Friday, September 13, 2019

what a week

Hey there, happy Friday the 13th! I'm not superstitious and I actually really like this particular day but wow, this whole week has felt like it was under some sort of curse so Friday the 13th can't help but be better in comparison.

Of course it started with Sunday's Lost Safari debacle.

Monday night I walked in to chorus a little late and all the chairs in my section were filled. I couldn't find any other chairs and suddenly the room was way too peopley so I turned around and walked right back out. It was a cowardly thing to do and Taz would have been disappointed in me but that's what I did.

Tuesday and Wednesday were super stressful at work to the point that I started to question why I had worked so hard to get this job in the first place and I felt trapped because I'm my sole support now (and not doing a very good job at it since I'm in the red each month) so I have to make this work.

Tuesday night wasn't bad, my team won at trivia (yay Fuzzy Tan Lines!) at the Cat Cafe, but my friends were talking about the Halloween party (at Disney) that they've been preparing for all year, making costumes for both their families. They always do a big group thing with the 2 families and I had so hoped to be invited to participate with them this year but I wasn't so that whole discussion left me feeling left out and alone. I hate feeling that way, it's so not me.

Then there's last night. Thursday at work wasn't bad, the job makes me happy again and I was especially looking forward to going to the movies with my Meetup group that night. It was a special preview of the Downton Abbey movie a week before it officially comes out.

The leader of our group, a really nice lady, had posted the event last month and I was the first person to sign up. I really wanted to see the movie and, although I often go to movies by myself and it's cool, I thought seeing this one in a group would be so much more fun. It's one of those theaters where you choose your seat ahead of time when you buy your ticket so I deliberately picked the seat next to the group leader because I wanted to get to know her better. The whole row was filled by our group.

A few days ago the group started commenting about how fun it would be to dress up a little for this movie - tiaras and top hats and a little 1920s flair - right up my alley and so fun!

I actually do have a tiara that I love but I couldn't find it anywhere last night so I grabbed a feathered headpiece that I had planned to wear for our 1920s themed 25th anniversary party a few years ago. The party ended up getting canceled when our beloved dog, Jasper, got sick (and later died) and we never were able to reschedule (and yes, I'm still bitter about it 8 years later LOL) so I figured it would be fun to finally get to wear the headpiece to the movie. I also put on a cute top that has an Edwardian vibe so I was covering all the decades of Downton.

Here was the group that gathered in the lobby. Some of the people went all out with their outfits! Notice that I'm carrying a sweater - I freeze in movie theaters.

We got into the theater and I was pleased to see that I was sitting next to a lady that I've met at a couple of other events and have always thought it would be nice to get to know her. Like me, she's one of the few in the group that isn't a senior citizen. We settled into our seats, chatting the whole time, and ordered some drinks. It's one of those dine-in theaters but I've found the food is just awful so I was content just getting popcorn. (Side note - the popcorn was awful too and I didn't even know you could ruin movie popcorn.)

Right after our orders were taken, the leader of the group entered the theater with a man.  I had never met him, he's her boyfriend, but I had heard plenty of things about him. I'm always inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt, I'll make up my own mind, but after seeing him interact with the woman sitting next to me, I knew all the stories I'd heard were true.

And I also knew what was about to happen next. He hadn't decided to come or get a ticket until that day so his seat was rows away from our whole group but, of course, the leader wanted to sit next to him during the movie so she asked if I would swap seats with him. And just like that I was out of the group and seated in outer Siberia.

Of course I could have said no but that would have made things awkward the rest of the night and defeated the purpose of trying to make new friends so whether I stayed in my original seat or I gave it up, the effect was the same.

I was pissed but I didn't show it, I walked down the steps to my new seat by myself...except I didn't stay by myself very long because all of a sudden the boyfriend bounced down into the seat next to me, like a lecherous old elf, and declared that he was going to keep me company until the movie started. He had an overly aggressive gaze and that used car salesman, creepy sort of "charm" but, unfortunately for him, I now had my bitchypants on. I don't take them out very often but when I do, nothing can get through my icy outer layer so he didn't end up staying very long. I had heard that he tries to hit on any woman in the group that isn't a senior and so now I had joined that club.

Once he was finally gone I decided being by myself wasn't so bad and I lost myself in the charm of the movie. I loved the original Downton Abbey series and watched each season both when it was on originally in England (through some Internet thing where it believes your computer is in England so it doesn't block you out) and then again when it was broadcast on PBS so I was happy to be back amongst the familiar faces of my Downton Abbey family.

The original series had wrapped up in such a satisfying way with everybody getting a happy ending. The movie didn't change any of that but found a way to give some characters even more happiness. Taz used to scoff at Hallmark movies because their endings were so predictably happy but I always told him that real life wasn't so generous, not everybody got a happy ending so I would take every movie happy ending that I could get. And now I can say "I told you so" to him because I certainly had my happy ending snatched away. So I loved the movie last night because they all got their happily ever afters.

Just because I loved the movie didn't mean I forgot how pissed I was or that I still didn't feel the sting of being pushed out of the group. When the movie ended I got up and marched out of the theater while the credits were still rolling. I didn't turn around and say goodbye to the group or even look at them. I needed to get home to my couch and Charlie. 

I went to bed pissed off and I woke up still feeling that way this morning.

Isn't that the greatest mug? A friend and former co-worker got that for me (she wanted me to use it around our boss) and I rarely feel the need to use it but sometimes, it's perfect; it definitely was this morning. I feel like the universe has it in for me and my quest to find new friends. WTF universe, I'm supposed to be alone forever? Nope, not going to accept that.

Right now I really want to leave reality behind and go on vacation. I would love to find myself laying back on a beach, letting the sun kiss my skin, and then reach out my hand to clasp the hand of someone that cares about me and wants nothing more than to be by my side.

Oh wait, I forgot - this is not a Hallmark movie.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

lost safari...or just lost

I recently attended an event that I'd been looking forward to for weeks. It was one of those dress-up events at Disney, this one was called the Lost Safari Party.

I spent weeks coming up with the right costume that would invoke the spirit of the event but would work in the intense heat that is the hallmark of September in Florida.

I even posted a poll on Instagram to help me pick a hat

Then the day came to go and I was so excited. I had all these hopes that I would walk into the event by myself and find a welcoming group of people who could become new friends.

The day started well, Mickey and Minnie were very complimentary about my outfit. See my shorts? I found them for $3! And they are made from recycled bottles so they're even good for the environment. I had to get new khaki shorts because all my old ones are too's the grief diet.

But then I met up with the group and instead of finding kindred spirits, I found myself feeling quite invisible. I can't even describe the feeling. We all went on the safari ride "together" but it was like I was on an island where I could see people laughing and joking together but they couldn't see me. There was no interaction. At least the animals were out before the heat of the day drove them in.

Partly, I'm sure, it was my own fault that I was invisible. I am very shy and although I tried to engage others in conversation, I guess I wasn't doing a very good job because they might (or might not) respond but then turned away and started talking animatedly with someone else. I guess I wasn't interesting enough.

There was a lunch period after the ride and in my fantasies I would have been invited along with the group. Instead I ate alone and contemplated just going home. But I couldn't because my friends were meeting up with me for the scavenger hunt portion of the day. And that made me feel guilty because I felt like they were only coming because they felt like they had to, not because it was something they really wanted to do. It was much too hot to be out and I felt bad that the kids were dragged along.

At least the scavenger hunt was fun. We got all the clues and finished this time so we got cute buttons. We had plans to do some rides after the hunt but it was so beastly hot that the adults decided to call it a day and go home. The kids were not too happy with that decision and I really felt bad because I'm sure, in their minds, they'd had to be along for the boring stuff but didn't get the reward of having some fun afterwards.

So I went home to Charlie feeling ambivalent about the whole thing. I had enjoyed myself, I do love dressing up. It was fun to be walking through the park with everybody in full safari gear, watching all the tourists stare at us and wonder what was going on. I had a great time with my friends but I don't ever want to feel like I'm a burden to them and that they *have* to show up for things they'd rather not do just so that I won't be alone.

Which was one of the reasons I had hoped to find my place in the group that sponsors this event, so that I'm not constantly relying on one set of friends, wearing them out with my neediness. So it was disappointing that that part of the day didn't work out the way I'd planned.

I know I've said this before but I hate that this is how my life has turned out. I know the story isn't over yet but I really, really despise this part of it and I'm so afraid this is where I'll get stuck because nothing I try to do to get past it seems to work. I've tried to make friends with so many different groups, tried to make a connection with individual people and I get nothing in return. It really sucks. I miss my old life so much.

This was me in the car at the end of the day. I look like I'd been through the wringer, don't I? I will say that I went home and jumped in the swimming pool, I almost didn't stop to put a swimsuit on, and I felt much better after that. My pool is the one part of my old life I will hang on to as long as I can.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

over it

The hurricane has come and gone and now life goes back to normal...whatever that is.

The wind started picking up around 9pm and then the rain came. It rained pretty much all night but it didn't seem like there was much wind. I wouldn't really know, I went to bed at 10 and, although I woke up a couple of times, I slept through the whole storm until I woke up around 7.

All that stress and worry and it was a non-event. Which is good, I wouldn't want to be dealing with the damage we had with Irma 2 years ago, or worse, but it does seem rather anticlimactic.

Because the original forecast was pretty dire for our area, the local governments closed yesterday and today which means my work was closed even though the weather on both days was better than your usual summer day. I'll take a couple of days off, no problem!

So what did I learn from this experience? I learned that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I learned that I don't *need* help but I sure would have liked it. 

I learned that I really don't want to be alone but the reality is that if this scenario is going to happen again (and I live in Florida so it could even happen again in the next few weeks) I WILL be alone whether I like it or not.

And that sucks.

But there's nothing I can do about it except suck it up.

I'm tempted to just leave all the outdoor furniture right where it is but that means I wouldn't be able to enjoy the rest of September and October in the pool and I'm not going to do that to myself. I'm not going to dwell on the things that I'm not happy with and, instead, I'm going to put my time and energy into the things that bring me happiness.

The next few months are going to be tricky financially. All the hurricane buzz kind of let me willfully forget about that but it's hitting me in the face right now so I'm going to go out and search for all the happiness I can, wherever I can find it.

But first, I have to go wiggle my car out of the garage again.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Day 5 or 6, I can't remember anymore

See that face up there? It's not pretty. There are no filters. That's how I looked right after I GOT THE CAR IN THE GARAGE!!

Yes, I got the door open, moved a bunch of stuff, tried to get the car squeezed in, moved some more stuff and then drove that baby right in there! First time we've had a car in the garage in 19 years. I am awesome.

With the door open I also moved in all the dead branches (there were quite a few) and the 2 empty garbage cans so that they wouldn't blow around in the wind.

While moving stuff around I ran across one of the shoes Taz used to use when mowing the lawn. That hurt. I don't know where the other one is; I didn't go looking for it. 

I moved all the outside stuff either inside or stacked close to the sliding glass door. Even the pool toys now have a home inside my tub.

Right before a hurricane the humidity goes through the roof so moving all this stuff around was hot work and I ended up changing my clothes 3 times yesterday. Part of the time I just moved things while wearing my swimsuit so that I could get in the pool to cool off.

And after all that work, that hurricane is soooooooooo slow. And thinking of what the people of the Bahamas have gone through is painful. The devastation is horrible and my heart hurts for them. 

Because it's taking so long and the forecast keeps changing from day to day, I ended up with a couple of days off work when the weather really wasn't too bad. So when one of my friends texted last night and asked if I wanted to join her family (my kids!) at Disney and we could go check out the new Star Wars land, I jumped at the chance.

I almost didn't make it though because just getting the car out of the garage was an adventure this morning. I tried to open the garage door from the outside but it was locked. So I went inside the garage and squeezed down the passenger side of the car but couldn't open the door from that side. The locking mechanism is in the middle of the garage but I couldn't get around the back of the car. Couldn't get around the front either because I had the car wedged in just the right amount of space. I really didn't want to have to call and say I couldn't go play because I was stuck in the garage. I ended up going in through the passenger door of the front seat (there's a kid seat in the back) and maneuvering across the front seat so that I could get out of the driver's side door. It has been a LONG time since I've needed to do any contortions in the front (or back) seat of a car so it probably wasn't too pretty but it got the job done. I was finally able to get the garage door open and back my car out. Of course, none of this would have happened if we'd gotten an automatic door opener installed the way I always wanted to...just sayin'.

It was an awesome morning, the weather was perfect and the crowds were pretty light. This is a new area of the park that just opened up last week and usually the wait times are horrendous but with the park closing early because of the weather and all the tourists staying away, we figured this might be our best chance and we were right.

We left before they could kick us out and said our goodbyes. They were going off to stay at a Disney hotel for the storm. I am now back at home with Charlie waiting to see what happens. The wind is picking up now but they're saying we probably won't get the biggest part of the wind and rain until after midnight. I'm hoping I can sleep through it but I probably won't. At least tomorrow is another day off so I can catch up on my sleep then.

Thanks for reading all this, I wanted to document it because the memories will fade as the years go by. This has been a long week of waiting and it's dredged up some emotions. I'm really looking forward to things settling back down.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Day 4!

Yesterday was the last day of my Quest for the Coasters and I am happy to say that I completed the challenge!

I went mostly in the evenings but yesterday I was at the park by rope drop at 9am.

I had breakfast at the same place Taz and I ate a year ago. They have added french toast to the eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes. I thought it was an unnecessary addition but darned if I didn't eat all of it.

Thus fortified, I was off to stand in the long line to get my coasters...except there wasn't much of a line. It was horrendous last year but this year I walked up, got my magic band scanned and was handed a little lavender box with the coasters. Easy peasy. 

They are very cute and go perfectly with last year's cutting board. I will display one and actually use the rest. They come in a cute wooden tray.

As you may have guessed from reading my last couple of blogs, going to Epcot alone for this challenge was getting increasingly sad for me. I was feeling very lonely so I was very glad that my kids (and their parents) were going to be able to join me on this last day. I ended up spending almost 12 hours at the park yesterday. We rode pretty much every ride that the park has to offer and did a scavenger hunt in each of the "countries" of the World Showcase.

It was the perfect antidote to the loneliness I'd been feeling. Who can be lonely when you have amazing kids right there to hold your hand and sit next to you on each ride?

But today is a new day and it looks like we'll be getting some tropical storm effects starting tonight going through Wednesday so it's time for me to bring in all the outdoor furniture and finally take care of those stray branches. I still haven't figured out how to get the garage door open so the car is just going to be on its own out there.

I found out yesterday that all my friends will be riding out the storm at the Disney hotels. I know it's not their responsibility to check on what I'll be doing during the storm. I didn't expect anybody to include me in their plans and good thing that I didn't. I'm only human though and I'm still hurting so much and fighting against this new life I've been given so, I'm sorry but I can't help being sad about being alone. It may be unreasonable but that's where I am, just being honest.

So I guess self-sufficiency is the word of the day and the rest of my life. I'll get over feeling sorry for myself, I always do, but right now it's not working so well.

I made one last trip to the store for "essentials." Hey, double stuff Oreos are mostly certainly an essential right now!

Next time I write I'll probably be in the middle of the storm or maybe I'll just wait till it's over. Right now I'm going to get a garbage bag and go try to fit big branches into it.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

day 3

Confession - I didn't do any of the yard work.

In my defense, it looks like we're not getting a hurricane after all. The darling storm decided to stay out in the ocean as it goes up the coast and, at most, we'll just have tropical storm conditions which isn't that much different than our usual afternoon thunderstorms.

On the other hand, I should probably go ahead and clean up the loose branches just because it needs to be done. Nah, that kind of thinking rarely works with me.

If the projected path of the storm looks worse tomorrow, I will think about getting in the garage, trying to figure out how to get the door open (there's a padlock that Taz put there and I'm not sure where the key is) and I might try to move boxes to one side so that I could squeeze my car in there. Even if I really don't need it for this storm, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a way to protect the car if another hurricane might come along.

Oh well, I'll think about that tomorrow.

Today, instead of hurricane prep, I swam in the morning. It really was a picture perfect Florida morning here, sun and warm but not too humid. You would never guess there was any sort of storm heading our way.

But then it rained so I went in and cooked myself some lunch and maybe got into some of the hurricane snacks. What? Don't look at me like that, I don't have anybody to set a good example for.

Then I got depressed and cried. I've got to stop doing that. I feel like I've regressed back to where I was at the beginning of the year. So, what do you do when you're feeling blue and unloved? You take a nap.

I woke up feeling refreshed so that meant it was time to head off for Epcot. This would be my 3rd visit - only one more till I get those coasters.

I had hoped to have company for this visit (my kids!) but that didn't work out so I was feeling a little lonely which made every in-love couple out there stand out just a little more. Who knew there were so many coupled up people out there.

The weather was pretty awesome and I was quite hungry so I decided to head over to the World Showcase and try something new. The crowds were a little larger than they had been the previous 2 nights but still not bad. 

The closer I got to Brazil, the more I started thinking about the pork belly they always have during the festival. Next to the escargot, this is my favorite offering and pretty soon all thoughts of trying something new just flew out of my head and I found myself lining up and ordering my old favorite. I don't regret it at all, it was absolutely delicious!

Heading on through the World Showcase I started getting a craving for this frozen mango drink in China that Taz and I loved, only to find out that they don't have it anymore. I hate change.

Taz and I used to go to Epcot for exercise. It's approximately 1 mile around the World Showcase so if we walked around once plus the additional steps to and from the parking lot we got our 2 mile walk in. He wasn't that big of a Disney fan but he did love Epcot so I thought of him as I walked around. I especially thought of him when someone would stop walking right in front of me so that I almost bumped into them. Taz hated crowds and that probably would have set him off. At least he doesn't have to worry about stuff like that anymore. I settled for just telling them off in my mind as I stepped around them.

I did have a good time, I don't think that's coming across as I write this. But I was feeling rather down so I just headed for the parking lot after completing just the 1 mile loop. I still have to go back tomorrow (and I might actually have company this time, I've been told the kids want to ride some rides with me) so I was more than ready to get back home, take a shower and rest up for the final day of the quest.

Tomorrow I get those damned coasters!!

Saturday, August 31, 2019


You know what would have been nice during this whole hurricane thing? Having someone call me and tell me they were coming to ride out the storm with me and help me with the prep, because the yard stuff is a bit overwhelming.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't for even one second entertain the notion that it would ever happen; I knew it wouldn't. But it sure would have been nice to feel that anybody on this earth actually cared enough to think about it.

I used to be cherished. You know what Taz did once? We were living in California and I was going to be singing a solo in an upcoming concert with my chorus. He was going to be away on the East Coast for 2 weeks for important business so he was going to have to stay there for the weekend and would miss my solo. It would have been too hard to fly 6 hours home and then turn around the next day and do another 6 back to the east.

I was ok with it, I really was and even if I hadn't been, I NEVER would have told him so. I didn't want him to be the least bit distracted for his meetings so it was no big deal. 

However, he surprised me (totally) by arranging to fly back home on Saturday afternoon, attend my concert and then fly back Sunday morning. He had considered just showing up at the concert unannounced but decided that might throw me off and mess up my solo so he came to our house a few hours before so that I could get over my shock. I was SO surprised and shocked and thrilled. All of my fellow chorus members were pretty surprised to see him there too because they'd known he was away and felt bad that I wouldn't have anybody in the audience for my big moment.

That made me feel cherished beyond belief and I never forgot it. I was forever grateful that he had put himself out that way and thought about it on his own, knowing that I would much rather have him out in the audience than 3000 miles away. He actually said that he never, not for one minute, considered not being there. That meant more to me than just about anything he did for me over the years.

Taz wasn't a big romantic and these types of events were few and far between but for over 3 decades I always knew I was important to someone on this earth and now I'm not and probably never will be again and that makes my heart hurt in ways I never knew it could.