Marjorie Writes…

Everyday Musings of an Extraordinary Woman

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Thankful

As I sit here in a mostly dark room, listening to the peaceful breathing of my son sleeping next to me, I’m so thankful. I’m thankful for so many things, even as I sit here in a crappy but dry and warm motel room. I am so glad I listened to the authorities and fled the direct path of Hurricane Sandy, that I didn’t have to watch the water rise outside my house and sit in fear with my children that our house would flood while we were in it.
As I sit here in the dark, I don’t know what I will find when they finally clean up enough to let us return to our homes. So many of my friends and neighbors stayed behind, and the images that they have captured are terrifying and devastating and unbelievable. I know the quiet, little, friendly island I left on Sunday afternoon is no longer the same place. When I hear of pieces of houses in the streets, saw the pictures of the water up to my porch, and my house is raised since it’s near the bay, my eyes fill with tears, as they are now. My heart aches for what we have lost. I know without any uncertainty that my little, sweet town will come together, stronger than they ever do (and it’s an amazing community to begin with) and rebuild. I know that if my house was damaged, I will rebuild. And we will all be stronger than ever. Even though we’re torn apart.
I spent most of my life living in the Gulf Coast. Hurricane warnings and watches were part of my childhood. I remember sitting in the kitchen during Hurricane Alicia in 1983, eating soup heated by a sterno can, watching shingles blow off my neighbor’s roof, one by one; all of us sleeping on mattresses dragged into the family room since there were no outside windows in that room. Then watching the devastation of downtown Houston on tv once our power was restored. But I never felt scared. I knew my parents would keep me safe. I’m hoping my children felt the same way as they watched the storm on tv, and on pictures on my laptop, and listened to the wind howling outside.
I remember Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, watching on tv as my city flooded and 18-wheelers were under water. The 36″ of rain we received in under 2 days was devastating. But I was thankfully high and dry.
I never would have thought, moving from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, that I would be forced to evacuate for a hurricane/nor’easter hybrid storm, at the end of October, and not be able to return to my house until days later because there was such widespread devastation.
I sit here not knowing whether my house was flooded, my belongings ruined, my memories waterlogged, or if I will only have to worry about the contents of my garage being damaged and having to worry about having the under part of my house checked out to make sure there is no damage to the stability of the house since my crawl-space was filled with water. When I first saw the picture of my street, with probably at least 4 feet of water flowing down it, surrounding our homes, invading our garages and crawl-spaces and yards, I burst into tears. I have been through more than my share of tragedy and pain and loss in my life. But thankfully never of this nature. I am an amazingly strong and resilient woman. Yet I wondered at that moment whether I had the strength to get through this, to keep life normal for my kids as our home was destroyed.
Of course, that moment passed and my strength came back and my tears turned to bad jokes, the kind I usually make to keep from crying. Like how my vote is now up for sale to whomever offers me more (FEMA) money for my house. Or how I wanted to renovate and now could do it courtesy of Sandy, the insurance company, and FEMA. Or even how my island is such a cool place it has sharks swimming around on the island and how so many of our homes now have indoor pools.
After just viewing more pictures posted on Facebook by my local police department, I was just in tears again. It doesn’t take much these days. We have streets that have been destroyed, homes torn apart, sand and water and debris everywhere. Yet as I said, Brigantine is an amazing community. That’s one thing I’ve always loved about it. People will come together and help each other out, and we will rebuild. We will hold each other up and pick up the pieces and put them back together.
I’ve often seen pictures of those in ravaged areas. I always felt bad for them, couldn’t even begin to imagine going through that. Now I’m sitting here, grasping for every bit of information from my home, waiting impatiently for the danger to be cleared and the authorities to declare it safe for us to return, to begin to assess our damages and rebuild our homes and take our lives off hold and start living them again. For that is how it feels. It feels, sitting in this motel room not 20 minutes from my home, that my life is on hold and will begin again once I can go home.
In the meantime, I’ve been given the rare gift of a few days off from my regular life,

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A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That…

This week has been incredibly unproductive so far. After an unproductive long weekend (kids were off school on Monday for Columbus Day), I thought I was ready for a very productive week. Yesterday was gray and rainy – the perfect day for a nap. But no, I didn’t give in, even though my bed seemed to be calling my name all day, beckoning me into its comfort. I stayed strong, but my focus seemed to be blurred with the dreariness of the day.

Today, I had to get up super-early to get my daughter up to finish her homework (she went to sleep early last night because she didn’t feel well) and then rush her to school early for choir, then get my son up and off to school, then jump in the shower and rush out the door to the social security office, where I had a 10am appointment. I figured since I had an appointment I shouldn’t be there for more than an hour, and would have the whole day to get a lot done. WRONG. I was finally taken at 11 (after I’d all but killed the full-charge on my cell phone). By then, I was falling asleep. Another hour later, I was finally leaving to start my day, at noon. After a “quick” trip to Sam’s Club (yea, quick?) I got home with less than 40 minutes to spare before having to pick up my daughter from school.

Oh, and when I went to leave to pick her up, I looked out back to see a plank from my pvc fence on the ground, and my doggies no where in sight! So I got her, finally found the dogs, got them home, my son got home, got them settled into homework, and I was done. Just wiped out for no reason, probably aside from the fact that I don’t sleep nearly enough and was feeling really crappy on top of being tired. So I decided we were skipping football and I gave in to the desire for a nap from the other day. An hour or so later, I woke up to find my son lying next to me (and the two dogs as well), reading one of his new books from the Scholastic sale from school (I mention that because I remember those order forms from when I was a kid and I used to love them and just thinking about it makes me happy with the memories that flood in).

Now, I’ve been trying to enforce his 1 hour of reading time, spread out throughout the week, for school. And it’s always a struggle. And it truly pains me that my kids aren’t book fiends. I have always loved reading. I remember getting my first library card, and how much I thought it a treat to go to the library. And I’ve done everything in my power to instill my love of books in my kids. When they were little, they loved being read to – we would easily read 10 books a night. They would have let me read 100 books a night if I’d been willing! And tonight, my son read for probably about 3 hours total. Made me a very happy mommy. And made me realize he’s more apt to read if it’s something non-fiction he thinks is cool (one of the books tonight was about tornadoes and hurricanes – the other two about dangerous and disgusting things, literally).

But wait, I was writing about productivity. See how easily distracted I am tonight? Sadly, that’s been my week. Not good and not me. I’m the one who’s usually on top of everything. This week it’s all around me. Mind you, I’m getting done what I need to get done for my clients, but I haven’t been on top of everything I need to get done for me.  I’ve been bidding on the jobs I see that I want, with some response, not a lot. But the site I told you about that my friend is building is amazing! I’m a beta tester of the site, and will let everyone know as soon as it goes live because it’s such a time-saver – seriously – I had been spending 5/6 hours a day looking for jobs to bid on, and now it’s just completely streamlined.

So this week my productivity is pretty lame, which is pretty much the result of my focus being low. However, I’m hoping to have a fairly productive day tomorrow (haircut and errands in the morning will prevent full working productive day) and a very productive day on Friday. I need to get this moving!

Sorry for the ramble – I think this is my cue to shut down the laptop and go to sleep before I have to get up again and start it all over. But at least I had a really nice, quiet afternoon and night with my wonderful kids, who actually listened, did their homework and went to bed well and without arguments at the time I told them to go to bed! That was a wonderful surprise since they’ve been fighting so much lately that I’m almost just waiting for one of them to get seriously injured. And not one punch thrown or flying foot kicking the other one in the stomach or neck. I guess it’s been a good day after all.

 

Happy Birthday Mom

I haven’t written here in a while – I’ve been keeping busy with RottenMonkey.com and other small jobs. It’s a start, but at least it’s keeping me busy. Well, that and looking for other freelance jobs. But at least it’s finally starting to pick up.

Now, it’s into the school year and we’re all keeping busy with school, activities, sports, HOMEWORK, etc. So most nights I just collapse into my pillow and wish there was more time before the alarm buzzes in the morning.

Tonight, I’m reflecting on several things, most importantly the date. It’s October 8. Seventy-one years ago, my amazing mother was born. Although I was only blessed to have her physically until 23 years ago, it’s still a day to celebrate her life. You see, one October 8 years ago, I was sitting at work, tears in my eyes, missing her terribly, when it hit me that she wouldn’t want me to cry for her every year. That year I decided to honor her life and celebrate her legacy each year on her birthday. So October 8 I celebrate her and April 27 I celebrate my dad. And I never stop missing them or wishing they were still here on this earth with me.

One of the many legacies left to me by both of my parents was that of friendship. Both of my parents were blessed with life-long friends. As I was growing up, I just took it for granted that people had this – friends they’d had since childhood, well into their adulthood. Indeed, throughout their lives. I’ve since learned not everyone is that lucky. However, it’s such a blessing that not only were my parents the kind of people to stay true to their good friends forever, but they were also the kind to inspire such loyalty within their friends that they would stay loyal to my parents well after they were gone.

You see, I am lucky enough count as family (not blood-related, mind you, but family nonetheless) people from different times in my parents’ lives, from their youth through their young-adulthood, and even later in their lives.  Some of these people are present in my lives on a regular basis, and many of them are here now and again, annually or whenever I see or speak with them. But they all honor their friendship with my parents in their own ways, and all are blessings to me.

One of the things I’ve realized lately is that not only has that legacy of lasting friendship been passed down to me through those in my life due to the friendship and love of my parents, but also just the legacy of loving your friends and treating them like family and keeping those friendships for life.

Like most people, I suppose, I have friends of different sorts. Some are people I see on a regular basis, in my daily life. And the more acquaintance-type friends. And then there are those I’m closest to, whom I may not see as frequently, even may not see for many years, but they are always there for me, as I am for them. I am a very loyal person to those who’ve managed to earn my trust (something not given very easily). And thankfully, those friends are just as loyal to me. I have a number of friends like that, but right now I have 2 in particular with whom I interact (virtually or by phone) on a daily basis. They have kept me sane, kept me smiling and laughing, kept me remembering my blessings during some tough times.

While everything in my life may not be perfect right now, I am truly blessed. I have two amazing, wonderful children (remind me of that next time they start fighting or won’t go to bed, please) without whom i couldn’t imagine my life. I am lucky enough to own my own home (although really I’m just renting from the bank until I eventually pay off my mortgage), which is a blessing despite the fact that it could use some serious tlc at this point. And I am seriously blessed with wonderful people in my life who keep pushing me to keep going when things get tough or seem bleak.

I believe in treating people the way I want to be treated, and I believe this was learned from my parents. And this has filled my karma bank to the brim, resulting in my life being full of the love of beautiful children and wonderful friends. And I’m so thankful to be so lucky.

So Mom, on what would have been your 71st birthday, thank you, for everything you did for me during your too-brief lifetime, and for those wonderful gifts and friends that have continued on in my life thanks to you. I love you, Mom. And I’ll always miss you.

RottenMonkey.com

I just posted my first article for a new site – Rotten Monkey (.com). I’m so excited to be writing again for someone other than myself (and whomever is reading me on here)! Ironically, I was struck with extreme writers’ block after doing my research for my first piece. More ironic since I think when I was in college the idea of writing opinionated pieces on political issues was probably my dream job. Of course, that was before a 20 year plus hiatus from even tuning in to political issues. However, check out the new site: http://www.rottenmonkey.com. And look for my piece. And tell your friends!

Anyhow, I don’t think my piece is up yet (it was approved by my editor earlier, but I just posted it, which means it has to be reviewed by the editor before going live on the site.

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