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Yesterday was much like any other day.  Except that I found my white board and made my list.  Actually started working on 2008 taxes!  When I say "working on" what I mean is running the balance sheet from the program-from-hell that was used for our business.  It is marketed as a user friendly software package specifically for the trucking industry.  Well, if you have an accounting background, understand double entry accounting and know how to verify that what you have input truly balances (no trial balance available yet.....4 years later!)....then it is perfect!  I grew very tired of hearing them tell me that my errors were "operator errors" only to provide them solid proof of their errors, which resulted in new releases for the benefit of everyone.  GRRRRRR.  Anyway, that is the main reason I have not finished 2008 taxes.  With six employees, there is a lot of stuff to go through.  Have I mentioned lately how much I hate taxes?

As I was saying, yesterday was moving along like any other (recent) day.  I went to the bank and while sitting there I remember counting on my fingers how many months it has been since Wade died.  Hmmm....six months already.

Yesterday was a lot like any other day, except that Wade's brother began his first trip running his new business.  He is a truck driver as well and Wade had always encouraged him to become his own boss and get his own operating authority.  When I shut down the business, I made the authority a voluntary revocation with the intent of giving it to his brother.  Wade would have wanted that.  I've helped him with all of the legal aspects, compliance issues, record keeping, customers, etc.  I helped him get everything in order so he can be his own boss, like Wade would have wanted.  Yesterday was his first trip.

Yesterday I found out that Wade's 90 year old grandmother was in intensive care.  She was having difficulty breathing and was rushed to the hospital.  I don't know how his mother is going to handle one more loss if she doesn't pull through this.

Yesterday was a first for me as well.  Wade had a way of going into the kitchen when we would say there is nothing to eat, and put together a feast.  He got this talent from his father.  Anyway, I channeled Wade last night and made a nice dinner from odds and ends.  I had some chicken breast, MexiCorn, stewed tomatoes, cheese and corn tortillas.  It turned out like a Mexican lasagna and was quite tasty too!  I need to tweak the recipe to make it fit together better and be a little more presentable, but we ate it.  And did I mention it was good?

Yesterday my daughter came home from work and had been crying.  She said it was a bad day.  I finally got her to talk to me about what was going on.  She's a very strong person and not much gets under her skin.  She said she had struggled all day with her college classes and teaching at the high school and trying to remain composed.  Finally, on her way home she was able to let it all out.

Yesterday was the six month anniversary of Wade's death.  I almost made it through the entire day without even realizing it!  My daughter and I hugged and cried together and talked about how unfair it all was.

Yesterday I hugged my pillow a little tighter when I finally layed down to sleep.

Gotta Stay Focused

Watching a TV commercial last night sent that familiar surge of panic through my body.  It was about a company that helps folks with past due taxes.  Have I mentioned that I HATE TAXES?  Well, I do.  Every flavor of them.  It's not one of those things you can ignore.  Unlike many other things in life that I despise and choose to avoid, this is not one of them.

Taxes are just one more thing on my (imaginary) list.  I really should keep a list to keep me focused on the things that need to be done.  The extension I filed for 2008 filing will be up soon, and the dread of finalizing the paperwork and meeting with the CPA just fills me with dread.  Or like getting my daughters to sign the probate papers.  I have had them in my possession for about a month.  I didn't want to mail them; I thought a personal visit would be better especially since I haven't seen them all since the holidays.  I lack the motivation to make he road trips (yes, three different cities and total miles of around 800).

I have a number of white boards somewhere in this house.  I figured I would find one and use it to keep a list.    Then I would have a strong visual of all of the things I need to do.  Fear is what is keeping me from doing it I think....fear of the overwhelming realization that I am a failure and having it in my face, right there reminding me.  But I am going to take a big deep breath and suck it up.

Now I have to find the box that has the white boards packed in it.  This is a real challenge for a procrastinator (like me).  One step at a time.  Repeat as necessary.

Today I Was Pampered

Remember me?  Ms. Procrastinator?  Well, today I FINALLY got around to doing something for myself after almost a full year.

Last year for my 50th birthday, Wade coordinated a surprise birthday dinner with a few of our neighbors, my sister, our youngest daughter and another daughter who lives 150 miles away.  All he would tell me was that we had dinner reservations at 6pm.  That was suspicious in and of itself.....Wade and reservations???  Very uncharacteristic, yet pleasantly curious.  We went to a Mexican restaurant nearby that has wonderful margueritas (but doesn't take reservations....go figure).  When we went to the outside seating, there was everyone except for the out of town daughter.  It was a very nice surprise.  At one point, I excused myself to visit the ladies room and when I returned to my seat, I looked up and my other daughter was seated across from me.  It was a great surprise!  We all had a nice dinner and conversation and then my daughters gave me a gift of a spa package.

So for almost a year I have held this gift.  My work schedule didn't work well with trying to schedule the appointment (4 hours worth), and then Wade died and I couldn't be bothered.  I mean why put forth the effort?  I've had that same perspective a lot of times, like feeling guilty when I put on makeup to go somewhere.  It just felt wrong.

But lately I've been seeing this gift certificate sitting here on my desk and knowing that it would expire soon, I felt an obligation to my daughters to use it. Then I got a serious crick in my neck and decided the time was right.  So today I went.

The massage was first, and I have to admit I really needed it.  I don't think I knew how much I needed it until about half way through when I started crying.  I couldn't help it.  Part of it was the stress relief I believe.  But another part was remembering how I came to be blessed with this gift, and it was partly because of Wade and his surprise birthday dinner.  So I had the therapist stop, get me a few tissues, and then I felt obligated to explain why I was crying.  I mean who cries during a massage for heavens sake?  What a wuss.

I have become acutely aware of every instance when I tell people that my husband died.  Does that ever go away?  Will there come a time when I can get through any interaction or situation and not feel I have to share that piece of me?

I got through the facial just fine.  No tears.  No need to reveal anything about Wade.  Got through the pedicure just fine.  The manicure was a different story.  I didn't cry or anything.  Well, I had a bout of low blood sugar that caused a slight ruckus, but was easily cured with a Coke.  Not sure what I did with my glucose tabs, so I'll have to search for them and put them back into my purse.  Once that mini crisis was over, the manicurist kept pressing me about my job and I told her I was not working, but she wouldn't leave it alone.  I was becoming a bit annoyed with her continued questioning, so I told her.  Yep, I played the widow card once again.  That shut her up.

By the end of the day I had been rubbed, buffed, scrubbed, polished, infused with a whole lot of different products and walked out feeling tired but relaxed and refreshed.  And my daughters were pleased.  I'm sure Wade would be too.

Meet Ms. Procrastinator

Yep. That's me. One of my more defining qualities. Or flaws. And I am not ashamed to admit it; fact is fact.

A while back I started on a home improvement project whereby I removed a door, took out a small wall, reframed, sheetrocked, yada yada yada. It's almost done. :) Very minor details remain like the baseboard. I have it, I just haven't put it on. The laundry room and now-expanded closet have been patched, textured, primed, painted and the shelves and hanging rod put up in the closet. My excuse? Well, I told myself I would not move on to the next project of moving the washer/dryer and their related plumbing until I finished the closet. I may be a procrastinator, but I am true to my word, even to a fault.

So you may ask, why not finish the closet? Well, that would require a decision to be made. And sometimes, it's the decisions I struggle with the most. In this case, it is what to do with the floor in the closet so I can put the baseboards in there and call it complete. When I took out the wall between the two closets, I then had two different floor surfaces (well, three if you count the bare concrete where the previous framing existed). I cannot count how many times I have opened that closet door, studied the floor for inspiration, and then closed the door. I did, however, decide that I did not like the existing tile nor did I like the existing carpet. So I took them both out. Now I have a bare concrete floor and thought for a few days that I would just put new tile in the closet. I have plenty of it in the garage and went to Home Depot to buy the thin set and grout. But that's as far as I got.

The reason for my indecision is what lies outside the closet door. Take a look at this picture and you will see why.

See, I believe that there is a serious design flaw in how either this door was placed or how the flooring options were selected before we purchased the home. And I can't quite come to grips with placing yet another different kind of flooring surface to add to the confusion. So i started doing some more thinking.

The carpet that is part of what you see in the picture, continues through our den/family room. It is a very high traffic area and the stains and discoloration really show. Plus I have an indoor dog and two cats and just can't bring myself to spend the money to have the carpet cleaned yet again, since I cannot stand this carpet in this room. We had discussed many times that if we had it to do again we would have hardwood floors.

So guess what? I will be installing hardwood flooring! I placed the order yesterday and it will cover the den/family room, the closet and the very-expensive-needs-refinishing-mid century-terrazo-tile that I love/hate. The flooring won't be here until late next week then it has to acclimate in the house for at least five days and then it can be installed. Just in time for my birthday! YEAH! And I know Wade would be pleased with that. We never got each other gifts for the sake of gift giving, we always preferred to spend money on something truly needed and house repairs/appliances/tools were always high on the list.

I am going to bend my own commitment to myself just a little, and go ahead finish the laundry room reconfiguration before I finish the closet. But I haven't decided exactly when. So the well earned title of Ms. Procrastinator still applies. And I wear it well.

The Dream

Well, it happened.  I finally had a dream about Wade.  I'm not sure I have dreamed at all since he died, and reading other widow(er) blogs about their dreams made me sad that I couldn't even connect with him on that level.  But this dream was not a pleasant one at all.

My recollection is that the dream was very short.  Wade was in the driver seat of some vehicle that I didn't recognize.  I was standing at the window on the passenger side.  There was some conversation, but I don't recall  about what.  He said something that startled me and then all of a sudden I began to feel ill.  Then violent shaking, falling, and vomiting.  And I remember Wade saying "Oh Shit!" and leaving the vehicle to come to me.  The dream was over before he reached me.

And that was it.

I often wonder if daily experiences we have greatly influence our dreams.  I like to believe that is true.  So looking back on that day, I remember watching the newest episode of Big Love.  The wife of the clan's prophet had died and she had placed him in a walk-in freezer.  When her daughter Nicki came over, the wife was hysterical that she herself dropped dead.

And looking back on the events at the hospital when Wade died, I remember clearly struggling to stand and having to stop and put my head down between my knees so I didn't pass out as they lead me to "the room" where they told me he had died.  And the day before he died, I was not feeling well.  I honestly felt I was having a heart attack, but was convinced that if I took an aspirin and rested, I would be better.  Twenty four hours later it was Wade who had the heart attack.

I think I said "Oh Shit" a few times myself that day.  Among other things.

The Cat In The Hat

I have this cat. No, I have TWO cats! Technically they are both still kittens at 8 months old. What was I thinking!

OK, I know what I was thinking. My other cat of 15 years had died suddenly on Thanksgiving night 2008. He was my cuddle kitty and slept with me every night. Then my husband died in July. He didn't sleep with me every night (he traveled alot), but he most definitely was my other pillow partner. So about a month after Wade died, I adopted two kittens from the SPCA. Went to get one, but they were so cute, and on sale at two-for-one! Seemed logical at the time. Again...what was I thinking!

The first weeks were very difficult. These two urchins loved to climb into the box spring liner under my bed, so there was this tousling that disturbed my already disturbed sleep. Then they would chase each other under the bed and and the constant twanging against the metal cable supports of the bed frame played an unpleasant tune....again disturbing my (lack of) sleep. I tried locking them in the bathroom, but the clawing at the door and constant meowing didn't help. My daughter offered to keep them in her room at night. I couldn't let them roam freely in the house because they are intense counter surfers (a HUGE "pet" peeve of mine!).

Even though these two are litter mates, they have very different personalities and habits. The bigger of the two, Bubba, is a talker. OMG! He won't shut up! And he's the bigger of the two so his constant clawing at the door cannot go unnoticed. Boo, on the other hand, is the meeker (and smaller) of the two. He's petite, graceful and quiet but also demands a lot of attention. He has to always touch me (a good thing), but when I am sleeping and he demands to be petted, it can be annoying.

Bubba's nickname is Brutus. He is the most uncoordinated cat I have ever seen. Rarely does he ever make an intended landing target when he jumps and I have the scars on my legs to show for it. He also has a weird habit of chewing on wicker. None of it is safe, and I mean none of it! He chews on everything. The plastic bag that my blanket came in is full of holes. The tags on power cords, paper, Q-tips (from the trash no less!) and now my straw hat! My closet door is a bi-fold that he has figured out how to open. Apparently last night he was bored. This is what I found when I opened my closet this morning.

Do they make chew toys for cats?

And how could I forget this?


Everyone seems to have sayings that inspire them, or words that offer encouragement in one way or another. I have found through friends (real and online) that there is a wealth of words strung together in a variety of ways that cause me to ponder life, love and loss. I thought I would share some of them here.

  • Love is like the wind. I can feel it, but I can't see it.

  • Any emotion if it is sincere is involuntary.

  • Keep your loved ones in your heart and not on your mind.

  • The love you take is equal to the love you make
    (OK, those are lyrics from a Beatles song, but they are words said to me by an ex-lover from many, many years ago when we broke up that stuck with me and I have tried to live by since.)

  • Anything worth having is worth fighting for.

  • And then there was this little gem from a fortune cookie:
  • Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

  • This last one really struck me as being tremendously profound.

    Well, this just sucks

    What a shitty day. Not all of it mind you, but the part I was most looking forward to fizzled out like a dud of a firecracker. Not the climactic close to the crappy year I was hoping for, but it's over now.

    And I am still fighting back the tears.

    I so wanted to have a toast to the end of this year and the welcoming of the new year. And yet I have two bottles of champagne still unopened. Those I chose to be with for this event all left my company in one way or another before midnight arrived. No need to go into any details, other than to say I am disappointed. I have tried to be brave and strong and patient and cheerful when I can muster it. I must not have tried hard enough. I am fighting to hang on. The pull for me to give up and drop into the deep dark pit is becoming too strong and I fear I will lose the battle with that demon.

    OK, so I lost the battle of the tears as well. Shit! What a fucking memorable new year this one turned out to be.

    I'm going to go soak my black eyed peas now. Then eat some chocolate and go to bed. Tomorrow I will drink mimosas for breakfast, black eyed peas (365 for sure!) and cornbread for lunch, and probably wallow around in my comfy clothes all day. And maybe, just maybe I won't wear my brave face and will cry when I feel like it, no matter who is around. And I won't feel bad about it either. I'm going to play the widow card big time. Just watch.

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