This is not me but it is what I do.

I have that kind of job that people make fun of in movies.  Insurance.  There is nothing exciting about that.  Recently my boss shut down our office an hour early so we could go do team building.  In other words we went to a bar and ignored one another.  While there my boss was on edge and worried because no one was at our office to answer the phone.  I took a drink of my beer before I informed him we were merely insurance agents, not brain surgeons.  No one gives a shit about us until they are standing in line at the DMV and realize that they don’t have an insurance ID card with them.  Do you know what I say to that?  It isn’t brand new news that you need proof of insurance.  You should have remembered that shit yourself.  I still don’t think that thought has fully sunk into my bosses brain.

Perhaps I should care more.  I do see where we are handy in a bind but we are also in an industry where people would just like to know shit is taken care of, a check is written and they can ignore us.  Well, done.  I feel as those we should have a sign over our office that states- We don’t believe in YOLO but we believe in Armageddon.  Seriously, you have no idea how often we prepare for everything.

I sat in a meeting yesterday and we discussed, for an hour of my life that I will never get back, children’s motorized cars.  You know the type, the Jeep for boys and the Barbie car for girls.  Battery operated for a three-year-old.  Apparently these things cause an hour meeting  for liability purposes and do you know some people aren’t covered for the off-chance of the worse case scenario?!?!

Don’t even get me started on my child’s scooter.  Apparently that is a whole other subject.  Golf cart?  Game over.

This is my life.  Listening to people slowly raise their voices into a squeal over how no one cares these days about the toys children play with.

This is not me.  I do not care to live in a bubble of safety worrying about what might happen and I would much rather go out and live.  That is why this job suffocates me.  That is why I lose my mind.  That is why I have to know something has to break at some point.

Now if you will excuse me I have to get back to work.

The One Where My Brother is Married

This past weekend my kick ass little brother got married to someone who fits perfectly into our family.  I could tell you how lovely the ceremony was outside in the park and I could tell you how perfect they are as a couple.  I can tell you how the bouquets of flowers looked like they fell out of a magazine and how the bride wore the perfect dress to compliment her cowboy boots.  But really, all of that is a story that we have all heard.  I’m just going to tell you everything else that made their wedding memorable.

  • By the numbers.  10 in the wedding party.  100 in attendance at the ceremony 95 degrees outside at the ceremony. 48 bottles of water passed out at the ceremony. 300 people attended the  reception. The youngest person to attend was just 4 days old, the oldest was 92. 5 kegs of beer.  8 horse trailers parked in the parking lot. 22 people who passed out in those horse trailers that night.  There was not one horse in sight.  3 am was when the last person left for the night. 50% of the people wore cowboy hats. 80% wore cowboy boots. I wore neither of those.
  • There was one man in tall, green cowboy boots (drunk) who jumped up and went down into the perfect splits in Wranglers.  Unfortunately Wranglers don’t stretch that way and they split all the way around.  The man stood up and proudly showed everyone that his balls were out.  Thankfully he had on boxers and he proceeded to not have a care in the world as he hit on everyone.  He even took my sister out for a dance.  I have never laughed so hard at a man letting my Mom know about his free flying balls while refilling her champagne glass.  Just what every mother of the groom needs.
  • I didn’t find out until Monday what my child was up to at one point during that night.  Somewhere around drunk-thirty, (for the adults) Rebecca and the other kids got the bright idea that they should charge people coming in the building $5.  People were drunk enough to believe that this was the case.  The kids raised over $100 for the bride and groom and I fear the day she works the door at a keg party in college.
  • At one point in the night a normally high-energy 3-year-old boy was sitting very still.  When I asked him what was wrong he said he pooped all over himself in the bathroom and his Dad had to clean him up.  When I asked why he didn’t go sooner he said he was dancing with a girl so he figured it didn’t matter much when or where he went.
  • For all the drama in my sister’s life recently, she happened to run into a guy who had a crush on her most of their elementary school life.  Needless to say they had a few drinks and a few dances and once he was drunk enough he professed his love for her.  It was actually kind of cute and neither of them hardly remembered it the next day.
  • All night people were walking up to the bride and handing her cash out of no where.  Thankfully she has big enough boobs to stuff the cash into and move on.  My brother said the most magical thing of the night was seeing his lovely bride take her dress off and he saw cash fall everywhere.  I hope he isn’t planning on that happening every night or he will be sadly mistaken.

After a wedding there is always that sense of relief, that moment when you realize everyone came out on the other side unscathed.  We are feeling that this week.  To my brother and his new wife, I wish them many years of happiness.

The Good and the Bad on Building a New Home

It is always interesting the comments I receive from people when they hear the Husband and I are building a new home.   You can usually sort out the people who comment into two groups: those who have built and those who haven’t.  The ones who have built look at you and ask what phase you are at while the ones who have never built make faces at why one could possible feel exhausted from such a task.  Let me give you what I have learned so far.

The Bad

*It takes a long time to get to the finished product.  I don’t care what type of patience you have or what the grand outcome will be, in a world of instant gratification, you won’t be getting it here.  You will have your heart set on a close date so many times just to see it pushed further away on the calendar.  You will watch the weather obsessively to see how far the week will set the contractors back.  Snow and frozen ground be damned, you will suddenly be willing to take a hair dryer to your land, if it will help.

*You have a lot of decisions to make.  White outlet plates or off white? What shape vents on the outside?  I never knew there were so many decisions and you don’t make them all at once or even in an order that makes sense.  One month you pick out your granite and the next you pick our your tile.  Three months later you choose your wall color.  It can be completely overwhelming with all of the options.  And options you never knew existed start to give you a headache.  When I was presented with toilet options I thought about all the people in the world who would kill for just a clean toilet.  First world problems much?

*You have time to change your mind on those decisions.  This sounds like it should be a positive but it is not.  Just when I think I’m good with all the lighting choices, I Google pictures or get on Pinterest and I feel like I need to start over.  Especially when you know the option is there to change your mind.  This can overwhelm you in a heartbeat.  I turned into the person I never thought I would be, the one emailing my builder at midnight on a Friday night with a change order…the third one for the house color…

*One word: Budget.  If you are a person who gets to build a home without a budget, I applaud you….and would like to bitch slap you.  Normally when you go in to pick things out, such as lighting, you have an allowance.  The person helping you will point out the options in your allowance (which are all perfectly fine) and then you look up and around the room and oooooohhh, shiny object!  You will need to learn to overt your eyes because all shiny objects that you saw on HGTV/Pinterest are out of your allowance.  Thankfully we have a builder who provides outstanding allowances but doesn’t that infinity tub over there suddenly look important?….

*Follow up to budget: Overages.   I gave in to a few of those shiny objects (not the tub) and I am now getting the finalized overage sheets from my builder.  When you pick things out for months at a time it is easy to do $100 at this place and oh, what is another $200 at this place?  The problem is, if you aren’t careful, those add up fast.  Our overage total is only $1,300 but we are still below the safety net we gave ourselves for such a situation.  I have friends who recently finished at $35,000 over.  I would die.

The Good

*You are literally creating your home.  Our memories started the second we picked out our land.  To see it go from literally nothing to a home we will have together is pretty amazing.  It is all ours without memories from prior homeowners.  There is no ugly wall color from previous children or door scratches from someone else’s dog. It has really been amazing to watch it through Rebecca’s eyes.  She took to the studs of the walls one day with a permanent marker and covered her room with her name and drawings.  No one will ever know 100 years from now who she is but those walls will hold her name.

* Cost. This one is different for everyone but in the long run this was a cheaper option for us.  Another huge helping factor was that the Husband could do some of the work himself.  By him doing the dirt work and excavating, that alone saved us $30,000.  He also poured all the concrete and then just by him being in the business we were able to haul in a few other favors from other subcontractors.  The Husband also happens to be one of our builders subcontractor’s, I can’t tell you how much that has helped.

*Built for your needs.  I will say it again, everyone is different.  When you are looking to purchase a house that is already built you are settling in a way.  You are looking at the fact that you will have to change something, add-on, remove, paint, etc.  Sure we are settling by building because I don’t have an unlimited budget but we designed a floor plan for our family.  We have the laundry room where we need it, a 1,000 sq ft garage, and an open floor plan.  It is truly move in ready and we will know every inch of it.

*You get to pick it all out.  I know, this is a bad and a good.  I’m not a person who is good at decorating but thankfully I had some help along the way and I hope it pays off.  My Husband and I did have fun spending weekends and evenings looking at samples and putting it all together.  In the end if we don’t like it we have no one to blame but ourselves.  Picking everything out is a task that can kill your marriage or you can turn it into really fun date nights.  I know, my 21-year-old self just choked on her vodka reading that last sentence.

All in all this experience hasn’t been as horrible as some people made it out to be.  The most important thing is that we will soon have a house to come home to built out of love.

Inside These Walls

We were suppose to move out of this apartment and into the new house mid-May.  Well, here it is late June and we are still in the apartment looking at an early August move.  After nine years of being in this place I’m out of patience and I don’t feel like I can tolerate one more minute, let alone a few more weeks. 

My landlord called the other day and asked if he could start showing my apartment.  I have the biggest apartment in town and word is spreading like wildfire for people who want this place.  For some reason this all gave me new perspective.  For the first time I realized someone else was going to be in my home.  As much as I can’t stand this place any longer, there has been so much life inside these walls, so many memories.  Do the people moving in realize how much life happened here?

It has felt odd to know strangers are moving around my place during the day.  Do they know that I kissed my husband for the first time on the living room floor, he told me he loved me for the first time in the middle of the dining room, the Christmas tree has sat in the corner every year and Rebecca rode her pink bike up and down the hallway when she turned 8.  I’ve locked the front door several times as I’ve headed out on vacations that have changed my life and I’ve heard it slam several times in heated arguments with my ex-husband.  I danced with my ex-husband countless times in the kitchen and I’ve laid on the kitchen floor more times than I can count while I have cried.  I’ve had sex with my husband on the kitchen counter and ignored dinner cooking in the stove.  I’ve walked the hallway consoling babies and seen countless forts built in every room. I can tell you where wine has been spilt from parties and dents made in the walls from pushing furniture back for even better parties. 

These walls are full of our laughter, tears, good times, bad times, and memories of growing up and moving on.  As much as I’m ready to move out it is starting to hit me that I will no longer see what time has left behind in the markings on the wall but I will only have the memories as someone else moves in to make their own marks.  I hope this place doesn’t just leave the next tenants with spider bites and a desire for a bigger kitchen but some moments in time that are worth more than the high utility bills. 

The Big “D” Talk

One of the worst days of my life was when I had to sit next to my then husband and tell our then seven-year old that we were getting a divorce.   A conversation that will forever change your child’s life.  A memory that will forever be stuck in their head.  An evolution that can shape how they see relationships in the future.  Sure, I might be being a bit dramatic but ask anyone whose parents were divorced when they were children.  It changed them. 

Yesterday I felt like I was thrown back in time.  I had to sit Rebecca down once again and explain that her Aunt and Uncle would no longer be married.  Per Rebecca’s normal she was quite and then pointed out something over my head to change the subject.  I waited a few hours and then asked her if she wanted to talk about it.  The flood gates opened up. She had heard me on the phone and had questions.  She wanted to know about her Uncle and if he was okay in the hospital.  She wanted to know where Aunt Aspen was staying.  She wanted to know more about PTSD, knowing that my Husband has it and does that mean we will get a divorce too?  And what happens if he gets deployed again and his PTSD gets worse?

So went a 30 minute conversation about what soldiers go through.  You could say I don’t leave much out for this 11-year-old.  I don’t sugar coat and I don’t lie.  The world we live in is tough and I don’t want her to be naive.  And these are two tough topics. 

I worry everyday about how all of this will affect her future relationships.  I worry about how she will see marriage and view divorce.  All I can do is be open and honest with her about what comes at us in life.  I sure as hell don’t want to have another divorce conversation with her.  So we off set that with the fact that her other Uncle (my brother) is getting married next weekend to a wonderful woman and that will be a happy ever after if there ever was one.

A Road I Have Traveled.

My sister, Aspen, has been through a rough marriage with her husband.  She is a strong, independent woman who has stood by her husband’s side for the past 18 months.  18 Months ago is when he returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.  It has been 18 months of PTSD hell for her.  Her Husband, who already suffered from depression issues, now had to deal with something too many soldiers, my Husband included, have to deal with. 

Unfortunately, a person has to help themself and her husband did not think he had an issue.  My sister became exhausted with walking on egg shells around him.  Last weekend he shoved her out the door, called the cops, threatened to kill himself and essentially hit rock bottom while the fear for her safety gave in.  I never want to take the phone call from my sister again in which she is hysterical crying.  Five hours away, there is nothing I can do.  It is a helpless feeling. 

The next day my sister filed for divorce and a few days later her husband was committed to a clinic that specializes in PTSD.  This is the best thing for him and I hope he gets the help he needs. 

In the mean time my sister has had a safe place to stay with friends and a support system that has immediately come forward and I’m grateful for that.  I had a very poor support system when my marriage collapsed.  On the phone late one night she asked me how I did it.  How did I get through those really rough times because she was realizing my family wasn’t truly there for me when I needed them the most. 

I don’t want her to have to go through what I went through.  Knowing the road she is about to go down is tough.  I want to take it away from her.  I want to rush her to the part where it will get better. I want to erase the mean words people have said to her and will say to her about her choice. 

Divorce is a road I have traveled.  PTSD is a road I travel along side my Husband everyday.  These are roads I know and I am thankful that I can take what I have learned and support Aspen in every way.  At the end of the day the roads I have traveled were meant for something.