Category Archives: Stranger in a Foreign Land

Relocated from one city to the next, 150 miles stands between where I am now and what I once knew.

Love grows best in houses just like this…

For much of my adult life, I  lived in a tiny home in my home town of Tulsa, OK in a neighborhood called Florence Park – where houses were built in the 1930s and didn’t come equipped with ceiling mounted livingroom lights. My children were small and we were piled upon each other in that tiny house that rounded out to just over 1100 Square feet. I used to sing the “love grows best in little houses” song when I would shuffle one pile of household related crap to another location, there was never any room to put anything unless it was on your body or in your hand. The girls had to share a room indefinitely and no matter what room you were in, you could hear the conversations taking place in all of the other rooms – which always made it hard to discuss Christmas, argue, or do anything remotely adult like. I fell asleep at night listening to Grace and Gabby’s rhythmic sleep breathing and the whirl and whiz of cars on the expressway right outside. There was definitely no room for birthday parties and overnight visits – they happened on ocassion but were few and far between. Still, it was our home and I adored it.

When we moved to Oklahoma City and I had the opportunity to buy a little bit larger, I was torn. Our home is a very modest 2400 SF, not too many rooms (unless you’re trying to clean them all) and it showcases the taste of my husband and myself, having the selections that we made during the building process. When we bought this home, I prayed that we would be able to fill it with people to make it worthwhile, because even though modest, we didn’t need all of the space we were about to take on to live –you have to remember, it was double what I was used to and felt hollow at first. I’m a conservative mind in all aspects of my life (except leftovers, throw that shit away!) – so this felt wrong to me on a lot of levels.

I worried that if we had space between us that we wouldn’t spend time together, if there was more than one living space, that we wouldn’t have family time, if the kids were on a separate hall from us, then we wouldn’t be able to be there for them in the night. I worried that love really did grow best in tiny houses like my Florence Park bungalow and that I was, in a small sense, disrupting the family relationship by giving everyone a little breathing room. (Gee Momwich, suffocating much)?

To top those unrealistic worries off, I often complain about the mortgage payment, or the dishwasher, or the fact that my lazy ass has no desire to clean it. Shuffling piles from one stack to the next in my former “apartment-with-a-yard” was far easier than actually putting things in it’s place and cleaning this. I complain that it’s in the boonies where nothing but one convenient store exists, or I complain sometimes that we’re on the opposite end of the street from all the cool people.

The truth is though, I think I just complain to hear myself complain.

The addition to that truth is that I love this home and the life it has brought to us.

Our home is often filled with four or five teenagers who could be out goofing off at the mall but somehow end up here, there’s usually always a tweenie bopper or two floating around and you can find modest get-togethers with adult friends going on from time to time and pretty regularly there’s a family member in the guest room/office for an overnight stay.

I no longer feel guilty for doubling the square footage or the mortgage payment because I realize that love doesn’t just grow best in little houses – it grows best wherever your family is, wherever your friends are – in a large home, in a small cottage, sharing a bedroom or sleeping in rooms located on two separate hallways. Whether the mortgage payment is $15 or $1500.

I fall in love with this place every time I look up from my work and realize that there are people everywhere and we’re making proper use of the space, making memories.

And I continue to feel this way until I think about the  changes that will take place in the next few years when the girls go off to college, when we are left with three bedrooms and 1 bathroom more than we need —  but I know that the memories we make here, and the life lessons taking place here are what makes this place home, and that, coupled with the washer and dryer and free meals will keep those college kids coming right back home where their roots are.

Our love is growing best right where we are.

 

Sans Besties

Does this image piss anyone else off?

Prior to moving 150 miles away three years ago, I never thought much about my friendships. I mean, I thought about them, but I didn’t need to sit an analyze them, and I certainly didn’t need to miss them. The people in my life were people who had been there for most of my time on this earth, and those who hadn’t were at least walking along the same walks of life as I was (small children, negligent husbands, a love for PTA and Cheer, etc). You get busy in life, but these people seemed to roll with the punches with me.
There were a few friends that really set themselves a part from everyone else, but in the depths of honesty, there were no “bests” whatever “best” means when referring to friendships, there were none that were so strong that they stood the test of the move across cities.. The few that I valued the deepest for whatever reason found ways to be hurtful and the recovery is slow if at all.

Those that I thought I was the closest to either went awol when I got divorced or went Awol when I/they moved away.

My husband is mr. social, or – at least he was before we quit drinking. He had friends of all sorts, but many were super super heavy drinkers and I found myself allowing them around my kids in that state and even acting as part of that – I hate that, so this rehab thing to me meant we werent going there anymore. That wasn’t going to be a part of our lives anymore.

So this past weekend when Bald Lover wanted to go out with old friends all weekend it lead to an arguement (there were some I was excited about but others not so much). He yelled (and he never yells) “you just don’t want any friends”

to which I responded by promptly getting up and leaving to go get caffiene from our local convenience store before I lost it.

I really think he’s right.

I clearly don’t want close friends.

I don’t know whats wrong with that? It’s not like I complain about it.

I don’t have the energy to start over, the energy to be hurt again, I just don’t have “close” or “best” in me anymore.

Those who have great close friendships, who have besties who know all their secrets, who have girls surrounding them who would always be there for them no matter what for wine and pedicures and babysitting and bringing meals when your sick and giggles and inside secrets — those of you who have that are entirely lucky and much better at friendships than I am.

I promised my husband I would work on this, but I dont even know where to begin to sort though it or why it’s important. Too many former hurts and I admit my role in fallen friendships, but I just don’t have the energy for besties anymore. My surface friends are much easier to avoid hurt with.

lovelinks
 
(props to Ericka for pointing out the incorrect spelling in the main image)
 

The Pail List (short, non bucket) :)

No, it’s not a bucket list – I won’t be climbing Mountains or swimming with killer sharks, but it’s my pail list – things I’ve been putting off, things that NEED doing – things I avoid, things that suck to admit the truth about, things that are just too hard to do sometimes without putting them next to numbers on a list and placing them for all the public to read. Not that it will make me more accountable or anything, just make me look like a fool when they never get crossed off. So here they are, in no particular order because obviously my kids mean more to me than the dentist:

  1. Get Mouth Fixed – I have a couple new cavities, two baby teeth and an adult tooth that is coming through the top side of my mouth that will need surgical extraction. While I’m awake. Quit putting it off.
  2. Weigh in the 130s I’m only a few pounds away, but I haven’t been in the 130s since I was single. This time I’d like to be in the 130s WITHOUT my husband leaving me first
  3. Be social in real life. Like, OMG, quit avoiding people, answer the phone, reply to texts, go places when I’m invited. When did I get so damn old and kermudgenly?
  4. Be active in my community – it’s one thing I had in Tulsa – I was the cheer pres, soccer organizer, on the PTA, super involved in my church and now? I’m not. I’m just not. I’m not sure where I lost me in all of this.
  5. Volunteer – another thing that evaporated from my existence in the transition to OKC
  6. Spend absolute quality time with the kids/hubs (like, not in front of the TV or just nodding rapidly while they talk and I’m on the computer or something. Pay some freaking attention. Before they’re all gone.
  7. Get back to those activities that make me happy. You remember, beading, refunding, reading, anything else but the computer, tv, or the backs of my eyelids.
  8. Seek out that friend I’ve been missing out on. Old BFF moved away, we don’t talk. I’ve been denying needing that in my life. Might be time to accpt the facts and seek it out. Maybe.

So now it’s in black and white. Those numbered black and white lines highlight where I went from normal mom to loser in a new town. I’ve been here 2.5 years, might be time to accept it or something?

Tell me something on your pail list. Make me feel better 🙂

It’s the Small Things in Chicago…

While my husband and I make fairly regular trips to Chicago, a place we love to hang out – this year was the first year we’ve taken Grace and Gabby along with us. With all of the attractions, walking and fabulous things to do, there are a few simple things about our trip that I absolutely do not want to forget:

Snazzy Penuckle (pinochle): Well dressed guy plays  penuckle with himself under the bridge – upon further examination, he’s hitchhiking. Do people really still do that these days?

Shot Sized Dr. Pepper: I drink roughly 2ltrs of Dr. Pepper a day. So imagine my dismay when on a 11 hour road trip, I open the ice-chest and find that my husband has neatly stocked it with shot sized dr. pepper cans. 7oz. If you haven’t tried them yet, don’t. I didnt even taste it before I swallowed the whole can.

Tongue Tied daughter continuously says ObserB instead of Observe.

Plant-i-terium: 15 year old straight A student in AP classes states that she doesn’t want to go to the planetarium because it’s nothing but a bunch of plants.

Fried Rice: A special request from the eleven year old while sitting in a mexican food restaurant

Tonsillitis on the pier: Our abrupt end to a night on the pier when Gabby states that her throat hurts followed by showing me her swollen pus filled tonsils

Walking Man: Saying “walking man” before crossing the street in busy Chicago never gets old.

Cab Driver Gets Ear Full of Funny: My mildest mannered husband gives the cab driver an ear full when he narrowly misses swiping our daughter crossing the street while we had the walking man. ” A$$!…face?” he yells at the top of his lungs as random onlookers take notice that this father might be angry, or he might be asking the cabby if he’s an a$$ face.

The Southern Twang causing us to be asked if we were from Tennessee.

The most unsafe form of transportation — angry cab driver. 19 honks and 4 red lights later and we arrived safely. Cab rides are cheaper than tickets to ride a roller coaster.

Cubs Game Distraction: Grace and I can’t focus on the Cubs game, because the tall guy in front of us has rapidly moving ears and the distraction of watching his ears jump and wave is too much of a distraction.

It’s the little things in this big city that gave our family laughs and memories to giggle about forever.

Two Years, Still Lost

I relocated to Oklahoma City in May of 2009. I was excited having lived in Tulsa my whole big life because I needed a break from my past, the creepily haunting past that seemed to be everywhere following my fourteen year marriage ending in divorce, I was over him and had been for about two years before we divorced, but everywhere I looked were the crazy things that you don’t think about day to day when you’re married. Like the coffee shop I would pass each day on the way to work – the coffee shop that we argued about daily because if he wasn’t in school, “working,” with his best friend (I often wonder what they did in their alone time) or with his girl friend (not a story I want to retell) then his butt was planted in that coffee shop. Or I would run in to his parents, who I love, but they were always snooping for information about my single life, or offering judgemental looks, or I’d pass right by his apartment that he carefully chose six blocks away at the end of my street – it was everywhere, and I was done with it.

Now in previous years of my life, when I visited this town, I never really liked it. It seemed busy, a little dirty, and excessively foreign. But this time I would have someone who knew the ins and outs of OKC, and plus, I kind of really liked him and couldn’t imagine being away from him 🙂

Now two years have passed and I still know no one, I still can barely get from point A to point B, and my kids still haven’t adjusted to the move. I thought for certain by this time we’d have friends pouring out of our ears and be very involved in our community. To date, it’s still just us, in a big strange foreign land.