The Dailies

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This post was prompted by Little Miss Menopause over at Once Upon Your Prime who enjoyed my piece using TV titles (The Days of our Lives) and challenged me to do the same with some movie titles. It’s been a long time coming, but in the midst of all that’s going on, I feel lucky to have come up with anything at all! We really did have an incredible series of disasters (lightning strike, a period of no heat in middle of winter, a 3-week period of not being able to use our kitchen, hitting a deer, a 10-minute daily commute turning into a 2-hour daily commute, being hit by a teen driver, pipe breaks in two houses in two states, workers that wouldn’t show up, no brakes on a car, etc.) following our move to MD last year but there was a lot of good for us there too. For the purposes of this writing, I focused more on the disaster part of things.

Now DON’T SAY A WORD this is FOR YOUR EYES ONLY…. but just so you know…..

IT was only a SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE that made us into the OUT OF TOWNERS the first time.  I had serious misgivings about this BIG move and knew even the BEST LAID PLANS often went awry. Plus, at that point, I didn’t even know THE AWFUL TRUTH.  I was definitely CLUELESS.   These misgivings turned out to be an OMEN.   We were basically heading into a TEMPLE OF DOOM.   But I also knew you have to go WHERE THE MONEY IS and  was actually quite BEWITCHED by the idea of moving to such a lovely area.  In the end, I figured, well, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE so off we went across THE GREAT DIVIDE and onto the Eastern Shore. As it turned out, that move was just A BRIDGE TOO FAR.

After about SIX DAYS AND SEVEN NIGHTS, I had a pretty good inkling that I wasn’t going to do too well with this move. CATASTROPHEs began to strike.  After about 9 MONTHS and many catastrophic events in a row, it began to feel like a YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY. Oh I met some BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE and even some ORDINARY PEOPLE and sometimes even felt I was ON THE RIGHT TRACK.   We also got caught up in THE PARENT TRAP when thinking ABOUT A BOY (our son) who was thriving in this place.   But the two of us were living in MISERY. It was a CATCH 22. By the end of our year there it had gotten so bad we were WAITING TO EXHALE and were only interested in STAYING ALIVE. Finally, our common SENSE AND SENSIBILITY dictated that when on the TITANIC, there is a POINT OF NO RETURN and you realize SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE with great SPEED.

Once I found out that where we were at was AS GOOD AS IT GETS in that area, I told my husband then WHAT A GIRL WANTS and left him BREATHLESS as I threw down THE GAUNTLET.  Nothing was LOST IN TRANSLATION. Now, I’m no DIVA that will regularly STAND AND DELIVER ultimatums and I didn’t do that this time.   But he already knows it’s a RISKY BUSINESS at THE BEST OF TIMES and that when I’m upset there are no TERMS OF ENDEARMENT that can calm me down. I’m sure he thinks OH GOD and gets THAT SINKING FEELING in the pit of his stomach whenever I start going off the DEEP END. He knows that he doesn’t get TWO WEEKS NOTICE and actually doesn’t even get 48 HOURS to make it all better.  He needs to think fast and take EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES to come up with an act of UNCOMMON VALOR or risk being caught in the CROSSFIRE. Generally, he’s one of only A FEW GOOD MEN and does quite well, but I’m sure it’s SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL for his nerves when he manages head me off and not hear TAPS playing in the background of his mind. This man earns his marital STRIPES on days like this.

My son and I made the move BACK TO THE FUTURE at the beginning of August while my husband set up in Virginia to train his replacement for a month. For me, COMING HOME was a big CELEBRATION.  We (well, two of us anyway) are back in our home state, but now two hours north of where our old home is. THE SHINING sun has been out most every day and yet we’ve escaped the dreaded HEAT of Maryland. Actually, we’re anxiously awaiting the BIG CHILL of the winter months when we’re sure to have an ICE AGE and perhaps be FROZEN since we are now in one of the snowiest areas of the United States and right on a Great Lake. I guess we’re going to find out how much I really do like snow and if retiring to Canada is realistic or pure fantasy from watching ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. It should be a good practice run anyway.

Setting up HOUSE here without my husband feels like being a HOUSESITTER. I can set up things, but it can’t be totally done until he gets here and completes our family picture with his slippers and personal effects. It’s like constantly being HOME ALONE and I’m not a real fan of that. THE AWFUL TRUTH is I really hate being alone and especially in these, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. But tomorrow he’s HOMEWARD BOUND and we’ll be together again all in one place. HOPE SPRINGS eternal and I would imagine that in about 9 1/2 WEEKS or so, we’ll be looking at BRICK MANSIONS with GREAT EXPECTATIONS of a place to make our new HOUSE OF MIRTH.

But for now, I’m content to just have us all in one place.  I know now some of what can happen and I know how little I can control. I know what it’s like to feel DAZED AND CONFUSED. I know what it’s like to wonder WHICH WAY IS UP and definitely nothing is TAKEN for granted. I’ll NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. But I also know now, we DON’T LOOK BACK. There’s only one way to go and that’s UP!

 

(Still no time to take many pictures yet, so credit again given to Google Image Search)

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A ROYAL INTERMISSION

Yes, I know I just gave you a status yesterday, but I had a bit of time to myself last night when I didn’t just collapse and wanted to get this down before the details faded.    Hence, here I am again.

My youngest son, Spencer, just turned 15 two weeks ago and he’s about to start high school in a new place.   Luckily for us, he’s relishing the prospect of another new adventure. But anyone who’s ever raised kids to this point knows that there is a big divide between the special moments with the child that happily followed you around and ran to you with every boo-boo and accomplishment and hugged you just because it felt good and the ponderous teen who only seems to seek out your company when there is food involved. Oh, there are moments, don’t get me wrong, but they’re different now and sometimes it’s very hard to see that child that used to be so open and so warm and cuddly in the teen that sleeps till noon, has lost his baby fat and is so thin you can’t even find pants with a small enough waist size, now uses more hair and body products than you ever knew existed, and seems to speak a different language only known to those under 20.

With all the moving chaos going on lately, special moments around here have been few and far between. I sat across from my son at his birthday dinner two weeks ago and really saw him with a different perspective.   I was stunned to see he was sitting just as tall as the other people (adults) at the table, indeed even taller than some even being the youngest one present. Even more than that though, he was just sitting…he was not up running around, crawling under the table and coming out on the other side, or curling up in my lap as he used to. A further look brought home that he was dressed in fashionable clothes of his choosing – not mine, and his hair was styled just the way he wanted it, not the way I used to do it for him.   He was happy to be the center of attention, but also a bit shy about it too….That gangly awkwardness of being halfway between two worlds….too big to be one of the kids and yet, not quite up to the adult repartee of politics, controversies, etc.

Yesterday, we were at home working to pack up the house for eventual removal into storage – lots of ferreting out things, sorting, bagging this, and boxing that.   One of the things we did later in the day was explore the crawlspace upstairs to see what my older son had left there when he moved across the country 4 years ago. My husband reported that there was a baby crib (leftover from the days of Spencer’s first couple years and which I thought I’d stored for future grandchildren), a box of childhood mementos from our older son’s childhood which will have to go along to storage with us, and last but not least, my parents’ old Royal typewriter.

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My older son had become intrigued with typing when he was very young as computers weren’t really in homes until he was 8 or 9.   Anyway, my parents had given him this typewriter of theirs to play with I guess.  After we got our first computer, he promptly fell out of love with the little typewriter and we stored it away for all those years until we pulled it back out yesterday.  (It should be said here that Dad is the original hanger-on to his things….never, never, never does he toss anything away that was once useful to him, much to Mom’s dismay).  I had husband just sit it downstairs with the rest of the boxes waiting to go figuring I’d ask Mom and Dad what they wanted me to do with it now.

Anyway, a little while later, Spencer came down the stairs and headed for the refrigerator.   As he was walking around sucking down a yoghurt, he spied the ugly yet distinct box on the table in the dining room.   Curiously, he approached, worked the latch, and opened the box.   He shrieked at me, “Oh, my God, Mum! What is this?   Oh, my God!”   I had to smile. His exclamation was the perfect mix of intrigue, repulsion, and amazement – almost childlike in his obviously surreal experience. I walked over into the dining room to find him touching every part of the old Royal and eyeing it up from all angles. He was totally fascinated by this obvious relic.   He again asked what this thing was. I replied to him that it was a typewriter and it was the precursor to computers today.   I told him how I’d grown up watching both Mom and Dad type their “important” papers on this and how I was so proud to have had a typing class in middle school and join the ranks of the “adults” who could use such a wonderful thing.

He then started looking very closely at the keys and asked where the ENTER key was.  I pointed out to him the carriage return lever.   I then demonstrated the bell that rang when the paper advanced to the end of the margin. He was astounded staring at me in wide-eyed shock trying it over and over. “You have to be kidding,” he said, “It’s not automatic?” I told him this was how it was done and also then pointed out the space bar too couldn’t just be held down, but had to be hit for every space you wanted to insert. He squealed with horror exclaiming, “This can’t be real? Are you serious? Mum, tell me the truth!”   He went on, “If you had a class in this, then there were a bunch of these things and a bunch of people using them and a bunch of these clacking keys and annoying bells going off all the time?” I told him, yes, there had been, but actually thinking about it now, I guess I’d always viewed that as part of the excitement of the class – something different – and not as an annoyance to be dreaded as he obviously did.

He then found out how to open the top and continued to explore in his childlike amazement the setup of the typing ribbon and heavy keys and how the keys were attached to the metal typebars much like a piano, etc. He then found some paper and I showed him how to roll it in.   He couldn’t get over how hard you had to hit the keys to actually make a letter appear on a piece of paper. (Of course this machine was stored in an attic crawlspace for the better part of 15 years so the ribbon was almost completely dry, but still…) He then asked what happened if you wanted more than one copy to print. So I then gave him a short history on carbon paper and was met with another look….this one of complete disdain that we’d had things so rough back in the day.   But still, even shaking his head, he sat there and typed on that paper for the better part of 30 minutes. (It actually amused me to see him typing on a machine over 50 years old textspeak “Hello. R U there? #ICan’tBelieveThis,” etc.)

After that, he became more interested in the large, hard case it was hooked into. He said, “What is this? Why is it in such a big case like this?” I said, “Well, that’s basically your laptop bag.” I went on to explain that this was a great thing because you could carry it anywhere you needed it and it offered it protection as well. I showed him how to take it out of the case and fasten it back into the case and also made known the new-wave wire paper holder inside. He then closed it all up and hefted it up and couldn’t believe the weight of it.   Huge eyes looked at me I guess never realizing the hardships we faced in the old days……

The whole time this was going on though, I’m watching him remembering the curious toddler he used to be always having to take things apart to understand them and approaching everything with absolute amazement, inquisitiveness, and wonder. At 15, he’s a hair taller than me (probably due to so many hair products!) and experimenting to find his own style in clothing, hair, food, girls, and his place in this vast world.   He trusts me and he loves me, but he’s starting now to put that little healthy distance between us so he can spread his wings and yet not enough distance that I won’t be close enough to catch him if he needs it. It’s a hard place for both of us sometimes – me needing to step back and not really wanting to and him needing to take over but not quite sure yet how to do that.   But yesterday, even in the midst of all the chaos we’re living with right now (teen years, moving, new school, etc.), my son and I both had a nice glimpse into history….his with the typewriter and me seeing again the wonder and innocence of that little boy of mine he used to be.

Life is good.

STATUS

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For those of you unaware of my current status and wondering about my absence of posting on here in the past few weeks…..we are in the middle of a major relocation.   Last year in August, my husband took a new position, we put our house on the market, and moved to Saint Michaels, Maryland, right on the Chesapeake Bay. However, being a girl not too great with change, I didn’t adjust too well to being so far out of my element.   The little town we lived in is picturesque, lovely, and a hot-spot for artistic and nautical tourism in the summer but the rest of the year it’s very, very quiet (by quiet I mean the entire place was dark by 8.30p, not a house light in sight except mine!) and very removed from anything I consider civilization. My son’s school there had I think 39 kids in their graduating class the year before we moved there.   Now that is a SMALL school! It was a great year for him with tons of individualized attention at school and the small-town girls going crazy for him, but for me it was very different and very difficult.

From Saint Michaels, it’s about an hour drive to get to Annapolis (major city where I could get a decent beautician, any sort of normal shopping, a good meal not involving seafood, and see traffic and families our age) incurring a toll on the Bridge (this would be the famous Chesapeake Bay Bridge) and a lot of fuel every time I made the trip. Being so far removed from all my family, we had no backup or anyone that could get to my son if needed so I wasn’t able to feel comfortable enough with that amount of time to do that trek while he was in school in case something would happen either with him, with me getting stuck in traffic on the Bridge, or some other weird fluke (I know I’m a worrier).  So I was pretty much consigned to staying “on my side” of the Bridge and there just wasn’t a lot there that I needed.   Add to that the fact that most of the people who live in Saint Michaels year round are of the 70+ age bracket and I found myself in my forties living the life of a retiree.

Enter Mary, who if you’ve read my previous post (found here), you’ll know was my ultra-cool, always-up-for-anything, 80-year-old next-door neighbour, now my BFF, and the one who invited me to writing group where I embarked on this new hobby.   Mary and this wonderful close-knit group really did save my sanity I think. It gave me something to focus on and a new outlet for growth even when I was living in a place so foreign to all I knew. It also gave me people I “knew” and a better group of people could not be found anywhere I’m sure.   Although they were all much older than me, they embraced me and encouraged my writing and made me feel a vital part of the group.     For me, that group was the hardest thing to leave behind with this move.

Anyway, currently, we’ve made the move from Maryland back to Pennsylvania to a place about 2 hours north of where our home is outside of Pittsburgh.   My husband asked his new company for a transfer to get me back on home ground and him out of a 2-hours-each-way daily commute to work in Washington DC (yet another fluke perhaps we’ll go into another time) and it finally came through.   But I guess to be accurate, I should say, my son and I have made the move. My husband was involved in getting us physically moved and set up in the new rental property, but he is now set up himself in a hotel in VA for the month of August while he trains his replacement.   Sound confusing yet?   Well, let’s take it a step further.

relocate home

In the middle of all this prep for our relocation, our house sold.   Hence, in addition to trying to leave one rental, set up a new rental, enroll in a new school, get different state/facility certifications for my husband’s transfer, deal with utilities, get our bearings, and set my husband up in Virginia in a hotel, we now have to clear our house and get our stuff into a storage unit somewhere.  

When we put the house on the market, the realtor told us the house would show better with our stuff still in it, so we moved to Maryland with our house intact and us taking only the bare minimum with us.   So we have a house we’ve lived in for almost 20 years still basically fully intact (meaning we have a whole lot of junk to wade through now). Just to make it a bit simpler for you……currently, we are living in 2 different states and meeting at “home” on the weekends to try and pack it all up and get it out of here by mid-September when the buyers want to close this deal.

So dear readers, that’s my world right now. Am quite sorry for the absence on here, but know I’m doing my best to keep up with your writings and commenting when I can.   We’re very tired and working from the time we get up in the morning till we collapse at night.   We’re living surrounded by boxes and indeed, still living out of boxes, and even packing new boxes!   I will update as I can and indeed have a little story from yesterday I’m going to try and get down on here soon, but bear with me while we try and get some semblance of normality going on and get us all (and our stuff) back together in one place (or at least 2 places relatively close together since the house furnishings will have to go into storage until we decide if we want to buy a new home in our new location!)    3

Photo credit again given to a quick Image search on Google (no time to take my own pix lately! I wonder why….)