That’s What Friends Are For

18 months ago, my life was so much different. I had a slew of what I considered to be good friends. I was knitting in a different group every day and considered myself somewhat popular. Then I made the mistake of becoming close to the wrong person and when the schism inevitably happened, just like in any divorce, friends took sides. I. Lost. Almost. Everyone.

It was HARD to cope with the sudden changes. I went into a major depressive episode and returned to therapy. Oddly enough, a miracle occurred and I gained a new perspective on my need for people to like me. For the first time, I truly was able to say, “Fuck it,” and concentrated on spending time with the people who actually do care about me rather than chasing after the ones who don’t.

Every once in a while, I come across an FB post that is evidence of my non-importance to those I called friends and I admit that it does sting for a moment or two. But then I remember the real people who matter and it’s like aloe on a burn.

There is one person that I particularly miss, though. J.S. was someone who soothed my troubled soul, whom I thought loved unconditionally, whom I loved unconditionally. Even when we didn’t see each other as much as I’d have liked, she would randomly text that she was thinking about me. Then she stopped responding to my texts. I was ghosted. It hurt because I loved her.

Months later I received a single text that she wasn’t upset with me, but that she was dealing with stuff and didn’t feel up to socializing. I accepted that because I’ve been there. I never heard from her again. But today I saw a selfie with her hanging out with someone I don’t like, to put it mildly. That’s cool; I never begrudge someone else’s choice in friends. However, I can’t help but think that I was easily replaced by someone she considers to be better in whatever way. My heart broke a little to know that it’s not that she doesn’t want to hang out, it’s that she doesn’t want to hang out with ME.

So today, I am sad. Heartbroken, even. I miss her. And that is OK.

After grieving for a bit, I will go back to being excited that my best friend is moving all the way from Connecticut back to Texas. She will be within easy driving distance. Leigh is more than a friend, she is the closest thing I have to a sister. She is the other half of my heart. While losing a friend can be devastating and leave me feeling unwanted and “less than,” I think of Leigh, who swore she’d never move back to the same state as her mother and sister, saying, “I need to be near you more than I need to be away from my family.”

me and leigh

Leigh and Me

I am loved. I am wanted. I am enough.

 

 

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Another Year Over

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you also managed to pull off your to-do list and survived the holiday without strangling any irritating relatives. Just kidding! I’m sure everyone was the picture of restraint and all of your children were perfectly behaved, polite, grateful little angels, right?

Everyone was exhausted after we stayed up until 1am playing Risk on Christmas Eve. We laughed our asses off at Aubrey’s lack of a strategy (which in the end turned out in her favor), and eventually we called it a draw so we could go to bed. As tired as we were, Ron woke up at 7am, just because that’s when his internal clock goes off. Both kids were in a sleep coma, so we were able to put all the presents under, in, and around the tree, as well as in their stockings, without waking them.

The highlight of the morning was when we presented Amy and Pinky with their new squishies. Pinky is a squishy addict. She also has problems sharing. All squishies belong to her; Amy is occasionally allowed to play with one, but only if Pinky is in the mood to play with her. So this morning, she was VERY excited to get her squishy, since she’s been smelling the vinyl particles in the air for three days now (she cried at my office door for two days). However, her excitement was dimmed by the realization that Amy also had a squishy. What did she do?

She dropped the squishy she had in her mouth, and ran under the table to where Amy was lurking (hoping to have just a few squeaks before Pinky discovered her, I’m sure). Then she grabbed the squishy from Amy’s mouth, ran in Aubrey’s room and laid it on the dog bed. She ran back in the living room to get the first squishy, and ran back to Aub’s room where she proceeded to play with one squishy while she held the other one down with her paw.

For the rest of the afternoon, she carefully carried the squishies as though they were a litter of puppies; taking one, putting it down, then going back for the second one. She ventured out for a few minutes at a time, only to return to the dog bed in Aubrey’s room, where she eventually began to lay across both squishies. It seems like she may be trying to hatch them or something. Amy has long since given up any attempt to rescue hers.

Besides dogs and squishies, the morning was filled with AMAZING gluten free cinnamon streusel coffee cake, Starbuck’s Christmas Blend coffee, Owen’s Country Sausage, and mimosas (champagne and orange juice). The mimosas were cut a little short as the bottle exploded when Ron tried to open it; champagne spouted like Mount Vesuvius. Matt asked why I was laughing and I said Ron was trying to launch a ship.

In spite of getting several things that were on his Christmas list, Matt was typically disappointed. I think the last time he was excited at Christmas was the year he got a black pleather jacket with red flames; that was 8th grade. Today he got a new guitar and all the accessories to go with it, plus chocolate and a few other things.

Aubrey, on the other hand, was beyond thrilled with her haul. She got a Bamboo Pen and Touch, and Sketchbook Pro 6 to go with it. Aub refused to give me a Christmas list, saying she was easy to shop for. She is. Most of her gifts were fashion related; sewing lessons, a sewing machine carrier with wheels, a professional fashion sketchbook, and other random stuff…earrings, pajamas, chocolate, puzzle books, etc…

For us, Matt gave both Ron and I more Christmas Blend (it’s our favorite coffee, so we go through it relatively quickly). Both kids teamed up to give us dinner for two to the restaurant where Aubrey works, and a Sweet Treats card to go with it. The Sweet Treats is good for 12 desserts at Texas de Brazil; it’s not out yet, but Aub gave us a “gift certificate” for it when it starts. I also got a Starbucks card, which is always a favorite.

Ron gave me two Nordstrom gift cards that he was given when he worked at his old company (for winning two customer service awards). For years, we thought they were only worth $50 each, but it turns out they’re actually $100 cards! ¬†Ron has never used them, and figured that with my mad shopping skills, I could swing finding something.

I checked out the Nordstrom web site, including the Rack, but even their sale prices are outrageous. Out of curiosity, I looked at several of the gift card exchange sites. Cardpool (as well as two other sites that I saw) gives 92% of the card’s value if you are willing to mail it in in exchange for an Amazon gift card. I have one hell of an Amazon wish list, so I am totally willing to make that trade. I was motivated enough that I sent the cards out in today’s mail. Ron was impressed and said he knew I’d know some way to get the most from those previously useless cards. It’s nice to be appreciated ūüėČ

Ron’s mom sent the kids HD video cameras. Aub was excited about getting some higher quality videos of her flying. Matt was actually happy about his because he’s going to need one for this semester’s video editing class. At least he liked one present!

After our lovely quiet morning, Matt had to go to work, but Aub, Ron and I all vegged and argued over who should go shower first. When Matt was done for the day, Aub picked him up while Ron and I finished wrapped the last two things for my mom and stepdad. After Matt showered, we headed to my mom’s for dinner. She lives about an hour away, so it was a late dinner. All four of us were completely wiped out, and I realized we just plain cannot do any visiting on Christmas day. From now on, I’m going to assume that we will all be too tired, and make plans for getting together either before or after.

My mom made an awesome dinner of ham, various veggies, and several pies. We let Aubrey have O’Mara’s and cream (it’s the same thing as Bailey’s), and I broke down and had wine from a box (it was all my mom had). It was surprisingly good for being a box wine. There was a little tension as my mom worried about stains on the tablecloth and the safety of her new china. I’ve never understood why people purposely stress themselves out by using something that they’re afraid will be ruined. Personally, we use paper plates for holidays; I don’t have to worry about things being broken, and it makes cleanup WAAAAAY faster. I do have to say though, my mom’s table was absolutely beautiful, and looked like something from Southern Living.

After dinner, we exchanged gifts; I was in sensory overload as four of the five kids were screaming and running around. They finally calmed down when Aub told them that no one was getting anything until it was quiet. My nephew was the only one who still ran around, but he’s the youngest, it was super late, and he was sugared out. The fact that he wasn’t climbing the walls was pretty miraculous.

Aub got a gift card to Jo-Ann Fabrics, I got one to Lowes (which I’d asked for), and Matt got new sheets and chocolate. Ron gets the same gift every year (because he LOVES it) of a gift basket of Sam Adams, corn nuts, cinnamon gum, and candy. I had been stressing about what to get my mom, but I’d found a beautiful gray sweater dress on Black Friday. It fit her perfectly, and she loved it. I also got her a necklace and earrings to go with it, and the kids gave her a Starbucks card (she lives at her local Starbucks). I’d also worried about whether my oldest niece would like her present. I made her a necklace with ribbons and a large pendant/charm that looks like a scroll and says, “Once upon a time.” To go with it, I got her a purple moleskin journal with her initial on the front. It was a complete hit, although I’d made the ribbons a bit too long. Fortunately, I made them long enough that she was able to wrap them twice and turned the pendant into a choker.

The little ones all loved their presents, as did my stepdad. I found a guy who made wind spinners from reclaimed fencing, and I knew my stepdad would appreciate the woodwork and design. We gave my youngest niece a doodle set (stamps, markers, and a guided doodle book), and once I showed her how to color the stamps with the marker and then make the stamps work with the “magic” breath (breathing on them reactivates the ink that dries out while you’re coloring), she was the most quiet we’ve ever seen her.

By the time we got home, all four of us were ready to drop. Poor Ron had to work on Wednesday, so he didn’t get much rest. On the other hand, Aubrey and I have both done little else. She worked on Wednesday and works today, but then she has Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. She is seriously looking forward to three days of staying in her dinosaur pajamas and playing with her Bamboo tablet. Today is my second day of not moving from my bed except to pee, but tomorrow I will start to clear the holiday disaster and work on organizing my office. I’ve decided there will be no new projects until there isn’t a single “box o’ junk” lying around. A large task, but a lot of motivation.

Aubrey's first Bamboo/Sketchbook Pro creation after two hours of just playing around with it.

Aubrey’s first Bamboo/Sketchbook Pro creation after two hours of just playing around with it.

All in all, Christmas was pretty fantastic. There’s no telling where we’ll all be this time next year…Aub will be back at school, Matt may be in Seattle, and Ron and I might be finally looking at houses in the Northeast. Really, I’m just trying to enjoy being in the moment and hanging out with my family.

In case I don’t get another post written before next week, Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you have a joyous and prosperous 2013!

“and a new one just begun”

“You’re my home”

It’s been almost three weeks since we closed on this house and moved in. Boxes are still everywhere, most of our (IKEA) furniture is still¬†disassembled (the greatest idea every known to man for people who move like gypsies), and I¬†still don’t have cold water in my kitchen. However, this¬†is quickly becoming home.

This house is the perfect combination of what Ron and I wanted. His few¬†demands were that it be¬†liveable; it had to need only minor repairs, have a working kitchen, and a working bathroom. I wanted something with a little character, that was structurally sound so that I could work on the cosmetic aspect. We didn’t expect that it would be just three¬†minutes from Ron’s office, with an awesome backyard,¬†and a glorious covered patio.¬†All that was just a bonus.

However, we also didn’t expect that the¬†family room carpet was hiding a subfloor full of wood decaying from years of pet urine. That had to be ripped out, and a new¬†subfloor put in.¬†Now we’re¬†slowly working on laying the tile. It put a slight kink in my time schedule, as I can only do stuff for a few minutes at a time, and then I have to rest. Having fibromyalgia makes it a REAL pain to have to move.

I have never seen a less functional house. The layout is all wrong. The air conditioner is in the wrong place. The kitchen, although it has a million cabinets, has very¬†little functional storage, and a whole lot of uselessness. The house has no dining room. As Ron said, “We’re too poor to have a dining room.” The fridge space is too small, and if you open the fridge door, you block the kitchen door. There’s a 9 inch step down from the back door to the patio (I know I’m going to break something eventually). There is absolutely NO storage in the bathroom. In fact, the bathroom mirror is over where the linen closet once existed, while the cabinet above the sink has no mirror at all. Figure that one out! The master bedroom has windows that aren’t symmetrical. The closet organizer in the master closet might as well not be there, for all the good it does. There’s almost no closet in the second bedroom. The back patio has a fluorescent light instead of a ceiling fan. But the most egregious of building errors is the acoustic tile on the master bedroom ceiling. Seriously? If you need to hide a water leak, use KILZ, people!

BUT….all that said…the master bedroom is huge, and the master closet is twice as big as they one we used to have. When we pulled up the master carpet, I prayed that the padding was stapled, not glued. It was neither. The pad came right up, and Aub had the tack strip up within an hour. The hardwood underneath is gorgeous. The family room will be MY space, and Ron gets the second bedroom. Aubrey gets a tiny 8 cubic ft playhouse, and a giant 10×14 ft shed that will eventually have electricity, air conditioning, windows, insulation, drywall, and flooring. For the moment, it will have a ghetto a/c in that we are going to run an outdoor electrical extension cord up through the floor so she can have light and air.

Between a major fibro flare from the constant motion before and after the move, as well as sleeping on a horrifying hotel bed for a month, it’s been tough getting this place in order. I had originally planned to start with the office closet. Something small, but necessary. Other than getting a few of the non-functional shelves out of the way, I gave up on the closet and moved on to the actual office. I’m in a sort of limbo while I wait for Matt to sand down the hideous ceiling texture (supposedly tomorrow). It doesn’t make any sense to tsp the walls when he’s about to cover everything in dust.

It’s frustrating, since of course, I want everything RIGHT NOW. As a crocheter, the 100 degree temperatures merely serve to remind me that winter is on its way, and my yarn is still in storage. I had wanted to send Aubrey off to Massachusetts with all mom-made hats, gloves, and scarves. Of course, she’s a fantastic crocheter, as well, so she’ll be able to make her own as she needs them, but still…

On top of everything being torn apart, and my being stopped flat with the¬†flare, I woke up yesterday morning with excruciating pain in my left ear. I thought for sure that a bug had crawled in there and was burrowing its way into my brain. Aubrey, after attempting an insectectomy with a crochet hook and the flashlight on her phone, determined that there was nothing in there. She took me to the minor emergency clinic, where I was diagnosed¬†with just a severe ear infection. I’m on my second day of antibiotics, and at least the pain has subsided, although everything still sounds like it is underwater. Yup, another two days down, and nothing done. Sigh.

Once I’m back from dropping Aubrey at school, I’m hiring some help. I can’t keep up with this house, even as small as it is, AND try to get it in order. I need a once a week housekeeper to keep the dog hair in check, a weekly pooper scooper to keep the dog poop in check, and I’m going to have to figure out what to do about doctor’s appointments. Especially with my pain specialist, they won’t do any procedures unless I have a driver. Sigh. May be time to put up signs around the local colleges.

In the meanwhile, I’m trying to focus on one bucket at a time. I can do a bucket a day. I can do one piece of furniture a day. I can do one box a day. At this rate, I’ll be done unpacking in time to make it to Aub’s graduation.

“Well I’ll never be a stranger, and I’ll never be alone, wherever we’re together, that’s my home.”