Freedom – Sometimes It Hurts

Hell, I didn’t know how to title this one yet. I, of course, voted early because I don’t stand in line with the great unwashed when I can avoid it. And I mean that literally – this is farming and cattle country – they don’t have time to change clothes to vote over the lunch hour.

I will not pay a bit of attention to any reports prior to 1am and usually wait until the morning to find out what happened as I slept. I do predict a red wave, as they say, but I am also positive that there will have never been as much tampering as there will be this time. So even if it doesn’t go your way – be patient. I think there will be a lot of investigation going on.

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The day started covered in fog and mist. I was doing pretty well, taking care of breakfast and dogs, and getting a resume sent out. But then he had to play the music…songs about cheating, about stay awhile, and he has no idea how cruel it is to do so. Much less to hum, whistle and sing along to the tunes as his breakfast is being made. Honestly, who has so little sensitivity as to do that? It really baffles me because if the shoe were on the other foot I’d be bending over backward to avoid ANY sort of reminder of infidelity. I would remain in a calm state, never too cheerful in the face of their troubles. Well, I just think I’d be more attuned than that…and I suppose he would say I was being overly sensitive. It was a frequent rebuttal.

The Oak

So I took the trash to the street and made another round of the yard, the damp weather curling my hair. I looked again at my oak tree, the sentinel in the pasture who has seen untold numbers of days and girls trampling the wet grass. “You and I,” I told it in passing. If it all gets too much…we have a mutual agreement. There is a kind of peace in knowing that you have an Option. It isn’t a…an ideal or goal. It is merely there in hibernation. But it hasn’t the same siren call as it did once before. Nor is the situation as dire. That was hopelessness, then. That was the state of All Gone. This is, in comparison, a difficult journey. A step at a time.

The steps can offer stumbles here and there – the hawks on the lines will always bring him to mind. My finger always going to fidget with a ring now gone. (I promised myself I’d get another to replace it, a fine one of  silver with branches and leaves, a twining thing to cling to…) The songs, of course, are very difficult. I move from one station to another, returning at times to the songs that he would not like, the ones that played loud when a different thunder crashed. But never at him, never to wound, never where he can perceive it. It is a solitary “damn you” that doesn’t bring the curse.

And when it gets very hard I do as the movie says – I go one moment more and then I know I can stand anything. I try to think of a new vista, new walls with my own prints on them, a fridge with my own menus filling it. And my movie snobbery will not be impugned. I did this all before and I did it rather well, generally. But I like to take care of men – there is a comfort to it and I don’t mind it. While quite capable of independence it is a cold bed fellow and a silent table mate. Still, I try to summon the idea as if it holds promise instead of dread. What else can one do?

Being free of someone isn’t always being unchained. There are links that trail along, glittering in the ashes, and reminding you every now and then of how it Was. The other evening I was thinking about how I’ve really only had a few long-term relationships. I didn’t bother with dating, really. So I hardly have any way to know what to expect for a future. I have always remembered a caveat given me – never name the well from which you won’t drink. I cannot imagine trusting someone enough again…for someone that takes such things as absolutes – when I trust someone I am loyal to them in a way that is rare in this world – so having it dashed on the rocks twice, now, makes me skittish to consider making the effort again. I won’t say never. Merely that it would have to be an incredible man to make me consider it, again. And there would be other…demands.

No, I suppose I mustn’t try to look that far ahead. When I do it brings a kind of vertigo as if I was on a high ledge. There is so much that I must get done, that no one can do for me. It feels quite impossible when taken in – looked at whole at a glance. So I choose to avoid it, to skate on the surface of this semi-frozen pond, and just hope I can make it to the other side before it cracks. There is that attraction – the halting and freezing in place. The ignoring of duty and obligation and giving in to selfish refusal. I suppose a call from my father last night aided in pushing me onward. So old and still sitting at home, drinking a bit too much wine and wondering what he ought to do with his body at death. Because no one will be there to make the decisions, direct the action. No, he gave in to selfish refusal decades ago, giving up his duty, and the price is just that – the wobbly tongued attempt at disregard for his flesh and bones. No, I need to have someone want to know what to do with me. I’d like someone there to say goodbye, that they’d see me soon. Don’t we all?

I shall tell you this about that – in case no one is there. Put me here. And a small wooden bench if there is room so that there is a place for others to sit and watch. I was so happy there – blame the altitude if you wish but…it is a kind of church. With winds that scour the penitents clean.

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Good People

When one is in travail the people who love and care for you will always show up and you will be surprised at the number of them…one goes through life, loving them, caring for them but you never really tack on the “help me bury a body” title until – well, knee-deep in crap.

I give a curtsey to Zed for the early voice of sanity. And my dearest Christina for letting me ramble on and on in emails, knowing I don’t do Phone. Hellion Sherrie even loaned me her husband – no, not like that – to get my laptop back up and running. And thank GOD because it has been vital to every single day of my life as I try to find roles and apply for them. He is a dream of a guy.

And then there are the more ephemeral contacts online – I try to not link my presences specifically to keep the riff raff from causing trouble down the line. But there is a “like-minded individual” I know and their “place” needed a few things to round out the kit. He so kindly came west to buy a few things only to haul it all back ESE. The cash was much-needed and the deals fair, I think. So he gets a special prayer tonight as does his family. His kids…wow. Stunningly intelligent, very well behaved…just…well, you can often tell good people by how their kids behave.

I’m just sitting here, mulling it all over and knowing how lucky I am…it is easy to forget, of course, in the rush of the days, the frantic search for work, and terror of it all not being enough. But in the quiet of the night I can review my good fortune and appreciate it as it is. I know I have a home with a dear older lady if I have no other choice. And I think she might appreciate the company for a time, herself. So I really can try to let that fear stand aside if only I will…

But I do not like to rely on others. It is hard for me, it isn’t comfortable. I like to do things on my own and not have to worry if the other person will come through. Lord knows it hasn’t worked out that well for me in the past. I am learning that it can be a good thing to let go a portion of your burden so that you give the gift of aid to others – people who want to help you are doing so of their own volition – to remove that from them is unkind. And I am trying very hard these days to be as kind as I can be. It means a lot to me to NOT fall into the cynicism and vindictiveness that others might in a similar situation. It does no one any good and, if karma is real, will only bring it back to me eventually. Best that I send myself kindness and grace.

And I must say – I was stunned to see the stack of possible roles Sarge brought home last night. The system the state uses is rather awful. An application can require a ton of data input but it will time you out of your access without any kind of warning. And one role to another your uploaded data may or may not used to fill in the blanks – you have to scan every line to ensure it referenced your data because it just…well, it has a mind of its own. So the process has been a bit irksome. His taking the time to locate roles is a great kindness. Too, he is making a call to the supervisor of a division I’d like to work for to see if there is a way to get beyond the algorithm and the HR Tab A Into Slot B types. Honestly, once I get in front of someone I am quite likable and skilled! Sadly, the computerized sampling is not working for me. I simply don’t have the right mix.

All that is making me wonder – am I looking in the wrong place? Should I be turning in a different direction? But my age makes it very hard to not play the game – insurance is just a requirement, now. We may be years from a rational system (such as writing policies across state lines, editing for childless individuals, etc.) – I don’t think we’ll have a choice but to do it one day. Until then. however, I must do what the system demands.

If I had no concerns? I’d love an outside job. Miserable in the summer, it’s true, but…at least it’d be free of the executive world. And I’ve considered the nanny thing – I am good with kids in some ways but it is also a job that never quite gives you off hours. A writer would be a lovely role. I had an astrologer tell me once that I ought to be in the law. But I don’t think I am sharp enough for that. I am suspicious enough to look at all the angles and I can read people well enough but…no, I may be too set in my ways for that, now.

I do wish I’d had an inkling of all this 3 years ago…I would have gone to school in a serious way and at least had marketable skills. It’d be nice to just look at slides all day and say healthy/sick, cancer/benign, etc. The world of the micro – that has always fascinated me. Nanotech would be a dream line of work. It has gone generally dark after the very heady early days. Oh, sure, there are the cool waterproof barrier treatments that act like a magic trick. But it is so far beyond all that, now…like most things demonstrated for us what we see is about 20 yrs old. The good stuff has got to be mind-blowing.

I like to help people and I have considered work at a hospital. The germs would be ridiculous. But it would be an interesting environment. Always changing…and I think I might look at that next week. Even a secretarial role there would offer the chance to at least learn something now and then. And if I could avoid Austin? Oh, yes. Please.

Well, there you have it – my Friday night ramblings. I am quite tired, now. Felt a bit drained all day and I know it was a lack of sleep. Seems the one thing I really need these days is a solid 8 hrs. But the pod arrived early so I had no choice. However, the pod is HERE so tomorrow can start the loading of the big stuff which will allow me to do more packing and arranging. Kind of hard to do anything when there is no room to move.

Is there an upbeat tone to this post in comparison to the last? Maybe…I won’t say I haven’t had a couple bad days recently – getting rejected by SpaceX was still sad though the odds were completely against me – but I am trying ever so hard to not let those days turn into weeks. I let myself have the sad time, the fearful hours, but then try to find something motivating – even if it is someone who had far worse troubles than mine and overcame them. I keep all the motivators I find that suit me but this one…well, I try to refer to it all the time. It’s by Team Ronin. Saltier than their usual offering, it hit me just at the right time.

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It reminded me that I damned well used to do a whole lot, I took care of my own life, and rarely needed the help of anyone. I am not saying I don’t love the Trad Wife Life because it is everything to me. But I am quite capable on my own – I just prefer to have someone fighting beside me. Well, I sometimes think that our lives are chapters in a book and we get to live them and then we have to turn the pages to what comes next. It might not be the same characters and scenery. The plot has twists. Just don’t try to see too far down the road, I guess. And try to shine. Of course, there is always my favorite Parke Godwin quote from a favorite book which I may get a bit wrong but…

“I’ll light their bloody candle but they’ll damn well hear about the dark.”

Quite.

Must-See TV…and an Author

So I stumbled upon this Youtube channel and it has become almost a meditational viewing for me. I can sit there and watch in the most sedate state of mind. Essentially, he has built cabins often in his life and this time took all his skills to build his For Real This Time cabin. And, as time goes on, he has made outbuildings and such. Each video is about 30 mins long – some shorter – so it really is like a program.

What is superior about his channel is that he doesn’t talk over everything – the scenery, the elements and even incidental music is left to tell the story. He uses a few different camera positions so you know he is taking time to reflect the scene differently but…it isn’t cut haphazardly. It feels like you are a ghost in his world, just skirting about him as he works on the place. The scenery is matchless, too. Honestly, I could just start at the beginning and let it run all day. If you decide to watch the log cabin build I highly recommend watching the whole series. This was one I watched recently and it was just…lovely.

And the author – I bought the Kindle book but then the Audible came out so I have been enjoying that version but…Travis Corcoran’s “The Powers of the Earth” is an amazing tale. It is a bit like “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress” in ways but thus far rather different. But that gives you a sense of the theme. There is a Book 2 and he is writing book 3 when he isn’t giving farm hands their walking papers. Truly a Renaissance man, he has many irons in the fire. I am not sure we’d agree politically 100% but I am sure we’d achieve a good 85%. Amusingly, I’d written that if my husband left me I’d move there and be his farm hand for the price of 8 slices of bacon and two eggs each morning, and more bacon at lunch. How could I have known that my future might afford just such a chance? Well, I suppose I can save it as a final option. It is lovely in the northeast, after all, if rather brutally cold. Enough bacon, though, and I’d be alright.

Lastly, have I mentioned me Panda Planner? I thought I had but…my mind is busy these days. My dear friend sent me the large “pro” version when she learned of my troubles. It has been an incredible aid to me, keeping me on track, and yet it is more than a calendar or journal. It gives you the impetus to look for the good in life, to seek it out and appreciate it. To set goals large and small. I really cannot say enough about the format as it has served me quite well. It has become a ritual morning and night so that I don’t just let the day pass in confusion and pointless wandering. Good on ye, Christina. I love you.

I had an amusing text today from my other dear friend – I have very few because I am rather…selective. But she is known for her lead foot. She has a small sticker in the rear window of her land jet – “I know, I know…license and registration”. She is Known in her relatively small part of the world. Anyway, she wrote me that if I needed anything to just call and she would be here in 20 minutes, go ahead, try me. Mind you, it is actually closer to 50 mins away but I have NO DOUBT she’d hit that 20 min mark. Lord love her, she is one of a kind, a hellion, and the one who’d help you bury a body and piss on it for good measure.

In times like these you really do learn who you can trust, who really cares for you and who is playing both sides in an attempt to not take on trouble. I try to not fault those who are doing that – not wanting to pick one of us as The Friend. But when it is…rather obvious in tone I take it for what it is – and try to be thankful that at least I know.

In other news…I banged out some work today – cleaned the pool which was in dire need after 14 days of rain and wind…cleaned the garage to the extent I could so that eventually things could be stored in there. I can’t move the Harley so…meh. But I found some things that I was looking for, too, so Win Win. I repacked a kitchen box, hastily done in anger it was too heavy to be reasonable. And I cleaned out the hutch that we’ll use to stow the daily use items per the staging lady. Progress…if not as much as I’d hoped for. Better than getting nothing done for navel gazing.

I have to tell you – I’ve had the worst hankering for a Marlboro Red. I think i must be burning some old fat cells with nicotine in them. It happens. The stress adds to it. But the price these days is ridiculous. No, I’ll have to let that go like much else. But I managed a lovely shower, donned my favorite dress from Armstreet just because I can, and walked the fields with the dogs twice, remembering every view, and gathering the last of the peppers from the garden in my apron before the frost comes. I shall miss this life terribly. It was just so…well, it was what I always wanted but it is time to move on. Still, I say goodbye to every tree, measure every step and touch the gnarled posts in passing. I will leave myself here in bits and pieces, haunting the perimeter.

Oh, and to my northern friend – there was ice cream. With chunks of real chocolate and crumbled pecans fresh from my own trees. That, after hash browns – oh, lovely potatoes, how I miss you.

Tomorrow…well, there’s lots more packing to do and I can load the truck up for next week’s trip to storage. And the lady said – just clean out the closets and stash your boxes in them. People understand that. And so it shall be – saves me trying to wrestle heavy boxes down a flight of stairs. And now…time to rest. It all starts over again in the morning.

Bargaining Stage

Oh, we all know the stages of grief, right? They are overly familiar to me. Today, I had to deal with the house staging lady – she is sweet enough and we breezed through what I already knew re: removal of all personal items and clutter – I needed to know what furniture to keep or remove, really. But then I had to go get some groceries…

It felt like I was wearing a scarlet letter – that my intense sadness was written all over my face. And perhaps it was. Or a kind of desperation. Anyone, someone, make this right again. Take my fear and turn it to safety. But that was not possible, never will be, I think. Anyway, I fought my way down the aisles, hoping to miss the after school rush.

I did well until the laundry soap. I know – weird, huh? But I was trying to decide if I should get the usual jumbo bottle or not. I mean…it’ll just be me, right? My mind instantly filled in blanks of half full baskets, properly sorted, and no uniforms to bag for the cleaners. No tighty white-ys, no undershirts…and my breath lodged in my throat as if it went solid. I snatched the jumbo container and tossed it in the cart then had to hit the cat food section – which turned into a mental scene of the old woman with cats and I had to move with a purpose to the line.

Out, flee – just get away from the public and you can lose your mind. But there was a helpful young man pulling carts and he wanted mine – I must have looked panicked because he quickly tried to grab the heavy soap for me. A mumbled thanks, a seat full of bags, and I roared out of the parking lot, thankful for a break in the traffic to allow me to get home even faster. The air came hard, gasping like a fish on the very short drive home.

And then, bags inside and dogs outside, I could let my spirit crumple. But it wouldn’t. It just…declined. A few tears as the cold things were put away but then…it was just filled with generic sadness. Not the killing pain of loss. This is my life, now. Packing all the things, cleaning all the things, praying the house sells for more than we paid, and that he does something to pack his things because Dear GOD can he not see that I can’t do that, too? He left a dresser covered in clothing, all jumbled in a pile, knowing we had the lady coming.

He doesn’t care, I think. I don’t think he intends to help all that much with all this. After all, he could be here this weekend after being gone the last three and actually help pack but…no. He has a 4 day fuck fest planned, I guess. Is that cruel? Is that harsh? It is the truth. The unvarnished, plain truth and I force myself to use it to avoid allowing any sort of sentiment to arise.

Sure, he checked the radiator hose on the truck for me – gee, he’s taking the other truck with him so if I need to leave the HOUSE THE NEXT 4 DAYS it really ought to work but – hey, you know…he tried. Has to order the part. Yeah. Well, I guess more time to pack for me, then. Oh, and the dog – the one he said he had a home for and told me a week ago that he’d take it today so that I wouldn’t have her emotional drama to deal with again for 4 days…but, no. Sorry! Too busy, forgot, I didn’t say that…whatever excuse was to hand was in use. Suffice to say her anxious, pitiful waiting for him will serve to torment me just as the thought of him there with her does. Yes, we are both a kind a widow, me and the dog. She doesn’t love me the same way. Doesn’t understand that he doesn’t care enough to take care of her. A pat on the head and then done.

Well, so it goes. A little benadryl can ease her nights. And my sanity. Because her sad lingering at the door breaks my heart.

What there is left to break.

The good news? I got my hair cut. It’s not perfect and I will never be able to use the implements of hair torture sufficiently to make it look good but…at least it looks presentable. And if someone decides to hire me that will be helpful, I guess. Some resumes submitted, a few jobs that seem just right, but I fear the worst. I always do. I am a pessimist and a planner so all of this uncertainty is horrible.

There was a man once who asked me a question – about my life or my fears or some sort of thing and it came to me in a moment. I had never felt safe a day in my life. When you are 30 years + it is a stunning revelation. It is why I don’t trust people. Safer that way. And each time I have…well, it hasn’t worked out that well for me so…best to stick to what I know – me, and mine. I think it very sad that he chose to do that – to rip away the only safety I’d ever felt – for the sake of his “happiness”. But at least I know now – a decade too late – but I know now.

Never again.

Here’s to the one on the other side of the river. At least he never lied about what it was.

 

Noting Prose

It has been a long time since I had the leisure to browse the blogs and enjoy the language of others. Today I was sorting a lot of details out as one must when separating the Us into the You and Me.

I looked at the convenient feed and that of the Red Haired Wonder poked at me – and her following advice served as a timely reminder. “You can’t control fate, but you can make choices. You can continue your day and do nothing, standing in brooding and irretrievable calculation as if casting in a game already lost. Or you can seize the moment, the days, wringing every last drop from them.”

I tend to melancholy and pessimism. That is why he was such a good foil for me with his eternal optimism and general good nature. I never did dwell in the depths for long. But his buoyancy will float away as I hold to the pieces of the rickety raft called my life.

As the We turns into Me I find myself mellowing in the stages of grief, noting them as they come and trying to let them wash over like riffles and not a tidal surge. Nothing to swamp me, not enough to drown. But that stiffness at the back of the nose and the prickle of tears forming can feel like drowning. Then it becomes familiar and you can let it rise and fall with only a swipe or two to prevent the notice by others.

It would be easy to destroy everything I see as I have been – the need to rip the small trees from the ground was strong. He planted them. For us. For this perfect place. But the trees didn’t cause this. But some things were thrown into the trash bin – the heart-shaped box full of the language of love – that was cast in with the other waste. The ceramic plate crafted by a friend whose own mid-life crisis we jeered at – those anniversary dates no longer needed. And today I started on the photos – moving some to the Delete Later folder created for that very thing. Out of sight until I can bear to see them without the pain and regret.

A friend noted this is like chemotherapy – necessary, you feel terrible, and you may never quite recover but you aren’t dying. A stasis, of sorts, and a bargaining with life. I admit there was a shock – one of the few moments of anger flaring – when I told him that the last time I went through this I nearly ate my gun, that this time the thought of his profiting from the insurance policy felt like the one thing holding my hand back. His callous, “I can change the beneficiary” response was a bucket of cold water in my face. My God – it really was all a lie. No Captain America, that – no, and it was good that I knew it. In that moment I knew I’d been so utterly wrong for 11 years and how stupid could I have been to not see it.

Strangely, I’d had a dream a few months ago in which he stood there quite callously as I learned that I was to be kicked out, with nothing, no plans, no hope, as he stood there just smirking in the face of my howling pain. It was so stark that I actually mentioned it and I wonder now if he thought in that moment how I could have figured it out. Well, life is funny that way, preparing me for the shock before it came.

It is amicable enough – assurances made of a roof and insurance until I can get a job, though my skills are 3 years stale. A promise that the 401k I gutted for the house would be repaid. It is all I will have to tide me over, after all. We – I – counted on his military and DPS retirement. Well, now someone else can – and good luck to them because who knows if he will change his mind there, too.

I try to not wish her ill, hold back the easy curses, avoiding candles and mirrors lest the temptation be too much. She deserves much. But the thing is cyclical and one has to find it…worthy of it wending its way back. Instead, I choose moments. Live Here, breathe Here. Don’t look to far down the road – there is no light there, not yet. But in this moment here you have warmth and air. Don’t denigrate its value.

Ah, words – I have missed them. Who knows how prolific they will be once there is no need for 3 meals, 2 dogs, and endless cleaning. Anything could happen. Absolutely anything.