Four years ago, I had a vision. It was, as my visions tend to be, simple: a tiny yellow painted kitchen with a window over the sink. Candles. Music. Laughter. At the time, I was going through a divorce and there was very little to laugh about. I had no idea where we were going, let alone where we were going to live. And then this yellow kitchen scene appeared in my mind’s eye. I didn’t know what it meant or where it was. I don’t even like yellow very much. But after years of visioning scenes, characters and stories as a writer, I knew enough to tuck it away, trusting that the vision would become clear when the time was right.
There is something about
Watching an orange sherbet sunset
framed by weeping willows
Sink quietly into darkness
that soothes the soul
(despite the weeping)
There is something about
Walking on eggshells
that changes you
(did you know you could live your whole life this way)
Don’t be you
(how long exactly does it take for a heart to die?) Continue reading “Enter “Happiness” into Google Maps: Where Will You End Up?”
No, it is not because my knight in shining armor came galloping in, stage left, on his white horse, sweeping me off my feet and up onto the back of the horse with one chiseled, romance-novel strong arm, and then off we rode on a sandy beach as the sun set to live happily ever after.
No. This is not that.
Let’s start at the beginning of my entry into the world of online dating. It started with a phone call from my father in November 2014. It was one year post-divorce for me and almost two years since his second wife passed away. It went like this:
“Hey kid! How’s your love life?” Dad says, unusually chipper.
“My what?? Ha ha, oh, yeah, that. It’s dead,” I say, deadpanning as I always do with him. Not expecting much, I say, “Why, how’s yours, Dad?”
“It’s GREAT!” he says with more enthusiasm than I’ve heard in his voice in months. “I have a date this weekend, another next weekend – and we’re going out on Christmas Eve AND New Year’s Eve!” he says, beaming. (I can hear someone beaming over the phone, can’t you?)
“Wow! Dad, good for you!” I meant it. Seriously. I did.
As kids, we think about becoming something. A fireman. An artist. A parent. A better version of our parents. Lots of things. But life throws us curve balls and where we actually end up tends to deviate from what we once imagined. What is that phrase – life is what happens while we are busy making other plans?
In the last three years, I’ve experienced tremendous change. Divorce. A special needs child finally properly diagnosed after 15 years of struggle. I lost my home. Money. A few friends. My job. At one point, I felt like I lost me. Other times, I lost hope that things could ever be right again. I made mistakes. I tried to make amends. There are still days where I feel like Charlie Brown when the football gets taken away at the last minute and I fall flat on my face.
Some days I still think the universe is punking me. 🙂
But amidst the change and loss, I found so much more. Continue reading “Keep Dancing: Bouncing Back from Life’s Curveballs”
Picture this: I’d just moved into my first house alone as a single mom. First house alone ever. Divorce pending. Marital home still on the market. Boxes everywhere. Kids getting settled into the “routine” of two houses and new rooms. Money was tight. We used plastic outdoor plates for dishes. I didn’t even have a vacuum cleaner. (Big mistake as you will soon see.) I was moving, divorcing, working full time, putting on a happy yet tear-stained face for my kids every day, and wondering if I’d ever find love again.
And then – the skunk happened.
Here’s how it went down:
Step 1: 10:06PM Let cockapoo (this is a dog) outside to go pee before bedtime.
Step 2: 10:08PM Watch in horror as skunk confronts dog, lifts fluffy yet lovely black tail, releases its stench, and scurries away under your fence and disappears into your yard.
Step 3: 10:08:02PM (If you are sensitive like me) freak out as your dog cries and paws at its eyes, then let dog inside feeling so sorry for it and hoping its eyes have not been burned out of its sockets.
Step 4: 10:09PM Walk inside and gag from the skunk stench now permeating your entire home and watch in horror as your dog rubs its face all over the basement carpet, then runs up the stairs…then runs up the other set of stairs…to your bedroom. Which does not have a door. (It’s a rental house, long story).
Step 5: 10:10PM Send panic Facebook status update: Help!!! Dog’s been skunked! Now what??
Step 6: 10:15PM Capture dog and lock in laundry room and wash it nineteen times with your son’s Axe shampoo in a tiny tub that for some reason will not drain and keeps filling up with skunky dog water. Tell dog you are sorry and that she’s a good girl while you curse under your breath and thank God for having such a lovely sense of humor.
Step 7: 10: 19PM Remember that you posted on Facebook for help. Check Facebook. See numerous recipes and links to websites for skunked dogs and (if you are directionally-challenged like me), ignore all measurements and simply pour large quantities of baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide (pause here and wonder why I even have a bottle of this when I don’t even have a vacuum cleaner, long story), liberally add dish detergent. Stir until smooth. Ha ha. Wash dog three times in this mixture. Note: it is very important that you swear through this part of the process because your fingers are pruned, you smell like skunk now, but the dog smells like a combination of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar with a hint of Axe shampoo. She will be so popular with the ladies now.
Step 8: 10:27PM Dog still smells, is wet and miserable, and the sink is nearly overflowing. Check Facebook again. See a PS that the peroxide can burn the dog’s eyes. Oops. (She was fine. She ate a bucket full of Halloween candy and is still alive. Strong constitution, this one.) Sprinkle rest of baking soda all over the carpet and realize your ex has the vacuum cleaner. Call ex and mumble, can I swing by and get the vacuum? He says, Now??? Why??? You stammer and finally say…um, well, I have a sort of, um, carpet emergency…I swallow my pride as he laughs at my skunky predicament. HA HA HA HA 🙂
Step 9: 10:57pm. Panic when you realize the whole house now smells like skunk. Drive by your ex’s to get the vacuum and then on to the grocery store and ask to rent one of the shiny fancy carpet cleaners behind a special counter. The checkout man tells you it is too late, THAT counter closed at 10:30PM. WHAT?! you say. But my dog got skunked and my house smells!! Can’t you please just make an exception, pretty please?
The checkout guy sniffs the air where you stand in your wet dog/skunky/baking soda/peroxide coat and takes a giant step back. Skunk, you say?? Yep, I can smell it. Well, come back tomorrow. You can rent a carpet cleaner at 8am. That counter is closed now.
Now listen – here is where it gets fun! Take a step toward him. Watch his nostrils recoil in horror. Are you sure you can’t rent me that carpet cleaner now? you say. All you have to do is step right over there (make sure you point and wave your arm so your skunky smell adequately wafts over, step closer and giggle as he takes three steps back) and pull it out from behind the counter. I’ll give you cash!!!
Step 10: 11:05PM Walk out of the grocery store before you are politely chased out with a cheap bucket, four value-sized bottles of hydrogen peroxide, three boxes of value-sized baking soda and two scrub brushes. Ignore the other patrons giving you wide berth and sniffing in disdain. Spend rest of the night hand scrubbing your entire house.
Maybe it was a sign. Warning me not to even think about finding love again because I was just going to pick skunks until I got my shit together. Maybe I just need to leave the outside lights on so the skunks don’t come around. Who knows.
PS Dog is now refusing to go outside without a personal escort. Dog bodyguard referrals welcome.