Sunday, July 29, 2007

Haul in The Suitcases From the Garage, It's Time to Pack Again

Well, once again I am heading back East to visit the family. I love going home and I will so enjoy being with my Mom and brothers and sisters, plus all the extended family. We are truly a close family and when we can all be in the same place at the same time, it is a good thing.

However, I sure don’t enjoy what I have to go through to get there.

The laundry, the packing, the organizing, the 3 AM arising on travel day, the long, boring, slow, packed freeway trip to the airport, the security crap you have to go through once you arrive at said airport, the handling of heavy baggage, (since I’m genetically incapable of packing light), the searching of all my stuff, and sometimes, the searching of my person.

Yeah, security boys and girls, right, this gray-haired, limping, arthritic, Caucasian granny type is the one you should be worrying about and frisking. And since I forgot and left my pocket knife in the bottom of my purse and you never even noticed, why are we doing this anyway? You seem much more worried about the fact that I have a small bottle of hand lotion than the fact that I’m unintentionally carrying a knife. I fully appreciate that you are trying to keep us safe, but I sometimes think the whole security thing is a joke. If a terrorist truly wants to get something bad onto a plane, he will, one way or the other. It seems to me that the security guards are much too worried about my hand lotion or bottle of water to pay attention to the real concerns.

After I finally get through security, there is more fun to be had with the unbelievably long walk to my gate, the long lines as people jostle to get onto the plane, the idiots who try to put the front end of a car into the overhead compartments, or the equally bright ones who try to cram an oversized suitcase under the seat in front of them into an area meant for a purse or a backpack, the arguments over an assigned seat because some airport flunky assigned the same seat to two people, the crying babies, the yelling children, the slobs who think cut off jeans, flip flops, uncombed hair and a dirty t-shirt are suitable to travel in, the people who are carrying a fragrant pizza that I’d like to rip out of their hands, the idiots who sit down in front of me and test the seat to see if it will lie back so that I end up with their head in my lap, the person who thought their perfume or aftershave smelled really good so they decided that if they used a gallon of it, it would smell even better, the guy with BO who, even though he’s sitting two rows away, is slowly fogging up the entire area with his lovely odor, and on and on and on. I’ve flown back and forth across our country many times and these things I write about are not only true, they are but the tip of the iceberg. When you put yourself out there “among ‘em” you will have “experiences”, I guarantee it. The joys of intermingling with the traveling public.

And then, of course, there are the joys of actually being on the plane where I am allowed to pay $10 for a dry sandwich or go hungry, where I have to pay $5 for earphones to watch a movie I didn’t want to see anyway, where I (the pee queen of the West) get the privilege of wedging my rather large ass into a very tiny closet they call a bathroom, and hoping I have enough room on either side of my body to actually get my pants up and down, while also hoping some idiot hasn’t peed on the toilet seat. In between trips to the closet, I have the fun of sitting with my knees under my chin and my butt squeezed into a seat meant for a slim 20 year old. Being slim and being age 20 are ancient history for me in case you didn’t know.

As the hours pass and my arthritic knees begin to kill me, I try walking up and down the aisle to relieve the stiffness and, of course, I get numerous dirty looks along the way. As in, why don’t you sit down and stop moving all over the place, you’re disturbing my reading/computer game/movie watching, etc. etc.

And all this assumes a smooth, trouble free flight. I’ve been on those lovely flights where the turbulence makes you feel like your stomach is in your mouth or like the elevator just dropped 10 floors unexpectedly, or like you might like to return that very dry sandwich that they “gave” you a couple of hours ago. Those flights where, on your way to the closet, it is impossible to walk without slamming into people on either side of the aisle as you rock and roll your way down the walkway.

Then, let us not forget, the transfers in either Atlanta or Charlotte, where, invariably my plane from California has arrived late and instead of the hour layover and leisurely walk I had planned, I have 15 minutes to get to the gate, which is 2 or 3 miles away on another concourse, and I have to haul ass or miss my connection. Do you have any idea how big the Atlanta or Charlotte airports really are? It’s a nightmare for anyone who is not capable of a fast walk or run. My days of running a 10 minute mile never existed and now? It’s hopeless. And yes, I use the little shuttle carts when possible, but when they tell me the cart will be there in 10 minutes and my connecting flight is on the other side of the airport and is leaving in 15 minutes, I can’t wait.

And, of course, that connecting flight is on a “regional jet”, which translated means you are going from a 747 or larger onto a tinker toy sized airplane that has even tinier seats, a tinier bathroom, no room in the overhead compartment for much more than a book and one stewardess who is overworked and stressed. There is no “entertainment” and the engines are so loud you think they are about 12 inches from your ear. This is the time to put in your earplugs, get out a good book and, oh yeah, pray. And I do.

Ah, the joys of travel, I can hardly wait.

I’m coming Mom, I’m coming. Your welcoming hug and kiss makes it all worthwhile. I love you.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Somebody Really Does Win Those Stupid Contests

The phone rang a little while ago and when I picked it up, a man’s voice said “Are you watching 1 to 100?” I said “Huh?” (It was one of my more eloquent moments.) He repeated, “Are you watching 1 to 100?” I said that no I wasn’t, but my roommate in the other room was watching it. I yelled for OMAS and she picked up the phone. I hung up.

I walked into the other room to see what was going on and, sure enough, on her TV was the game show 1 to 100. While watching the show the producers had apparently told the viewers to go online and sign up and at the end of the show somebody would win a prize. So, she did.

They called her.

She won.

$5000 dollars.

I am in a state of shock. A few years ago she also won a prize from the Reader’s Digest sweepstakes. This is a woman who enters things constantly. She enters anything. She enters everything. She buys lottery tickets faithfully twice a week. (at least I’m smart enough to make the lottery purchase a mutual thing) And she wins. Not a lot, not all the time, but occasionally.

$5000 dollars.

I’ll be damned.

I think I’ll give her a little extra cash when she goes to buy the lottery tickets tomorrow. Maybe she's on a roll.

Monday, July 23, 2007

It's Amazing What You Find When You Do Spring Cleaning

My Dad was a writer. Not a spectacularly good, published author kind of writer, but a guy who wanted to share information about his family with the generations to come after him.

He had a lot to share and innumerable stories to tell. He, personally, came from a family of 13 children and that tendency to have HUGE families runs back through the history of our family line, all the way back to Scotland and England, where we originated. As a consequence, our family tree is truly enormous, with more branches than you can imagine and more relatives than I could ever count.

When my Dad passed away last year, he left me, among many other things a sheaf of papers that I just recently sat down and really started to read. This rubber banded 2 inch thick pile of paper came to my attention as I was doing all the cleaning that has been going on around here lately, hand in hand with all the painting. I had glanced at the paperwork previously, but hadn’t really taken the time to absorb what it had to say and to understand just what all was there.

He had started a book telling his memories of his immediate family. He talked about all of his brothers and sisters, his parents, his grandparents and his great grandparents. He explained relationships and who was whose first cousin and second cousin and great aunt twice removed. He told about the people he was close to. His Uncle Vinson, his Grandfather John, his Grandmother Sarah, his Dad George and on and on. He told stories about life and death and birth and marriage and what it was like to grow up in the hollows and hills and along the rivers and streams of Kentucky during the Great Depression.

As I read his words, I could see that young boy having his first taste of moonshine, and the young man experiencing the pangs of first love. He made it clear how close he was to his grandfather and how much he loved him and what a blow it was to him when old John died.

As I read all this, my modern mind kept having flashes of “Little House On The Prairie” and “The Waltons” and “Old Yeller” and “The Dollmaker”. I knew this was my history, but I guess I never really sat down and gave it serious thought.

Now I am.

I’m thinking very seriously of trying to make sense of all these papers. Of turning them into articles, or short stories or even a book. I’m not sure I write well enough to write a book, but I think I’d like to try. I may very well, do “blog stories” and, if and when I gather enough of them, maybe I'll combine them and I’ll think about a book. All I know is I don’t want to let these memories lay in the back of the closet and die. I want them to be alive and real not only for my generation, but for our children and our grandchildren. I want them to know what kind of people they come from and who they really are.

Amongst the paperwork I received was a complete genealogy of the family tracing my Dad’s people, through his Mother, back to the 1600’s in Virginia. They were some of those pioneers who came here for religious freedom in the very early days of our country. The left Scotland during the heighth of the clan wars, and during the ongoing hated English rule, and came to the "New World" to find peace and freedom. They weren’t at Plymouth Rock, but they arrived a little farther down the coast line, in Virginia, around the same time. They were a major force in the founding of this country we have today. These early pioneers interacted with and, in some cases, married into historical families and fought alongside people who later became famous in the founding of our country. I want to write about that and talk about that and explore that subject in great depth. I hope I won’t bore you.

I’m also planning to have a genealogy done, tracking the family back through my Dad’s Father as well. I want to see how the two families come together and where in history they link and where they spread out and make yet another branch of this huge family tree.

I have my work cut out for me. It will take a long time. However, I think it will be interesting, if not for all of you, at least for my family. They will start to know where they came from and this is a good thing.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's Hard To Be Both Senile + Extremely Tired

I had a massage this afternoon. It was a much needed break in an overwhelming week of work and sweat. When the session was over, the masseuse left the room and I got dressed quickly. When I opened the door, she came back in and we chatted as I wrote her check. Then I headed out for yet another stop at Home Depot before heading home. As I walked across the parking lot, I noticed that my shorts felt “funny”. The legs just didn’t feel right. I looked down to see if I could see a problem. There was nothing immediately visible. I tugged on the waistband in an effort to straighten them out and make them more comfortable. As I stretched out the waist, I noticed the tag. In the front. By my belly button. I had my shorts on backwards.

I returned home to find that the painting is done. The guys spent today doing the last touch-ups and painting the gate and dog door. I bought “Colonial Red” for the gate and door and I think it was an excellent choice. It looks great. At least I think so. I think it looks especially nice contrasted with the freshly painted snow white fence. What do you think? (The paint on the gate is glossy so there is a glare. I couldn’t seem to get rid of it – sorry)

I also, unfortunately, had to have them repaint one of the kitchen walls due to the non matching yellow paint I discussed in an earlier post. Mostly, nobody but me will ever notice, but on that one wall, the different colors of yellow were glaring. Half one shade of yellow and half another. The boys didn’t mind and they went over it with all the same shade in just a few minutes. Here’s the final product. I think it looks pretty good. Do you? In the one picture you can see the beige wallpaper I mentioned in my earlier post. It will be coming down and a new paper with yellow highlights will be going up in a couple of weeks. We need to get everything put away and get back to normal around here before we start another project.

I also took some pictures of the beige paint that is in the bedroom and bath. However, I decided that beige paint is about as exciting to look at as a bowl of oatmeal so why bother? Trust me. It looks good.

And so now on to the massive job of putting the house back in order. We’re well underway, however, since this is what the area in front of the fireplace in the family room looks like, I think it will be a while before order is totally restored.

By the way, the girls have made up. I was sure you’d want to know. Note healing scar on Meggie's right cheek. She's the one on the right in the picture.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

You're Never Too Old To Learn

This painting/remodeling/fix-up/clean-up project on my home has been very educational. Here are some of the things that I’ve learned.

1. When rooms flow smoothly, one right into the other, the paint on the ceilings of those rooms must be the same color. Otherwise, it is not pretty. We have a wall of wallpaper between the kitchen area and the living room and hall area. Therefore, since the wallpaper is a natural divider, these two areas could each have different color walls, as long as both areas coordinate with the wallpaper. However, the ceiling must be the same color throughout. My kitchen has a yellow ceiling. My living room and hallway do not. Picture it.

2. When cabinets, that are attached to the wall, are taped along the edges in order to prevent paint from getting on them, it is a good idea if the cabinets are made of REAL wood. If they are not, when the tape is peeled off, the fake wood veneer may also come off right along with the tape.

3. Always make sure the painters are actually using the wood putty that you purchased to fill ALL the holes and flaws in the wall BEFORE they paint. If they do not, you have beautifully painted holes.

4. When you purchase paint for a project, bear in mind that you probably need twice as much as you think you need.

5. Paint the walls BEFORE you buy the new carpet. It prevents your having a heart attack over every potential drip.

6. Buy a large roll of paper for the painters to spread at the base of a wall for carpet protection. Newspapers work okay, but if you have light colored carpets, the newsprint gets the carpet filthy. The long rolls of paper are cheap enough and why add carpet shampooing to your load of work?

7. Buy more plastic tarp covers than you think you need. At the end of the project you can always return the unopened/unused ones or they are very handy to cover the grill and lawn furniture during the winter.

8. Do NOT try to paint the house, do Spring Cleaning in the house, clean out the garage and redo the back yard all at the same time. Take small bites. Those big chunks will choke you to death. Hack! Hack! Hack!

9. When you buy good quality paint from a reputable store they usually mix the exact color you want on the spot. Bear in mind that despite the fact that they are supposed to use the EXACT SAME COMPUTERIZED FORMULA every time, different paint batches, bought on different days, may very well be a different shade. Corn Silk Yellow mixed on Monday may not be the EXACT same shade as Corn Silk Yellow mixed on Wednesday. Even though the computer is doing the mixing, and, theoretically, they are EXACTLY the same, they are not. I can prove this without a doubt. My yellow walls, yellow doors and yellow ceiling are various shades of yellow based on what day the paint was mixed and purchased. If possible, buy and mix all the paint on the same day. Remember, buy more paint than you think you need. It will be handy for touch ups later. I thought 2 gallons for 2 rooms was enough. Ha! Those two rooms ending up using about 4 ½ gallons of paint. Live and learn.

10. Rough textured, “popcorn” style ceilings suck up paint like a sponge. Buy paint quantities accordingly. They are also much more effectively painted with a sprayer rather than a roller.

11. Do NOT pay $65 a day for the rental of a paint sprayer. I bought one for $150 and it has a $50 rebate. Therefore the total cost was $100 and it did an excellent job. Plus, I have a paint sprayer of my very own for future projects.

12. If you are working with amateur painters, set a daily time table and stick to it. Professionals will work a regular time schedule, but my amateur painters just keep going and going and going, sort of like the energizer bunny. Finally, I run them off so we can go to bed. They are young, energetic and extremely hard working, but I need some down time in the evenings. I told them I wanted them to work from 9-5, but they come at 9 AM and leave at 5 PM? 6 PM? 7 PM? 8PM? 9 PM? Etc. etc. etc. I once ran them off at midnight because they just “wanted to finish this one more thing”. Be firm. You need your rest.

I’m sure there’s more to be learned from this very educational and enlightening project, however, the painters are due soon and I must get dressed and begin another day. I’ve been up since 5:30 AM when the sun came pouring into the bedroom and into my eyes. Today, the curtains go back up. Yeah!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Who's That In My Bathroom?

The painting continues. It’s been a week today that my house has been in utter turmoil. I’m getting used to having my bedroom dresser drawers in the floor of the family room and having no blinds or drapes on the windows. It seems normal to brush my teeth in the kitchen sink and to sleep in a bedroom that has nothing but a bed in it. The house is literally torn apart.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because, oh my goodness, the dirt and dust and dog hair that have been uncovered is mind boggling. I actually was silly enough to think I had a fairly clean house. However, since in the normal course of cleaning and vacuuming, I don’t lift fully loaded dressers or wardrobes or move king size beds, a lot of places never see the light of day. This week they have been exposed to the light and it is not a pretty sight.

When the bed was picked up and hauled to the front of the house, words cannot describe the amount of dust and dirt that was piled up under there. Let’s just say that if I wanted to take up gardening, I would not have to haul in fill dirt. We had storage boxes under the bed and the underside of the bed was literally inaccessible for cleaning until the bed was picked up and moved out. Ditto with the wardrobes and dressers. Since we use a swamp cooler (water cooler) rather than air conditioning, all our windows and doors are constantly open to the air. As a result, the desert winds are apparently bringing us of lots of sand and dirt along with all the breezes. You don’t realize just how much that is true until you start doing this kind of cleaning.

Last night, with the window wide open, the cool desert night air blowing in, the ceiling fan overhead and all the dirt and dust gone, I had the best nights sleep that I’ve had in a long time. With all this cleaning, it’s no wonder my allergies feel so much better. The bedroom carpet is getting shampooed and cleaned today before we put all the furniture back in and that room will be cleaner than it’s been in the 15 years we’ve lived here. It was clean when we put all the furniture in there in the first place, but once all that very heavy furniture was loaded up and in place, there’s been VERY little rearranging done. The bed was switched out about 10 years ago when we got rid of our waterbed and moved to a very supportive and comfortable pillow top mattress. However, since then, not much furniture moving has occurred. Hence, lots of dirt has been in hiding under and behind things.

Today, the guys are working on the bathrooms and with every room that goes by, they get better and faster. By the time they’re done with the house, they will be old pros at painting.

If you recall the paint mix-up and my now yellow kitchen, you might be interested to know that now I find I have a wallpaper project to do along with all this painting. I have one wall in the kitchen that has wallpaper on it and I left that wall alone with no new paint. It is what I believe they call the “accent wall”. It has a nice beige/tan abstract design wallpaper on it and it went well with the old beige walls. I expected it to go well with the new beige walls, however, since the new walls are not beige it is a problem. It does not go well with the new yellow walls. Today, when I went to Home Depot to buy the 500th gallon of paint, I checked out the wall paper and immediately saw exactly what I wanted. That’s unusual, for I usually have to look at every store in town and compare and think and mull over what I want. But this time, I looked at the wall coverings on display and this one abstract “marble look” with a hint of yellow in it just jumped out at me. I immediately bought a good supply and when the painting is done, everything is back in place and life calms down, Isaac is going to come over and wallpaper that one wall for me. I think it will look good. I certainly hope it does.

The painters are calling my name as I have to go make a decision about something. This is my life lately. Busy, crazy, frantic, exhausting. But just think how great the house will look when we are finally done!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Questions According to Oprah

My sister posted this list of questions in her blog yesterday. She asked what our answers might be and, I'll tell you, they are thought provoking questions. Here's my answers for what they're worth.

1. When you were 18, what did you imagine your future would look like? How close does your life today come to that vision? I imagined that I would have a life in suburbia with another woman. At 18, I was broke and living with my grandmother. I had only a high school diploma and no special skills. I was a young, wild, lesbian and my family wanted nothing to do with me. I couldn’t even imagine how I was going to make that suburbia dream happen, but that’s what I wanted. And today? I have a life in suburbia with another woman.

2. What is the one piece of advice you wish you'd been given as a young person? I wish I had been told, and, more importantly, that I had listened, to how important it was to go to college when I was young. My folks were willing to send me to college, but I never felt any particular urgency about how important it was. I felt they didn’t care one way or the other if I went on to college. If they had really pushed, I probably would have gone then, not 30 years later.

3. What was the best money you ever spent? The $650 dollars I spent on my first Labrador Retriever pup. She was the dearest, sweetest, smartest dog in the world. Anyone who says money can’t buy love has never had a dog.

4. What was your biggest financial mistake - the complete waste of money that haunts you to this day? I’ve made so many mistakes about money and wasted so much of it, that it’s hard to nail down just one incident. I was always a complete idiot about finances and then found myself in relationships where I was in charge of the money. I spent too much, lived over my means, let my credit go to hell. It took me 50 years to learn how important my credit rating is and to finally begin to get my financial house in order.

5. Is sex with your spouse a pleasure to savor or just one more item to check off your to-do list? If the latter, when did that change take place - and do you actually care? Like my sister, I’ll just say that my family reads this blog, specifically my Mother. Therefore, my sex life is nobody’s business.

6. What has been the best surprise about married life? And the worst? I suppose the best surprise has been that I’ve learned that I like being supported in the style to which I have become accustomed. Being the hard headed, independent, woman that I am, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I could be content with someone else supporting me. But I am. And the worst? I married a workaholic. She works constantly, endlessly, all the time. She loves her job and it consumes her. There’s not a lot of her left for me.

7. What is the best thing about being a woman? The worst? I think the best thing about being a woman is the ability to bear a child. The worst is our second class status in the world. All the feminism in the world cannot negate the fact that men run the world and hold the vast majority of the power. How can it possibly be that the absence or presence of a small piece of skin that determines how you pee can totally rule your life and determine your destiny? But it surely does. What the hell is so great about a dick besides the fact that it’s a handy thing to take on a picnic?

8. At this point in your life, is there a dream you will never get to fulfill? What is it - and what makes you so sure it's out of reach? Yes. I want to be a veterinarian. It’s not going to happen. I am sure it won’t because of my age. I would have been great.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Soon, Soon This Will All Be Over Or Else I Will Just Go Lay Down And Have a Good Cry

We are painting the house. The inside of the house. I am going through Hell and I’m not even doing the painting! I know, I know, I’m being overly dramatic. However, to have my house torn up, strangers in my face 8-10 hours a day, my dogs banished to the outside and to have to be cleaning and picking up and packing up and doing something constantly, is very wearing, both on the nerves and the body.

We made a vow to do lots of home improvements over the next year or two and we’re working on it. First the rug, which was the discussion of this post and this post and now the painting. Also, of course, I now realize I’m an idiot and we should have painted first, but hindsight is truly a wonderful thing. Re-paving the driveway, painting the outside of the house, replacing screens, fixing the pool tile, etc. etc. etc. – none of these things will be as traumatic as having the majority of my kitchen in a pile in the middle of the kitchen floor covered with a tarp. Somehow having my bathroom and kitchen inaccessible, makes me crazy. We’re eating out and we have more than one bathroom, but I’m still feeling a bit nutty.

And, of course, nothing goes smoothly. There are always “hitches”. It wouldn’t be my life if there weren’t problems with a project. Trouble is my middle name.

As the project began, the guys asked me to rent a paint sprayer along with all the supplies I was buying. They said it would make the work go faster and easier and it certainly seemed like a reasonable request to me. (My painters are the sons of my cleaning lady, not professionals, hence they provide the labor, I provide everything else.) So, I went to the rental place and to my everlasting horror, they wanted $65, plus tax and insurance, to rent the sprayer PER DAY. Since I planned a week long rental, my gray hair turned a bit grayer. I declined, went to Home Depot and bought my own paint sprayer. I am now the proud owner of a Wagner Paint Crew 660 paint sprayer which works very nicely. Cost? $150.00.

Why is somebody always trying to rip me off?? Clearly the rental of a paint sprayer should not cost that much.

The guys have been here for 2 days already, working on our block wall fence in the back yard. It had to be repainted as the old paint was chipping off and the whole fence had a rather gray look. The whole yard now looks better with the clean, fresh looking, snow white paint on the wall. I bought a 5 gallon bucket of masonry/stucco/cement paint for this part of the project and was concerned I was buying too much paint. However, this kind of paint only came in a 5 gallon bucket. The guys polished off the first 5 gallons in no time and back to the store I went to buy another 5 gallons of this very expensive paint. Cost? $95 per 5 gallon bucket. They have now finished the wall and the yard looks great. My wallet looks thinner.

Then they moved into the house and began the inside project. I bought “corn silk yellow” paint for the bedroom and master bath. This is a very pale, soft yellow. We are also retiling the master bath and I was planning to buy a tile with a small yellow flower somewhere in the pattern. For the kitchen and adjoining family room, I bought “Biloxi” which is a soft creamy beige color which, presumably, looks like Biloxi sand.

Today, as the guys began their third day of work, they started in the kitchen. With all the cleaning and the prep work, it was a couple hours into the day before they actually started painting. At this point I was in the other room working on something else. As I walked back into and through the kitchen, I noticed nothing amiss. This nice beige looking paint was going on the walls and the work was progressing nicely.

Around noon, I left for an appointment and to run some errands. When I returned home, the kitchen was near completion. Isaac, the “main” man, met me at the door and said, “they gave you the wrong paint, something’s wrong”. I had purchased two gallons of beige for the kitchen and family room and two gallons of pale yellow for the bedroom and bath. They had gone through two gallons, opened a third and realized it was a different color. I explained the different color room plan, and when we looked at the remaining paint, I realized the beige paint was sitting on the table with one newly opened and one completely unopened can. Did you catch that? The BEIGE paint was unopened. The BEIGE paint that is supposed to be in my kitchen and family room. They used the yellow paint in the kitchen and are planning on heading into the family room with it tomorrow. I am ASTOUNDED that I didn’t notice this when they first started painting this morning. If both color cans had been opened, I would have noticed immediately as the difference is dramatic when seen side by side. However, the reality is that the first can was opened, the kitchen walls were painted with the bedroom yellow and I didn’t even notice. Until now. As the paint dries it is getting more and more yellow. There’s actually nothing wrong with a yellow kitchen but that was not the plan and I’m not so sure about yellow in the family room. I’m thinking about it.

Isaac feels terrible but it is totally my fault. The Spouse and I knew the painting color plan but, apparently, we neglected to share this information with the painters. How dumb can you be? Apparently pretty dumb.

As is obvious by now, we not only had the wrong paint on the walls, we didn’t have enough of the wrong paint. Back to Home Depot. More paint. Another $100. I think I am ready to just accept the yellow paint in the kitchen and family room and call it a day. Both colors are pale and fairly neutral. I think it could be said that one is a yellowish beige and one is a pinkish beige. Isaac has offered to take a pay cut in order for me to buy more paint and they will repaint the kitchen the right color. I think not, but I have till morning to decide for sure. It doesn’t look bad, it just isn’t what I planned. Even if I decide to have him repaint the kitchen, I will not cut his pay. It’s MY fault I didn’t share the color plan with him. He assumed everything was the same color. Somehow, I didn’t tell him different. I can’t imagine why.

I’ll tell you one thing for sure. The colors sure as hell don’t look like the paint sample cards on display. They are much, much lighter. I thought I had a beigey tan and a pale yellow. It’s all really pretty beige as I said above. Live and learn.
This home improvement stuff is certainly a learning experience.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

What Might Have Been

My sister did a post yesterday about how her life could have been so different if she had married a different man. It was really an interesting and thought provoking essay. I think all of us, at one time or another, have wondered about that road not taken.

What if I had done this? What if I had gone there? What if I had made that choice instead of this one? What if I had married him instead of him? What if I had taken that job instead of this one? And so forth and so on.

So many decisions, so many choices, all combine together to create the lives that we lead. I do believe in Fate, but I also believe in free choice. I mean, for example, that I think my parents were fated to meet, but what they did after that meeting was their choice. I think my mother was fated to have children, but who the father of those children would be was her choice. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The choices we make define our lives: who we are, what we do, how we live, where we live, etc.

But what if you feel that you have no choice? What if you feel that your life is destined to be a certain way and you have no more control over the direction your life is taking than you have control over the color of your eyes? I felt that way when I was a young adolescent. I had no more control over my inclination to like girls than did my brother, who also had an inclination to like girls. It was just the way I was hard wired.

I certainly didn’t choose to be different, to walk a sometimes lonely path. It’s just the way I was made. I ALWAYS knew I was different. I didn’t understand exactly how or why but I knew I wasn’t like other girls. When adolescence came and all those hormones woke up and starting raging, I had no idea why all the other girls were crazy about boys. I thought they were nuts. I didn’t like boys in the slightest. I liked girls. It made for a difficult and tumultuous adolescence to say the least. My teenage years were HELL and only after I became an adult and found out who and what I was and discovered that I had lots and lots and lots of company, did my life begin to make sense.

When I say I had “no choice” I mean only in terms of my sexuality. I, of course, had all the same kinds of choices that everybody has when it comes to choosing a mate, getting an education, getting a job, building a life, deciding where to live and so forth. And I made those choices, as do we all. I have a wonderful loving mate, I live in California, I have a good job, I am well educated, etc. etc. These are choices I made and I’m happy with them.

But, just like everyone else, I have to wonder about the “what ifs” of life.

What if I hadn’t been gay? What if I had gotten married? What if I had a bunch of kids? What if I was the grandmother of a half dozen little ones at this point in my life? Interesting questions. Ones that will, of course, never be answered because that’s not how it worked out and that’s not who I am.

But it could have been. With just a slightly different gene combination, it could have been……………………

I believe I would have stayed in Kentucky as all my siblings have done. I went running off at 18 because I had to find me. And I did. But it’s been hard to live so far away my whole life. I’m retiring back to those blue green hills, but it would have been nice to have had a life there. A very different life…………

He would have been like my brother John. Sweet, gentle, good looking, kind, a good father, a good provider, a giving and loving man. Not perfect, for who is? But a good man. He would also have been like my other brother George, good with money, level headed, fitness oriented, a computer whiz. He would have been like my friend Lou who never forgets a birthday and who loves the theater and who loves to gossip and play golf. He would have been a man like my Dad for whom nothing was more important than family. Nothing. Not work, not friends, nothing. Family is first. He would have been a man who was a good provider and loved his family above all else. A man who always came home at night. He would have been like my brother-in-law Tom who can always make me laugh and he would have loved me like Tom loves my sister. Totally and completely. He would have been, in my mind, a compilation of all the good men I have known.

He would have had to be a big man, at least a 6 footer, and maybe more for I’m a big woman. A man who loves animals as I do and likes to do all those things my sister was talking about. RVs, camping, traveling, reading, movies, TV, gardening, computers, golfing, sports. A well educated man who would have been my equal.

We certainly would have had kids. Lots of them. At least 4, and maybe more. I like kids and am sorry I didn’t have more when I was younger. Nowadays being gay doesn’t even slow couples down when they want kids. Look at all the high profile gay families and, besides them, there’s thousands of others that you never hear about. However, it was a bit different when I was in my prime childbearing years. I should have thumbed my nose at the world, as I did about so many other things, and had those kids anyway. I adopted dear, sweet, troubled Gina and we had wonderful times together. But I should have had several more to go along with her. Ahhhhh, hindsight…….

We would have had that pick-up truck and it would have seemed perfectly normal. When I had a pick-up truck people always wondered what a woman wanted with a truck? Things are different today. Everybody drives everything. We have a truck, a van and a car. We can pretty much drive anything we want. But back then, a woman and a truck and no man. It didn’t compute for lots of people. It’s the crazy little things you remember.

And so, it didn’t happen and that’s neither a good nor a bad thing. It’s just a fact. It’s just the other side of the mirror. Just imagine your life exactly the opposite of what you have now. Straight? Imagine being gay. White? Imagine being black. American? Imagine being a Muslim woman with all that implies. One small turn on the wheel of life and everything could have been so different. Certainly food for thought.

I also love the movie “Sliding Doors” with Gweneth Paltrow. For two women who are so different, my sister and I are amazingly alike in many ways.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Today Is The Day

Today is my birthday, but then you knew that from yesterday’s “post”. (I don’t think stars and sparkles qualifies as a post, but that was what I was feeling at that moment, so I shared.)

Birthdays are funny. The older you get, the less they seem “special”. It’s really just another day. And yet, on this day many years ago, my poor Mom was laboring to bring me into this world. That’s a strange thought. It’s hard to imagine yourself as a teeny, tiny infant. But, undoubtedly I was. Mom has the pictures to prove it. And according to her, I was a beautiful baby. No prejudice there, of course.

Anyway, the day is here. I don’t feel any older or particularly special. It’s just another day in the very hot California summer. I’m going to play golf later this afternoon, after the worst heat of the day (theoretically) and then out to dinner and a movie. A nice day.

The Spouse has to work, so I’m going out with friends. It would be nice if she could be there, but I understand. Her work supports our lifestyle, so I support her. Even when it’s inconvenient. Even when she has to work on Christmas and my birthday. I really understand. I don’t much like it, but I understand. I’m waiting to win the lottery so I can tell her to retire. She’d like to retire and just “do her own thing”, but we can’t just yet. A few more years, but not yet.

I wish we could retire now. She works too hard. I don’t work near as hard as she does, simply because I have an easier job, but it would be nice to have no job and still be okay for money. I’m not one of those people who could ever “do nothing” and neither is the spouse. We’d play golf, travel, do projects, volunteer and on and on into the night. We will have busy retirement lives, but only as busy as we want to be. That’s very different than the demands of a job. I want to move back East and live near my family, and particularly spend time with my Mother. She’s getting up there in years and I’d like to be nearby. But the realities of life and money and bills means retirement has to wait for a while longer. But that doesn’t mean I can’t wish for it. And I do.

I’m thinking of you today Mom and remembering what you went through to get me here. Thanks for everything and I love you. See you soon.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Day Before My Birthday!!!!!!!

I was almost a firecracker...........................