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.

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

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

Negative Nancy and the Crabby Cowboy

Hello, I’m back! I have disposed of my evil twin, Negative Nancy, from my last post. Whew! I had to stuff that b!+@# back into her little box.

I realized after re-reading my last post, that Nancy had one valid point. It’s true we are who we are, whether we are in our 2400 square foot house or 1/10th of that, 240 square foot 5th wheel. But in a trailer, the compressed space can highlight the little things that create our negative feelings.

I have become much more OCD about things being in their place. Maybe it’s a guard against the senility that threatens as we age. If everything has a place, I can go to that place and whatever it is will be there. But in our smaller space, things seem to get moved around, *ahem*. This leads to my enemy Nancy, rearing her head. Nancy loves to argue with Crabby Cowboy.

As with most things, this too passed. And in the words of my wise friend, Kaiya, 🎵”Mama said there’d be days like this”🎶

In case anyone wants to hear about our time in Yuma, that is coming, as we pull out in 5 days. I think it’s best to write reflectively after we’ve left, to have it in the rear view mirror, a completed memory.

So thanks for hanging in there with me, and if I haven’t lost you, I’ll try to be more positive than negative. That is if Crabby Cowboy would quit asking Nancy to dance!

Southern Exposure

As Fall has fallen, we had an opportunity to get away for 2 weeks in November to the Cancun area of Mexico. It was warm, bordering on hot and quite relaxing. We partook of lots of tequila and cervesa, went fishing (uh ya, I caught all the fish, BOOM!)

made some nice friends who cooked MY fish (yes, I AM rubbing it in)

both of us had hour massages just off the beach for $16 each (ahhhh), fresh fish tacos for $1 each (I think I could live here part time)

rode the local buses like a jefe (boss).

Wow, came home and it was time for Thanksgiving. Time goes fast when you’re in travel oblivion. Trekked across state to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter.

Then BAM, it was time for her birthday so a surprise meeting was engineered at the Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth. While I’m not a cold weather fan, how could you not love this place?

And now, we prepare for an early Christmas gathering with our sons and their families. Blessings of the them and the 6 grandchildren, possibly 8 if our daughter and family makes the voyage.

It’s strange to have no work Christmas party to attend in my first retirement year. People who want to see me will reach out, I guess and people are busy. The pre-Christmas time will be about nothing but the grandkids. We have reached out to a few couples to share a meal with and catch up because….

Helen is going south.

We have wanted to try being Snowbirds. We don’t know where we’re going. We don’t know when yet. We don’t know for how long. We may not like it (riiightttt) but we’re going.

Don’t touch that dial! More to follow….

Adios

My cowboy had a plan. And although it was a little vague, this wasn’t it. The plan was to find a place for his horse Rio, one where someone could care and love him, while we travelled about in “Helen” the 5th wheel, exploring our United States. 

Last Saturday eve, Rio had to be let into great green pasture above. He had Cushings disease, which itself had been managed. But Saturday, another horsey condition befell him and the only humane thing was to euthanize him. 

Rio and the cowboy met almost 20 years ago, when Rio was less than 2. He needed a home but hadn’t been worked with much and was mostly wild. The cowboy drove an hour to him, with truck and trailer and proceeded to spend 2-3 hours in the pasture getting acquainted.  Rio didn’t trust people so he wasn’t about to let the cowboy put a rope on him, let alone put him in a trailer. So the cowboy went home alone that day. Not to be bested though, he returned the next day. And after another couple hours, they became friends.

Now what you have to understand about the cowboy is, he’s a stubborn man but patient beyond belief with animals. As a carpenter all his life, he has always done everything around our home, including building it. And as his helpmate, I’ve tried to assist. Suffice it to say, his patience doesn’t really extend to humans and more than once we’ve been “at odds”,  lol. But if you’re an animal, the patience this man has is greater than anyone I’ve ever met.

As the cowboy and Rio got to know each other, they built quite the bond. They spent a lot of time alone together in the mountains hunting,  other times with other groups of horses and friends. 

Rio was always a good boy, getting along with others. A horse we could put our daughter on, then grandkids. 

The cowboy is lost. Having spent most of 20 years with Rio and the other horses, his day to day routine is forever changed. No longer is his old friend waiting in the morning for his breakfast, a few carrots and a nuzzle.  

It’s like retiring. Your identity has changed. The way you describe who you are, what you do. A life change.

As Spring breaks hopefully into the gray, wet Pacific Northwest,  the cowboy will get busier with outside projects and his mood will lighten a bit. But Rio will always be in his heart. 

Adios, old friend.

Getting closer….

I bought this doormat several months ago. I love the message as well as the whimsical art of it. Me being me, I stashed it with a specific use in mind. Unlike most of my “I’ll put this in a safe place” hidey holes, I actually remembered where it was.  The occasion of its unveiling is the purchase of our 5th wheel. We brought “Helen” home this week. More on our naming later.

This is a culmination of planning and dreaming about what our first years of retirement looks like. It was very emotional,  and not because we spent a chunk of money. Most couples talk about their ideas of what they want “later”. We are like most people: we argue about stupid stuff and we are fiercely loyal to each other. But here it was. Helen had arrived and was ours to play with, prep, etc. Some people get buyers remorse but as I stood inside our future, I have never been so sure that this is what I want to do! So many times in your life, that what you want,  doesn’t always work out. It was a good emotional thing.

The back story to her name is this: we have become binge watchers since we cut the cable. One of the series we watched was a drama about the building of the transcontinental railroad. The town moved along as the track was laid. My cowboy,  well, he likes westerns so I’ve learned to as well. The town’s name (and series) was “Hell on Wheels”. It was a gory, nasty place but we loved the show and the characters (well, some of them). Thus Helen was born. 

Helen is a lot of trailer, full of buttons and functions we have to learn and explore. But as my work countdown ticks away, we become closer to a life that we’ve been thinking about for our last third. (I hope it doesn’t turn out to be hell on wheels!) 

Home is where the heart is. I like that.