Complications and Vulnerability

How many life changes are good for a person in a 6 month span? It depends on if they are viewed as good or bad.

On June 28, I misjudged a step, fell onto my outstretched left wrist. Fractured it. Actually destroyed it, pulverized it. Yeah, when I do it, I do it up good.

2 weeks immobilized in a splint before having surgery, with pins and plate. I’m now 3 weeks post surgery. Wow, on the healing path, you’d think. And I guess I am. But between the stiffness in my hand, wrist and fingers from so long being immobilized, and continued swelling, it’s a very slow recovery. I can’t even make a fist. I only thought I was frustrated in my last post about my house.

As I sit here trying to create a positive attitude where I feel none (sorry, negative Nancy has been visiting), I try to find patience and gratitude in this situation. It’s damn hard. I cry constantly trying to stretch my hand, fingers, wrist in pain, frustration and self pity. There must be some lessons I’m supposed to be getting out of this.

Finding the silver lining has been a challenge but it might be this. I have had a tribe of friends, checking on me, visiting me, driving me to appointments. My son I had been “on a break” with, has stepped up, helping, texting more than we’ve ever done. These people have shown me caring and love like never before. So this, this is what I’m supposed to learn. Who my people are.

In my big life change, I have considered moving to Arizona or some place warmer. After this all encompassing, devastating injury, it gives me pause. To be that far away from real help. That’s not to say I can’t make new friends but it’s definitely something to consider that I never gave a real thought to.

I believe in adventures, in independence, your own self strength. But I now have PTSD, near stairs or unstable footing. I am afraid more than I should be of “what if” right now. I hope this fades, and it probably will. The emotional toll has been almost as bad as the physical in many ways. The vulnerability shakes me, its undescribable. But that being said, it’s one day, one hour at a time to get through this.

And I will.

Struggles in the new Life

**post edited because I apparently never published it. See next post as to why…..

Soooo. My house went on the market June 13. Just a handful of showings. Missed the moment. Interest rates climbing. Everyone is scared.

I know what my house is. Made with the best materials 32 years ago had to offer. Brand new carpet, remodeled master bath, a dream. The only thing I’ll miss. Kitchen redone 10 years ago. And according to my daughter, not super up-to-date. But stainless Jenn-air appliances, with granite countertops. C’mon! Over all extremely high quality construction, custom brick work. Did I mention mature fruit trees, plum, pear, several apples? A barn/shop, with stalls, fully fenced for any kind of livestock.

So why is the universe crapping on me now? I’ve lived this life, managing my situation, only to step out and……crickets. Missed it, lost out to interest rates, scared investors. I’m so down, trying my hardest to see the bright side but really struggling. How many more lessons am I supposed to learn? When does the reward come? Have I chosen the wrong path? Should I have stayed in purgatory to glean the reward?

The answer is no. Staying wasn’t an option. There’s no reward worth losing my soul. I try to be optimistic. This is life, the ups and downs. Sure is frustrating though.

5 years in

Thank goodness for Facebook memory reminders. A former co-worker/friend posted a picture from 5 years ago on my retirement day. I’m kinda surprised I didn’t remember! I guess that I have moved so far past working that I forgot. That or now that the real estate market has dove into the depths of hell as I try to sell our house, I was distracted. That is another whole blog post….

I sat this evening at my friend’s, reminiscing about our mutual work experience. I LOVED my job. It filled me up, gave me purpose, I felt loved, needed, important. There’s a real transition going from that to no one cares if you show up, if you shower, if you brush your teeth. Okay maybe not that, as a retired dental hygienist….

So here’s life now: I get up, help a 10 year old make her lunch. If I say too much, I get “I know, gramma!” Did I mention I’m not allowed out of the car at the bus stop?

Some days I subject myself to the stuff I’ve tried to get away from by “helping” do things at the house I love to hate, that will never sell and haunt me the rest of my days. Oh wait, that’s the next post, right? Stay tuned for that, don’t want to miss THAT. I digress….

So here I am. 5 years in. Not exactly what I pictured. But in some ways, exactly what I pictured. A full, wonderful career behind me and a full, wonderful life ahead of me but in a different way.

Selling out

My house went on the market today. I can’t describe it. “Weird” is all I can come up with but it doesn’t begin to really sum it up. Today I realized I have lived in the house we built for HALF MY LIFE. Really? I never thought of it this way until now.

A few years ago, we talked about selling out. Too much property, too much house, too much maintenance. This was always where we were going. Now, it’s just going our separate ways. So why is it so hard?

Because my heart was in it. My children, my marriage, my LIFE. I will never look back and think, did I do enough? I did. I gave to the other 4 people loved with my all my heart. A piece of me, of my being, will always be lodged in that land. From the Cedar Circle, my personal love, a stand of cedars, made perfect by my grandson Lukan who created a firepit for me, to fruit trees and deer, owls and eagles. Ahhhh, so hard to let it go but I can’t hang on to it all anymore.

But it’s time to move on. Maybe there’s another piece of my life that I just never understood till now that awaits me. I trust in that. Gotta.

Lone wolf

So it turns out that shuffling your life upside down and inside out, can make you a bit reflective and reticent. At almost 64, I’m discovering there’s only one person that really loved me in my life, my mom. She’s been gone for 37 years. And I now know I’ve struggled to find love for all those years. I know, it sounds pitiful. I’ve searched in the form of a narcissistic husband who, truly did love me the best he could but in the end, left me more depleted.

I love my kids and I see they really are the culmination of their breeding and upbringing, as dysfunctional as it was. I tried to love them but was crippled by all the warpedness (is that a word?) of his issues and mine. One child can compartmentilize like no other, one checks out, the next is just angry. As you talk to your kids as adults, you find their impression of their childhood isn’t how you thought you orchestrated it.

So I’ve failed. I think we all fail to some degree. I raised my kids, now adults, before social media. I had no expectations like social media now puts on people. Did my my mom think she failed? Did she even worry about it? She was putting one foot in front of the other, I think. A little like I do or did, not worrying about the BS today’s parents do.

The moral of the story is at almost 64 yrs old I am not over my mom dying so long ago, I never regained the feeling of any love after that and I’m depleted. This all sounds pathetic and I don’t mean it to. Its just part of the process of getting to know myself. As my “new” life unfolds and develops, I’m finding I need to only depend on myself because in the end, that’s all we can count on. I wanted to be a part of a pack but maybe a lone wolf is where it’s at.

Adrift in a sea of choices

When you start any new endeavor, there’s excitement, newness, trepidation for what’s next. While I have not questioned leaving my life I had crafted and lived for 40 years, now here I am and now what?

I’m helping out with kids, doing bus drop and pickup, grocery shopping, laundry, household chores. This is my contribution to this new household and situation. I’m happy to do it, I chose this. My social life has become busy: dinner or lunch with different friends, other events I’m free to enjoy. Living much closer to town allows a quick pop in here or there. There’s a personal freedom that I never allowed myself before. And I love it!

But, and there always is a but, there’s chaos and uncertainty, an unsettled and fleeting feeling of lack of roots or permanence. As my daughter starts projects, from painting to landscaping, room reorganization to furniture purchases, I’m noticing a void I didn’t expect to feel. This is HER home, HER project and I guess I’m a little adrift.

I had a home and while I did not have an equal partnership, I had a place to do these things, to a degree. Without a space besides my own bedroom here, my creativity has to find a new place to live, much like myself a few months ago.

Now that all the initial chaos of moving has abated, I’m starting to look ahead to where I’ll go eventually on my own. And I just don’t know where that is and what it looks like. I’m not very patient sometimes and I want answers. I’m trying to give myself space and time to heal my heart and soul, and truly that’s the biggest goal. But (there it is again, BUT) as I look at small rv’s for sale, look at local and out of state real estate listings, I’m taking in options, wondering what’s next.

It’s hard to stop. Breathe. Settle. Trying not to peer around the corner. Wait for it to reveal itself. So I do. Stay tuned

Hi I’m Leslie and I’m homeless

I have been living with my daughter and 2 grandchildren, being the “granny nanny”, getting one on and off the school bus, picking the other up as needed, some cooking, housework, grocery shopping, etc. You get the idea. I am trying to get used to this new life. I still don’t question having left, it was still the right thing to do. We are mutually helping each other. And it seems to be working somewhat.

Late afternoon, a woman comes to the door. She tells me her name is Leslie and she’s homeless. She has her minivan parked out on the street and she wanted to be respectful. She only stays 1 night anywhere because she doesn’t want to upset people. She says she made some bad decisions and she’s saving for a home. She’s clean, not on drugs as far as I see. I tell her it’s not my home so I can’t say stay or go.

So Meg gets home and we talked the rest of the night about this. We have a terrible homeless problem here in Olympia. Encampments full of trash, tarps, stolen shopping carts. I want to help those that want to help themselves. We drive by this daily, we see but it doesn’t touch us. But wait until the best of this type of situation wants to stay in front of YOUR home.

A person works hard to get ahead, have a home to raise your kids in, and in my daughter’s case, left an alcoholic husband and started over with little but some savings and her mother 😉. On one hand, we’ve talked about how we’d help those that want it, but then when she’s literally parked near you, do you? Do we protect ourselves because of fear? Will she bring her friends? Will our dead end street become the new “jungle” as they call one of the encampments? But what if she IS the kind of person who made some wrong decisions, who is respectful, is just trying to get on her feet? It really was a moral decision for me.

In the end, I walked out to talk to her after dinner, asked if there was anything I could do for her. She was all tucked in to her van with space blankets to hold the heat. We spoke with the doors closed, because she’d lose what heat she had. She’s saving for a place. She has a retirement. I wished I’d asked more about shelters and why her car is preferable.

We never know what situation might arise. That could be a lot of people, living on a razor thin edge. We don’t know how we’ll react in a given scenario, will I call the police because I’m uncomfortable, feeling the need to protect my family and home? Or will I reach out, with a kind word, a smile and a $20 bill, letting her know we gave her peace for 1 night?

The final paragraph is, I left in the morning (bus duty, you know) and when I came back late morning, she was gone. It’s likely I’ll never know what becomes of Leslie. I hope and wish for her to rebuild, to become solvent, able to spend every night in one place, that’s safe and hers. Because that’s all any of us ever want, safety and security. So tonight when you lay your head down, be grateful, that’s my hope for all of us. It’s all too easy to take it for granted. Peace on ya ❤

Life reimagined

I knew it had been a while since I even looked at my own blog. But almost 3 years, that’s a while, plus some. To say I had writer’s block is quite the understatement. But here I am.

So where did I even leave off? We had been snow-birding to Arizona in our 5th wheel, Helen. And then (insert eerie music), coronavirus, covid 19, the ‘rona, hit. The unknown was off the chart, fear reigned, people died, were sick, lives changed, and paper products hard to come by. The summer of 2020, we stayed home, made a killer garden for canning, living off the land. When society failed, we’d be ready!

We took on medical procedures, taking care of business. Meanwhile my brain and heart underwent a transformation of sorts. Life was short, getting shorter. My tolerance for BS became even shorter. All the things I had smoothed over, fixed, ignored, now took on a life of their own. A life that I had no room for.

I struggled with my life path as it was changing. I had invested 40 years with the cowboy, downplayed the bad, built up the good. But the fear of change was now eclipsed by the fear of complacency.

As I write this, I am leaving the home I’ve been in for 30+ years. Leaving behind the life and man I committed to 40 years ago. I know it’s the right decision, but there’s a niggling fear, that self doubt we all undertake when stepping off the ledge, can be daunting. There’s so much about all this I could share, but right now I’m processing it myself. And truly, this is probably not real interesting or entertaining. If I still had any followers, I might have just lost ya, lol. But bear with me while I ramble along. I feel my “writing juices” starting back up, I hope! I may not be rambling rv style now, but that may be in the picture, down the road. For now, I’m healing my heart, my soul, the life I have left. Next time I’ll share more of where I’m at physically and emotionally. Till then, gratitude at ya!

Stay tuned

Friends, Old and New

As travellers we meet people almost daily. We’ve been parked in Yuma at an RV park for a bit. We’ve had several RVs move in near us, then a week later, move on. Some we connect with, others no more than a head nod.

It’s a weird phenomenon. You can look at their RV and think “we’re alike, our RVs are similar” but then….. crickets. Nothing. No connection. They move on, never learning anything about them, except their license plate.

A new day dawns. Someone else backs in nearby. A friendly wave leads to a conversation regarding dogs, awnings, tires, trucks, hitches, whatever. A relationship can bloom.

This year I’ve met the best people. Generous, kind. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

#1 cooks for for us. Not just lame leftovers he’s ditching. This man should seriously open a restaurant. The depth of the flavors he creates are nirvana. Everything is “whoa…..” He’s so generous, buying us breads from a local bakery, inviting us for “snacks” involving smoked BBQ ribs, bringing homemade soups. I really see him as a life long friend. He has a lot in common with the cowboy and he has a border collie. Love him. ♥️

#2 are friends from last year. A super generous couple who would give you the shirt of their back. They’ve been going to Algodones, Mexico for years and have enveloped many people with their love and generosity. Wife has ended up being my sounding board. I know with all I am, that all I’d need to do is call and they’d be there for me. Another friend for life.

#3 is Jan. We met Jan last February in New Mexico. Jan (I can use her name) is from Ohio and travels solo in her class C, license plate “SHESHED” through the winter. She came through Yuma in January and then came back through. We hope to meet up again back in New Mexico, maybe next month. Jan is what we as women want to be. Independent. She figures stuff out, fixes stuff I’d have no idea how to fix, researches what she needs to know. But beyond all that, she is a friend. When you know, you know. One of those kind of friends. We take up like long lost friends but our history is short. Thank you Jan for listening, teaching, giving. ♥️ Follow her blog and travels at Https//:thatswhatsheshed.blog

#4 are new friends, a couple who we hit it off with. There’s a music connection with the cowboy. And for me, a friend in the wife. They’re from the NW too. After less than a month together, I consider them friends and know we will make that effort down the road to camp together in the future.

There’s plenty of other folks with a smile, a wave, a kindness I don’t always experience anywhere else, not even where I’ve spent the last 30 years of my life.

RV life, whether as a full timer or a part timer like we are, is an opportunity to learn, to love, to travel, to embrace people, to grow.

Do it.

My Mexican Dental Experience

After sending the Cowboy to have dental work in Los Algodones last year, I ventured out to get my teeth cleaned this year. You must understand that for 40 years of being a registered dental hygienist and having control of my dental life, this was a lot to give over. Similar to having your car worked on by a stranger! Or worse.

First impression, I waited 30 minutes after my appointment time to be seated, while I watched a large amount of staff checking their phones, chatting away, without addressing my wait. Second impressions were better. Brand spanking new equipment. Fresh faced, professional looking dentist, Dr. Erica. Ummmm I could be her mother, maybe even grandmother. Oh well, story of my life.

As a hygienist, I’ve done thousands of dental cleanings. I KNOW. Out comes the ultrasonic scaler. I get that this is how they do it in Mexico but I only used an ultrasonic scaler for the heaviest of build up. I don’t have that. And I’ve never considered myself to have sensitive teeth. But Mother Mary and Joseph, I just about came out of the chair from the ZING. A light scaling was all I needed. If I hadn’t forgotten my scalers back in Washington, I probably wouldn’t have gone. And while I couldn’t see what exactly she was doing, I could tell the polishing (the gritty stuff) was pretty so-so. Wouldn’t pass muster where I worked.

Then came the x-rays. Again very state of the art equipment, hand held digital. But no lead drapes for me or them. I let it go because I know the digital x-rays are extremely low radiation and frankly, been there, done that. If radiation is gonna get me, it won’t be from these on this day.

I have a “suspicious” spot that could be a cavity. I agree, it does look suspicious however I have some older x-rays back at our 5th wheel that I want to re-look at, to compare.

Anyway, without going into a ton of dental language that normal people don’t know, my possible cavity with no symptoms turns into a possible root canal and crown. Um no. Not going there.

And by the way, that suspicious spot has been there for several years, after consulting old x-rays. Probably nothing, just a translucency.

The moral of the story is anyone can tell you anything. And if it’s something you are unfamiliar with, like me and cars, you really have to trust them. I can get a new or different car, but your teeth are a one and done thing. Do I trust Mexican dentists? To a degree but I’d be cautious. There’s some things, like cleanings and x-rays, yup easy peasy. Bigger things, I’d take it on a case by case basis. It’s sooo much less expensive in Mexico, it’s tempting to go for the whole enchilada (haha, see what I did there?!) If you decide to take part in dentistry in Mexico, get 2 different opinions. Think about it, don’t just jump into a big treatment plan. And it helps to take your friendly neighborhood dental hygienist with you 🤣