Thursday, May 12, 2016

Self loathing....

Mother's Day started my week off on a really bad path of wallowing in self pity, and the week has been a tough one. Six hours in the car on Mother's Day, a nursing home visit, packed that night and left first thing on Monday. Two store remodels and three others to just add some finishing touches. Monday I left the house at 8am and worked in New Bern until 1am the next day. Got a few hours sleep and back at the store bright and early to finish up, then drove to Jacksonville, then Goldsboro, then Wilson. This is not sustainable..... 

But I arrived home last night to a very sweet Mothers Day card from Wesley. Its the littlest things that mean the most sometimes..... I was mean to her on Mothers Day, feeling all sorry for myself, then had a big wallow of self loathing when I got this card. I just don't do commercial holidays very well. And those around me suffer..... sometimes I'm just not that great a mom.... sigh.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Mothers Day, moms!

One year ago today, this was Gerry's instagram post. What an amazing day it was, watching my beautiful daughter walk across the stage at the Stevens Center and graduate from UNCSA.
And now she is in California with a whole new life. This is the first Mothers Day we have been so far apart. I wallowed in self pity for a minute and then Gerry and I went out and got a beer on Franklin St, laughed and watched the Kentucky Derby, and it was all fun again!
Happy Mothers Day to all you moms!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

No place I would rather be........

I'm back home today after three days in three states and eight stores. I drove from Tennessee into NC on Tuesday and stopped at the state line visitor's center to pee and get something to drink that would make me have to pee some more. The interstate visitor centers on the state lines are always a pleasant place to stop and take a break.

Someone wrote a post on their blog a few weeks ago about our politics here in NC and there was a comment that said something like "no way could I live in the south". I remember thinking when I read that comment, "No way I could NOT live in the south." I love North Carolina, born here, lived here most of my life, no place I would rather be. Its deep in my soul. Yes, our Governor is an idiot and if you have been listening to NPR around here, he proves it more every day, with his uninformed comments. But the people that live here are not idiots. Gerry has been photographing transgender folks all week for a story the AP is doing about this pee bill, as I am calling it now. He has met some interesting folks, and in my travels this week, so have I. There are good people here, let us all pee where we want to you stupid politicians!

The visitor center on I 26 crossing into NC is really beautiful and there is a little trail that leads to an overlook. You can see Mt. Mitchell in the distance, the tallest mountain on the east coast. It was nice to get out and walk a few yards from my car and feel like I was deep in the mountains. Traveling this much is taking a toll, mentally and I am trying more and more to find ways to take care of myself. Taking food with me, trying to get some nature and I bought a new book, so I try to find a little time to read too. The spirit must be cared for.

Rhododendren is in full bloom up in the hills. I lucked out on this clear blue day with temperatures in the 60's, the air was crisp and spring was rocking and rolling.

This is why I am seeking solace wherever I can find it. The stores I am charged with "fixing" are an f'*ing mess. When you are breaking all sorts of sales records and so busy slammed with customers you can't even take a break, your store goes to hell. Leonard just had the biggest month in the history of their company and yay, business is good, but I have a long road ahead. I have never seen retail stores in such a mess. All of the guys are amazing though and 99% welcome me with open arms and are glad for the help. I did run into one mean ass woman this week who I chose to ignore because my day had been a good one and she was not going to rain on my parade. Some people just gotta act like a bad ass, its really boring.

I have taken over the Leonard instagram for a little creative outlet. Its fun trying to make a good photo on a Leonard lot! I think is the instagram location.   I love this vintage poster I came across in one of the stores. Mr. Leonard raises these cattle, apparently he is famous for them. I would love to see us do a retro ad campaign with these one day.

Beautiful day up in the mountains

I got lost looking for one of our stores, they had moved, no one told me and my GPS took me to an empty lot. The lot was near a house that had an old Leonard greenhouse in the backyard. Love this vintage Leonard stuff I'm coming across!

Nice to be home. I am meeting so many kind people and getting to spend time traveling the South that is so engrained in my mind. So many memories as I drive the backroads and the interstates. But it sure feels good to sleep in my own bed! Life is very different now, but I do love that paycheck in my account every Friday. The trade off is on most days well worth it. But I'm tired.....

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

And then I saw Jupiter

Road weary.... and its only Tuesday. I left home early yesterday, drove to Mount Airy, then up to Bristol Va, spent the night in a skank motel, it was free with my Choice Hotel points, good thing because it sure as hell wasn't worth paying for. There were holes in the carpet, holes in the shower ceiling, it had an odd odor.... I'm just so tired of these "economy" hotels. They suck!

 I have a minimal travel budget that does not allow for Marriotts and Hiltons, which I am used to staying in, and I am not enjoying these stays one damn bit. In Charlotte, the desk clerk gave me a room that was the one and only room in the entire hotel that had construction going on literally right outside the window, the construction guy was looking right in at me when I entered the room and he watched me as I turned right around and went back to the desk clerk. Honest to God, how could she not have figured this one out!??  I'm going to have to talk to somebody about this. I am gone for the next three weeks and I can't take many more nights in these toxic chemical boxes. 

I ended my day today in Asheville NC and my listed hotel was a Quality Inn that I am familiar with. The hotel just direct bills my company so it is nice to not have to pay and turn in expenses. This place was fine, but the smell of the cleaning chemicals in these places is killing me. My allergies go into overdrive every time I walk into a room. I left the door open in this room and turned the AC way down, ran the bathroom fan and it went away. I had to go and get something for allergies, my head just completely closed up. WHY!?!?!?!? 

I needed some real air, so I went down the road to Whole Foods, got some good fruits and salad and a six pack and drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and had myself a little picnic, watching the sun set. Heaven.... I have sat at this same spot so many times with Wesley and Gerry, homesick now....

And then I met Jim from the local Asheville astronomy club. While I ate, I watched from a distance as he fiddled and fiddled with this gigantic telescope and wondered what he was going to look at. He walked over after a bit and said if I would like to see Jupiter, I was welcome to come over, it was just coming into view. Well now, why not? Beer, Kale and a Jupiter viewing....

I saw Jupiter and three of its moons, the same ones Galileo saw years and years and years ago. Jim lives five miles down the road, travels alone in his little RV there and hangs out with the local astronomy club. I admire his contentment with his solitude. He said he comes to this spot nearly every night when its clear and sets up his telescope. What a life.... he was very kind.

Then, when I got back to my hotel it was lit up like.... well, like I don't know what! I just burst out laughing at this sight. What in the world?!  It was like they were waiting on the Wizard of Oz to show up or still celebrating St. Patricks Day. Sure was festive and an interesting follow up to the mountain solitude and Jupiter with her moons.

Life on the road is good and bad. Lonely sometimes, but never dull when you just look around. I'm ready to get back to my bed though!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Whites only.... wtf?

We met with our realtor today to have a beer, get a check from her and discuss where we are with our new buyers. We have come up on one small glitch. Of course.... it couldn't be all smooth sailing. The buyer's attorney uncovered a covenant from the 1950's for our neighborhood that says only caucasian people are allowed to live here...... WTF! In that case we have several neighbors that are in violation because our neighborhood is a mix of races. I wonder how we missed this when we bought the house.... our realtor is African American and our buyer's realtor is lesbian, so neither are very amused by this new information. I am just ashamed for whatever fool declared this covenant to begin with, and thank goodness it is in reality, unconstitutional.  It also says our house has to be so many feet off the road, we measured, it is, but our plat is wrong. Can anybody get anything right?! Like this covenant would really hold up anyway, but still....

We are in a holding pattern, while new inspections for our new buyers take place. They have been very pleasant to deal with, unlike the devil's children we finally got rid of. Last week they had the house inspected, septic inspected, a contractor came, mom and dad came. I was out of town all week so poor Gerry had to deal with keeping the house up for all of the traffic in and out.

I have been home two days, head back out tomorrow for Tennessee, the next week back to the eastern part of NC then the next week to South Carolina. I'm tired, we are living out of boxes, we are still living with uncertainty, though not as bad, we think this contract will stick. I really just want my life back.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

23rd year

Yesterday was my beautiful daughter's 23rd birthday. The first one we have not celebrated together. I'm sure the first of many to come. Ironically I was in Greensboro working at one of our stores which just happens to be a few miles away from the hospital where Wesley was born.

I was very busy yesterday and had little time to be melancholy or sad. This morning there were some pictures in my email from Hannah McAndrew and her new baby girl, Pippin, and they reminded me so much of the little girl I once held so close to me. I miss this girl so much. I miss her laughter, her love for simple things, her compassion, her wisdom, her gentleness.

The pain and tears are mostly gone, but in their place a knowledge that she will not be coming back to live with us, she is moving on with her own life and we play a tiny role in that life now. She is excited to be living in a new house and having a big adventure in California. And for the most part, we are excited for her. Just wish she could be a little closer.....

Time is fleeting, memories are very precious things...... Happy Birthday my beautiful child....
may you have many many more!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Power of Positive Thinking

The endless saga with our house continues. We are hopeful the demons that crawled out of hell and tried to buy our house are in our past. Friday, we put our house back on the market. I sat on the porch in my grandmother's swing Saturday morning, and said a little prayer that the right buyers would come along in the two weeks we were given to get our house under contract. Literally ten minutes later our realtor sent an email with an offer attached. Saturday morning we had two offers and a couple more interested parties. In less than 24 hours we accepted an offer and are excited for the young newlywed couple that wrote us the sweetest cover letter ever. This one feels right, we feel like a huge weight has lifted and for the first time in over a month we had a day where we weren't answering hateful accusations and contacting lawyers.

Gerry and I went in to Chapel Hill and had dinner at our favorite restaurant, Tallulah's. It was a spur of the moment celebration. We haven't felt like eating in so long, we have both lost weight, we are both stressed out to our limits. If felt good to eat great food, just sit and breathe a little easier and then we took a walk around UNC campus.

We have been so caught up in real estate hell, I forgot there is a lot going on around town right now. It's graduating time for many of the students and campus was buzzing with kids taking photos and laughing and hugging, so full of excitement and promises of futures to come. At graduation time, it is tradition to gather at the Old Well and make photos. We did this years ago with our niece. It was joyful and lifted my mood greatly. I felt this odd thing I forgot I had.... a smile.

We sat on a bench near a stream in the Coker Arboretum. watching this young couple talking photos in their graduation gowns. They were adorable. We have sat on that same bench so many times with Wesley, talking and laughing and it was bittersweet to sit there in the cool evening air, watching these two.

At the same time, my child was across the country moving into her own little house on the Russian River. Also filled with excitement and heading out into a new journey.

Throughout all of this, I have tried to stay positive and believe that we would eventually get into our dream house. It has been a very hard fight, but I just kept believing that this house was meant for us and we would live there. I would just imagine myself in that space every day and I knew somehow my prayers would be answered and it would all come together. Today I feel more positive than ever and I know that this is right and come June we will be in our new home. I have faith!