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|Sunday, June 19th, 2016|
This LJ is my best place to write about things that are important to me. Here goes:
My Cousin-The-Travel-Writer, Ed Readiker-Henderson, died this week. He was only 53 and been ill with various horrible things for a long time. I’m heartsick and sad and also relieved that his suffering has ended.
I love him very much and I’m going to miss him like the fury. Our Mommas are sisters, so technically he was my cousin. In reality, he was my brother. We have been friends since – well, always. We’ve corresponded for most of our lives and had a couple of great trips together. He spent most of his life in Alaska, Arizona, Washington State, with a long interlude in Japan, Anytime he passed through the East Coast, I'd get a call. Could I come pick him up at the airport? Yes I could. He was an important and beloved member of my tribe. Now he is gone, no longer suffering. My life is diminished by his death.Afar Magazine has written a beautiful tribute to him.He gave an amazing Ted TalkHe was a contributing editor to National Geographic Traveler
I loved this article.
He wrote several wonderful books. I worried that I don't know about all of them but here is a partial list:
Listening for Quiet – Kindle
A Short History of the Honey Bee
Under The Protection of the Cow Demon
Adventures Along The Alaskan Highway (there were many editions of this book)
I’m going to head to Bellingham Washington to help close his house and make sure his bequests get to people he loved. Boy Howdie, (a phrase I learned from him) it will be tough emotional terrain.
Ed was a great gift to me all his life. Here we are on the "Mom Bails on Thanksgiving Caribbean Adventure"
|Monday, June 6th, 2016|
For the first time in the history of the USA a woman has captured the Democratic Presidential nomination. WooT!!
Here's looking at you Hillary. Long may you reign. The world has changed for women forever.
|Tuesday, April 19th, 2016|
When I'm not paralyzed by homesickness, I can recognize that Decatur Georgia has considerable charms. I’ve already mentioned that I live on Hot Dad Corner. I also live across the street from a noted local sommelier and wine critic. He gets tons o wine FedEx deliveries. Every so often, they turn on their party lights, fire up the firepit and break out the wine. Tom and I come every time we are invited.
How I found myself last Saturday night: 2:52am, forth glass of wine, (yes, I am a lightweight, except in ACTUAL weight) staggering across the street to snore loud enough to wake the dead (according to Mr. Wonderful). I spent Sunday feeling like my head was on backwards. Boy Howdy that was fun. Thank you Eleanor and Gill, for being AWESOME and funny neighbors.
Here is a picture of Current CasaEmpresspatti. Its cute and small.
Here I can garden in a deer free environment. My lavender, planted along the fence last summer, mostly came back. What didn’t survive the winter, or was stomped by neighborhood boys, was easily replaced by ACE hardware, bulya. It smells great.
This is called burying the lead BUT the other GREAT thing about Decatur? King of Pops popcicles. I had a craving this evening, mentioned it and before I even knew, Mr. W had zoomed out and procured a raspberry lime popcicle. Teh YUM!
|Tuesday, April 12th, 2016|
|Message from the Cooking Gods
In Maryland, Tuesday was my favorite day of the week. For the past 11+ years, Tuesday mornings were Starbucks, girlfriends and a solid hour of laughter and catching up. Tuesdays in Decatur are usually alone quiet time. Some days go better than others, but Tuesdays often suck.
This Tuesday was EPIC. I had a hankering for tomato soup. I dropped a pan of roasted tomatoes all over the kitchen floor. I dropped a hot roasted tomato between my apron and shirt. I dropped a potholder into the soup. I cleaned up the kitchen floor, counter and cabinets. Amazing how far a couple of tomatoes will fly.
THEN, I dropped a bowl of red lentil soup on my newly cleaned floor. My kitchen floor got cleaned twice today. YaY!
I get it. The cooking gods don’t want me in the kitchen today. Message received. I’m one load of laundry away from erasing the whole incident.
EDITED TO ADD: Just took off my shirt and had tomato in my bra. YEESH. I'm so done.
|Monday, April 11th, 2016|
|Hot Dad Corner
I am at a loss as to how to bring y’all up to date on my life. Lots have happened since I last chronicled the Adventures of Empresspatti.
So – I’m going to skip most everything that I’m not ready to talk about and tell you about Hot Dad Corner.
Two years ago, when Mr. W and I relocated from just outside of Washington DC to Atlanta Georgia. Almost immediately, I realized that the hubby and I had very different ideas about the Next Home.
I wanted a high rise in an urban setting. I envisioned sunny rooms, a big balcony and no more gutters, leaves, lawn etc to worry about. I wanted to be able to walk to the library, restaurants and grocery store.
Mr. W, on the other hand, was enraptured with the (for us) very low home prices. He was dreaming of a couple of acres, wrap around porch, quiet cul-de-sac. “Well,” I said to him, “maybe with your second trophy wife. I’m not sitting alone in a big house while you fight traffic to and from work. I’ll come visit you occasionally.”
It was a fairly crabby discussion, which took place after our first Sunday spent trudging from home to home with our realtor. Who I am sure was just thrilled to be out with the Bickersons.
Faced with revolt, Mr. W found our great little home online. 50 Gallons of paint, 3 renovated bathrooms and a lovely afternoon relocating bushes in the yard (boy howdy was that marriage enhancing), I’ve started to feel some of the contentment here that was the hallmark of my last home.
We are three blocks away from a good library, great restaurants, shops and an epic farmers market. Plus, I have a tiny yard with no deer to munch my plantings. I’m in year two of gardening, and things are looking good. All the bushes survived. Stuff blooms.
Here is my perch – a lovely spot in our bedroom. It looks out on the street, which is an extra bonus because I live on Hot Dad Corner. The view from my window is always outstanding.
Before I write any more, please know that I’m 61 years old and phat. If anyone of my lovely neighbors knew I called them Hot Dads, they’d run away from me at warp speed. BUT – YOU GUYS!!
Everyone on Hot Dad Corner has 3 kids. I was wondering if it was a requirement, but apparently not. Right next door is Francis the Harvard educated dentist. He and his lovely wife have (ferel) boys 6, 10 & 12. It’s like living next to the zoo and we love it. Caddy-corner is Todd. He is uber fit, jogs with his shirt off and walks his youngest girl to school every morning holding her hand. Down the street is Mike the doctor, married to a very funny woman who practices law. Past him is Jeffery & Susan, who are our age, good friends and fun to hang with. He’s a dead ringer for Robert Redford.
Lemme tell you, this is a fun place to stroll outside with a beer. There is almost always someone pretty standing around with their kids, ready for silly conversation.
Best for last – there is an end of school year and a Halloween Party every year that are so much fun. I’m living in VERY scenic community.
|Sunday, April 3rd, 2016|
|Looking over the horizon
wrote to me:
"Hope things are becoming less "meh" on the home front. The FB post in
which I quoted your view on "portable friends" popped up for some reason on
my news feed again, sparking a short conversation about how you were doing
and wondering if you were any happier than you had been at first. Hoping
the dramady that is the current state of Rep. politics is giving you
something to enjoy."
Thank you Sweetie! It’s so nice to be thought of. I wrote to you that I was doing better. FInally! Being miserable sucks. I’ve mostly recovered from my broken femur. The absence of pain has been a huge life improvement.
And YES!! The current GOP nominating contest is candy and giggles EVERY DAY. Trump changed his position on abortion 5 times in 3 days and had his campaign chief was indicted for battery. His overall negatives for women is -73%. I guess the GOP forgot that in the last election, they got their ass handed to them by women and people of color. This election is going to make Utah and Texas swing states. And Scalia is still dead, so the Supreme Court will never again be so ignorantly conservative.
It’s a long time till November and laughing so hard at the GOP can make my head hurt. I have to dole it out in daily increments lest I go into spasams…..WheW!
I’ve spent the last 3+weeks back in Maryland, mostly squatting with my Parents, which is awesome. I’ve also camped in my former home, babysitting Monster the Wonderbunny. Here’s a picture of the old man these days, contently munching on kale.
I’ve seen my extended family and old friends. This weekend Mr. W came north for a family reunion celebrating his Mom’s 85th birthday. His family is truly far flung, so it was great to have us all in the same place. It was the first time I’ve had a chance to visit my two adult nieces and I’m telling you: THEY ROCK. Someday these women will rule the world and the universe will be a much better place.
I head down south on Wednesday. For the first time ever, in spite of knowing I'll snivel when I say goodbye to my girl, I'm going to be relieved to be back in my new hood. This is real progress, so YaY!
I’ll start writing about my life in Decatur soon. I have a lot of catching up to do. Thanks again, LJ friends, for being there for me.
|Tuesday, June 9th, 2015|
|This is SO DELICIOUS!
I am well aware that I haven't written a word since January. I am recovering from my broken femur. Harder to cope with is living so far from my family and friends. I'm often in miserable emotional terrain. No, I don't want to talk about it.
MEANWHILE - this is the most delicious thing in the history of ever. ENJOY
3 Cups of Seedless Watermelon whizzed through a blender
1 Cup Tomatoes diced
1 Cup chopped watermelon
1 Cup Cuke partially peeled and seeded
1 Cup Yellow Pepper
2 T diced fresh cilantro
3 sliced diced green onions OR 2 green onions/1 T shallot
2T Lime juice
1 T salt
Small seeded & minced jalapeno
OR dash of hot pepper OR Tabasco sauce
|Tuesday, January 27th, 2015|
|Someday I'll stop complaining....
As I have been whining about for months: I broke my right femur in October and had emergency surgery to insert a rod and several screws in my leg. December 23rd, I had my post surgical doctors appointment. The X-rays looked good. My surgeon is satisfied that I was forming the all-important ‘callous’ over my broken bone. I’m walking with a cane full time. I can drive. I can go up and down steps.
I feel better and have had a marked increase in strength and stamina. Most importantly, finally returned to my new home in Decatur, Georgia. The first time up those 12 steep steps was dicey, but I can do it several times a day now.
Mr. Wonderful drove up right before Christmas. Irony seemed to be the defining characteristic of the holidays. I lived in the guest room of my old home. Mr. W and I had our first Christmas without our kids in a house we no longer live in. It wasn’t awful, but it was so weird.
Mr. Wonderful has been so terrific. He dug up my beloved climbing hydrangea, drove it to our new home after Christmas and planted it Sunday. Putting down roots, he said.
I flew down on New Years Eve. It seemed important to start the New Year in my new home with my husband of 29++ years. Since we’ve moved, because of my accident, I’d spent more time in my former home than my new one.
Now might be the time to mention how much my Parents and Daughter worked to help me regain my health. They were so kind and loving. When I was in rehab, my Folks came every day to check on me and again every night. My Mom helped me wash up. Once I was settled in bed, my Dad would come in and tell me he loved me. It made me feel very safe and loved. My Girl made me laugh and listened to me angst. It must have been tedious, but it really helped me.
I recovered in the quiet of my former, now my Daughters home. It was familiar and weird at first, living in the guest room of my former home. I could navigate the few steps into the house, use the kitchen and manage the two steps into the family room, bathroom and my bedroom. I did my morning PT with Monster the Wonderbunny hopping on me or trying to chew the walker. Daytimes I spent at my Folks. We watched Big Bang reruns and had naptime every day. After dinner they would deliver me back to my Girl.
My Folks ferried me to PT, Doctor appointments. They fed me breakfast, lunch and dinner. The night I had a pain medicine meltdown, they made up the couch into a bed and checked on me every few hours. My Girl occasionally took me to a movie or out to lunch. It was fun.
As the weeks crawled past, I had plenty of time to think about how my life was going. Might as well just face facts: 2014 sucked green monkey dicks. The move away from family and friends made me miserable. I am happy that my Son found a great job California, living his dream. BUT. It made me heartsick. It is hard to love people so much and have them all so far away. Also – living apart from Mr. W while recovering was hard. I've really turned into a whiner. YEESH.
In my worst moments, I’ve wondered if I’ve had all the joy I’m entitled to in this life. I’m really disappointed in myself. I blithely assumed that I’d adapt to our new life and instead had multiple disasters and then managed to about cripple myself.
Thank GWAD, the return to Decatur has been better than the initial move. I’ve joined a rehab gym & can do water aerobics, stationary bike and when I get my nerve up, the elliptical. Workouts hurt and are exhausting, but I’m grateful that I’m recovering. I’m truly sick of endless doctor rounds, but I have to do it.
Mr. W loves his new job. He found a band to play with. He made friends with all the neighbors. We live in a great place and had moments of fun lately. Saturday night the whole hood celebrated a 40th (Babies, I tell you – 40 is a BABY) birthday by getting drunk enough that we all had to leave our cars and walk home. THAT IS HARD TO DO WITH A CANE – whoo boy.
Sometimes I find a piece of the old me. The other day I remembered that when I fell, my Dad was so upset that he accidently kicked me in the head while he was calling 911. It made me laugh. That’s a good sign, right?
I need to start posting more. It feels good to get stuff out and let it go. Hope all is well with everyone in LJ land.
|Thursday, December 25th, 2014|
|I owe a much longer post BUT:
Broken femur healing. I can walk with a cane and drive a car. I will return to my new life in Decatur Georgia New Years Eve. Christmas is weird - Mr. W & I are in our former home, while Daughter & Son are elsewhere. Its our first post kids Christmas.
To our eternal delight: THE FATAWA LIVES! This is what we came home to last night....
Santa Claus done up as Fidel Castro, complete with beard and cigar. The Santa Pigs (two wearing Darth Maul masks) along with "Bay of Pigs" & "Capitalist Pigs" signs. And "Havana Merry Christmas" letters strung up in front of the house.
So the tradition of our Neighbors, walking their dogs and being horrified, continues. PLUS - since we don't live here any more - the problem of storing those damn pigs for a year belongs to my Daughter and Son in Law. Win Win WIN!!
ps - 2014 sucked green monkey dicks. Here's wishing for a much better, less drama prone 2015!
|Tuesday, November 11th, 2014|
|Update on Me
Recovering from a broken femur is truly a pain in the ass. I rock the walker in anything that resembles a public or social situation. This week, in the quiet of my Daughter or Parents home, I’ve been using a cane. Its slow and painful.
In spite of missing Mr. W something horrible, I’m glad I’m here with family recovering. I have out patient PT twice a week and do my exercises every morning and evening. In between, I wear out like a toddler and usually sleep for a couple of hours every afternoon. I have the same schedule as a well tended two year old.
My Son and Hubby are coming to DC for Thanksgiving – the first time since May that our family will be in the same state. I can hardly wait to see my Boy and just hope I don’t snivel when I’m finally in the same room with Mr. W again.
So this is me – slowly healing. Learning patience one day at a time. Recovery is pretty damn boring.
|Friday, October 17th, 2014|
|BUCKLE UP FOR A TALE
Somewhere along the line my life seriously derailed, so buckle up people. I’m going to tell some stories.
When last I wrote, I was reeling from moving and having it rain inside my house the minute I finished unpacking. SO – it took about 5 weeks, but my house was dried, my walls, crown molding, baseboards were restored and painted. My hardwood floors were refinished – which was a bonus, the old dark stain sanded off and BEHOLD the lovely red oak below. I got a new floor in the laundry room, and put in a new washer & dryer. Last count I'd put 25 gallons of paint on the walls.
Then I unpacked all my stuff – again – and had company for the next 5 weeks. Then the Tuesday after Labor Day happened.
Mr. W and I were eating dinner when I saw a strange car in front of the across the street neighbors driveway. Then I noticed 4 teenage boys heading for the back yard. ‘That doesn’t look right,” I remarked to Mr. Wonderful. THEN I heard the sound of glass breaking and said “That definitely doesn’t sound right. Call 911.”
Tom picked up the phone and I waddled out the front door and into the street to get the tag # of the car.
I was hollering at the top of my considerable lungs in my best Newsroom Mom voice “HEY!!! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?” Cue boys running out of the house (they had smashed the glass back door) and heading for the car. It made me FURIOUS. “I’VE GOT YOUR LICENSE PLATE NUMBER AND WE’VE ALREADY CALLED THE COPS. YOU BETTER DROP THAT BACKPACK.” Honestly, you could have heard me in outer space. They zoomed off.
The police came, took our descriptions, asked me about 100 times what I did (Hollered) managed to find the abandoned car a few block away AND one of the criminal geniuses – holding the backpack. Also funny – the car was so recently stolen that when the police went to talk to the owner, he didn’t know his car was missing.
Our neighbors came out to find out what all the noise was about right when Tom got in the back of the police car to ID the perp. To my ETERNAL regret, I didn’t think to take a picture of him in the back of the police car, which would have been the best Christmas card ever. Anyway, between hearing me yelling at Max Volume and seeing Tom in the police car, it took a while to explain everything.
Then Tom returned from ID fun, we called the homeowners & they came home to a smashed back door, but the Police had already returned the backpack (homework and a flute), which was the only thing they took before I blasted their eardrums.
The next day I came home from the grocery store to a sign on my mailbox that said:
NEIGHBORHOOD HEROS LIVE HERE. THANK YOU.
I was the hood badass. Hee. Just goes to show, I can yell at kids like nobody's bidness.
SO from there I went to Jekyll Island and had a great week with a couple of CNN BFF’s. We’ve all left the company, but we covered the news & traveled the world together at one point and it was a really fun few days.
I wizzed back to Decatur from Jekyll, had a great weekend with Mr. W – it was his birthday. I gave him a bike and we bought a gas grill. Then I headed to DC for a visit with family and friends. It was a great two weeks. I made the Book Club overnight – always a highlight of my year. I saw my family and was thrilled by the changes my beautiful Daughter made to the house. It was a great decision to sell to her and our SIL – they have worked hard to make it theirs and it’s both familiar and fresh and different and lovely as ever. Saying good-bye to her was hard, but I knew I’d see her again soon.
I just didn’t know how soon.
SO its Friday afternoon and I’m due to leave Saturday morning for Decatur. I’d have three weeks at home and was then going to travel with my cousin the National Geographic contributing editor to Venice, Istanbul and Cappadocia.
Instead, I tripped coming into my Parents house (where I was staying) and broke my right femur. It was a horrible nightmare of ER’s, emergency surgery, complete with a rod and three screws inserted in my thigh and Acute Care Rehab.
That was two weeks ago today.
I’m expected to make a full recovery – but it was a bad break. My post operative apt with the surgeon was Tuesday. He said it would be 10 weeks before I could reasonably be expected to have healed the bone, muscles and tendons enough to walk normally and probably 6 months to a year before it was really in the rear view.
This has been some year.
|Sunday, July 13th, 2014|
|The State of Me
Today I realized that I was at a tipping point. Either I post now or I Just Give Up.
2014 has been a year on roller skates. I just re-read my last post and it made me tired all over again. Now I wish my life was that easily explained.
SO – Mr. W and I are now living in Decatur Georgia. We landed in a tots fab hood. The neighbors have welcomed us with a graciousness that has been as surprising (to me at least. It would have never occurred to me to make a casserole for a new neighbor) as it has been wonderful.
Tom got here before me. There was a bottle of wine on the front stoop with a note saying WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Later that day a group of 10-14 yr old boys knocked on the door to inspect him and told him where to get the good ice cream and pizza. He was thrilled. It made me realize all over again how much he misses his boy.
Update on my BOY: Our Son has successfully relocated to California and landed a GREAT JOB. That is a story in itself, so here goes. Mr. W & Son are on plane, heading for California. Couple next to them has a cranky toddler with an ear infection. As my Son told me later “Dad and I alternated playing Peek-A Boo for the entire trip.” At the luggage carousel after the flight, the couple thanked my boys for being so understanding. Mr. W said his standard thing – No problem, been there, they grow up fast, pointed to Son. This led to a conversation about the trip. The couple assumed vacation, but when Evan said “recent graduate, film major” the man handed him a business card and said, “Send me your reel.” Turns out he was the head of Diesel Films. Evan had his reel sent by the time Mr. W had the rental car. By the time they got to the hotel Evan had an interview date, which he nailed.
His first project – follow the link
– was REAPER. This impressed the head of NIKE LA advertising enough to request him for the 6.6.14 Point Dume and 6.14.14 Downtown videos. That in turn led to being allowed to film and edit a spot on the USS Iowa. My boy has landed a great job, doing what he loves, with great resume enhancing work right out of the gate. We are so happy for him and so relieved that his transition to adulthood has been this positive. I also have to laugh – all those years of pounding my kids with financial literacy information – good education, good job, and assets not covering your ass with expensive jeans etc paid off in spades. Hurray for self-supporting adulthood. There were times when I despaired! Now I just miss him like the fury.
Update on my GIRL: Our Daughter and SIL bought our house and have happily been renovating, painting and settling in. Since we were also BFF’s, I miss her in an entirely different way. I can’t talk about it without winging, so suffice to say: I MISS MY FAMILY SO BAD IT CLAWS AT ME. I miss Monster the Wonderbunny and all he did was chew holes in my carpet - holes which now belong to my Daughter, so there is justice in the world.
We had a very labor-intensive month, painting the interior of the house, unpacking, figuring things out. Getting our drivers licenses and the cars tagged and titled took me two entire days, but it was a welcome relief from painting and unpacking boxes.
Finally, the last Friday in June, I was done. There were some curtains to hang in the bathroom and a few pictures to put up. The reupholstered couches were due on Monday. So I tossed a load of laundry in the washer and sat down.
Cue copious amounts of water spewing out from under the washer. I got it stopped right away, opened the linen closet and dumped the contents on the floor of the laundry room, but the water soaked through to the downstairs, causing damage to the walls and ceiling in the entrance, living room and downstairs hall.
Our insurer sent water abatement guys who ripped up my newly painted walls, ceilings, crown molding and floorboards. They set up 4 huge blowers and dehumidifiers, plus strange pulsing mats that sucked water out of hardwood floors. The inside of our house sounded like a jet engine for the better part of a week, which complimented the war zone ambience.
Because things weren’t stoopid enough – The DeKalb Water guys came to replace our water meter. I’m glad I know where the outside shut off valve is, but ironic timing. PLUS – two days later, I had a HUGE puddle in my front yard. I called the emergency number. They sent a team that dug a huge hole in my front yard, then tore up the sidewalk in front of my house and dug another huge hole. At one point that day, I had two teams of three guys tearing up the interior and exterior of my new house.
ALL I could do was giggle – as my Daughter said: That huge pile of dirt really makes your white fence POP.
I had to call my Parents & other friends to tell them they couldn’t make their scheduled visits. That was a singularly awful moment in my life and made me realize how much I had been counting on seeing them. BLERGH. This has been difficult emotional terrain.
Further mayhem commences this week. There will be more ripping down of walls and ceiling, then new drywall etc. We have to be out of the house while they refinish the floors, so I need to figure that out.
Who knows when I’ll ever do laundry at home again. The very thought gives me PTSD.
To top off the domestic drama, I sat on one of our potties last week and it rocked ever so slightly. I now have two brand new toilets, because of course.
I am so over water karma AND living in a trashed house. Hopefully August will be better……
|Sunday, May 25th, 2014|
|A Woman without a Nation
I owe everyone comment replies. Can't yet. I'm trying to stay out of the snivel zone.
In the last 10 days I have:
Thrown a dinner party
Hosted Mothers Day dinner
Moved my Son from college in Philly to home
Shipped Sons belongings to California
Travelled to Philly for Sons Cum Laude Graduation from Temple U
Thrown a Graduation/Birthday/Goodbye/Housewarming Party for a bazillion people in my back yard. Had a great time and drank too much.
Said goodbye to my Parents, dropped Son and Husband at Airport for Sons relocation to California for his Adult Life. It was too early in the morning for me to snivel.
Prepared my home for moving
Supervised 2 craters guys and three packer guys. I’m proud to announce that I managed to convince them to transport my post party leftover booze across state lines. Also – I’m pretty sure my chandlers from Venice and Istanbul will arrive intact. Or I’ll kill everyone.
Watched my old life drive away in a truck
Interrupted Daughter and Son-in-Laws first nookie in their new house. Whoops, sorry, but the garage and back door were hanging open.
Watched Daughter and Son-in-Law paint Master bedroom & Living Rome. I approve of everything they are doing, but can’t summon the energy to help
Had dinner with BFF’s and drank way too much
Joined my Iron Maiden Book Club for Happy Hour, where they presented me with a airline ticket home for the book club meeting in September. Also drank too much.
Woke up Rocking a Hangover for the third time in 6 days.
Went out for sushi with Miss Peg. Laughed so hard I got a headache
Was invited to dinner at Miss Peg, where the whole family and me laughed endlessly at shared experiences and memories over the last 25 years.
Had coffee with my post college roommate – I’d lived with her for 10 years after college, until I married Mr. W. Was there for the birth of her first son, and every other family event for 40 years since.
Then suddenly – there was a gigantic pause in the universe. My Husband is somewhere between California and Atlanta. My Daughter is bridesmaid at a wedding. My Parents are in Arizona (I’m squatting at their house). My Son, who turns 23 today, is in California.
For the first time ever a Milestone Event happened with no Family Celebration. I didn’t have everyone over for dinner and cake. I won’t be the home that does that. I’m sitting in a house not my own, alone with no responsibilities. It’s quiet.
I took myself out for a massage. Now I’m watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory. I’m someone else today and my world is gone. I thought it would be harder? Am I in shock?
The moving company just informed me that our belongings will arrive a week later than planned. Guess I’ll have plenty of time to paint with nothing to trip over. Let’s all contemplate me in a new state, home, life without a coffeemaker. I’m sure to make a good impression on the neighbors as I stagger to the local coffee place every morning for a week.
|Saturday, May 10th, 2014|
|Goodbye to You
I’ve been grappling with leaving my home. Mr. Wonderful and I sold it to our Daughter and SIL. I hope their life here will be as happy as mine has been.
We bought this house 14 years ago. I had landed a great job at CNN. We were squished in a tiny house and the tax man said we needed a bigger mortgage. This house is just down the street from my Parents. My Mom spotted the post going into the yard to hold the FOR SALE sign and called Tom. We had to wait two more days for the open house to see inside, but we put out a contract immediately. We knew we had found our spot.
It has a big lot, old growth trees and sidewalks for riding bikes. The first time I bought groceries, it was poring rain and I realized that I HAD A GARAGE. I never had to carry groceries in the rain, or scrape snow and ice off my car. I just had to press a button and waaaaaa - the portal opened to wonderland.
It has always felt so luxurious to have 4 spacious bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms, esp as my Daughter was 12 years old and our old house only had one full bathroom. I’ve often thought that moving here and giving her a designated bathroom saved us a lot of teenage girl misery.
Plus - Tom bought a drum set and he and our Son had fun shaking the house for years. That took care of a lot of the teenage boy aggression. Boy Howdie – my Son’s band practice was the most fun miserable experience as a Mom…. right there with school field trips.
When we first moved in, Mr. W put a birdhouse on a post under our bedroom window, so we mostly wake up to birdsong. Often, at night, hooting owls have rousted us. I remember my Daughter, grumpy with interrupted sleep, hollering “SHUT UP” out the window. Mr. W and I startled awake laughing. We've often had a woodpecker drilling on our gutters - that is a sound that gets your blood pumping first thing on a Saturday morning. I've loved falling asleep to the sound of rain falling.
This house has an abundance of windows.
Over the years there has been a lot of middle of the night shenigans here, starting with the very first night. I had a wicked hot flash. I got out of bed, wandered downstairs and opened the front door. It was so much cooler on the front porch. Then the door blew shut behind me and I had to ring the doorbell to get in. Everyone not me was pissed.
We all had our favorite places in this house. Tom loved the couch under the windows for his morning coffee. I loved it for my afternoon nap in the sun. We planted jasmine in pots on the deck (the only place deer couldn't eat our foliage) and the smell would drift across the living room when I was reading my book. We hung a hammock in the back yard between the tree and the treehouse, perfect for an afternoon snore. The basement was boyland - drum set, movie set, planning & prep center for the bi-yearly fatwa.
A few years after we moved in I quit working at CNN to finish raising our kids. I scraped all the icky old wallpaper off every surface, painted every wall, door, window and floorboard. It was a labor of love. I felt like I was painting laughter into my very walls. I dragged chandlers back from Venice and Istanbul - those babies are moving with me. We designed and installed a new kitchen ourselves. Whoo boy will I miss this kitchen. I’ve loved cooking for family and friends.
One of my favorite memories of my Sons high school years was baking cookies and leaving them to cool on the counter. I went looking for the big Tupperware container and my Son and his friends swept in from school. They ate every cookie in 90 seconds and disappeared outside. I came back upstairs and the counter was empty except for the crumbs. I couldn’t believe it. I should also mention the day my Daughter came home from 7th grade crying. She'd gotten her only D ever - in Home Economics. I laughed myself into hiccups. She went from teary to miffed to pissed at me in seconds and I still think its funny. Home Ec was the blight on her perfect school record. Hahahah!
Our kids grew up here – first days of school, learning to drive, first dates, college apps, my Daughter getting married. We celebrated birthdays, holidays, good report cards, family movie night, high school and college graduations, job promotions, engagements, my brother's twins yearly visits (we always cheered and clapped them into the house past the pirate flag) and any other thing we were happy about. We’ve had our family and friends over too many times to count. Weeknight dinner clean up routine = we used to blast "Boogie Shoes," the perfect 3 minute song, and try to get all the cleanup done in just one playing. That made for a lot of people zooming around the kitchen as fast as possible. We've had years of epic fatwa nonsense.
I worked hard on gardening. When I first started, the yard was full of buried trash - car parts, old shingles, rusty scissors. It took a long time to dig everything up, manage water runoff and figure out what grew under a deep shade canopy. I gave up when the deer ate my plants to the mud and took my most treasured hydrangeas and hostas to Miss Peg. I go to their house often to visit my plants.
We’d watch the birds on the feeder during breakfast and dinner. One evening we watched a bunny rabbit snore in the back yard. We’ve watched hawks eat rabbits, foxes eat squirrels and birds nest everywhere. I had two summers in a row when a mockingbird strafed me every time I went down the driveway to get the newspaper or mail.
We’ve been very happy here. Blessed with good fortune.
Tonight we are having our best friends over for pizza. Tomorrow I’ve having the family over for Mothers Day. Final small celebrations. Then we’ll have one last graduation party, for our Son, with all our family and friends over to celebrate everything happening at once - graduation, moving, housewarming. Then Evan will leave for his post college life in California. Mr. W is going with him to help him get settled.
I’ll supervise the packers, clean the empty house for my Daughter and Son in Law. I hope that they live and thrive here with the same joy we’ve had. I’ll grapple with the reality that although they will visit, our kids will never live in our new home. I won't live where the sounds of their laughter and childhood are with me all the time. We are post children, soon (ha!) to be elderly people. It’s Mr. W and I on our own now, in a new home, new state, new life. We are sliding past the middle age years, heading for decrepit.
I can’t imagine how our new life could be as great as the life we are leaving. But I tell myself the thing I used to say to my children: I carry you in my heart, always. This place, this life, this history is with me always.
I’m going to come back and see my Daughter being happy. I’ll visit my Son and revel in his successes. I'll still be able to take care of my Parents, Aunt and Uncle, but it worries me that I'll be a day away, not in their every day every moment life. I will miss that horribly.
I’d like to say that I’m facing the future with excitement. Mostly, I’m just trying to face the future without sniveling. Tom loves his new job. The new house is adorbs – and the neighborhood is friendly, walkable and lovely. I have to march out and meet the next phase of my life. If the past is an indicator of the future, I should be happy. Here’s hoping, because this is hard emotional terrain to navigate.
But right now, I’m having my last morning alone in the House of Happy, drinking my coffee, listening to the birds. Pretty soon I’ll get on with all the stuff I have to do to make the next hectic week of Son’s graduation with honors and PAR-TAY happen. I hope I feel this sense of peace and anticipation in my new life, because those feelings are hallmarks of my existence here.
My wish, leaving here, is that my Daughter and Son in Law have twice the time and happiness that I had here. . I hope my Son is happy in his adult life and work. I wish for a continuation of the joy
Casa Empresspatti is a fine and lovely place. Long may the New Regime reign.
|Wednesday, May 7th, 2014|
|Life update, Marriage Enhancing Moment and Future Fab Moment tbd
I’ve been back in Maryland for the last three weeks. It was a tremendous relief to come home – Georgia certainly didn’t feel like home and the temporary housing, while luxurious and stylish, made me miserable. Except for finding a home and arranging financing, I didn't have enough to do. Acres of time alone suck.
I have a lot to write about my transition, but there is so much emotional territory to digest that I’m still feeling my way. Being here has been wonderful. I know I have to start a new life in a new place. I’m really glad I don’t have to do it for a few more weeks.
SO – House is sold to Daughter and Son in Law. Move is pretty much arranged and house, while not looking very different, is well on the way to being organized enough for logistical relocation without a nervous breakdown in front of people I know.
Today my Daughter came over and we switched over the utilities. It was a boring few hours of calling utilities, poking buttons on the phone tree till I got a human, explaining what was needed and then listening to terrible music until the human who could help got on line. Still, done, YaY.
Afterwards, we had enough time to have lunch at our favorite Greek place. It was fun to talk to the owner, eat great food and be glad we still lived in the same state so we could see each other easily.
I found myself telling my Daughter that Mr. Wonderful, my husband of 29 years, her Dad, had been surprisingly grateful that I chose to leave my extremely happy life and follow him to Atlanta.
It was never really a question – but it is a choice. Our kids are grown. I could live up here and visit him a few times a month. I’m uprooting 57 years of a very happy life with all my family within a few miles and lots and lots of friends – many of whom go back decades, nearby. I’m leaving a part time job that I have loved.
But to quote Gladys Knight and the Pips: “I’d rather live in his world, than live without him, in mine.”
“So,” my beautiful Daughter told me as we inhaled shrimp gyros, “I want to tell you something because I think you’ll find it really funny. BUT you have to promise not to get mad.”
BACKSTORY: In the beginning of March, when Mr. W was prepping to move to Atlanta, we had lots of Stuff To Do. We broke the scanner scanning important documents, opted for paperless everything and generally got organized.
I’d had a really busy day and I finally woke Mr. W up from his nap and asked him to zerox the notebook where we keep all our passwords and user names. He was pretty grouchy about getting off the couch and we had a tiny marital enhancing moment summed up with me quoting the Nike logo – “JUST DO IT.” So off he went to Staples. He came back a short time later and I pointed out that it took longer to argue about it than to actually copy the document, thanks (idiot). I kept the idiot part to myself.
Fast forward to us in the temporary housing in Atlanta. I’d gotten a nasty letter from the State of Delaware insisting I hadn’t paid a $4 toll with my EZ Pass. I had to go online, print out a copy of my EZ Pass account and prove that I had paid the toll so I wouldn’t have to pay a $29 fine. I was in a fine mood – I’d spent the week driving Mr. W, then in the leg brace and crutches, to and from work in horrible traffic. I was lonely and miserable. I was pissed that I had to hassle around proving stupid stuff to Delaware.
“Well,” Tom said to me, “I don’t have the copy of the password book.”
I glared. “Is this going to be like the time the head of the White House Unit brought me our checkbook because you had left it out on your desk at work?” That had been quite the conversation with several highly amused people, none of them being Mr. Wonderful.
Mr. W’s shoulders were scrunching up to the top of his ever-reddening ears. This has always signaled guilt. “I didn’t copy it, I took pictures with my iPhone.”
I wasn’t mean enough to pick on a injured man, so I just pointed – “That’s your iPhone, pull it up.”
Turns out - that was his sexy NEW iPhone. The iPhone with all our top-secret user names and passwords was SITTING ON HIS DESK AT CNN.
Cue Long Marriage Enhancing Moment with not happy conversation, including why he has never been allowed to have the checkbook again.
The next night Mr. Wonderful hobbled into the apartment. He dug out a bundle of papers. He’d printed out the pictures and wiped the phone. I couldn’t resist one more dig. “Wouldn’t it have just been easier to have copied the documents when I asked you to?’
He had the grace to look ashamed. “Probably,” he admitted.
SO – NOW WE ARE BACK AT THE RESTAURANT WITH MY DAUGHTER
“Dad,” my Daughter informed me, “got to work that day and his old iPhone wasn’t on his desk. He was having a heart attack, tearing apart his workspace when the unit's well meaning admin person came by and told him that she had mailed it back to the Washington Bureau for reuse."
I boggled at her, feeling my ears starting to catch fire.
“I was lying in bed sound asleep when Dad called. His first words were I need you to do something for me and NEVER tell your Mother
. Whoo boy Mom, he was in a panic.”
The iPhone was still in transit. Mr. Wonderful wanted our daughter to drive to our house, find the password notebook, photograph it on her iPhone and send it to him.
My Daughter sensibly pointed out that she could just fed ex the book BUT Mr. W told her “NO – YOUR MOM WILL REALIZE WHAT I DID AND I’LL NEVER BE TRUSTED WITH ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.”
“Well,” my Daughter told him, “I have to go to work early because that plane fell out of the sky. Plus – if you want me to fix this for you I deserve a pony.”
So that is how my sweet Son in Law found himself at his future home, digging around in drawers to find the password notebook. Which he photographed with his iPhone, sent to my husband and wondered about the family of lunatics he had married into.
"Um, I said to my Daughter, "Did the old iPhone get wiped, or is all our information now living with someone else?"
"Nah. Everyone in the Bureau had a good laugh, but trust me when I tell you, I saw them wipe the phone myself. Poor Dad though, lots of people remember the checkbook incident."
I’m still laughing as I type this. Some fabulous day I’m going to whip out this creamy nugget and KLOBBER Mr. Wonderful with it.
|Friday, April 4th, 2014|
No, not the gross kind BUT -
Can I just tell you how very very very happy I will be to live in a place with more than one bathroom? This apartment is nice, but I NEVER want to share a bathroom with my husband again.
AND - Home Inspection-Georgia: Apparently - of the 3 potties in the (new) house, the master bath toilet is some kind of water efficient low flow blah blah blah. (Note to self - never let Mr. W use that potty) and the other 2 are just regular flush.
ANYWAY - due to the horrible drought that Ga experienced a few years back, some of the 1000000000 counties in Ga passed ordinances that ALL potties have to be low flow hippie dippy flush.
So, although big flush potties are grandfathered in, new potties OR when you sell a house, have to be low flush. OR Ga water will turn the water to your house off within 30 days of occupancy
until you comply with the potty police. So, IMHO, the question became: Does the seller have to replace 2 toilets before I buy that house?
But maybe only Unincorporated Decatur needs to comply and Incorporated Decatur (where we will live) is exempt. ANYWAY - I spent a good deal of yesterday emailing and talking to our broker, our settlement lawyer and our home inspector about if I was going to be able to use all three toilets in my house and/or take a shower when I got home in May.
We are settling end of April in Ga, then departing for Md for Sons college graduation. We might get back to our new house just in time to foul out on the 30 day no water till potty compliance rule. ZOMG all I did all day was talk about toilets.
Still don’t know. I have never talked so much about toilets to so many people in my life. Yesterday was one for the books.
|Thursday, April 3rd, 2014|
|Surprise Birthday Party.
My Daughter sent out this invite by hacking into my email account
and getting all the address.
Greetings and Salutations!
The one and only Empresspatti is having a birthday at the end of February. Because every year she copies me and schedules her birthday RIGHT BEFORE MINE. Selfish.
But as many of you know by now, my father recently accepted a position in Atlanta, and my parents will be moving soon. So instead of wearing all black and throwing myself onto a fire pit, I'd like to throw her a party first.
So, wonderful women, I'd like to get you all together for a surprise birthday party at the end of the month. That way she doesn't have the chance to tell me no. Fun, right?
The theme is gold glittery fun, obviously. Also the theme is SURPRISE (Dad and Grandpa, I'm mostly talking to you with that last part).
Friday at 6p, and going until Mom has to go to bed.
I hope to see everyone there! There will be food, booze, cake, and Pat - what's not to love?
Mr. W told me that we were going out to dinner with friends. I had spent the day preparing to move and at 5p had found 100,000 years of old tax returns that needed to be shredded. I was in krappy, dusty clothes (glorified pj bottoms and a sweaty shirt) and my hair was walking around on my head. My signature fashion statement.
ANYWAY – I whined about going out “Friday nights, ugh, I just want to stay home and shred tax returns.” I didn’t change my clothes.
For the record, when Mr. W said, “are you wearing that?” I should have known that something was up. He has NEVER noticed what I am wearing.
I complained the whole way to the ‘restaurant’ and blithely accepted that we ‘needed to stop by Daughters first’ without asking why. THEN, when she greeted us all dressed up (and carefully controlling her face at my general appearance) I complimented her and said, “You look so beautiful, where are you going tonight?” I obliviously followed her into the party room of her condo and was absolutely shocked when 50 people yelled SURPRISE at me. I swear, I used to be smarter.
In short order, I was adorned with a glittery crown and a spangle belly dancing scarf. I proceeded to have the time of my life and laughed until I was horse. I was delighted to see how many spouses of girlfriends showed up too. Then my Son showed up – he came in for the weekend from college for me. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN and the FOOD WAS AMAZING.
I have said it before but it needs to be said again. In the course of my life, I have been richly blessed with family and friends. My Daughter and Son have been unending sources of Joy. Mr. W is the best, my Parents are wonderful and I am a very lucky person.
Finally – the following Tuesday, meeting my peeps for coffee at 11a, like every week for the last 8 years, I wore my glittery crown. It was fun to recap the party. Then I ran errands – grocery store, library, bank and car wash. At the end of the day I walked in the house and realized that I had never taken the crown off! I about fell down laughing at the fat old grey haired lady walking around in the glittery star crown.
|Monday, March 31st, 2014|
|As coherent an update as I can manage. Apologies in advance.
Since I last posted – summary in brief, by order of occurrence. My Daughter threw me a surprise 59th birthday party. It was easily one of the best nights of my life. More soon, in a separate post. My Son got a letter informing him that he was graduating Temple University in May Cum Laude. After graduation, Tom is going with him to California for a week to help him relocate. It will take me time to process my joy at his accomplishments and sorrow at how far away he will be. I realized that I would not live near either of my beloved children. Ugh. I can’t even begin to talk about it without sniveling. Had a hugely loving and emotionally draining goodbye tour of my life as I understood it. Saying goodbye to all the people I love is hard. Saying goodbye to my Parents broke my heart. Arranged for the sale of our home to our Daughter and SIL. This means that they will live within walking distance of my Parents/her Grandparents and our Clan will still occupy the same street. As my Daughter said to me tearfully, “The rest of my family is moving away.” It broke my heart. Saw the Veronica Mars movie with my Daughter. I was a kickstarter backer and have the T shirt to prove it. It was great to see my favorite PI back in action. Joined Tom in temp housing in Atlanta. Found out there is not much funny about being homesick. Sometimes my head feels as if it’s filled with bees. I’ve sniveled in public and felt ashamed of myself and guilty about not coping better. YEESH. Rushed Tom to the Kaiser Urgent Care in horrible Atlanta traffic after he hella twisted his knee. In my most anxious moment, a complete and random stranger helped us. More on that later. Was very relieved to find that he hadn’t broken or torn anything. He left with crutches, a knee brace and a shot in his keister for pain. THANK GWAD FOR KAISER. Had a horrible day house hunting with our realtor, who is a Peach in every sense of the word. I hated everything. Tom was on crutches and in pain, but with an end date for corporate housing in sight, we had to do it. We discovered that we were miles apart on what we wanted. It made for a tough and sad evening for me after, adding to Tom’s overall misery. FEH! I hope we aren’t that miserable at the same time again. It sucked. Found the (mostly) perfect home a few days later, put in a contract. House is a few blocks from Marta in a very walkable ‘hood. I’ve already found the library and the DeKalb Farmers Market. The woman we are buying from is the random stranger who advised me when I was floundering around trying to find an ER. Tom had called her about her For Sale by Owner listing. By the time she returned the call, he had injured himself. I answered the phone and when she asked to speak to him, I blurted out what happened. She was the calm voice of helpfulness. This resulted in a huge scramble to resked the sale of our Md home. Kudos entirely to my Daughter & SIL for their heroic efforts. They bent over backward to resked our settlement date. It closed the deal for our purchase in Atlanta. So I continue to lead a charmed life. HOWEVER – Although I never took it for granted, I also never realized how many people I loved until I left Maryland. When it comes to Friends and Family, I have riches beyond compare. In my worst moments I have felt like everything meaningful in my life has been taken away from me. I look at Tom and wonder if I won’t make him miserable because sometimes I’m so lonesome for everyone but him.
Today I realized that I have to treat my homesickness like any other illness and manage it like a rehab. Its too huge to tackle front on, I have to address it in stages, day at a time. Finally – Tom’s injury resulted in him needing to be driven to and pick up from work every day. This means that I spend a considerable portion of my new life sitting in miserable traffic wondering where the HELL I AM, while fearing for my life since its perfectly legal to talk on your mobile phone while driving. Chauffer service has been the ultimate marriage enhancing experience. AND that was before Tom got sent to DC Sunday/Monday for work. Imagine my joy! Phew! Hopefully, I’ll find soon my personality, ability to cope and sense of humor. Then I can fret less and be around more.
|Saturday, February 8th, 2014|
|Leaving on that midnight train to Georgia......
When y’all last heard from me, I was cleaning basements, hauling furniture around, adjusting to a post children-having house and thinking that the Golden Years shouldn’t involve moving so much furniture.
Three days later I picked Mr. Wonderful up at metro after work. He’d been offered a big sexy job at CNN HQ in Atlanta. It’s everything: interesting work, great people, off the breaking news/political schedule. We have the VIP relocation package.
Oh ATLANTA! We’re moving – him by mid March, me by the end of May. Life really is what happens while we are busy making other plans.
It took us a few days to digest the shock. Then, we couldn’t let the company announce OR tell anyone till after our Daughter, who also works at CNN, came home from a State of the Union remote in Iowa so we could tell her, our Son and my Parents before the official announcement.
Oy!! - very hard conversations. By the time I could tell my best friend of 49 years, I was a back-achy mess. It hasn’t gotten any easier, telling Miss Peg and my beloved Iron Maiden Book Club or any of the other Important People in our lives.
Suddenly I know how the Fatwa ends. It makes my throat close to type this.
Plus – the realization. Tom will be happy and busy. I’ll be sans friends and family in a place I didn’t choose, for the foreseeable future.
I’ve lived here all my life. My Parents live up the street and my Daughter lives 15 minutes away. I’m going to pull myself up by the taproot.
How great is it that we have a chance, heading into our 6th decade, to have a real adventure? Esp one that promises a financial boost, adventure and the chance to do something completely different and unexpected? I'm in.
|Saturday, January 18th, 2014|
|Since when did "The Golden Years" involved moving so much furniture?
I have managed to fully survive the Thanksgiving to New Years Yak season. Egads! Now that Mr. Wonderful, Number Only Son and I all had antibiotics, we will live to get sick another day.
The last few days have truly been Marriage Enhancing. Wednesday, we took NOS back to Philly for his final semester at University. This involved hauling things down from his room and up from the basement, packing the car, driving to Philly. Where we wrote a big check and hauled his stuff up the steps, into the house and down the steps to his room.
We were brave toasters saying goodbye and then we sniveled for the first 15 minutes of the ride home. He brings so much energy and humor into the house. He’ll be home for Spring Break and then move to California. I can’t imagine a life where I only see him once a year. UGH.
Then we got home and hauled all the furniture from the little bedroom to the basement. The carpet looked beat, so I borrowed a cleaner and made it sparkle. Then, in a moment of genius, we realized that we didn’t have to put the office into the little bedroom upstairs. We could use Number Only Sons large room as an office and move his (leftover) stuff to the smaller room.
Or, as we said to each other “Why are we enshrining a room he’ll only sleep in for one more week?”
That made Project Office doubly tiresome. But we got his furniture moved and then did the real hauling. Huge desk, file cabinets, computers, printer ect. up two long flights of stairs, puffing all the way. I bet I hit my target heart rate 25 times. The room looks great, but I’m so tired I’m in bed at 730p on a Saturday night.
This was a long week both emotionally and physically, for Mr. Wonderful and I. I’m happy to report that except for a few OUCH moments (hauling heavy stuff up two flights of stairs means pinched fingers & sore muscles) we did everything with NO Martial Sniping.
It was the Golden Age Empty Nester miracle. I’m so glad its finished!