Friday, June 2, 2023

What's Been Going On

      Happy June. It is officially meteorological summer in Minnesota after a really fine weather Memorial Day weekend. I'm still moving day to day getting done what's absolute, but with the help of kids slowly tackling a few backlogged projects. We're all feeling the loss hard in this new season. DH would have loved having a fine day to help put the dock's in and would have laughed at grandpup learning his place in the extended family of dogs pecking order. Pup was living his best life, short haired and liking the freedom to roam, but never straying too far from my presence. Here's an update on this new life I'm required to figure out.

     DS is here indefinitely due to limited work in his field in L.A. While the amount of video games he plays is not my cup of tea, he's also doing back yard work and will be lining up dumpsters and a work crew to take down the deck. He's helping out an extended family member with their new business as well. Between these things, hopefully connecting with old friends, and getting some lake time, he can have an ok summer, for as long as it makes sense to stay.

     DD1 has planted her raised beds and is starting to see some growth. She's busy with work but also has taken a few shifts in her new friends plant based food truck. DS and I had dinner from there one night, he having a Mediterranean salad and I had a Thai salad. Both were very good. She's still on the wait list for her fence, fingers crossed by the end of June. She's got a work week business trip coming up and hosting out of town friends before that. Her dog remains just a bundle of unconditional love. He did pick up a bad habit of stealing balls from pup from his cousin dogs. 

     DD2 had a week trip with her best friend and family. She too is little by little filling her summer with both helping me, helping the family member, and is on call again like last summer, with DD1's colleague that needs extra hands. She's just starting volunteering with the local Sierra club, which will both help her keep active and add environmental experience to her resume. Her fellowship starts the end of August. 

     And me? Work will be so filled with changes that 12 months from now likely my job won't even be the same. That could be good or bad. I actually looked at a position with a non-profit I used to partner with. I feel I'd likely be a top candidate as the posting reads like my resume and the two people hiring, I believe think very highly about me and my work. It was appealing in that the base pay and benefits was relatively the same ( not much difference in non- profit and public sector) and remote office so I could work from home, but involved 25% travel. That sounds interesting right now to shake up my routine, do something new. Then, I realized that's not the change I want- that would just be different. A job change could add unmanageable stress as I wouldn't have the control over the travel needs. (HP, I heard you 😃).

     I have longer periods of time that I'm not a total mess. Still, there's no pattern, or specific trigger that sets the grief waves in motion. I lost it in tears when DD2 said she too was going to help the cousin. She was DH's favorite cousin, our flower girl, and I know DH would be happy to know his kids are helping her build her dream. 

     Memorial Day weekend was better than I thought, except the boat. The marine motor company dropped the ball twice on me, and there his boat sat, lonely, the tarp filled with a pool of water. Here I thought I had solved the issue only to be disappointed twice. I was also sad no one offered to help with it either, those with trucks able to pull the trailer. I suppose if they let me down a third time, I'll have to ask for some help. (Edit- they finally just confessed they are too busy to take on DH's boat. Would have been nice to tell me that two months or even a month ago so I could have worked out an alternative plan.) It's not a big deal in the scheme of things, but I needed a little victory. My brother let me down too in another way. He inserted himself into something, but then didn't follow through on what he offered to do. I'm learning who to ask for help, and who not too, because getting hopes raised and dashed is harder than no help at all. It's hard enough having to  depend on people, but even worse when you feel like you don't matter when someone says they'll help, but then doesn't. 

     Financially, I'm feel the weight of a single income. While of course two people spend more than one on consumable items, everything else is a fixed cost whether one or five of us. I'm trying to figure out a true budget, but my spending has been erratic. I'm hoping June levels off and the erratic spending is done and my cash flow or specifically designated saved funds cover the expenses. Wow, this got long and winded. I apologize. I'll leave my update there. I wish I had anything that energizes me, but for now, I guess just trying to  manage life is enough. Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

I'm Here and Not


     Good morning. Thank you for past comments, a few emails, and nods to my well being in other bloggers posts. I'm still here, and also not. I found this meme and I understand it. I still don't feel like even semi regular blogging. I'm a ball of anxiousness much of the time, focusing only on what I have to manage. Those things don't seem to be managed very well though. I thought maybe a catch-up might be in order, but warning it'll probably be long and a lot of pity party refection interspersed. 

     I had three therepy sessions since early April. I found it meh. It wasn't harmful, but not anything more beneficial than the podcasts or videos I've listened to or watched. I had a forced professional development day and session one is on change and resiliency. I was pretty checked out. I don't want to hear or read in chat's other people's challenge figuring out how to get out the door and into the office on the days they choose to not work remote. It feels whiny and insignificant and if they knew what can come out of no where still, finding their car keys at 7:00 a.m. seems pretty mild. 

     I feel sad, but also bitter at times and I hate that feeling. It's not me. Or it is me, but wasn't me before. Mothers Day was sweet with the girls, but later got pictures texted by DH's sister of her, her daughter, grandchildren, and my mother in law. Four generation photo and I cried and cried. My kids won't even have their dad in a single picture of any future grandchildren. I get frustrated with one of my sisters who has mucked up her life repeatedly, but has just this full overflowing plate of family, and makes every situation about herself or them. She's also full of ridiculous platitudes. It was really bad the weekend of my daughter's graduation, and at two different points directly asked her to stop. I'm planning to go low contact as she's just too draining for me.

     So yes,  my youngest graduated college and we truly celebrated her. Despite the overwhelming grief, she finished strong, Suma cum laude, and had several job or fellowship offers. She determined a sort of gap year is best before deciding on grad school or career, so took a year long fellowship that starts the end of the summer, in St Paul. She will be home for the summer, and may or may not stay living at home when it starts, depending on her friends living plans and tolerance level living with me. ( My attempt at self humor.) She's hoping to travel, has some intermittent work, and some volunteer commitments in the meantime. Her sister gave her a necklace with a pearl charm, DH's favorite. That was so sweet.

    My older daughter is making her house her home. Her dog is doing great, loves the dog park and is such a sweety.  She's met a vegan chef with a food truck and is going to help with a few events for both fun and social networking, but of course extra cash. What new home owner can't use extra cash? She's getting a fence put in, but the back log is several weeks. It will be a lovely addition that will give her and dog safety and privacy and help her place feel like a retreat. She's getting her garden going. Fingers crossed!

      DS has been greatly impacted by the writers strike with studios closing up many projects, so not just writers out of work. What little there is has hundreds upon hundreds of candidates. Added anxiety, even if second hand. Depending on duration, he's going to head back to Minnesota by car with his tools and gear. He'll pick up any work he can, but will help me tackle projects that had to wait until the snow melted. I'm glad my kids are sensible in times they have money and can ride out these kinds of times. I'll get the greatly needed help, so trying to see any positives. Seeing him is positive enough for me, but I also know he can't be here to just entertain me. 

     I'm going to Florida for a few days in June, tagging along with a different sisters work retreat, and scheduled time off over the full week of the 4th of July. I've got a business trip to Phoenix in October ( hey Spo), but haven't booked any travel for escape yet. I still want to run away. 

     So that's life at the four month date of losing DH so soon, way too soon. I want to keep moving on, and I guess I am through my kids. I need to work to keep the bills paid and have affordable health insurance, at least for now. It at least gives me something to take up some of my headspace. There's a lot of changes work wise, and I'm leery of how it'll all balance, but have to remind myself it's not just on me, but do worry it'll suck what little resiliency I have. I keep thinking I'll be better equipped to handle this new life forced upon me. I'm not there yet. 

Friday, April 28, 2023


      I bought myself a small bunch of flowers. It was nice having flowers just because, and not sad flowers. I'm looking forward to farmers markets and the flower stalls.

     I bought three small hyacinth plants. I'm going to put them around the mail box, plus a little mound of chipped wood mulch to clean it up a bit. Do hyacinth's come back, particularly the ones you buy bulb sprouting already like these? 

     I'll get a few flowers for my flower tins that sit on my porch, but not a lot this year. I want to save the money and put towards more fall bulbs, and just buy myself small bunches of cut when I want to color. I can move the vases inside or out. 

     Three hyacinth small pots and a small bunch of flowers, my treat to myself. 

Friday, April 21, 2023

Things I've Tackled

      I've had a crash refresher course in home and life management. I'm using a lot of notes to figure the answers out though. I'm updating ways of doing things little by little so they fit my new household of one. The timing of when utilities are paid and how utilities are paid is going to be different. I'm trying to move things to electronic payment as much as I can. It's a work in progress. 

     I found a couple big "oofs". My additional life insurance cancelled for non-payment of premium. I was gobsmacked. Ahh, a credit card number changed and there was not a system update. I'm in process of getting that reinstated. I want the kids to have security, particularly the youngest as she'd have no parental back up, should something happen to me before she's truly launched. This policy is locked in the rate until I'm 69. After that, I'm not sure what I'll add for additional term if anything. 

     It's all so ridiculously expensive. The same policy on the day I turn 69 goes from $50 per month to over $600. I've time to research. I learned Colonial Penn is pretty minimal coverage. At $10 per month for a mere $1600 in coverage, I'd be better off directly giving the kids money to put in a Roth. What I have in my whole life, plus what's going to be in savings, will be a nice legacy, I hope, after my final expenses are covered as my house is paid for, and no other debt.

     I mishandled the best way to deal with my daughter and our taxes. I paid in  nearly $700 more than I was anticipating, though that might not have to do with my bobble. Our accountant helped me to file without an extension so that's not hanging over me. We've got a plan to do an amended return for both her and I this summer that will improve our returns cumulatively. Next year we'll schedule early and catch these things. 

     Then there's stupid actions. On Wednesday, I pulled the garbage and recycling bins back up. I didn't even pay attention that the recycling truck hadn't even been through yet! I was surprised to see it pull in an hour later, two hours later than normal time. There's room for the next weeks materials as I don't have much, but that was just dumb. 

     But I had some solo navigation successes too. I started the process for tuning up and getting his boat ready for summer. I finally got his private savings shifted to me so I can make those funds available to my kids. This was money from his grandmother, so I feel strongly it is to go to the kids. It took 9 weeks of red tape though for what should have been a simple close, cashier's check, and deposit. I've got grooming and veterinarian visits scheduled for pup. We've got boarding set up from grandpup and my niece as sitter for pup for daughter's graduation weekend. She can come and go as needed with pup, but couldn't with the young dog. 

     I managed the movers for a piano from my friend's house to mine. It's sort of DD2's graduation gift as moving pianos is hugely expensive. Music comforts her and while I do little more than tap at keys, I've played a bit on it too. It's ridiculously fitted into my living room, a room too small for the amount of furniture now with the piano and the TV and stand ( because we still prefer to not watch in the family room), but I don't care. I managed to get another deposit in a Roth account for 2022 before the deadline. 

The blankets cover where the dogs like to lay, but need to get one on the smaller couch. I know it's a lot going on in a single room. The prints need to be swapped so the piano doesn't block the art. ...a few days later, and done by my daughter.

     My to do list is plenty long and seems to grow daily. But, I'm doing something. I'm getting at least one thing done a day even if it's something I dread.