Domesticity becomes him

Last night I had supper with Older Son, his Lively Girlfriend, and her Munchkin. It was probably one of the more gratifying experiences I’ve had since COVID-19 hit.

Why’s that? It was just supper with Older Son and his family.

Well, it wasn’t just supper. It was a chance to see him operate in his home environment, and I think domesticity becomes him.

Not only did we have supper and visit, but we played games. I haven’t played games in a long time. Battleship is a game I played as a kid, and then again when I had kids. He played against the Munchkin, and then I got to play too.

Then we played Jenga. I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to play that before.

After games was supper. We ate a lovely Italian dish, and a good time was had by all.

When it comes to my kids, I always worried that they were so broken by having divorced parents that they might not find someone to spend the rest of their lives with. Tonight I feel like all isn’t lost, at least for Older Son. Younger Son is so busy with his career that he hasn’t made time for a girlfriend yet. He’s only 25, and has lots of time.

Here’s hoping you find solace for something you’ve worried about. I didn’t know what a big worry it was for me until it wasn’t anymore! Blessings all!

When granny has lust in her eye…

I am generally of the opinion that you are really only as young as you want to be in your head, but sometimes things happen that just stop that happy train of thought right in its tracks.

I had the strangest experience tonight. I picked Younger Son up from practice tonight after I got off of work, and we made a quick run to the grocery store.  We split up so as to make the shopping go quicker, and I was standing a couple of isles away from him when I ran into an old friend of mine. She took a job at another company and I hardly ever see her anymore, so we stood and chatted for a few minutes. Younger Son came up behind me, so I introduced him to my friend and then she said something that blew my mind:

“Oh my, I noticed him in the other row, and admired that he was wearing shorts. What a good-looking young man!”

When she realized that what she’d said out loud, and that she’d said it with such frank appreciation of his looks, she quickly change the subject. Now, I know that at some point soon I am doing to have to beat the girls off with a bat. Younger Son is almost 17, and is a good-looking boy. Older Son is pretty cute too…I’m a lucky Mom that way. However, when my friend, who is a grandmother, starts ogling my kid with something akin to lust in her eye, it’s quite a revelation.

First I had to get used to the idea that I had kids old enough to shave.

Then they started driving.

Now I’ve seen someone older than me look at my child with lust on her face. I can’t decide if I should be proud enough to burst, or if I should make sure he doesn’t wear shorts in public any more. Perhaps a nice ankle-length jacket would be helpful here too.

Or, I could just suck it up because I am almost 43, and I am, in fact, old enough to have kids who are lusted after by other people. I’m guessing that sucking it up would be less effort, but it sure has been a shock to my system!



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!

Three days and counting!

Oh yes…only three more days left and then life gets good again. School’s soon to be out for the Summer!  Whoo!

What, you say? I like it when school is out? Oh yes. I have always liked it better when the kids are out for the summer.  There’s less complication, less garbage to deal with, and all around less stress.  Older Son asked me the other day why I liked it better when school is out. “Because I like you guys,” was my reply. And I do like having them around…I’ll be a mess when they move on and get their own lives!

I will admit that they are getting on each others nerves by the end of Summer Vacation, and going back to school alleviates that a bit.  This year I don’t anticipate that being a problem as they both are working.  With the different schedule’s they’ll have, they’ll be lucky to even see each other for very long at all most days. Sigh…I’ll be lucky to see them at all each day. Still, I like it better when school’s out for the Summer.

T-minus three days, and counting!

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!

The only tv show my family agrees on

I have fond memories of sitting around the living room with my whole family watching our favorite shows when I was a kid. It was easy back then as the shows were good and there were so few of them that it was an event to sit down to your favorites. Some of my favorites were the Flip Wilson Show (yes, I’m that old), Happy Days and Mash. Oh, and lets not forget classics like Mork & Mindy, and Taxi.

These days, it’s a little harder to find programing that the whole family can sit down to watch. Not only do we all have different taste in television programming, but there’s just not much on these days that’s terribly good for family viewing. There’s so much garbage on tv these days. If it isn’t provoked drama (“reality” shows), it’s sex and other things that aren’t appropriate for viewers of all ages.

So, I finally found a show that we can all watch together: Wipeout. Or, in the case of this season, Winter Wipeout. This show can be found on your local ABC channel, and is funny the same way America’s Funniest Videos is. Where AFV is all about people catching each other and their pets doing silly things, Wipeout is a about people trying to get through several levels of an obstacle course. It’s modeled after MXC which originated in Japan, but Wipeout is a little more family friendly.

I don’t know where they get the contestants for Wipeout, but they are all pretty good sports. Very silly people, but good sports nonetheless. And they are terribly unbreakable. It’s astonishing to me how these folks can take such a beating and still keep going. Here is a good example from an earlier season:

There’s lots of silliness to be had,

and lots, and LOTS of mud:

I am not sure why I find this show so funny, but I do. Even better, it’s something the three of us have in common, and we can all laugh together about. The nice thing about this show is simple humor that perks me up at the end of a long day. These clips aren’t near as funny as watching a whole show, as they generally have a theme. There’s a lot more on You Tube…give it a whirl if you’re looking for some cheap laughs.

Pre-emptive coffee, and the day Santa died

This morning I made the coffee, and I did it purely out of self-defense.

Older Son has been making the coffee recently and his idea of coffee, at the tender age of almost 18, is to put so many grounds in the filter that they are almost leaking out by the time the water has finished running through. I don’t often drink coffee right away in the morning, but the one day that I was really needing a cup I made the mistake of not making it myself.  It was so strong, it fairly made me break out into a sweat, so I didn’t finish it…I took two sips and there was so much caffeine in that little bit of coffee that I was lit up like a Christmas tree for the whole morning. That might have not been so bad, except it was so bitter that I just couldn’t get it down.

When I made the coffee today, I made it a little strong for me so Older Son wouldn’t feel like he was drinking colored water. So far so good. he finds it palatable, so mission accomplished.

So here I sit, reading blogs and sipping my low-octane coffee. I’m seeing a lot of posts about Santa, and it reminds me of the Christmas that Younger Son was in the First Grade. Younger Son has a very pragmatic, black and white way of looking at the world, and it didn’t take him long to figure out that Santa isn’t real. As the boys stayed with my parents after school, he inquired with my Mother about this, and they had a discussion about the real St. Nick and the fact that he is not with us any more but we celebrate him in spirit. He seemed satisfied with this explanation and all was well.

That is, until the next day when he announced to the rest of his First Grade class that Santa was, in fact, dead. From what I understand, there was an argument, and several of the children cried. Needless to say,  the teacher was pretty put out with him when my Mom picked him up after school.

Apparently Younger Son didn’t understand that while you may learn the truth about something, you don’t get to burst other people’s bubbles. I have no doubt that some of these kids will have bitter memories of the Christmas of their First Grade year. I can just imagine some of the conversations that happened around supper tables that night.

So, now that I’ve finished my coffee, and my story, it’s off to work. Happy Thursday!

Keeping my kids off balance, and a blog contest

I read about a blog contest today for the Mom of the Year award, and I actually submitted an entry. Now, mind you, I don’t feel like I am any kind of mother to be deserving of an award, much less be given the title of Mom of the Year.  However, the parameters of the contest made it clear that I might actually have something to contribute. The blog is entitled Slightly Off-Balance, and the contest parameters are as follows:

“I am announcing my Mom of the Year contest to recognize the crazy things you do as you struggle for balance!

But in the spirit of being Slightly Off-Balance, I am not looking for traditional stories of all organic food, no tv, no yelling (these are all amazing qualities, but I don’t want to feel bad about myself!)  You win with humor!

Tell me a story about how you fed your kids McDonald’s for six straight meals or how you ate their cupcakes and told them they were stale.  The more off-balance and funny the better.  I will announce a winner next Monday, October 25th.”(This has since been pushed back to Nov 1st or 2nd)

Since I have so many stories of how I keep my equilibrium by keeping my children off  balance, I thought I’d post an entry, which I’ve pasted below in blue. I hope that many of my readers will make entries as well. Even if you don’t enter, stop by and have a look…there are some funny submissions.

The back-story of following conversation I had with my youngest son is that I wouldn’t let my kids watch Britney Spears on TV. I found Miss “I Don’t Want To Be A Role Model”, quite too racy for my then 9 and 7-year-old boys. Youngest Son is quite a joker, but I got him good on this particular day as he was trying to get revenge on me for not stopping to get him some candy after school. We were having this discussion while in traffic on the way home:

Youngest Son: “You know what? When I grow up, I’m going to marry Britney Spears!”

Me: “Really, you’re going to marry Britney Spears?”

Youngest Son: “That’s right, and we’re going to let our kids do anything they want, and eat anything they want.”

Me: “That’s interesting. Youngest Son, how old do you think you will be when you get married?”

Youngest Son: “I don’t know.”

Me: “We’ll generally, people don’t get married until they’re in their 20’s. You’re only 7 now.”

Youngest Son: “So?”

Me: “Britney is about 21 or so now, and you have to wait 14 years to catch up to that age since you’re only 7 now.

Youngest Son: “Yeah, what about it?”

Me: “Well, while you are aging for 14 years, she will be aging at the same time, which means she will get old and look just like me” (I’m chubby with gray-streaked dark hair).

Youngest Son: “WHAT?”

Me: “You didn’t think she was just going to stay 21 and cute forever did you?”

Youngest Son: [Silence]

**Note: He didn’t say another thing about Britney Spears to me for the rest of that trip home, or for several years after that!

Britney as she was during this conversation

Britney again...several years later.

Digging deep…this morning’s blessings

With Autumn approaching, I find that I’m feeling hum drum, and just down in general. Don’t get me wrong, I love this time of year with the beauty of the changing trees, the Autumn smells in the air, and just the fresh crisp feel of the season. It’s a beautiful time of year, and yet I find the specter of the coming Winter overshadows it to the point of making me feel some dread. I’ve been told that we should expect 2 1/2 degrees colder temps on average, as well as 4 more total inches of snow this winter. We had a hard time finding places to put it all last year, and I can’t imagine trying to store more of the stuff. Uff-da….

Anyway, in the effort to drag my attitude out of the basement and into the light, I’m digging deep, with my trusty snow shovel,  for whatever blessings come to mind this morning, and they are as follows:

1. When the ground freezes and the snow falls, there will be no chance that I will get leakage in my basement from a severe thunderstorm.

2. I am fortunate enough to have two strong sons to help me shovel out. I also have some extra cash I’m going to pay my neighbor with the Bobcat to clear my driveway when the snow is so deep it would take us hours to clear by hand.

3. I have a have a nice warm winter jacket, which I affectionately call the Big Brown Bear suit. It’s never failed me, except that the pockets have holes that need sewing up. After 12 years, if that’s the only malfunction that happens, no big deal. I have a needle and thread.

4. Snow really is pretty. There’s nothing more peaceful than when the land has a fresh coat of snow on it. Not only is it peaceful to see, but it lends an extra measure of quiet to everything that is like nothing else.

5. While Christmas, in all its commercial glory, is not my favorite holiday, I love how everything is covered with lights at Christmas time. When everything is so dark that we hardly get to see the sunshine, it’s nice to have those little lights twinkling in the darkness. Sometimes I take the long way to where I’m going just so I can take in some more of the holiday decorations.

6. I like holiday food. Some of the best traditional holiday food is only made in the Winter. Lefse is a good example. I learned how to make lefse last year, and I  plan on making homemade lefse for Thanksgiving and Christmas. No promises about Easter, it’s just too darned busy that time of year.

7. Speaking of holiday food, Thanksgiving is coming up. Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday. I live for roasting turkey, and making the whole dinner with all the trimmings. I love to have people over and make a big day of it. I can’t wait!

Well, I supposed that will have to be enough for now. It’s time to get the boys off to school, and me to work. I hope you all have a blessing-filled day.

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