Countdown to 60

Aging on my terms - Daily musings in 500 words or so

Category: The Story (page 1 of 3)

The Worst Year of my Life – The Luckiest Person I Know

I will never forget the realtor that worked with my banks to ‘short sale’ my homes. She was a bitch.

Yep, I went there.

She treated me with such disrespect and down right contempt. I was already mortified and embarrassed, but this woman was actually enjoying kicking me while I was down.

And speaking of down, have you ever experienced bankruptcy? It is a life altering decision to make in the first place, but oh once the process starts you’re put into the “undesirable” category.

Which is where you will stay for at least 10 years.

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Cinderella

Have you ever cleaned houses for a living? It’s hard work. Really hard. But if you’re good, like I was, it pays pretty decent money. And now.

Only it doesn’t pay enough.

I couldn’t keep my head above water as an independent realtor any longer, so I moved my license from ReMax over to a smaller company that only took a portion of any commission I made.

It was a defeat, but one I had to accept.

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How I met J

2007 was just an all around crappy year for me. Being a realtor who owned two homes during the housing crisis was a double whammy and just about sent me off the deep end.

Not only was I losing my homes, but my income had plummeted. And if you don’t know how it works for a realtor, let me explain.

We pay for everything.

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We can’t accept your check

I left you hanging, I know. I’ve actually tried continuing my story several times now. But I keep getting stuck.

I hated that time in my life and honestly it’s hard to look back now, knowing what happens. But the other morning, when I was thinking about it all, I remembered two important things

I got through it and survived.  And, I learned an amazing life lesson

So, I’ve decided to just write and go from there. I left off telling you I was neck-deep in bills and my income had plummeted. I had two mortgage payments and was desperately trying to save my homes.

As I sat at my big dining room table, looking at all of the bills that were covering its surface and I made the decision to let my dream house go. The mortgage was twice as much as my old ‘70’s house, so the smart thing to do was to move back into it and try to stop the bleeding. Continue reading

How to lose your home and your man in two easy steps

I purchased my dream house in May 2006, and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. Every thing about this place spoke to my soul. I truly felt as if I was “home” for the first time in a very long time.

The back yard was quiet and beautiful and I spent most of my summer days out in that yard or on the deck. Inside my house was decorated exactly how I wanted it. Everything was perfect.

I didn't want to lose this house

I love this picture of my boys laughing and joking in my back yard

many days spent on that little deck   

Everything was perfect

Except for the two house payments I had.

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A work of art

I had this stone topped antique table that weighed about 300 pounds that I absolutely loved. I bought it sight unseen from an antique dealer in Eastern Oregon. A friend of mine knew I was looking for an island table for my kitchen at my farm, and when she saw it, she called me right away.

The owner of the shop told me it was an old print set table for a local paper, back in the day. There was a twin to the table, but no others like it, and to this day I don’t know why I didn’t buy both of them.

Of course everyone who has helped me move that table from house to house could tell you why. There was a two-inch solid marble stone that slid into the three-sided wooden top.

And it weighed a ton!

Well, not really a ton, but you get my meaning. It took at least two strong men to move just the top of that table, and they were usually cursing me through the entire move.

But that thing had so much character. I thought it was black when I first got it home, but on closer inspection, realized it was just covered in ink. I used oven cleaner to get the stone clean, and started scrubbing the old wood.

Layer after layer of dark sticky ink came off to reveal a lovely dark walnut color. After several layers of ink were wiped away from the top, a beautiful old pitted stone presented itself.

It was a work of art.

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My dream home

2006 was shaping up to be a good year for me. I met “Tom” in May and by the end of that month I had another wonderful surprise.

My real estate business was going strong and I was making great money. Everything but the kitchen and exterior of my ‘70’s house had been remodeled, and I was feeling confident and accomplished.

I was having fun dating Tom and, because of our polar opposite views on religion, we were having wonderful conversations that would go on for hours and hours. It was stimulating and as someone who is a bit of a debater, I loved every minute of it.

Tom was a charming gentleman who loved a good glass of wine and a lively discussion.

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An Atheist and Fundamentalist walk into a bar…

Dating in my 40’s was so very different from dating in my 20’s.

When I first started dating, in my 20’s, I was wide-eyed and innocent. Every date was like a new opportunity to meet an amazing person. Or even to just have a good time. Dating in my late 40’s was so very different.

I was anxious, nervous, and guarded – as were many of the men I met. Most of the guys I dated were divorced, and the few that weren’t, I was suspicious of. What was wrong with them that they hadn’t found a partner yet?

That was the guarded, judgmental side of me.

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The road less traveled

My husband’s job is in outside sales. Because of that, he is on the road a lot. Most weeks he’s gone three or four days, traveling around southern California, into Nevada and Arizona. It’s a good job for him, because he’s a bit of a wanderer anyway.

It’s good for me too, because I get time to myself to do my own thing. That, and the toilet seat’s down the entire week. But there are times I like to tag along with him. And that’s what we did this week.

It was fun riding shotgun and taking in the views along the drive. Continue reading

I will…

The other day I was desperately looking for a specific photo I wanted for one of my blog posts. If you’ve been following along, you know I use my own photos for my posts.

It was written and ready to publish, but I was determined to find that one photo, so I kept digging. I was pretty sure it was on an old hard drive of mine, so I plugged it into my laptop and poked around.

I didn’t find it there, but I did find something else.

It is something I wrote years ago, when I was trying to sort out some emotions I was going through. Wait, let me stop right here and find my courage.

Deep breath in.

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The perfect arrangement

Looking out my window I could see the top of a crocus poking up through the snow. I took a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief. Spring was finally here.

Still in my jammies and slippers, I grabbed my cup of coffee and headed to my computer to check my email. My little dog, Bella, reluctantly followed me knowing I would turn on the small space heater in front of her bed by my desk.

This had become our routine together. I was 46, single and my best buddy and roommate was a four-pound Chihuahua. She curled up with me each night, ate next to me each day, and loved me unconditionally.

It was a perfect arrangement. Continue reading

What if you found out, and judged me? That was my fear.

I stood on my front porch steps looking down on him. He had come over to talk to me. To talk some sense into me. When I saw his car pull into the driveway, I met him outside.

I didn’t want to invite him in.

This was my home, the one I purchased, by myself. It had become my sanctuary as well as my hideout. And I didn’t want to invite him in.

It’s odd, I can’t recall the words I said to him, but I know they were hurtful. Never in my life had I said such painful truths to someone so easily. But the words just came out without any hesitation.

“It was a mistake, and I want a divorce.” He responded with words like, ‘but’ and ‘what-about’ and ‘please’, to which I answered, “No I don’t want to give it more time.” Continue reading

What do you do, when you don’t know what to do?

Get busy. Just get busy.

Those were the words that kept me going when all I wanted to do was to curl up in a ball and hide. Hide from myself and from the world. I was so embarrassed to be where I was in life.

But there I was, 46 years old and wanting out of my three-month marriage. Not knowing what to do, I got busy. I’d just moved into a new project known as “my ‘70s house” and threw myself into remodeling it.

It was the day “we” were moving in that I realized I had made an enormous mistake and wanted out of my quickie marriage. He didn’t move in with me, but I was paralyzed with fear of what other people would think of me. What I really wanted to do was: Get a quickie divorce. Continue reading

No matter what

Have you ever had a moment of complete and utter clarity? Or maybe a time in your life, when you could see exactly where you were and what you were doing, and felt shocked in the realization?

That moment came to me the day I was moving into my newly purchased ‘70’s house with the help of my best friend, Estelle and oldest son, Adam. Oh, and my husband of five months.

I stood in the kitchen feeling like a giant weight had been lifted off me, only to be replaced by an enormous sense of dread. As soon as my girlfriend saw me, she went into action.

Sitting me down on a nearby box, she asked me in a very calm, quiet voice, “What’s wrong.” All I could say through my hyperventilation was,

“I made a mistake, I made a mistake, I made a mistake.”

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A dream come true, part two…waking up from the dream

I’m a bit snobby about myself. From the time I was little, I had this idea that I would be somebody, go places, or change the world. I pushed myself to do things other people wouldn’t and I kept going, no matter what.

We don't know what life lessons will come our way when we are so young.

We don’t know what life lessons will come our way when we are so young. Me in 4th grade, in my homemade dress.

Maybe we all feel that way?

Perhaps we are born with a sense of self-importance, and it isn’t until life lessons teach us that we are all basically the same, that we learn to accept our own insignificance? I wrote before that I never thought I’d be “one of those women”.

But there I was, dating a man who was verbally and emotionally abusive. You would have thought I’d learned enough from that experience to humble me, but apparently I needed another lesson…or two.

To this day, I am uncomfortable even saying his name.

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A dream come true…

In 2004, my real estate career had sky rocketed, so for Thanksgiving break I took my sons on a vacation to Mexico. Just the three of us.

We had a blast.

It was the very first time I have ever taken a vacation when money wasn’t an issue. Growing up poor in Michigan, and struggling financially all through my marriage, money was always an issue, even on vacations.

This time, we did anything and everything we wanted to do. My oldest son had graduated and through his persistence and tenacity, landed his dream job on a top fuel drag racing team. He was making good money, and had nowhere to spend it.

I remember getting to the hotel in Mexico, and he and I putting thousands of dollars in the safe, both feeling like we had “made it”. That vacation will go down as an all time favorite for all of us. Continue reading

A series of events, part two

There’s a term used to describe parents whose kids have left home: Empty Nester. It is such a big deal for so many, there are Facebook and support groups to help parents transition to an empty nest.

But in the early 2000’s Facebook wasn’t around. And I still had my youngest son home, so I thought everything was fine. I was busy with my real estate business and he was busy with school.

I don’t think I recognized the affect the process of having my sons leave home was slowly having on me. They say once your kids hit high school, it will feel like a moment has passed before they have graduated and are off on their own.

I have to agree with that.

It was 2004 when my son was in eleventh grade, preparing for entry into the Naval Academy when things started unraveling for me.

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A series of events …

Looking back, trying to piece together how I got to where I was in life, isn’t easy. So many little things happened, but put together they created big things…or maybe a better way to put is, big consequences.

I left off with my story, telling you I had finally realized I needed to end an emotionally abusive relationship. And it would be easy to just leave it at that, but nothing is ‘easy’ about that kind of relationship.

Getting out takes some finesse. If you have experience with emotional abuse, you know what I’m talking about. I had to wait until the time was right. Continue reading

Finding courage

My oldest son graduated from high school in 2002. Which was the same year I got my real estate license, and the same year things started to change for me.

Recovering from divorce takes time, and money. I had spent the time healing from it, taking care not to drink or do anything destructive. That is except date a guy who was destructive.

How I missed the signs of emotional abuse from the beginning is beyond me.

He was an angry controlling man who lashed out at me and his daughter. What a complete mess I was in. I wrote before that it would take three events for me to finally break free of him. Continue reading

A calendar of emotions

Have you ever associated an object with an emotion?

I hate desk calendars. I just recently bought one to pull the pages off and stick to the refrigerator. I thought it would be a good way to keep track of my schedule with diet and exercise.

But it didn’t take long to realize it was a source of contention for me. Let me back up and explain. Continue reading

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