Time to Jump

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I’m feeling those jitters in my stomach because it’s time to make a bold move career-wise- I’ve reached the peak of what I can learn, the challenge is gone, you know when it’s time to start looking and it is PAST time.   It’s particularly bittersweet leaving my job because it was my first career move after being home for 11 years with my kids. I went back to the workforce for 2 reasons: 1) I was ready to throw myself back in the world of adults again and 2) I was getting divorced.  

My luck in what I found was written in the stars- I was given the opportunity to manage the front office in the elementary school that all of my kids attended.  Could it get any better? Even though I lost my kids 50 percent of the time, I would still be there to brush their hair and do braids when they got dropped off by their dad,  provide anything they might have forgotten- when you suffer from divorce guilt, these things go a LONG way for a LONG time. I also have an amazing boss that allowed them to hang out in our staff lounge before and after school for years to make it work for me, my commute is a ¼ mile and my health benefits cover me and my kids for FREE!  

Despite all the pros, there is one BIG con.  I’m capable of so much more- and my heart won’t let me forget it.  When your pros list starts to lose its luster and you start to dream of the next chapter, you have to listen.  But god is it scary… when you’re so comfortable that you could do your job with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back, the low level of stress that affords me should be applauded, right?  I wish it could be enough- I love being within a block of all of my kids schools in case there’s an emergency- to catch every sporting event even when they start at ridiculously early times for working parents.  I never miss anything. But it’s time to be the mom that doesn’t make every single event- it’s going to sting for a while- but I want my kids to see me thriving at something that brings me joy.

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So here I go, back to the land of Indeed.com and LinkedIn- it’s daunting at 48- you start to wonder if people will only go with younger- and that’s the first time I’ve started a job search feeling that way.  But there’s one thing I have that a 24 year old does not-besides stretch marks from 3 kids- I know who I am and what I’m capable of- I don’t doubt myself or what I can accomplish if given the chance so throw out some good karma that my dream job decides that the wise choice is to go with the aged fine wine!  

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Am I the only one who’s dog is INSANE?

Now don’t get me wrong, I adore my dog to another level- he has seen me through my divorce and kept me company when the house is WAY too quiet.  We adopted Cyrus through a lab rescue 5 years ago- he was healing from two broken legs when we got him so we had to keep him from running for 6 months to heal when we adopted him… I think we’re still dealing with the residual pent up energy for sure!

If we try and take him to dog beach my stomach is always in knots because I know it’s a given that he will embarrass the crap out of me before we head home- typically he loves to pick the sweet old ladies little pocket puppies and at a hearty 105 lbs he chooses to try and dry hump the 5 lber’s…. it’s ridiculous.  But we deal with it, because he has a face you can’t stay mad at for long.

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I waited years to adopt a lab and somehow I ended up with the only yellow lab on the planet that doesn’t chase balls.  Ever.  The only time he gets energetic is when we’re on walks on leash and he sees another dog- that’s when I pray with everything I have that I get to keep my rotator cuff for one more day.  He gets that fur mohawk on his back and turns into a nut job… so we constantly cross streets when we see other dogs coming.  It’s such a calm and relaxing experience most days-she said with heavy sarcasm.   Most hours of the day he keeps it mellow.

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He’s pushing 9 so I’m hoping at some point he mellows out but we doubt it.  We wouldn’t change anything about our huge guy though- he showers us with unconditional love 24/7 and he’s a fantastic watch dog- the mailman and poor UPS guys will attest to that one!

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Despite the ups and downs, we highly recommend adopting a lab-they ROCK! 🙂  Cy loves to use his humans for pillows most days. 🙂

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Sell your Skills and get the Job

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I’m a single mom of 3 kiddos living in what is probably the most unaffordable town that a single mom could pick to live in- Coronado Island, CA.  Of course, I was married when we started out here- and now I’m seeing it through so that all three of my kids can graduate here because this is the only place they’ve ever called home.

This requires a very constant flow of income and I am forever trying to drum up new sources to keep all the balls in the air- 2 kids in club soccer doesn’t pay for itself!  Instead of trolling the job boards as I normally do, I decided to toot my own horn recently and I posted on the job page on Craigslist.com what I could offer and what I was looking for- I entitled it “I am an Entreprenaur’s Dream” and boy, that got attention.  Not ALL good- I had to reject quite a few adult film requests but beyond that my responses were rock solid!

Use super animated vocabulary about yourself, go to town on how amazing you are and why and even post what your going rate is per hour for working remotely on virtual projects.  You’ll be surprised at how many responses will come your way- quite a few tried to set up meetings at their home- be extremely careful and ALWAYS meet at a public, neutral spot!

Don’t feel like you’re at the mercy of employers and only submitting resumes to them- you know what you’re capable of- so write one incredible post and someone is going to SHOW YOU THE MONEY!  (Any Jerry Maguire fans out there?) 🙂

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Blindsided & Still Standing

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After kissing a few frogs on these online dating sites, I tried eharmony.  I liked that you had to pay (weeds out the players a bit), and that you had to take time consuming personality tests to try and come up with strong matches.   The first person to reach out struck me the minute I saw his photo- I loved his genuine smile, he loved golfing with his son, he was a spiritual guy-there was nothing about this man that screamed “weirdo.”

We began texting for almost 3 weeks.  Great texts- he wasn’t a one word texting kind of guy which I loved.  I was so nervous to meet in person because what if the reality didn’t live up to the written word?  We finally got brave and we met at my favorite spot for a quick drink- and we agreed that if one of us just wasn’t feeling it, we wouldn’t be stuck all night, we could do a quick escape, no harm, no foul.

He had come from a round of golf and he had his baseball hat on (I love guys in baseball hats) so that worked for me.  He was super outgoing, friendly to everyone around him, he was scoring huge points right out of the gate.  Our original date idea of meeting for a quick drink turned into dinner where we ended up closing the restaurant down almost 7 hours later.  It was the date of all first dates- we walked along the harbor after not wanting to say goodbye and I thought that maybe, just MAYBE, god had sent me a good one.

Over the next 9 months dating him was a dream- he wouldn’t let me cook when he came over, wouldn’t let me take my dog out for that last walk of the night, constant foot rubs, he loved to clean- you’re thinking at this point, you have GOT to be kidding me, right?  Someone like that exists?  We had a blast together all the time.  He did exist and when he got down on bended knee and proposed after 9 months I didn’t have any qualms that I wouldn’t want to spend forever with this guy- my kids loved him, my dog loved him- I loved him.  And I loved who he was as a dad with his own kids.

We merged into the same house a few months later with my kids (his kids lived with their mom full time but came over all the time.)  After a few months, I started having those red flag alerts in my stomach that he didn’t seem at ease in our house.  When my kids were with me on my nights, he seemed to disappear super early and call it a night- instead of bonding as a unit he started pulling away almost immediately after moving in.  He stopped going to church which was a huge thing for me and started drinking a LOT.   Confused didn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling but I certainly wasn’t feeling a huge push to set a date until I saw things head in a better direction.  I chalked it up to needing to adjust to a very different home environment- I have 3 kids who can be loud- he had lived in a quiet man cave type situation with his son.  He hadn’t had Disney shows blaring in the background for quite a few years.  I got it- and I tried to have them tone it down a bit but I started getting resentful because he KNEW who he proposed to and what our home life was like and he had moved our relationship at a pace faster than I needed it to be and now none of it seemed to be working for him.

On my birthday, he went out golfing with my dad, got hammered and couldn’t drive a second car to get us all to dinner.  He skipped my birthday dinner, cake and the next day when I was angry at how it all turned out, he texted me “Should I find another place to live this month- do you want me to scram?”   Wow.  All I wanted was an explanation and here he was clearly looking for an easy way out and for me to say “Sure, go.”

He never came back after that- cleared out his clothes when I wasn’t there- left everything else.  Left me with a huge rental payment and all that went with it- just left it all for me to deal with- I’ll never understand what happened- maybe it was a mental breakdown- maybe there were things I just never knew about him.

As a divorced single mom who put her heart out there one more time, I don’t know what the moral of the story should be here- except that maybe living together before you get married should be a REQUIREMENT so you can see the real person first once everyone’s best behavior has faded away.  All signs pointed to go on every level- and now I’m left being thankful that I apparently dodged a HUGE bullet.

My best friend says I have been in love with the idea of love since I was 12- I fully agree with that statement.  Sadly, it’s hard to know how to trust my “picker” after this experience.  I don’t think you can give up on the idea of someone truly being who they say they are though- I know he’s out there somewhere- but the online route to finding it might be retired.  I feel like I could only trust a warm lead through a friend who actually knew someone- people presenting themselves as one thing and being something else entirely is emotionally exhausting but all you can do is land on your feet and say oh well buddy, your loss!

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Losing Weight…. for GOOD!

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Up until the age of 13, I was the girl with the hollow leg- I could eat anything and it didn’t catch up with me.  Until one day, it did.  Unfortunately, that was also the time that I hit a really tough time in school socially so all of middle and high school were spent stuffing my feelings with food.  This lovely sugar addiction went on for 35 wasted years. Last September, I weighed in at 189 lbs at 5’5.  A recipe for disaster as I’m pushing 50.

My friend who had tried a program so successfully that she decided to coach it came to me when she knew I needed something to get on track.  I put her off for a while until I hit rock bottom.  My rock bottom was in this picture taken last October in Cape Cod below- I had thought that outfit was one of my more FLATTERING ones until I saw me in it on film- it was the mother of all wake up calls.  I called my pal and said, I’m in.  It was the best damn decision I ever made.  Within 4 months I lost 40 lbs, workouts consisted of nothing more than a few light walks a week.  Yes, it was low calorie but I wasn’t hungry after the first week.  Eating the pre-made snacks and a normal dinner took all the stress and guesswork out of everything- no counting calories, points, etc… just pick 5 snacks, throw them in your bag and off you go!

I never intended to be successful on this program- I figured I’d drop the usual 10-15 lbs and then gain it back plus more but the difference was that this time, I changed my mindset about food- my habits changed completely.  My brain finally gets that I don’t NEED to stuff my face with endless amounts of sugar every day.  It’s been the greatest gift I ever gave myself.  And I LOVE paying it forward!

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On Line Dating- Did he REALLY just do that?

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For my 2nd online date, it was a warm lead.  I realized that we had mutual friends on Facebook- he was a trainer at my former gym and I recognized him- he always seemed super nice so I thought, why not?  Keep in mind, I was new at this so we picked seeing a movie.  Could there be anything more moronic to pick than to meet a total stranger and see a movie when you’ve just met in the lobby?  Not too swift on my part.

At least we recognized each other from me taking his classes so we sat down and the movie began.  No less than 10 minutes later, the guys hands are all over me. Ewwww.  I kept politely trying to push his hands back over on his side.  It was the longest movie of my life.  When we go out to the parking lot he walks me to my car- I wrapped it up quickly and as we’re about to leave he says, can I have your hand?  It was cold in San Diego that night and he had a big sweater on- he grabs my hand and puts it on his abs and says “It’s pretty cold out tonight- I just wanted you to feel all the hard work I put in since it’s hiding under the clothes.”  OMG!  Seriously?!

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I remember calling my mom on the way home and we laughed our asses off but then it just got depressing- I thought to myself is this what I have to look forward to?   But I couldn’t give up yet, right?

On-Line Dating Hell

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Who’s heard of Plenty of Fish?  My sister told me about it- it’s a free on-line dating website and being the very low on cash flow single mom that I was, when I felt ready to dip my toes back into the dating world again, I thought, well, try it- what can it hurt?

If I could have thought of any other way to meet a really nice guy, I would have stayed off the online dating.  But I live in a very small town, I work at a school, and everywhere you look, everyone is married.  Go to my church- no single guys my age that I can see.  I’m not a bar girl and my free time is super limited having kids so- HELLO on-line dating!

Let’s talk about what an ego deflating experience this can be… you post some of the more stellar pictures of yourself you can find and dare to post them for all the strangers in the world to see.  You hit publish and you wait…. and you wait…. and sure, you’ll get some nibbles, mostly from really scary looking guys that you hope you wouldn’t meet in a dark alley.   I didn’t really get a whole lot of normal.   The thing that bothers me the most about meeting people this way is so many people are not honest and they post pictures that look NOTHING like themselves.

I chatted my first time with someone that seemed pretty normal- and we texted for a few weeks- when I got brave enough to meet in person and he knocked on my door to pick me up, I had no idea who was staring back at me.  It certainly wasn’t the guy in the picture.  This guy was at least 10 years older, had lost most of his hair since he took those pictures- I felt totally duped.  But what are you supposed to do?  Say no thank you and shut the door?  So I went to a wine bar and had a little too much champagne because it was so awful- when we made it to the dinner reservation, I looked up at him and started having a panic attack.  I’ve never had one of those before- but I had to go anywhere else but there immediately.  I begged off from dinner saying I felt sick- that was the truth- and I told him that I just didn’t think it was going to go further for us.

He turned into a nut job the next day.  He started texting me and he sounded like HE was the girl in this scenario- please tell me what it was- was it my face, my hair- it was really unsettling.  He told me he couldn’t keep typing because the tears were pouring out of his eyes and making his phone screen unreadable.  I kid you not.  Date one logged in the books and I thought well, maybe I’m not ready for this yet.

I hadn’t dated in 18 years so maybe that was just a bummer start!  I couldn’t just give up, right?