than usual around The Lair this week.

Mini-Me had oral surgery to remove an impacted wisdom tooth and was put under for the first time on Wednesday.20170503_135622

Bless her heart.  She looks so pitiful all curled up on my couch and to Dutchess, our pug.

Overall, she handled it like a champ.  I got a video of her coming out with The Pain after it was over and a few more of the car ride after where she was laid over on my shoulder, petting my arm and telling me how soft my arm was, lol.  It reminded me of when she was little.

There’s been a lot going on with Paul’s job, too.  The store manager was at a seminar most of the last week and he was the fill-in manager while she was gone.  He worked over 50 hours in five days and finished off the week with nearly 60 hours.  Tonight he goes on 3rd shift for a least a few days, possibly for the week while the regular 3rd shift clerk is out with some medical issues.

Tonight he goes on 3rd shift for a least a few days, possibly for the week while the regular 3rd shift clerk is out with some medical issues.

13076846_1706324652955560_1706337904584486464_n
My beast

Chicklet had my truck off and on all week since the transmission went out on her truck at the beginning of the week, and went on a camping trip Friday and Saturday and came back yesterday evening.  And speaking of my truck, I got a Facebook notification the other day saying we’ve had the truck for a year now!

Having the house to ourselves would have been great, except, of course, Paul’s phone didn’t stop ringing.  Sometimes I think his number is the only one those people know!

Yesterday, Paul and I spent most of the day in the kitchen rearranging.  We’re in the process of doing a whole house reorganizing and the kitchen was the first stop.

To me, if my kitchen is out of sorts, then I can’t get, or keep, myself together.  I’ve been unhappy with the way the kitchen was set up since we moved in.  Nothing felt like it really had a home.  We moved in in such a rush due to weather issues last winter with it deciding to finally to snow while we were supposed to be moving that we just kind of crammed everything wherever we could fit it.  I’ve tried to organize it here and there since we moved in, but I finally realized that mild reorganizing wasn’t going to fix the problem.

I wish I’d gotten before and after pictures but with his phone ringing off the hook and him even having to leave for a couple of hours to go help with something at work, I forgot.

I still need to paint and redo the kitchen table, but just having it organized better and less cluttered has helped tremendously!

This morning while making coffee, I looked out the kitchen window, which has become

20170507_094124
Magnolia Bloom at The Lair Spring 2017

kind of a habit of mine and one of our two magnolia trees that are on the property is right outside that window.  I noticed that there are the beginnings of blooms all over it!

Of course, I should have known based on how congested I was when I woke up this morning.  I have chronic rhinitis and one of my worst allergy triggers is tree pollen, so this time of year, and again in the fall, are two of my worst times for allergies.

Ironically enough, Spring and Fall are my two most favorite seasons for the exact reason my allergies get so bad, lol.

That little pod though, that’s what’s got my allergies in such an uproar this morning!

But, they are beautiful when they bloom (Magnolias and Weeping Willows are my two favorite trees) and allergies or no, I feel blessed to have two rather large ones on our property.

Well, that’s been the highlights of my week.  What have you been up to this week?  I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment and give me some of the highlights of your week!

fire-2134185_960_7201

 

52 Week Blog Challenge ~ Week 4

If you missed Weeks One, Two and Three, you can find them by following the links.

This weeks prompt is Top 5 Places I’d Like to Visit.  This one is hard for me since I can’t really travel much anymore.

13615407_1728881887366503_6566130084186107801_n

Last year, we drove all the way to Florida to see TimberLeaves and the trip was super hard for me.  By the time we got there, I was exhausted and in a lot of pain, not exactly how you want to start your visit with someone you haven’t seen in 20 years.

Now, when I think of the places I’d like to visit, I wonder if I’ll ever actually get to see any of them, but it never hurts to dream!

  1. Scotland – It’s beautiful.  I’d like to see the lochs and rolling green hills.
  2. Whales – I found out I’m Welsh on my bio father’s side.  Explains the red in my hair and the blue eyes, I suppose.
  3. China and/or Japan – I’ve always felt a connection to Asian art and culture and I think it looks beautiful over there.
  4. Titanic – Again, something I’ve always felt drawn to.  I’d love to spend some time over where the remains of the Titanic are and pay my respects to those who perished.
  5. New Orleans – I’ve always wanted to attend Marti Gras and walk the Garden District that I heard so much about in one of my favorite Ann Rice series, The Mayfair Witches.

An odd little list, but those are my top five places I’d like to visit one day.

SOC Sunday ~ Week in Review

This week has been busy.  Mini-Me is attempting to plan a wedding that is now just over a month away and has now turned into a wedding in my front yard.

The transmission went out in Chicklet’s truck, so I had to go help get her and her truck home and now we’re sharing my truck or I’m running her if I have to have it, too.

I’ve been staying so busy with family that I’ve been having a hard time getting things done around here when they’re supposed to be getting done and by the end of the day, I can barely stand up.

My allergies have been raging out of control as well.  All the pollen.  Everything looks beautiful blooming out there, but it’s wreaking havoc on my sinuses.

Paul and I have also been trying to sort out some things between us.  It’s still a work in progress, but at least we’re trying.

Because I feel so crappy, today’s post will be short.  I hope you all had a beautiful weekend!

Here are the links to a couple of posts from earlier in the week, just in case you missed them.

This one is about the FlyLady System that I follow in my own home (usually).

This one was my 52-week blog challenge post for this week.

And here is the one I did about using up the left-over shampoo, soap and conditioner you might have lying around the house.

Frugal Living ~ Using Things Up

So, I was working in my bedroom recently and noticed a plastic tub that had gotten set on the bottom of a shelf and forgotten about.  As I looked through this tub, I realized that there were many partial bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotions and the like hiding in there.  Some of it is from where we moved a couple months ago and things just kind of got shoved here and there and I haven’t had a chance to organize things yet

As I looked through this tub, I realized that there were many partial bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotions and the like hiding in there.  Some of it is from where we moved a couple months ago and things just kind of got shoved here and there and I haven’t had a chance to organize things yet (it’s a much slower process when you’re disabled and have to take things in chunks).

Mostly, it’s where I tried using different brands of things and decided I didn’t care for it or where the shampoo outlived the conditioner and I bought a set of a different fragrance and put up the last little bit for “another time” that sometimes never comes.

Now, the FlyLady says “You can’t organize clutter”, and I agree with her, but I am also a very frugal person and it’s hard for me to throw away something that I know there’s nothing really wrong with if I can find a way to repurpose it.

So, here are a few ideas for using those bits and blobs of shampoo and conditioner that you have sitting around:

  1. Use old shampoo for cleaning.  The FlyLady also says, “Soap is soap”, and that’s something I agree with.  Those little bits of shampoo can be used to clean your sink, tub, toilet, etc.
    • One great idea is to put a little shampoo or body wash in the bottom of your toilet brush holder.  Whenever you pull it out for “Swish and Swipe”, there’s already soap on the brush!
  2. Use leftover conditioner to shave your legs instead of shaving cream.
  3. Use leftover conditioner to make homemade fabric softener.

I may come back and add to this post at a later date after I get some of the household cleaner recipes I personally use posted, but these are some ideas to get you started.

Do you use those bits and blobs of leftover hair and body products for something else?  I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

What’s a FlyBaby and why I follow this system?

Just a note:  I am not affiliated with FlyLady or her website in any way.  I do not get paid for anything to do with her or her system.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not associated with any type of monetary gain, I just think she’s awesome!  🙂 


So, what’s a FlyBaby?  A FlyBaby is a term coined by The Original FlyLady, Marla Cilley, to describe the people who follow the FlyLady system.  It’s a term of endearment she uses when speaking to her “FlyBabies”.

I first found The FlyLady about 10 years ago thanks to my sister-of-the-heart, TimberLeaves.  I was a young mother, Mini-Me was about 13 years old and had just come to live with me full-time.  My entire life was in an uproar, but my house was in C.H.A.O.S., or Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrom.  (This is also a term coined by The FlyLady which basically means that my house was a mess and I was embarrassed for anyone to come over beyond one friend who’s house was in worse shape than mine.)

I was just over 30 and that was one of those milestone ages for me.  I was so stressed over my weight, my home, my life, my marriage, everything.  I was helping one of my best friends, SweetPea, raise her three special-needs teens as well.  Then my teenage daughter who had lived with my first husband for 10 years suddenly decided she wanted to live with us.  To say my life was a literal madhouse would be an understatement.

Although I’d been raised by a woman who I distinctly recall on her hands and knees in six-inch heels and a dress, cleaning the corners of the kitchen floor with a toothbrush when I was very young (my mother was very OCD and a clean-freak), it seemed that I had not gotten that gene, a fact that greatly disturbed my mother and caused us many problems throughout my life.

Dust coated everything in my house.  Clutter was everywhere.  Mt. Washmore was climbing the walls.  Paul had a very bad habit of sticking dirty dishes in the oven and not telling me they were there and I was too unorganized to remember to check myself.  My refrigerator was a science project unto itself.

I was disorganized and overwhelmed, something that it seemed like I always was.  It seemed like the only good habits I’d developed as an adult were meal planning, frugal shopping and keeping the pantry organized.

Truth be told, when I first found FlyLady, all I did was “flutter”, another term used by The FlyLady to describe FlyBabies who tried to follow the system but couldn’t quite stick with it.  It helped, but I was still prone to Emergency Cleaning whenever my mother would call to say she was coming over and I was still in a constant state of stress 99% of the time.

I kept going back though.  Her system seemed like it should be so simple, yet I was having the hardest time with it and I couldn’t understand why.

Truth be told, it took me years to understand what I was doing wrong and a few more years to start to break the habits that were keeping me chained to my stress.  Looking back now, I realize part of the problem was that I was still young myself, but the biggest problem that was holding me back was perfectionism from being raised by an OCD mother that rarely did anything but clean and who constantly made me feel that my efforts at cleaning were not good enough.

When I would start back on FlyLady’s system, I was forgetting some of the principals her system is founded on.  No whining allowed. You can’t clean clutter.  You’re not behind, just jump in where you are.  And my favorite, Cleaning done imperfectly still blesses your family.

I was like my mom in that I was a housekeeping martyr.  When I did clean, I did Emergency Cleaning to the point that while I was happier with how the house looked, I was completely exhausted mentally and emotionally, then I guilt-tripped my family for all that I had done, and their part in letting it get that way, and was too tired, stressed and overwhelmed to keep up with it.

Before the accident, I felt that I had finally figured out the system and how to keep myself on track with it.  My house was reasonably clean at all times, I didn’t mind if someone stopped by unexpectedly, and I’d finally stopped stressing and obsessing over all the little details.  I stayed busy, but not so much so that I couldn’t get up and do it again the next day.

Then we had the accident.  We couldn’t go home for nearly 6 months because of my wheelchair and then my walker.  When we finally did go home, I was still in incredible pain, barely able to walk and unable to stand for more than a few minutes at a time.  Paul tried to help, bless his heart, but he’s no housewife, lol.

Eventually, I sent him back to work and then he didn’t have time to help.  I was improving my physical abilities, but it was still so hard.  I fell back into the old habits of guilt-tripping myself for all I wasn’t doing.

We moved in with Chicklet a few months ago, and I was overwhelmed by the state of her house, too.  An ex-girlfriend and some family that had lived with her had not done anything to help around the house and it had fallen into pretty bad shape while she worked insane hours and tried to have some kind of a social life.  Again with the bad habits, I busted my ass trying to do everything at once and burned myself out again physically, mentally and emotionally.

I was keeping up with the day-to-day stuff, but just barely and I realized I was entering that martyr mindset again.

Then this morning, I got up to dishes everywhere, clean laundry climbing out of a laundry basket, boxes all over my living room from trying to go through things that had just been shoved here and there when we moved, and the thing that sent me over the edge, Paul had to go into work and didn’t have clean work pants.

I had to shuffle clean clothes from basket to basket to get an empty basket to gather up the dirty clothes that were piled up on my bedroom floor.  I saw my unmade bed and realized that although I’d washed our sheets over a week ago, I never got them back on the bed.  I very nearly sat down and cried.

Instead, I put the clothes in the washer, made a cup of coffee and sat to down to evaluate what was happening and what I needed to do about it, a new habit I’ve been working on to try to manage my stress and anxiety.

I realized that while I thought I was following the FlyLady system, I really wasn’t.  I was missing the main principals again and was about to run head-first into a crisis cleaning that was only going to make me hurt again.

You’re not behind, just jump in where you are, right?  And while you’re at it, No Whining!

So far, I’ve gotten the dirty clothes washed, all the clean clothes folded, hung and put away including what I washed this morning.  I got dressed and fixed my hair.  I swished and swiped the bathroom and gathered all the dirty towels and rags to be changed out and started gathering trash from the small trash cans around the house.

In between when I sit down to rest, I’ve been writing this blog post and feel like I’m finally overcoming that weird kind of writer’s block I mentioned in my post about not sleeping and suffering from mild exhaustion.

It also helps that I have managed to sleep better the last two nights than I was for nine days straight.

It’s not even quite noon yet and already I feel like I’ve got a game plan, a healthy attitude and have made progress on the house.

Now, I’m off into the rest of my day.  Time to think about what’s for dinner and get something laid out and wash the dishes so I can shine my sink.  🙂


If you’re not familiar with The FlyLady, hop over to her website and check her out.  I also found a wonderful lady on YouTube named FlyLady Kat that follows the FlyLady system and she helps break things down and explains some of the steps in her videos!