Saturday, February 26, 2011

On the Edge

It was the early 80s, I was living with my soon to be ex-husband and several roommates in Los Gatos, California, and we were all reading a great new book.  I remember Chip, one of my roomies, and I comparing notes about how far we had gotten in the story, and trying not to give anything away.  "Spoiler Alert" hadn't been coined yet.

Robert Ludlum captivated me with his stories for some time to come.  He hooked me with his character Jason Bourne.  I could empathize all too well with someone who had a past he wanted to escape and forget. 

Over the years, I have been blindsided countless times.  Sitting in a movie theater, reading a book, or talking to someone, a subject comes up that I wasn't ready for, and I find myself unprepared to deal with the emotions that well up inside me.  I sat in a dark movie theater in 1994, tears completely blinding me, and had to be led out of Forrest Gump by my friend because the scene where Jenny threw rocks at that house had completely undone me.

I have been imersed in a book and found myself taken down by a theme I was not aware was in the book. 

It happens all the time.  It never gets easier.  I wish I had armour against the onslaught, but I don't.  And just as I'd feared, as my daughter approaches her seventh birthday, looking at her sometimes makes me want to double over in pain.  I just don't comprehend how someone could hurt a seven year old child.

This past week has been particularly hard.  I've been woken up in the middle of the night several times by the fighting going on in the next door unit.  That family's dysfunction is so hard to hear.  It tears the protective coating right off of me.  I've walked through my days this week with my patience worn down to the bone.  I need to get away from here.  I cannot stand to listen to angry voices, crying, and yelling. 

The townhouse complex that I'm trying to buy into had regulatory issues that they've been trying to resolve.  My mortgage approval is contingent on them getting it taken care of, and I had to sign a contract extension on Tuesday, and it gave them until the day before my closing date to finalize.  To say that it stressed me out is an understatement. I am hanging on to my composure with both hands.

And of course, packing up our things and having boxes stacked in the livingroom has had an unsettling affect upon my daughter.  She has crawled into my bed most nights lately, which of course makes it harder for me to get any rest.  When I had my dear sweet Labradors, when we were moving from our house and everything was in chaos, one of them ran out to my car and sat in the front seat, stubbornly refusing to budge.  It was clear that she was saying to me "look, you are taking me with you and I don't want to hear another word."  My daughter seems to be feeling the same thing, at least on a subconscious level.  How can I blame her?

Work, naturally, has been a zoo lately.  My mentor, whom I've grown to love, left the company on Friday.  Another loss.  Somehow I have lost most of the important women in my life, time and again.  No wonder I am so solitary.  No wonder I try to do everything by myself.  It feels like the moment I trust someone and gain their intimacy, they are gone.  I feel bereft, but what can I do?  I have too many details to attend to, to feel sorry for myself for too long.  There is always something to be done.

I want so much for this new place to happen, to work out, and to be good for us.  I want a safe, happy, productive sanctuary.  Somewhere where we can thrive.  I want to get a dog.  I want things to make sense and feel right.  I want to sleep at night and feel like we belong.  I need the longing to run away and live somewhere far away to recede into the back of my head where my dreams lie, and stop coming into my consciousness as I try to get on with my day to day living.  I want to feel normal, and ordinary.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chasing Details

I'm about to go over to the Townhouse and meet a plumber.  The water had been off for a long time and that had an adverse affect on some of the connections.  So, before the appraisal, some minor repairs need to be done.  He also needs to replace one of the shower faucets, and since I don't like the ones in place, I've picked up some new ones and I'm hoping he'll be willing to swap them out. 
Tomorrow is the appraisal, and I think it will go smoothly.  But real estate has been in such a state of flux that the comps may be all over the place... that's the only thing I'm really concerned about as far as the appraisal goes.
There are so many things to keep track of!  And most of them are contingent on each other, so I feel like I'm building this enormous house of cards, or stack of blocks.  All it takes is one thing to fall out, and the rest topple to the floor. 
I've managed to find a home for my massive oak desk and my free-standing evaporative cooler, but I still have a few odds and ends to give away.  I kept all the boxes from the last move, so pretty soon I'm going to start packing up my stuff.  There is the cable to transfer and the post office to notify, movers to schedule and a window guy to set up.  I've already taken a huge load of outgrown clothes and shoes and things to Goodwill, so along with the desk gone there's a big space open in the garage to start putting boxes.  I have lists and notes written down that I consult with daily.

The HOA for the Townhouse changed their management company last fall, and their financials got all tangled up - just in time to re-apply for their FHA certification, which they failed.  The financials have since been straightened out, but their application won't be approved for 30 days, which misses my closing date.  My mortgage broker is going to do a "spot approval" which he feels confident about and so hopefully my closing won't be cancelled or moved out too far.  I'd hoped to have a few weeks to move and get the new place ready.  M has picked out her paint color and is pretty excited about having a pink bedroom.  I'm pretty excited about having a bigger kitchen.  I'm crossing my fingers.

On Tuesday I'm meeting Bob at a local restaurant.  (He picked a good one.)  I've talked to him a couple times on the phone and as much as I hate talking on the phone, I enjoyed it enough to look forward to meeting him.  I wanted to wait until AFTER Valentine's Day, though.  Such foolishness.  Valentine's feels like Dodgeball to me.  Out of all the years of my life that I can remember, I've maybe had a half dozen good Valentine's Days.  I've had a LOT of terrible ones and some truly memorable horrific ones.  I always hope it's going to land on a non-work day so that I can ignore it.

M's class is having a party tomorrow and we have to pick up some Valentines for her to give out.  I hope all the kids give one to everybody.  They're better about that now than they were when I was her age.  It's never too early to teach kids not to be mean.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What’s in a name?

This Internet Dating thing is bringing some things to my attention that I’d probably rather not be aware of. One of them is how many men (women too, I imagine, but I’m not corresponding with them) represent themselves in ways that probably aren’t to their advantage.

I’m keeping my selection criteria limited to local guys between 45 and 55 years old. I know there that age affects different people in varying ways, but some of the guys that claim to be in this range seem to be... old. Like in more like my dad than the friends I know who are my age. Either that or the years have not been kind, and I want someone whose abilities and outlook match my own. I’ve got decades before I’m ready to get excited about Early Bird Specials and retirement communities. And quite a few of them should have someone help them with their photos and/or their profile narratives. The usernames are something else. I don’t know how other women feel about this, but I’m not enthusiastic about hearing from a guy who calls himself _Hot_, Mr Feelgood, or Easygoing. They sound like candy bars.

So, I was pleased to talk on the phone to Bob (yet another Bob) this afternoon. He’s my age, and he looks like he’s still got some life in him. He’s a dad, has a daughter at CU, and has a job similar to mine. He sounded upbeat and normal. I’d really like to date someone upbeat and normal. That would be nice. It’s been a really long time since I spent time with a man who liked the same kinds of things that I do and was pleasant to be around. He said he wants to meet me, and so we’ll see.

The thing is, I’m used to being on my own. I’m so used to it that I don’t know how good I am at making room for someone else. I accommodate myself for my daughter so much that I’m jealous of any spare moments I have to myself. I wonder what kind of dance partner I would make to someone these days.

Sooner or later, I may get the chance to find out.