Past Midnight

Happy Birthday to me today. Dan and I have a longtime affectionate argument about age. He is four months older than me, or one hundred twenty-five days (not that I’m counting). He will refer to us in age in some conversation, and I will immediately remind him that while he was out on the town (at four months old), I was still in utero awaiting my introduction to the world. Yesterday he said I was fifty-five, I said, “After midnight.” It’s past midnight, actually its five-thirty in the morning so it is official. I’m sort of old. I say sort of because apparently the rest of the world doesn’t know me. I am not in the least bit “old”, I may have some wrinkles, and definitely fifty-five year old knees, but I’d say in attitude I’m somewhere around thirty-five. I’ve been getting a lot of AARP stuff for years now, but my favorite mail is from funeral homes. It goes something like, “Hey now! You’re getting closer to death by the second. Don’t leave your loved ones in a lurch. Plan ahead.” I know I’m no spring chicken, but I’d like to think I have another decade or two. For those of you who are of the gloom and doom persuasion, yes, I realize I could get hit by a car tomorrow, I’m just not planning on it. I also received a reminder a few weeks back from our car insurance company. They wanted to let me know that life insurance rates would go sky-high as soon as I turned fifty-five. I called yesterday…it wasn’t midnight yet. That process was interesting. They are very happy to have you call them, they are very happy to sell you insurance, but then begins the inquisition. A questionnaire about my medical history. It seems that they need to know everything that has ever occurred to me medically. Now at fifty-four (remember it wasn’t midnight yet) a lot, and I mean a lot of stuff has gone on in my life. What I really enjoyed was the section where they asked if I’d ever had any X-rays. Seriously? Who hasn’t, oh the Amish (not to offend, but I’m sure they don’t read my blog anyway). I started filling out the X-ray section, which includes normal X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasounds, and so on. I have had two children, had a miscarriage, fallen down a flight of stairs on my hip, six knee surgeries, broken fingers, and…I could bore you with more medical details, because I am after all old now, and isn’t that what old people do? I won’t, I will remember my thirty-five year old mindset and stop. I called them back. I spoke to a very nice young man. Do they really need every X-ray ever? He was stumped. I have to call back Monday (I guess the inquisitor gets weekends off). I get it if they want to rule out something that will cost them, but if they insure me it will cost them in the end anyway, it’s not like I’m immortal or something. (Of course if my plan to rule the universe doesn’t happen soon I may have to figure that one out.) Rule out the biggies for the moment, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, but why make me relive some rather painful personal moments? Does it really matter that I was anemic when I was nineteen? Or that I was depressed for a while after my mom died, wouldn’t they be too? That I miscarried? What does any of that have to do with life insurance? Who needs to read the gory details of my five decades? Does the fact that I broke my index finger mean I could push the wrong elevator button and plunge to my death? Or will they use the fact that I snapped my ACL hanging a kitchen curtain as a reason for non-payment when I fall off a counter to my demise in my new home hanging new curtains?  I feel like the odds are stacked against me before I even begin. Maybe I should have signed up for life insurance at birth before my total lack of coordination was evident. I guess if I die too soon they will have to pay too soon. I have to say, I’m with them. I hope they make lots of money from me, but meanwhile a little privacy please. (Happy Sunday to all of you, but I feel better now. I needed to rant to someone.)

On to what really matters…

I’ve created a new ad for today’s post. It looks like this:

MISSING: ARTWORK

Last seen several months ago on this blog

Wearing coats of many colors.

Mediums of all kinds.

Subject matter varied upon mood of the artist.

If you have any information please contact the artist and ask “What’s up?”

I started this blog to force myself to create every day. Along the way the original purpose was usurped by my life heading off the deep end. I need to find it again. My art is my life’s saving grace. It has always been the thing that got me through. It hasn’t been a good year and a half for Dan and I. We are grateful for what we have. We talked last night about how close we came to losing everything. We didn’t, and we are stronger than ever, but I have been letting a very important part of myself slip away once again. I need to create. It is as important in my life as food is. I need that artistic nourishment, and I have been living on crumbs. My birthday, start of a new year in my life, an arbitrary benchmark of time passing, but today it becomes my new “start line”, my new 365 day project. Today I will be spending the day with Dan, so I will post a piece from last year. New work begins tomorrow.

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The Pieces Of Me

I have often mentioned here on these pages that I like to think about where people come from, the who’s and why’s of the person they have become. I find it interesting that so many influences affect the people we are, like a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle that never ends, always adding pieces. We continue to evolve due to experiences we have, and by the people we associate with. I’m sure there may have been a moment in many people’s lives where their mother said something along the lines of, “You are the people you are with.” There may be some truth to that. I know that when I see a quality in another person that I like I try to emulate that behavior, and of course when I find a personality trait distasteful I look at myself to make sure that I’m not unknowingly acting the same way. As usual I am off on a physiological rant of sorts, which is never my intention, but I guess part of who I am. My first magazine subscription as a child was Highlights. My favorite parts? The “Hidden Objects” puzzle, and “Goofus and Gallant.” I’m a puzzle doer, love them, I can’t purchase a jigsaw puzzle. If I dare buy a puzzle I can kiss my day, and sometimes my night (all night), and possibly some of the next day off. I have to finish them obsessively. Goofus and Gallant? I think that might just be a little part of my immense sense of right and wrong. I have very little gray area in my life. My next subscription, at about age fifteen was Physiology Today. Even at that young age I was fascinated by the human mind. Just a few of the pieces that make up me.

Then there is Monty Hall. If you are too young to remember, Monty was the host of Let’s Make A Deal. Wayne Brady hosts the show now. When I was five it was my favorite show. My mother once told me that she had a hard time getting me to go to kindergarten because I didn’t want to leave my show. I think I may have loved the mystery of it. (See? Influences. I’m also a Nancy Drew Mysteries girl) I loved the reveal of what was in the boxes and behind the curtain. My sisters and I would pretend to be Carol Merrill, Monty’s sidekick model, we had the hand gesturing down to a science. My favorite part of the show was the end. Monty would travel through the audience and ask people for odd items, and if they had the safety-pin, or Buffalo nickel, etc…they were rewarded with cash. Influences once again. Like most women I carry a purse. My purse is an ode to Monty. I have safety pins, bandages, toothpicks, rubber bands, the list is tremendous. I think somewhere in my developing mind Monty was there urging me to always be prepared. I bring this up because of a situation that occurred over the weekend. I got a text message from my son Brian, it said that he had lost his glasses and did we happen to have a spare pair? Not only to I carry a purse, I also have a bag, let’s call it my Let’s Make A Deal bag. It contains all the stuff that my purse is too small to hold. (Trust me, I have a big purse) We were out in the car when the message came to my phone. Did I have glasses? Yes, six pairs. They were in my LMAD bag. We immediately drove to the winery where he works to drop off a pair. I believe this makes me eligible for “Mother of the Year”, who else can arrive with an assortment of eye wear at a moment’s notice? A Let’s Make A Deal girl, that’s who.

I do try to let the people in my life that I am grateful to know it. There are countless people who have been in my life that have contributed to the person I am, some I have of course known, but so many more that were in my life for a fleeting moment.  Susan Dey on the Partridge Family who I really wanted to be, because she seemed so cool, and I just wasn’t.  Princess Caroline of Monaco for being a princess with brown hair and brown eyes. Mrs. Weclew (I’m sure I’ve spelled her name wrong), she was my third grade teacher. The first to recognize that I had artistic talent. She was a lovely woman who would put her arms around the very shy little girl who became me, because I would cry when I had to stand in front of the chalkboard where everyone could see me. Iris Guerrero, the new girl when I was in 7th grade and had no friends. She didn’t know I was the kid everyone made fun of. She taught me to open my mouth and speak up for myself. Johnetta Jackson. My parents moved in the middle of my 7th grade year. It was my turn to be the new girl in eighth grade. Johnetta saw me the first day, she didn’t know me, didn’t know I was a terrified and shy girl,  she put her arm around me and began to introduce me to people. Turned out to be a good year, probably the best of my entire school career. I would love to thank her for that. There is of course my wonderful husband who has made me feel loved and secure every single day, believe me it makes a difference. Believe it or not my kids as well. Jessica heads out into the world so fearless. I love her energy, her intelligence, her creativity, and her kind heart. She makes me want to try new things. My son Brian, like his dad one of the smartest people I know, which is amazing because he hated school. Funny, charming, with a big warm heart (despite his efforts to look nonchalant). Brian was my sidekick for a long time. Jessica is older, and Dan traveled a lot. There’s something about Brian that makes me want to make him proud of me. I hope he is.

I could of course go on and on. Think about it. Who in their own way, in a single moment or with a single act, be it a moment of kindness or of something unpleasant, made an impression that shaped the person you are. Do we get to say, “Thank you.” or ,”You’ve hurt me.”, do we even recognize it in that second? Maybe all we can do is to try not to spread the unpleasantness, and maybe all we can do is be grateful for the good, thank them in ours minds and hearts, and try to be the kind of person that makes a difference in the life of someone else.

What do you see when you look at an older person?

A very touching piece that everyone should read and think about.

ann johnson-murphree

A worthy piece to share from Ernest Slyman’s Facebook Page…Please share

https://www.facebook.com/ernest.slyman.9/about

“When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.”

Cranky Old Man

What…

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I Need Some Sleep

I’ll just bet you’re saying to yourself, “Didn’t we already hear from her today?” You would be right, just a few short hours ago in fact. Don’t blame me, blame the inconsiderate motorcyclist who felt the need to rev his engine repeatedly shortly after I fell asleep.  I am not a good sleeper, not now, not ever. This isn’t some new problem that has descended upon me during the joys of menopause, no, this is a life-long issue that has plagued me from birth. I believe I may have mentioned it once or twice. That is my ability to convince my mother that I was ill by pretending to be asleep.  If I slept it meant I either had the flu, or I was about to have the flu. I hear tales of those who have some magical ability called “sleeping in.” Not me, not ever. When my son was born I was in labor for two days and two nights. Eight pounds, nine ounces, no anesthesia, and an hour later, I was wide awake calling friends and family as Dan slept soundly in my hospital bed. (Who could blame him? He was up all night.)  I have gone days without sleeping more than a few hours until I hit a wall, and then I sleep, but never enough to catch up. I rarely sleep through the night. Imagine my frustration when an inconsiderate neighbor decides it time to replay a scene from Sons Of Anarchy at eleven o’clock at night. I unfortunately don’t do falling back to sleep very well either (thus the act II of today’s writing). If I sleep for even a short time, like a cat nap (an expression I must say I have never understood. I have three cats and they sleep all day), I am then awake for the foreseeable future. It does not make for a pleasant day the next day. I walk around in a near constant state of headache, graze my kitchen cabinets, and accomplish barely anything. What I would like to do right now in deference to my earlier blog, is face the culprit of my stolen slumber and explain just how much his inconsiderate behavior has already ruined my day that has yet to begin. Better yet, I would like to stand at his bedside with a metal pot and spoon and play a tune or two just as he has fallen asleep. (Did I mention that I get crabby when someone wakes me?) So here I sit near midnight hoping that at some point I will feel tired enough to sleep again. Meanwhile let me share some of my wonderful television viewing prospects:

Most Terrifying Places  in America, because who wouldn’t want to watch this right before bed?

Gator Boys…not saying a word

Animal Fight Night. This where you can see animals turn on their own. If I wanted to see that I would just watch the news.

The Unexplained Files. This one has a story about hairless, hunchbacked, blue-eyed dogs attacking cattle. Could this sound any creepier?

Nightmare Next Door.  The story of a child’s murder. I fail to see why this is necessary.

The Haunted.  I mean who doesn’t long for a good nightmare?

Duck Dynasty. Do you think they know the Gator Boys?

American Horror Story: Freak Show.  Clowns and horror, where could they possibly go wrong?

Zombie Strippers. Suffice it to say that the only horror in this is the acting.

There is of course one of the “Die Hard” movies on, because isn’t there always a “Die Hard” movie on?

There are also the usual variety of infomercials, most praying on the insecurities of the menopausal women who are sitting up with night sweats. There is one that asks, “Have a Turkey Neck?” And I can apparently “Slim (my) Your Belly-No Dieting.” Someone who wants to give us girls “3 Free Body Shapers!”, which I won’t need because all I really need is the “Brazil Butt Lift.” While I work on my butt I can either purchase from Proactive, Beautiful You, or I can have a “Sexy Face at Any Age.” She isn’t on my screen as of yet, but I’d put money on it that Cindy Crawford is lurking in the corners looking beautiful and “ageless” just so I can feel bad about myself. Of course I can always, “Throw Out Your Makeup!  All I need to do is airbrush my face. (I wonder if it comes with that fan I’ve been wanting to blow my hair back just like Julia Roberts?)

Then there is sex. Hey guys! “Prostate Problems? Get Relief Fast!” (I know it isn’t funny, but I’m glad that there is at least one product aimed at the one insecurity most men have.)

There is “Sexy Adult Toy Shopping.” This one is actually quite entertaining. Two women discussing vibrators like they’re at a Tupperware party, and its on not one, but THREE channels! They must be very popular.

Sex and Menopause…Lovemaking Secrets!…Orgasm Inc.  What’s a girl to choose?

“Taboo”   This episode is “Strange Love”, uncommon relationships. Not looking, not looking, I’m sure there is an “eww” factor involved.

I can also Stop (my) Your Anxiety and Depression. Ironic. I think middle of the night television is giving me anxiety and depression.

If I wait about a half hour I can learn to Whiten Teeth At Home!, or buy a product that promises “More Sex, Less Stress”, and (I kid you not) “Breaking Bald” Ha! One more to prey on the sleepless guys in the crowd.

Gene Simmons Family Jewels is on….oh wait, I did mention not wanting nightmares, right?

Lots of religious programming, not my thing….

If I could only find something to help me sleep….Key Capitol Hill Hearings might help…I’ve got it! DOGTV

Yes, you read right, DOGTV, channel 354 on Directv. Right now we are in the middle of an episode of “Night Time”, Getting your Dog to Sleep: Ensuring a Good-night’s Rest for your pooch. And in fifteen minutes beginning at one a.m., we have “Night Time, Images, sounds and music to create a relaxed and peaceful night environment for your dog. Now if only my name were “Fifi” or “Fido”…

Maybe I need to start my own channel. Something for insomniacs, something to lull me to sleep with pleasant dreams…I’ve got it! The “Bob” channel, all Redford, all the time. Maybe I could find some computer whiz to morph me into the leading lady roles, now there’s a reason to fall asleep and dream…

P.S. You do know I love my husband (and in reality, Bob’s no Dan)

I think I can sleep now…

 

Filters

Last week I was at the doctor to get some blood test results. I had a conversation with my doc about my aging father and his inability to seem to filter things he says to people. My doctor explained that there is a part of our brain, a filter of sorts, in the frontal lobe. As we age it begins to “thin” out. This is apparently why people who are elderly say just about anything that comes to mind, at least that’s what I got out of it. Several years ago a friend of ours said that because he was over fifty he felt entitled to tell people off, something I guess he felt he earned. I bring all of this up because I am quite frankly worried for my children. They’re fine, its their having to deal with me that I’m worried about. Have you ever looked at your mother or father and said, “I’ll never be like that.”, and then you start seeing your parents in yourself? Certain turns of a phrase, or mannerisms that just come out of nowhere. You find yourself aghast at something that just came out of your mouth, something you swore you’d never say. I already have filter issues. Ask anyone who knows me, I’m very confrontational. I have no problem whatsoever telling someone exactly what I think. It doesn’t always go over very well. I’m not mean about it or anything (at least most of the time), but I don’t think that holding things in does anything but build resentment. Over time resentment becomes like picking at a scab (I know, gross comparison, but I have a point), if you aren’t honest in your feelings, particularly with those who are close to you, you pick and pick in your mind at what upset you until it’s an open wound again. Now the wound that was maybe just a little scratch has become something that might require a stitch or two.  The little upset that would have been solved with an “I’m sorry”, has become a major infraction. (Never good in a relationship) I want to live in a world where when someone upsets me I say, “You’ve….”, and they say, “Oh, I’m sorry.” I’m not letting myself off the hook either. If I have angered someone, hurt their feeling, been unintentionally thoughtless, I want to know. I want to say, “I’m sorry.” For now I am in control. I don’t say anything inappropriate,  and when I make fun of people I make sure that they don’t hear me. (Don’t judge, you know you do it too.)

Now after that long explanation of how my world should work…. I’m afraid that my kids may have their hands full with their filter-less mother. I promise them here and now on this page that I will try to retain as much frontal lobe filter as possible, but the fact is that I can’t make any promises. I may have to apologize here and now for all the embarrassment in their futures, but guess what?  I’ve dealt with my Dad, my sisters have as well. We all love him terribly, but we have all had our “Dad” moments, where you “Shh!”, or in a rather exasperated and pleading tone say, “Dad, be quiet. They can hear you.”  I guess it’s just something we will all have to suffer through, unless of course there becomes a scientific breakthrough in frontal lobe fattening. (Honestly, I can’t imagine myself to allow anything fattening anywhere near me, well, unless it’s chocolate) In the meanwhile, if you run into me be assured that I am really, really nice, but if you happen to say or do the wrong thing…

Friend’s dad missing. Please help spread the word.

Prayers are with you.

Poème du Noir

Hi y’all, if you’re in Mumbai, India, or have friends here, please help spread the word. My friend’s father has been missing for over a day now. He’s 68 years old, 5 ft 5 inches, dark to Wheatish complexion, last seen Malad (west), infinity 2 mall. If u do happen to see him, Kindly contact me (facebook and twitter ids on my page) or Yogesh Dokre on +91 9820 841 681. thanks a ton.

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Words Or Pictures?

I had for the first time in a very long time a lazy afternoon. I’m a fidget-er, one who cannot sit still. Like some who talk incessantly with the need to fill the air with words, I am one that needs to fill every moment with activity…and often in total silence. On my lazy afternoon (which was actually forced on me by a medication induced upset stomach), I watched a movie, Words and Pictures, with Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen.  The movie wasn’t a box office success, and after watching I read some on-line reviews which weren’t stellar, but I loved it. Yes it was cliché, but aren’t all romantic comedies clichéd? Aside from the two very appealing leads, it was the subject matter that grabbed me. A battle between two teachers, the Honors English and the Honors Art teachers about what is worth more, words? Or is it pictures? As an artist/writer I have strong opinions on both sides. If I were asked to make a list of my favorite things, art and words would be part of the list, they would actually be at the top of the list. I know such lists would often cause people to choose something more tangible, and although art can be something we hold and touch, it can also be something quite transitory. Art is all around us, and while exquisitely captured on canvas, or on film through movies and photography, I need only look out my window to see art that I will never be skilled enough to reproduce. Words? Yes they can be written down and leather-bound, or recorded as I do in this moment, but think of the fleeting words you hang onto in your life. The first “I love you.” The first word spoken by your child. The last conversation with a loved one. I loved this movie because it opened an internal dialog in my own mind. To choose between two things I love so much would be difficult. I’m sure at some point we have all thought about those who have either been born with, or lost one of their senses. We might wonder if we had to choose which it would be. To never see again? To never look into the eyes of someone you love? To lose your hearing? To loose the sound of laughter, the rustling of the leaves, or a cry for help? For me the ability to express myself in words is like breathing. By the same token the ability to produce art allows my soul to breathe. This movie inspired two things in me. I opened up a new canvas two days ago and have yet to put a stroke on it. Now I feel like painting. I was inspired by the work in the movie to want to produce something. And here I sit at the keyboard the words bursting out of me as the credits rolled. I don’t care about whether someone thought the plot was silly, or the actors had no chemistry, I would watch it over and over if it made me feel what I feel right now. So, I choose not to choose. I do however wish to ask what everyone else thinks. Words? Pictures? Where do you stand? The decision is yours.

A Different Dialog

I’m not going to write today about my house. Sometimes things happen that resonate in my brain, and reorders my perspective about what is important in life. I went to the pharmacy today to pick up a prescription. An ordinary errand on an ordinary day. The woman behind the counter is not Caucasian, she is Middle Eastern. I’m not sure where she hails from, I will presume, although I do not know, that it isn’t from the U.S., she has just the hint of an accent. I have a hint of an accent myself, it’s a Midwestern twang with a touch of the Brogue, depending on which words stuck with me from my very Irish upbringing. None of that matters. She is a lovely woman, pleasant and nice. She always has a smile, and through the many years that I have been patronizing the pharmacy we have developed an easy rapport with one another. Today she seemed tired, and I thought I heard a trace of illness. I asked if she were coming down with something, and then she began to cry. Her nephew was killed in a motorcycle accident only two days ago. She told me he was only twenty five, she had so much pain in her eyes that I began to cry as well. I reached for her hand and held it just for a second, and for a moment she seemed surprised, and then pulled away. I told her I was sorry, I told her there were no answers. She lives amongst elderly relatives, some are sickly, but they are alive. She is at a loss, she doesn’t understand why this young man was taken when she has people in her life ready to move on. We stood for a few moments and talked about her nephew and my mother. I told her the one thing that I believe, that he will always live on in their hearts. I told her I talk to my mom all the time in my laundry room. With that I realized there was another customer behind me, a woman.  I wished the pharmacy tech well and stepped aside, and then the other woman looked at me and said, “I talk to my mother in the garden.”

I wrote about this incident because in that singular moment I wished that the world at large could share that human connection. I talked about the pharmacy tech’s heritage not because she was different, but because we are all the same. Her pain was my pain, the hole in my heart caused by my mother’s death is the same as the hole in her heart, and of the heart of the woman behind me. I am tired of reading, and so much more exhausted seeing the effort that is put into pointing out all of our differences. Bill Maher had a show on in which he and a guest were in essence laying a blanket definition of who Muslims are are what they believe. It wasn’t pretty. Ben Affleck was on the program and was challenging their statements. I’m with Ben. I’m a Catholic. Not really a practicing Catholic, but it is the foundation of who I am, and in how I choose to live my life. There are particular programs on these days where the hosts are “Christians”. There is nothing remotely “Christ-like” in how they portray the issues of today. One of the most spectacular qualities that we as humans have is our differences. God given differences. By that I don’t mean the stuff that interferes with leading a good, and God-like existence. Things like racism, ignorance, intolerance, violence…the list goes on and on. I mean the differences in each and everyone of us that makes us unique. It’s the reason that you can’t “blanket” any religion. I have three sisters, we all live our various levels of faith in our own manner. Does that make one of us a “good” Catholic, or another a “bad” Catholic? No it doesn’t, because according to what we believe it is not for us to judge. Would I be comfortable if because of the current pedophilia problem every priest was labeled a pedophile? Or by default that I am somehow responsible for what a number of sick individuals did? No I wouldn’t. I happen to have a dear friend who is a priest. He is a good and honorable man. I’m tired of everyone sitting in judgement of everyone else. What would it take to understand that because you worship differently than me you aren’t wrong? You are different in the magnificent way that God created you. We all hurt, we all bleed, we are all devastated by the loss of loved ones. We all love our children, we all want to be happy, we all want love. Here’s the other really great thing that God did. We’re all the same too. Let’s stop looking at the differences in the wrong way. Let’s celebrate our individuality, the many traditions of worship, the many expressions of love in whatever form they may take, the many colors of our skin (even for those of us that have no color in our skin), the way that each of us are different from the person next to us. Then let’s embrace what is the same. Let us comfort those who have lost, cheer for those who succeed, wrap ourselves in the connection we all have, the human experience. Finally, let’s begin to turn a deaf ear to those who would divide us, who would abuse the name of God, of Allah, of Jesus, or whomever one prays to, by turning them into weapons of divisiveness, or of judgement. Of turning our backs on what I believe everyone’s God teaches, and that is love.

Blowing Off Steam!!!

The weekend open house is over. We heave a big sigh of disappointment. We had a grand total of two people, or one couple, so technically one viewing. They seemed to like the house, we weren’t really sure. What I found particularly interesting was a comment made by one of them about our home being “staged”. Just a few weeks ago I had another couple here in the house. Before I begin my rant, let me say that I have a couple of very dear friends who are realtors, and my dad actually had his license at one point in his life. They are lovely, honest, and hard-working people. My rant has to do with particular people rather than the profession as a whole. My tale of woe has to do with one couple, and an individual realtor who called me last week. The couple are, “the most successful realtors in Temecula”, or so they said. The woman commented that they would supply their staging team. I told her I wouldn’t need them. I mentioned to her that I had gone to interior design school in Chicago, to which she relied, “There’s a difference between interior design and staging.”, and then she turned her back on me. (BIG MISTAKE) If you have seen the video of our home on YouTube, you will see a lovely home. I know what staging is, but the difference between me and the average client is that I live and breathe design. I have a passion for it. I don’t need my house to be set up for someone to dream about living in it, it already looks that way. My favorite class in design school was called “Sourcing”. The entire class consisted of going to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and visiting showrooms. Furniture, tile, carpet, textiles, etc….I loved it, I obsessed over it. I have a subscription to nearly every decorating magazine on the market. The comment from the possible buyer of yesterday gave me mixed feelings. Yes, there are rooms in this home that have been recently staged for the purposes of selling. Those would be the kids rooms, because I no longer have “kids”, I have adults. The rest of my house is the way it looks all the time. (Of course not quite as tidy.)  Maybe it looks staged to someone who doesn’t live the way I do. I have a need to create in every part of my life, whether it be in the kitchen by baking or cooking, or working on a painting, or even in the way I arrange the pillows on my couch, and don’t get me started on how the bed needs to be made. There isn’t an undecorated inch in all 3036 square feet of this home, or in the garden either. One of the few bright spots in having to sell this home is that I get a new place to get my hands on.  Even as a renter I never left a place in the same way I found it. I put my heart and soul into all I do, including loving my family, and in creating a beautiful environment for them to live in. I don’t take offense to the lady of yesterday, she doesn’t know me or what I’m all about. What I do take offense to is the presumption of someone who walks through my door, and by the way, wants me to hire them, who treats me like I don’t know anything. She also corrected me because I repeated something twice about working from home. When all is said and done I believe I will be dropping this woman a note, something like this…

Dear Realtor (whose name I won’t use),  You came into my home because you wanted my business. If you want my business, don’t treat me like I’m less than you. Don’t treat me like I don’t have a brain in my head, and don’t EVER turn your back on me. Don’t correct me in a dismissive manner when I repeat something. You wanted my business, so if I want to say it ten times you need to listen. By the way, you and your spouse repeated yourselves several times, but my mother raised me right. I don’t embarrass people by correcting them, it’s in bad taste. You were in my home. You need to be gracious, you need to listen, and you need not to insult me. In other words you need to learn some manners.  Your interest in me was only monetary, and I spotted your phoniness two minutes after you walked through my door. I hope you will heed this advice in your future business transactions. Signed,  Not In A Million Years.

Now on to the phone call. We listed the house ourselves, and as expected have been inundated with phone calls from realtors who want us to use their services. Most have been gracious when informed that we are selling it ourselves, and that if we do indeed list with a realtor it would be our friend. Most wish us well, and offer their services if we change our minds. Nice people, respectful people, people who treat me like I have a brain and am not recently recovering from a lobotomy. The morning after we listed I received a call from a man who said he was a realtor, he then asked roughly twenty fairly personal questions about why we were selling our own home. I was honest and gave him several reasons, including that we had a bad experience with a realtor in Chicago. His reply to that was that he wasn’t going to apologize for it since he had nothing to do with it.

A. I didn’t ask for an apology.

B. If I was trying to garner business, and my potential client had a bad experience with a person who happened to share my profession, I would say, “I’m sorry that happened to you. Please don’t feel that it is representative of my entire profession.”

He then proceeded to point out the reasons he felt that my husband and I didn’t know what we were doing. He was rude, and quite frankly the ruder he was the more bitchy I got. He called my home. He wanted my business. It is therefore in my mind his “job” to make me want to work with him. This one would be signed, On A Cold Day In Hell. In the end he said that it was obvious I wasn’t ready to work with people who could help me, and my response? “It certainly wouldn’t be with you.”

Side track alert notice!!!… Makes me think about a phone call several years ago from a certain well-known on-line university. I sent for information for Dan. When I got a phone call from the school they of course assumed it was I that wanted to further my education. I said no and explained it was for my husband, but in the end he didn’t think he would have the time to do the classes due to an extensive travel schedule. The young man on the other end of the phone very abruptly said, “Well, how does your husband expect to do anything in life if he can’t make the time to get an education?” (Oh if they only knew me before they called…) “Young man, my husband is a vice-president at a multimillion dollar company, and you make phone calls for a living. Don’t make assumptions.” Then I hung up.

Think I have an issue? Yes I admittedly do. There have been plenty of times in this life when I didn’t feel so great about myself, but one thing I have always known is that I am smart, really smart. Thanks to my parents and some good genes, my sisters and I are very intelligent women, throw in the finest Catholic education available (that my parents worked their behinds off in order to pay for ), and we are forces to be reckoned with. Of course we all come with the standard fit rod of self-righteous steel in our spines, in other words, don’t piss us off.

Words from my gravestone (If I have one. I believe I will be cremated, because knowing me I’ll have claustrophobia in the afterlife.), “You can call me fat, you can call me ugly, but you can never call me stupid.”

I think that says it all.

The Not So Open House

A few words from yesterday…

The “Open House” has ended, it actually never really started. No knocks on the door, or rings of the bell. Just silence. In reference to what Dan said about having a party that no one shows up to, this feels like being the jilted prom date. I worked so hard yesterday perfecting it all, I got up this morning hurting in so many places I had long forgotten, but filled with anticipation and hoping for the best. I am proud of my home and what we have accomplished. I was feeling down as the clock struck three, but then set out to amuse myself with one of my favorite things to write. That would be a reworking of The Night Before Christmas. I’ve done it in probably ten different ways along the years. I love words, and the challenge of trying to recreate within the stanzas of that poem always gives me great satisfaction. So here it is in its goofiest form yet:

‘Twas the night before the showing,
Just me and my spouse,
We were frantically De-furring
And tidying our house.

With three cats, and so much dusty desert air,
It seemed to need cleaning most everywhere!
The cats were no help, and continued to shed,
By evenings end we were ready for bed.
With both of us ready for a good long nap
We decided to call the evening a wrap.
We knew that we had completed most of what mattered
And if we didn’t rest, the next day we’d be shattered.

Into our bed we fell with a crash,

hoping tomorrow would bring a buyer with cash.

 

We slept until the sun’s earliest glow,
We made a fast list of what to do and let go.

Running out of time was our fear,

before the chime of the doorbell we’d hear.
A little more tweaking, fresh flowers might be the trick,
To make this the home that a buyer would pick.
Eleven O’clock, time to begin the waiting game
For that one special person who might want to lay claim:
We waited, and waited for a bell to answer

Waited and waited to let someone in!
No bell ring, no knock, our excitement was muted!
All that wasted work what a sin!
Not a step on the porch!

Or a telephone call!
Please pray tomorrow is a better day

What in the world happened to them all?

I know you might think there’s no reason to cry
But you must understand I try, and I try.
I think that you‘d be sad too
If you worked and you worked as hard as we do.

It really looks lovely under this roof
Look at the video to see the proof.
We set off to drive around
And sadly take today’s signs down.
Day after day of being covered in soot
To make sure everything is perfect where put
Night after night where I’d hit the sack
And lay there sleepless as I’d plan the next day’s attack.
Day after day that was truly quite scary
Of losing this home I was quite wary
Worried that we would have nowhere to go

I blogged and I blogged with tales of woe.
Then along came a job and room to breathe,
but it came with a trek long enough to make Dan seethe!
Three hours each way gritting his teeth

(and just a little cussing and yelling)
We need to move to another new dwelling!
Surely some pity I felt for myself
As I began to pack every room, every shelf.
As I filled up the boxes filled with dread
A new idea popped into my head.
A home that just might need a little rework
One filled with lots of character and quirk
Now I am anxious for this house to close
If only tomorrow’s open house has any shows.
The house is as clean as a whistle
I need a buyer! Let’s make this official!
I’m ready to move on to brand new sights
Let’s hope for tomorrow and to the right price!

 

OK, so I know it is hideously corny, but it was either that or a good cry. I opted for the horrific poem instead. It is now 12:48, Open House day number two. I’m anxious and nervous, and tired yet again. I ran through the house to touch it all up. So stay tuned later to hear what’s new…is it me or is this thing starting to rhyme?…Anyway, hopefully, hopefully, someone (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller?) will come to see this place.