It Finally Happened

Hope wrecked my car. Single car accident, triggered by her panicking about the behavior of another driver at a gas station.

Honestly, it was just a matter of time. I rode with her on Friday to run some errands, and while she is not what I would call a bad driver, I did point out a few areas where I suggested to demonstrate a bit more care. But alas…

I’m home waiting for her to arrive since despite minor hysterics, she insisted that I didn’t need to take an Uber to her location.

When I answered the phone, she was in freakout mode and couldn’t really talk. I basically had to say, I don’t care about what happened, are you ok? Is the car driveable? Is the other driver gone? Is anyone there to help you? Do you want me to come?

Yes.

I think so.

Yes.

I dunno.

No.

Ok well, put a little gas in the car and come home. We’ll call the insurance and figure things out.

Seriously, it was just a matter of time.

Here’s what I do know, she might end up buying my banged up Nissan from me. That car has been good to me, but I can’t live like this.

Woooooosa.

“Opens browser to begin looking at cars…”


Seven Things on Wednesday: 8/18/2021

  1. Well, thanks to variant I’ll be working from home until after the new year. I was getting really anxious about being around so many people at the office; shoot, just riding the elevator feels risky.
  2. I took the day off; it was so nice to just let myself wake up naturally. I slept until after 7. I didn’t do much today, but that was the point. I’ve got a few projects I’ve got to wrap up over the next couple of days.
  3. I think I’m going to take Hope to a dealership this weekend. I know she’s been doing some research, but I think she would benefit from a more tangible, educational experience. I”m really proud of her; she’s saving much more than I thought she would. This is the most motivated I’ve ever seen her outside of her band days.
  4. It just occurred to me that her birth granny’s birthday is in a couple of weeks. I need to remind her. I”d like to plan a trip to see her. I need to check in with her; months ago she was vaccine hesitant. She’s almost 90, and while I would hope to see her make a different choice, if you can’t do what the eff you want at 90, then why bother? Respect granny, but we won’t be visiting until she gets vaxxed. I’d hate to bring something to her doorstep and she’s not protected.
  5. It’s 5.5 weeks before I leave for vacation.
  6. I made a cake yesterday; apparently it was too warm when I frosted it. It slide apart over night. Still tastes good.
  7. I’m off to sleep.


Things I Learned During the Pandemic

I think I may be more introverted than I used to be. I do miss my friends; I really miss my family. But I also realize that maybe I’m comfortable at home. Transitioning last year was emotionally rough because Hope also came home. I wasn’t used to being home this much; to not taking vacations, to not hanging out with folks, to not always making plans. After 18 months, I’m not only resigned to being ok at home; I’m coming to luxuriate in my home time on the weekends. This may change as fall emerges, and I fight another bout of SAD depression.

In some ways I’ve become more patient, but I feel like my hair trigger temper looms even larger. I just don’t act out on it, but I’m kinda always at a rage level of 4-5 on a 10-point scale. I don’t have a lot of places to put those emotions these days, so I try to do other things. It’s hard; I feel like the pandemic has riled up so many emotions for me.

I am sick of math. I love quantitative research; there are aspects of it that I really could get much stronger in, but I’m a solid researcher. Regularly having to calculate risk/reward probabilities in my head when making plans or going out is exhausting. Each week I head on over to the COVID dashboards on the NYT’s site. I look at my state, my county, the counties where my immediate family lives and where Beau lives. I think about what my own exposure level is—I have to take into consideration that Hope works retail and has a high exposure rate. It the idea of always checking the calculated risk of going out in public. I’m not completely fearful, but I really do enjoy being around a few people and I get to see my parents and sisters and nephews and niece now. I am actually just trying to make sure my risks are low so I can see them whenever I want. But the math…I’m sick of it.

Yappy is the sweetest and most stubborn dog I’ve ever known personally. This dog adores people; his disposition is absurdly sweet. He’s a cuddle bum and is very happy nestled up next to you with a light blanket covering him. And then he also can be this:

This is one of his daily standoffs that we are now known for in the neighborhood. I try to let him dictate the direction of our long morning walk but let me try to deviate from his plan—especially if it’s to something he *knows* he has no business doing—he goes from sweet to rooted in his spot, refusing to move. He’s a whole mess. I’ve also learned that even though I taught him how to use AAC buttons, he really can’t be bothered to use them consistently despite positive reinforcement and behavior modeling. He’s on his own ish. I low key respect him for that.

I’ve learned that my home brewed cold brew coffee is worlds better than Starbucks, even with cheap coffee. I used to hot brew and then ice, but I really like the richness of cold brew. It took me forever to get my preferred ratios together, but now, it’s always perfect. 1 cup of grounds to 8 cups of water. I put it in my brewing pitcher, shake, pop in the fridge for 24 hours. I bought these straining bags—kinda like cheesecloth but made into a drawstring bag. Pour into my regular pitcher through the bag and voila! Dunzo! I was on Keto years ago and the only think I kept was my penchant for using heavy cream in my coffee. I froth it and my daily coffee experience is elevated!!!

I’ve learned that after we really get on the other side of the pandemic, I might have to redecorate. I could stand to update everything. I’m also thinking about getting rid of my dining table and just setting up that space as my home office. I think at this point, it just makes more sense and is a better use of space. I want to paint, maybe get a new couch, buy a couple new rugs, consider wallpaper. I just need to switch it up around here.

I’ve really come to appreciate our mental heath squad so much more this year. I’ve gone to therapy since undergrad, and Hope has required varying levels of mental health care since becoming my daughter. But this year…whew, I feel like we’ve definitely got our money’s worth in terms of therapy, meds management, talk therapy. I know my marbles would definitely be scattered all over the floor if we didn’t have a team in place. This 18+ months have really taken its toll, but they’ve remained a steady part of our lives; I’m grateful beyond measure.

Hope really enjoys my cooking. I am confident in my cooking skills, and these last few months I’ve finally really settled into a cooking schedule for the week. I do a lot of cooking on the weekends and keep more convenience foods for the latter part of the week. I’ve also expanded my recipe repertoire. She eats just about everything. She’s always enjoyed my cooking, but I think she really, really enjoys it now. She loves seeing what I’ve come up with. This weekend, I made beef and cheese empanadas.

I’m really over this pandemic; like really, really over it. I can admit, though, that it really has given me an opportunity to reflect and think about what I’ll take from this experience. I’m hopeful that at some point we’ll get ahead of it and that others will get vaccinate or head to a closed colony or something. I am eager to see what the new normal will be; I’m eager to go to brunch again; to socialize, to just be free with out worry of consequences of someone breathing on me. I’m just ready to move on.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 8/11/2021

  1. Work is just non-stop as usual. I’m tired. Yesterday I put on my pjs at 5:55pm. I was in my bed by 6:30. I’m going to need to take sometime off soon.
  2. Hope is learning some adulting lessons. She overslept one day and called out and then the next day, putzed around and was late again. I know time tracking is hard for her, and we all have days when we’re just off. I struggle with how much to intervene; on the second day I popped my head in and was like, “sooooo, you going to work?” She was oblivious about the time. I know that this job is key to keeping her stable, but I also believe in natural consequences. I end up feeling very anxious about whether or not she’ll make it in on time. I wish I could turn that off, but as of yet, I can’t. It creeps in, even as I’m absorbed in my own work.
  3. She’s also learning about banking. I’m a co-signatory on her bank account…at least until tomorrow. She’s overdrawn her account twice in the last month. It’s not like she doesn’t have money; she just uses an app as banking her checking as…I dunno, but she doesn’t keep enough in it for whatever it is she’s using. I told her the first time to work on managing it since overdrafts cost money. It’s been an exercise in teaching her that poverty costs. She has the money to cover it; I’m also here to bail her out if necessary. I’ve encouraged her to think about what if neither of us could cover it? Yep, that 18 cents ended up costing $30. Nope, it’s not fair, but it is reality. First time it was an accident; this time it was irresponsibility. I told her I have pristine credit and I love her, but I’m coming off that account. Will still be here to help if needed but I need to step back and let those natural consequences to work a bit more.
  4. My efforts at eating better have been…let’s just say unfocused for about two weeks now. The exercise is still hitting hard, but my eating isn’t consistent. I’ll get there. My clothes are fitting better tho, so I’ll take it.
  5. Earlier this week Hope, Sister K and I went to see the Van Gogh Immersive Experience. If you have a chance to see it in your town, do it! I’m a fan of impressionists (yeah, I know, he’s post-impressionist). The exhibit is amazing! The lighting, the music, the color, the stories, it was all just wonderful. Check it out!
  6. There is apparently a version for the Sistine Chapel coming here in January. I’m on a wait list to get those tickets. I’m totally doing that. Even though I got to see it on a vacation a couple of years ago, I just know that an immersive experience will be amazing.
  7. Yappy is coming along using his buttons. Even though he doesn’t use them consistently, he does use them. I added a “Love you” button this past weekend. He seems to love it. He also likes to tap his outside button when we go outside. It really is kinda cool. He’s no chatterbox, but I know a time will come when he will probably use them independently. That’s cool.
  8. I bought a 2 piece bathing suit recently. Years ago, I bought a couple of tankinis, but I’ve never been confident enough to really rock a bikini. I decided, well, let me just buy it, try it on and see. I actually like it. I might buy another for my trip to Cancun. I’m telling being almost 50 can be life affirming if you let it be.
  9. I got to meet a few of Hope’s co-worker/friends earlier this week. I’m amused that she always seems to find the ragtag group of slightly awkward young people. It’s her scene. The kids were lovely, polite and nice…and yeah, a little weird. But the most amazing part? Hope is the stunner of the group. Yes, I know I’m a bit biased; she’s gorgeous. But OMG, she’s a bombshell. Her hair has grown out, and she’s figured out how to really do her hair. This week it just hit that magical stage where the Afro is just…amazing. She strutted, and I loved every minute of it.
  10. I’m going to go put my pjs on now. My bed is calling!

Another Parenting Transition

This month marks 2 years since Hope started college. It’s almost 1 year since she took a leave of absence from school. I’ve told her she has one more semester and then I would like for her to start taking classes again to ease back into the swing of things.

So much of parenting is adapting; this is only more intense for adoptive families. You’re adapting to different ages and stages, different needs and desires, and different behaviors. I knew going into this family thing that I would need to change a lot in order to make it work. I figured at some point, as Hope neared adulthood, that we would find some level of stasis, stability, a time that didn’t require so much adaptability from either of us.

I got a glimpse of that when Hope went to boarding school and then on to college. Of course then the pandemic hit and both Hope and I had the rugs pulled from under us. My transition was a bit smoother, but things were very difficult for my daughter this last year. Pulling her from the darkness was really hard, taxing, emotionally draining at times, but we did it. She’s stable and doing so much better.

In fact she’s doing so much better that she’s acting like a young, college aged person: testing limits, trying on decisions, behaviors, trying to figure out adulting.

Y’all, it’s driving me nuts. Historically, there were things I was strict about and things I let go. When Hope went away to college, there were a few things I asked her to hold back on, but I also acknowledged that I wasn’t going to be there looking over her shoulder and that I hope she would make good decisions. For the most part she did, and she did other age appropriate dumb ish. Ish I shouldn’t know about, but that Hope provided regular updates on. A few weeks in, I told my daughter that college was like Vegas–some of her extracurriculars should just stay there and I probably shouldn’t know about them.

She still told me. I suppose that’s a testament to how close we are or how much trust she has in me. All I know is that it drove me nuts. When she moved back home in March 2020, I told her that home was not Vegas. That lasted for about 3 months and then things went south. Since then it’s been a constant struggle of basic rule enforcement (and we don’t even have that many rules), common courtesies (I ain’t asking to use my own damn car) and nagging about chore management. UGH.

I tried to think back and get some sense of how did my parents handle this phase of life while I was in college. Yeah, I was away the whole 4 years except for like 2 summers. The most memorable incident involved me wearing an embarrassingly short pair of shorts (I was so happy that this thighs fit in them!) and my dad saying he didn’t think they were appropriate. I replied, ok, I will no longer wear them at your house or around you. And then I went back to school. It was a declaration of independence and autonomy. I never heard any more about it or really heard my parents exert any real control after that.

Developmentally, Hope is not quite where I was at the same age, so I feel like I still need to hover a bit, but it’s always a mystery about how much to hover and how much to enforce. There are a few non-negotiables and I’ve had to exert some real consequences on occasion for those breeches. Day to day parenting is a little rough for me right now. I’m constantly asking how much rope do I give, should I intervene because even Stevie Wonder could see what was on the horizon. Often times, I desperately try to redirect my energies, but the reality is that I still need her to follow the house rules and mind a few Ps and Qs.

I swear I feel like I’m constantly failing. I know I’m not, but it often feels like I am. I feel parenting stress today as Hope is 20 as when she was 14. I didn’t really anticipate that. I know that the pandemic threw us all a major curve ball. I’m grateful to have had this time to grow together; I’m grateful when she hit such a low point that she was here with me and I could immediately spring into action. I’m grateful both of us have survived.

All that said, I’m hopeful that this awful group project that we’re stuck in, aka The Pandemic, ends soon. I want her to resume her collegiate life and do some of this adulting practice at school where she’s not subjected to my watchful eyes. I want her to have some of that freedom. I know that I could simply drop more of the rules here, but I know I’m not going to do that–I’ve got some basic things that just have to or cannot happen here. #nonnegotiables

It’s just challenging in ways I didn’t imagine, in part because my own parents didn’t have the window into the college years that I do with Hope. If she gets to go back to school, I promise to listen to her tell me wayyyy too much information about her shenanigans; I just want her to be physically in a space where she has an opportunity to flex if she wants to. I know it’s going to be ok, but it just feels really challenging right now.


Ten Things on Thursday: 7/29/2021

  1. Hope is coming along with the work thing. I stopped her a couple of nights ago to just tell her I loved her and was proud of her. Still doing silly baby adulting things, but she’s progressing. She regularly picks up groceries!
  2. I’ve lost 6 lbs! I’m not really doing anything special; just logging what I eat gets me in line. I’ve picked up my exercise a little, but really it’s just so I can eat what I want in better moderation. I have no desire to be chisled or buff; I just want to be kinda healthy.
  3. I realized something this weekend; I’m fortunate to be parenting in an era when so much more information and resources are available. I know I still make countless mistakes, but there is so much more to learn from and it’s at my fingertips. That’s got to be good right? I hope that all APs work hard to fill in our knowledge gaps.
  4. Because parenting is hella hard.
  5. I booked my vacation last week. Cancun for a week in 2 months. I can’t wait. I’m going alone so I can just really rest without having to entertain anyone else. I am so excited. Hope is excited to work and stack her coins.
  6. She is really committed to saving for a car. I am enjoying her chase a goal; it’s been a while.
  7. The internet was out in our home most of the day. It was like living in 1985. Of course Hope missed the tech blackout because she was sleeping. Lucky her. The episode sent me into a tailspin of anxiety. I was able to work most of the day using my phone as a hotpsot, and I was productive. But I was still super anxious about not being able to fix it myself.
  8. I’ve got some major electrical work to do in this house; hoping that the estimate isn’t too crazy. The breaker box needs to be moved and replaced. Oy vey.
  9. I’m also thinking about spring vacations with Hope. I’m hoping and wishig that folks would take this varient seriously. I need to get back to real travel. Folks not willing to take appropriate precautions to prevent spreading COVID are making it terrible for everyone. This pandemic is the worst group project ever.
  10. I had a lot more to say, but I’m really distracted; so I’ll just wrap this up. ❤

Ten Things on Wednesday: 7/21/2021

  1. Man, this year is really flying by. I recently accepted some of my first speaking engagements for 2022, and that just feels super weird to me.
  2. I finally called my doctor and got the much needed medication adjustment. Now we wait and see how I feel in the coming weeks. I still haven’t called the electrician to come figure out all the work that needs to be done.
  3. I’ve been thinking about nature versus nurture recently; I think that I started kicking it around after Hope and I said the same thing at the same time. It wasn’t everyday things; this was different. This was a very particular idea and string of words. We giggled when it happened. Admission: I realized very early in this journey to have low expectations of me “rubbing off” on Hope. 1) I didn’t want to be crushed when it didn’t happen, and 2) it’s so unfair to ‘want her to be like me.’ So now, year’s later to know that we genuinely share things like finishing sentences and inside jokes. It really makes me happy.
  4. And then silly things happen that just make me go: Dear Lord, what are we doing????. Hope and I didn’t have a “why is the sky blue’ chapter. Instead we have a ‘why do my nipples itch?’ I mean we have that now, right now, today, tonight, seriously she just walked into my room and asked me that, while scratching.
  5. Parenting is wild.
  6. So, it’s looking like Mexico at the end of September. I haven’t decided if I’m going solo yet. I know Hope would love to go and would have a blast, adding another stamp on her passport. But then it becomes a trip. Stay tuned. The vision of sitting on the beach with a cool drink snoozing like my trip to PR a couple of years ago.
  7. Hmm, remembering the solo trip to PR makes me seriously consider going alone. That trip I walked every morning, snoozed on the beach everyday, grabbed a calzone every night from the place across from the hotel and slept. It was one of the most decadent things I’ve ever done for myself. Except maybe go to Mexico for a week alone at an all inclusive.
  8. I will be emailing the travel agent as soon as I finish this post.
  9. Hope is finding a groove with work. She’s happy, and I really can’t articulate what a relief this is for me. She’s making friends, she’s eager to pick up extra shifts. She has created her own budget–which includes paying me for her cell phone and paying a token towards the housekeeper. I didn’t tell her I was just going to put it in her investment account every month. But she just happened to mention her allocation for her “recreational things” and my eyebrows went up! Could the financial education class I made her go to early one Saturday morning and my modeling good management have had an impact? Seriously, after the year she’s had and how bad things got, I am elated to see her thriving again. It makes my heart burst. I am so proud of Hope.
  10. Friday, the last person that we had helping us with caregiving so I could travel is getting married. Hope and I will be there. I know I’m going to cry. P was a godsend, truly. Back then when I asked for referrals from the service I used I saw her info and realized we worked in the same building. Knowing where she worked was cool; many years ago, I started my care at that organization. She was going to grad school where I went to grad school. We had to have crossed paths a lot, and we had. She was one of the best decisions I made in my life. She is marrying the man she met right after she started watching Hope; we’ve watched their journey. That man is a gem; he passed Hope’s tests. When I realized that if I was traveling on a band night, and P was at the football game; this dude came to the game too since P was there I knew he was super smitten early on. Seriously, he spent a couple Friday nights at a high school football game to hang out with the woman who was standing in for me while Hope did the marching band thing? He was in deep! I’m so thrilled to be able to watch them get hitched.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 7/14/2021

  1. Yeah, so work reentry is rough. Busy, busy, busy. I have so much to do. It would’ve still been insanely busy even if I had not taken a week off, so no regrets. I do wonder if/when America will get over this ridiculous “week long” vacation situation and consider a 2 week minimum. The work ethic here is killing us.
  2. Hope is saving up for a car, y’all. As we begin talking about his process, I’m acutely aware of how much I take for granted in terms of environmental learning from my family. My dad was a mechanic, and took enormous pride in fixing EVERYTHING, including his cars. I honestly am struggling to remember how I learned certain things about purchasing and maintaining a car; I just learned it along the way.
  3. Even though I’ve been intentionally talking about these things with Hope for years, I’m realizing the extent to which my daughter has been unable to take in and retain information. Trauma is a beeotch. I’m convinced that these 7 years has just been a brain “rest” period; the result is that Hope has been oblivious to a lot of the environmental learning that just happens in families. It’s not intentional; she probably was listening but just could not process the information.
  4. Case in point: I do not ever remember learning what mileage on a car was; I just somehow learned and knew that that was how many miles the car had driven. Last night Hope asked me if mileage represented how many miles the car had left to drive. I was like, “an expiration date?” Whew, I have laughed about it for 24 hours because: HILARIOUS. But then I think about what the question represents, and I wonder how many other things Hope just missed learning because of her rocky start in life. Makes me sad.
  5. These last two weeks or so, I’m seeing so much growth in Hope. She’s regaining some much needed confidence. She enjoys working. She’s helping out around the house more, even picking up groceries. She’s quick to remind me that she needs me, but I’m starting to see glimpses of her future. I’m excited to see how she progresses.
  6. The truth is that Hope is probably more stable than I am right now. I’m still feeling overwhelmed by most things. Running simple errands can be challenging; lack of motivation. I’m in my head a lot, which is not unusual, but it’s not a good thing these days. I really need a meds adjustment, but the simple act of dialing my doc’s number–which is on speed dial–just seems like…work.
  7. Even on the weekends, I’m likely to just stay home all day. This isn’t like me. I’m an extrovert; I like being around people. I get off on the energy. But even thinking about going out much is enough to shut me down for a couple of days. Some of this is pandemic fall out, but the rest of it…is just me.
  8. I am logging my food and stepping up my exercise. I might not have hot girl summer, but it will be toasty girl fall!
  9. Yappy is currently sleeping in the middle of the bed. I’ve been relegated to the edge because the look he gave me when I attempted to move him about 30 mins ago was wanton rebellion. He ain’t moving. I’m not sure how a 10lb dog because the master of me, but here we are.
  10. I have a serious case of wanderlust. I am eyeballing trips to Iceland and Costa Rica. My fantasy would be to go alone, like I did with Puerto Rico a couple of years ago. I just need some decompression time. Where should I go? Open to suggestions! I’m concerned about the delta variant, but I am vaxxed. I am unwilling to travel for work, but I need to get on a plan sometime soon.

Back to Work

Sigh, vacation is over, and I am sad. I want, no need more time.

I have looked at my email for the last couple of days, just trying to gauge how bad the dig out will be.

Oh, it’s bad; real bad.

There are about half a dozen speaking invitations, a ton of data requests, surveys to be reviewed, and just stuff that needs to be dealt with. I don’t want to deal with any of it.

I say no to most speaking engagements these days. 1) Folks want the same dog and pony show over and over again; it’s boring. 2) I rarely get the sense that these groups are interested in truly substantive change, and I’m not wasting my time. 3) It feels…clout chasey. Like, if I come then they can check a box. I am not special, but I do know the role I play in my space and in my small pond, I guess I’m a “get.” I don’t like that feeling. I geek out over big speakers at our conference or at conferences I’m attending; I wonder how those folks feel about folks being so excited to hear you–I imagine for some it must be uncomfortable. I don’t like it.

So, I”ll reread everything over the next couple of days and figure what gets accepted and what doesn’t.

Hope went back to work the day after we got back from our trip. She wasn’t happy about it but now that she has a job, she’s eager to get her hours in.

I’m also taking the opportunity to revamp my eating and workout habits. Logging my food is something I hate, but is something that immediately changes my behavior. I’m also working on being more intentional about my workouts. I’ve got about 18 months before I turn 50(!) and I want to feel stronger than I am and I want to love myself more than I currently do. Being modestly more disciplined is the path to that.

I’m on Fitbit, and I stay in challenges; I’m going to work on being more intentional for a while.

I”m also much more inclined to consider taking an international trip before the end of the year. I think I want a good beach trip in the Caribbean, but I also want to have some adventure. We’ll see. I’m worried about the new COVID variants. I and everyone I know is vaccinated, but I’m still a bit worried. Time will tell.

So, tomorrow is another day. It’s another chance to get this life thing right.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 7/7/2021

  1. Today was a good day.
  2. Hope and I enjoyed a great day on the beach. A long time friend of mine who lives abroad is in town visiting her family; I happened to see a picture a few days ago and we were able to connect on the beach for a few hours.
  3. Then my sister came thru with the kiddos and I played with the little cuties until it was time to come inside.
  4. Hope jumped waves with her cousin and stepped out for dinner with her older cousin.
  5. We went to the candy store and to get slushies.
  6. It was as close to a perfect day as we could get.
  7. It’s barley 8pm and Hope got in the bed about an hour ago, and was asleep by 7:30.
  8. You know what that means? It means I’m practically alone!!!! I’m fixing myself a cocktail and heading to the balcony in my pjs to watch the dolphins at dusk. There was a huge pod out this morning and it was wonderful watching them!
  9. Tomorrow the hurricane remnants are supposed to hit the area. We might get some beach time in the morning, but it will likely be a low key day shopping and hanging out with family.
  10. I’m hoping the next couple of days are as amazing as today. Hope and I deserve it.


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