SoCS: throwing in the towel

Your prompt for #JusJoJan the 28th and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “throw in the towel.” Use the phrase “throw in the towel” somewhere in your post.

Am I sensing a theme here? Could it be SAD? I know its been underlaying feeling in my efforts to keep my head above water. After weeks of gloomy weather we got another dumping of snow. At first I was happy we were getting snow because I will take sun and snow over wet gloom any day. I was looking forward to getting outside, get some fresh air and shoveling.

One push of the shovel dampened my enthusiasm in a hurry. It was about 10″ deep, wet and heavy. I couldn’t even push it off the deck, I had to start at the bottom and work my way up. The sidewalk up to the house was difficult so by the time I got to my driveway I knew I had to throw in the towel. Admit defeat.

Fortunately there is a man down the road who has a snow blower and actually likes to help. He won’t take money or cannabis. He has to load the thing onto his truck, drive it down and he does a great job. I appreciate him so much. I don’t hear “Do you need any help?” very often as in almost never. There are no young guys plowing driveways anymore. There are companies that want a seasonal contract.

He couldn’t come until the next day but I was OK with that. He came in the morning. . . I saw a big cloud of snow coming down the driveway and when he got down here he had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. LOL! I don’t see how it could have been lit.

I still had to dig out my car, shovel out my 3-point turn and back my car into my parking spot. While shoveling the handle broke off. I Macgyvered it with duct tape and did not throw in the towel. My car was parked to the side of the driveway because I had a professional tree trimmer in the day before. That way he could back his truck and trailer right into my back yard.

That’s a Segway to telling you about the tree trimer. And I have photos! I have this beautiful Butternut tree. I know its a Butternut because my ex husband gave it to the guy who built this place; my niece’s husband. Besides our beekeeping/ honey business we also sold nut trees.

Thirty years later and now I own this place and the Butternut tree. I have watched it shade out my garden earlier and earlier and now its about 2:00 in the aft. Well, not now. I decided to hire a professional tree trimmer. I almost choked when he told me how much it would cost but I really want that garden back. Its a major part of my mental health! I had the money in my savings so I did it. I’m happy and excited about my garden again.

There’s a photo below the SOCS cover. Of course it was dark and dreary. The guy in the photo up in the tree is taking that whole trunk out, piece by piece, firewood size. They took a trailer load of slash away. I really understand why it costs so much when you see what they do!

Last night we got more snow but not much and it looks light. This place is a lot of work for a 70 yr old but I’m not throwing the towel yet.

SoCS: count on it

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou

This quote popped into my head immediately. When someone has shown you, time and time again, who they really are then don’t expect them to be suddenly different. Don’t be surprised and disappointed at their behavior: count on it.

My ex husband is a good example to explain what I mean. For years I hoped he would suddenly change and we could live the life I had imagined. Yep, there it is. what I imagined. And I did this for years; imagine what our life could be like if he only was a nice person. Its taken a long time but I have learned to accept that this is who he is and that is what he wants. The person I imagined retiring happily ever after with was someone made up in my own head. He has shown me time and time again who he is.

And I have come to accept that. I’m just using him as an example. We have expectations of people but then we are disappointed when they don’t act they way we want. I’m learning not to have expectations from people but accept who they are. Know that this is what they are like and count on it to continue. Stop wishing they would be different.

Over the years I’ve gained a lot of self-respect for what I’ve been through and how it all turned out. The mental health program I volunteer for (and belong to) has also really helped with my self esteem. Now that I have self-respect I can no longer tolerate being treated disrespectfully.

I am learning to examine my expectations and hopefully dropping them completely. Don’t expect someone to suddenly change into something we want them to be. Know what to expect and count on it.

Your prompt for #JusJoJan the 21st and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “count on it.” Use the phrase “count on it” somewhere in your post.

SoCS: once upon a time

Once upon a time there was a young girl who met her Prince and knew she was going to live happily ever after. All she wanted to do was have children, live in ‘the country’ (she was an urban girl) grown her own food and live a spiritual life. That was so simple. All you need is a roof over your head and food to eat. That was ‘she’. I’m hardly that person anymore.

We couldn’t afford property but we could afford a run-down cottage on 2 1/2 acres on the Grand River. We worked in factories getting overtime when possible and paid off our mortgage in 11 years. His beekeeping and trees became a small business while he still worked at his NC machining jobs on night shifts. I started the farmers market and started making products from beeswax.

Our original plan had been to renovate this cottage to a year-round home and sell it to buy bigger property. But as we got into our 50’s I could see the place was never going to get finished being renovated. My plan was to fix up the house, build up the business then when we were ready to retire sell the whole thing out; lock, stock and barrel. Good plan, eh?

That didn’t happen. What was trauma at the time turned out to be the best thing that ever happened: he threw me out. He threw me out because I could no longer work hard enough. I was menopausal, mentally beaten down to mush, and he was right: I could no longer work hard enough. I couldn’t be good enough. He said “pack your bags. I’m driving you to your sister’s and dropping you off”. And that’s what he did.

That was 15 years ago. And I can honestly say that he did me a huge favor! What was once the worst thing that ever happened turned out to be the best thing. My only regret is sticking it out for so long because he didn’t hit me. That’s how low my bar was!: that he didn’t hit me! But standing up to him was going to go there because I couldn’t be obedient enough.

He chose to mortgage our home and buy me out rather than go to counselling. I bought this place, outright: paid for. But I still needed to earn money.

He called me the other day. We keep in touch. He hasn’t had plumbing for about 5 years now because he “can’t be bothered” to get the line fixed. I suspect there is a hoarding situation, knowing him. He maxed out his credit line last summer spending thousands of dollars and paying only the minimum amount. Now interest rates have gone up considerably. His truck needs fixing. He’s still doing the farmers markets and talking about how hard it is as he’s getting older but he needs the money.

He called because he “has work for me on the internet”. He won’t have internet or a cell phone. The composting toilet is having an infestation of fruit flies and he can’t get Vapona strips anymore so “look for something”. He also wanted the dates of Mercury in retrograde for the next 2 years.

I feel bad for him. I think of the life we could be having but that’s what he chooses. This is who he is.

And me? I am so selfish. I work on my happiness full time. So for now. . . I’m living happily ever after!

Your prompt for #JusJoJan the 14th and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “once upon a time.” Start your post with “Once upon a time,” then write whatever comes to you, whether it be fact or fiction. 

SoCS: out of the box

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “out of the box.” Write about the first thing that comes to mind when you think “out of the box.”

I live and have always lived “out of the box”. To me that means living without bending to the usual constraints of social norms. That sounds awkward but it SoC and that’s what came out. You know what I mean.

My first thought about how I turned out this way is a memory of a favorite English teacher. She was from the Beat Generation, wore leotards (females weren’t allowed to wear pants to school in those days), turtle necks and corduroy jumpers. She introduced us to writers who thought outside the box. And musicians; she brought in a turntable and record album and played Woodie Guthrie’s ‘Little Boxes’.

And, boy, could I relate! We lived on the 10th floor of an apartment building which stood alone in a middle-class suburban neighborhood. I could go out on the balcony and look down on the houses and their back yards. Winding roads of little boxes.

And I lived in an even tinier little box! Little tiny boxes all stacked up!

Being a teenager in Toronto, I was very familiar with the transit system. Out in the ‘burbs, we had a fairly long walk to a bus stop. Took the bus to another bus that took us to the subway. Sometimes then even taking a street car after that.

Coming home after a night of getting stoned I would walk up a long hill, through warm happy middle class homes, to the big high rise on the top of the hill. I remember looking at it seeing it like a big filing cabinet and the balconies pulled out like drawers: pull out a drawer and look at the family.

My parents were also ‘out of the box’ kind of parents. They scoffed at middle class. . . bourgeois. . . its SoC, you know what I mean. Maybe not the best parenting but they loved us and I’m glad they weren’t what they call “helicopter parents” nowadays. They made sure we had food and were looked after but they more or less co-existed with my sister and I.

You could say I live, breathe and eat ‘out of the box’. And I don’t mean boxed food! LOL! I’m vegetarian but believe me, I wish I had some ‘Box’ to go buy boxed food when I don’t feel like cooking! My last trip to TOWN I was going to come home with something delicious already made. Nothing. I have to cook.

But now I’m spinning off topic. I will go get Woodie Guthrie’s Little Boxes. A good teacher can have such a great influence on us. I think her name was Miss McLellan but it was so long ago I could be wrong.

SoCS: new/knew

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “new/knew.’” Use one, use both, use them any way you like. Bonus points if you use both.

Oh Yeah, New Year’s Eve. O boy. Another day that’s built up to be way too important, like Christmas, then turns out depressing for those who aren’t living the dream. And that’s probably more than half of everybody.

I am invited to another house tonight to play games. They live in a town about a half hours drive up the highway. The snow has completely melted already and its going to rain today. This morning its very foggy. Like all older people; I don’t like driving in the dark, especially when its wet and foggy. So no intoxicants at all. That’s easy for the people I’ll be with because they don’t need any alcohol and certainly wouldn’t smoke pot! And good for them. That would be great to not need anything. But I do.

Of course I accepted. And its because we all make such a big deal about New Year’s Eve. I’m invited because these people care that I’m ‘all alone at Christmas’ or ‘all alone on New Year’s Eve’. So then I feel like I shouldn’t say no. I even question myself; don’t you want to play games with other people? Of course I do!

But now the day is here. I knew I would feel this way. Should I push myself to do what I don’t really want to do? Because its New Year’s Eve? Because I should?

I don’t want to stay straight on New Years’ Eve. I don’t want to get dressed. I don’t want to leave my cozy home and go out on a wet night wondering if it will freeze or get foggy. And for those of you who live in towns, you don’t know how dark, DARK is! Add rain and fog to that and white-knuckle it all the way home. There aren’t even lights on my road. I’m familiar enough with the houses to know where I’m at. I have reflectors on my mail box that show me where my driveway is.

I already know what’s going to happen now. My sister will get this post in her e-mail, then offer to drive all the way down here and then drive me home again tonight. Yes, she will. So I might as tell her now, “NOooowhhaaa! I don’t want you to do that.” And she’ll read this then text me that she wants to. That’s my big sister.

Yeppers . . New Year’s Eve and I knew I would feel this way.

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P.S. I was going to end it there but I thought you should know; I had a great day yesterday playing games with my grandnephew. He came here and we played Wii Fit games, played cards and back to Wii games. So I had FUN and don’t feel ‘all alone’.