Day 276/365 I Need A Hero

I’ve had some technical difficulties lately.

About a week and a half ago I had some kind of virus, and during that time I had to drag myself out of bed one day to deal with a heating issue at work (we were closed, but it was a potential emergency given the freezing temperatures). The next day I woke up to discover I had no propane (despite being on automatically delivery), and it was 44 degrees in my house. The day after that, a pipe froze and I had to evacuate my house so my landlord could heat the crawl space beneath the house with a heater which emits toxic fumes.

This week we had a “bomb cyclone” storm that dumped about a foot of snow at my house, and I realized that I had to find someone to plow my street. It’s a private road, therefore the municipal plows won’t do it.  Usually one of my neighbors coordinates the plow, and I offer her some money. This time she was away, which I didn’t realize until I woke up and saw that my street was completely untouched.

The girls and I didn’t have anywhere to be (school and work were cancelled) but I did get a call from the propane delivery company, saying they could not get to my house. Having run out the week before, I knew I didn’t want to risk that again. Also, I worried about having to get out in an emergency, and that in an emergency, we would be hard to get to, as well.

It was surprisingly difficult to get someone to plow. No one seemed to want the challenge of plowing a road they’d never seen before (therefore not knowing where the road ends and yards begin).

Finally I had someone agree to come and look at it. Seeing the street, he said he should charge me $500 to plow it. When that was met with a shocked silence, he told me he could see I was in a pinch, and that he would do it for $300.

I had just a moment to decide whether to say yes to this offer, or to risk not being able to find someone else to come (it was 3pm, I had been trying all day). I said fine, and I watched as it took him all of ten minutes to plow the street. When he came to the door, he admitted it was easier than he thought, and offered to charge me $250.  I paid him, all the while wondering if the initial suggestion of $500 was a strategy to make me feel as though I had gotten a deal.

(I didn’t feel as though I had gotten a deal).

Next, I had to shovel my walk (I know, cue the violin). When I was done with that, I realized I had to shovel a path around the side of my house for the propane delivery, and to be able to get my trash and recycling bins out.  All the while, I was cursing.

Heavily.

It was all too much – this being responsible for everything. This being-the-single-head-of-the-household business.

Suddenly, my head was filled with Bonnie Tyler’s voice singing, “I need a hero!

Do you know that song from the eighties classic “Footloose”? Seriously I had not heard or thought of that song in decades, and the fact that it popped into my head at the moment cracked me up.  I literally laughed out loud.

Really, Bethany?

Just shovel the goddam walkway.

Then get your butt in the car and drive out to work to make sure everything is okay over there as well, before the temperature drops to -4 tonight.

Be a grown up.

So, anyway….to be honest I couldn’t remember whether the song was from Footloose or Top Gun, and I just had to look it up.

You need watch the video, because it is Amazing.

A few talking points before you view it….

I don’t know Bonnie personally, but I find it hard to believe that she would just drop to her knees, singing for a white knight, while her house is on fire (of course, it is a bit of a shit hole, so maybe she’s just counting on a good insurance payout so she can start fresh and put in that tub she always wanted).

If Bonnie’s house was really on fire, I would think her girlfriends would stop dancing and help her put the fire out, wouldn’t they?

Did they have glow in the dark lassos in the Olden Days?

Are those men in black playing duck-duck-goose with Bonnie?

I don’t understand…who is flying?

Do you mean to tell me that the guy in the white scared away those three other dudes?

Were the men in black armed only with their glow in the dark lassos? Even so…really? The white gloves…they were scary?

I am pretty sure Bonnie could have kicked all their asses herself. She probably wouldn’t have even messed up her hair (all that hair spray would be admittedly hard to disrupt – and where did she get all that product, by the way?).

Who looked at Bonnie Tyler and thought – Old Timey Western?

Finally, my last question (for now?) – Is the Grand Canyon a good place to find available men? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Click here to watch it on youtube.

Please don’t leave me alone to ponder these burning questions.

Day 110/365 Musical Chairs

Good evening! This is one of those nights in which I find myself dreaming of my head hitting my pillow, and yet I have written nothing here…why did I commit to this 365 day challenge? Who am I challenging, exactly?

Myself.

Oh, Right. It makes total sense that I’d do this to myself during an incredibly stressful and exhausting time in my life.

Idiot.

{Seriously, I have been loving sharing this journal with you. I’m just tired and loopy tonight…bear with me if you dare.}

So, it’s approaching 10pm. I remember when that was what time my friends and I would hit the town. Right now I can’t think of anything less appealing than hitting the town! It’s funny how our priorities and interests change and evolve with age, isn’t it? Which leads me to my (hopefully coherent) thoughts for tonight…

As a middle aged woman (my friends get mad when I say that, but guess what, you guys – 88 years would be a damn good run.  We’re lucky if we are only middle aged right now).

Ahem…as a middle aged, single, divorced woman…

Holy cow, can you almost hear the violin playing the sad music in the background?

Let’s start this again…lately I have been thinking a lot about relationships and the freedom I have to look at them differently now as an independent, confident, self sufficient single mother of two.

Here’s what I mean –

When I was in my early twenties I wasn’t even sure I wanted to have children. I just remember feeling really lost. I didn’t know who I was nor who I wanted to be.

At some point I decided that nothing appealled to me more than having children and staying at home to raise them…like my mother had done. Perhaps this seemed like the safe thing to do (but that’s a psychoanalysis for another time).

After that, dating became stressful….kind of like musical chairs, but instead of chairs being taken away one by one, it was the eligible men being removed from the game.  I saw my friends getting married and I didn’t want to be the one left without a “chair” when the music stopped.

The problem was I fixated a lot more on landing in a chair than on enriching my life in other ways. I thought little about cultivating my own interests. I was certain that my life was going to revolve around my children, and around my husband (who was going to take care of us entirely, of course) and life would be good.

(Cue the feminist lynch mob…)

Feel free to judge if you must. It’s the truth. That’s all I wanted.

Ultimately I did find love, and marriage, and my two beautiful children came into this world.

I was a wife, and a mother – being either one of which is a beautiful thing – but I had no idea who I was outside of those labels. Which becomes a problem when a label no longer fits.

I found myself there, with the husband and the beautiful children just like I wanted – and guess what – I still didn’t know who I was nor who I wanted to be as an individual.  It’s safe to say, neither did he.

Somehow, when my marriage unravelled, I found strength, self confidence and skills I never knew I had.

I built a new life.

So, the beauty of where I sit now, is…

(See what I did there…where I sit now? Remember the musical chairs? Stay with me…it’s late).

Ahem, the beauty of where I sit now, is that I am not looking for someone with whom to build a life. I’m just looking for someone with whom to share in the very good life which I have built for myself.

I’ll tell you what, it feels amazingly good to want, but not to need.

I’ve written it before and I mean it entirely when I say I loved my (ex)husband (and in a different way, I always will). I have no regrets about the relationship we had. We were happy for many years, and we made beautiful children. Our children are so loved.

Looking back, though, at how I entered that marriage, and what I expected to find there within it, I’ll say this…

I hope when my daughters feel ready to seek out partners in life, that they do so already feeling complete on their own. I hope that they will look not for someone who will create a life for them, but for someone who will enhance the lives they have created for themselves.

Perhaps I’ll show them what that looks like, someday, with the right person.

No matter what, I hope I’ve shown them if the music suddenly stops, they don’t need to scramble to find a chair…

It’s best to stand on their own two feet, anyway.

Day 97/365 Dirty Girls

You may not know this about my mother, but she always has worn the tool belt in the family.  That’s right, when my brothers or my ex-husband have needed to borrow a tool – say, a bandsaw or something along those lines – they’d call and ask my mother, not my dad.

My mom tells the story like this – when we were little she and my dad bought a swing set for us kids – an assembly required, big ass swing set.  My dad was a busy guy.  He worked full time but also served on many boards, and was a town councilman for a few years. He did not have a lot of “free” time – you know, big-ass swing set assembly kind of time.

So the swing set sat out in the yard in pieces for I’m not sure how long. One day, my mom’s friend, Polly, came over. Talk about bad ass.  Polly did (and still does) it all.  She asked my mom what the deal was with the un-assembled swing set.  My mom explained that we were all waiting for my father to have the time to assemble it.

“Why the hell do you need him for that?” asked Polly, incredulously.

Why indeed?

So my mom and Polly dragged out whatever tools we had at the time (the collection of which has grown considerably since my mom started asking for power tools for birthdays, etc.) and they put the big ass swing set together themselves.

This was when a lightbulb went off in my mother’s head…

I can do whatever the hell I put my mind to doing.

So she bought a book titled something like “How to Fix Just About Anything” and she started doing things like wiring, plumbing, tiling floors, refinishing furniture…

One day I came home to a crashing noise upstairs.  As I climbed the stairs and started down the hall, I realized the sound was coming from my bedroom.  I walked in to find her in my closet, blasting a hole through the wall with a sledgehammer. She peeked her smiling face through the jagged hole in the sheet rock like Jack Nicholson breaking through the bathroom door in “The Shining”

Heeeere’s Mommy!

She sweetly said, “This closet is just taking up space in your room.”

“Oh.”

I mean, what does one say in that situation?

Um…thanks?

The girls and I went over to make dinner at my mother’s the other night. She knew we were coming, and the girls ran out of the car into the yard to find her when we arrived. There was evidence of her hard work everywhere (fresh mulch, yard tools…) but she was nowhere in the yard. I could see Beau getting a little nervous. Since my dad died six months ago, she is always worried that my mom will be soon to follow. (I like to blame this kind of paranoia on my kids, because of course it never is a worry of mine.)

Well, it turns out she was just in the shower. She emerged a while later and announced, “You know it has been a good day when you have needed to take two showers.”

(Meaning – you got good and dirty.)

God, I love this woman.

And so, whenever I fix things, use tools of any kind…whenever I do something myself that I initially felt I might need a man to do for me…

I think of my mother.

When my girls dance in the mud, create, invent, repair, risk…

I think of my mother.

I know they will be strong women,

Brave women,

Women who are not afraid to put together big ass swing sets.

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