Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board

Voicelessness and Emotional Survival => Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board => Topic started by: sKePTiKal on September 13, 2017, 04:01:55 PM

Title: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on September 13, 2017, 04:01:55 PM
No, it's not really a list. But it started with one!  :LOL:

For three months, I've pretty much had contractors here 4 days out of 7. We're not done yet - but it's getting CLOSE. All the windows and new doors are in; there's some trim yet to complete. The front door mechanicals - the latching system - was screwed up at the factory. So it's boarded, to keep it shut until the new door can arrive. That's not till the last week of the month.   :grumpy:   My front porch is my second living room. I have to walk around - through raindrops sometimes - to get to my covered porch right now. Inconvenient; not what I wanted... but not permanent, either. All in due time.

Contractors have moved on to upgrading the deck railings (they can finish trim in the rain) while the sun is kinda shining. Painters are sealing up the old logs, the new wood and slightly changing the colors. It's gonna look nice. I'm doing the poly on the inside of the windows - it raw pine; and have stained the lower bits of new wood in the living room. The upper part of that former big wall of windows... can just be what it is. It'll age. LOL.

Wood insert & new woodstove are installed. I have another bat in the firebox of the woodstove downstairs. I'm waiting till he's good & dead, before removing him.

I got up way too early this morning, because the arborists were here to take down about 8 trees before 7:30 am. They were done by 10 - brush chipped; logs sawn to size and stacked. Very impressive. So, assuming I can get my buddy to get HIS buddy with the bobcat to get my shed location squared away - I can call Texas and tell 'em to send my barn & shed on the truck up to my area.

Well company is going to inspect the submersible pump on Monday. Electrician coming Friday to replace GFI outlet outside that's exposed to weather. Then I just have to deal with ordering wood (most of what was cut today is NEXT YEAR'S wood; it has to dry)... deal with the water quality in the studio... and move a bunch of stuff into the new buildings so I can work in the garage this winter! LOL.

You know it's hard to find 63" long curtains now a days? I need to try searching again. (THIS is why I sew and need to get my studio set up.)
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on September 14, 2017, 06:14:38 PM
Your to-do, am-doing, gonna-do, planning-to-do lists absolutely flippin' amaze me, PR.

It's an exhilarating Action Journal!


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on September 14, 2017, 09:38:45 PM
Wowsers, Amber.  That's quite a list. 

Sorry about your front porch, but hey.....


You have a really great porch! 

I'm so channeling lovely outdoor space in this cool weather.  I took all the light things off my back porch, and it's still in my keeping room, which means I have two messed up spaces right now.  I'm ready to have my porch back too.

Yesterday my back went out so I did some research on creating a moss yard.  I found a local gal who has a moss nursery, and she had a site consult cancellation that fit my schedule.  All the news is good, basically, but I'll post the detes on another thread.

I'm glad you're getting your porch back soon.  The fall is such a lovely time to enjoy it, IMO: )
What are you doing with all the milled wood?  Are you using it for the shed?


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on September 15, 2017, 03:23:39 PM
Firewood, Lighter - I have two new woodstoves to break in before peak heating season.

I MOSTLY have my porch back now. The painters are done here and the deck railing fence is up. I just have to hike from the back of the house around the deck to the front now. LOL. And yet this morning, I STILL tried to open the front door.    :shakes head: - that Pavlov sure knew what he was talking about!

I spent 11 hours in bed with the heating pad last night. Woke up somewhere in the middle to worry about various & sundry nonsense, and went back to sleep. Electrician was here - found an additional outlet to make safe - it's all done and we had a nice chat while he was working too. He totally is easy to be around - oozes that calm, it's all under control male energy. Not bad looking either - but he has a really sweet wife, too. (Just my luck!!)

Moving freshly cut to length logs after a crazy busy week was just about all my poor body could take. That wood needs to season - NEXT YEAR'S wood. I'll buy pre-split this year. So I talked myself out doing a single useful thing today, while I recharge the tank. I will get around to the list of things that's my part of these projects - soon enough. And I work fast too. So, I don't have to overdo, and can rest when I need to. A big huge list of important things got taken care of this summer - and we're real close to the finish line. There's more to go - but these were the essentials. The rest will happen at a more leisurely pace.

I'd like to get a massage, a haircut, new glasses and find a new dentist. In that order. And finish up the "little" projects I have hanging around, half finished... from this year's list. My arms hurt from moving the logs (in a good way) - the back is fine after supine application of heat. But it's clearly time to empty my brain of everything it's trying to file into "complete", "ongoing/WIP", and still yet to get done categories... and just embrace cabbage-head-hood. LOL.

Time for a sappy afternoon of chick flicks or an epic historical drama. Popcorn. Graze all day... and replenish the calories I've been burning.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on September 15, 2017, 09:27:19 PM

I have to admit, I love splitting wood.  Especially when I'm splitting it with people who're really good at splitting wood, like my brother and BIL, from Canada.   I learn so much.... things go so well... I don't have to worry about watching someone put their hand in the wrong place over and over, etc.  It's another form of walking meditation AND you get all those lovely stacks of wood to burn!

I didn't have time to split all the logs we had last Christmas, so left them under the shed roof to dry out all summer.  The guys move the trees, and cut them, with heavy equipment.  It drops right at the splitter so I don't have to worry about anything but splitting and stacking.  I think BIL tried to teach me to handle the chainsaw last year, but I have too vague a recollection to trust myself without another lesson.   

Next project at my father's is sealing the decka.  I decided on the clear Flood product again.  I hate researching it every 3 years or so, but it has to be done.  I haven't found anything that impresses me more. 

You sound really good, Amber.  It's nice to read your updates: )  How is kitty doing?

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on September 16, 2017, 11:56:22 AM
Mio-mio is better. Uses the box to pee in - I'm still finding "presents" other places, but sometimes she'll even put them in the box. She's been confined to my bedroom most of the week, because the contractors have been in/out - and of course taking out a window or door and there's no way to keep her in the house, otherwise. Queenie is settling in - and has been adopted by the painters while they're here. She's been on flea/tick stuff this summer and just got her first dose of wormer. THEN, when it turns cold and the contractors are done - I'll try introducing her into the house.

I'm still having "Michael dedication music nights" - about once a month. Last night was another. It's kind of amazing how fresh the grief stays. But I just dive right into it now... wallow till it's time for bed... and get up the next day and go on. It seems to work out OK to do this - and kinda feels like I'm taking care of my self in the process. Not that I'm fit for human company during those times, mind you. I know I'm definitely open to another relationship some time down the road - but I'm not actively "looking" either.

I did sign up for Our Time - the over 50 online dating service - and so far, haven't seen any reason to subscribe. LOL. I don't have any interest in dealing with most of the kinds of guys I see "looking". Kinda seems like shopping in a thrift store, of old worn-out clothes that I have wonder where that shirt or pair of pants have been... and not sure I even want to touch it! LOL. Maybe it's kinda like grandkids, too - I enjoy them when they're around - and am really relieved to give them back. I have set Holly to keeping an eye out in the city for me, too. I'm not sure we really have the same taste in men - but she's got a pretty good idea of what I might find interesting.

I'll be getting out more and doing things again, when these projects are done. The long list of essentials (to my way of thinking) has provided a reason (or excuse) for me to take my time processing the grief and practicing interacting with guys again. A big part of that practice - is simply just getting to know ME and how I respond to different guys; what I find interesting or attractive or reliable in them. I don't if there are any guys (my age) who might entertain a more casual relationship than "going steady". They all seem to want mommys, housekeepers and nurses... and I've done my share of that in relationships. Not attractive to me anymore. So, I'm kind of my own worst enemy at this "dating project".

With Ronnie around - and his crew of younger guys that are all willing to help out around here for the place to stay during hunting season (and some of my improvements in that area are for them too)... I think it's do-able to try what I want to do here, by myself. His brother was here this morning with the backhoe, and build a shale pad for my little shed -- and fixed up the road into the "huntin ground" too. He said to call him if I need help with anything and Ronnie's not around. It seems like a good deal to me... I might have to throw in some breakfast and cold "beverages" once in a while. And I keep an eye on the wildlife for 'em.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on September 17, 2017, 09:14:27 AM
Checking into Tupp's thread, I realized how seldom I actually experience guilt these days. It's kinda like losing 200 lbs. Guilt pulls in - like some kind of black hole - all kinds of other mixed up, homogenized emotions too. I used to put it on in the mornings, like my underwear. It was constantly with me.

I wonder when that happened?   :shock:

I don't think I really worked at trying to get rid of it. I didn't even spend a lot of time over-analyzing it, like normal. Only way I think it's explainable, right now... is that coping with my grief about Mike helped untangle all my emotions into those separate threads of yarn. So I could now point out each one individually, they have their own distinct colors and flavors. Yeah, it took a lot of TIME. Time processing the feelings - by just feeling them. While I kept busy with other things.

The other thing that helped maybe - was putting myself on the "right path" for me. In my location, activities, and giving myself a great big corner of these hills to create my own "country"... things the way I envision them, that I tend, nurture, improve, and help become an oasis of tranquility. I have been given full "command authority" here (from my doc friend) to "make it so". And that seems to be affecting me in some really positive ways. Only now, just noticing.

I'm making more intuitive decisions - and have stopped second-guessing myself at every step of the way. I no longer worry if I've expressed myself in "an acceptable fashion" - or if what I'm expressing is socially acceptable or politically correct. I just AM, me, warts & all.

HUH. Who'd a thunk it? I guess I don't need to know HOW it happened, but I sure am glad it did.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on September 17, 2017, 10:39:52 PM

I was thinking today about getting out of one's own way, and what that means.

Putting down the worry, for me...
you put down guilt, Amber....
let's call it whatever negative stuff we're carrying... if we can put it down, we free ourselves to pick up other things, IME.

My step father always said never to pick up anything when your hands are full, and I think about that a lot. 

Worry was a habit for me. Part of my identity, and who would I be without it, right? 
It's nice to find out.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on September 30, 2017, 07:53:18 AM
Since the contractors have been gone, I'm finally slowing down to MY pace again. Room to breathe, relax, think, process, design/plan. Sleep!  ;)

There is a direct positive feedback loop, between getting things done to put the place in order; beef it up for the coming winter; do the maintenance that keeps it secure from the elements... and all my interior sorting and processing.

I can tell when I've finally caught up on my sleep. I'm not greedily falling back asleep to get 8-9 hrs anymore... after 7 or so, I'm already fully conscious and starting to get "moving" again. I do seem real connected to the sun - up with it, and winding down with it - and that seems to be the best schedule for me to keep. Fewer aches & pains, and difficulties with facing the "list" and choosing which of the things seems most important. I only write them down because it doesn't take much for me to get distracted by something and go off in a completely different direction for one reason or another.

The "list" involves my participation in the things the place needs, the nurturing it wants to become what it has the potential to be. We're still in the early days in that process. That will need another winter of just "looking" and "seeing"... "hearing". Most of my tasks are indoors now. I still need to mow again and trim out some shrubby trees... get the weeds down. There are some more purchases required - equipment to help me be capable of doing what's needed by myself without hollaring for some help; some new furniture to provide storage that will fit in my space; serve my purposes... and still a good-sized pile of things to "get rid of".

Time to indulge in taking care of me, too. I need a haircut and the usual round of appts to get new glasses, a new dentist, doc... etc. Some warmer work clothes... new boots (hey, I've been slacking! I don't even have a dozen pair right now!!! LOL)

Summer stuff is on sale right now and I've been thinking a lot about my "outdoor living room" - the front porch. Contractors have left me the materials that were left over; I've got better than 1/2 roll of the fencing they using on the deck railings... and I have plans to build a few things with that.

The traditional tai chi form starts at section I, in January. I think they're only offering this at night - which doesn't work for me anymore. So either I suck it up and go anyway - which means driving back over the mountain at night thru whatever weather; or I figure out something else. It will be almost full dark an hour before the class starts by then... so I'd be night-driving both ways. An hour each way. We'll figure something out. Always do.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on September 30, 2017, 08:56:06 AM
...barter for a ride to class? Younger member with wheels?

I like Tai Chi. It's been started up at my church but I haven't gone yet.

Kudos on your energy, drive, and list-discipline, PR....so much I could learn.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 01, 2017, 05:35:38 PM
The list does get tedious Hops. And I have to take a few days off in a row. I've just now realized that except for getting some wood in for the winter and the usual mowing/clean up chores... there just isn't much that is truly important to get done. I'm using my "power of want" - wanting something done, so I can think about other things - to make it seem more important.

Since most of the tasks are indoors - it's not like there's a big rush. I can afford to take some down time.

Being so far away from the class, chances are there aren't any younger class members out my direction. But I don't know that for a fact yet.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on October 01, 2017, 10:21:03 PM

I don't like the idea of driving over a mountain  at night, esp in the winter.  When I was renovating a condo on Beech Mountain, it was a very dark time for me.  SO much fog.  So much fear.  So many long drives to SLows, as the locals called it.

So much hoping I wouldn't drive off the mountain with little kids in the truck.  I just won't do it again.  I don't want to, and I don't have to.

Maybe you could find an online class, or a DVD or something else that works on your schedule?


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 09, 2017, 08:37:29 AM
Back to the to-do list today.

I took some days off to just slug around and tackle watching the Ken Burns' Vietnam War series. Only up to episode 4. It's a mental exercise I'm putting myself through - to see if I can detect any patterns from then, that haven't changed yet, in how decisions are getting made. It's highly depressing and even tedious in places. A number of emotional hooks are used, that are unnecessary, IMO for normal people to understand the impact of events on the US, Vietnam, and geo-politics. It was also the continuous background to that traumatic time in my life, too. No nightmares, yet. Burns is doing a decent job of reframing things... but I'm hoping that the raw truth isn't getting filtered. My opinion is still changing as the episodes continue.

I'm at the point in the to-do's, where I'm finishing up the big house re-do. The outbuildings should get delivered and assembled next weekend. That will shift things to another phase of sorting & purging - a good winter project. I'm also starting another project - it was the first one on my list - the kitchen upgrade. Sink, counters and a new range. I've lost the igniter on one burner... and that kind of decided the issue if the project could wait or I just wanted to get all that stuff over with, since I'm kind of still in that mode anyway.

Lots of shifting gears around here and another level of settling in. Tai Chi's section 1 won't start till January. She's altered her schedule; used to be end of September. But it does make sense, especially for me, since the expected snow days won't fall during the more difficult complex sections. The days will start getting longer too - so not as much night driving. That sounds like agreement from the universe to head down that path to me.

There's a new level of grieving going on. Or maybe it's self-pity and acknowledgement of how much I depended on an intimate relationship. Acceptance of lonliness, which to be honest, is a feeling I never much had an opportunity to feel - except within one relationship. I worry a tad, about how all this solitude encourages me to revert to more feral ways of relating to other people - loss of the social graces, I guess you'd say. The contractors were a good diversion from noticing that and Allan was right - I do miss having them around. They'd help out with moving heavy things, if needed, and they were here.

There's still a lot of dust settling from the construction - and the annual invasion of stinkbugs, which was unavoidable while windows and doors were out of the walls. I'm sealing up all the holes, cracks and possible entry points as I find them but it's clear that replacing the windows and doors was a wise decision. No drafts in here; and it's QUIET - to the point that I no longer hear people on the driveway. I have a remedy for that to put up, as soon as it stops raining. I'm cleaning up the little piles of left-over wood, etc... as I go along and have a half-day's sort down stairs too. Until I get to the movies and music library. That's going to get pared down too.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 09, 2017, 11:14:25 AM
It sounds so very very satisfying to me, Amber...I vicariously enjoy so much hearing about your projects and house transformation.

I absolutely yearn to do that stuff. As of now, budget doesn't permit, but even on a micro scale. What I personally need to do is stop watching people do it to perfection on HGTV and simply take steps to beautify what I have.

I am frustrated that I DON'T accomplish, so it's good to read your accounts of how you DO. (And don't give me the caveats. You are incredibly productive and un-lazy.)

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 10, 2017, 08:13:08 AM
I think it's my mind that's so busy Hops... the body often wants to tell it to STFU - it's TIRED! LOL.

Maybe just a couple pillows here, a plant there... rearrange these couple drawers... would be enough for ya Hops. Tablecloths... I have a solid wood table in the dining room. It has a pad to protect it, so a tablecloth is necessary. I switch those out on a regular basis to change the "temp" in here. And I'll be rehanging pictures in different locations too - I just used nails where they already were and it was OK for awhile.

Yesterday Murphy and his laws got in my way. I tried walking away for awhile and then trying again. Yesterday used up all my patience. And I just accepted that it was "one of those days" and gave up. I get to try again today.

These projects and the "list"... are interesting, because while it does serve as a distraction from wallowing in all my still-fresh emotions about Mike (and not kicking myself for it)... there is a real benefit as well. I'm doing stuff that's important to ME. Making what I can see in my mind "real". I'm re-learning the creative process and how I relate to it... because no two processes are alike. I'm relearning what it means to take care of myself, too. Feeding myself - mentally, emotionally, and in creating my own little "empire" on this mountain. In this case, being "empress" means I'm the sole caretaker, nurturer, landscaper, and human input into this one spot and it's energy. I'm the servant of what this place wants to be, in full bloom. The stewardess.

It certainly needed "the touch"... and this was just Phase 1. I picked out the most important items on the list of what people need to live - and fixed those first. Phase 2 is going to be more outdoors and the other buildings, no doubt. When the kitchen is complete... that just leaves a few places where some furniture needs be added for functionality and storage. And I'm still "seeing" too much clutter because I don't have things spread out enough yet. The longer I look, the more ideas I get about what really makes sense in the space... and no one makes those; I'm going to have to. Along with my "helpers".

I've neglected giving attention to the other places in the process and I feel badly about that. But I can't do much about the beach house - which is still for sale. The cabin I've mostly decided that I will clean out the personal stuff and tools... and probably sell that too. Proceeds might go to a family LLC. Still exploring that. A lot of stuff we've taken for granted all our lives, the institutions... seem to be so stressed they're in danger of coming apart at the seams. Maybe it's a kind of rebalancing.

But as I'm "looking"... I try to scan for big picture changes and realize that while they're going to be "different times" - it's just change. Some unpleasantness; some new joys... and I'm looking to be on the forward curve of that change. So lots of thinking, feeling what "works", is simple... and useful in the long run. That's a lot of deciding and choosing - LOL. Which is why brain occasionally needs it's cache cleared. Manual labor is one good way to do that.

PS: I've caught myself yet again doing something silly. I've created a bunch of silly "have tos", false urgency - even false anxiety - about certain things on the "list". It wasn't really necessary, to motivate myself. I just had to want things enough - for me - to "go do". I had to matter enough to ME.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 10, 2017, 09:36:40 AM
I had to matter enough to ME....

That's where I have been stuck for years. I've told my T, over and over and over, that my best explanation for my own dysfunctions (in terms of Getting Things Done) is that "I have lost interest in my own life." I know that what did it was the long long long ordeal of Nmother, Nboss, Nbrother (well, NSociobro) and, more sadly than I can say, I think Ndaughter. I mentioned her to my PCP a week ago--he had seen her several times. He said, "When I met her I thought that she was an extremely troubled young woman with a personality disorder." First time any professional has ever said that to me. (Well, no, Doc G PM'd the same thought to me once. I couldn't bear to hear it.)

It's a little less stark these days. I slowly feel as though some life is coming back into these tired limbs. But some days it's a terrible battle to get up and Do It. Eat right. Exercise. Hell, do the dishes. Some days (because I have three days off per week) I lose it entirely. Only the job, old folks depending on me, forces me Up and Out.

It is so so so stupid. I had lost so much of my ability and willingness to TRY.

There's been a nice recent development, though. A male one.

But I gotta go to work now and will start a new thread about that later.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 13, 2017, 12:44:49 PM
Ya know Hops... it must take a huge amount of despair and hopelessness (ie, soul/ego pain) to develop that internal "I don't matter". It really is at the bottom of the things I've struggled with.

Furthermore, I think in my case - I became convinced of that pretty early on... in the form: I don't matter, unless I can find the ways that someone ELSE thinks I matter. My mom was totally absorbed in her victimhood... Dad gone. I fortunately sought out other adults to start at least trying to intellectually understand how this (not entirely accurate) conviction was at the root of self-neglect, self-destructive tendencies.... and poor relationship choices.

Making "I matter" conditional on someone else, is one mistake I made. Choosing older guys instead of someone closer to my own age for relationships. Intentionally over-looking the obvious warning signs in their personalities of quirks I simply couldn't live with long term - like emotional unavailability, arrogance to the point of Nism, but not quite... and people with their own life-impacting issues - despite their STRENGTHS and that they were essentially good people and good men.

And I'm STILL looking for the same thing: approval of my self and choices from older, "wise men". Not because I haven't already made my decision and I need a boost to confidence to go ahead - but confirmation. And I also need the "atta girls" and "good job" when I succeed. 50 years of trying to change this... and it's still there. Change just isn't going to happen for me, at the soul-essence level.

It's part of "me"; who/what I am. Instead of not liking it and wishing it would stop or that I could "fix it"... I think it's probably past time I told myself, on a daily basis: OK. It's OK that you are this way. But KNOW THIS about yourself and keep it in check; keep it on a short leash so you don't make any MORE mistakes out of trying to fill that hole and trying to find someone you can depend on to fill this need.

After all, there's no way I could ever know if someone who grew up with two normal parents isn't looking to fill some bottomless pits of need too. Or that they actually matter to themselves enough to breeze through what I struggle with - but am getting better at doing: taking care of me.

Day 4 of painting my front door today. It's been rainy and turned cooler. I'm in-between contractors right now (stuff planned for next week)... and while I "should" put poly on the interior of the windows upstairs... it's just not happening, because to me, it matters MORE than I finish the front door, that I use all the time... and get my paint stuff cleared out of there and think about where my "design" for this main living space is going to go.

Been ruminating on lots of things lately... but in a productive fashion.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 14, 2017, 11:04:08 AM
Painting the front door has provided me hours of non-verbal "thinking time". The color choice is how I'm tying the rustic of the logs (and the new lighter pine where the windows/doors came out) with the crisp modern/industrial touches. I did make one design change - originally thought I'd paint the window trim on the door & sidelights the same as the very wide trim around the door... and that just pushed me past the amount of patience I have for this project - 4 days of painting, is pretty near enough. And it would be too much contrast; too much linearity - too "graphic"... so the window trim will get one more coat of the door body color today.

I've decided that it's probably not such a bad thing for me to seek validation from the "wise men" that I seem to attract and am attracted to. As long as I don't sell myself out in the process - just for the attention. Yes, I do seem to be yearning for some attention... that intimacy of a close relationship. And given the fact that I've spent my life in a relationship of one sort or another... that's to be expected; pure normal. Speaking of which, Freddy has just now decided I need to give HIM attention, LOL. He seems to know when I'm confronting the inevitable sense of aloneness... versus loneliness feelings.

Sometimes, it's scary just how alone I am. Yeah, Ronnie always says he can be here in 10 minutes and I'm to call him ANY TIME, if I need him. He's away a lot too. But it's so quiet here I can hear very very well things in the woods, and people around - long before I can see them. I've got a good driveway alarm to set up, too. I don't hear the outside stuff nearly as well, inside now - because the new windows and doors are that much of an improvement. I'm not afraid nearly as much now.

We have a real casual relationship. He has a couple jobs; family - and his hunting buddies and while he promises to come help, he really doesn't have the time to be my "go-to"... so I find other ways/people to help. On the other hand - he likes to have the company when he goes to spread corn or just look at the ground he hunts on and I like have a "tour guide" of that area that is essentially my "back 40"... even though I don't own it. Except for his crew - there is never anyone back there. I don't think his wife is the outdoors type. So it's friendly... boundaries in place... and it's working out well.

His brother is also interesting. A good guy to know - and also offered to a "call contact" if Ronnie is out of town. I lust after his front loader/backhoe.... LOL. But he has the skill to use it and I don't.

My friend Debbie is desperately in need of a blow-out, kick back & relax, let it all hangout therapy weekend. Her birthday is next weekend, and that's the plan - I've been her "escape friend" for awhile now... and she's "been there" for me in some rough times, so we're "on". We shared the same N-boss way back when so we do know each other pretty well. That's one kind of intimacy.

The Hol and I can finish each other's sentences; fight and argue scaring anyone within the vicinity and just stop and go on doing what we were doing with no hard feelings. I've had the pleasure of her company - and Matt's too, with & without Holly - a LOT for the last 2 years. They're still hanging in there as a couple; still struggling financially - but still in better shape than a lot of their friends and acquaintances - and IMO, have their own life to attend to. So, I'm supporting that. Holly is just about done with big city life; we've talked about that a few times... and mom has some ideas if the beach house ever sells.

So, what's happening - I think - is that "space is being made" now in my life for something else; new; human; and expeditionary. This kind of thing can't be "planned" out; doesn't need a direction or goal; it's like taking a drive... and choosing to find out where a road might go. Time to explore, in other words. Without timelines, lists, plans or any pressure.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 22, 2017, 09:26:43 AM
Very frustrating week. My out buildings still aren't' here. I can't seem to contact the person I've been working with since the order was submitted. I've left messages, voice mails and have been promised a call back - which hasn't come for 2 weeks. They need me to be here, when they arrive to put up the buildings to write the check. I can't really PLAN to do any of the other stuff I want to get to, as a result. I was so ready for Debbie's and my "old lady blowout weekend".

In preparation for winter, I've ordered doors and windshield wipers for my UTV. I have to load it up on a trailer and drive it south to the dealer for the install and an oil change... since I still don't have room in the garage (where the jack is for it) to be able to see where through the skid plate the oil drain plug is. I don't have room because 1/2 of what's taking up space is slated to go in those past-due buildings.

What Holly, Matt & I have done in the studio means I can finally see the floor in there. Another good couple of days in there, and I'll be ready to "play".

I decided to move some phase 2 projects up on the timeline, that aren't weather dependent and I might as well spend the money now and have that in place. So, the plumbers have been back to replace my water filtration system - that's all done. In the process, it dawned on me that I have a gas line to the garage for the furnace and I could replace the electric water heater with a tankless. The studio doesn't need constantly available hot water... so they'll come back after I get a quote for that. Gas company is going to be here tomorrow to look the situation over and decide what all I'm going to need.

And my "simple" kitchen remodel will happen around my birthday. I wasn't in any hurry for it. I did ask for a timeline of what needed to happen when...... and never got it, until the designer called and said they'd be templating the counter TOMORROW. At which point, I knew I needed to get my new range ordered... which I did over the phone. The installer - an independent contractor for the appliance people - immediately threw a wrench into the process, with whining about being required to come out 3 times. He thinks I'm too far from the "big town over the mountains". And the appliance people (who have worked with this kitchen place for years) had never heard the requirement for 3 hookups/disconnects in the process before... sigh... and the designer is fielding my frustration about communication/process steps and timeline... so I asked her to work it out directly with the appliance people and get me out of the middle. I think she might be new. The counter guy... may have helped some while he was here and we were sorting it all out again.

There's no reason the old range has to be disconnected on the day they demo the counter tops - that range is getting hauled away on the next day, when the new range arrives. It's going to take at least 3 guys to navigate both ranges on the steps in/out of the house. So the installer only needs to be there one day. (To my way of thinking.) The idea about moving the range 3 times must only apply when the range is getting put back and isn't being replaced.

But I can't seem to get Amanda to understand that. I'll try another email to her Monday. This doesn't have to be that hard. LOL.

That would leave only one more large project on my "list" of must-haves, and ought to haves. That would be a whole house generator with it's own propane tank - to keep my furnaces running and the well pump running. Not having lights isn't that big a deal for me. Maybe the outlet the coffee pot is on... LOL. The electrician needs to come back anyway to run power to the new building (there's that requirement to HAVE the building again) and he already knows about the generator project. I've talked to the gas company too.

Replacing the carpet downstairs with a vinyl laminate won't be much of a project. Insulating the garage for my extra "pantry space" won't be a big deal either - but that's time-relative, with cold weather about here.

But my brain is real tired from trying to juggle all this stuff. I need more regular doses of "real connection with real people"... and even though I am friendly with a lot of my contractors... it's not quite the same. So, I'm seeing the "end of the list" in sight and wondering if I have the patience and stamina to get there... since I'm running into "people problems" in this part of the process.

Then next summer, I'll tackle some fencing.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on October 22, 2017, 03:14:46 PM
Wow, Skep, I'm only just catching up with this, oh my days you've been busy!  They make TV programmes about projects like this over here!  Lol.  It sounds like an amazing amount of work but it must be soooo satisfying to make headway and see things coming together.  I'm glad to read that you're taking time to watch films and sleep - so easy to keep go, go, going when there's such a long to do list.  It all sounds incredible, I'm so glad things are moving along :) xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 23, 2017, 08:51:57 AM
Tupp, all this started in March when I picked up my UTV. It's a side by side utility vehicle for working around the place... and I can back down the end of my road, to drop off trash or pick up the mail. It's a mile from my house to the mailbox. And the entrance of the road to the highway is VERY dangerous. Even my UPS man was concerned enough, that I had to suggest his office call the county to see if there's any way it could be made safer. My state just passed a highway bond... so maybe there's money for a project like that. It won't be easy.

The one thing all this stuff has done, is allow me to be around people - mostly guys - without any serious connection. The connecting has still just happened with my usual group of people. Some face to face; much of it online with my virtual "big brothers". And I'm past the point of craving a connection like that... it's a little more serious now.

Some of that is no doubt, because I'm coming up on the 2nd anniversary of Mike's death. But as much time as I've had to look back and ponder, I realized that our relationship was changing years before that. He knew he was sick... and found ways to hide it from me. And since it was a sore subject between us... I couldn't "go there". I had to leave him be with whatever he was choosing. That was one reason I came up with the idea that we could look for a place closer to "home" - where we moved from to the beach. It was something we could do together that I knew he enjoyed and it helped connect us somewhat again.

It's that issue of intimacy with "another", at the heart of it. Being able to chat about or empty all the stuff in my head to someone who cares... and can "fill in the gaps" in my thinking. Physical touch, is secondary to that... but no less important.

Even when I'm not up doing...... it seems I'm pretty busy and fully engaged with this thing called life. Still trying to figure it all out.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on October 24, 2017, 03:10:59 PM
Wowsers, Amber:

You've been very very busy.  I'm tired just reading your thread.

I'm curious how you decided on the vinyl flooring for downstairs.  Is it very damp down there?  Lots of tracking in water? 

I wish I could see pictures of your progress.  The front door, and windows.

Reading about making space in your life, and looking forward to what comes next is nice: )

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 24, 2017, 05:08:39 PM
The vinyl laminate is very durable and easy to care for; simulates hardwoods. That's my main entrance in and out... tracking in mud and snow. So easy to care for is important. Most of the space is utilitarian and mudroom. My office is down there - but a thick rug and nice curtains will soften it a lot.

Let's see if these pictures will upload:

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 24, 2017, 09:43:47 PM
OH, the wood is so beautiful.
Rich, warm, varied.

Thanks for this look, Amber! What a treat.
It looks as though you have gorgeous light too, and plenty of it.

I can't remember anything lovelier than when I lived in the mountains
(Appalachian Kentucky, miles into hollers) in a tiny house on the hillside.
Mountain light is different to me in a way because it's so appreciated.

With mountains all around you, when/as the light is shining through,
I always felt and appreciated its presence.


I wanna sit down and put my feet up and breaaaaathe.

The air too, the air is so much better there!


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 28, 2017, 09:33:56 AM
LOL... thanks Hops. I do love being out here; and it IS a lot of work to live here. Even after the projects are all done. But that's what I wanted. Something to "tend to".

Lighter has her moss; I have lichens. Partly because of how much sandstone and shale there is at the surface of the soil, in most places. Researching these last winter, come to find out that lichens don't grow where the air is polluted... or where there is a high amount of acid rain. Given how MUCH I have around here, seems to be an overall positive sign.

The area where my garden will go is full of dense, deep green long grass. It slopes to the pond and has a wet weather creek as one border. I don't "need" a large garden, but I'm going to be planning for one in any case. Orchard will likely go in that area too. Again, not big - because I have to plan for old age, and with planting it now and babying it - it should produce enough that I'll likely have extras to share around.

The hunters have been here the past few days. There is a story in that - but I'm still processing it at the moment and have to accomplish a couple of things before the rain comes. No confusion, just chagrin at my natural tendencies and maybe a little wishful thinking that my temperament was a little different than it is. I'll have to come back later and explain.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on October 29, 2017, 03:26:47 AM
Wow, Skep, those are beautiful pics, what a lovely place to be.  It's great that you've made something that looks warm and cosy but can still withstand the rigours of that outdoor lifestyle and function as you need it to.  You must be feeling very proud of what you've achieved, and so quickly as well!

I hope the processing of the hunters' story is going okay! xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 29, 2017, 10:16:00 AM
So I mentioned above that Mike had been withdrawing from me for a couple years, even before things reached the terminal stage. I didn't understand, at the time - and yes, I would occasionally imagine a few possibilities - but I was going through a lot of flashbacks to the rape simultaneously. I wasn't feeling all that comfortable being intimate, either. Thank god for menopause, right?

And now, it's been 4-5 years since I've had a relationship at the level a guy could put his arm around me and I could sink into that feeling of being wanted and safe. I've been noticing that I'm feeling drawn to - almost compelled - to seek out validation/confirmation/acknowledgement of "me" from my wise, older, "useful brothers". (I decided to call that "Daddy Issues" - but after looking around, it would seem that's not quite accurate.)

In the process of packing to move - I found hundreds of items that Mike had purchased and hid from me with an unmistakable message to not deny myself physical contact and pleasure. It was embarrassing, in a way. I'm really not that adventurous sexually. I crave touch, contact, intimacy and true caring more than any physical release... which, IMO, is a lot like flossing. And it's something I can do for myself. But I can NOT give myself those things I crave that only come from a guy in a relationship. (Thank god for black trash bags... many of those "toys" got purged.)

So, the farm came with a "caretaker" - Ronnie. He is the main "hunter" around here. The first few months, he acted like a chaperone too... giving me pointers about various local things; bugging me ride back into the woods & up the ridge with him. Which I have done a couple times - once in his truck, and the other times in my ranger - me driving. He is deeply connected to the land around me... and I think wants to share it with people. His wife does not appear to be interested in outdoors stuff.

Ronnie has helped me out a few times, more than that really - getting stuff done around here. We have an open agreement about letting him & his buddies use my little garden shed and space behind where the barn will go as his "base camp". There have been a couple times, he's made me uncomfortable by being physically too friendly. Hugs and smooches on the cheek kinda thing. I've handled those right at the moment by giving those unmistakable female physical signals, that he's just crossed a line.

I'm not afraid of him, btw. He is a good guy. And a family man... as are his buddies. I can trust him, I think. (Just a little doubt there; planted by my useful brother - the SF doc. I can tell David just about anything and we can talk it through.) So, I AM happy to see him when he's around. He can come & go back into the woods as he pleases - sometimes he stops to see me; a lot of times he doesn't. Ronnie never presses the boundary I set awhile ago... except...

I must be giving off a lonely, needy vibe. Or he suspects that I am - and he does like hanging out here, with me, relaxed... no pressure... too. Thursday, he asked if he could spend the night at the house, since he hadn't cleaned out the little bunkhouse yet. It was supposed to be cold on top of that (it was! I broke out gloves) I thought a second - taken aback; it was pretty bold for him - and said, sure - I have a spare bedroom. (Mind you, at the beach house, I've had plenty of company in the past... Holly's Matt stayed with me a few days, alone. Autumn's TJ spent a week with us, bringing the kids along. And Mike's brother Chris spent a long weekend with me after Mike had passed... and stayed with us many, many other times. There wasn't any problem with all that.)

After dark, when all the other guys left, Ronnie showed up at the door... letting me know they were gone for the evening... and said he was going home to eat & shower/change clothes but he could come back if I was going to be up and wanted company. My "out" - I wanted an out right then - was that once he got home, he should just crash out there, since we'd already figured on Friday night.

It's at that point, that the old subconscious imagination broke out of her cage.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 29, 2017, 10:43:50 AM
Friday night, he begged off with some excuses - his best friend couldn't hunt Sat morning since he was a couple counties away hunting with his brother; and Ronnie had a wedding to go to Sat afternoon. It was the comment: "I'll come and stay though, if you NEED me to" that pushed my buttons. But I was relieved that I didn't have to have a frank talk with him; which is what I'd come to after pondering a good bit.

Thursday evening, right as he left... he leaned over & hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. Right below the ear. And damn, if I don't know what that energy is (I'd have to be dead)... and that it wasn't just me feeling that. So the starved for physical contact subconscious and physical need for touch fueled a LOT of imaginary possibilities. As I tidied up the house and refreshed the guest room that day... I discovered all those little places in life, where a man used to be. And it was fun and happy to be visiting them. And I got all involved in creating little scenarios in my mind -- all driven by the empty spaces that used to have someone special there.

I maybe shouldn't be watching Outlander. Last week's episode reunited Claire & Jamie after 20 years, and I thought it was absolutely "spot-on" that the scene where they go to bed the first time in so many years... Jamie head-butts Claire's nose. Laughing and crying at the time, here - that was terribly true to life. And it's just that intensity of intimacy... that is just GONE for me. So perhaps I really am a lonely, needy old widow after all.

But the rational mind decided to slap some sense into the subconscious fantasies. Crossing that line, with this guy would NOT have a good outcome for either one of us. I do not want to "go there" with someone so much younger - with a wife and family. Even if he IS interested and maybe curious. Lots and lots of booby-traps in there. Even given my response to him and I do like him.

On the other hand, it would appear I have a new aspect of my life that I had set aside for some time, that I'm going to need to explore, take some risks, and this is going to require "getting out more" because there aren't that many men who just drop into my remote little corner of the world, without an invitation. So, now I need to figure out a way to do that in a safe and reasonable fashion.

And I'm not entirely sure if I can restrain that needy subconscious under the circumstances.

This is rediculous to be facing at 60+. LOL.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 29, 2017, 02:31:17 PM
You're still a woman at 60+, Amber....age doesn't change that.
NMom had a gentleman caller well into her 90s and that sexual spark didn't go out.
She wasn't sexually active in the literal sense, but male attention was important to her.
I am in my late 60s and this is important in my life too.

I agree with married-David that you should stop playing with married-Ronnie. It could go bad in so many ways.

My reason's simple. I crossed the line once with a married man and will always regret it. I understand why I did it (loneliness, his attention, soulmate matching, plus the chemistry....etc etc). Eventually I forgave myself. But I will always regret it.

Because I harmed another woman and had no right to.  No matter how he described his wife, or how I fantasized I offered what she lacked or withheld, I had absolutely no right to violate HER life. I judged myself for that strongly because I knew exactly how it felt to me when I was married, when my husband's sexual focus strayed. My choice later when I was single but the man was not, damaged my personal integrity and it took me years to rebuild it. When my spouse made clear he was disloyal it HURT. And the fact that other women would willingly participate in creating my pain doubled the hurt. (In time, ironically I also lost respect for this later lover, for his willingness to dishonor his wife.) And know what? I was intimate with him ONE time. Yet it took years to heal from the pain.

I completely understand how lifelong monogamy can't work out in every instance. It's sad but it's true. But I retroactively created a firm new boundary for myself. It was simple. Dating online, if I heard from an interesting man who was separated, I'd respond: "I'm sorry but I don't date men who are married or separated. I'd be happy to hear from you after your divorce is final." Etc. That way, he finishes his own marital experience however he must, but I am not part of the decision or the process. Huge relief.

Your isolation on the mountain is romantic, Amber. That's where the danger of hurting others lies. I hope you will find regular group experiences that bring you out of your fantasies and into community. There will be good men there, who maybe haven't come to you on the mountain like Rapunzel's suitors...but who are divorced, or widowed, and would welcome a chance to get to know you.

It takes time and loneliness is like gasoline on sexual sparks. I so so understand it. And so hope you do eventually find a new relationship that you can enjoy openly in the light on your beautiful mountain. You deserve it. Just not at the expense of another woman, who would be so hurt by your actions. You're no villain and neither is Ronnie, but together you could be cruel. (Personally, part of my healing was to challenge myself about entitlement. Ouch. But there it was. My desire and loneliness translated into, but I WANT him...and there it went. Integrity.)

I think it will take patience and time, and perhaps joining some group of women will help you maintain your perspective on community. You'll always interact with "mountain men" but you also have sisters you haven't met yet. Maybe there are other unique and determined women nearby who'd really value a new friend?

The friendship of interesting women, here and in 3-D, has kept me sane and in my lane for many years. I am grateful to be a crone!

I've been single since 1995. And surprisingly, there may be a new man in my life. More on that when/as it becomes more solid. (I have that don't-jinx-it feeling.)

love to you,
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 29, 2017, 02:57:22 PM
PS--I think one of the reasons I allowed myself to become involved with someone married --even for that one night--was that I really had no clear sense of boundaries. My Nmother invaded my sense of self throughout my childhood, and she had no "rules" about respecting my separateness. I think that having had to painstakingly learn about not just constructing, but also respecting, boundaries was a major task of my adulthood.

I think people raised in more normal settings don't struggle quite as hard to accept that "this is where I end and you begin." I think it's also possible that the same could be true for another's marriage. "This is where my right-boundary ends and yours begins." As frantically lonely as I was at that time, it was not as hard as it should have been to overwhelm my very porous sense of boundaries.

I'm relieved I see them and obey them now (for decades). But I do not judge others who struggle to, because I was there did that. Lonely damaged women, and I sure was, can be hurricanes in other people's lives.

My former boundaryless self? But if it feeeeeeeeeels good....I'm a REBEL.....and I'm DIFFERENT. Oh that's a long song. Siren songs are real. The rocks are real.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 29, 2017, 03:01:24 PM
Hops - it was the voice of experience that was smacking common sense back into me. Been around that block a few times myself. It never ends ends well for anyone.

I think I'm going to handle it by just coming out and saying it: You're sweet, and I'm glad to have your help around here... and if I can do ya a favor or so in return, I will - but it won't be THAT kind of favor and that's as far as it goes. I'm encouraged that he kinda came to his senses and backed out, too. I'm definitely not feeling entitled to being anyone's "a little on the side".

I think I'm surprised and shocked at my inner huzzy, to tell the truth. LOL. But there it is. Didn't help that somewhere in my undisciplined thinking, fantasizing and reminiscing... I remembered the most flaming flirtation, attraction of my life. He's long passed away now. But he pulled me out of my shell in ways that only ever happened again, with Mike.

I think it was a reminder that I can't neglect this part of myself. Just a little more intense than my usual "reminders". Jeez. And maybe putting me on notice that's "it's time" be a little more available, to those who are, as well.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on October 30, 2017, 09:58:20 AM
When I told Holly about this... she interrupted to ask if I might not be projecting my fantasies onto this poor guy. I can see how she came to that perception. I'm not TOTALLY sure, myself.

Maybe his intentions in making the requests were totally innocent. But the fact is, he did ASK. And it was the request that got my wheels turning off in fantasyland. I'm sure that does say a lot more about me, than him.

So, that'll take some thinking about... quiet feeling out those spaces... and more processing. Pretty sure it's not that far out of the range of experience after my loss. But as usual, I forgot it was something I needed to watch and notice about myself. And like a gawky teenager... I will likely swing around the extremes a bit before I find a more graceful way of navigating this part of life.

What on earth convinces guys to post shirtless pictures of themselves to online dating sites???? What a turn off. I just tell the database, they're not a match and move on. I took a quick tour of what "our time" considers a match for me - bleck. It reminds me of the old "meat markets" of the 80s. It's more fun to cruise the dog adoption sites... and the dogs & puppies are way cuter and look more interesting.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on October 30, 2017, 10:11:14 PM
Oh, I hear you.
I especially love the selfies some of these good gents take in their bathrooms.
It's mighty brave!

I mean...some are willing to share not just their chests, but their medicine chests!

I am not a bathroom snob.
Nor a naked chest snob.

But on websites, in combination...my stars and garters.


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on November 04, 2017, 03:22:56 AM
When I told Holly about this... she interrupted to ask if I might not be projecting my fantasies onto this poor guy. I can see how she came to that perception. I'm not TOTALLY sure, myself.

Maybe his intentions in making the requests were totally innocent. But the fact is, he did ASK. And it was the request that got my wheels turning off in fantasyland. I'm sure that does say a lot more about me, than him.

So, that'll take some thinking about... quiet feeling out those spaces... and more processing. Pretty sure it's not that far out of the range of experience after my loss. But as usual, I forgot it was something I needed to watch and notice about myself. And like a gawky teenager... I will likely swing around the extremes a bit before I find a more graceful way of navigating this part of life.

What on earth convinces guys to post shirtless pictures of themselves to online dating sites???? What a turn off. I just tell the database, they're not a match and move on. I took a quick tour of what "our time" considers a match for me - bleck. It reminds me of the old "meat markets" of the 80s. It's more fun to cruise the dog adoption sites... and the dogs & puppies are way cuter and look more interesting.

Ha, the perils of internet dating, Skep!  Yes, it's an eye opener.  I think this guy is just waking you up to the possibility of a man being part of your life again - not him, for all the reasons you've already said, but it seems his attention, whatever form it is taking, has made a little something in you wake up and think okay, maybe this part is coming back to life.  I think that's a good thing, even though it's not a path you want to go down with this particular chap, but it seems to be sending a signal that that part of your life is coming into focus.

And yes, I think clear, no messing about statements about what is and isn't on the cards is best - saves any future misunderstandings or anyone crossing the line so much that the nice helpful quality of your friendship is affected xx

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 05, 2017, 11:54:15 PM
How will you seek out male companionship for yourself?  It's tough to be so isolated, and want to expand your social circle I'm sure.

Your cabin reminds me very much of my father's house.  Pecky Cyprus ceilings and walls with hardwoods....so warm and cozy.  You have so many great vinyl flooring choices these days, and it's a no brainer in wet areas for sure.

About this younger man.... I'm glad he's creating sparks, but I agree with Hops and you.  Too many pitfalls,and ways it could go wrong.  Cultivating connections with potential seems a better use of your time, and there's no moral wrestling match.  Even if it was easy and casual and super convenient, it might get weird.  Possibly very weird, but you're a big girl.  I trust you'll make decisions that are right for you.  You deserve to be cherished and honored.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 06, 2017, 02:41:55 PM
Well, I'm still looking at all this.

On the one hand, I'm clearly not dead yet - in that I can still feel all those feelings - and for someone besides Mike. Quite the revelation, actually. That's good news.

But this other guy already has his hands full. I'm pretty sure I didn't "project" his request to spend the night... or his other comments that gave me pause. (Even while the fantasy-machine was cranking up...) So, I'm not misunderstanding anything here. And maybe he's just "playing" and doesn't mean any of it. (Which is possible since he begged off.) I just have to more ready the NEXT time, and shut it down faster. (I guess I need the practice, too.)

My over-protective "useful Big Brother" keeps warning me about the special things to watch out for, being a pretty well-off, widowed hermit. Especially in the rural areas where people don't have a lot to talk about except each other. And one is being taken advantage (emotionally) by someone for their own agenda. David's 10 years older than I am (more or less) and went through some of the same things when he moved out to the boonies in South Dakota. I quite like him - but he's taken too - and he will NOT come back east at this point in his life. So, we've navigated that really well to where we're both comfortable.

What Ronnie is up to, I'm not entirely sure... but I'm not imagining things (except my own little fantasies). So, I'm choosing to be flattered... but "not interested" in that kind of relationship and I have a lot of experience scaring guys off. So, while I do like the offers of help - he doesn't follow through that well or I see other things about him, that give me pause. I have reminded him more than once, that I'm also "country smart"  - wise to some of the hustles people use.

When I told him the other day about hurting my back moving the trailer by myself - out of my own foolishness - he asked why I didn't call him. I told him it was because I was stubborn and hard-headed and the fire was shooting out of my eyes... as I was fighting the pain trying to do something else that had to get done. LOL. I can still make guys back up. I guess I pulled muscles on Sat... but it wasn't until Tuesday - when I had to leave during "school bus" hours in the morning and deal with my wretched intersection with the highway that the problems really set in.

I was driving down to the little cabin to inspect things and bring back some stuff I didn't want to leave there - including Mike's ashes. Planned to meet someone who'll take down some trees and work on my driveway, too. And I think I went out without being dressed warm enough... then drove the 2 hrs home - again having to "turn my rig around" up the hill - across the highway during the pm school bus time frame... to be able to pull into my road. And then of course, having to unload everything... put the trailer back in it's spot... and THEN the old muscles started to really hurt.

I just have to be able to do stuff like this MYSELF. I can't be calling for - and waiting on help - all the time. But I think I probably have a lot to learn about what I can/can't physically do still.

Kitchen remodel is this week. Guy will be here to unhook the current range pretty soon. Demo tomorrow. Install early Wed morning; then plumbers & gas inspection Thursday. No word on the buildings yet, but I did hear the SOONEST it could possibly happen is Wed. I'm not holding my breath.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 06, 2017, 09:38:25 PM
Awww, Amber. I'm so sorry you're hurting.
If anything amplifies loneliness, pain does.
((((((( )))))))

Sometimes when I've been in an awkward, uneasy situation like yours with Ronnie, I find the solution is not to wait. Not to wait for his signals, not to worry about decoding him. But to take ownership of myself, and step up, by saying directly: "I have a rule about this, and I am not going to cross it. So thanks for the help and here's your check, but I don't want this to be so personal."

And small town or no...there are other Ronnies. If this relationship is tainted now, it's okay to move on. It sounds as though in your hunger, you reveal and risk quite a lot with him even in dialogue. Giving him that memorable a look into your core is something a lonely person does. (Happy to share my Tshirt collection....). It's a power to display and if one's a bit reckless, to hand over.

I think you need to be your own guardian, and guard yourself not out of a sense that you're bad or dangerous, but out of respect for the vulnerability of where and how you live, and that you're a newcomer there and don't need to be the scandal of the valley, and that you haven't yet spent enough time in the town to actually bond with other rings of this complex circle of community.

I hope you find other new friends there. It'll take effort. But plugging into community life in some way, and regularly, will help ground you in a positive relationship with the ecosystem you've entered. You're not an invasive plant.

You're a wonderful interesting woman who deserves to be enriched by other people, plural. Be wary of fixation on male energy. You have plenty of your own.

love to you,
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on November 08, 2017, 01:01:43 AM
A lot of the time when I read through a thread and want to reply I realise all I need to write is, "Yeah, what Hops said".  Lol

I hope your back muscles feel better soon.  I get a lot of problems with my back so I understand that feeling very well.  And I hope the kitchen plans go well, it sounds like another big step forward
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 08, 2017, 11:03:43 AM
Yes Lighter, our Hopsy has a way with words, doesn't she? LOL...

Thanks for the support Amazons. I guess I'm slowly realizing that this is also a "two steps forward, one step back" process. And while parts of "me" are more than ready to take on something like this... there are other parts that really AREN'T.

I'm fixated, of course, on my relationship with Mike... and thinking I need exactly THAT again. But that's not going to happen - and I knew that a long time ago. Plus, I am completely different than I was when that relationship blossomed (rather quickly) into a marriage. We were both coming from the same kind of life... incomes... etc. And then we adjusted together, to my new financial situation. It was very lucky that my biggest complaint about him was his "collecting stuff" habit. I haven't been so lucky previously.

And that scares the crap out of me. A "smooth operator" can definitely take advantage of that "need" and then flip into a controlling, greedy, possessive -- and financially, serious risk -- to me, my business and the kids. I CAN'T trust my perception and instinct, because I've gotten myself into "fixes" before... not seeing all the signs of problems... which of course, I've learned about in the course of being on the board here. (How many years is that? Would I be considered "slow" in developing confidence in myself?? LOL)

So, I don't want that kind of relationship. And except for my smooshy, marshmallow-y, needy side which just wants to swoon and trust that a new hero will swoop in to catch me... I need to start writing an outline for myself... and ask myself some questions about what would/wouldn't be OK with me in a relationship. I need to KNOW this for myself before I can risk being open with someone at that level. Just because: once burned twice shy.

---------------- New topic and tale... and some thinking out loud --------------

All spring & summer, Ronnie was scarce around here. He pointedly avoids direct interaction with me if my friends or the kids are here - even when I've invited him to join us. He definitely only wants a one on one interaction. And there is a clear attempt to ingratiate himself into my "good graces". Yesterday's was a phone call with a piece of information that we both have an interest in - the guy who owns the land behind me and that Ronnie hunts, is thinking about selling it. Out of the clear blue sky. And of course, Ronnie is offering to be of any help he can be... to help me buy it.

Obviously, I don't want a subdivision to go in there - and at the moment the only vehicle access is MY DRIVEWAY. In some cases, when something like that happens, I've seen instances where the developers feel entitled to tell me what I can/can't do on my property. So, I told him I'd do some research - and take some time to think about it. I'm real estate poor as it is, until the beach house sells. But yes, I could buy this large parcel of land outright and yes, it would enable me to do a few more things IF I had some additional physical help. (See where that could work out good for Ronnie? I can also see him asking me to sell him a chunk too.)

What he doesn't understand, is that Mike was the black belt at this kind of thing -- but he didn't engage in it with ME. At all, ever. He taught me how to think like that... to protect myself. What I'm good at, is appearing to be the naive, and unsuspecting female... to find out what I need to know. Getting enough information that I can read what the "pattern" in front of me - even if it's confusing - is telling me.

So, it's about 24 hrs later. I DO have a really strong self-interest in initiating contact with the owner and opening a discussion. (For all I know, Ronnie offered to run it past me with the owner. He does things like that, but would never let on to me.) So, I have the owner's phone number... and left it with Ronnie, that he didn't need to be in the middle of this, and thanks for the heads up. I've run the picture of the opportunity past BOTH of my useful big brothers and Doc said to not think about it; just buy it, if I'm not going into debt to do so... LOL. My bankers are already drooling over being able to invest that amount of money for me... if I DON'T do something with it. But I've also been throwing out ideas to the kids about ways to help them, in the here and now... without waiting till I'm compost.

So, it's at this point in all the crazy casual "relationship" - which it doesn't quite rise to that level in reality - that the steel gates come down and I don't chat about the goings on with him, beyond his "need to know" and same goes for my reasons for wanting that land. And maybe I'll get a chance to have my little talk with him about the other stuff. Sometimes, it's nice that my marshmallow morphs into a Viking at the drop of a hat.

I also have run this "Ronnie problem" past my widow friend who lives further downstate. She is pretty perceptive, and told me to consider that Ronnie might be having "marriage problems" and to dig out my 10 ft pole, too. Just like you guys. So that appears to be the consensus. And my distrust of his motivations is now strong enough, to be more on guard. So that problem is solved, settled in my own mind. I just need an opportunity to make that black & white for him.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 08, 2017, 12:32:49 PM
and then flip into a controlling, greedy, possessive -- and financially, serious risk -- to me, my business and the kids.
PM me if you'd like a very trustworthy and worth-the-drive estate attorney with a ton of experience with large clients and small. He also goes elsewhere in the state for consultations. This is what trusts are for. Bonus: his British accent.

left it with Ronnie, that he didn't need to be in the middle of this, and thanks for the heads up.

BRAVO. Yes, exactly.

What I'm good at, is appearing to be the naive, and unsuspecting female... to find out what I need to know.

Why pretend to be someone you're not? Why "trick"? It can feel SO good to speak straight up to those you trust, as you have with your friends. You can do the very same thing with professionals. What Ronnie offered is a straightforward real estate tip. Good to know, and you may choose to act on it. But that's all it was. It doesn't get to be embroidered into any form of enmeshment or intimacy or deeper relationship unless you invite it to.

Exciting you might get to preserve some land you'd enjoy protecting. For the land, for your family. You might even keep a protective parcel and develop part in a way you'd feel good about. Or not.

it would enable me to do a few more things IF I had some additional physical help. See where that could work out good for Ronnie?
In rural communities, there are many physically strong, skilled people familiar with land and trees and equipment, who need work. Side jobs or PT jobs or whatever. Ronnie is not the only available helper where you live. Whack a line drive and you'll knock over 10 of them, without the vibes.

All this advice should be sifted for what rings sensible to you....ignore what doesn't....
You could go find out where women, firefighters, volunteers, vets gather. But don't look at hiring male help as a reason to act "naive and unsuspecting". You can be direct and clear. Describing the kind of help you need and asking for recommendations. It can be good to get recommendations from women who seem non-manipulative, experienced and decent. You can even mention, I'd like to hire some trustworthy help that I can feel comfortable around. Any woman who's lived a while knows what that means. Whether or not you're religious, a church community might be a good place to look, too. It's no guarantee, but you can find men who wouldn't cross boundaries.

And then you do need (I know you know this) to shore up your own. One day you will be able to melt and be vulnerable again. It'll come when it's right and you're ready. But wouldn't it be wonderful to meet someone* in the community, not just as the Lady of the Mountain? (My last lover was a friend who'd gardened for me, and in my loneliness, watching his muscles, etc. All very nicely Chatterly, but we had too little in common by a long shot.)

He definitely only wants a one on one interaction.
That's guilty behavior. That's not married-man behavior. It means fantasy, and likely future harm.

I can also see him asking me to sell him a chunk too.
Oof. Installing a problematic person (or a person who stimulates your own problematic side) permanently nearby. "No, not in my plan, sorry." No further explanation required.

When I was in grad school, the most strikingly talented and beautiful woman I knew, who could be slaying men and making them swoon right and left if she wanted, spent a ton of time in a rural quilting circle. Local farm women, artsy types, ordinary women of all sorts got together every month and did old-fashioned quilting...and talking and talking and talking, plus a potluck....together. It was my first glimpse of the strength and support and astonishing comfort women could give each other.

It wasn't what I experienced from other females when I was young. But as an adult, it changed my life to recognize and celebrate the power and significance of female friendship. I hope you find that too. It's steadying, balancing, comforting, encouraging. (There are always competitive or insecure women to avoid, and that's okay. People are still people.) It just took me a long time to discover how my fear of liking and trusting female friendship had meant I was cheating myself of the strength and support of sisterhood.

Hmmm, more I think about it, more I think that CRAFTERS, who populate a lot of mountain areas, might be where some of your as yet unmet sisters are. Of course! Potters, weavers, bread bakers, quilters and painters. Many are female and many build community. Instinctively trusting and helping each other.

Aww heck. Hope some of this is helpful. And not too annoying. I'm so cheering for you in your new life, Amber. I see it wonderful and see you happy.


*SINGLE (ie, divorced or widowed. Not "separated...").
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 08, 2017, 01:42:37 PM
Aw, Amber.  Back pain.... so debilitating.

I use bio freeze, a back vibrator, and a lot of bending forward allowing my spine to lengthen, and hang.  I also do what appears to be dirty dancing against a wall, or on the floor to work out lower back muscle tightness.  If that doesn't work I swallow hard and ask retired chiropractor for an adjustment, which I hate to do.  I'm a bit like you... I want to do things on my own, and not have to ask for help, esp male help.

It looks like you have the Ronnie thing in hand.  The property will be a great deal you'll feel is worth considering, or it won't, IME.  Heck, the owner might be interested in owner finance that works out well for both parties.  Hard to say till you've dug around, and collected the details, IME.

I want to say that the sparks with Ronnie are really useful information, IME.  It doesn't have to be anything more than that.  You can file him away somewhere safe, and wash your hands of the ick factor, or you can allow it to keep coming up, and bugging you.  I'd re file him gratefully, and not give it another thought unless he requires a quick correction that makes clear your position.

In the meantime, how are you dealing with your back?  Is it getting better?


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 09, 2017, 09:10:44 AM
I don't want to jinx it - but yes, my back is better this morning. So far - later in the day, it seems to kick up again. But the plumbers are on the way now, so I've got most of the day being comfy still and not trying to do much. New stove is a dream btw. I'm anxious to bake in it and get my thermometer going in it to learn how much I can trust the controls/temp.

Hops - I'm afraid I totally confused you with "naive" comment. I DO, in most cases, make initial contact with someone straightforwardly, and as clearly as I can. I ONLY play that part (intentionally) when I suspect someone is trying to BS me or has ulterior motives in play or when I think it will generate some more solid clues about what that person really wants.

Sometimes, the role jumps out instinctively, protectively - and while it sets off an internal argument about just WTH I thought I was doing - it still produces solid results I can work with. Remember, I've been here a year now and Ronnie's been here - coming & going from the hunting grounds as he pleases - during that time. He does stop and talk to me, again - when I'm here alone and not when anyone else is around.

All the little intuitive things about him have added up over time. Confirming my suspicions/worries... until this last thing made it perfectly clear. He KNOWS now, he can push my lonely button and that in an offhand moment that I'll cave. I'm kinda hoping that since he backed off that weekend - only asking if I "needed" him to come and stay and hangout - that it's the end of it. I know I'll be having that chat, at our next opportunity, if he stops talking long enough for me to get a word in edgewise.

As for buying this property - we'll see. It's an opportunity for me, but Mr. Owner has forwarded his phone and all I get is a busy signal. So I can't even leave voicemail. I know people in DC are busy and when they have downtime, they totally unplug... but if this continues, I guess I'll wait till he lists it. The only other option, is that he might answer Ronnie's phone number. And I'd rather not have to ask him right now.

You're totally right about hiring other "help" than Ronnie. I've done that all summer long... it doesn't have to be Ronnie. That hit me yesterday thinking about all this and what I might do with all that land. As for the next Mr. Right... while I'm going to keep my options open... I think I do have some criteria that are non-negotiable. I'm not going to go off latching on to the first possibility that comes along, either. Never fear.

And sometime, when these big projects are done and the other stuff is under control... yes, I'll get out again. I'm really looking forward to that - as soon as I'm free to "move about the planet" again. LOL. I have multiple ideas/plans actually. Just not at that point in time yet.


Twiggy's "really awful bad day" has been coming up for me a lot lately because of things in the news, and people talking about... and the fact that Holly works on the special effects crew of House of Cards. I was just able to write the whole story in one paragraph - and NOT relive it in the telling. That's a milestone I think.

But I think writing out my brother's situation... I realize that just below the conscious level, for all 3 of us... lurks our individual experiences of Twiggy's "really awful bad day" and the fear that this is another situation that could be like that. Bro has never, ever mentioned it and I'm not sure what, if anything, he remembers -- and my mom knows better than to go there with me. I've mostly forgiven her... so any more BS excuses about her behavior to me in that situation will just wake up the anger that I know is still barely simmering.

My T made me understand that it was critically important that I did not share my story and memories with the Bro. I think, because his reaction the first time, was to regress and pretty much cease to function as a "self". I'm gonna guess that it's even MORE important right now, since his current situation is closely enough parallel to the level of trauma from the past it almost looks like he & mom are living a deja vu of that time.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 10, 2017, 09:23:54 AM
I'm up, and moving slow. It's frigid and getting colder today outside. I need to break in the woodstoves today. The good news is I was able to turn over in bed, with only minor grumbling from my back. So... one more easy day today... which lets me think and spew things out my fingers.

This year, I got a card and a phone call from my mom, for my birthday. Go figure. Card was totally out of character for her, and her writing is starting to look like my brother's. Of course - the call was typical, same old same old... but I am starting to observe little signs that she's giving up some of her victim-complex. My brother's divorce is likely part of that - so I don't expect it to be permanent.

My brother called later in the day... and we talked for a good hour. This is a new bright spot in my "family" situation. It helps add some to my empty cup of "intimacy" with another person. While he is looking for commiseration and support because of his divorce process - and some advice here and there - I'm no longer feeling the subtext of "can you fix this for me"? that I used to. He finally made his decision, he's not second-guessing himself at all - while still mourning the dream of "what could've been", and he's being really open about his feelings in a way that I've not seen for years & years & years.

At this point, his lawyer is advising him to leave the house before Thanksgiving - because it's not safe for HIM. Wife is completely off her rocker and physically violent - and extremely abusive all the rest of the time. He has the same natural self-defense mechanisms I do... but under the circumstances understands he MUST keep them completely in control. The problem is Mom. He's recognized that it wouldn't be safe to leave her behind (I give my mom the odds over the wife, but then mom will have another breakdown) - but he doesn't want to share the space with her either. And I know I can't. At 84, she couldn't deal with all the steps at my place.

So, while he's found a couple interesting places to buy - he doesn't want to do that until the divorce is final. They don't have their first sit-down mediation meeting until January. So, he's having to find a place to rent. I am pushing the social interaction of an assisted living community for my mom - especially one that can adapt to more nursing, as needed. Guess I'm on the hook for half the cost... and likely doing the legwork to find something in the area she's living in - and is familiar with. He didn't ask that... I'm just realizing it this moment. He doesn't have time to do both. And he's sleep deprived because of the abuse at home.

The oldest kid is in college now. She refuses to go back to the house - whether her mom is there or not... because mom will call her screaming at her, if she goes home and hangs out with Dad instead of her. The youngest will graduate HS in 2 years. I've seen firsthand how she treats him - but he seems totally immune to it - like water off a duck's back. But it may not be safe for him to continue to live with mom either -- the wife transfers a lot of her anger at my brother onto the boy. I need to mention that to the bro... in case the marriage counselor, which bro is still seeing (wife quit a few years ago) hasn't done so. Counselor has diagnosed wife as "characteristically hostile"... among, possibly also sociopathic and bi-polar.

So, something else I need to figure out now is "what's best for mom"... Mom is getting pickier and more complain-y in her old age... but does like having someone around to talk to even though she claims she doesn't. LOL. She was always impossible to please... nothing was ever good enough for a grateful "thank you". And of course, there is the problem of all mom's "stuff" which STILL matters more to her than anything else.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 10, 2017, 11:44:57 AM
Oh my gosh. Those poor kids. Their mother is ensuring they will have long scars from the divorce. And your brother...it's good he's moving forward to divorce but I hear you saying it feels perilous to everyone. I'm so sorry. It's wonderful that his reaching out has brought you closer, though. Has he been to see your new place yet?

Good news that assisted living will happen for your Mom. After the adjustment, she may become surprisingly happier. I notice every day how the residents at the place where I work create "family" for each other. They're in and out of each other's simple apartments all the time, they check on each other, and have dinner together at tables where they build relationships. These folks are in a setting of "independent living plus" kind of thing. Shakily, but they're still mobile. They get basic housekeeping, dinner every night (but only brunch on weekends, so need to manage other weekend meals), and emergency checks. Transportation and various outings are available. There's a very active bridge group, even a writing group. And it's in a pretty setting.

It's not a palace, it's mid-range. (There are a couple of retirement places here that ARE palaces.) But I've noticed how much they care for each other, and that's a piece I hadn't anticipated.

Once there's a need for actual assisted living (help with ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living, like dressing, bathing, meds) there's a new building with one-room apartments and that higher level of care. Plus a separate memory unit.

What bugs me is this place is NOT adding skilled nursing in their mammoth new facility we've all been watching go up. So, it must mean the real profit is in the assisted living and memory care...both of which are relatively easy to run and nicely expensive. But for people who become seriously weak or ill and need NURSES...they have to move somewhere else. Pisses me off that they all live in fear of that trauma--having to move away from their friends and familiar staff--but I'm sure running a nursing unit is more complicated and thus less profitable for the corporate owners.

Ugh. Those who die in their sleep before the end stages of American "care" are lucky.

Now that I've cheered everyone up...ta for now.  :?

Glad your back pain is better Amber...we've been synchronized with that this week. You be careful, hear? A true thrown-out back would be worse misery than normal if you're stuck in pain alone for long. I'm really glad you've found other helpers and hope a good friend will visit soon. Sounds like it might be time for some company.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 10, 2017, 06:03:07 PM
The kids show up tomorrow for a couple days Hops. They're eminantly useful and loads of fun. I am breaking in the new stove... made a cheesecake today and cooking lamb ahead of a shepherd's pie tomorrow. I haven't been much of a cook lately... so I feel like spoiling them a little. Might break out the grill Sunday morning for pancakes. There aren't any big jobs for them to do.

The hunters also arrive probably Sunday; maybe Monday... for the opening week of rifle season. I might have to think about doing some Christmas shopping that week... LOL.

oops not done yet - LOL -

I have to take & post a pic of the cutest little Lodge cast iron dutch oven I got - just right to cook for me! My big one is either 4 or 6 qts. This is a lot easier to manage.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 14, 2017, 08:17:40 AM
Had a really good visit with the kids. There was some wood stacking happen, and Matt struggled through problem-solving the mounting for my living room sconces. I got to meet their new puppy - Knuckles. He's pretty cute and a snuggle-pup too.

I haven't seen the hunters for the "big week" like I did last year. I also haven't seen/heard that many deer either. Ronnie's been in/out a few times, but didn't stop. I know he didn't recognize Holly's new car. Had a chance to discuss that situation with Matt & Holly - she didn't tell him much. No firm decisions made there... except for maintaining distance.

No contact with the land owner either, who questioned Ronnie about why I haven't called. Which now reads to me like something is being "brokered" behind my back... so while I put on my naive and innocent hat to find out just what is being wanted from me... and WAITING... I'm having a chance to seriously think about the decision on my own instead. And figuring out just what I WANT to do. I have a few more people to talk to and consult with before deciding.

I've pulled the last card I have to try to get my buildings delivered and installed - the sales person, who is a local. The company said it would be at least 2 weeks out after I called because I heard nothing while the LAST delivery date passed... which is what I've been told for 3 months. As it happens, he's going up there on Friday to talk to people higher than my customer service rep. He's been promised one more delivery in our area and he will have my order in hand and make sure mine are on the truck... he says. We'll see. He doesn't exactly have that kind of control. The only other option I have is to cancel the order, ask for a refund of the deposit - and try to find some other company.

I won't be happy about that. The buildings are really nice and I NEED them for the storage space, to get equipment under cover before the snow really flies... which most likely requires lining up extra hands.

Other than that - it's Christmas shopping season... enjoying my kitchen... doing some writing to my "self" to chart Phase 2... and hibernating.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on November 15, 2017, 02:54:26 AM
Aw, Skep, I love puppies!  They can just make the bleakest day seem brighter :)  You are so busy.  I'm glad that kids coming up has been good and that Mr Ronnie seems to have understood the situation.  I'm sorry for the situation your bro is in - very difficult when you have to sort out finances as part of a split.  I hope things get sorted as quickly as they can.  And that you find somewhere for your mum to go.  I am hearing more and more about the 'problem' of where people need to live as they age and I do kind of wish people would be a bit more open to making plans whilst they don't need care, or at least talking through what, when and where so that other people don't have to sort everything out for them.  It's certainly made me think about 'what if' for the future.  The state system just doesn't support and even with a close night, loving family (and how many of those are there?!) 24 hour or nursing care just isn't practical without professional involvement.  So I hope you and bro are able to sort something out relatively easily.  Hard situation to be in xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 15, 2017, 07:51:13 PM
I'm sorry your buildings are delayed, yet again.  I don't know about metal buildings or competition, but you might find better service and comparable quality if it comes to it.  Just such a PITA, I know.
Hopefully delivery comes soon.

Can you post a pic of your kitchen updates?  I'd love to see.


Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 20, 2017, 08:36:51 AM
I'll try to get some pics posted Lighter; remind me if I forget. Running into the big city today... coming home & starting a batch of crusty yeast rolls for Thursday - laundry - hunters are here all week - and Wed Holly's driving out to pick me up for the holiday with them and Matt's family. It's an experiment on my part. Anxiety about getting lost in a big, mean, dangerous city is my biggest deterrent to getting out and being more social. Even though I used to live in the same city. Her driving me, is the workaround, for now.


Now, for the past 10 years or so... mine have been relatively "drama free". To the point that even though we do things "unconventionally", we still have a good time. The city trip means I'll be spending Thursday with people I've mostly met before - but don't know WELL. They are nice people and I'm not working myself up into a tizzy over it. It should be different from my normal stuff - but fun.

So last night - while I was really busy juggling the woodstove, the hunters, and my dinner - my mom calls. Given the ugliness happening with brother & his (hopefully very soon to be) ex-wife... despite my instinct to NOT answer, I did anyway. I really need to listen to my instincts more often - even if I regret them later. She doesn't often call at night.

She was working herself up into a panicked snit, indulging in all kinds of imaginary stuff, and mind-reading my brother... to the point of totally convincing herself that she "knows" what he is/isn't doing. She even went so far as to question whether such a thing as "no fault divorce" exists in her state - or our home state - and when I confirmed that it did, she insisted that it wasn't that way when she got divorced. I pointed out that laws can and do change in 50 years... and she wanted to argue that laws don't change.

Then came the defiant ultimatums about what she would/would not do... the excuses... the worries about her "stuff". No matter how it would complicate things for my brother, no matter who became collateral damage in the process... I could not get her to simply accept the facts of what she MUST or MUST NOT do, at this time - whether she liked it or not. She couldn't possibly understand why the wife wasn't being forced to leave the home instead of brother. Because of course - wife is the "evil one" - and in a no fault divorce, there is LEGALLY no blame, no "bad actor" to punish. I deflected, at that point... and tried to stick to concrete advice to make things bearable for her.

I didn't exactly lose my temper, but I was having to shout over her rediculousness. Till she hung up on me, basically. She "had to go now". I was advising her to get together what she needed to have, to be able to pack quickly - including her "sick cat" - because the wife is inviting her family and a lot of other people for Thanksgiving and has gotten a lot more unstable and violent with my brother and his lawyer advised him to be out of the house by Thanksgiving. It is not safe for brother or mother to be there anymore. And it isn't possible to for her to take all her "stuff" at a moment's notice. The "stuff" - honest to god - is what she cares the most about.

I need to find time to talk to brother today and at least warn him what kind of crap stew she has waiting for him. Mom SAID that brother suggested driving to my place and staying with me over the holiday... but of course, nothing like that came up when I talked to him last - and he didn't know I wasn't going to be home. I can see some triangulation starting up... in her "other world" as evidenced by her conversation. He mentioned a "someday" visit... and I explained that I have too many stairs here for my mother. (OH.... was that a subconscious choice??  :evil grin:)

Well, his job involves a lot of travel. Two weeks to find a place to rent isn't much notice. He can't leave Mother behind - because she is another of wifey's targets. I put the facts out there for her. Commiserated that it sucked, but it is what has to be done at this point. And she kept flipping back & forth between blaming brother for what she was "sure" he was thinking and doing (she doesn't know that; I got tired of repeating that) and telling me (not HIM) what she would/wouldn't do.

I stopped myself short from using the "command voice" to state that NONE of this was "all about her", like she was trying to make it, and I didn't like that she was going out of her way to make a difficult situation even more difficult for my brother. I guess she was mind-reading everyone, she might've picked that up.  :another evil grin:  I did tell her, that neither she or I are ALLOWED to have an opinion about brother's choices - it's NONE OF OUR BUSINESS - and neither of us can "tell" him what to do.

I guess she forgets that brother will be 60 next year... and has a mind of his own.

Enmeshment, projection, triangulation, blame/victim cycle, hoarding syndrome, panic/anxiety, defiant resistance, passive-aggressive.... she threw the whole stew of shit at me. And like water off a duck's back... on my side. I insisted on reality, facts, and that she is not in control. I pushed those buttons until her brain locked up. Maybe when she reboots herself, she'll be a better state... but I doubt it.

Yep, one of those communities that go from independent living to assisted living to full nursing just might be the ticket here.

(Sorry - I'm thinking out loud I guess. Still upset - rattled - by having to field this crap that isn't my problem and I don't want it to be.) Just had to vent that all out.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 20, 2017, 11:31:35 AM
Wowsers, Amber.  Your brother better be researching retirement homes, if he isn't already.

And.....your mother likely heard nothing you said.  You may as well shout into a storm.  She's uncomfortable not knowing what's coming, and that's normal.  Nothing anyone says will make her feel better, IMO. 

If your mom had control of the situation that might help, but she doesn't. 

I do wish we could honor our instincts iimediately and without doubt. 

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 20, 2017, 12:04:52 PM
Ai, yi, yi Amber....it sounds nightmarish, truly.

I remember being asked by my T when I'd rant about my mother's self-absorption, illogical, and especially her panicked monologues. I would respond to them with a rising spiral of panic of my own because (though I didn't get this then) what was happening in me was, if I don't succeed in reassuring and calming her, I have failed. If I don't succeed in getting her to be reasonable, I have failed. (Or, I'm a Bad Daughter.)

My T said, once I took a breath, there's another thing you could say. I go, what? He goes, "Oh my, that sounds very difficult, what are you going to do?"

You can't always stop there when it's a dependent (alas, many elders are) but it was the first time I got that I could teach myself to listen without imagining that I had to be the solution.

I am SO glad you put in steps. I think perhaps a moat and drawbridge would be nice adds...

Lighter's spot on, ime.

I'm really sorry. It's stunning that if your brother has known for a time that he has to leave the house (I didn't quite realize your mother was living with your brother and his wife) by Tgiving...that he doesn't have a plan in place for her.

Hope to god there is an assisted living apartment opening available near him right now.

Fingers crossed,
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 20, 2017, 04:10:22 PM
The immediacy of the problem may require a short hotel stay. Until he can find a place to rent. Which is more than enough for him to think about right now. I took it on myself to start looking at community options for my mom, so when the topic comes up - again - I can send him some links.

No matter what is decided or what is resolved - it will clearly never suit her. The venom against my brother is out of this world. Her assumption is that what she believes is what is really going on - and that she is, by nature of being her - "right" about it all - despite me saying: you can't possibly know that.

No matter the substance of what is going around her and how intensely it may affect others - it's always been all about her. And she believes she's in control, btw.

Pffffft. It's not like he can take time off from his job - he has scheduled track meets to chaperone, etc - until this week. And he's only had 2 weeks to try to resolve the "place to rent" problem, while still working 60-70 hr weeks and being sleep deprived. All he wants is a couple days peace & quiet to be able to think straight.

I think separate hotel rooms would make sense. 

Driving to town & back settled my brain down a good bit. She's trying to make all this my problem - and then it would get to be my turn for being the target of her venom. BTDT and have the t-shirt. Best thing I can do is still support my brother without telling him what to do - I can suggest options, leaving decisions up to him. Tell him I think he's doing a good job with the mess he's got on his hands. And do that legwork on places where mom can be on her own - but with help at hand, if needed - since brother will still be traveling a lot for the near future. He doesn't need to hear any more grief from anyone else about his choices and the reality he's facinig.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Hopalong on November 20, 2017, 04:28:38 PM
You're such a caring sister.
That research and those links will be an enormous help for him.

Venom. Ugh. Belongs to her and nope, you don't have to hold out a hand for her to bite.

I think you're right it will make no difference what you say or have said. If she's full-tilt N, and sounds like she is...your intelligence, sense of fairness, and willingness to live in an evidence-based reality are all just drops of water on the umbrella of her self-absorption. She lives in a cloud of self.

(Now there's an overworked metaphor for ya...)

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 21, 2017, 07:38:34 AM
LOL. We probably shouldn't overwork the metaphors - they might not be up to the task when we really need them. LOL.

Here's a fun but horrifying factoid, for ya. My boundary-pushing flirtatious buddy Ronnie... is only a year older than Holly. (There is a tiny judgemental victorian crone jumping up & down in my brain screaming "what were you thinking?!" LOL  or maybe it's frowning Mammy from Gone with the Wind, muttering "It ain't fittin' ".) I am still digesting this.

Holly has always proudly introduced me to her friends. I'm usually embarrassed by how she shows me off. Feel like a pet unicorn trotted out to amaze her friends. But her friends are truly interesting people too. And over the years, I have gotten fond of some of them. Yes, she put out the word I'd be in the city for the holiday... and a few people will drop by to say hi to me. It's strange, and weird and wonderful in some undefinable way.

So in that context, looking at the confusion with Ronnie, I can kinda see how I would let myself drift away into some la-la land fantasy - irregardless of age - because of the flirting, his constant offers of assistance (and my real need for some), and the fact that we do connect over this particular little corner of the planet. I'm gonna have to conclude that it's possible I completely misjudged his motivation - even though there's no mistaking some of the words out of his mouth or the way I feel in response.

The other day I asked him if his wife doesn't like to hunt. He said she was planning on being here with the guys today. I'll be keeping an eye out, to beg an introduction. I think that's one of the safer paths to proceed on. Even though, I think perhaps I can keep a tight enough rein on my fantasy-imagination to allow Ronnie and I place to "play" and flirt a little bit... and not be in danger of going any further than that.

Went to the big city over the mountain yesterday to take care of banking and make another Costco run. It was crowded, I got a lucky parking space, and had a list - I didn't want to spend all day gawking at stuff or making an impulse buy. And yet... there were a couple times my "radar" picked up the proximity of a "being of interest" near me. One was at least 6'6" and as white-haired as I am. Well put together, especially the rear view...

... and given how calendar dates shift... today - Tuesday - is the day two years ago that Mike passed. I'm pretty sure that even though we were so close for all those years, he would encourage me to find someone else to be in a relationship with. (That seemed to be a mutual understanding between us.) That ain't going to happen unless I get off the farm more often.

I remembered the day this morning - just like our anniversary in Sept - but not grieving over it. I am noticing the "space" that exists, more often though. Even though I'm letting myself spread out into that space... there is still room for another person. But I'm not aggressively shopping - I still have plenty of things I want to do that keep me busy - and Holly's turning out to be a useless matchmaker.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: Twoapenny on November 22, 2017, 05:13:24 AM
Skep, I'm sorry to read that it's Mike's anniversary, and sorry to read that your mum is being so exhausting.  Well done to you for holding your ground and keeping it out of your space.  That refusal to deal with what needs to be done, to find a million ways to blame everyone else (and therefore make it their problem to sort out) and that need to argue and be right, rather than trying to find a way through or just asking for advice (or a specific request - I need to look for somewhere - can you help me?) is just soooo tiring and is like reading about my mum!

One incident with her (which makes me laugh when I think about it because it really shows the craziness of the situation) was a time, many years ago, when we were watching TV and Madonna had just released a cover version of Don McLean's 'American Pie'.  I commented that I preferred the original and my mum started to argue with me about that - essentially her feeling was that, as I wasn't alive when Don McLean released the original, I had no right to like it and would have to like 'my generation's' version instead.  Lol.

I hope your mum gets sorted without driving everyone round the bend and I like the sound of the well built, white haired man in Costco :) xx
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 22, 2017, 07:09:17 AM
Well, Amber, your mother likely knows you want or need everyone to be ok.  Drawing you into this as fixer, if she can, is to be expected I suppose.

About rental situations for your brother, my sis found a site called Hot pads.  You plug in your particulars, and get ready for available options to flood your inbox.  It's lovely when you're under the gun, and need to move quickly, IME. 

A furnished short term option might be necessary or helpful at this short date.

As for the make interest at Costco....
Drink deeply, my friend.  And maybe dance.

Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: sKePTiKal on November 22, 2017, 10:41:10 AM
Lighter - I do believe you're right about my "need" to have everything be OK, and how that fits so neatly into this "game". I don't know if I've seen that before - or forgot it. Guess the "lesson" didn't take so well if I did forget.
Title: Re: Just the crap I've been up to - LOL
Post by: lighter on November 22, 2017, 03:47:44 PM
I think we have to learn it over and over till we're able to listen to loved ones complain without trying to fix anything for them.

I do it too.

Maybe if we train ourselves to automatically respond with a question....
"What are your options?"

Then we can do the "Gosh, that sounds difficult," thing as they respond with options, rather than us telling them what their options are, kwim?