Thursday, May 10, 2007

Neuteralize My World

Seriously, I have neutralized my home in a last ditch effort to appeal to buyers. I have de-cluttered so the rooms look bigger. Went from a King-size bed to a Queen-size. Left only one chest of drawers and a bedside table. Removed the Polish Princes's comfy recliner, leaving him to sit on the couch. No reclining and relaxing for him! Removed the stereo, the Playstation and end table. Took out corner cabinets and coffee cart out of the kitchen/dining area. Downsized my office, the spare room and the basement.

Painted the rooms neutral colors: such as Cream in my Coffee, Summer Moon and Gray Palisade. Replaced my drapes with with tab-top twill curtains in a linen/khaki shade which can be opened to view the acreage surrounding the house. Covered my lovely floral sofa with a khaki slipcover. A wooden rocker with khaki cushions sits where the recliner used to sit. We replaced the floral rug (which matched my sofa and valances) with a taupe rug. The wood floors were polished to a sheen.

Wallpaper was stripped. Lacy curtains replaced with voile ones and a plain, cream-colored tablecloth rounded out the kitchen/dining area. Speaking of wallpaper, our bedroom was stripped of its wallpaper, painted and plain curtains hung up.

Jaek said the living room looked like it 'lost its soul' and he's right. It is plain and has no character; in other words, it is BLAH!

The housing market in Michigan is devastating. There are too many houses on the market and a depressing number of foreclosures. It is definitely a buyer's market. We have to sell this house. Two mortgages and two sets of utilities is straining our budget beyond belief. We took it off the market for six weeks to revamp and then find a realtor who was willing to work at selling it rather than just list it for the sake of listing it.

We decided to revamp after much discussion. Okay, it was more of a lecture from me telling the Polish Prince that we have to do something to make it more appealing. People who came for showings said the house wasn't modern enough and not decorated to their taste. Of course, his response was, "So buy it, paint it, update it and redecorate it!" To get my point across to him, I made him sit through 3 hours of Sell Your Home. He could not believe people had no imagination to see what could be. And to bring the point all the way home, there was a news blurb about how to sell your home. It stated (paraphrasing) that people nowadays cannot visualize beyond what is there in front of them. The best thing to do is to de-clutter and neutralize everything in sight.

So that is what we have been doing for the past six weeks. And I am tired of it! I have one room to finish - my office - my space. I am procrastinating as much as possible. If I neutralize it, take out all the stuff which makes it mine, I fear I will lose myself.

We contacted a realtor who has been advertising that she has sold 17 houses in 18 weeks and many are sold in 21 to 30 days. Unfortunately, she wanted to drop the price some more. The look of pain on my husband's face scared her for a moment. He believes in buy low and sell high. We have always made a fair amount on the houses we sold (3 to date) so it goes against his nature to getting less than what he feels is his fair share. It took some time to calm him down and show him his way of thinking wouldn't get the house sold.

So, today we signed the papers for this realtor to list it. Jaek's wife will be out tomorrow to take some pictures and by next week we should be busy showing the house to lots of people! Wish us luck!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fighting Demons in the Bottle

Haven't talked in awhile. Lots of reasons but if I listed them, they would just sound like excuses. So, why now, you ask? I need to release [vent] the emotions, thoughts, and feelings building to an explosive climax [not the good kind].

Alcoholism. Disease? Disorder? Nasty habit? Yes, to all three BUT it depends on the person. Does genetics play a part? An addictive personality? Tolerance level? Upbringing? Or the cliche of the day: Nature vs Nurture? Once again, yes to all but depending on the person. Is there a cure? Can one just rely on willpower to kick the habit? No, to both. Do we love 'em or leave 'em? Love or Tough Love? Force them or coerce them? I honestly don't know the answer to any of those questions.

Where is MiMaw going with this line of questioning? Probably nowhere, but maybe somebody out there has some insight on the subject. My Baby Son is an alcoholic. I have known this for a long time. He has known it but only recently admitted it. Oh, he has said it in the past but he didn't really mean it. He insisted he could get it under control. Which meant to him that he could still drink... in moderation. There is no such thing with an alcoholic. He was doing pretty good for awhile, but life threw him some curve balls and he sought out the Demons in the Bottle. The Demon took hold of him and refused to let go. He hid it and lied through his teeth about it. The Demon dragged him to Hell and was determined to keep him there. For whatever reason, Baby Son decided it was not a place he wanted to be. He called a friend [not on the top of my list, but that is a whole 'nother story]. She is helping him to get into a Rehab Center, helping him through the D.T.'s and keeping me informed. The past is past... she is helping him now and IF she follows through with it... I will be forever grateful.

Why did he not come to his mother for help? He was too ashamed. For lying to me, backsliding and "letting me down". It bothered me at first, but in retrospect it is probably a good thing he didn't come to me in the condition he was in. I grew up with an alcoholic ... a disgusting drunk. Don't get me wrong! I don't have anything against drinking... in moderation. Even tying one on once in awhile is okay as long as there is no driving involved. But when I am around someone who is completely shit-faced, something inside me snaps and I turn cold. If Baby Son would have come to me... I would have no sympathy for him and would have kicked his ass rather than help him. I would not, could not, give him the help he needed. I have been on the phone with him a lot these past few days giving him words of encouragement and telling him how much I love him.

To go back to the opening remarks. Baby Son has a disease. It is genetic. He has an addictive personality and cannot quit on his own. His body cannot tolerate alcohol. My father and grandfather were alcoholics. Baby Son's biological sperm donor was an alcoholic along with other members in that family. Only Daughter gets upset with me when I question what I might have done wrong or could have done differently to prevent it. I know it isn't my fault, but I am his mother so I should have been able to do something to stop it before it got out of hand. Okay! I know that isn't true.

My heart aches. He is hurting so I want to be able to kiss it and make it all better. I cannot. I have tried in the past. He made this decision of his own accord [which is the way it has to happen] and he needs to see it through on his own... for his own sake. All I can do is show my support, love and lots of prayers.

Tomorrow is the day he starts the process of going into Rehab... as long as he doesn't chicken out. Tomorrow he fights the Demon to get out of the bottle.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Gonna be a bear....
In this life, I'm a woman. In my next life I want to come back as a bear. When you're a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you're suppose to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with that, too.

If you're a girl bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you're sleeping and wake up to partially grown, cute, cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.

If you're a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business! You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them, too. I could deal with that.

If you're a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling. He EXPECTS you to have hairy legs and excess body fat.

Yup, gonna be a bear!

Excuse while I go back to sleep!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Twelve Thirty One Two Thousand Six

The Family Get-Together was a success! The pool was a big hit with the kids. Jake (the Mineral King) supervised (seen above with his daughter). We had a total of 44 show up! We had lots of food, fun and laughter!

I spent hours and hours each day (for over 2 weeks) scanning, editing and adding photos to my computer (over 1200). Some of the photos dated back to the 1920's and 1930's. Some were in good shape and some were in sad shape. A lot of the photos were in black and white, some were in color but had a gawd awful yellow hue to them. The majority of them had thumbprints on them that showed only after scanning. Waaay back when, the person taking the picture must have thought they had to stand back about 50 feet from their subject, so I enlarged the photo to bring the subject up close and personal and then cropped it to get the excess background out of the photos. I removed unwanted items from the photos. One photo of my brother and his wife... they were standing near a canyon in Colorado with a gorgeous backdrop of a snow-capped mountain but there was a man standing behind my brother's elbow so... I took him out of the picture! I was able to make a CD for each family member to take home. I attempted (and failed) to make a DVD slideshow with accompanying music. I worked on it for over 15 hours but the program I had wasn't the one I used before and it wouldn't work. I was so disappointed! I had one section of just baby pictures... about 20 of them... and the Bobby Darin hit, "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" to accompany it. So instead, I set it up on my laptop to run a slideshow through the screen saver. It was on top of my stereo in the corner of the living room. People wandered over and watched it and tried to guess who was who. Even though I had organized all the photos by family and dates, I set it to random shuffle. At one point, there must of been 20 people standing there trying to guess who was on the screen and what year it was taken. I still plan on making the DVD slideshow... found the program I like (Only Daughter had it and brought it to me)...but not until next year {ha ha}.

I am so glad I followed my heart and had the family here. The loved ones who have gone on before us were smiling down with happiness to see us all together.

One final note on this last day of 2006... Only Daughter is ENGAGED!! Her finace (I can finally call him that!) surpised her with a trip to California and proposed to her while they were in San Francisco. He is a wonderful guy but most important... he loves my daughter and treats her like a princess! Congrats to the happy couple!!!!! Looks like a fall wedding!

Happy New Year to one and all!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Last Friday night we were suppose to have a family get-together at a local restaurant. My brothers, sister, their families and mine. Instead, the family gathered at a funeral. My nephew died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 39 years old. There is much speculation about his frame of mind and his actions leading up to that point. I don't know if we'll ever know the whole truth. Only God and my nephew know.

I was angry when I first heard the news. Suicide is the coward's way out. It is a selfish act with no thought for those who loved him. That is my opinion. I do not want to argue the point or get into a debate with anyone who has other opinions. Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one and nobody wants another one. I am not angry anymore. It isn't my place to condemn him for his actions. I don't need to know why. It is over and done with. Life is what is important. The lives of those he left and friends...his beautiful daughters (ages 16 & 17)... will go on.

Family. It is important to me. I am the baby of the family. There are a lot of years between my oldest brother (the father of the nephew) and me... eighteen years! I grew up with my nieces and nephews. By the time I had a family, the family gatherings became few and far between. Whenever we had a party, I invited the whole family. Some showed up, some didn't. One year I had a birthday party for myself and invited the whole family and a bunch of friends. I'll be damned if they all didn't show up! Sure surprised the hell out of me! And it was a good time. We had my mother's photo albums and loose photos of hers and mine. We have a wonderful time looking through the photos... "Omigosh! I remember this!", "Who is this?", "No! It can't be". Memories flooded the room and we all felt the shared love... what family is all about.

So... after the funeral, I kept thinking about how I could get the family all together at my house. We live in a smaller house but it has an indoor-inground heated pool (sounds much more grandiose than it is!). I threw the idea out at the Polish Prince. His response was, "That's an awful lot of people." He's right, as always. The number of people who would be invited ranges around "55". I know not all of them would show up, but there is the distinct possibility a lot of them might.

My brother who died (a car accident) in 1968, left two small boys (ages 4 & 2). The oldest, his namesake, died at the age of 19 (a car accident). His youngest son had a lot of pain and tragedy to deal with (not long after his brother's death, his mother passed away from cancer). He went through a period of recklessness and drugs. He came to my my mother's funeral and looked so lost and sad. Unfortunately, we lost touch with him for awhile. The next time we met up with him, he was a changed man. He was a missionary/minister in Mexico. He married a local woman, had triplet boys and then another boy. Every few years he comes up to Michigan for a visit and we try to get-together with him. A few of us have, not the whole family. This visit, he requested a family get-together with as many of the family as possible. Some of the family he hadn't seen since he was a little boy, so he was really looking forward to it. Instead, he was re-introduced to the family at the funeral of the one he specifically wanted to see. He was the officiating minister.

So, you see, my heart yearned for a family get-together... an informal gathering... a Pool Party. My mind said it was impossible to pull off but my heart kept nagging me. My Sister and her daughter must have received my psychic output. I received an email requesting that I host a party and they would do all they could to help. How could I resist? So, if all works out, a month from today there will be a houseful of people, loving, laughing, sharing memories and making some new ones. Those who have gone on before us... my mother, my father, my brother T, T's wife and son, my nephew, his mother, and his youngest daughter... will be looking on with happiness and love.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Best Friends for Life

I started this post October 24th, so I thought before I make any more blog entries or work on NaNoWriMo, I better finish this....

Hi! How are you? Gee, it's been a long time since we've had a chance to sit down and have a chat. Anything new and exciting in your life?

It has been 40 days since my last post. Doesn't really seem like that long. My best friend from North Carolina came up here for a visit. She was born and raised here in Michigan, but moved away about 22 years ago. She had only been back once or twice for a short visit. She stayed just a couple days shy of a month.

She got to see the trees change colors. We took a trip to northern Michigan where the colors were in full force. The brilliant oranges, yellows and reds contrasted by the dark green of the pines. She took pictures for her son-in-law who had never seen the autumn transformation. I found it strange, but then she explained... North Carolina doesn't have that. One day the leaves are on the trees and the next day they aren't... they just die and fall off.

She came up here with her car packed full... her clothes, personal items, a variety of projects (quilt [with sewing machine], socks [knitting], towel topper [crocheting], afghan [knitting], pajamas [sewing... pattern, material and machine], Squinkey's stuff (her Chihuahua baby) and lots more. Of course, knowing she was coming to Michigan, she brought gloves but NO COAT! We ended up shopping for a coat at Goodwill where she found a beautiful (like new) heavy coat plus lots more stuff. It was good times at the Goodwill!

We took a day and drove to our old neighborhood. We drove by our elementary school, by some friends house near there, past the house I lived in, the path we walked to school, the streets between my house and hers (where we played softball, football and $5), and finally stopping at the house next to hers (see previous posts). Kathy wasn't home so we left a note and stopped at the coffee shop across the street. We could see the house from our chairs, along with the stores we frequented. She says, "I am surprised we haven't seen anyone we knew back then." Then she says, "Hmpf, maybe they have, but we probably wouldn't have recognized them!" Kathy called while we were just finishing our Lattes so we back to her house. We took a tour of her gardens (took pictures). We stood outside looking at both backyards (side by side) and did a lot of "remember when" while pointing to this or that.

It was kind of weird being in that house again. It hasn't changed much. So many afternoons I sat in Kathy's living room talking to her about school, friends, boyfriends, life in general.... Here I was, once again, sitting in her living room talking to her... but this time, she was filling me in on her family (there were a lot of them then and LOTS more now). Before we knew it, 4 hours had passed! We had one more stop to complete our day. Fat Man's Fish Fry! We ordered lots of our favorites and brought them home to share with the Polish Prince. Some memories are better left undisturbed. Sure didn't taste as good as we remembered!

It even snowed just for her! Well, that's what I keep telling everybody. How do you explain so much snow so early in the season? I guess they get snow down there in NC, but not much and not for long. So she was out early with her camera capturing the moment (which lasted all damn day!). The trees were heavy with the snow. It definitely looked like a Winter Wonderland. I took a lot of pictures, too. We selected the best and sent them via email to her husband and kids.

It was an absolutely wonderful time with her here. We were so comfortable with each other. She helped out when I needed it and even when I didn't! At times we talked non-stop, others we were comfortable with the silences. We worked on our various projects, shared thoughts and ideas, watched television or took turns on the computer.

The time came when she decided she should go back. She said she should go before the snow hit again or she would have to stay until spring... I said, "Yeah, so?" I would have been happy and content to have her stay until then. She might have been happy but she wouldn't have been comfortable... too cold for her. Hell, it's too cold for me but I got no choice!

Deb left for home on Wednesday, October 18th... with a heavy heart, I waved her goodbye. She arrived safe and sound at home on the 20th. Life goes back to the way it was (sort of). We haven't had much chance to catch up online. I think she has lots of projects to finish (some she started while here) and I have projects to finish, NaNoWriMo and a family tragedy to deal with. Which makes me miss her even more.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Trick or Trick Twins

What could be scarier than having a baby on Halloween? Having TWO! My Polish Prince's brothers were born FIFTY years ago on Halloween. R1 and R2 are not identical twins. No way, no how! They share a mother, brothers and a birthday and that's about it.

They live in a farming community where everybody knows everybody. A lot of the younger generation have moved out but many of their age group and older are still there. A few are still farming but it isn't like it used to be. Many in that area are of Polish descent. Say what you will about the Polish, but they are a hard-working, fun-loving, caring people. Neighbors aren't just neighbors, they are extended family (in some cases, literally).

Farming used to be a way of life for many but now it has to be supplemented by outside jobs. Planting and harvesting season consists of 20 hour workdays. Unfortunately, this season is extremely wet so the harvesting will be postponed until it dries out some or it freezes. Neither happened last week so a party was planned in less than a week and the call to par-tay was answered by one and all in the community (or so it seemed).

First, I have to mention a very special lady... Rose. She is an absolutely wonderful person! I have never met anyone so selfless and giving as Rose. When her mother passed away, she gave her life to helping her father raise her brothers and sisters. She was engaged to be married... the longest engagement I've ever known of...over 10 years! She waited until the last of her siblings was through school and on their own. When she finally married, she did it in old-fashioned Polish tradition. I can't remember what it is called (shame on me), but the wedding celebration lasts 3 days... 3 days of partying! Can you imagine? What fun it was! A few years after they married, she learned she had MS (Multiple Sclerosis). She doesn't let it get her down, oh no, she is always on the go, doing for everybody... it just takes her a little longer. She planned a party for the Twins. She pulled it together in less than week and did a fantastic job of it. The day after the party, she was there to clean up. Her movements gave away the fact of just how much the MS was affected by her work, but her attitude was awesome! So upbeat, happy-go-lucky, get the picture. She is one of a kind!

The party was fantastic! So many friends, neighbors and relatives together- talking and laughing and drinking. Since it was for their 50th birthday, that was probably the average age of most of the people but there were a few younger and a few more older than that. I have been a part of the family for over 25 years so I have attended many, many functions where all these people have also been in attendance. All have aged, some more gracefully than others. I had to laugh my ass off when one of the women related an incident involving age. It made me think of the saying, "You know you're old when..." She said she went into Yonkers on Senior Citizen Discount Day and got carded! She was absolutely ecstatic. The salesperson said she couldn't be a day over 40 and she proudly showed her driver's license to prove she was 56 years old! Gawd, I remember when getting carded meant something else entirely different! I must admit, she did look good. Better than she has looked in years, but it wasn't just her looks. Her exuberance and joy of life lit up the room.

Many of the couples were bragging on how many years they had been married (bragging, not complaining). Twenty-five, twenty-one and twenty-two (ours) years and still going strong. R2 has never been married and R1 is going through his second divorce. I noted that 3 of R1's former girlfriends were in the crowd. They are all married with kids, but still in their circle of friends. Each twin has his own circle of friends but another one that overlaps both of them. These friends have been around most of their lives and will probably be in the circle for the rest of their lives. Not that it matters, but some I love, some I like, some I have no opinion one way or the other and some I can't stand...

One person comes to mind...Red. I first met him 25 years ago and thought he was a MCP (male chauvinist pig) and an asshole. He thought he was God's gift to women. He attempted to get into every woman's pants. He actually thought he was doing them a favor and they should feel honored to get laid by him! There wasn't anything likable about him... he was a liar, cheat, and an all around creep! Twenty-five years later... he still is! I couldn't believe the audacity of that man... He came to the party with his long-time, live-in girlfriend (he lives with and off her), but said or did something to piss her off and she left. One of R1's ex-girlfriends (over 20 years ago) was there with her husband. She looked good, but then she always has. She's one of those perky, pretty, sweet woman... the kind I would like to hate, but I can't because she is so damned nice! We got totally wasted at her bachelorette party -together we killed a bottle of Blueberry Schnapps and Peach Schnapps and by the time we got to the Butterscotch Schnapps, neither one of us could see straight. She passed out and they threw her in the back of her fiance's truck. I got taken home (how? I don't remember) and had to be undressed and dragged to bed. Ah, yes, those were the days when I could handle my liquor! Sorry, got sidetracked.

What was I saying? Oh, yes. She was there with her husband. She must have looked across the room at Red and smiled. You know, one of those smiles that says, "Hi" but nothing more. Well, he took that as a sign that she w-a-n-t-e-d him and wanted him bad! He hound dogged her for hours. Told everyone that she was giving him the eye and he was gonna get him some of that! I knew times had changed when the guys thought he was an asshole rather than a macho stud. Years ago they might have hoo-yahed him on, but now they thought he was pathetic and an idiot.

The party was exceptional... lots of good food... beef, pork and turkey cooked on the roaster, scalloped potates, beans, salads, and a wonderful array of yummy desserts! Beer, wine and booze flowed generously. Even some homemade brew called Apple Pie which did taste like apple pie but kicked ass! The twins enjoyed their party to the nth degree... they were both wasted beyond belief by 1:00am. R1 couldn't see straight so he spent the night on the couch. My Polish Prince stumbled in about 1:30am and R2 and a nephew closed up shop about 2:00am after the last of the crowd left.

The guys were feeling more like 70 in the morning. They were quieter and moving a lot slower than the night before. I don't know how my guy has managed it, but years ago he was able to transfer his hangovers to me! Doesn't matter how much he drinks or how little I drink... he has no hangover but I feel like shit! Somehow, I got not only his hangover but his brothers' hangovers along with a little of my own! It was worth it! It was a good party with good friends to celebrate a couple of good guys' birthday!