Changing Conversation


For readers who haven’t stumbled on one of my conversations before, you’ll find that I don’t seek a therapist to talk with, I turn out the lights and let my fingers to the talking.  To my relief surprise, the result requires very little editing.

Hold on for the ride, skip the long paragraph about washing machines if you have to, but I think at the end you’ll be glad you took a tumble through my mind.


Here I am again, God, nature, universe, coming to you semi-live from the near darkness of an almost sunrise.

You’re in ambivalence mode? Again?

I wake up every day thankful I have a place to live, doggies to pet and transportation to and from the place I do contract work.  Then I’m thinking, “My house is too cluttered, I need reliable transportation, I don’t have enough money to take care of my 4-footed companions the way I’d like to,” and then I’m off on another direction where I’m wondering why I just can’t seem to be good enough.

Go ahead.  Say it.  Believe me when I tell you that everyone on Earth repeats themselves on a continuing basis.

It’s like the day I moved into this house and complained that my mother never dusted.  Now that I understand how hard it is to keep this place “cleaner” I marvel at how much effort it took for her to keep the house and yard under any control at all.  She had an agitator washer that worked.  I complained about that.  It was too small.  After 15 years of service to my mother and 5 years to me, the washer died. So I got one of those high efficiency top loaders and found that “high efficiency” is just another word for “never clean.”  Hubby had to hook up a hose so that I could spray the clothes as they spun out.  Then, after complaining I needed an agitator washer with a large tub, my infuser washer broke after 5 years of use.  Unfortunately, the replacement was even worse.  Sure it had a large tub, but the “agitator” was nothing but a rod stuck on top of an infuser, the tub filled a third of the way, and then the rinse had 3 inches of water.  I discovered THAT when it chewed up my good towels.  It didn’t spin in the drain cycle either.  I complained to the company.  They said it was supposed to work that way and was in compliance with the law.  So it’s even more labor intensive than the last washer and I have to do delicates by hand.

You’re in one of those moods again where you’re wondering if you’ve made any good decisions in your life.  The answer is yes.  You’ve helped a lot of people, more than you know.

A lot of people have helped me, too.

Your sister used to call this “I’m slime mode.”  What is the reason for it today?

You know everything.  You tell me.

You haven’t been feeling well for weeks now, with a constant headache.  Then you came down with a mild virus that leaves you with a slight fever and chills followed by being a bit too warm. You feel better when you don’t eat but you’re concerned that if you start looking unhealthy your children will worry.

I told my son that my chest felt like it was being squeezed by a vice from the backbone to the breast plate.  He was worried about my heart.  I don’t want to worry my family like that over nothing.  They have busy lives while I sit in my office writing at home.  I should be trying to keep this place cleaner!

To do that, you need help.

My help is busy trying to keep a car on the road and do the things around the house that keep it livable.   If it weren’t for him, this house would’ve sucked the life out of us years ago.

You used to live in base housing with your 3rd husband.  You disliked having neighbors that screamed at each other, but you lived in California rent free, worked in San Francisco, and loved the beauty of it.

Until #3 chased one of my kids around the kitchen and living room with a knife.  I had to leave.

Then you brought a house together in another city, planning to reconcile after he left the military.

I had a bachelor’s degree and the only state job available was receptionist 2 hours away.  But I found the best friend of a lifetime in my new city.  She still stays in contact with me.  Spending time with her was one of the best times of my life, and I often miss her friendship.

And yet you had to move.

#3 wouldn’t let go.  Once I was in the house we bought together, he said he wouldn’t interfere.  Here’s an example of his non-interference:  I found 2 abandoned puppies in 100 degree heat and brought them home.  He wouldn’t allow them in the house even though he wasn’t living there.

So in your grief, you took on 2 boyfriends.

Not one of my finest choices, and nothing I ever want to repeat again.  First, it’s a lot of work.  Second, the people at the office don’t like it when your boyfriend and your husband both send you flowers on the same day.  There are some signals that even clueless people like me can’t miss.  My supervisor was working on ways to get me fired.

You moved away to live nearer your sister.

I loved being near her and the kids loved being nearer to their aunt, but my mom died the next year.  Someone had to stay in the house, sift through papers, talk with the lawyer…

You forget one important point.  You loved your next job, you helped people find supports and medical care they needed, and you were going to have to move away.  Your sister lost one of her biggest clients and was cutting her workforce in half.

She only had 4 people working for her.  She couldn’t afford to keep me, but it’s worse than that.  With #3 I’d lived an upper middle class life style with $400 dollar dresses and meals at fine restaurants every week. Only 2 years after leaving #3, “dining out” meant taking my daughter to lunch once a month at KFC for their $1 chicken wing and biscuit meal.

I feel the need to point out that you have never, in your entire life, listened when I’ve told you it was time to leave a man or taken the hints given to you that the man you chose was going to be a disaster.

The boyfriend became #4 and we went to visit my mother.  She died of sun stroke trying to mow the lawn in preparation for our arrival.

That was her poor choice, not yours.  She was well aware that #4 would’ve been happy to mow it for her.

I worked twelve hour days.  Hubby went to truck driving school and worked an entire 3 months of our marriage. This just proves my point.  My life is like the washing machines I’ve chosen.  I keep thinking that “if only I had…” I would be happy. But when I get what I think I want, I’m wondering why I didn’t know that the alternative was going to be worse.

What is your priority in life?

I want to take good care of my dogs and cats.  I want to write, to have my books published and be so successful that I can have my 5 goals come true:  Pay back to my sister what I owe her, pay off my kids student loans, build a 3-person home for someone who desperately needs it, give 10% to charity and then if anything is left over I want to fix up this house.

What do you think it took to put you into the position where you could write books? What do you think it took for you to know all the names of medical specialists, and have enough information about what they could do so you could be in the position to ask questions that led to many people to the medical care they needed?  What do you think it took to help your children understand that it’s better to choose your relationships wisely and work on keeping a relationship alive than looking for the next “highest roller coaster?”

I knew it!  I’m that bad example everyone points to and says, “Look at her! Do you want that to happen to you?” 

No. You are the person who survived, an example that no matter what you have experienced in life, you have the children you’d hoped for, you’ve had the career that you hoped for, and now at the sunset of your life you have found what defines you as a human being:  Writing.

You make it sound so lofty.  So then, why do I feel so puny?

Because you despise change.  You feel it…you know it’s coming.  Your life is about to spiral in ways that will have you reeling.  You’ll wonder if life is worth living, and out of those ashes will come the writer that you always wanted to be.

Oh, good.  Something else to have an anxiety attack about.

Dear child, that is why I led you to practice yoga.