Day 19 – A lovely weekend in Minnesota


Well, it looks like I finally missed a day on my 100 day walk challenge. In fairness, I only missed it because I was on the road, coming back from Minnesota. I did get to walk one of the days I was there, but no blogging. That’s ok. Sometimes you have to put down the electronics and just hang out with your people.

The little town they live in is Hallock, MN, which appears to be a really awesome, close-knit town. As part of my blogging going forward, I’ll be doing a bit of a travelog. Stay tuned for more on Hallock and any other place I’ve been.

It was a lovely weekend. I don’t get to spend time with my Brother’s family very often, so we packed in a lot of visiting, and watched Older Nephew play hockey. Not only did he score a goal, but it apparently was the best game they played all year. It was the last home game for him ever. I am so happy that I was able to see him play.

It’s amazing to me how quickly time passes. It wasn’t so long ago that my nephews were just little boys that I could pick up and hug. Now they are both so tall they have to bend down to hug me. I wish so badly, that things had been different between when they were little, and now that they are big. I have missed out so much on their lives that it just makes my heart break.

Well, now things are better and I can afford the time and money to travel to see them. I will take a lot of pleasure in seeing them as much as I can. Next trip will be in May to see Older Nephew graduate from high school.

Here’s hoping you have ready access to your loved ones, don’t miss a thing. If you don’t have quick access, I hope that you go when you can. Life’s too short.

Blessings all!

Day 17 – Minnesota, here I come!


TGIF, Faithful Readers!  I am so excited today, because not only did I wade through a kind of stressful week at work and made it to the end, but I also get to go to Minnesota to visit with my brother’s family this weekend.

My Older Nephew has been asking me for years to come see him play in one of his sports, either football or hockey, and either the weather or working two jobs always conspired against me. Well, Oldest Nephew is graduating from high school this May, and tomorrow is the last home hockey game (Go Bearcats!) he will ever have on a Saturday. Given my work situation right now, it’s my last chance to go see him play. Ever.

So, my parents and I are leaving after I get off work tonight, and staying at their house for the weekend. It’s always a good time when we get together, and I am so excited to go.

I don’t know where 18 years went, but Older Nephew is all grown up, and I missed out on so much of his life. Now that I am back on my feet enough that I don’t have to keep my two jobs all year round, I’m looking forward to more travel in their direction.

Here’s hoping that you have the ability to get up and go when those important people ask for you, and that you always have safe travels. Blessings and have a good weekend… Go Bearcats!!

Life is full of little trade offs…The trick is to find balance.


As all of my Faithful Readers know, I have two jobs. I work at the Cube Farm by day, and The Big Box Store by night…the blue one. I think you know what I’m talking about.

Lately, I’ve had thoughts of defecting to The Other Big Box Store. The red one, with the bulls-eye.

I have a friend at The Cube Farm who has been talking to me about switching over, and I think I just might do it. I have to say, though, that I have been at The Blue Store for long enough that I’m comfortable there. The whole problem with that place is that it’s impossible to get your work scheduling straight, it’s disorganized, dirty and they have such a high turn over rate that there is never enough help. As a result of not ever having enough help, many of us “Floor Help” end up cashiering instead of keeping our departments straight. I hate cashiering, and my right elbow and wrist hate it too.

Every time I go to The Red Store I marvel at how clean it is, how every employee has a scanner to use and that things just seem to be more orderly in general. It’s so tempting to defect, but I would be giving up a lot of benefits I get at The Blue Store that wouldn’t be available to me at The Red Store. Hm…lots to ponder.

Life is full of all sorts of trade offs, and some have been very worthwhile. Let’s take last night for example.

I picked up The Flirt, and we went shopping last night. We bummed around the mall, just going from one store to another looking at stuff. At several points he grabbed my hand and held it as we walked.  Wow… have you got any idea how long it’s been since a man has picked my hand up and held it? Oh…many more than I can count.  That Flirt is full of all sorts of delightful surprises, and I’m looking forward to finding out what else he has up his sleeve.

So, what’s the trade-off?  I gave up time with my boys at home for the evening.

I think the whole trick is to find balance. Sunday evening The Flirt came over for pizza and movies, and we all had a good time. Hopefully I can find and maintain just the right balance, and not let my social life get the better of me.

I think we can do this… Well, I guess we’ll find out!

Quiet moments, and some blather


Yes…yes, I’m still alive. It’s been awhile since I posted, but I have to say I was a running fool. Seems like the whole summer has flown by. While I feel like I have nothing to show for it, I’ve actually been pretty busy. That’s ok…It’s better than sitting around, I guess.  And then, when I have time to take a breath, all the fabulous things I had found to blog about evaporate like flood water on a hot July day.  Amazingly, I was sitting in the living room alone with no sounds other than my Wood Wick candle burning, the traffic outside and the noise of Younger Son taking a shower. It was a lovely quiet moment, albeit brief. Apparently that was just enough to break my writer’s block. Strange, the things my brain will respond to.

The flood situation in Minot is no longer all about being wet, but now about recovery. Most everyone who was displaced has been allowed back into their homes, and the gutting and cleaning has commenced.  We have heard that there is a plan being proposed that will straighten out the river, and provide protection from the river for up to 30,000 cfs (cubic feet/second).   We dealt with upwards of 22,000 cfs this go around. Whatever plan they come up with, it will take a long time to put into place, but Minot will be better off for it. More on that as things progress.

Right now we are sitting in the living room watching a movie called Escanaba in da Moonlight. It’s an old family favorite that we got through Netflix. It’s one of those shows we all agree on, and can have a good laugh over.  There’s nothing like sitting around with your kids having a good laugh.

Speaking of kids, I had the last three days off so I could get them registered and set up for school, which is starting very late for us this year. The flood took several schools in town so the State has forgiven five school days, plus there will be three more tacked on to that will be made up throughout the school year. As a result, instead of starting school August 24th, school won’t start until September 6th. Older Son is a Senior this year, and so come all things associated with that: Senior pictures, applying to colleges and graduation…amongst other things.  Older Son isn’t too hip on the whole graduation tradition, and would rather skip all of the pictures and ceremony. Well, he’s just going to have to tough it out. Some traditions just need to be observed. I think he’s feeling a little overwhelmed with the end of school coming and having to make choices. I don’t envy him…it’s no easy thing to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. I still am not sure what I want to do when I grow up either, and I’m 42.

Younger Son cooked supper tonight. It was a <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/t1IiUAtoNBk“>grilled,  bacon wrapped, vegetable stuffed meatloaf. OMG. That kid is going to make me fatter than I already am. He’s also going to make some nice girl a fine husband one day. He’s got that cooking thing down for someone who’s only 16 years old. This is the third time in the last month I’ve come home to find supper grilled and ready to eat. I’m truly spoiled.

My lovely kitty, Harley, got declawed this week. As lovely as he is, he’s got a taste for scratching everything but the scratching post, including box springs, the dish washer, the heat vent in the bathroom, the living room furniture, and anything Older Son owns. It’s not something I had planned on, or liked, having to do, but it was either that or he’d have to go. The good news is that he is making a remarkable recovery and is up to the usual mischief…except without so many scratch marks.

Now it’s quiet again, and all I hear is my tapping on the key board and the wooden wick of my candle crackling away. Pretty soon I’ll have to get up and put my laundry in the dryer, and hit the rack, bringing  my rare quiet moment to an end, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Blessed are mundane things


Today started out being not such a bad day. My house wasn’t considered to be in the flood zone, and we had made some progress on going through stuff in the basement that needed to be gotten rid of or brought upstairs. There was a sense of it needing to be done, but not that we had to kill ourselves to finish up.

My Sister calls this "Frog in a Blender"

Then we went out to run some errands. Older Son came with me and on the way home, I thought it would be nice to stop at Starbucks and get us some coffee. Or, in my case, a nice Green Tea Frappuccino.  We sat outside the drive through speaker for a long time, and then a girl came out and apologized, letting us know that they were closing due to the evacuation zones being expanded.

What?!

Yep…we came right home and turned on the tv. The big news is that someone just discovered that double the water was coming our way, and those close to the original evacuation zones were to evacuate as well. Well, that threw things into a tizzy. Later on we would find out that we weren’t in an expanded evacuation zone, but that someone had jumped the gun on that announcement. We are still getting double the water, though. It’s going to be what I come to call a Prairie Tsunami.

So, Older Son and I began to get things up from the basement, double time. Younger Son was at Driver’s Ed all afternoon, but got home early. We hauled stuff up and stashed it in bedrooms, we hauled crap out to the curb for garbage pickup, and we took some stuff to a friend who had use for them. It got to be about 9:30, and I walked across the road to see what’s going on closer to the river. I could see straight down one road to a main drag that runs over a bridge across the river. It was still dry, even though the West end of town is flooding. I’m hoping to get up tomorrow and still see a dry road. We’ll see what the new day brings. Until then, time to hit the rack.

Older Son’s bed is smack in the middle of the living room, so he’ll be comfortable enough until this whole thing is over and we can get him back into his bedroom in the basement. He suggested that we watch a movie, Battle: L.A. It’s an alien attack movie, just the kind of sci-fi thing we all like to watch. I sat here earlier flossing my teeth and catching up on the news on Facebook, and realized how nice it was to just do something as mundane as take care of my teeth. Watching a movie together is a nice mundane way to try to normalize after a long day of tearing up your house, and watching your community go under water via the television.  For now, we are just a family hanging out together, discussing the best way for the protagonists to kill the attacking aliens. Run of the mill stuff around these parts.

Good night all…

 

Hope really does float…grab it and hang on tight.


Yes…I’m alive! I’ve been away for several weeks, alternately running like a lunatic trying to keep up with life, and then having time and not being able to write. I just sit in front of my computer and wonder what happened to all of those interesting things that skittered across my brain during the day. It all just evaporated, right into thin air.

I had no intention of blogging today, but I read a blog post of a close friend who is going through divorce, and it inspired me to write about something that I hadn’t thought of in a long time. Her comments reminded me of something I felt, similarly to what she’s going through now, when I was  just beginning to go through the same process two years ago.  She described how she felt like she was in fast-rising, deep water…feeling overwhelmed. Here is the picture she posted as an illustration. I found it interesting for a couple of reasons, but I’ll get to that later:

I remember very well when I discovered my husband had cheated on me and then decided to leave me and the boys to be with her, rather than try to work things out, I felt like I was literally in over my head. I guess I really was…I had no idea what to do, how to deal with him, how to help the boys get through it, or what the future held. I remember very clearly waking up many mornings immediately after the initial blow and wondering what the point to breathing really was. It was probably the most demoralizing thing I’ve ever been through in my entire life.

Something I discovered after a month’s worth of flailing about was that life is a lot like swimming. I remember very well taking swimming lessons as a kid, and having a hard time with it. I really didn’t believe that I was going to just float in the water as effortlessly as the other kids did. My disbelief was the whole problem. I don’t exactly remember when I made the cross over from disbelief to swimming like a fish, but once I realized the water would hold me up if just let it, swimming got a lot easier.

Getting through divorce is so much harder than learning how to swim for a few reasons. For one, it’s not just you that you have to keep afloat when there are children involved. Secondly, a pool is a pretty well-defined area where you can see to the bottom. Getting divorced, especially at the beginning, feels a lot like having to tread water in the ocean, where you can barely see land.  And, if you’ve never done it before, the navigation of it is a bitch. How do you get to your destination when you have no map, and no idea what the landmarks you need to find look like? How do you know when it’s done, or does this hell go on forever?

Just like when I was learning how to swim, I can’t remember exactly when I let go and realized that I wouldn’t die if I just believed that everything would be OK. I do remember discovering that making small plans for every contingency gave me a measure of a feeling of security. Each and every single time I made a plan, or found a way to make things the tiniest little bit more stable, it gave me a little more hope that I would survive. I hung on to that hope, clung to it with everything I had. The alternative, hopelessness, was nothing I wanted to revisit.

Once my (then) husband moved out, after four months of having to endure him living in the house after I caught him with the other woman, the air suddenly cleared and I could breath again. The oppressive atmosphere evaporated and, while I was still left with a lot of uncertainty, I finally felt like I made it a long way closer to shore. I was no longer flailing about in the ocean looking to find purchase on a whatever sand bar or rock I could find. After that long, awful summer, I was finally standing up in the water, walking towards shore. I might still be  in neck-deep, but the end was in sight. I had a lot of hope that things would be OK after that.

Even though I felt better immediately after he finally left, it was a pretty horrible year for both of the kids and I. There were a lot of financial issues, and I was still reeling from having been dumped out of a 17-year marriage without so much as a heads up or an apology. Two years have gone by since the initial shock of discovery, and I’m still angry…but I feel more pity for him than anger a lot of days now. However, after all of that, I’m still standing, and so are the kids. We survived, and we’re doing well. I still have a lot of hope that things will get even better.

Another thing I learned while surviving divorce is how to spin something bad until I’m blowing sunshine out of my backside. No kidding…I am a full-fledged subscriber to the “Fake-It-‘Till-You-Make-It” theory of thinking. Even on days when I could barely hold my head up for feeling lost, when people asked me how I was, I would tell them “Good”, or “Fabulous” and do my best to mean it. I did my best to count up all the blessings I could find, even the smallest things count. There were many days were there weren’t enough blessings to tip the balance and allow me to feel half-way decent, but a lot of days I could dredge up enough good things to ponder on that would give me some hope to float up with. It takes some practice, but it works.

Back to the picture my friend posted on her blog. At first glance it appears that the woman is in deep water, all alone. But, if you take a closer look at it, you see that the water is crystal clear and well-lit, and you can see all the way to the bottom. Not only that, but her face has broken the water and she’s breathing without difficulty. She’s in a prone position suggesting that she’s relaxed and is moving as though taking a long relaxed swim in the morning sun…if she were struggling, the water would be frothy and broken with her movements. The woman in this picture is purposeful in her motions, has confidence in the water to hold her up, and is not alone… she’s just taking time for herself. The peace of this picture is really striking and inspiring to me. It’s my fondest hope that my friend sees the peacefulness in this picture, and can find peace for herself after long time of not having had any.

Have you ever seen the movie, Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr.? If you haven’t, give it a look-see.  For those of you who are struggling through bad times, hope really does float, so grab on tight, rise to the surface and take a deep breath. It might not seem like it now, but everything will be OK.

Perverts – I just can’t get away from them


I’ve become aware of a guy that has been hanging around the toy department lately. I’ve seen this guy around town, here and there, for the last couple of years. It’s significant that I’ve noticed him, out of a population of 38,000, and have never formally met him.  He sets off my perv-dar, and now he’s been showing up in the Toy Department. No, wait…he’s showing up in MY Toy Department.

In all fairness, I don’t know for sure that this guy is an actual pervert, or a kid- toucher. I do know that there is something about this guy that causes all the pervert radar receptors I own to flash bright lights and run around in circles shouting “Danger, Danger!” I can’t even tell you what exactly it is about this guy who that sets me off, but he gives me the same feeling I’ve gotten from other suspicious individuals I’ve run into over the years. I hope he decides that my Toy Department isn’t the place to hang out any more. I’ve noticed the last couple of times he’s been around that he’s left the department as soon as he locked eyes with me. I do try hard to school my features, but perhaps he knows I’m onto him.  I’m guessing that his Mother Bear/Toy Department Guardian radar lights up when I come near. Grrrrr…

On the home front, I have pervert problems of a different nature. As my 18 (Yes, that’s right…I’ve gained 7!) Faithful Readers will recall, we have gained a new family member here at our little house on The High Plains. Harley has become instant family and fits in well. That is, until it’s time to sleep.

Harley is a real lover. He loves to cuddle and craves attention. He makes the rounds at night and sleeps with all of us, with the exception of Older Son. He keeps his door closed because Harley likes to pounce on his feet. The 2nd night Harley lived with us, he hopped into bed with me, cuddled up to my neck and purred loudly. I drifted off to sleep thinking how lucky we are to have chosen such an affectionate cat, but then everything went south in a hurry.

The next thing I know Harley is licking my chin and has his feet planted in my chest, kneading my flesh with his toes. Ok…that’s not so bad. What really floored me was when he got up and tried to have his way with my arm.  That’s right…he got up, straddled my arm and went to town. This, of course, caused him to be instantly ejected from my room.

The next night, no problem. I’m thinking that he’s got the idea that he’s got to behave or else, and life is good. Nope. That was just a ruse to lull me into a false sense of security, because the next night after that he did it again. Yes, ladies and gentleman, my cat is a pervert. Sigh…It appears that I am surrounded!