Cashing Out

I grew up in tiny Sandpoint, Idaho. I had one of those storybook childhoods that most people dream of for their children. I learned to ride a horse before my training wheels were removed from the bike that would have tethered me to paved roads. My best friend was raised by her grandparents so we had ample adventures and limited supervision. I’m eternally grateful that I grew up before Facebook because we were very good at finding trouble to get into. Premarital sex, underage drinking and grand theft. We got away with it all…and there are only a handful of bad pictures.

I wanted to drive away from my small hometown the minute graduation was over without a second glance over my shoulder. I’ve never liked small town life and when you live where other folks vacation, people think you’re crazy for admitting that you actually hate what they covet.

I moved in with my boyfriend in the middle of my sophomore year of highschool and got pregnant…like so many small town girls with big city dreams, do. I was 16 and had an abortion. It was awful, though I’ve always been grateful and would do it again if I had the chance to choose differently. I was scared to death of a penis after that though- and my boyfriend and I were terrified of getting pregnant. Things declined and we eventually broke up and I moved home for my senior year. Counting the seconds until my last drive across the iconic long bridge.

 

Life and living beyond my maturity had left me pretty isolated and removed from any friendships I’d had before, so I poured myself into school and graduated with honors. My focus was clear again and I was excited to leave my small town and all the sad memories, behind.

I ran into that same ex boyfriend on my 18th birthday… and we got pregnant with our son. I turned 19 with a newborn in my arms, having only made it about a ten minute drive from my mother’s house. We did the best we could with what we had and worked hard to have a happy home. I’d just never hoped to call a single-wide with mushrooms growing on the ceiling, home-sweet-home. I had always wanted to be a mother though, and fell in love with raising babies instead of chasing dreams. I packed away my big city dreams with my high heels and started sewing cloth diapers.

When our son turned 3 and I wanted another baby… we bought our house. When that second baby turned 3, we got divorced and that house became my home.

Queen of my own castle, ruler of my domain.

That sounds far more incredible than the reality.

I’ve been through foreclosure twice, my property taxes have crippled me a few times and don’t even get me started on the maintenance of 2 acres OR the $10,000 water leak. I’ve hung on to this house by the smallest possible margin and I’ve grown to love it like it’s my fourth child.

The worms in my garden are some of my closest friends. I’ve spent a lot of time alone in trying to keep up with my sanctuary, and I’m still constantly behind the 8 ball.

Corona virus decimated my company and all but 3 employees have been permanently laid off. I’m one of those “lucky” ones who makes more on unemployment than I did working full time. I’ve been cleaning and painting and treasuring these endless weeks at home to catch up on the gazillion things that have fallen by the wayside as a result of being gone 40 hours a week and single parenting full time.

I bought myself a Roomba and wake up to clean floors every day. Holy Christ on the cross, if you don’t have one, buy it… I don’t know how or why I ever lived without her. A clean house makes me so happy and happiness clears my head. I bought a big beautiful wool rug for my enormous living room, and sat in the middle of it with my knitting, smiling all by myself.

Happy.

So happy I’m done settling for sad.

I sat in the silence of my big empty castle and decided to leap like I’ve always wanted.

To take that last drive across the bridge I’m supposed to love, but don’t.

The only thing keeping me from going is my best friend in the whole wide world. My red haired security blanket. The first person to tell me to go because she knows how much I’ve always wanted to. She helped me narrow down the field of candidates and I pulled the trigger.

I listed the house and my beautiful garden for sale.

I want that last drive to be THE last drive.

I picked the nicest realtor who came highly recommended from my favorite people. She got me all signed up and ready to go, then blew my mind a little.

$900,000.00 with a stipulation that I get to harvest my garden. How do you like them apples?

The nest egg I’ve nearly killed myself to hang onto, has grown to the point that my dreams can come true…

ANYWHERE else.

 


Day 29: If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

beamermaid

I’m going to dream big and say I won 500 million dollars. I need that much for this.

  1. I would set my family up for success. College money for anyone who wants to go, trade school, you name it. I would buy them each a house and reliable car. Family, taken care of. My mama has worked hard her whole life and I would love to spoil her.
  2. I would move to Kauai the same day. I would buy a ridiculously expensive piece of property on the ocean and would grow all the things I’ve never been able to grow.  I can’t wait to plant my North Idaho gardenia in the soil of her people. 🙂
  3. I would buy the homes of my enemies and evict them. Yeah… I can be a bit of a cunt when inspired.
  4. I would then purchase the companies that employed those same assholes, and liquidate them.
  5. I’d hire a hundred gardeners and have the vegetable garden of my dreams. I’d grow hundreds of varieties of tomatoes in a rainbow shape of ombre colors blending into each other. A good portion of my winnings would go into the dirt.
  6. I’d travel the world with my children and finish writing all the books that sit collecting dust on my laptop.
  7. Tattoos… so many tattoos…. I’d get on a plane and fly to Florida to have my very favorite tattoo goddess do them for me, too.
  8. I’d go to law school, focus on family law and represent single mothers near and far.
  9. I’d spend a month in all my favorite countries, learning how to prepare every cuisine to perfection. A gnocchi lesson in Italy, dim sum in China, and a rainbow of curries to learn in Thailand. I love food, and I hope I always love learning to cook new things.
  10. I’d adopt that baby from a Chinese orphanage like I always wanted to. I read all the books after the birth of my son, cried for years about the ongoing bias that had women leaving their newborn daughters on the side of the road like trash or tucking them into a basket to be abandoned in a busy market. I love being a mother more than anything and absolutely think I’ll foster or adopt a few more children before I retire into being a Grandma.

What are you going to do, make or buy?


Day 26: What are your beliefs?

  1. I believe in the goodness of people. Even when I’d distanced myself from all but one of my friends, even when I stopped answering calls or returning messages… my friends refused to go away.
  2. I believe in washing my hands. I’m a little obsessive about it so the fact that this Corona Virus pandemic is teaching everyone to wash their damn hands, is pure bliss for me. I love hand soap and foam, love gardenia scented bars of triple milled goats milk soap… I love being clean and smelling good. Wash, wash, wash.
  3. I believe that Tide washes your clothes better than hippie detergent. Sorry. It’s true. My mother buys the earth safe detergent and uses dryer balls. I love Tide detergent and Snuggle fabric softener. She tried… 🙂
  4. I believe that dirt fixes everything. Sad, worried, stressed, heartbroken… none of those bad times stand a chance when you’re planting shallots. Each one of these little treasures is going to turn into 10 more! shallots
  5. I’m learning to ask for help… because I absolutely believe the strongest thing you can do is admit you need it. I’ve dealt with major depression this year and can’t believe a little antihistamine would stop all my panic attacks. God bless you, Vistaril… I am humbly grateful.
  6. I believe in love, more than anything. The kind of love that sews your favorite childhood toys, the love that holds doors and offers the last of the ice cream to the little person who’d been craving it. Unconditional love is my superpower and I believe it can change anything.
  7. I believe in the magic of plastic surgery and can’t wait to remodel a little more. I’m having a tummy tuck and breast lift this spring and I. Can’t. Wait.
  8. I believe in apologizing when I fuck up. I accept genuine apologies just as easily as I offer them.
  9. I believe that bubbles with your best friend can solve the world’s problems better than anything else on earth.
  10. I believe in the power of thread count, and wish I could give each of you a set of my favorite sheets.
  11. I believe in the magic of intention. My darling Dick Appointment crawled out of the jungle twice in the last week to call me from a satellite phone. He can email me, so I teased him a little until he told me the sound of my laughter made his day. I’m probably not going to see him again, but he sure is making a trip to Africa sound better and better lately…
  12. I believe in dish towels, not paper towels. I don’t understand the mass hysteria for paper towels.. those are a luxury item in my house and an easily eliminated expense.
  13. I believe in the magic of mass on Sunday, even if I reject 2/3 of the beliefs held in the cathedral. I love being Catholic… even if I’m the most atheist version around.
  14. I believe in karma most of all. That karma fairy leaves scars on the most deserving and if I know one thing… it’s that there’s a cold dark hole in hell for the guy who named my puppy after his new girlfriend. I pity him for that. That’s gonna sting. I rehomed the puppy.
  15. I believe in thanking people for everything… even the bad stuff.

believe

Basically, I believe in myself and my ability to change the things that no longer serve me. I believe that bad days only amount to a bad time, not a bad life… and the good days are so common that I know the bad ones don’t count for much.

What do you believe in?


Day 22: Describe 7 things you’re awful at.

  1. I’m awful at picking a man that won’t lie to me, cheat on me, steal from me or break my heart. I’ve elevated it to an art form and have ruled them out entirely as a result. Heterosexual men are basic creatures. Much like that lump of a human they hand you when you have a baby, you only need to feed, water and love it for things to be agreeable, right? Wrong. I have an innate ability to pick the absolute worst asshole in the room. Eyes closed, heart open… I lose every damn time.
  2. Thinning root vegetables. Seriously.. someone should take my carrot seeds away. There’s honestly no point in me even planting them because I can’t grow them for shit and who needs 4000 pencil sized baby carrots? Nobody.
  3. Kitchener stitch. It’s some sort of modern day needlework witchcraft. I avoid knitting socks for precisely this reason. I loathe not being able to do something though, so I’ll figure it out eventually or die trying.
  4. Seeing the forest for the trees. I see the potential in everyone- and never stop to consider that some people are self motivated and not looking out for me or my best interests. Some folks are just users and I work overtime to see the goodness a little too much. Some of those frogs aren’t princes. Some of those warty little things are just dirty ass reptiles.
  5. Brownies. I can’t bake brownies to save my life. I don’t know why. I’ve given up trying and just buy them. I’m bitter about it though because I’m a damn domestic goddess and hate that I can’t do something.
  6. Sleep. I am the worst insomniac. I am regularly awake between the hours of 1-5 AM and generally give up and get up by 5:30. I’m painfully tired and all things considered could probably use a week of rest, straight. I won’t get it and it won’t stop me from lying awake all night again tonight… so feel free to give me any suggestions you may have.
  7. I’m awful at shaking this Incredicock nightmare. Hearing one thing and seeing another is the worst form of torture and I was crazy to think that touching him again was a good idea. It wasn’t. You can only be casual about someone you don’t care about… just as you can’t make a ho a housewife, it’s absolutely impossible to make a fuckbuddy out of the guy you’re in love with and I should have learned that painful lesson the first time with him.

I wish I had more of my shit together, but fairy godmothers aren’t real and it involves a shit load of work and time to change these things. I’m still determined, still working hard to be better, do more, live positively and strive for happiness.

I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep… -Robert Frost


Day 19: What do you most wish you were great at?

1. Thinning the carrots in the garden. I suck at ripping 3/4th of them out, so they’re always crowded, too small, misshapen and weird. I grow horrible carrots and it’s my greatest shame as a farm girl. It’s one of those things that is part of my character. I can’t casually throw away something that I made. I give it the benefit of the doubt and even when it clearly looks stunted and in need of discarding… I keep trying to save them all. It’s not a great trait to possess when you’re growing root vegetables (or dating). Bless all my little beets and carrots- I can’t pick one over the other so they’re all going to have a hard time reaching their full potential.

2. Letting go. I worry about people’s feelings more than I should. I overthink everything. I can’t tell you the horrible paths my mind went down today because even I know I’m imagining the worst things at will. I wish I were great at saying “Cest la vie” with a smile and a tip of my champagne glass… but assuming the worst is more my weakness and I make even slightest hiccup into a heart attack. Death is extremely hard for me and I wish I could find the peace and joy in happy memories… but letting go is tantamount to giving up for me, and I fight it tooth and nail.

3. Hunting. Random, I know… but I want to shoot an elk, gut it and chop it up to fill my freezer. I loved dissection in science and I’m not squeamish. I grow a million things, but at the end of the long day and night of weeding, pruning and staking them… all I want is a steak. I have too tender of a heart to grow a cow to eat, but I could joyfully hunt a wild one down. I’m determined to learn.

4. Fishing. Along those same lines… I really want to catch a pike. I’m seeing my friends post pictures of them lately and I want one. I work for an Alaskan based company and I REALLY want to go fishing for salmon, halibut, cod and the rest of their magical assortment of delicious fish. I’d rather go fishing than to a spa… so perhaps I just need to book a trip and go already. Why wait?

5. Laundry. I’m great at washing and drying it… but folding it is right up there with the gynecologist for me. I’d rather die than fold ten loads of laundry and that’s what I face each Saturday. Yes, I know I should get rid of some sheets. Have less dish towels…. etc. I don’t want to. I have more drawers in my kitchen than you can imagine and plenty of space to encourage me to have seasonal linens. I just wish with my whole heart that I loved to fold them when they were hot out of the dryer.

6. Balancing work and home. I’m so damn exhausted on Saturday that I let my Dumpling veg out in front of the TV or electronics. I let her eat popsicles. I’m THAT mom who overcompensates for the mom guilt of school + daycare that puts a 6 year old into a 40 hour work week. It’s shitty and I feed her more corn dogs than her older siblings got to eat. Little Red sees Twinkies in the cupboard and shakes her head at me.

LR: Where did these come from and WHO are you? We were never allowed to have these.

Me- Eat one, they’re gross. You weren’t missing out on anything. It’s just not a battle worth fighting. It’s a mermaid cupcake, not the end of the world. I’m sorry I was so uptight. I’ll buy you some if you want.

LR- Ew… they are kind of gross.

7. Taking time for myself. I need a break so desperately I could cry. Too much work, too much stress, too much heartache, too much of everything frankly- and I wish I were better at insisting on taking a minute to feel better… even if that means drinking a cup of coffee in silence and going to work a half hour later.

I get a lot done in a day… but it’s always nice to have goals too. ♥