While I have not yet read Our Souls at Night, the book, it is most certainly now on my list. I was prepared to be disappointed by the movie. As much as Netflix gets things right it gets them abysmally wrong with original works. However, this beautiful bit of a movie about growing older and still finding that sliver of happiness was everything I could have wanted (mostly). I think many of us, when faced with the prospect of growing older, or with older people, somehow believe that they outgrow loneliness or the need for companionship which is ridiculous but maybe it is more of a hope. In any event the heroin of our story, Addie, starts off very boldly by asking her neighbor Louis to fill a need she has for companionship by sleeping over and talking to her. She has been a widow a while and lives alone in a house much too big for a single person and she misses even the most basic companionship. Instead of doing what many do, which is suffer in silence or let loneliness overtake her she reaches out to someone she has known to be kind and who seems to be in at least a somewhat similar situation. What a brave thing to do at any age. And absolutely honest.
While Louis is definitely more hesitant than she is they form a sweet bond which grows slowly over time. It did make me think. I’ve, for all intents and purposes been single for about three years and especially in the last two years its been hard to go to bed alone every night. It would be something truly special to have someone who simply wanted to have a pleasant and insightful conversation with me before bed each night and to close my eyes and know someone else would be with me when I opened them again. This is not to say I am totally alone. I have a two year old of course and my sister is wonderful but there is something to be said for a different kind of companionship. Robert Redford and Jane Fonda did a wonderful job with the material. I’ve actually never seen them together in a movie before but my mission is to have a movie night with their movies tonight. They are wonderful together. There were several wonderfully insightful moments in the movie but this quote from the book about growing up, life, marriage and companionship sum it up well.
“Who does ever get what they want? It doesn’t seem to happen to many of us if any at all. It’s always two people bumping against each other blindly, acting out old ideas and dreams and mistaken understandings.” – Kent Haruf
I love September. Even at its most exhausting this month is my jam. The leaves start turning. We get the occasional cool day (though it has been hot as mess the last few days). Usually this is when I take a vacation as well so lots of good things about this month, and yet through some strange twist in the fabric of the universe I haven’t enjoyed this September as much as I wish I had. Summers are a really busy time for me so every year I know I wont get to do a lot of fun leisure things and resign myself to not enjoying it. This August and September have begun to feel like an extension of that. How do we combat busy-ness? How do we make things slow down? Well I think the easiest answer is to start saying NO. But then what to say no to? I know I am over committed but I also know that I can’t give up certain things that are making me the busiest.
And still we soldier on. Very early tomorrow/Very late tonight I am headed out on the most splendidly awesome vacation ever! Faith, Carl and I (the three amigos) are headed out to Hilton Head Island which thankfully did not get blown away by hurricane Irma. There was some flooding apparently but nothing too terrible. I’ve been obsessively watching the weather there for about a month. We are going to go do some fun touristy stuff as well as hang on the beach. I wish I could bottle the level of excitement I feel about being at the beach in a little over 24 hours but it unfortunately doesn’t work that way.
We are going to visit the Harbour Town Lighthouse and Museum tomorrow as well as the beach or at least that is the plan. It looks like a really neat place. There is even a webcam streaming which is a tiny bit creepy in a The Circle style fashion but also kind of neat. This lighthouse apparently also has a female caretaker which is weirdly rare.
There is also a Children’s Museum on the island which we plan to visit. Aptly named The Sandbox it has several neat play areas and a Thursday story time which we plan to take advantage of. Admission is actually cheaper than our local museum. It also has almost a dozen exhibits some of which look cool even for big people.
There are a number of neat restaurants and such to sample from and a Coastal Discovery Museum but the biggest draw is the beach. Perhaps it will whisper the solution to my busy problem in my ear.
Six years ago this month I woke up, brand newly married, and had that thought I think everyone dreads and hopefully you wont ever suffer “This was a mistake”. I don’t remember what brought the thought on, but I know I tried desperately to suppress it for 4 years. No newlywed wants to think that they in fact did not marry the person of their dreams. For me even four years into it I was still trying to make it work somehow. Clearly if I could just contort my body and wiggle my eyebrows just right he would love me and we could have a perfect relationship despite all the burned bridges and hard feelings, all could still be right in the world. This is ridiculous. I knew it the day after I did it but I’m stubborn. Altogether I was married for 1,561 days which is a lot of days to be trying to fit a round peg in the square hole so to speak.
I’ve been divorced about a year and a half now which has been great. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift than a divorce. It makes me happy even as I sit here writing this to think I am not legally or otherwise bound to that person. Sure we share a kid, but I am not bound. While freedom has been lovely I have had quite a while to contemplate what it is going to mean to be in my late twenties and divorced (single). One thing I can say for sure is that dating apps, dating sites, and otherwise e-dating isn’t practical for anyone over the hook up. That life is for some people but not me, as much as I sometimes wish it was, I’m either too old, or too practical for that.
All this time has also given me an opportunity to discern what I want from a partner and even to some degree what I actually want in a good friend. I want a conversation. I want someone who will willingly talk about Gilmore Girls and Supernatural even if they don’t watch either show. If I’m going to date someone they need to have read a book in the last year. Preferably more than one. My post baby body is what it is. I don’t diet. I’m firmly against it. I run, occasionally. Mostly i walk but I don’t do any of it consistently. I like Yoga if I can do it in my living room so I don’t want someone who thinks I’m going anywhere near a gym at any point in the future. I’ve contemplated a membership at the Y so that Carl could have swim lessons and access to a pool. I’m pretty sure the only reason I haven’t is because of the proximity to workout equipment.
I don’t want to be someone else’s mom. I even make Carl pick up his own dirty laundry. I’m not financially supporting another adult. I’m never going to give up control of things like bills and I’m probably not going to have in depth discussions about them with anyone. I think what I actually want is someone who has their own space, their own life and just wants to occasionally share mine for social and recreational purposes. Something I have come to value so much more than I can express is space. Space to write, space to think, space to watch TV in relative silence. I don’t really mind if someone else is talking but I’m probably not going to open up about my every feeling all the time. That is exhausting. One thing I have come to appreciate lately is someone I don’t have to carry. I have no desire to smooth over a group conversation that another human has made awkward.
Does this paragon of virtue and witty banter exist? Is there such a human that wants an funny, cynical, liberal, and fitness resistant partner? I have no idea. And really I think the point might be that whether there is or not I’m pretty content to do my own thing.
Anna Kendrick is sort of fascinating to me. I have not watched Pitch Perfect (though I imagine that is what I will do with my afternoon) but she, much like Jennifer Lawrence just seems to have a down to earth vibe. It could be completely fake I suppose, but having just finished her book, Scrappy LIttle Nobody, I think she might actually be my spirit animal. While the book was no literary masterpiece, it was funny, well written and she managed to highlight the unfortunate way in which many people view the lives of celebrity’s without making it seem like she was whining.
I’m sure most of the more sensible world realizes that those people have to put their pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us, but for those of you that didn’t definitely pick up this book. She talks, in a very genuine and honest way about her struggle with men, with celebrity, with the paparazzi and even with her own loneliness. I think anyone who has moved away from home at a young age or lived on their own can identify with the sense of loneliness that she highlights in parts of her book.
In talking about relationships she says “Don’t try to participate in anyone else’s idea of what is supposed to happen in a relationship. You will fail.” and you know what I totally agree. Way too often we get stuck in the rut of what we think or other think is supposed to be and completely miss sight of reality. If for nothing else you should read the book for the occasionally gem of wisdom.
Perhaps my favorite quote is this:
“I gave up on being Nice. I started putting more value on other qualities instead: passion, bravery, intelligence, practicality, humor, patience, fairness, sensitivity. Those last three might seem like they are covered by “nice,” but make no mistake, they are not. A person who smiles a lot and remembers everyone’s birthday can turn out to be undercover crazy, a compulsive thief, and boring to boot. I don’t put a lot of stock in nice. I’d prefer to be around people who have any of the above qualities over “niceness,” and I’d prefer it if that applied to me, too. I”
― Anna Kendrick, Scrappy Little Nobody
I’ve linked it here
You know that friend that says something extremely logical when you tell them about your woes, usually it is something you already thought of yourself and would fix immediately if you had the time, money, tools, or ability. That might be one of the most annoying things people do. Someone once told me that the problem with relationships is that women want to tell their partners about their problems, have a glass of wine, some ice cream, and commiserate. Meanwhile a man is listening to the problem, and sometimes before you can even finish telling him about it he is telling you how to fix it. This is a bit sexist. It was be either partner that just wants to commiserate/just wants to immediately fix it. The problem with the immediately spewed solution is that it is rarely what someone is looking for when they tell you a problem. Over the years, after being talked at with many solutions, I have tried to curb my natural tendency to tell friends or partners what the solution to their problem is and instead have tried to be a better listener. Often that is what we need.
This has been that kind of a week for me. This week the lawnmower broke. The lawnmower is a “papa special” which is what everyone in my family kindly refers to anything that has been gifted or loaned to us from my grandfather. Often these things break, or need immediate attention by a mechanic which I am not. Anyway, the lawnmower is broken. It is of course broken when the grass desperately needs to be mowed and we are trying to put away money for an upcoming vacation. I’ve been tossing around the idea of finally buying a new one, I’ve never had much luck with used lawnmowers, but I haven’t yet bitten the bullet and actually purchased a new one. I may also sell a kidney. Then I can quickly pay for all kinds of needed upgrades….(only kidding a little).
In between yesterday when we attempted to mow the lawn and today I noticed a tree had fallen in the back yard. Not like a little limb, about thirty foot of wooden leafy mass is in the back yard. We are lucky it didn’t hit the garage. I gather it must have happened during the storms of the other day, but good grief must everything always break at once.
Speaking of breaking my dryer, while still gleefully tumbling, stopped heating on Monday. Can I just say that I need or Faith needs to start dating a mechanic again.
Gregor the Overlander is the dashing young (11-12yrs old) hero in a series of books written by Suzanne Collins who also brought us the Hunger Games. I must say for as long as the prospect of giant bugs put me off of reading these books she really did an excellent job. Gregor is a preteen young man living in the city that never sleeps, New York City, New York. He lives with his mother, sisters and grandmother is typical New York fashion for the working class. His father seems to have disappeared into nothingness a couple of years ago and Gregor is helping his mom keep everything together while they eek by on her salary. Gregor is a little mature for his age which makes sense as he is the oldest and he helps to keep his siblings fed.
All that changed the minute he fell through a dryer vent with his sister Boots. Gregor discovered a whole new world far below New York City. This world is completely different from the one he is used to and incredibly dangerous. Over the course of five books Collins introduced a number of different creatures and Gregor has to make a lot of tough decisions. I’m a huge fan of Rick Riordan and this series is at least as good as the Percy Jackson books. When they make the movies I’ll surely be just as disappointed. What I love about this series is that Collins doesn’t treat Gregor with kid gloves. He is the warrior, In tough situations he has to make tough decisions, all the while dealing with the fact that to his parents he is still a child and will eventually have to go back to life in the Overland. They are quick reads, and well worth acquainting yourself with.
In the last book Gregor comes to realize that while he has been named the warrior by a strange series of prophecies he does not have to let that influence the rest of his life or even his decisions in the moment. What a novel concept, just because someone old says something does not make it so, does not make it prophecy, does not make it inevitable. May we all come to realize we are the harbingers of our own happy or sad endings.
I’ve enjoyed a lot of youth fiction this summer, perhaps it is because I have been immersed in children’s programming or perhaps it is because there is something lovely about a plot that doesn’t involve silly sexual tension or needless death/rape/death scenes (I’m looking at you George RR Martin). I enjoy adult content and complicated plot lines as much as the next person but there is something clean and fresh in seeing the world from the perspective of a child too young to know yet what the real monsters are.
I’ve linked the books below.
Gregor the Overlander
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
Gregor the and the Curse of the Warmbloods
Gregor and the Marks of Secret
Gregor and the Code of the Claw
Me in 2016:
Why do I put a clean onesie one my little one first thing in the morning? I know there is an 80% chance he will have a blow out within an hour of getting his first fresh diaper and change of clothes and yet I always out him in a clean onesie after he eats breakfast. I know why. I want him to be clean. I am a little unhealthily obsessed with making sure he is clean and looks like someone loves him.
Isn’t that what we all want? To look like someone loves us. To feel like someone loves us. So I do a little in hopes that one day he will know that indeed someone loves him enough to wash the same poopy onesie a hundred times.
Me two weeks ago:
I wrote those first two paragraphs years ago. I can firmly say that not much has changed. He is potty training now and while he can pee in the toilet like a champion, doing number 2 seems to be harder. Maybe it will finally happen with consistency soon, but until then I washing a lot of poopy underwear/throwing away a lot of poopy underwear. Oh motherhood. The things we do that we never thought we would be doing, like judging how much poop is too much to clean out of a pair of undies.
You know what, my little champion has been pooping in the potty all on his own for about three days. He hasn’t had an accident in a few days now. I updated this just to say, take heart all of you moms and dads in the trenches of trying to teach a tiny human not to poop behind his bedroom door on the ugly shag carpet(yes this happened last week) Your child probably wont start kindergarten without being able to take care of bathroom stuff on their own.
As far as methodology goes, I started having him pee in the potty on and off at 18 months. I should have followed through as soon as he caught on with it and tried something like the three day method which is what we did at 26 months. The three day method is about 40 page worth of ebook that tells you to throw away the diapers and do nothing but help your kid learn to use the potty while you in turn learn the signs of when they need to go. Its pretty intuitive. In addition to that I also gave him a prize for every successful go which eventually has turned into only a prize for going number 2, which is almost weaned off of entirely. He does know what a prize is now so there is that but I will take spending 20 bucks on a tub full of kid goodies in exchange for not having to change a diaper. Carl did not learn to use the toilet in three days, It was probably another two weeks before we went all day with no peeing accidents and another month before we successfully made it all day with no poop clean up. Honestly though I expected that. It takes 21 days to form a habit. Toilet training is simply a habit.
If I could share one bit of advice with myself a year ago it would be to savor those moments before he can say damn it and just clean up the poop explosion.
If I could tell my month ago self anything it would be to buy one more packet of underwear, and relax.
Buying a home is not all its cracked up to be.
If one more person tells me that this experience is supposed to be fun I might just lose my shit. Faith and I decided to try and buy last year. To quickly save money we decided to move in with our mom after the lease ran out on our house. Let me tell you nothing will motivate you to find a home or save money better than living at home/driving 14hrs a week. That’s been pretty miserable. Add on to that a commute with a toddler and it is just that much worse.
We have seen no less than three dozen homes, probably closer to four dozen but Faith could tell you exactly. This doesn’t even begin to factor in the ones that were off market or in contract when we tried to go see them. If you have a list of ten houses to see in an afternoon be prepared to sacrifice 3 hours and only see 8. On a typical house seeing day the first house might have no roof Information available and funky insulation but hardwood floors under the carpet and a nice backyard, the second house will have carpet with concrete underneath, funky 50s tile, need complete repainting, but have plenty of attic storage and large bedrooms. The third house your Realtor will have trouble with the lock box, the house will have a broken attic ladder, small rooms, linoleum, and best of all a drop away, dirt floor scary basement with no access other than a ten foot drop. House number four looks great on the outside, the neighboring houses are cute, the upstairs living area looks pretty good except the one round air vent running through one bedroom from the obsolete coal stove in the basement but when you get to investigating said basement it has an unadvertised unfinished bathroom and extra room with concrete floors, block walls, mold, a chair in the corner, a single light bulb and an unidentified stain on the floor. House number five is off the market, and house number six has unfinished floors. House number seven was gorgeous online but when you go to see it there is an old car with a flat tire in the garage area, a broken glass door, a two tone badly painted storage area all before you enter the house which is supposed to have a central unit but instead has a window unit insulated with trash bags, the floors are halfway finished and several windows have not been installed. House number eight only has one picture online which is never a good sign. When we arrive to see it we learn it’s occupied and the owners are home which is super awkward. The fuse box is also not up to code.
All of this happens with a screaming toddler after house four that ends up being bribed with a sucker.
And the hunting continues….
I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while and it has been almost a year today since my last bit of writing was published. I don’t think anyone ever stops writing if that is something they enjoy but I shelved this blog last year for a hundred reasons only a few of which will I expound upon. Last year I was on the cusp of a divorce and that was all I wanted to write about which is kind of depressing. I felt like I might regret using this particular public avenue for that. A year ago today I was also pretty boring. I had sort of lost myself in babyland as lots of new moms do. Between new baby and new divorce all that was on my mind was how to keep from drowning.
My first divorce anniversary inst for another few weeks and my toddler wont have his second birthday for another month but I think I’ve gained enough perspective and have enough life going on to open myself back up to writing. So here I go.
I always like writing during Lent. There is something beautifully cathartic about this season. Lent is a time to grow and change (or at least that’s what I put on the bulletin board). We give things up or take things on for Lent in order to gain a closeness with God or to deepen our spiritual connection. Sometimes that is pretty great and it actually works. For instance I gave up Facebook which I have mostly stuck to. I have not posted anything since Lent began and I am beginning to think it might be a habit after Lent. The purpose of that was twofold. One, I could have more time to read and study the Bible that I usually wasted in internet land. It has definitely fulfilled that purpose. I feel like I waste much less time. The other purpose was to distance myself from the drama of other people. While Facebook, and social media in general may have had the original purpose of bringing us closer together I feel like it often drives me further away from people. I don’t want to know that some family member I love and respect could actually share the views of our current president. It makes me want to run far, far away. I’d rather not be solicited by eight different mom friends selling everything from lip products to weight loss shakes. I understand everyone has to make a living. Trust me I know the struggle, but its hard to not let something like that put distance between people. We see such a limited window of a persons soul on social media and frankly I would rather see that person in real life. I think they would be much better that way. We may not be as pretty, or as thin as our profile picture would suggest but in my experience we are much better human beings.
Here’s to actually finding the time to write again. Next week maybe I’ll share my house hunting experience (Its super hilariously awful)
I should be cleaning. This is the story of my life when Carl is not with me. I hate having a dirty house and I did clean a little, but then I got distracted by all the thoughts. Life has seasons. This is just one of many seasons. I got a new (to me) car today. Its pretty exciting. Faith and I won’t have to car share anymore which is pretty sweet. Car sharing is hard and it can be tricky.
Going through a divorce is difficult, but I think if you wrap your mind around it and if you take a lot of time to do that then it will be less difficult. At least that has been my experience so far. I know everyone has a different experience and while I acknowledge that I had a hand in the ultimate demise of the relationship I also think that I did everything I could to save a sinking ship and then I did the healthy thing by jumping off.
And now I get to live again. That’s the way life should be. If it isn’t working, try and fix it, if it can’t be fixed…give it away and move on. Don’t spend all your time dwelling on that other person. Let them live their life. If you have a child with them then you can’t help but dwell a little, I mean you have to see them on a regular basis. But don’t make that your whole life. That is one my mantras these days. So far I think I am doing pretty good. I stay busy, I haven’t binged on cookies and ice cream, life is pretty good.