May 16, 2014

Change of Life.....

Last fall I can remember telling one of my best friends that I had the strongest feeling something big was coming.  I get these feelings from time to time and they are always right on the money.

The other night we were reminiscing about this and marveling at all the big changes that had happened since then, and we were laughing when we looked up and noticed the boys coming home in the 1994 Dodge Caravan.  She said it was so strange to see that van driving around, and then when she got close enough to see who was in it, for there to be 2 boys who looked just alike.  "Wait till you get the dogs in there, people will be running off Main Street," was her remark.  The dogs and the boys are equally good looking, in my opinion.  I am not surprised people would stare.  :)

The 1994 Doge Caravan is now on the road!  The single most important thing this means to me is that I no longer have to go to Wal Mart, or anywhere, really.  There is always a boy more than happy to run and get whatever I have forgotten.  These are indeed good days, long in coming to us.

For the first time in 24 years, I get myself up in the morning, get myself ready, and drive off to work, by myself..  That's it.  That's all.  The first morning I left before The Grand Finale did, I kissed them both and said it was so strange to just be driving off and leaving them there.  They smiled and rolled their eyes, which is as good a reaction as I get these days, and said not to worry, that they would be fine.  They practically patted me on the head, which I tried to take gracefully.

I cried on the way down the street and decided to stop for a donut to commemorate this glorious occasion.

And it was very strange, but they were all right.  Despite my constantly checking my phone in case of emergency all day, nothing happened at all.  Four days in, it just keeps happening.  I hardly know how to act.  The second morning I showed up at work an hour early, mostly because I didn't know what else to do or where else to go.  I am seriously considering setting my alarm for 6:30 instead of 5:15 for the first time in my adult life.  Of course I'm putting it off so I don't get severely disappointed if it doesn't work out, but I am really enjoying just hitting the snooze and not worrying right now.  Every single day it feels like less pressure and more time, and I am reveling in it.

I know this is a blessing, and I am slightly ashamed that I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  It feels simultaneously like a lack of faith and good judgement.  I 'm learning to live with it.

Other things I can learn to live with are beginning to disturb me. The kitchen that was clean and empty last weekend is now strewn with debris and we are fixing the cracks in the walls and ceilings.  I have spent almost every night this week pulling off pieces of my walls and ceilings and just flinging them to the floor, where I am not concerned about ever cleaning them up again.  That crap can easily be rolled right up when we remove the carpet, hopefully this coming weekend.  I just pull, scrape, throw, and let the chips fall where they may.  Then I leave them there and I do not care.  This is the first time in my life I have ever done anything like this and I find it lots of fun.  How often do you get this opportunity in life???  How often can you just start tearing on a thread, have it all fall apart, throw it in the floor and not care?  Not often in my life up to this point!  I have scraped knuckles and calloused fingertips, and actually had the thought that I needed a manicure, none of which are like me at all, but there you have it.  This is me, now, apparently.    I just go with the flow, where ever that takes me, and it's working out pretty good.  I guess. One thing about going with the flow is that there is no destination point known to you, which changes everything, really.  This is one lesson I have been grateful to learn.

I'm enjoying being care-free for the first time in many years.  It took me a while to recognize the feeling, so long had it been since I had felt it, but I'm settling in pretty comfortably.  My decision was reinforced last night when I got home after work to find the boys playing their Magic game of cards in the basement, where they had cleared off the table and found seats amongst the furniture piled willy-nilly all around them.  I had to move an empty wicker shelf set to even find them.  One boy was new, and had not noticed that we were remodeling upstairs.  I found this both remarkable and slightly disturbing, but put it down to teenage tunnel vision.  Either way, it looks like we can adapt to just about anything in stride.  

Lots of changes of the permanent variety are happening now.  For the first time in a very long time, I feel like the future holds new things.  Surprises.  Things will be different forever, and they will never be the same again.  We are all getting older, and we are all also getting stronger.

If you are in your 40's or older, and feel like you should start a work out routine, I can highly recommend working on your own house instead.  You will most certainly get a workout but more importantly, you will also never get bored.  Peeling away tape from a crack in your wall all the way to the bare boards has a way of getting your heart rate up that no treadmill can hold a candle to, let me tell you.  Fear of the walls of your house actually cracking all the way through can tax your system more than 100 reps on the most expensive weight machine, no matter how many bells and whistles it is endowed with.  Climbing a ladder 40 times a night will make many more muscles than simply walking for miles, and almost throwing yourself off the top of a ladder?  Because you are about to peel off a stubborn piece of tape/plaster that you've been battling and as God is your witness, you are going to get it off?  It's an adrenaline rush that has only been matched in my own life by having to track down and kill a bat in my own house.

It's also very good for your skin.  I must say that no Biore Strip can compare to the mask of sweat and plaster dust you can achieve just by sanding off mud where holes have been patched in a wall.  Do this above shoulder height for an added whammo for your floppy upper arms, and you've got a winning combination.  If I am not mistaken, this works not only as a mask but also whisks away all those downy hairs that menopause so gloriously, mysteriously and (girlfriends, I tell you) constantly bestows us with right off!  Perhaps forever!  It felt like it was from the roots, but I'll let you know.

Totally up to you, of course, but I believe there is no gym that can really compare to the experience of working on your own house.  At least I can't imagine one, and I would never want to go through these kinds of things in front of strangers.  The bang for your buck is just better served, it seems to me, the way I'm doing it.  For all the aches and pains I feel night and day, I am sitting up straighter, walking more comfortably, and my clothes are fitting more loosely.  I briefly wondered the other day if my feet my finally be shrinking a little, after the 1 1/2 sized gained after pregnancies, but I will have to wait till the swelling goes down to be sure.  My knees protest loudly but bend more than they have in years and even my hips feel less jiggly.  

Not only am I living with all these changes, but I have worked my way up to staying up until midnight and not turning into a zombie.  The first week was shaky, but I think I've got it now.  It's been 10 years since my mother passed, and it feels like the fog of grief has finally burned away and left me with a nice summer day.  I think I've been depressed, hiding, waiting, not caring if things went on because there was nothing I could do about them anyway.  For a girl who always, and I do mean always, grabs the bull of life by the horns, this has been a long time coming.  I can procrastinate with the best of them, it must be said, but when the rubber meets the road I have always been able to count on being in the car, usually driving.  One reason I was able to get out of bed and on with it is because I didn't want my mother to see me this way.  It would not make her proud, it would make her sad, and I could not have that.  I am reassured now, to feel that I've still got it, that I am still me inside here, even if my heart is broken.

Life breaks us all, sooner or later.  Sometimes it takes a while to summon the energy to actively participate, and it is absolutely frightening how easily you can phone it in and the world will let you slide.  My dear Pretend Grandbaby and Bonus Daughter came along right in time.  Without them I don't know how long I would have stayed there, in that quiet place where nothing really happened.  Abigail got me up just by being born, and I thank God for it.  Never underestimate the power of helpless things, for it cannot be measured in reality.

I'm still proud and happy that I never took the pills.  What pills?  The magic pills that are readily and proliferously offered to you for the slightest of complaints from every direction these days, of course, especially if you still watch television!   That all these magic pills can guarantee is profits for lawyers during future lawsuits is something you will also see commercials on.  Even if you only pay attention to these types of commercials for 3 years, you will see evidence of this that cannot possibly be denied.  Think it over.

Maybe you should just get out of bed and discipline yourself and do what God has put in front of you, whether you like it or not.  No whining.  In other words, suck it up, buttercup.  If this sounds like your mother, well, you must have had a good one.  :)  Choose to have a little faith.  That's what I did.  Life will sometimes suck, and that's a fact, and there is nothing to be done about it but just go on.  Choose to go on strong, not by being addicted to some drug or suffering untold side effects for the rest of your life.  No one is perfect, everyone goes through hard times, and the world went on just fine for millions of years without magic pills or lawsuits.  You can, too.    

The boys (who will soon be men) are getting out of their comfortable kid routine.  I am not going to be the one to tell them that their last summer of laying around being lazy kids is in the past, but it is.  They will figure this out soon enough, as they seek jobs in order to pay their own insurance for the 1994 Dodge Caravan.  I'll always be a mother, but my babies are almost 17 years old, and in this house, kids are still considered adults at 18.  Any 18 year old worth their oats is ready for the challenge, anyway, to say the least.

Soon, I will be a grandmother.  This new chapter will happily start with a newly remodeled house, gained by my own hard work, and I am not just talking about work of the physical variety.  With any luck my calloused hands will be soft in time to touch that sweet baby skin.  Oh, the time grows short and I anticipate this new arrival several times every day.  It has been a very long time since I have looked forward to anything, and I cannot imagine anything better than this.

Another chapter of our lives is over forever, and I am pretty sure I 'm the only one who knows it at this point.  But that's okay, I've survived this chapter before.  Twice.  I am ready, and I know that whatever changes continue to come, we will meet them just like we do everything else, no matter how hard they are or how long they take, we will continue forward and do things right, whatever sacrifices that might entail.

Now, back to getting ready to paint.  Still haven't decided on colors.  I've been too busy explaining to the boys that the reason it's taking so long is directly related to the amount of time we all put in.  This is not complicated but what do you expect from boys who don't even mind weaving around through randomly placed furniture everywhere just to find a chair to sit in?  Onward we go, with me praying that nothing worse than the cracks in walls are discovered before we get this done.  I need the rest, and frankly, I've earned it.

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These are my thoughts, which sometimes drive me crazy and sometimes keep me sane, but are always entertaining. I call this Lace Your Days With Hope because I can't find enough hope to make an entire quilt out of. Stay tuned, and add your own!