Category Archives: Prose
Our Times … At Times … Frustrating and Sad Times …
… but keep your chin up and try be a part of the optimistic and trusting subculture contingency that still exists!
I begin with a preface. This is a preface to any of my posts or blogs. I’m happy, optimistic, overly active and obnoxiously cheery. Yes, I’ve actually been told that my cheeriness and energy can be exhausting to be around! Deep down in my soul I honestly believe that there’s a positive to every negative ….a silver lining to every cloud…. A ying to every yang. Some days are better than others, though. When health concerns do surface (getting old is not for weenies but it is a privilege denied to many), I do my best to rise to the occasion although I sometimes fall short. But through it all I am ever so grateful for each and every day I wake up on the up side of the grass. Some thoughts I choose to share might lead you to believe that I’m sad ….But I’m not. I’m just sharing perspective. My perspective. At least 95% of the time I’m smiling big on the inside and the outside as well.
Now that I’ve cleared that up …
I’ve been accused more than once of being born a century too late. I border on the old fashioned … enjoying the slower paced and simpler life …. Not being plugged in (literally with the ear buds everywhere I look!) … Not having so huge amounts of data thrown at me everywhere I turn. “Just give me that horse … you can keep the car” sentiment. The era when manners outpaced so much indifference and indignance.
I just have to comment on a situation I found myself in one day last week. I guess it could be called a rant but I prefer to just call it descriptive dialogue….
Even though I prefer the slow paced more basic life I admit that I need my smartphone! I tell myself it’s not a contradiction because I put it away when I’m in the company of others and try to give people my full attention when we’re together. I postponed buying a new phone until my 3 year old one had taught me all it could about patience! It took many minutes (seemingly hours!) to load anything … even an outgoing phone call! And when it came to the internet and searching OR trying to capture directions, it began shutting down before the action was completed. So I finally gave up and picked up a Samsung Galaxy S4. Nice phone. Big phone but nice phone. A droid which I’m used to so the learning curve would be manageable. And best of all, it works and is responding to commands.
But I like learning curves and learning new things … I wanted an i-phone when I walked into the store but I could not find one … not one Verizon salesperson who would support my choice. All I heard were their negatives. Their screen is glass and oh so fragile … you can’t add memory … they don’t have as many apps as droids … it goes on and on … I wonder if they get more commission for selling the droids?? Hmmmm….
I bought the insurance, too ($100 deductible, really???) as I can be clumsy. Well, it didn’t take me too long to be too clumsy! Two weeks into owning it I dropped it in a rocky parking lot and the screen broke! Yes, I did buy a case, too, but I opted for the swanky one that will charge my phone if I’m out and about rather than one of the more rugged ones. Perhaps I chose that case because my former phone had HUGE issues with battery life (I ended up buying 3 batteries and I carried my wall and car charger with me everywhere). It took me another week to forgive myself for being clumsy and since the phone still worked perfectly I wasn’t in a rush to hand over $100. I finally dragged myself back into the store to see if putting on makeup and batting my eyelashes would help my case. “Such a shame,” they said. Argggg ….. It wasn’t long ago that batting my eyelashes, a little bit of make-up and some cleavage worked!!! Well …. The cleavage might still work but it was too darned cold to try it out!!!
I thought that the claim could be handled in-store but oh no. They gave me a pamphlet with a website and a phone number. Choose your poison … Internet or phone?? I chose the internet and midway through the claim it told me that ‘in my case’ an affidavit would be needed to process the claim. They would need several additional pieces of information (copy of driver’s license, serial number of phone photocopied from the outside of the original box it came in and a copy of receipt) scanned and e-mailed or faxed to them. Really? Isn’t it enough to pay for the insurance and be willing to hand them over $100 for a reconditioned phone when your phone is only 3 weeks old?? And nope … they won’t just replace the screen nowadays … no repairs … you get a reconditioned phone for your $100. If you want a new screen, that’ll cost you $175 (not handled through insurance but a 3rd party). I was trying to process all of this and then they wanted an affidavit? And probably notarized! I’m sure I was over-reacting a bit because I hadn’t yet completely forgiven myself!! So I picked up my cracked phone and just called them. After finally getting the manager on the phone they did waive the affidavit. This is what I was told. “These times are laden with scammers and persons committing or trying to commit fraud. We have no choice but to make you prove that you are the person who bought the phone and actually have the phone in your possession. And oh, by the way, we’re out of your phone. We’ll contact you when we have one in stock.” Really??? I suppose there is a part of me that is grateful for their conscientiousness but why does it have to be SO complicated. And such a lengthy process. I am me! Don’t they know that? For a lousy phone … why would anyone pose as me???
How I wish we could assume honesty is at the core every day when dealing with people and businesses rather than lies, fraud and mistrust.
So, as I read this over it does sound like a rant. It also proves to me that I can’t just give you the facts. I like telling a story. Remember the ‘Pay It Forward’ movie/concept? …. Can we make a difference if we are all honest, forthcoming, and kind to others as well as our earth … and ask those we come into contact with to be and do the same? I sure hope so ….
ONE IMPORTANT LESSON SIBLINGS TEACH US …..
An odd topic or me to write about since I never had any siblings, but some recent occurrences and relationships are taking me back to a very simple statement made to me 17 years ago. I remember the number of years because the event coincided with the devastating fires of 1998 in Central Florida. Dee and her husband (for the life of me I cannot remember his name) were quite elderly and living in a section of Palm Coast, Florida that was being evacuated. Dee was a school volunteer of mine. Many of my volunteers turned out to be special people who through the years would teach me many valuable lessons. Dee was one of them. I was worried about her and her husband and offered up my home to them as a temporary refuge. Those were frightening times.
As we huddled together in my home we were not sure how safe we really were. Smoke filled the air and hot ash fell coating our cars and homes as we wished a gentle rain would. My neighborhood, so close to the ocean, was not evacuated but I knew that fires were capable of jumping bodies of water if they’re hot enough. Feeling we were safe because the intracoastal waterway separated my home from the fire gave us a false sense of security. Fires have a personality of their own and are not to be disrespected or taken lightly. I digress!
I was recently divorced at the time and wanted very much to marry again, or at least meet my soul mate with whom to share the rest of my life with and, being open, I talked to Dee about hoping to settle down again. We had a lot of time on our hands and Dee was as chatty and open as I was (and am). I was looking for that ‘last first kiss’?? You know what I mean?
It was all so simple to Dee. She simply said in that wise octogenarian voice of hers, “Dear … your problem is that you never really learned how to fight. Fighting fair or not fair doesn’t really matter. Rarely does anyone fight fair all the time. What matters is that you learn to fight … or at least express yourself … say what’s on your mind without worrying about the repercussions or how the other person will respond or react. No sugar coating. Because you know that in the end the love will still be there. You never learned about unconditional love, no matter what was said. That’s what we learn from our siblings, not our parents. You worry too much about what others think and how they’ll react.”
Dee certainly didn’t know everything and her sentiment may not hold true at all to many of the other only children out there. But, to me it had merit. Food for thought obviously as it still resonates within me after all these years.
That was a long time ago but as I continue to live my life to its fullest I think often of Dee’s comment as I create new relationships and rekindle old ones. It’s taken a long time and I’m not always able to do it, but more often than not I am now able to say what’s on my mind. I do try to say it nicely and to always be kind, but I can’t worry about whether or I intimidate people or whether my comments push them away. If I push them away then we wouldn’t have been good together anyway, as lovers or as friends. I continue to learn to be comfortable in my not only my own skin but my own mind. For better or for worse I am who I am. We all choose, consciously or subconsciously, who we’d like to spend our time with. Hopefully we’re all able to keep relationships that require ‘tip toeing’ around to a minimum. That’s so exhausting, isn’t it? And, to what avail?
I didn’t have siblings to learn to fight with but over the last several years (and I thank my RV’ing for the opportunities this lifestyle has presented) I’ve met new people and reconnected with others who I consider my pseudo siblings (once removed, of course … ) with whom I can be completely myself. It’s never too late to learn … We are all a work in progress and I continue to be grateful for every day that allows me to opportunity to continue to grow and spread my wings.
How It All Began ….
It has been said that a simple phone call can bring you to your knees. Being brought to your knees can be the result of many things, most of them terribly tragic. I, however, was reduced to my knees as the result life changing news that hit me over the head like a sledge hammer. Joyous news, however. Akin to how tears can be wept for sadness as well as for happiness. It was my daughter, my only daughter, letting me know that I am going to be a grandmother for the first time. My first thought is that I will never know this grandchild if I continue to live the life I am living. After a 22 year career in education I bought a small, independent garage door company and owned it for the 8 years. My work not only consumed me but it dictated and defined my life. The ‘takeover’ was slow and insidious. In a matter of seconds, I realized how out of sync my life had become and how disconnected I had become from my three adult children. Children I lived and breathed for while raising them. How had my life become so out of balance, so skewed?
An only child of elderly parents who continued to try to have a family even after nine miscarriages, I was born into a home with enough love for a dozen children along with years of accumulated dreams, fears, and of course, high expectations. Headstrong, independent, and oppositional from the get-go, I never quite understood the parent vs. child roles, as well as the rules that are supposed to govern the relationship. Throughout my life I fought for recognition on my own terms and the right to make as well as learn from my own mistakes. I become an overachiever; determined to succeed and prove to the world, and of course my parents and relatives, that I can be successful in my own right, on my own terms. My parents loved me so much that they honestly didn’t feel I ever lived up to my true potential because, quite frankly, that would be impossible for anyone. But they did it in the name of love.
I graduated from college, married, raised three wonderful children, had a successful career with a school district, got divorced, and decided that working in the public sector no longer fulfilled me. I have always believed that owning my own company and working for myself would be wonderful. I love to work and work hard. When you own your own business the harder you work the more successful you are, right? Not always, but in my case, yes.
Decisions were made quickly. It’s time to spend ‘chunk’ time with my family; not a rushed long weekend with my phone at my beck and call, never fully present. It’s time to sell the business, find someone to look after my home, and find a ‘temporary home’, a motorhome, for the next year. It’s time to refocus and reconnect with my inner self as well as with my adult ‘children’ who are no longer children at all. Do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Follow me as I throw caution to the wind and act upon my most basal desires and dreams; returning to what I’ve lost sight of in life. Family, friends and relationships. Join me on my adventure from coast to coast in my 33′ motorhome with my Labrador Retriever, Shadow, as my co-pilot. It truly is a coast to coast adventure as my three children, when I first began this journey, lived in Key West, Colorado Springs and Seattle. Motorhome living gives everyone the privacy, space and independence critical to all and to the success of this adventure. En route I stay in RV parks where what can happen, happens! The good, the bad and the ugly!
In each city I will not only reconnect with my children but I’ll meet and help care for one grandchild, watch a second being born due to serendipitous timing, and integrate myself into each community I lives in, albeit temporarily. I’ll make friends along the way, volunteer and even find temporary employment when I struggle with lack of structure that I’m so accustomed to. But most importantly, with the gift of time, relationships develop on a new adult level with all of my children and their spouses and I learn to smell the proverbial roses once again.
You can’t go back in time but you can stop, reflect, regroup, take a stand and move forward. By turning my life upside down and leaving the security of a community I’ve lived in for 35 years, I’ll realize that turning my life upside down is in fact flipping it back … right side up.