tHe haPPy grOUch

tHe haPPy grOUch

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas eve morning... 4:30am can suck it!

Wow, it's been since the first of October that I've written. What's up with that? I can remember when I wouldn't go a week without writing. Now, not so much. As usual, it's not as if there's nothing to write about. And as I always say- there's always fodder. There just isn't always ambition anymore. 
But, it's Christmas. It seems I should write.

I get so excited every year for Christmas. SO excited. I love to spoil my kids. I go WAY overboard. I do it every damn year. It's an affliction, a disease, actually! If I admitted to the amount of new credit card accounts I've opened in the last two months, you all would be ashamed of me (Manic, much? Ummm, probably). But, but, but... I have rationalized it all! I'm keeping (kind of) low balances on each one, and will pay almost all of them off (and close out two or three) at tax time.
Ok, I know. Shame on me. Ooops. 

I see all these facebook posts about how Christmas isn't about presents... And yes, I agree. It's about the spirit, it's about the birth of Christ (if that's your kind of thing), it's about family, it's about counting our blessings,  etc, etc, etc... But guess what- it's about the presents too! Hehehehe.   :)  And no amount of shaming will change my mind. My kiddos are good humans. They already know what Christmas means. I don't have to withhold presents to "teach them the spirit of Christmas". As long as I am alive and able to, I will shower them with presents every damn Christmas! So there!  :)

One of the best presents this year was the Travis Scott concert that I surprised Dawson with. It really was, surprisingly, probably the most amazing concert I've been to. And it was the happiest I've EVER seen that boy. And he so needed and deserved it. He asked to go again for this next leg of the tour. I told him if he paid for the tickets, I'd take him. And so this time the gift came from his dad. And in March, we see him again in Hartford CT. I will be going down and staying the night with three teen boys! Pray for me!


Unfortunately, after the holiday is over, I will suffer the infamous "Christmas Crash". It comes every year. Depressed, fatigued, dejected, angry, withdrawn, sad. Oh well. At least I know it's coming, and I can prepare. Or, try to.

Christmas is exciting, yet also melancholy. I miss my Dad. I miss Doreen. Dawson and his dad's side of the family miss Jayden. It's so sad to celebrate without them. And yet, somehow we do it. We carry on, during the holidays, and every day. But it just isn't the same.

And then I think about my mom. Losing Dad and Doreen was hard enough. But what happens when I lose my mom? I can't think about it, yet I can't help but to think about it. As she gets older (and probably her birthday yesterday exacerbates my anxiety), I worry about it every day. I don't ever want to live without her, and yet, I know someday I will have to. Even writing about the inevitable has me in tears. I wish our loved ones could live forever, or at least, as long as we do.
Ok, I have to change topic before I turn into an absolute blubbering mess.

So, I count my blessings, because, hey- it's that time of year, right?

I am so blessed to have my mom. Not just that she's still here, but because she is the person that she is. I know we are all biased, and we all think we have the most wonderful parent(s) in the world. But if you know my mom, you know how very exceptional she is. All that she does for those she loves, and all that she does for those she doesn't even know.... Volunteering at the food cupboard every week, feeding the homeless on the waterfront every week, walking the streets downtown late at night on the weekends in her street ministry, all of her time and all of the things she donates, to various churches and organizations. All that she has done for me, for my children, for my sister and her children, for Nana, all that she did for Dad, even when he was impossible to live with or even tolerate...
I imagine that, if there is a God, he is anxiously awaiting her to come and join his ranks of angels. And she'll probably instantly get promoted to Head Angel, or something like that, as I imagine it.

And I am so blessed with my children. I don't even know where to begin, or how I would possibly express it. They both make me so proud, every day, and fill me with an indescribable amount of joy.
Logan is accomplished, brilliant, sweet, kind, responsible, loving. She has grown into an amazing young woman. Dawson, as much as he may try my patience, is such a good boy. He is so strong and resilient; he has been through so much in his young life, and keeps pushing through. And he's so sweet. He has much of his Nana (Doreen) and my mom in him. His English teacher wrote to me a month or so ago, and told me about an experience she had with him one afternoon...
"I also wanted to give you some positive praise too, because I know Dawson wouldn't brag about this, but I was very impressed with his compassion today. There was a younger student with him in class who is unfamiliar with this school, and had no food and was hungry. Dawson went to our school's food pantry and brought him back some snacks to eat, and to take home. He was so kind to this other student who was struggling and it truly warmed my heart. Dawson may be struggling with his grades, but I am always impressed by how genuinely kind and caring he ALWAYS is. I think he deserves a little recognition for that!"
I am fortunate to still have my Nana. 87 years young! I know our time is limited with her now, but we are lucky that we have it. And Mom was good enough to move her in, so she will be cared for and close to us now. Although, those two living together is going to be interesting to watch! 

I am fortunate to have the jobs that I do. Jester's is much like being back at The Brookside. I see many of my regular Brookside customers, and I have reacquainted with my Jester's regulars that I knew when I worked there several years ago. And the Sheraton once a week is just enough to keep things new and different; meeting people from all over the world, and hearing their stories. This business might not come with the perks of health insurance, 401k, etc, but I am lucky that I make a very good living, and am doing what I enjoy.

And, as much as I miss renting at the lake (so very, very badly, and would probably go back if given the right opportunity), I am fortunate that I have my home. As modest as it may be, it is mine. Or, will be in another few years.

And yet, with all of the blessings I have, I still feel, and may always, that I am somehow not living and experiencing my life to it's fullest.

I should have more friends (or, at least have a closer relationship with the one or two that I have). I should have traveled. I should volunteer, for something, anything. I should live on the water. I should be singing. I should go to NYC in January for the open auditions for "The Voice". I should experience an all-consuming, Disney-esque kind of love (if that sort of thing actually exists, which, I doubt). I should have finished my (multiple) degrees. I should get a "real job" with benefits. I should have written that book I always wanted to. I should have, could have....
I should have realized this life's potential.

And you're all saying to me- it's not too late. 
And I suppose, I may think that as well. Maybe. 
But the older I get, and the more time passes that I stay stuck in mediocrity, the more impossible it feels to change any of it.
And so, I will probably just continue to count the blessings that I do have, try not to focus on all the sad and tragic things in this world, and hope to find fulfillment in an unremarkable life. 

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

If I ever find myself reminiscing, I just remember this... the one who was once so very close to, and so very important to my son, no longer gives a shit about him. And probably never really did.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Once again, I've gone about two months between blogs. And as I've said before, it's not because there's nothing to write about. There's always fodder.

Welcome to fall. The leaves changing are beautiful, the cool air is refreshing, and as everyone keeps proclaiming- pumpkin spice everything is everywhere... I like fall, I do, but (and there's always a but), it is the desistance of warmth and the precursor to winter. And, I hate winter.
The bitter cold, the snowy impassable roads, the darkness... The ONE thing I like about winter is Christmas. I'm already trying to figure out where my tree is going this year. Dawson wants a real tree this year, but I like to put mine up the week of Thanksgiving (yes, that early). I'm afraid a real tree wouldn't last my lengthy Christmas season. We'll see.

And winter does wonders for my already challenging moods. My day long neropsychology eval indicated what we already knew- anxiety, major depression, bipolar. Winter exacerbates those. About half way through the this winter I'll be joining the ranks of the uninsured... I will have to pay out of pocket for my doctor, my psychiatrist, my medications... If I can afford to. Dear lord, if I can't afford to, what will I do??? Anyway... I'll price healthcare market plans, and hopefully find one that I can afford and that actually has some coverage to it. But it's not hopeful. Any plan that is "affordable" has terribly high deductibles and usually around 50-60% coinsurance. Welcome to America, where if you can't get coverage through your employer, you have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for inadequate health insurance.

I miss the lake. I thought that eventually I would "get over it" (as people so callously advise.. "get over it")... anyway...  But I haven't gotten over it. I miss living on the water probably more than anything. I still could move to the house that my landlord has open (the bigger of his two rentals is still available), but I couldn't afford it on my own. But I want to. I so want to. I imagine working seven days a week just to afford living there. If I didn't have the car payment, I could do it... And I wrack my brain to figure out a way... Sigh.

I've been thinking a lot about time. More specifically, the passage of time. Every week, it seems, is measured by workdays and days off. Oh, it's my Monday. Oh, it's my Friday. Then again- Oh, it's my Monday. Oh it's my Friday (and so on, and so on). And the days pass so quickly. The weeks pass. The months... Our time here is so very limited, and goes by so very fast. I think the older I get, the more cognizant I am of it. It frightens me. My mortality anxiety is in full bloom. And again I ask myself (from Jack Nicholson, in my favorite movie)- What if this is as good as it gets?

Speaking of mortality anxiety... I've been thinking a lot about those we've lost. Dad, Bampa, Doreen, Jayden... And how unfair life really is. I miss them all so much. So very much.

And I miss having friends. At least, I think I do. I've always said I don't need any. But maybe I do? Would life be more fulfilling if I had more people to share it with? I don't know. I used to have (at least) one person that I would call if I had news to tell. You know, that one person in life that you want to talk to when something good, or bad, or even just interesting happens. That "go-to" person... But not really, not anymore. And I see people getting together for lunches, or dinners, or evenings out. And I think, silently, I am envious. And yet, I make no effort to become one of those people, and continue to keep myself unattached. Ah, the conundrum.

Oh, but I should count my blessings. Again, as people so often advise; count your blessings. And I try. I really do...

I am still very happy to be back at Jester's. I am so happy that my daughter has found herself in such a good position in life right now; a good job, a lovely apartment on the river, and realizing what it means to truly be treated with kindness and respect. I am thankful that my boy is back. I know it's been some time now that he's returned, but I'm still so grateful for it. I am happy that I still have my mom.

But I still can't help that nagging feeling... of regret... that I live with. Dissatisfaction. Discontent.

Perhaps it's the weather.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

It's been a few months, hasn't it? I wonder why I haven't written all summer; there's always fodder...

There's always fodder.

Perhaps I've been too busy. No, that's not necessarily true. I have enough down time. I don't know.


This summer has been plodding along. We haven't done anything really fun this summer, and I wish we would have. We bought an above ground pool, but never did have the time/opportunity/money to get the land leveled and set it up. I guess we'll wait till next summer. Summer isn't over yet, so I hope we can do something before the boy goes back to school. It's tough to find something that a teenage boy would like (that doesn't cost a fortune). I'd like something for just him and I... Maybe we could just take a road trip to NH for some back to school shopping. Stay overnight. He'll probably want to bring a friend; mom isn't cool and fun to hang with.
I don't know. I'll have to come up with something. Now that the bills are being split in half, I should be able to afford it.

Speaking of which...
I'm learning how to share my space. Or, trying to learn, anyway. I complained of being lonely for three years. I complained about it in almost every damn blog. And somewhere along the way, recently, I think, perhaps in just the last six months or so, I became quite comfortable and content living alone. Pretty fond of it, actually. Now things have changed, and Dawson and I are both trying to acclimate. So are they, for that matter. With any luck, it'll work out without all of us killing each other. If anyone loses it first, it'll undoubtedly be me. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

And I don't have to tell the puppy story, but I will. I wanted a puppy. I got a puppy. It didn't work out. I'm giving up the puppy. The end.
Seriously, though... Blaze really, really, really doesn't like her, or sharing his space (much like me, I suppose). He growls at her whenever she is near him (which is all of the time, because she wants nothing more than to play with him, or snuggle with him). As the days progress, his growls get more serious, more like snarls. I didn't expect him to be thrilled with a puppy, but I didn't expect him to be quite like this. I thought maybe, just maybe, he would be nurturing and caring of a puppy, and that it might bring out the puppy in him (which he shows quite often when playing with Dawson). Oh, how I was mistaken. I keep them separated, and almost always have to crate one or the other. I scold Blaze, which I hate doing. And so, the puppy is finding a new home, sadly. I have a  nice couple coming from the Portland area this week. Their vet had nothing but good things to say about them. Pepper will have a great home, a fenced in yard, and a little doggy brother to play with. And I have learned, the hard way, that we will be a one dog household, until Blaze is gone.

Side note... In my facebook memories, each year around spring time I start getting puppy fever. I saw posts I had written/shared about it. It's not surprising that this too, is cyclical.

Speaking of which...

I had a wicked fun neuropsychology evaluation last week. It was something that was ordered by my primary care physician. It was like a bad episode of Brain Games. Like I said on facebook, It was like playing "Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader", and losing. By the end of the day, I felt like a mouse that had been trying to escape a maze for seven hours. Ugh.
The doctor is trying to determine if it's Bipolar, ADHD, or both. They're also investigating my long term memory deficiency. She recommended a different anti-depressant that would help more with my anxiety.
Her and I will talk more at the follow up at the end of this month. It'll all be forwarded to my primary care provider and my psychiatrist, and we'll go from there. I guess.

What else is new...

Oh yeah, as most of you know I have had a couple of job changes over the last few months.
In May, I was offered a job on the spot at my interview at Godfrey's (in the Sheraton at the airport). I very happily gave my notice at Dysart's, and started at the new gig. It was still nights, but fewer than I was working at Dysart's, making just as much money.
Not long afterwards, the owner from Jester's (a little neighborhood bar in Brewer, where I had worked in the past), called me and asked me to come back. I managed to accept that position and keep one night a week at Godfrey's. Now I work three days and one night per week.
I am sooooo happy to be at Jester's. It's almost like I never left. And as a bonus, I see a lot of my clientele from the Brookside! And it's so nice to be working days again! Being at Godfrey's one night a week keeps things changed up for me, which I also need/enjoy.
And so, as far as the job front is concerned, things have fallen into place quite nicely. I am very happy with that life component.
Although, at times I think I should still get a "big girl" job, with health benefits and a 401K.
I'm always stuck between practicality and "you only live once".

I continue to try to count my blessings, despite how crazy and overwhelmed I feel a lot of the time.
My kids are well, my mom is well. I have my core family, that's most important to me. I have my home, as modest as it may be. I have my health, as far as I know, lol. My mental health? Well, I kind of have that.  :) 
I have a lot more than a lot of people. I try to remember this. But sometimes, it's difficult.
I may not have written in three months, but one thing hasn't changed, I still feel, a lot of the time, much like the movie... What if this is as good as it gets?

I suppose, I should go shower and do my errands. It is my "day off", after all. Got to do all the crap that you can't get done on your work days.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It's hard to write anything nice today. Or lately.

A few weeks ago I lost a friend to cancer. He was a sweet, grumpy old man. One of my very favorites at the Brookside. Always was, and always will be. I'll miss him so much.

As if that weren't enough, my boy has lost his Nana, also to cancer. It was discovered late and the severity came on quick and unexpected. It seems like just yesterday she was running Dawson around to be fitted for his semi formal, and stopping in here to deliver snacks and Ensure for him (as she always did). She was one of the sweetest, most special women I've ever had the opportunity to know. She was truly one of a kind. I wish I could put it into words. If you met her for only five minutes, you instantly loved her, and you would love her forever. She was the pinnacle, the rock of that family. The glue that held it all together. As if this family hasn't suffered enough recent loss and grief. I will never understand the unfairness and cruelty of life.

The day her and Dawson said their goodbyes, it was only the three of us in the hospital room. He sat next to her, and she woke up and took his hand. She said- "You are the love of my life you know, always will be. And this sucks. Just remember all the fun times we had, the good times, the crazy times. And you be safe driving that car. Help papa take care of the crew."
When the room filled again, she told all of us- "Make sure not to have any services. Have a celebration instead. Somewhere the kids can all run around and play. With music that I like, that you can dance to."  And Dawson said- "Somewhere over the rainbow", and she said- "yes, by the big fat guy."
Before we left she told him, "Have a good day at school, and have a good match (tennis)." And they exchanged their usual- "I love you the most", "I love you the most"... They had a very special relationship. Closer than any grandmother and grandson I've ever seen. She was essentially his second mother.
She peacefully went to sleep on comfort care that day, and was gone four days later.

I miss her so much. I loved her, too. She helped me raise my boy, and Logan, for that matter. She was my support, my advocate, my mother in law, my friend. She was like a second mother to me as well, for almost 20 years. She was so very special. I just can't imagine all of our lives without her. And honestly, I find myself wondering how I'll raise my boy without her.

                                       Doreen and Logan, Logan's birthday party, May 1999 
                            Doreen, Dawson, and Derwin, Dawson's 8th grade graduation, June 2016
                          Cutting Christmas trees with the Emersons, December 2016

The boy is holding up okay, considering. Perhaps it's not quite real for him. Most of the time it's not real for me. My heart breaks for him, and for his father and his uncle, and for Papa.
I love you, Doreen.


Everything else going on doesn't seem worth writing about. But I guess I still will.

Nothing much new.

The search for a different job continues. I'm quite unhappy where I am. And I've sent out resume, after resume, after resume.
Yesterday I dropped a resume at a local bar/restaurant that's hiring bartenders. I didn't get a chance to talk to the managers because they were busy setting up for an event. I hope to get a call. Today I interview at the bar in the Sheraton at the airport. They have over 40 wines! And after 15 years of bartending, I still know nothing about wine. Shit.
Although, part of me still thinks I should give up on bartending and keep trying to get a "big girl job". Full time, days, benefits, blah bla blah. I've tried, and continue to try. Although, once again, it's been pretty tough getting one of those jobs (that pays well enough) when your resume reflects 15 years of bartending, with 3 years managing and one year of banking. Any receptionist/office (or other) experience I have is over 15 years ago. And although I write about it in my cover letters, and I have an education, it still has been fruitless.
And besides, I still don't even know what I want to be when I grow up. There have been jobs I could apply for, that I'd probably be hired for (retail, for example, or bank teller, Wayfair), but then again, I think- I probably won't enjoy that job. And so I don't apply. Because- why leave a job I don't like for another job I won't like?
And so I continue to wait tables, not making enough money to get by, deal with rotten tippers even though I'm very good at what I do (seriously, sometimes I'll pick up a credit card slip off the table, look at the tip line, and almost cry), employees who don't pull their weight, managers who blatantly show favoritism, and continuously get passed over for bar shifts (when I was promised them from the beginning).


It's been wonderful having the boy back at home. It's as if the last year never happened. I spent the last year depressed and incomplete without him here. But things are finally back to normal. My boy is home. I worry about him. All the time. He is angry (or on the verge of angry) a lot of the time, but who can blame him, he's been through so much.
Raising a boy has been interesting. I hope that I'm doing it right. Although we don't have much, I hope that it's enough. I hope that his father and I can get him through the next few years, and help him develop into the man that I know he has the potential to be. I wish Doreen were still here to help me with that.

Logan graduated from Husson last weekend. She actually received her degree a few months ago, but participated in graduation. She has a job as a children's case manager. Her executive director is very fond of her, and tells her she is performing above their expectations and has great potential to go far. She's already been given cases that are normally reserved for the more experienced case managers. The job is very stressful and emotionally draining. But she is enjoying it for the most part. And she is working so hard for these kids. I am so proud of her.
We all went to lunch after graduation, with Logan's dad's side of the family as well. When I left, her dad and I hugged, and he said- "well, we did something right for a couple of knuckleheads."
She really has turned into an amazing young woman.

Mom is loving retirement. She goes to bible studies, serves meals to the homeless every week, participates in a street ministry, exercises at the Y, and joined the Bangor chorus. I'm happy to see her really living. Dad would be happy, too.

I feel like I'm still trying to figure out what it takes for me to "really live", like mom. To feel content and complete, to feel like I am where I should be, that life is as it should be. Why is it that no matter how close to it you get, there is always something awry, or something missing, or something complicated, or some tragedy that makes life feel awful all over again...
Life is funny.

It's my day off. And as much I cherish my days off, I don't really know what to do with them. Or maybe I do, I just lack the ambition. I should mow the lawn. And vacuum. Unload the dishwasher. Do laundry. Go for a walk or something.
Do something.