The Story of Our Lives

I wrote the below tale a little over a year ago, just a few short months after the pandemic, as we all know it, began.  After taking a year or so off from writing, posting, sharing, and really thinking (mainly due to a hectic and demanding work schedule and my priorities being a tad bit out of whack), I stumbled across it while reviewing some drafts and thought it was appropriate to post on the eve of Father’s Day, 2021.  It’s begins the story of my life, when it was just mine to have, prior to merging existences with Hugo and embarking on the greatest adventure I could have asked for.  Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed living and growing through it, reflecting on it, and finally putting this first portion to paper.

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Part I – And so it begins.

I love to write and always have.  That is one of a couple common interests and themes that have permeated every phase of my life, regardless of where I’ve lived or what I’ve been interested in.  My written words have been friends when I didn’t have any and comforted me while physically alone.  It has allowed me to escape with my own thoughts and process issues larger than myself.  Writing has also afforded me the opportunity to speak when no one would listen, which is exactly what I wanted sometimes.  As a middle school student, I took to writing in my journal, as a way to document the trivial aspects of school, friendships, crushes and growing up.  In the years to follow, I enjoyed writing in my spare time and as a scholarly pursuit, later finding myself enrolled in AP English in high school, where my teacher, Ms. Martins, was a late 90s example of a pear-shaped woman with attitude who loved her yoga pants, before they were dubbed yoga pants and simply known as leggings.  Ms. Martins liked me and I liked her class; before I knew it, I landed an A in the class, nailed the test, and received a little extra college credit I would find quite useful in later years as I pursued my Bachelor’s degree at thirty-four years old.

My diary carried on for years, with short stories, triumphs and major losses documented on the multiple volume series of my life.  Those empty notebooks served as one of my best friends growing up, allowing this only child to vent out her emotions in a safe space.  I wrote about all of my animals on the farm and how they lived their lives out before my eyes.  I wrote about friendships and the happiness that companionship brought to me, most of them later ending in loss as we parted ways, none of my friendships lasting very long, as I moved schools or just moved on from people.  Some of my independence stems from being an only child, raised in rural Connecticut – I didn’t need anyone and I knew it, plus a lot of times everyone around me didn’t measure up or make me feel like I was really wanted by them.  The other girls were a little bit cooler and just a tad better of friends, so in the end, I was normally left behind.  But that was fine by me, because I had my horse and dog, miles of unexplored trails to navigate, and free time to begin writing poetry about it all.

Being alone a lot, slightly by choice but mainly by default, makes you learn a lot about yourself from an early age.  I learned to survive and thrive on my own.  I learned to be self-reliant, because there wasn’t anyone else to lean on, other than my parents.  Even looking back now, I feel a little sad to think of all the time I spent solo.  It would have been nice to have true, long-term friends for life but switching schools and moving away tends to tear friendships apart. Plus, my fierce independence resulted in my pushing people away as well.  I was basically the perfect storm of singularity, until I found him.  Without asking for it, I found my best friend and we have been nearly inseparable since I was sixteen.  Fast forward twenty years and I find myself sitting on our living room couch in California, hundreds of miles, tens of years, and what feels like a lifetime from all of these memories we have grown up and away from.  Sometimes it feels like a different lifetime I am reflecting on when I sit and reflect on where I’ve come from and how I got here.

As a young girl, I naturally defaulted to dreaming of being married one day, possibly having kids of my own, but I honestly didn’t give any of it much thought.  I know some little girls play Barbie and imagine their fairy tale endlessly, but that wasn’t me.  Maybe because I wasn’t looking for it, desperate for the dream, I found just that.  But we won’t go there quite yet.

In order to fall in love properly, I truly believe you need to have witnessed true love at one point in your life.  Ideally, this love story would come from one’s own parents and in my case, it did.  I feel bad for people who weren’t raised with two parents who loved one another and had their children as an expression of their love.  That is where I came from and as the story has been told to me, I was conceived on the beach in Bar Harbor, Maine in the late summer of 1983.  The story has been told and retold so many times, how could I forget.  After marrying, my mother and father bought a ten acre piece of heavily-wooded land in rural CT, where they set out to build a home.  But they weren’t going to build just any regular house – the young, energetic, earth-conscious hippies that they were, my parents drew up plans to build a passive solar house, where a wood-burning stove would heat their unique ‘envelope’ house, shaded and cooled by deciduous trees through the summer months and warmed by the sunshine as those same trees shed their leaves in the winter.  A beautiful place to call home, in sync with the rhythm of the earth while utilizing the gifts she gives us.

My parents’ home, which was my home from the time I was born until I moved out and away at twenty years old, was such a paradise.  They built a barn to add to the property when I was entering 3rd grade, so I got the horse I was meant to have and later raised Hampshire sheep, chickens, and a plethora of other gracious creatures.  I learned tenderness from all of those beautiful animals and I am forever thankful to my parents for allowing me to experience all of those things on our farm.  My dad’s organic gardens were extensive and bountiful, feeding us fully throughout the year and allowing me to sell produce and hand-picked berries to our friends and neighbors at my roadside stand for a premium.

As their only child, my parents raised me with uncharted love and support for everything I did.  They pushed me to pursue any dream I had and to this day, I am thankful for the blind love and encouragement they always gave me.  Even in later years when I applied to become a police officer in Los Angeles, both of my parents still backed me, regardless of if they were scared to death of their young daughter entering a dangerous profession.  Taking a step back, it makes you realize what real love and support looks like – I am eternally used to it in my life, because that is the only type of support I have ever received from those closest to me, but as I process it, I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have that in their lives.  The same rings true for my spouse – any dream, any thought, any wish I have, he cheers me on and wishes only positive vibes for his wife.  What a lucky woman I am, to have never experienced a sexist thought from any of the men in my life and to always have them confidently believe I can do just as good, if not better, of a job as my male counterparts.

But things weren’t always perfect on the home front during my early years.  As I reflect back now, I am incredibly thankful my father stopped drinking when he did, which was right around 2002, when I left for college.  I remember thinking at the time how I was so happy to be leaving because I hated being at home and around him, where he embarrassed me.  What started as my dad drinking at family picnics on the weekends and after a long day of work, turned into drinking to extreme excess where he crashed his truck drunk, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, not coming home because he passed out at a friend’s house from partying all night, and later, falling asleep at 5pm at the dinner table or sitting on the stairs as he took his boots off after work.  He began to make me hate him and I think my mom felt a little bit of the same.  Feeling like we were up against a wall, the only way I knew how to escape was to physically do just that – leave and not look back.  Ironically, it worked.  When Hugo and I decided to move cross country together, to pursue our dreams and a life together, my dad suddenly stopped drinking almost immediately.  I was primarily thrilled, because he changed his behavior and that was a huge success, but there was a tiny part of me that resented the fact that he finally fixed his issue, right when I left.  The thoughts of ‘you couldn’t do this for me when I was living there?’ or ‘you didn’t love me enough to change?’ came to mind.  Over time, I put those thoughts aside because the happiness outweighed the anger and I was so happy my father was healed.  I am pleased to report that my father hasn’t had a drink of alcohol since that memorable summer of 2002.

I’m back!

Where to begin. It has been a long year.

It is not my intention to sound like just another “Wow, COVID was such a crazy year” writer. Hell, I am barely a writer after such a long hiatus, however, writing is in my bones, my very DNA, oozing out of the tips of my tired fingers. I couldn’t help myself after being absent for this long, drawn out group of days we came to know as 2020. I have been working nonstop, both to the happiness of my bank account and to the chagrin of my personal life and well-being. After weathering the pandemic as one of a select group who remained employed, continued reporting to their physical workplace, and actually labored longer hours than ever previously experienced, here I am, coming out the other side, with worse carpal tunnel than one would like to admit. The past two days in my life have been filled with Hugo strongly encouraging me to slow down and refocus on what is important. Work isn’t everything and as of lately, all I do is work. The money is good but that’s about it. My stress is high, my sleep is little, and my husband notices my priorities being out of whack. He loves me so he says something and now I have to act to change something, because he is right – our lives are more important and we want our health intact by the time we retire so we can actually enjoy everything we have worked so hard for together.

Lessons learned this year – life is short and the small stuff truly doesn’t matter. Something things don’t make sense and we can’t make sense of it in our heads. Case in point, one of our coworkers contracted and passed away from COVID. This individual did not possess any risk factors and after falling ill, he declined to the point of death within weeks. Made no sense and wasn’t fair. He passed away on Valentine’s Day of this year, as his wife of twenty-five years and three children looked on. I received a thoughtful gift basket from his widow today, in precious thanks of my efforts with his funeral procession and services, both of which I planned with pride for his loved ones.

As I sit reflecting on the stress I have harbored into tense shoulders and sleepless nights, I realize even more how dumb I am for caring about things to the point that they harm me. It is good to take pride in your work but I have to remember how to take pride in myself. Hugo and I are more important than my boss and endless deadlines.

So I begin in the present, rather than forging my feet into the drying concrete footing of the past. I embrace my relationship and all the blessings I have in life. Welcome back to writing for me – oh, how I missed you!

Memories from a little white car

As I was driving home from work just after 5pm last night, I noticed a small white sedan swerve a little into my lane.  I pulled up next to the car at the next red light we both stopped at, where I noticed the driver was a young, teenage girl and the passenger was a young, teenage boy.  Both of them were probably 16 or seventeen years old and without a care in the world.  For that fleeting moment at the light, I soaked up a glimpse of their lives and immediately likened them to Hugo and I.  In those short seconds, I saw her laughing and joking with him, as they were on their way to someone’s house to hang out with friends.  The sun was still alive in the sky for another three hours, which meant plenty of both day light and night life to enjoy during their carefree summer night.  Maybe she had a crush on him and most likely he liked her.  Maybe they were just friends but we all know how that story goes; Hugo and I were best friends turned lifelong loves so it can be a slippery slope.  During my brief observation of their simple, innocent interaction, I remembered what it all felt like.  No stress from work and adult life.  The simple beauty of having fun with friends and, quite possibly, your future husband.  And happily looking forward to having their entire lives ahead of them, yet only focusing on the present.

The main thing I thought of as I peered into the little white car was how high school evenings, such as theirs is and ours was, are focused on spending time with people you care about.  You spend all day plotting out how you can hang out with friends and where the gathering will occur.  You spend the rest of your time planning out how you can interact with the guy or gal you have a crush on.  Finally, you spend any remaining time panicking about it all coming together without a hitch.

The light turned green and the sedan sped off, full of possibility.  It looked like those two would spend the night together and they looked happy as hell.  I drove behind them for a little bit, as it appeared we were both headed back into the canyon for the rest of the evening, and then it occurred to me of exactly what I’d achieved since those days in high school.  While Hugo and I used to be those two kids in the little white car, just hoping to spend the night together and yearning for more time to live and laugh and love, I realized we are so very fortunate to get to spend that time together now, every night when we finish a day’s work, and every weekend when we are fortunate enough to sleep in together, well past the time of our alarms.  Rather than make plans to meet up somewhere and hope to catch a glimpse of a momentary flirtation, I now get to call that man my husband, all while living with him and sharing this beautiful life together.  After both of us dreaming and wanting one another as a high school crush, turned romance, turned love story, we hit the jackpot as we get to come home to one another every day for the rest of our lives.  From the little white car to the big white house we live in today, we are two lucky kids.

Oh Polly

I began a short story a couple months ago, after receiving news from my mother-in-law that my grandmother-in-law, Polly, was moved into hospice care living due to her declining health.  Life got super busy, as always seems to be the excuse with me, and I abandoned the post that I began, only to revisit it this morning and realize it isn’t accurate anymore.  While hospice was the current state of our little Polly’s life at the time (I think it was around February), how things have changed since then.  Polly took a sharp turn into the great decline after she entered hospice, only lasting a few more weeks before she passed away.  I wanted to provide an update on her when I initially penned this piece and now I find myself drafting a final farewell to the youngest, most vibrant, old lady I ever knew.

At the time of her death, Polly was an energetic, whipper-snapper at the ripe age of 96.  She lived a beautiful life, much of which I have documented in other tales about her and Bob’s great love, their joyful family of four children, as well as life as a military wife, and the fact that she welcomed me with open arms and true warm love into her family.  Polly could feel the love Hugo had for me, and I for him, and because of that, she consistently blessed our relationship with her overwhelming approval and support as she accepted me as her own grandchild.  I really loved Polly and as I noticed her penciled-in birthday on our calendar next week, I sadly realized I won’t be sending her annual card this year.

In addition to being a exceptionally positive and loving human being, Polly was also a fine example of strength in women.  Raised in the American 1920s, where women were second to men in relationships and the workforce, she had a strong will and opinion.  Her bold voice was not silenced based on being female and I personally observed her as the boss of her marriage and entire family.  While I only knew her during the final two decades of her life, I have a strong feeling she never shied away from speaking her mind and pursuing her dreams.  I love and admire women like her, particularly those who were not born into a world where that female behavior was the norm or necessarily acceptable in their father’s eyes.  It was probably an uphill battle for Polly, as well as my own grandmother Louise, who raised my mom the same.  From Grannie Lou (as I, her only grandchild, dubbed her) and Polly, to my mom, Hugo’s mom, and I, it is easy to see how the wild fire of fierce femininity was born, raised, nurtured, and repeated throughout our generations in both families.  And I love it.

While I know this isn’t true of everyone, everywhere, I do feel that the quality of people is significantly declining as we inch our way through the year 2020.  The deep love for her spouse and family, and her zest for life even on the rainiest of days, were two of Polly’s strongest and most attractive qualities, both of which seem to be severely lacking in this generation of ‘woke’.  I am mad that I just wrote that sentence but even more upset at the sheer fact it is raw truth.

Polly was and is a beautiful spirit.  Her light shines through in Hugo’s eyes, as I see those same wonderful parts pop out of him.  Not only did he learn to live and love from his parents and grandparents, it is also in his blood.  Sometimes I find it hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about Hugo that makes him such a perfectly blissful husband but based on all of my research and field experience in the world of loving this man, I am going to chalk it up to his umami being just right and, quite frankly, delicious.  And for that, I celebrate those who came before him, as they are the ingredients from which he was baked, and I say thank you.  Polly – we love you and you are missed.

State of unfairs

This world is insane right now.

Riots, looting, protests.

Rage, hate, disrespect.

I could voice my opinion about all of this but I don’t have enough energy to put my thoughts about it to paper anymore.  These last two weeks have drained Hugo and I physically, as we worked twelve hour shifts non-stop and without any time off to breath.  Since late May, just as we all began to emerge from the COVID-19 cocoon, our country erupted into a nightmare and it sucked any remaining life out of my body.

I have lost faith in a lot of things recently, the most important of which is people.  Humans, mainly the Americans you see torching police cars, running out of a burglarized Foot Locker with arm-loads of stolen sneakers, or proudly marching with a nonsense sign high above their masked heads, are ignorant and misled regarding the entire dialogue.  But, like I said, I don’t have enough energy to fight or defend the truth.  Not everything has to be about race – in fact, if we took race out of the picture, all that would be left in the majority of these recent shooting incidents would be a criminal being contacted by police, the individual not cooperating with simple requests, the subsequent fight between the police and suspect, followed ultimately by a shooting.  None of us should comment on these tense, rapidly evolving, dynamic situations, particularly when we weren’t there, don’t have all the facts and know nothing about it.

Part of me wants to run away, with my dearest Hugo of course, and the other part wants to fight, for what is right.  The will to stand up to bullshit is in my O+ blood.  My spirit is riddled with the need to convince the commoners of the real story, but in this unfortunate scenario, no one will come out as a winner.

My small circle of Hugo, the pups, and I are stressed.  As the perimeter of my circle expands, I can see the fear and uncertainty these times bring to my parents, both of whom have been barricaded at their country farm for months, watching American cities, once crippled with coronavirus deaths, now set ablaze by unemployed, college-aged antagonists.  Look even further and spot the turmoil in our government and infrastructure, the pandemic we are still very much experiencing, and the ongoing climate crisis our planet is embroiled in, all of which our own president doubts.  It is overwhelming and I feel suffocated with negativity, as I’m sure many people do.  I want out, of this country at times and of the year 2020 as a whole.  I want change too, but not the type everyone is screaming about on the 5 o’clock news.  For the record, all cops are not bastards and I am sickened by the idea of anyone being evil enough to feel that way.  Imagine if recklessly bold and inflammatory generalizations like that were made about any other group in the world – it is wrong in so many ways and very hurtful to all of the wonderful police officers and their families I know.

Zooming the lens for a moment back to my circle, the only way for me to mentally survive to see the remainder of my weekend and beyond is to focus on the good that still exists.  A lot of these problems cannot be changed by me so it isn’t worth stressing over them.  Trying to offer the fair opinion about how there are problematic employees, ‘bad apples’ if you will, in every field of work, would fall on deaf ears, unwilling to even entertain a two-sided conversation.  I won’t alter the minds of the sheep-like masses – even a pipeline of truth shoved into their Twitter-obsessed souls wouldn’t rework their closed minds, as they see and believe only that which fits the dialogue they want.  I also won’t impact major governmental decisions, most of which are fueled by corrupt and self-serving politicians.  Come to think of it, I am really not involved with any of this on any level.  That makes me mildly relieved but also disappointed because I am stuck living in a world where all of these major, major issues are happening and I can’t do a god damn thing about it.

I can, however, hug my Hugo a little bit harder when he comes into bed just after midnight tonight, another thankless shift behind him, serving the people on the news who just don’t care.  Makes me sad and still a little bit scared of where we are going and when it will stop.  I find balance in my husband and an incredible amount of strength, which I have learned to siphon off him.  He is the calming force in my life, as the world rages loud right outside of our windows.  Through him I have learned to just shut the curtains and focus on all the good inside our loving home.

I did it

Months of studying are now behind me because I passed my real estate license exam this past Monday!  I was going to immediately post with excitement of my feat but I got sidetracked, whisked away to an overnight work conference, and now my week has finally settled down into the weekend, where I have a moment to process it.  So excited at my future prospects and proud of myself at the same time, for once again identifying a dream, taking the necessary steps to succeed, and finishing what I set out to do.

While telling my mom the good news immediately afterward on the phone on my drive home from the test center, I realized out loud that I have accomplished a lot in the past two years.  From early 2018 until now I have tackled three large items one by one.  First, I promoted to the next rank of supervisor with my current employer in Los Angeles, which I wish I could divulge but unfortunately can’t due to confidentiality I have self-imposed to keep my identity to myself.  Second, I finally finished my bachelor’s degree, becoming a college graduate at the ripe young age of 34.  And third, now I am a licensed California Real Estate Salesperson who can buy or sell your property (and my own, which might be just as exciting to me, as Hugo and I aim to purchase our own beachfront property in the near future).

It feels good to write about my hard work and it feels even better to have those most important and valuable to me tell me repeatedly how proud they are of me.  While I didn’t do it specifically for Hugo and my parents, I also sort of did.  I have always worked hard in life because I want to, because as an adult, I know no other way, and because I expect and respect nothing less from myself and those around me.  But mainly, I do it so I can share my successes with those who have always held me up when I needed it.  From a child crawling, walking, running, and wanting to fly, to being young woman finding her way in life, my parents have always supported me beyond 100%.  And to my magical husband, who took over for the second half of my journey, holding me up when I feel weak, or knocked down, or nervous to go on at times.  Because of those who have loved me in the best way, I hope to share all my happiness and the good rewards these hard jobs bring, with them, almost as a way of saying I love you and thank you for loving me – I hope you know, I couldn’t do any of it without you ♥

A quick note

I originally made some quick notes about my three loves, in hopes of later using these notes as I wrote more about it all.  Hugo’s grandparents, Polly and Bob, were the first bullet point on the list and about them I included phrases about being married for 70+ years, Bob always loving and admiring Polly, and ‘you don’t see marriages like theirs’.  I also jotted about Hugo’s mom’s recent frustrations with caring for an aging mother and the short story of putting Polly to bed (the evening I wrote about just last week).

The second of my 3 couples was Mark and Pat – ‘crying about Mark, crying together’, in reference to the two of them telling me during his cancer battle, they would spend long stretches of time sitting together and just crying.  My only other note about Mark was that he doesn’t deserve it because he is one of the good ones.

My third and final couple is titled ‘Me and Him’.  That’s how we have gone through the past 16 years, together and as a team, both of us equals.  My whole reason behind posting these notes was because I stumbled upon them today as I riffled through my binder, in search of real estate study material.  My short note sums up what Hugo and I are so I thought I would share it:

My story is littered with other stories.  Stories that co-mingle with our own and teach us about ourselves.  Everyone always loves our story…it’s one of growing up and intending to grow old together.  A story of the ability to forge lifelong friendships, and, most importantly, a story of fierce and beautiful love.

I will end it on that.  As I reread those words, I still feel the beauty in writing them.  It is the same beauty I have in living it.  And I don’t kid about how everyone thoroughly enjoys our real-life love story when we tell them about it – from meeting by chance in high school, to our cross-country adventure, to all the choices that ultimately led to me sitting on the couch typing tonight, missing Hugo while he works during this light rain on the weekend’s eve in Los Angeles.

One day I will get around to writing my short stories or maybe my book.  I am sixty hours out from taking and passing my state real estate exam so once that is checked off my list, I will have more time after work and in the evenings to pursue yet another passion project.  I know, I know, sounds like a bunch of excuses, but I only have so many hours in the day and so much fight in my heavy eyelids as they close on me nearly every night after a mentally and psychically exhausting work day.  Anyways, I love you Hugo ♥

Can’t breath (and I mean that in the best way possible)

Stuffed doesn’t begin to sum it up.  If there was a more severe word for being stuffed to the gills with insanely excellent food, I would be that…plus a molten lava cake.

Since my hubby and I were sick for this year’s Valentine’s Day, we were forced to cancel our dinner reservations.  Little did I know, this was a major blessing in disguise because, as a result of not going out to dinner and staying in, Hugo planned a ‘multi-course’ dinner for me tonight.  He continually labors in the kitchen for me on a regular basis and I am beyond appreciative of his attention and care towards my nourishment and health.  But this time was different.  Tonight’s ‘multi-course’, which I will explain in a bit, was a ten hour process, experience and endeavor, filled with hard work and a whole lot of love.

When he wrote his handmade card for me, Hugo asked me to join him for a multi-course meal.  I, of course, smiled and happily agreed (I mean, who wouldn’t?!?) and we joked about what the definition of multi-course actually was.  I poked by replying that five, if not nine, courses could be found under the multi-course umbrella.  Hugo enjoyed my little jokes, later divulging that tonight’s culinary quest would be a total of four courses.  And let me tell you, four was more than enough.

It started with king crab legs with garlic butter.  It could also have stopped there because that kind of course alone makes even a vegetarian happy.  What is it about garlic butter that speaks to the soul?  Oh, that’s right, it’s the garlic butter itself. – purely perfect in both the garlic and the butter.

Next, we moved on to a palate-cleanser of watermelon granita with mascarpone cream.  Never had it but it was pretty amazing.  The cool, refreshing watermelon did just as intended as my tongue was cool and refreshed.  The garlic butter was sadly washed away, but that was the point, right?

Next, mushroom carbonara.  And here, dear reader, is where I yet again realize Hugo is my soulmate.  I know it every day but let’s be honest, anything mushroom related truly has the key t my heart.  Rich, creamy and decadent, it hit all the right spots and satisfied my belly.

Finally, molten lava cake.  From scratch.  And it was perfect.  To think, my husband was nervous that it wouldn’t come out correctly or was even mildly overcooked, which it wasn’t.  When I tell you this cake was perfect, just imagine the ideal dusting of powdered sugar covering a slightly warm, freshly baked, personally-sized bittersweet cake.  Oh, with oozing chocolate ganache on the inside.  It was a great meal but that damn cake, complete with a large cold glass of milk, just made the night.

I have said many times how cooking for someone is truly the ultimate expression of love.  I believe that because of the way I was raised and the man I was raised by, as my father grew his own food and slaved away in the kitchen to feed my mother and I.  I believe it even more when I am greeted after a twelve hour day at work by a beautiful multi-course meal that my husband knows I will enjoy so much.  He knows this because he knows me, he listens to me, and, above all else, he aims to make me happy in life, as I do him.  This man must love me and I certainly love him, probably more than he knows and I deserve.  Happy Valentine’s Day ♥♥♥

PS – Josh Weissman gave Hugo his date night meal cheater for this special occasion.  He subbed king crab legs for steak, and a few other small alterations occurred along the way, but otherwise, bravo Josh and Hugo for a tummy full of goodness and a job well done.

Coming out the other side

What an awful last ten days my body has just experienced.  While Hugo and I still believe we have some form of Coronavirus, due to the fact we got insanely sick right as this worldwide pandemic began, in reality the two of us have been infected with a brutally aggressive viral infection similar to this year’s flu.  I was tested for the flu so I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I don’t have it, although my symptoms at times mirrored what I have come to know of the flu almost to a ‘T’.  Hugo is about five days behind me with his sick status, as I was Patient Zero, making him Patient One…?  Long story short, our household has been down and out for the greater part of two weeks and we are both ready for this nonsense to be over.

That is about all of the energy for a post I can muster together for now.  As a final thought, I will provide a quick update in regards to the other 99% of my life as of recent:  My real estate exam is eight days away so I am in crunch mode now.  Gunner is getting neutered tomorrow so no more food or water for him until he is post-op tomorrow night.  We have an upcoming trip to Hawaii in March, in celebration of our 11th anniversary, but I am a bit nervous since COVID-19 is slowly scorching our globe like wildfire, including one new recent case on the island we intend to call home for the whole of our vacation.

I realized as I wrote those update points that all of them involve nerves in some sense or another.  A lot to look forward to and a lot to be serious and focus about.  We will nurse little Gunner back to full strength after his surgery, I will study hard and succeed at my state exam, and we will have a love-filled and healthy trip together.  The power of positive thinking, people! ♥

Three loves yet it’s all the same

Love is love is love.  It all develops with similar circumstances, out of fondness and friendship.  It ends one of two ways:  falling out of love and moving on or when we take our last breath and depart this world.  I pray the deep relationship Hugo and I have will afford us the opportunity to part ways after decades of love and life shared, holding hands as we snuggle in bed, both of us simultaneously falling asleep never to wake again.  I want us to go out as we have lived together, as a team.

Well, that was somber.  Not my initial intention when I began writing this.  Despite how dark I just got, I meant it all with the fullest intent of love.  My love realized in life, through having Hugo, is probably the biggest unexpected aspect of my life.  You dream of finding a Prince Charming as a young girl but when it actually happens, you can’t help but question if your reality is, well, for real.

Then you realize it is and as you marinate in the perfectness of that perfect moment you also realize nothing else really matters.  As I always say – easier said than done – but seriously folks, what other nonsensical, annoying, ‘not worth my time or energy’ BULLSHIT matters in the least, or even stands up to something so magnificently beautiful?  Not that hard to answer.  Nothing.

Now, all of these thoughts and feelings come on the heels of yet another couple nights of frustration and angst, as I sit alone while Hugo works, letting my mind run circles around the things that cause me grief.  I am stressed and Hugo knows it all too well, because I continue to pester him about it every chance I get.  He is my best and most trusted outlet for over-analyzing all the things that make KK (yup, that’s me), KK.  It felt like the right time to speak in the third person – it adds effect, ya know?  Anyways, I bug Hugo until I can’t bug him anymore and I bug myself too.  I wish I could turn my feelings off when it gets too heavy and I have had enough.  I wish I didn’t care about most of the things that I do but then again, if that was the case and I didn’t care so strongly, I wouldn’t be me.  I am sensitive to the words that are spoken to me, in front of me and about me.  I am hyper-critical of myself in every way and when I perceive a misstep on my part, I circle back to the moment, the decision, the very word I stupidly said, until I can’t bear to think of it one more time.  I am sure there are others out there who engage in this behavior, right?  I presume I am not alone in this and, quite frankly, I think we all do it on some level, whether we’d like to admit it or not.  Personally, being my own strongest critic is also a strength and I only care as much as I do because I seek to improve and develop as a partner and friend.

As I have said way too many times, just writing this down makes me realize how asinine the excessive, critical behavior really is.  None of the recent moments I have been upset about are even noteworthy, if you can call it that.  The girl drama at work has mildly improved but still persists.  Today I received an update from an old co-worker about a scandalous, problematic, and damn-near criminal employee who we both used to work with – this stellar individual, who is still causing problems, is voicing his dislike of me.  I have said many times how I not only call it like I see it but I also can’t wrap my head around the fact that others are blind to his ludicrous ways.  I am stressed and nervous about submitting my transfer to another unit of assignment.  While I know these things should just roll off my shoulders, they don’t and I am here.  Getting better at being strong, keeping my priorities straight and focusing on the things that truly matter, but I am still me and me hurts a little.

Transitioning to bigger and better news – I am on the two week countdown until my real estate exam date!  Studying like hell and surprising myself with my retention level (I got a 92 on my progress exam today), I am cautiously optimistic about taking the test that will plunge me into my new second career.  Hugo has been so wonderful about the whole thing – encouraging me along the way, listening to me blab about the things I am learning and the things I still don’t know, but want to, and helping with everything in between as I forge tirelessly through vocab review and video lessons.  I can really feel his love when he spends hours cooking a vegetarian meal of my choosing, so he can take care of me by nourishing my mind and body, all while I sit on the couch studying for my passionate pursuit.  To be honest, one of the most exciting aspects of pursuing this new career is the excitement of sharing my success with him.  In the end, if not for sharing it with those we love, what is it all for?

I started this post off by speaking of similar loves, three of them to be exact.  My beautiful neighbors and my grandparents-in-laws (is that even right?) are both half of the couple they used to be for many years.  The male portion of both equations has since passed away, while their widowed wives finish out their earthly time alone.  Of the three relationships I strive to document further, I am the only woman alive and that makes me sad.  I think about the love I have for Hugo and I presume my neighbors and Polly & Bob had such a similar bond, which makes me hurt for their loss that much more.  One day soon, if I can finally get around to carving out some serious time, I fully intend on writing these three love stories for you to enjoy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them unfold, celebrating in their existence, and cherishing the fact that they even happened, so I know you will feel the same.  You already know a little bit about Hugo and I so now it will be time to learn about the splendid people who came before him, making my love bug even possible.