A week in the life of a middle aged woman

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I have been following your blogs, but by the time I get to them pretty much all the comments I would think up have been taken, and if they haven’t, what I want to say is more my own thing than anything to do with yours. Here is proof.

I turned 44 last week. I think it was the best birthday in my adulthood. I am pretty content to be my age. The Sunday before, my brother offered to ride in the car with me to meet my ex and exchange kids. We got to talk for five hours. We hadn’t spent that much time alone together since, well I suppose sometime in the 80s. I lamented about how I was having problems with general maintenance in my house.

I came around the corner in my hall later that week to find my brother looking at my front doorknob which had cost $89 and wasn’t working. He fixed my air compressor hose by unscrewing a thing. Then he hung my curtain rods and generally puttered around. My cousin mailed me some grass seeds from Minnesota, the kids got me a Pete the Cat shirt, and my boyfriend wrote me a four page love letter. It was a great day. Then I came home later to find my brother had replaced my garage door opener. For free. He is a jewel. I wish he didn’t live in Texas.

So when we met my ex on Sunday, the kids boiled out of his pickup and told me a state trooper had pulled my ex over because another driver had turned him in for swerving. My ex leaned in my window (I think) to yell at me because I bet he thought I had turned him in. When he saw my brother he didn’t say a word. (It had never occurred to me to turn him in, although I know the plate # and where he should be on the road.) The cop apparently saw all the kids and thought, “nobody in his right mind is drinking while driving these lovely children down the interstate,” and didn’t search for alcohol containers. Because he would have found them, empty and full. So close.

I have been muttering to myself about my current boyfriend. He falls into OBL’s >60 range, he doesn’t have a job and he isn’t handy at all. I am handy if everything works as it should, but I am not a problem solver when I run across something that I didn’t expect. Ed won’t help with that stuff at all, and he was a rancher for most of his life, he HAS to know how to remove the thingie on my air compressor so it works. Last night my youngest puked. I texted my boss. While I can potentially leave an eleven-year-old alone for most of the day, I cannot do that for a seven-year-old. While trying to figure out how they would staff the front desk without me I realized they really couldn’t. So Ed said he would stay home and take care of Zach. He took sheets off the bed, washed them and re-made the bunk bed. After school he delivered my daughter to piano and dropped the rest of the crew at the library.  Here I am cursing a guy who would stay home with another man’s kid so I can go to work and not inconvenience my boss who is a little scary these days. (She told me she had a dream she fired me.)

One of our patrons (the one I voted most likely to be jumped by me if his doctor-wife were to die in a tragic accident) published a book. I read the first two chapters on Amazon and got the rest to read on my iPad tonight. It is written for the 9-12 age group. I looked up the publisher, and I don’t think it is a vanity press, but what I have read so far seems a little awkward. Not bad, but not quite “right.” I dunno. I am a little worried to read the rest of it because if he asks me a direct question about it I can’t lie.

That won’t be a problem for a while because I need to finish “Life After Life” before book group tomorrow night and I started “Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography,” which is really funny. Revealing? Probably not, but for someone who missed Doogie Howser because I was in college and not watching TV in my spare time then I haven’t seen “How I Met Your Mother” because I never started watching it, I guess I am an open slate when it comes to him, except that it is a great premise for a book. I am reading it straight through mostly because I don’t want to miss anything, but you can hop all over the place if you want. It has several places where if you make a bad decision he ends up working at Schlotzki’s Deli.

A young woman came into the library and was hanging around because she used to work there and didn’t have anything to do at home. It came out that she is really smart (most people who work in libraries are) and she said she would tutor my daughters in math. I am seriously thinking of taking her up on it. This homework thing takes a two hour chunk out of my night.

I am off to a soak in the tub with Ursula. G’night.

A Testamemt To My Cluelessness

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I had an epiphany last week. Kind of a life-changing epiphany. With as much navel gazing as someone who has been blogging for nine years must have done, you would think I would have come across this by now. I am an introvert. I am also pretty oblivious (obviously).

This came about when I was talking to my boss about something and I told her I didn’t know whether I was an extrovert or an introvert. She said, “You are a green…probably an introvert” which was this color personality thing we did which really explains the people I work with and is much less complicated than the INTEP thing or whatever that was.

Exhibit #1 When I was in my early 20s (circa 1992) I lived outside a town of about 300 people, located 90 miles from any larger town. I had no friends outside of co-workers, although I knew lots of people. I had no TV. I had my day job and I worked evenings as a cook and waitress in the local bar/fine dining establishment/pool hall a couple nights a week. Otherwise I was at my little rental house behind my landlord’s big ranch house. I might have been lonely from time to time, but I was completely content. The librarian had my library card memorized.

I think an extrovert would have either made friends and gone out and partied or gone crazy in that situation.

Exhibit #2 I hate living in town. I go out to my back yard and then I end up talking to my neighbors, all of whom are nice, but maybe I just want privacy outside. I grew up 3 miles from the nearest neighbor and I liked it that way. When I win the lottery, maybe I will install a different fence than my waist high chain-link fence. Maybe not, I like being able to see out. I think of Jean Auel’s “Clan of the Cave Bear” where you don’t look into the other cave inhabitants’ living space as a form of courtesy. People in my alley just don’t get that.

Exhibit #3 I am around people all day, which is fine, I like my co-workers and most of the patrons, but then I come home to all these people I made and they want my attention too. All I want is some alone time. And when the kids are at their dad’s, my boyfriend is hanging around. I probably can fix that some.

Exhibit #4 I hardly have any friends here, and I hardly ever go out or entertain. I joined a service sorority because I knew I needed to make friends. I guess my only friends in my last town were from MOPS which I joined because I knew I needed to make friends. But I am content like this.

Clearly I am not way over on the scale or anything, but there you have it. I am an introvert. Next on my list of books to read is “The Birth Order Book” maybe I will discover I am a first-born!

A man with a purse

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Last night we had an author come to speak at the library. I had to help the author’s wife sell books after the talk so I handed my boyfriend my purse and I climbed behind the table to help out. When things died down Ed found me and gave me my (pretty small, black) purse back. He told me he had been talking to his ex-wife and she was looking at him weird because of the purse. I didn’t have the heart to tell him his chances with her were slim at best.

He introduced me to her. She was beyond cordial, she was downright nice. They have been divorced 18 years. (Keep in mind he is 21 years older than me) She talked books with me. Nice neutral ground.

Ed tells people his ex ran off with his hired man (ranch hand). “…I sure do miss him, he was the best man I ever had.” She actually did and they are married now. Ed left his wife running the ranch and raising the kids while he was off rodeoing. She finally had enough. He has nothing but nice things to say about her.

I don’t have much to add except the author was Craig Johnson, who writes smart-funny murder mysteries based in Wyoming. The A&E series, Longmire is based on his characters. If he comes to your town, go see him. He is a great speaker, even if you haven’t read the books.

Outlander #8 no spoilers & Mother of the Year Update

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Words I learned while reading “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.”
Absquatulate-to abscond with
Leporello-cannot find in dictionary, or online
Subfusc-dusk or a brown
Quoits-something to do with a circle of rope thrown in a game
A word that started with a W I lost track of in the 400s or 500s.
(If you happen across it, please let me know-I think it was on the left side of the page)

I am still in mourning that I have finished the book. I am sure the person who has been waiting for it will be happy to get it, but sadly it is coming apart after two readings and will have to be mended first. I was careful with it, and I suspect the other person was too, but people, you have to sew big books together. Glue will not hold an 800 page book together. Look at your Bible. It is sewn, see? Big book-sewn.

I have not been watching the series. I really should watch more TV.

My daughter is on her fifth non-consecutive day of grounding since Sept 22. This means right to her room after school, until morning. I don’t check her homework or feed her supper these days. Her math homework has suffered as a consequence. She probably has some sort of food stash which will probably attract mice. It might be the reason we are out of cereal.

I asked her father to talk to her as well. Apparently he told her he never lies, but they know he cheated on his girlfriend last summer, the kids saw him kissing another woman-definitely cheating to them-so that was a mixed message at best. Lydia said she put that in her BS filter. (Atta girl, at least she can spot one) Looking back on it, it was poor judgement on my part, but I thought he should be aware of the problem.

Everybody lies sometimes, but when I am asked a direct question, I am a crappy liar. I just need to know if she has homework, if it is completed and if it has been checked.

Nobody else is doing chores half the time so I am not cooking supper half the time or buying groceries. If they don’t help, why should they expect me to do their chores and mine? Remember when that mom camped out in her front yard I the early 1980s? If it wasn’t October…

Clearly this is not working. What I need here is a four-part plan. 🙂

PIYO

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My Zumba instructor encouraged me to attend her Pilates/Yoga class today at 5:30. In the morning. I was only a couple of minutes late. I felt pretty good all day, had caprase or however you spell that for lunch. Supper was late for me at 8:30, due to having a bunch of kids with practices, homework and what-not. I had buttered noodles and two jerky sticks. As I type this, I am daydreaming about my favorite two guys, Ben & Jerry who are cooling their heels in my freezer.

I have lost around 8 pounds since my Dr mentioned I was at least 20 pounds over what I probably should weigh.

The class? I will try to go back, it is Tues & Thurs. My stomach muscles are killing me, which I can only take as a sign, since that is where the other 12 pounds need to come off. With my luck my boobs will go back to pre-four-baby size, and my stomach will stick out further than them. If only my feet would go back to pre-baby size.

I love the instructor, and she is moving next month.

The Secret to Contentment

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I have determined the wine my neighbor gave me as a housewarming gift, a pedestrian white zin, goes quite well with sixth grade math. You see, it has been quiet today. Lydia lied. She came home from band to a note on her door to the effect of “see you tomorrow.”

Yesterday I asked her to help my first grader, Zach, with his homework. He had a math page and a worksheet to prepare for his first test ever, in science. He had been stressing about it on Thursday and wanted me to study with him then, although he did not know what it would be over. He had a sheet yesterday and I asked his sister to go over it with him to give me time to take my other son to the bike shop to get pegs on his bike and to tumbling class and make banana bread and tuna noodle casserole, then I could help her with her math homework and study the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems for her test, and check her sister’s math.

This morning I reminded Zach to take his homework to school. He started crying because Lydia had made him put the wrong answers on his worksheet about the five senses. He knew what was right but she convinced him he was wrong. By chance his teacher came by the library today so I asked about it. He had caught her before class in a panic and told her he was sure he had gotten one wrong because his sister made him answer it wrong. The teacher made it okay for him.

So Lydia is almost 12 and Zach is almost 7. We aren’t a family of pranksters-we have fun and tease and laugh, but we don’t do pranks. Everyone understands that we have to work as a team if we want to participate in extra-curricular activities, or else they can stay home and play all the time and I can do all the housework. I wish I had a husband. A husband, not my old one. I am planning to meet with the seemingly ineffectual school counselor tomorrow to see if he thinks this is sociopathic behavior or just naughty 6th grader behavior.

I drank a couple of glasses of wine and listened to hip-hop music with lots of cussing as I made supper. That helped. Then I called my boyfriend (if you can call a man of 63 a boyfriend). We talked. He asked if I prayed about it. I had, but mostly the “Help!” kind of prayer. He is a good pray-er. He prayed and made me cry. I feel somewhat better. Now I am eating chocolate chips and walnuts. That seems to help too. So, a little recap: booze, cussing, God and chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood -too long of a book title if you ask me.

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You know you are reading a big book when you can’t remember if you were on page 385 or 485, just that it was somewhere in the middle of the book. I just checked-814 pages, and it was 385. Better get going.

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