Sunday, September 15, 2019

Alone...A Different Perspective

Today I went to the Picnic by the Bay Car Show.  Went with my friend, Sir, who's a car aficionado.  It's nice to do things like that with people who get it.  When I veer off to go look under the hood of some sweet looking 56 Chevy pickup, there's no eye roll and in fact, he answers my questions so that I become even more knowledgeable.  

But here's the thing.  As I walked through the car show, I had pangs of jealousy.  I'd love nothing more than to fix up an old favorite; to work in a shop with someone who could guide me through what to do.  A labor of love..  

The jealousy part comes in for all those couples who are able to have this amazing hobby because of dual income.  There's more freedom when it comes to that.

I know my last post was about my appreciation for being single.  That's still true.  However, I'm also keenly aware of the limitations that come with that - on the financial side.

My salary in IT allowed me to raise Auburn Aries on my own and we were, for the most part, comfortable.  I don't know how moms do it who are raising kids on income from working in fast food.  We've been blessed.  The downside is there was never excess to be able to have some hobby that I adored.  Like rebuilding an old truck or car.

Admittedly, that's an expensive hobby for anyone.  But I watched those couples today, lingering around their beautifully restored cars and trucks and there was so much pride.  One woman even said "when we build MY car..."  Must be nice to be able to say that and know it's true.

A dear friend, someone I've known since I was 16 and who I was roommates with in the 80's, heretofore referred to as Dr. Bock, recently received a 60th birthday gift of a 2020 C9 Corvette.  It was one of the rare times I felt jealousy.  Her situation with her husband is such that they can do something like that.  Just "here babe, you're on the list to customize your Corvette."  List price $59,995 and once she's done it'll be up around $80k.  What must that have felt like?

I've been on my own for so long, doing and providing and worrying that I let time pass without thinking about the "me" part.  What did I want and how do I get it.  Now I'm at the age where if I don't have it, I likely won't get it.  I'm 56 years old and in my next decade I'll be looking at retirement where a whole new stream of doing and providing and navigating will ensue.

I wasn't one of those women who was thinking of the next relationship or the next marriage once I was single.  And I don't mean to sound like the only way to achieving nice things is by having another person around to help do it.  Dual income is only one way.  Spending 27 years in IT working for the man sure as shit wasn't going to do it and if it was, I sure as shit didn't figure out how.  

I guess in looking back, if I'd had that longevity gene - the one that makes people live in the same house for 30 years or stay married for 30 years - things may have played out differently.  I just don't have it so I guess things played out exactly the way they should have but it certainly didn't keep me from getting "the wants" today.  

As much as I dig living alone and I'm happy with where things are at, I couldn't help but look at all those beautifully restored cars and trucks and want, and dream, and feel a little jealous.  Because I live in the moment, it never occurred to me to think about that fact that some things in life are easier when there's two.  My independent brain just didn't go there.  Now I'm at the point in my life those things would be cool to have and to think about how fun it would be to have someone with similar interests to share it with.

One of the things I mentioned to Sir today was how great it was to have been around when all of the cars on the roads were Camaros and Chevelles and GTOs and cool trucks and Chargers and Challengers and Cudas and Impalas and Mustangs and Corvettes.  I'm sure you're picking up what I'm putting down.  Auburn Aries will never know what that was like.  

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Time Alone

Kid moved out earlier this summer.  Things sure have been quiet.  I miss her but I appreciate the solitude.  It's no reflection of her, it's just I've had people around me for 30 years and the ease and freedom that come with only considering yourself are a nice change from participating, managing and guiding other peoples' lives.

When I met her dad, it was 1990.  We were together seven and a half years when we decided to have her.  Then as things would have it, I ended up raising her on my own.  So add 22 years to that (with a year break while she was away at college in LA) and in the blink of an eye, it's almost 30 years later.

It sounds like a long time.

It isn't.

It went by without it feeling like it was 30 years.  Admittedly by the time Auburn Aries flew the coup I was ready to be alone though.  Just as I'm sure she was.

You put two strong women in one house and things can get heated from time-to-time. Feelings get hurt, tempers flare.  But even during those swings between my menopausal moments and the kidlette's adjustment to adulthood, I couldn't have loved another human more.

My summer has been quiet. 

Off all of "My Boys" from the Portland days, the only one I keep in touch with is Golden Boy who is now married with a son.  And I keep in touch with The Professor once a year, on his birthday.  Relationships I thought I'd never lose in a million years have fallen by the wayside.  It's been an adjustment not having certain friendships anymore.  There are days I feel lonely but those are rare.

Here in San Diego, moving back after being in PDX 24 years, I didn't have the friendships I thought I would.  Everyone is settled into their families, grandchildren, their circle of friends.  At first I didn't get it...why people didn't really call to grab a glass of wine or go do something.  But I realized I have time I don't want to forfeit either. Mine just comes in the form of solitude.

I've had people tell me that I have it made.  I live alone, I don't have to care for anyone else, I don't have to share my bed or be on the hook to cook for someone else or do their laundry.  Overall, I'd say that's true.  My time alone isn't making me sad... That's for damn sure.

Friday, December 14, 2018

My How Things Have Changed

My blog, how I've missed you.

I've been wanting to write for quite awhile.  I've been thinking about it anyway.  Not for anyone else; just for me.  The age of Facebook moved all of us bloggers from blogdom where we had aliases to protect the innocent, to a platform where we identify who we are online and we share things about ourselves and our lives that open us up to being hacked and stalked and judged. 

Don't get me wrong, I do my fair share of judging.  As a single mom who can't really afford luxurious vacations, I judge everyone who takes multiple vacations a year.  It's jealousy, I know, so save me the lecture.  And I judge people to complain nonstop because...why?  It's exhausting.

Dare I mention how everyone makes their life seem so great?  I have one friend, MzOuiser, who's honest about where she's at in life, whether the kids are sick, she's depressed or she had a kick ass day.  She's real and transparent and unashamed.  I love her posts.

I pulled my blog up and read through some of the old posts.  What a time it was back then.  I started my blog in 2003 (I think. I'll have to go double-check).  That's 15 years ago.  Where the hell did the time go?

I wrote about raising my kid, drinking with Hot Toddy and boys, and shenanigans.  I was taking any kid-free time I had filling it with stuff and writing about it.  If I thought it was funny, I had to hit the keyboard.  I thought about deleting the posts but it's all part of the story. 

The story is very different now.

Auburn Aries is 21 now.  I don't hit bars anymore.  Hell, I rarely drink anymore.  I'm still single (that hasn't changed). At 55, hormone replacement therapy is my friend.  And I know more than ever how hard raising a kid on your own is.

There's stuff to get back onto the pages of my blog but for now, I'll call it a day.  I'm so happy that I opened the laptop and got started. 


Friday, January 03, 2014

Scary Mommy

Today I read this post about a woman with three boys who often says she's "single-mommin' it."

As a single mom with no single mom friends, it's hard to find someone who really gets it when it comes to how hard it really is.  

I started reading her post and got to the part about how her husband is a surgeon and I wanted to throw something at her.  I literally pictured picking up a heavy ashtray (if I had one) and zinging it like a Frisbee at her head.  She has financial support and a soft place to fall and because she's on her own while her husband's making rounds, she thinks that's the equivalent of being a single mom?!  Go fuck have no idea.

I kept reading as I formed my response in my head.  I was going to let this woman have it.  A person can't truly know of the sacrifices and struggles when you have financial help and a soft place to fall.  

Then her post took a different tone.  She acknowledges that having financial support and someone she can call when something happens and just knowing that person is there means she has no idea what single-mommin' it is really like.

Instead I need to happily thank her for the acknowledgment.  

I've been on my own with mine for 15 years.  I tried relationships early on but everyone tries to parent your kid (she already has two, thankyouverymuch) or the non-parents feel the need to judge how you parent.  And, frankly, my partner picker is out of whack.   I made a conscious decision to go it alone.  I didn't want her to see someone in my bed only to find out later it didn't work out as I search for the next.  I had to think 10 years into the future and take the steps necessary to prevent her being a hormonal teen and thinking sex with various partners was normal.  

Overall in life it is normal to some degree, but I couldn't set the tone for her teenage years.  I knew if I had a teen who was having random sex with everyone she "thinks" she likes or loves, that had the potential for disaster.  Plus I'd be sitting in prison for running someone over with my car.

Instead I hope my daughter sees a strong woman who did everything she could to ensure her daughter had everything she needed.  Maybe not everything she wanted when she wanted it, but who loved and encouraged her even when the wind had been knocked out of her Mom's sails the way life does sometimes.  I showed her that no matter what, you can get back on your feet and go it alone and be just fine.

I had to weigh the possibility that I might not be able to show her what a healthy adult relationship looks like - she has nothing to model it after.  But I taught her how to be in a healthy relationship with herself and with family.  I've taught her self-respect.  I've showed her that even in the worst of times when you're crying and think you're at the end of your rope, you still get up and take life on one day at a time.

I won't know until she's 30 and has kids of her own if I did it right.  But this single mom is okay with the decisions she made and while not everyone will understand or agree with my choices, they're mine.  And until you are one, you don't get flap your jibs.  

Single-mommin' it?  Scary Mommy has no idea.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Can I Google-Map Sleepy's House?

This stupid menopause has me feeling so sleepy all the time I can hardly stand it.  

I slept from 8:30 last night until 6 a.m. today.  It's now 9:55 a.m. and I can hardly hold my eyes open.  It's as though I can feel the hormones draining out of my body.  And here's the kicker...this isn't even the worst part of it yet.  

It's like when you give birth.  My little sister told me to give birth with dignity and not be one of those women who you can hear screaming down the halls.  I vowed to her and to myself not to be that woman.  Then you get in there and the action starts and suddenly it's like holy shit. What the fuck have I done?!  There's no way around what's coming! 

The contractions hit and you work your way through them.  Focal point, breathing, someone there whose hand you're about to break because they offered it and thought they were helping.  Little did they know that the inside of your body has turned into The Terminator with titanium rods and gears and the ability to reshape anvils into rosebuds.

Then you have to start pushing and that's a whole other level of deep, searing pain.  Aside from the commitment I had made to my sister, I didn't scream because you experience so many levels of pain that you don't want to waste a scream on what isn't the worst pain yet.

You push and think it can't get any worse than this, can it? and then you breathe for a second or four and them BAM! you're pushing again and son of a bitch if it didn't get worse. You're lying there completely out of control while your body takes over and does it's thing and you realize it CAN get way worse.  Way, way, way worse and you better hold on because it's coming.

So you stifle the need to cry out.  You breathe and focus knowing that with each push you're getting closer to the end.  You realize that the end is going to be both the worst part in terms of pain and the best part in terms of relief.

Three hours and fifty-six minutes was my labor with Auburn Aries.  I had it easy.  It pays to be tall because giving birth is easier.  Or so they say.  For 3:56 I worked through it and I didn't make a sound.  I spoke when I needed to but I didn't cry out in pain.  

With menopause all these crazy things start happening.  The symptoms you read about but don't know which are going to be your experience start to manifest.  Sadly, I'm not handling this as well as I did labor and delivery.  I feel out of whack.  I hate to complain about what's going on now because there's potentially way worse still ahead.  But dammit, man, this shit sucks!

I spent yesterday afternoon feeling out of sorts.  I finished my work day just fine but within 30 minutes of it I was dragging ass. Not a little.  Full-tilt boogy draggin' ass.   I needed sleep but rather than go lie down and take a nap, I fight it.  I'm not a nap person so it's not something that occurs to me to do.  But I may have to change that.

The problem with that is doing so seems like I'm giving into it.  I should be able to gut it out. 

I've been so lucky so far.  I have friends who are having night sweats and hot flashes.  God knows how I'll complain when/if those hit.  I feel like I'm being a big baby right now but this is just the tip of the iceberg.  I'm not a complainer, I don't ask for help and I always believe things will work out.  BUT THIS SUCKS; SOMEONE HELP ME AND well, things WILL work out so there's that silver lining.

I think what I need to do is acknowledge that I'm going through changes and do whatever I can to take care of myself.  The women I respect who've gone or are going through this aren't really talking about it.  I know we all have different versions of what "normal" is for us individually but hearing other experiences might help.  Goddess knows I'm worst person in the world about taking care of myself or putting myself first.  Pigs might sooner fly out of my ass.  

My reality is these changes are very real and no amount of trying to tough it out or slapping iron to it is going to work.  Rub dirt on it and move along is what I'm saying to myself in my head and my body is pumping the brakes screaming "KNOCK IT OFF AND PAY ATTENTION!  GIVE ME WHAT I NEED OR ALL BETS ARE OFF..."

You know, it's a real kick in the taco if you think about it.  Women are responsible for populating this planet; we're able to give birth pushing something the size of watermelon out of something the size of a garden hose; we bleed one week a month and don't die; we raise children that aren't serial killers, and our reward for being the life source for all things is menopause.  Years and years of it.  

Being a woman isn't a job for the weak.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Menopause Can Suck It

That’s right, I said it.  I know women everywhere go through it and it does me no good to complain but it’s not going to stop me from doing exactly that – right here and right now!

A year ago January I went to a woman’s clinic in PDX to see where I was in the process.  Outcome:  we’re all different and there’s no definitive way to tell based on bloodwork whether your pre-menopausal or peri-menopausal (whatever the order is, I forget).  Not at least until you’re done with it. 

A year ago August I missed a period.  Yep, I thought to myself, I’m tip-toeing through the crone’s tulips.  Versus tip-toeing through the crone’s two lips.  Hah, very funny.  Anyhoo…

Something just felt different but I let it go and then in January of this year I went to a different doctor – one that was highly recommended and she said essentially the same thing.  Once you’re there, you’ll know and then we can do something.

In May, June, July, August of this year, no periods.  Well, no real periods.  It was the ‘hey I’m going start’ warning and then nothing.  Then I figured oh well and went on about my business …but no.  No, no.  Wait because maybe it WILL start so while it’s thinking about it and I’m unguarded, let’s ruin some of Marilyn’s boy shorts just to mess with her.  Not enough to warrant a tampon and not enough to go without.  And who thinks to carry pantiliners?  How freaking gross is it not to stop that at the source and to have to deal with it externally?!  It’s hard to change 36 years of thinking.

In those four months, I learned to stop viewing it as wasting a tampon and just accept that during this transition those damn things are still serving their purpose - albeit not to their “full” potential.  Get it?  Full?  Full tamp---- never mind.  You get it.   I could still play tennis, swim, and do backflips on a balance beam and not have to worry about leakage.

Then September rolls around.  The warning bell rings and I’m ready for it.  Armed with a new box of Playtex Sport unscented in one hand and a package of Carefree acti-fresh body shape pantiliners in the other.  Suddenly I’m Tom Hanks in Splash after he discovers the mermaid split and he’s in a hurry to go find her.  I’ve hit the button for both elevators which are across the hall from one another and I’m bouncing back and forth, light on my feet, ready to spring into action.

What’s it gonna be?  Come on.   Show yourself, you scheming bitch – you can’t take me down!    “You tell ‘em I’m comin’, you hear me?  I’m comin’… and Hell’s comin’ with me!  You hear?!  Hell’s. comin’. with. me!!!”

Yeah, I know.  I just mixed two movie references.  What can I say…I’m menopausal.  I’m lucky I remember my own freakin’ name at this point.

Moving along.  So here I am armed and ready exasperatingly rolling my eyes but not mentally screaming anymore about what I perceive as wasteful.  Never mind the removal of said barely used gear (ouch).  The thing about all this will-there-or-won’t-there be a cycle is it’s been so flaky and sketchy that my mind has already moved over to wanting to forget all about it.  I mean, do we really need to drag this out?  Let me just check the box that says I no longer need my uterus and let’s shut this bitch down.

I’m so sick of waiting for this process to wrap up.  Have a cycle; don’t have a cycle.  WHATEVER…JUST DECIDE!!  DO SOMETHING!!!  This perpetual state of waiting and wondering is making me crazy.  And the worst part is it’s only just started!   I’ve got stuff to do already.  Get on with it.

I don’t wait well.  I’m like my Dad that way.  When I say I’m ready to go that doesn’t mean go finish getting ready.  It means I’m headed to the car right now and you’re ass better be in it or you can go next time.  Stop lights in San Diego.  Longest freaking lights on earth.  Seriously?  I know Second Street is a main vain but do I have to be sitting on a cross street on the waiting end of that deal every single time? 

I have zero patience right now.  And the rage.  Oh my hell, the rage.  I just want to cut a bitch.  Poor Auburn Aries.  She doesn't even say anything in the car anymore.  She hears me muttering under my breath like a crazy person about to snap and she just quietly sits there in the passenger seat shaking her head.  It’s worst when I’m behind bad drivers.  Good gawd, man, just move it already.  It’s that pedal on the right!   Stand on it before I ram you with my car. 

As a woman you hear of menopause from an early age.  Then when you hit your 40’s you hear more and more horror stories from other women who’ve experienced it you’re like yep, I’m slowly getting there.  Outwardly you may seem dismissive because you aren’t there yet (smile, nod your head as other women speak of it) but internally you’re like Elaine Benes screaming in her head on the stuck subway.  You’re like “HOTFLASHES?!  RAGE?!   A DRY GOODIE BOX?!  WHAT THE HELL?!?!   You secretly mutter to yourself how that’s not going to happen to you and you hope and pray it’s different for you.

But then by 45 you realize that time moves at warp speed and slowly getting there means you’re dancing on the razor’s edge and then low and behold the day comes and you admit to yourself and those close to you that you haven’t seemed yourself and they’re all too quick to agree and then a cycle is missed and all those things you heard are racing through your mind.  You tell yourself it’s a rite of passage and how lucky you are as a woman to experience such a beautiful experie….

Nah.  Eff that.  I’m not in a state of acceptance.  It’s the secrets I need.  It’s the ‘here’s how I dealt with it’ and ‘this helps’ and ‘try this’.  Enough of the stories about how terrible it is.  Just tell me your secrets. Goddess knows counting to 10 isn't working anymore.  

Who thinks to carry pantiliners?  Yeah, don’t ask. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Full Circle

Last night I was sitting in my Mustang waiting on Auburn Aries who’d run into a restaurant to pick up soup following some dental work.  I had backed into a spot with a view of the restaurant doors, had the motor running and had the dog on my lap.  I was listening to KGB FM when Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers blast their way into my car with American Girl.  One of my all-time favorite songs. 

I turned it up.  I have a great stereo system with dual amps and expensive high-end mid-range speakers with a 10” sub-woofer built into the sidewall of my trunk, so when I say turned it up I don’t mean like those people with coffee can mufflers whose license plate covers rattle.  I mean I turned it up and took it in - like a sommelier appreciating the complex bouquet of the finest wine.  It doesn't have to be crazy loud to sound amazing.  Tom and the boys were right there in the car with me and suddenly I found myself overcome with a wave of nostalgia.  And pride.  And accomplishment. 

All this from one song, you say?  Why, yes, from one song, indeed. 

I am a fan of classic rock.  Born in ‘63 I had the privilege of completely enjoying the 70’s.  The music was so great.  Growing up in San Diego was a gift my parents had no idea they were giving us kids.  Being in high school in the 70’s, dating a bass player named Tracy Wright, being immersed in what was the rock of that decade, living in a place like San Diego with the sun and surf and vibe; it was amazing.  

The song stirred something in me.  I sat there and thought to myself I LIVE IN SAN DIEGO AGAIN!  I’M HOME!!! 

I did it.  I am no longer in rainy Oregon thinking about how much I want to be home.  I am home.  

For 24 years I lived somewhere I did not call home.  Stop for a moment and think about what that feels like.  I had jobs and friends – really great best friends that I consider my family – but still there was an underlying sense of impermanence.  Like I was waiting for something. 

I sat there in my bad ass car listening to this bad ass song on my bad ass stereo on an 80° sunny evening with my kid and my dog and I felt blessed.  I did an incredibly brave thing.  After 24 years in Oregon and with a family I didn't have when I moved there, I decided and planned and implemented a move to another state.  I did it all by myself.  I’m a single parent. It’s just me.   All my friends had moved away.  I saved and I cut corners and I did it.  I loaded a 26’ Penske and put my car on a flatbed trailer, secured it and hit the road. 

I came home.

I was scared but I did it. 

I sat there in my car overcome with pride and thankfulness and satisfaction.  I made it.  My memories of the 70’s – of sunny carefree days and great music and living in moment – I felt that again.  I’d come full circle. 

Yes, there are always sunny days here but they are not carefree.  Now I’m 50 and I have a 16 year old who faces her own personal struggles (some of which I can relate to and some I cannot so helping is hit and miss on its best day); the music that was once the center of my Universe is now considered classic rock; and living in the moment means making considerations like my bank account and the long term effect of spontaneity. 

But under the extra Oregon weight I’m working to shed and under the fact that I didn't rent our dream home while the dust settles from such a big move, lives a woman who’s still a bad ass.  I am strong and funny and brave and fearless when it comes to the stuff that counts.

I’m still me and I’m home.