Look What’s Happening Behind My Back!

As some of you know, my husband, Buck and I have been ripping up carpet and laying vinyl plank flooring throughout the house. Thankfully we have a small house but it seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I guess that’s why it’s taking us so long to get finished. Not to mention that we don’t move as fast as we used to. https://sandistatondigitaldesigns.com/2019/05/24/golden-years-where-are-you/

Before we started this mammoth project back in May 2019, I had all my yard work done. No weeds. No honeysuckle chocking the Azaleas. No limbs all over the yard. Even the lawn was mowed.

Then we tore up the house.

Then it got hot. And humid. I don’t like hot and humid and sweat burning my eyes and the sun blistering my crepey skin. So I barely stuck my head out the door. 

So while we were busy with the floors, mean, hateful weeds snuck into my flower beds and took over. Now they’re laughing at me and sticking out their tongues.

Then Buck forgot how to operate the lawnmower. And the weedeater.

And the grass began to grow.

High.

Really high.

Then arguments sprouted. Big fat, ugly arguments with tongues of raging fire and hearts of unbendable steel.

Then I wanted to move to the Netherlands.

Buck said he’d help me pack.

But, here it is, three months later and we’re still living under the same roof with the same number of teeth we started with. Together. With our two loving, nerve-wracking, confused mutts.

 

Then we began tearing up the house. 

 

Making some headway.

 

Now the den.

 

And now this!

 

I’m not complaining.

Well, maybe a little.

Okay, I’m complaining.

A LOT!

But I’ve learned something about myself during all this mess. Something that many people don’t like and has tried very hard over the years to destroy. Something for which I have felt guilty for possessing because it terrifies people and even myself at times.

And that something is inner strength. That strength that makes me get back up again no matter how many times I fall and feel like staying on the ground drowning in my tears. That strength that lets me know I’m still alive in spite of all the cuts and bruises of life.

Yes, I’ve cried. I’ve screamed. I’ve threatened to burn down the house, but I got over it.

Eventually.

So there you have a panoramic view of my crazy world. If you liked anything at all, please click that little LIKE button and post a comment. And thank you for stopping by. Next time I’ll bake a cake. 

 

 

Letting Go

Parenting is a full-time job of love and patience, teaching and learning, guiding and directing. A full-time job of trial and errors, pacing the floor . . . and letting go.

From the time a mother holds her infant in her arms and holds it to her breast, the natural process of letting go begins to unfold.

At first, we don’t see it. We’re way too busy changing diapers, filling bottles, and trying to catch a few hours sleep. The mere thought of him starting first grade is a trillion miles down the road.

Suddenly, it happens. You’re not the love of his life anymore. He’s dating. He gets married. He has kids. His kids have kids. They all have lives of their own to live and enjoy and to follow the star of freedom and independence. No one has the right to interfere with that.

Unfortunately, my mother didn’t get that. To her, letting go was like cutting off her arms. I guess through her abusive childhood and failed marriages she had lost so much already that she felt she couldn’t survive losing her kids too.

So she clung to me like clinging to the edge of a cliff.

I could write a book about the emotional damage she caused, the conflicting battles and severed relationship we had and the effect it still has on me. Maybe one day my life will be what it is was meant to be, but it may never happen on this side of heaven.

That’s why I’ve worked so hard through my fears and insecurities to set my son free. Why my heart gave him permission to spread his wings and become the strong and independent man he is today. He will not be controlled, and I will never impose my will on him; to manipulate and toy with his tender emotions. To me, that is the most deadly form of child abuse. It’s emotional rape and almost impossible to recover from. I love him way too much to slaughter his spirit.

Through a river of blood, sweat, and tears of letting go, I am reaping a bountiful harvest of joy and happiness through my son, his kids, and his grandkids. And when he takes me out, which isn’t very often due to his busy and exhausting schedule, he treats me like a queen. He warms my heart and makes every moment we spend together priceless treasures that no one can take away.

For me and my twisted emotions, letting go is not easy. But I’d rather die than sacrifice my son’s emotional well-being for my own selfish desires; to try to put him in a tiny box with no room to grow. His wings are way too big and strong for that.

 

 

 

He is All I Need

So, I’m having coffee on the back porch this morning, thinking.

I wish I had a new pair of shoes for every time someone told me I think too much. But that’s part of who I am. A thinker; just like my dad was.

Anyway, I’m sitting there, observing my dogs and thinking about life; the way it was, the way I wish it had been, and the way it is.

It’s Heartland’s fault, the TV series hubby and I have been watching on Netflix for the past few weeks. It’s happy, it’s sad, it’s funny, it’s everything I wish my family life had been growing up. The way I wish I’d had a grandfather like Jack, a crusty old man with a soft heart, who loves and encourages and fights tooth and nail for his family.

How different my life may have been had my dad opened his arms and his heart to me and if mom had talked to me instead of yelling at me. If they both had made me feel like I was the best thing that ever happened to them.

Maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much time alone trying to figure things out. Maybe I would have made better grades in school, had more courage and self-confidence and married the right man the first time around. Maybe I wouldn’t have tried so hard being what I thought everyone wanted me to be and just learned to be me.

My brain keeps reminding me that I’m a free woman. But my longing heart tells me I’m still that scared little girl behind bars; locked up with the taunting ghosts of the past. I still get depressed. I still get angry. I still feel I have to perform perfectly. I still have those tear-jerking moments when I feel I just don’t belong.

Yet, I have come a long way from where I was decades ago. I realize that freedom is a painstakingly, on-going slow process. We don’t soar like an eagle out the cage door when it’s opened. Our wings are broken; crushed by the weight of the grimacing world, and it takes time to heal. It takes time to learn and rethink and trust even good things smiling in our faces.

I was reminded of that sitting there on the back porch, observing my four-legged babies. I realized that as dependent as they are on me to take care of them is how dependent God wants me to be on Him to take care of me. That, no matter how hard the struggle, no matter how tremendous the doubt and fear and emptiness I feel at times, He is all I need.

I just have to keep reminding myself of that, keep moving forward and stop flying back into that rusty old cage of sadness, loneliness, and regrets, because I don’t live there anymore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heartland_(Canadian_TV_series)

 

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy

Okay, daddy. Since we never went on a coffee date before or even shared an intimate moment anywhere together for that matter, I’m taking you out. Just in my mind of course; you’d never come any other way.

So where’s it going to be, Starbuck’s? I forgot. Instant Nescafe’. Hot water straight from the spigot with creamer and sugar in that coffee-stained cup you yelled at me for washing one day. Okay then, let’s just have coffee in the kitchen in the old house where we used to live a long time ago. Doesn’t matter to me, I just want to talk to you.

I’m sorry for rebelling against you in those troublesome, adolescent years. I was just a kid and didn’t understand your cryptic silence. And on those rare occasions when you arose from the tomb, I didn’t understand your dry wit. I thought you were laughing at me because I was stupid or because you didn’t love me.

That hurt me.

A lot.

And I wanted to hurt you back.

I just wish that one time you had held me in your arms and said you were sorry for making me cry; that you had poked your head into my shattered world and seen how much I needed your love and protection. Instead, you crawled into a tomb of apathy; dead to my fears and tender emotions.

There’s so many things you didn’t know about me, daddy. Like how I wanted to be your daddy’s girl; for you to hold me on your lap and tell me that I was beautiful and smart and funny; for you to meet my first date at the front door with a Smith and Wesson, and took a ball bat to my X-husband the first time he hit me. When my tiny baby was born too early and I thought he would die, I wanted you to hold me and tell me everything would be okay.

But, you never did.

But, that’s okay daddy, I didn’t invite you here to condemn you; I’ve done enough of that throughout my life. I just want you to know that in spite of your lack of concern, I learned to stand on my own two feet. I faced the demons of anger and rage. I’ve survived the tormenting feelings of rejection and worthlessness; the stabbing pain of loneliness and grief.

So thank you for meeting with me today and allowing me one fragmented moment of the rest of your time in eternity. And before you fade into the shadows of my mind, I want you to know that I’m glad you were my dad. Without realizing it you taught me to be a mother and to love my son the way I wanted you to love me. Now, I am reaping a bountiful harvest of love and joy and happiness through him and his growing, loving family.

So thanks, daddy,

Happy Father’s Day

Laugh at Yourself! It Takes the Sting out of Stupid

I needed air in my tire so I searched all over High Point looking for an air pump. You know, the one with a handle on it that gave the pounds and free air. There wasn’t one.

Frustrated, I parked beside a weird-looking air pump and crammed two quarters in the slot. The stupid thing didn’t have a “pound” selection. Now what?! Okay, so I guess it’ll cut off when it reaches 50 cents.

Feeling like a martian, I connected the air hose to the tire and waited for the machine to cut off.

My tire was getting really fat!  Hurriedly, I stooped down to removed the air hose, then, POW!

So much for 50 cents worth of air! And my hubcap? It’s still zooming and clanging somewhere in the next county!

Golden Years, Where are you?

Nope! I haven’t been writing. Haven’t been walking. Haven’t been sipping champagne and loving the golden years. To be honest, the golden years is a highly over-rated, over-used, big fat lie!

Take a giant step into my world and you’ll see what I mean . . .

IMG_0280

Hubby and I decided to take up our nasty, thirty-something carpet and install vinyl plank flooring. Just the two of us. Throughout the entire house. Piece of cake!

But first, we had to move furniture . . .

Then take up the carpet and the padding and staples and nails and carpet strips. Those carpet strips were almost as stubborn as me (I know it’s “I” but “me” sounds better).

Then we saw the horror Bella and Pepper caused. I still get angry thinking about it. Owning pets is not the easiest job in the world. Along with their cuteness comes a truckload of bad-mannered behavior and destruction. Rascal never behaved like these two wannabe queens of the house!

Thankfully, Kilz came to the rescue. Of course, it didn’t jump out of the can and spread itself all over the floor. And hubby got wore out watching me do it. Poor baby. I think he needs a nap.

We’re on day five. Am I frustrated? Have I cried a river of tears? Am I ready to leave the country? Oh, yeah! But, wait! There’s more . . .

Two days into this Mt. Everest project, hubby had an oncology appointment at the VA.  Things are looking good. So far, he is still cancer-free for the second time around.

But . . .

On the way to picking up hubby’s uncle and aunt for a day of fun, a woman ran the red light and plowed into us. No one was hurt, thankfully. The surveillance video and police report were on our side confirming that she ran the light in spite of what she told her insurance agent. Seeing is believing, except for those wearing blindfolds of denial.

So. How did you enjoy your little visit to my world? Would you like to come back and help us install the rest of the flooring?

No?

I don’t blame you!

 

 

If You Can’t Run . . . Walk

It was unusually quiet and peaceful during my walk this morning. No lawnmowers. No traffic. Not even a barking dog. Either my neighbors were still in bed, already at work, or the rapture took place and left me behind.

As I always do when I’m outdoors I looked for critters. They must have been raptured, too, except for two fuzzy caterpillars and birds chattering back and forth from the trees. Maybe they were having church or gossiping or both.

Shuffling along, I’m not even halfway into my walk and my body is already whimpering, especially my back. It’s been out of whack ever since Bella, our greyhound mix jerked me off the deck. Several weeks later I was in the emergency room begging to be put me out of my misery.

Not many years ago I jogged the city streets, rain or shine; pounding the pavement, dodging cars, yapping dogs and guys trying to pick me up. Twenty years, twenty miles every single week.

Walking was too easy. I had to run. It was in my blood. I swore I’d never stop.

Then, I did.

I got stupid. I got bored. I lost my drive. I dove into the sea of wimpy excuses and drowned there.

Ten years and thirty pounds later, I tried to pick up where I left off.

Ha!

I walk, now. At my pace, whatever that pace may be. I do what I can when I can without feeling the world depends on me to keep it spinning. No guilt. No shame . . . well, maybe just a little.

On the home stretch, I stopped and talked to the neighbor that lives across the road from us. She was walking her little Russel Terrier, the neighborhood-yapper.

She’s quiet-spoken with a shy little-girl personality and lots of southern charm. I admired her white hair peeking beneath her pink floppy hat and told her I was so happy that her cancer is in remission. We both said we’re ready to leave this earth but not right now because we don’t want to make our families sad. Cancer makes one think like that. Just getting old makes one think like that.

Though I enjoyed my thirty-minute walk I was relieved to get back home, pour a cup of coffee and plop into my favorite chair by the window.

That’s what old people do when they’re too tired to do anything else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Still and Listen

I raised the windows in the living room, poured a cup of coffee and snuggled in my favorite chair. The one that glides and swivels so I can keep busy while I’m sitting and doing nothing. The one that Pepper loves when she curls on my lap and I rock her to sleep. The one where I sit and think and dream and talk to God.

So, as I sat gazing out the window, feeling the breeze, listening to the wind chimes, and watching the salamander skittering across the porch rail, God whispered,

“Stop pushing so hard and trying to fix everything. Stop fretting about getting old. Stop worrying about your husband’s diabetes. Stop complaining because you can’t do things you did ten years ago. Just keep trusting me. I have everything under control. I will never let you down.”

Yeah. God whispered that to me this morning through the gentle breeze, the tinkling wind chimes, and the salamander skittering across the porch rail.

Just Do It!

I went for a walk this morning. A big deal since I barely remember the last time I laced up my walking shoes. But, this morning I decided to stop making stupid excuses and just get out there and do it.

I usually walk Pepper, our little black dachshund lab mix. Unlike our greyhound mix, Bella, jerking and pulling me around like a team of wild horses, Pepper’s a joy to walk. But, this morning I just wanted to walk doggie-free.

After feeding the dogs and putting on a pot of coffee I scrambled out the door and down the steps before changing my mind. For a split second, I was tempted to take the car instead. But since my eye surgery eight years ago, I don’t have a license. I don’t have a watch either. Pepper chewed it up. Along with some pens and pencils and probably other stuff I have yet to discover. But I know what twenty minutes looks and feels like, so I don’t need a watch today.

The last time I got serious about walking I was knocked out of commission for weeks. Ruptured disc. Pain that only a sledgehammer to the head would have relieved. Fearing I might end up like that again, I kept it at a turtle’s pace.

It was cooler than I expected; almost too cool for my favorite yellow jersey capris and faded short-sleeved shirt. But, the clean fresh air felt good washing over me, so I continued down the long, tree-lined driveway and across the road.

When we first moved here from the city, I didn’t like living in the country. I thought we had made the biggest mistake of our lives. I cried for weeks. Since we aren’t rich we couldn’t sell and move again. So I was stuck here to tough it out. Eventually, I did stop crying, but it would be years before I surrendered my heart and soul to country living.

Maybe that’s why the grass seemed so much greener today, and the sun beamed down so much brighter from the cloudless Carolina blue sky. I even smiled at the cows grazing on the hillside thinking what lovely, bawling neighbors they’ve become.

Looking down I saw a pulverized frog on the road. Poor thing. I hate when that happens. I wanted to scrape him up and give him a decent burial.

My girlfriend and I held a funeral for a dead bug once. Of course, we were only ten. We even put mercurochrome and a band-aid on a frog’s belly. I had accidentally run over him with the push reel lawnmower. I thought a rock had gotten stuck between the blades. To my horror, it was a frog instead.  After gently doctoring him up we laid him belly up on a clean white napkin in the cool grass praying for his recovery. Sadly, he didn’t make it.

Walking does that to me; takes me to places I haven’t been in a long time. Happy places that only a child can relate to and understand. It clears my head. It helps me to get in touch with my feelings and to see things from a different perspective.

It was a short but invigorating walk. The wind threatened to yank off my orange, smiley face cap a few times, but I didn’t freeze to death. I even came across a critter in the road that wasn’t dead. A black bug the size of an elephant. I hate bugs. But I hate killing them even worse, so I made a wide circle around him and headed home.

The dogs met me at the front door, barking and jumping up and down like a pair of frenzied kangaroos, their tails waving frantically as if I’d been gone a week.

And where was hubby?

Still in bed. Hadn’t even moved. Snoring louder than a locomotive.

Silly man.