January 2015

Truth: My Marriage Broke Up. My Home Did Not

by Priscilla on January 22, 2015

Today, scrolling through Facebook posts I saw an article titled, Raising Financially Sound Kids. 

Great, I thought to myself. Just one more thing that I’m supposed to do, but when the heck do I have time to add this to the every growing list of things parents are supposed to do for their kids.  The church tells me I’m supposed to be reading my Bible and praying with them every day. The schools tell me I’m supposed to be on top of all things homework. The gym tells me I need to be an example of fitness. The government tells me I’m supposed to be packing healthy lunches. (By the way, government, your food pyramid is screwed up, but what do I know?) I’m supposed to be raising my girls to be fearless, yet demure young ladies who can design the next tallest sky scraper while blogging about their farm to table meal complete with pictures and 1,298 Shares.

Doubt and fear started to creep in while I wondered how the hell I’m supposed to do it all. After all, my girls are now a statistic. They are now from a broken home as society likes to label my residence.  We all know that girls from broken homes grow up to be women who flaunt their bodies, get pregnant at 15 and drop out of school at 16. They have daddy issues. They have food issues. They have body image issues. They have financial issues.

Except that isn’t the truth.

Except my home isn’t broken.

The Still Small Voice reminded me of this before I allowed my thoughts to run straight down into the pit of despair.

The truth is my parents were married for 49 years, and my home life was pretty great, and guess what? I had daddy issues. I had food issues. I had body image issues. The truth is that while I am a single woman, I am not a single mother. The Former Mr TIS is around a lot. I mean all the time. He and I agreed that he can come over and hang out with the girls whenever he wants, and it’s all good. Our marriage broke up. Our family didn’t.  We are talking to our girls together about a whole myriad of topics our parents never touched when we were kids. Maybe that was the problem. We discuss goals, college, sex, money, habits, nutrition, God, faith, politics, self defense. You name it, it’s on the table.

The truth is that when two adults recognize that while their marriage is over, the beautiful things they created together will travel into infinity, and a lot of the nonsense that some divorced couples engage in comes to a screeching halt. The truth is that the Former Mr TIS is a great guy.  He’s a fantastic dad. He’s a great American who sacrificed so much for his country. He’s generous and good and kind. He was just a s****y husband as one of my girlfriends so eloquently put it. The truth is, I could have been a better wife. A much better wife. The truth is as a mother who needs to be an example to her daughters about what a woman will and will not put up with, I chose not to contest the divorce. The truth is as a dad, he is showing humility and respect for me and to me, the mother of his children.

The truth is none of us can possibly live up to all the things we are supposed to be doing whether it’s as mothers, daughters, wives, husbands, sons, brothers, coworkers, leaders, followers, people or Benedict Cumberbatch groupies. The truth is we are all broken and in desperate need of GRACE.

The truth is God never stops shelling it out…especially to single women freaked out by Facebook postings about raising financially savvy kids.

That’s a truth I can bank on.

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A Girls and Her Wood Floors Part II

by Priscilla on January 20, 2015

My morning started at 4:35 a.m. It’s a Crossfit morning so I get up at an ungodly hour in order to make my 5:15 class. I’m on week three of TIS’s Great Crossfit Experiment. So far…so good. I like Crossfit. I like that no one cares how you look at 5:15 am. I like that everyone there is there to get better not preen and prance in front of the mirrors or see and be seen. I like that there are a lot of women my age and older. I like that the instructors’ main jobs seem to be safety and encouragement. I like that I learned to hang on the rope properly. It will probably take me at least a year to climb to the top of that sucker, but I got one pull in.

This morning’s workout included a series of  jump ups. We put an 18  inch plywood box in front of us and jump up on it. We continue this insanity for about 25 seconds….before going on to wall ball, burpees and some kind of hell that involves rings. My first round I just stepped up and down on the thing. After all, I’m new. Newbies get to ease on in, and no one judges us. It can be very tempting to milk the whole newbie thing. The second round I thought to myself, What the heck, and I tried jumping up, feet together. I found myself on top of the box and looked around, stunned. We-hell, I thought as I kept jumping up and down, and continued to do so 3 more rounds after that. This felt great, in a sick sort of my quadriceps are burning, but I like it kind of way. I grew increasingly aware of the stomping sound my feet slammed hard against the top.  What am I stomping? I thought

Fear. I’m stomping on my fears.

Procrastination.  I’m stopping my bad habit of procrastination.

With each jump I felt more powerful. More in control. More at peace with my present personal situation. If my body can jump and down like this, my body can do a lot more than I realize.

I drove home in the dark, stopping to pick up some coffee and eggs, entered my quiet house and did the dishes that I’d left sitting out last night. (Sometimes procrastination wins the battle of after dinner dishes.) I read some of my library book, Managing Up  by Rosanne Badowski, then baked a breakfast casserole.  (I’m not kidding when I tell you that this is the kind of energy a hard 5:15 am workout will give you.) Then, since they had the day off of school, it was off to the hell that is known as shoe shopping with my kids. I also bought new undergarments for myself. This comes into play later. I’ve read that women going through divorce should spend some money on new bras and underwear just to make themselves feel better. It does. So, ladies,  if you are walking the same path I am, get yourself to the lingerie department. Seriously. Almost as good as a bottle of red wine. Men, I suppose you can go there too, but you’ll just look like the creepy dude wandering around the women’s lingerie section.

We returned home, ate lunch, and I promptly crashed on the couch. (2 p.m. crashes are another result of 4:35 a.m. wake up calls.) When I woke up, I thought about those box jumps. I thought about the pounding I gave procrastination. I thought about my new underwear. I thought about that nasty carpet in my bedroom….and I got up off the couch, marched upstairs, changed into my new big girl panties, grabbed all the necessary tools and started the great catharsis known as Ripping Out The Damned Carpet.

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This looks like my bedroom played home to the scene of a crime. My life isn’t that exciting. I merely knocked over a Scentsy receptacle and hot wax sprayed all over carpet. I didn’t care at the time because I thought it made the carpet look better…also, I was lazy…and it was in the corner on my side of the bed… and I’m the only one who ever saw it.

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I watched a YouTube video of a single woman ripping out carpets. She mentioned that hauling out the old carpet can be a daunting task. I’d thought the same thing so I followed her trick of folding back the carpet and then cutting it out strips at a time. I filled five trash bags and hauled them downstairs that way. So doable.  A little side note here – I’m wearing 20 year old LL Bean boots. I read recently there is a six months waiting list for these things because they are all the rage with the hipsters. I’ve always been ahead of the times. (Best $120 I ever spent. Get the ones with Thinsulate.)

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(Because really, what’s the point of having children if you aren’t going to exploit them for slave labor.)

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It appears as though I’m not going to need to sand or refinish anything. It also appears as though I didn’t need to hire professionals…or call a man. It’s amazing the kind of results a 5:15 a.m. workout can produce.

 

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A Girl and Her Wood Floors Part I

by Priscilla on January 4, 2015

I experienced something I wasn’t expecting when I posted on Facebook that I was looking for information to start a DIY project of ripping out old, nasty carpet in several rooms of my house and redoing the wood floors that date back to 1930 when masterful construction workers built my brick home complete with arched windows and floors. From the moment I stepped into the small cozy kitchen  with the realtor and walked through the charming house, I thought Priscilla, this is all you. 

It is….but now, thanks to divorce, I don’t know for how much longer. One of the sad realities divorce brings is that I may not be able to do it all by myself. It’s difficult to care for this much space on my own. People suggest all the time, Oh, you need to hire someone.

Yes, well, that brings me to another ugly reality of divorce. Um, I don’t just have the money right now to just Hire someone. Not being snarky to the well-meaning, well-joking people who told me to Call the experts, when I put out my question of where to start with the flooring.  Not whining about my situation. It could be worse. Much worse. I don’t for a minute believe that I don’t show enough  chutzpah to make a ton more money than I do right now. I’m just taking everything slowly and not making any huge work or financial decisions this first year. This first year is about my kids….

…and my beautiful wooden floors.

The beautiful wooden floors that I was going to redo with my husband. When the Former Mr. TIS decided divorce was the answer to his problems, I kept reliving all the plans we had for this house. Plans I can’t possibly do all by myself…

…until yesterday…when I woke up, looked at my bedroom with all the beautiful old built in shelves.and thought, Why do I need a man to remake this space? A lot of the advice books on divorce say the first place to remake is the bedroom.  I thought about repainting my bedroom set – the one we bought together about 17 years ago in Germany. I love it, and I’m not going to get rid of it. I’m just going to redo it. I thought about all new bedding and new drapes. Going to do redo those as well.  But the floors, the floors were another matter.

Until yesterday when I took Mindy Kaling’s advice and started asking myself, Why not? instead of  How will I ever?

Ripping off the carpet and redoing the gorgeous floors that haven’t seen the light of day for who knows how many years? That’s a spiritual quest. That’s Making All Things New. 

Back to my puzzling Facebook experience. When I put out there that I was doing this, I got a bunch of jokesters commenting. Now, don’t get me wrong. They were awesome and made me laugh out loud, and I LOVE my smart ass friends. I got a few good responses from men that actually answered my question. I also got a lot of Oh, this is going to be hard for you; you need a professional. comments. Which, I’m sorry, but to a recently divorced woman that only reads, You need a man. Hell no, I don’t. (There are other things I miss very much, i.e., camping, that I need a man for, but redoing floors isn’t one of them.) Only one woman told me how she did it…and that was my former elementary school principal. If you can survive administrating a school, you can redo a few floors so I’m sticking with her advice.

I know it’s going to be hard. That’s why I’m doing it. I know I’m going to be frustrated and sore. If you know any part of my story, then you know frustrating and sore don’t exactly keep me from getting shit done. In fact, a few weeks ago I decided that my tombstone will read Priscilla Brown. Devoted Mother Who Taughteth Her Girls How To Getteth  Shit Done. After all, that’s kind of the point of my faith. God says, Hey, kid, I’ve got this impossible job for you, and I’m supposed to go do it. And if God asks me to do it,  He must believe I have what it takes to get shit done. Are my floors a Divine Inspiration? I don’t know. But I know I can’t do the bigger stuff He’s got planned for me if I can’t step up, suck it up, and do a few DIY projects on my own.

If I were a 43 year old man, no one would question my sanity for taking on this project, but because I’m a woman, I get lots of Oh, you don’t know what you are getting into, comments.  All well meaning. All my friends. I’m not upset or angry at any one of them. They very well could be right. I might very well meet an early death thanks to a sander. This would change my epitaph to Here Lies Priscilla Brown. The Shit Diddeth Her In. Lest you men think I’m going on an anti man tirade, I’m not. I love you guys, but I’ve just had my heart broken by one of your kind, and I need some time to work through all the emotions that come with that territory.  I figure ripping out carpets is a much better alternative than hitting the bar scene trolling for dates (using this hysterical advice from Kristen Wiig – seriously, you need to watch this)  or binge watching Lifetime’s Snapped. 

So, along with my other New Year’s Resolutions of joining Crossfit, going to the range once a week to practice my shooting skills and saying yes to most of social engagements that I’m invited to (Unless they are from that bizarre group that likes to dress up in animal mascot costumes and meet up for sex. I have to draw the line somewhere.), I’m redoing my floors. You, dear friends, will be kept abreast with posts, photos and possible videos. Still thinking about the videos because chances are swearing will be involved.  I may or may not be living in this house come next year, but I do know this, the wooden floors will look fantastic, and in the mean time, I will continue to learn and grow and get shit done.

Happy New Year!

 

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