Gift that keeps giving

A few years ago my friends gave me a birthday present that has given back to me almost every day sense.

The gift  was a jar filled with all the reasons why they love me. And it can with a stern warming—I had to believe them because they meant each and every word. 



There are reasons so sweet they make my heart happy. There are reasons that make me laugh. There are reasons that suprise me. But, as instructed, I believe that they are each true for the person who wrote them. 

Tiny scraps of paper that keep me going when days are hard. Typed words that make me feel hugged when I read them. 

As I return to me I felt inspired for the first time in a long time to make something. There seemed nothing more fitting then using my friends love notes to craft a new piece for my happy wall at work. 



If this is you….

  If you are reading my honest blog and are  electing to see me as self-loathing or desperate for attention —please…stop reading it. It’s okay. Hate me or disapprove of me from afar. 

I know there are lots of folks who don’t agree with me airing personal business online. I get it. Had I not felt a need to defend myself against publicized news I doubt I would have done this. I am way more then the events that got to here and I don’t intend to dwell or to fester in this forever…it’s just been hard as I close in on the anniversary and I have found it necessary to air my truth to get through my truth. 

I write to heal. I write to manage emotions I have no other way of dealing with. That’s all. 

There isn’t a word that isn’t true-not a single word that I haven’t defended in a court of law. It’s my truth-that’s all I’ve ever claimed it to be. 

My life is so much more than this. If you like me stick around..I’ll be back to me soon. 


My Truth

Speak your truth…even if your voice shakes.


This is the start of my story. This isn’t about airing dirty laundry:  It is personal and embarrassing and hurtful and shameful but it’s the truth and I can’t get over it until I’ve worked through it.  


On April 7th my name will be broadcast loud and clear in one of the most humiliating and shameful ways I can imagine.  On the courthouse steps as my home…well the house I used to call my home is auctioned off to the highest bidder.  I can’t stop it.  I can; however, be sure that I have had a chance to speak my truth.  


My truth is literally all I have left.


In 2013-2014 I changed jobs and took on a challenging, life altering work project.  It consumed me.  40 hour work weeks didn’t exist.  While I was working until 10p-11p or later night after night I was thanking my lucky stars that I had a husband at home picking up the slack and being both mom and dad.  I was so absorbed in work that I wasn’t paying enough attention.


My big babies came to me with concerns.  They were worried their Poppy—the term I used to find so endearing for their step-father—now I choke on the word–didn’t have a job.  I thought it was silly but I asked why.  They explained their concerns so I asked the questions.  I got satisfying answers:

The concern:  My daughter mentioned that he was always home when she got off the bus.
His answer: “I don’t like Kinsley getting off the bus alone so I’ve arranged to take a late lunch.”

I was touched to have someone so thoughtful in my life and I let it go.  


After the holidays I went back to my project and the kids went back to their lives.  They also went back to worrying.   Again, he was home at random times during the day…but he’d explained that.  He was now picking up our daughter from daycare most everyday…he explained that too saying he  knew my project was gearing up and that he had worked it out.  I was relieved and didn’t ask more questions.  I noticed he no longer had boxes of magazines in the garage, “I know you hated the garage all junked up so I quit bringing them home.  I thought that would make you happy.”  His boss no longer called but his answer of—she has an assistant now so I can concentrate on writing and editing and don’t have to deal with her day-to-day schedule—was plausible.  I didn’t think another thing about it.


The kids concerns kept mounting….reports of outburst of temper, odd behavior, unemployment sites on the computer when they went to do their homework.  I am ashamed to admit that some of their concerns I wrote off as ways to get my attention since I was so pre-occupied.  The computer had no history—odd but not criminal—the hole on the wall-wasn’t him-or so he said-everyday conversations that were 100% believable. so there was still nothing that caused me alarm.


A marriage is built on trust. 


During a day care holiday we had to ask my mom to watch the toddler. She raced in from out of town only to have Him still at home.  He left in jogging pants and a t-shirt.  He was back at lunch and then back again early afternoon.  She expressed some concerns that mirrored those the kids had.  I asked the questions again.  Again, I got answers that made logical sense.  He was the only one in the office that day and had no appointments so he could wear what he wanted, the magazine was at the publisher so it was a slow day and he wanted to get home early so my mom could get back on the road to her house.  All reasonable.


To cheer me up from all the stress we re-did our bedroom.  We took our baby girl on a birthday adventure weekend.  We were headed to a beach wedding so I got the okay to spend a little bit to outfit us all.  The whole time I am asking if our finances can take the extra and each time I am assured they can. He’s taking on a few extra jobs here and there so all is well…or so I am told.


Despite he being the ONLY one that knew he didn’t have a job he didn’t  change one iota of spending. With some careful and deliberate cuts we could have made it work. 


At some point the concerns did start niggling around a little in my brain.  I was noticing odd Behavior. Seeming tipsy at odd times. Never sleeping. Even more short tempered. I was still working like crazy but began asking more direct questions.

do you have a job?, do you have the same job?  Do you make the same money?  Are we current on all the bills?  Is our mortgage paid?”

Every answer was the ‘right’ one.  I started spot checking our checking account balance.  The amount of money that I expected was there.  I now know why-


We kept living our lives.  Not a thing changed.  He bought a $60 linen shirt at the beach. That still maddens me. 


The Monday after our little beach get-away the niggles got the best of me.  I called him at work…something I never did a) because at this point I was so busy that I usually only had time for a quick text asking him to get the girl and b) earlier he had told me to use his cell to call him at work because they’d cut back to one line and he didn’t want to tie it up on personal calls.  This day i called I was told he no longer worked there.


And the earth stopped rotating.  


I called and texted him but heard nothing.    Late that night…after 8p he comes in from ‘work’.  I confront him.  He leaves.  I don’t know where he goes.


The next day, APRIL 14th, I call back to his former employer. If he won’t tell me then I’ll just have to find out myself.  I introduce myself and humble myself with the truth…I need to know when my husband last worked there.  


The answer still haunts my dreams, “He quit in November.”


I leave work at lunch to try and get to the bottom of it all. He’s still yet to say a word. At 1p he’s in bed watching Netflix. 


I haven’t taken a deep breath since that day.


6 months of lies.  


I know I have to know more.  Clarity becomes the goal. I start making calls.  Every call is worse than the one before.

  • Notices of delinquencies and unpaid bills had been re-routed so that I was not aware of any issues steaming from his not working.  My contact number had been changed to his number or the address for the account had been changed to the townhouse.  I never saw any evidence of all the delinquencies.
  • Upon learning of the truth I called the mortgage company for our home.  I am informed that this property has been flagged for foreclosure and was currently over $12,000 behind in payments. Company informed me that they offered a re-finance optionas a last ditch way to save the house.  It was never signed nor returned so that so that deal was no longer on the table.
  • A property I owned prior to re-marrying was being lived in by my ex-husband.  The rent of that property covered the mortgage.  When I called to check I discovered that this mortgage was $5000 in arrears and though NOT in active foreclosure had also been flagged to enter foreclosure. 
  • The more I look at the bank statement the more I notice something terrifying…the every other day trips to the package store…with the amount of money being spent and the amount of time he’s been shuttling kids back and forth…well…the reality of that still scares me.
The more I looked into the worst things got.
  • My savings-money I saved directly from my check was gone. So was was all of our tax refund. The things we has agreed to use that money for had not been paid. 
  • i contact our homeowners association who reports that the homeowners dues have not been paid on either residence and that there are liens on both properties
  • Money borrowed for some dental work is gone…so now I am paying back a loan on dental work I didn’t get to have done.
  • A few days later I receive a registered letter from an attorney.  He a old a car and didn’t pay off the loan so did not deliver the title to the new owner.  That owner is now suing and threatening arrest. 
  • I Found out the family car which I was told was in the shop for repairs in early 2014 had actually been re-possessed.

 And that is my truth.  I rapidly picked up the pieces as quickly as I could. I drove to pawn shops and jewelry stores to try and sell enough jewelry to save something but it wasn’t enough.  


Easter of last year I didn’t have enough money to get to my parent’s house. I couldn’t buy Easter baskets or even groceries.  Friends slipped me envelopes.  My boss bought Easter goodies and wouldn’t let me say no.  I got to Toccoa and my babies had Easter.  


Later, my supportive parents, without hesitation or question, loaned me the money to save my townhouse.   I was ashamed to take the loan but grateful that I would have a home. Night after night I packed what I could from our 5 bedroom, 3 bath house and prepared to move the 4 of us to a 2 bedroom townhome.   


My amazing circle of friends rallied around me and literally got down on their hands and knees to get it clean enough to be inhabitable. They single handedly moved the tenant out and me in.  And managed more than one hug in the process.  By Mid-May we were safe and sound and trying to rebuild our broken lives.


My aunt and uncle made sure my children could participate in their Summer  swim. Thanks only to them we have 2014 state medals and thier lives had some sense of normalcy. 


In early summer he moved.  


The last hurtle was the house.  I couldn’t save it alone.  I made it clear that he got us into the mess and he had to get it out.  His last words to be were something to the effect of he would let anything happen to the house.  He would fix it. That was the last I heard.


I had to sell my wedding rings to pay for parts of a divorce.  My parents had a friend who was generous beyond belief or I wouldn’t have been able to do that.  The Christmas presents…or any that could…were sold off or sent back.  


In October the divorce was final.  I had re-built a life and taken back I name I could be proud of.  Too bad there was no dignity left.


Last week I got a certified letter in the mail proclaiming a foreclosure date of April 7th.  Evidently it was not the first letter sent; however,  It was the first one I ever saw. 


Today I get the news that he didn’t conduct himself well on our behalf with the short sale company.  He didn’t do things they asked, didn’t act honorable or even honestly—and as stupid as it sounds I was surprised all over again.  They told me—the short sale agents—not the culprit of the catastrophe, that our names had been in the paper as the foreclosure was announced.  


I am speaking my truth even though my voice is shaking. These are the facts.  To get better, to get ‘over it’ I am also going to have to do the work of speaking how I feel about the facts. That’s not as easy.


I can’t control what people reading about the foreclosure in my community paper are saying.  I can’t stop the whispers at the ball fields or the sideways glances at the grocery store.  All I can do is speak my truth, surround myself with good friends and family who help instead of judge and protect my babies from as much of the truth as I can.   


This is my truth. 


Thanks to her heart her feet are in the DIRT!

Last year I wrote a piece about my daughters softball experience. It was called The girl on the bench. I hope you’ll read it. For once I was complimenting her-not complaining about her. I was proud of who she was and of how she handled herself. 

I am, and was,  proud to be the mom of the girl on the bench. 

Saturday was opening day of the 2015 softball season. All in black and looking fierce-my girl took to the field. 

She was a starter. 

She ran into the field and stopped in the dirt. My heart was banging in my chest. She stopped. So did my heart. 

She stopped at second; An in-field position. My girl had earned a spot.  Thank god it was a sunny day and I had on oversized sun glasses. 

From her cocked hip and tense shoulders I knew she was both proud and nervous to be where she was. 

That is dirt under those feet!

I’ll be honest- I don’t care where she plays. I cared that she was in the dirt because she cares. 

Before the season started she and I talked. I reminded her that she had to earn playing time. I reminded her that her success, or failure, this year depended on her…only her.  Her coaches would only believe in her as much as she believed in herself. I reminded her that I was proud of her as long as she gave 100%. I Reminded her that anyone can lead a team and that the most important role wasn’t always the one with the highest RBI. I wished her luck and sent her on her way. 

Actually there was a fight before she got out of the car–she was nervous and NOT in the mood for speeches. I was nervous and desperate to leave her in a positive dram of mind. Oil. Water. But it ruins the moment so I am leaving that part out. 

And, on her own, my fighter (I mean this positively in this sentence) fought. She nailed her tryout. Her first practice too. By sheer determination and pure desire she has treated every practice like an audition. She showed up. 

Her gumption paid off. Her first position was where she always dreamt of playing: in-field. She did that. She wanted something and she earned it. 

My daughter is no superstar. She’s not a homerun hitter or an explosive base stealer. Saturday she sat an inning and played 2 innings in the outfield. She walked, bunted badly and got a hit. She is okay-skill wise. She’s never going to be the star.  But…. she has something even better—she’s got heart. After her poor bunt she went to her coach and asked,”what can I do to be better?” A big deal because last year she was too intimidated to say much of anything to her head coach. 

This is why we play softball. We play for the life lessons learned in the red dirt with that yellow ball. Earn what you want is a life lesson. My big hearted girl seems to have learned this lesson and I couldn’t be prouder. 


Hoochies are born-not breed

Proof. Hoochies are born that way. 

Daycare pick up. As I walk into the room a little girl runs up to me. “Are you sadiepyles mutha?” 

“Yes I am sweetie,” I answer, smiling at the the sweet little wisp of a girl with the delicate southern drawl standing in front of me. 

“Weeelllllluuuhhhhh.” She smacks her lips and tosses her hair over her shoulder. Uh-oh. I’ve seen that posturing before on my 12-year old. “You-uh,” yep–that tone is ringing a bell too. “You-uh need to tell sadiepyle,” the whole first and last name thing is on way to make a friend of me little lady,”…that next time sadiepyle has the share-ah bag that sadiepyle can only bring 2,” hip cocks to the side,  hair tosses over a shoulder and the lips purse even tighter. One hand goes on the  cocked hip. The other goes into the air where 2 fingers dramatically punctuate her point. “Two-uh,” punctuated with a lip smack. 

Beside me Sadie’s shoulders slump and she’s staring at the floor. She’s crestfallen. 

Lip smack. “Only 2-ah things can go in the share-ah bag. Sadiepyle brought 3. Three-yah,” lips smack and re-purse. “You-uhh,” I’ve about had it with this little diva telling me in 2 syllables what I need to do. “…need to tell sadiepyle that next time sadipyle gets to bring the share-ah bag Sadiepyle  can only….”prima Donna is priming up to launch into her 2 versus 3 lecture again. Second verse same as the first. 

I am 44 years old. I am not about to stand here and be dressed down by a 5 year old bee-yatch in training who is humiliating my little one. 

“First of all-dahlin’,” I can drawl with the best of ‘Em. “Sadie,” stress in the single first name,”told me it was but Eye-uhhh added the 3rd thing.”

She actually stamps her foot. “And that’s wrong. Sadiepyle can only bring 2 things when sadiepyle has the share-ah bag!” She is ramping up into full bee-yatch mode.

I snap. I’ve had my fill of pursed-lip-nastiness today. All day I’ve watched people be ungrateful and unhelpful and mean just because they wanted to. No more. Not when this nastiness is robbing my daughter of the joy of the share bag. Now Sadie is sad and embarrassed about something she has become very proud of. Oh no she didn’t! 

“Not today little girl,” I say. My big-girl panities are starting to bunch. It’s been a crappy day and I will not let it end being chastised by someone who comes up to my knees.  “Next time Sadie will bring 2,” I illustrate my complete understanding of the number by raising 2 fingers. “But today she had 3.” I pause to let that sink in. “She had 3 because I added the last thing…” I hold up my hand to ward off her rant. Her curls are bobbing in outrage. “She had 3 things today and that is okay.” I end firmly. 

My firm-soothing-pseudo heather voice has no effect. There is no holding back hoochy any longer. She’s practically jumping up and down to get the words out. “Sadiepyle can’t have 3 things in the share-ah bag. Sadiepyle can only have 2 things in the share-ah bag.  It’s the rule. 2 things in the share-ah bag. 2!!!”

I pull my sad girl to me. To her I say, “It’s okay Sadie. You were right. You told me 2. Mommy was wrong.”

This little hoochy will not let it die. “…but that’s not right. Sadiepyle can’t have 3-sadiepyle can have 2…”

“Guess what…nobody died! And it’s not very nice of you to be making Sadie feel bad.” 

I turn us away from the share-bag-policewoman. Sadie is staring at me looking forlorn. I cross my eyes and make a funny face. “Boy am I an trouble,” I say in my best cartoon character voice. “I put 3,” I shake my head and bug out my eyes, “…3 things in the share bag!” I gasp dramatically and throw my hand to my forehead. “3 things sadiepyle! 3! I put 3 in the share bag,” finally she starts to giggle at my silliness.

We leave diva-lic-ous fuming on the circle rug. 

On the way out I stop at the front desk to tell her teacher that I was the culprit-not Sadie-for the oh-so-offensive 3rd item.  She’s laughing as I tell her I am leaving with less behind then I came in with thanks to the petite guardian of the share bag from her classroom. Sadie is laughing as  I pantomime miss pursed lips quivering with outrage at the audacity of Sadie’s over sharing. 

Once a pursed-lip-mean girl always a pursed-lip-mean girl.

Laundry drama 

81 degrees and a glorious spring day. Are we outside? 2 of us aren’t. 

Nope. Laundry day. 30 minutes we drove around looking for a laundry mat. Do you know how hard it is to find a laundry mat????  Do you know how hard it is to teach a 15-year old to brake and pull into to every strip mall you pass? After the laundry mat I am going to need to find an ER to treat the whiplash. 

Finally found one. Overshoot it my only one block.  Park. Get out. Go in. Guess who doesn’t have cash?????? Boy is not happy with me.  Load back up and get back on car which is parkes up the hill. Priced to drive for another 15 looking for an ATM. There are on every corner until you need one. Finally, finally find one. Overshot it by 2 blocks but it gave me the opportunity to teach a c turn. (His adorable take on a u turn.)

Back in the car. Back to the laundry mat. 

What kind of laundry mat doesn’t have a change machine! Have to buy lunch at the restaurant across the street to get change.  $14 later we have 4 quarters. Thanks for the generosity chicken finger man.  Machine is $5.75. Man-child curses. I don’t correct or even reprimand him. 

Back in the car. The dirty sock smell permeates the air. Thank god it’s a nice say so we can crank the windows down.  Even with the windows down we need gas mask or hazmat suits. Gross!!!

We head to the college side of town where we find another laundry mat WITH A CHANGE MACHINE. Glory be.

To complete the boys humiliation I make man-child unload the frozen princess hamper, theSam’s cooler, the hefty bag and the trash bag. Our dryer broke a loooonnnggg time ago. 

Armed with $24 dollars worth of quarters we proceed to test the load capacity of the multi-maxi-super-duper washer. Sorting be darned. We are in get this done mode. I worked up a sweat getting all the clothes crammed into the machine. Next issue: NO PODS. Guess what I’ve got? Pods. I resist the urge to lay down on the floor and cry. I am a hardend criminal now-I’ve used a Sam’s card that wasn’t mine-so I toss that pod on with out a 2nd thought. Take that laundry mat po-po. 

After the $5.75 washer I giggle with glee at the .25 dryers. Until I realize .25 earns you 2 rotations. Well that won’t work. After 10 or so .25 additions I realize you can actually feed unlimited quarters in-you don’t have to do 1 at a time. Sweet. That got me 10 minutes to sit on the sidewalk bench and pretend to be outside. Or course that might have worked better had I coordinated all the dryers with generous quarter additions. Live and learn. 

I got a little jingle in my pocket…might even leave here and find a car wash. Of yeah. Living large this Sunday. Mentioning that to man-child was almost his un-doing. Until I pointed out the wi-fi code. Hey: you take the perks you get.


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