I’m the star of my own movie

Today I am a writer and I am an author.  There is a difference.  From Google:

According to the dictionary, a writer is ‘one who expresses ideas in writing’ or ‘one engaged in literary work.’ An author is ‘a person who writes a novel, poem, essay etc, the composer of a literary work.’

I am a writer because I write this blog.  And NOW I am an author because I finished my book today!  Yes I did!! It is hard to explain or express what I’ve been going through with this book.  Since June I’ve been working on making Finally Florida a book. Granted I didn’t take as long as some people that take years to write a book.  But my book is not their book and we all have a different style and/or different subject.  Well anyway, for me, for 5 months getting this book written, edited, and out to an agent has been at the forefront of my thoughts, in every fiber of my being, around the clock. You may think, well those that know me and know my employment situation, that perhaps a job should be at the forefront of my thoughts but I will tell you that is not the case.  As a matter of fact it is because I never want an office job again that the book was even MORE at the forefront of my being. An office job is something that I have done all my life because I have to.  It has never been anything that I have aspired to.  I have just done it and I’ve been good at my jobs.  I’ve always been good at my jobs.  But today “I” did something. Today it’s all about me. I have no one to thank but myself.  Well I have a lot to people to thank but I mean I am the only one that has believed in this project as much as I have, I have believed in myself.  Although Stephanie now runs a close second. As soon as I mention the book there is a tendency for everyone to dismiss the book as nothing other than something to do in my spare time. To me it has been my job.  Interviewing for an office job is what I’ve been doing in my “spare” time.

When I lived in the apartment at the beach this past summer I started the book.  I had at least two false starts before finding my groove. Thanks to Emily and Sandy who got me on the start that I finally went with, and then I just took off and kept going.  I would freeze when my future living accommodations were at stake.  Like end of July and in August there was some time that I just froze not knowing what was going to happen.  I think people falsely believe that in desperation you are motivated, but certain stages of desperation are also overwhelming to the point where you just freeze.  I was at that freezing stage a couple times.  However, I did tell my landlord that I “finished” the book while I was at his place, which was the goal.  Finish the book at the beach.

All writers and authors will agree that writing the content is only ½ the battle.  Since then I have been formatting and editing.  The month at my mom’s was mostly formatting.  Actually while there I got it all formatted. I remember telling her that I was done with the formatting and feeling a sense of accomplishment.  Because of the way I was writing it, there was A LOT of formatting to be done.  Looking back as I’m writing this post I am realizing that at each place (the apartment and my mom’s) I accomplished a piece of the puzzle at each place.

So now, here at Stephanie’s, I’ve been printing it out.  50 pages at a time.  Then I read it and manually edit it, then make the edits in the document , then give the handwritten edits to Stephanie and she’s been reading it to see if she “likes” it and how it flows.  I was prepared at every step along the way for her to say “this is stupid” “this is boring” “yea this drones on and on” but what did she say ALL the time?  She said “I’m done, where’s the next section?”  Since her boss would not know to read this blog I will share that she was buried in my book instead of working, which is bad since she is supporting both Tim and I now.  But very encouraging for me.  She gave me suggestions to make corrections for clarity and her suggestions have been great. She also apologized to me today, which made me cry, and said she didn’t realize how much my past life meant to me (she understands after reading the book) and she’s sorry.  I guess she got sucked into the story. It was validating both that my writing is good and that my sadness is justified. Oh and she wants to meet Zenah.  LOL. Everybody wants to meet Zenah.

I told my mom recently (when she asks what I’m doing with myself) that I just want to finish this book.  I have felt so compelled, so driven, so focused on getting this part of the process done that I couldn’t think of anything else.  I’ve stayed up many nights past 2:00 am both here and my mom’s just focused.  I felt like I was on a deadline. Some self-imposed deadline, but deadline none the less.  I felt like I needed to get it done before I leave Stephanie’s and since I never know when that is going to be, or had to get it done before I start a full time job, which I also don’t know when that is going to be so I’ve worked like a mad woman. But today, I declared it finished and then I sent out three queries to three different agents. And then I had this overwhelming feeling of relief and accomplishment.  I need to send to 300 more agents but still the next phase has begun and I can let out a heavy sigh.

I am not naïve enough to think that I have written the next best seller and that I’ll make my first million before the end of next year, but of course wouldn’t that be nice? But here is what I have done in my lifetime. I’ve created something.  I have done something that is all me.  Something that I’ve wanted to do for longer than I can remember.  That I talked about doing openly on a blog for 2 years, that I worked hard at and if I can be so bold to say that I think I’m good at. I used the same work ethic that I’ve always had to get it done.  I worked hard, was dedicated and focused. It felt good.  It feels good.

Of course now I need a job to support myself but this accomplishment is bigger than that, to me, whether or not I ever earn a dime from it.  And even earning money for your hard work is subjective. Look at my brother.  A genius talented musician and well you haven’t heard him on the radio now have you? Some people create masterpieces every day and are used to the creation (and rejection) process.  This is my first one.  Kinda like having your “first” baby.  It’s the start of something new.

I was sitting on the bay today on a park bench, rewarding myself with a well-deserved break from my hard work,  watching the water and the sky, birds and boats and I even saw some dolphins. I think I sat there for 2 hours. There was a strong breeze that felt so good.  The temperature these days is perfect.  Not too hot this time of year.  I plugged in my headphones, opened Spotify on my phone, turned the music up and looked at the sky.  Usually I only have one earphone in so I can hear what’s going on around me but today, both earplugs in, volume up.  It’s no wonder I’m slightly deaf.  BUT it was wonderful. I felt like I was in a movie, like “in” the movie.  The music was the score of the movie I was in.  The birds in the sky were part of the movie.  They flew in rhythm to the music.  It was beautiful.  It is my life.  My life is beautiful.

xoxox

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Turn that frown upside down

Here is something I can say about myself.  I don’t stay down for very long…typically.  I obviously have down days trying to figure all this out BUT I have to admit every day when I wake up I forget about what it was I was down about (usually) and well it’s a new day and I forge ahead.  I’m not gonna lie and say that I’ve never woken up already depressed but for the most part – I’m going 80% or more of the time – each day is a new slate and I just start over.  It’s not that I do that consciously it’s just that I forget and move on I guess. Sometimes it helps in a relationship that I forget what I was mad about but probably there are times when I’m supposed to remember so not to repeat mistakes.  Therein “may” lie some of my problems.

So today (actually starting with last night) I figured that what I’m going through has nothing to do with being “homeless.”  I think, and I really do feel this, that it’s more about me and my things.  I have so little things in comparison to most but I have noticed that I have a strong attachment to those things.  Again, we’ve been so over this in these blogs  But…BUT, I don’t think this time at all is about being without a “home” – I think it’s about getting myself to trust in the future – to part with things is parting with who I “thought” I was, well not even who I “thought” – just who I was and the memories that go with them.  But I’ll still be that person right?  I guess that’s what I cling to.  I have so little trust that I’ll ever be happy again, or have “things”, or whatever it is that I cling to that bowl for, or that Christmas decoration or those dishes that I have memories around. However, I know somewhere in me that I will someday have new things.  My kids will still like me – I’ve hung onto a couple of things and they will look at those couple of things someday and smile at whatever it is they remember but the rest of it…it’s gotta go.  So see? That’s what this is about (maybe) just getting rid of those things. Now if I can make a buck or two and pay a bill well then that’s just a bonus. Already I’ve made enough on selling just one set of dishes that I can pay my car insurance bill.  See?  Life is good.

Moving on…I’m deciding that I’m more of a loner than I thought.  I really like being by myself.  I like other people and I like touching base, having lunch, the occasional yammering on the phone, but I really really like being alone.  I like walking on the beach alone, I like writing these ramblings alone, I like watching TV alone…I like being alone.  However, (you should know that I always have a however) I do miss many aspects of Philip.

There I said it.  People have been asking me if I miss him, would I go back, questions like that.  As you may or may not know I am working on turning Finally Florida into a book. So in doing that I’m reviewing all of the blogs. I can’t help but smile and reminisce when reading it. I mention the word “fun” alot. That’s the word I have most often used when I talk about Philip – I had “fun” with him.  I also remember telling Zenah one time that he has been the only person in my life that I have not gotten sick of…after 3 years…and that has never happened before. I always enjoyed his company.  So who wouldn’t miss that? The conversation that day between Zenah and I was about how opposite she thought her dad and I were. Tashah used to say she thought we were perfect for each other because we were so alike. I know what both of them saw and they were both right. Well, anyway, the point is sure I miss him, but no I don’t want to go back. And again, I think this whole separation of “things” and me has alot to do with it. Maybe it’s because the “fun” and the “things” took front and center of me being me? Although I would even disagree with that because I think it was because of him that I became this writer (even though he has told me how bad my punctuation is). I remember me asking a friend one time if she would go back with her husband and she said she could only do it with blinders on not thinking about it.  I would never wish that on myself.  I would never go back with blinders on.  I would never go back without many many conditions – eyes wide open – and lots and lots of therapy.  Since I know that is not going to happen (therapy) I know it’s not an option and therefore I don’t entertain the idea at all.

Speaking of books and all, let’s say I get this thing actually published. I know I can self publish but let’s just say I get it published. I mention alot alot of names. Mostly first names but there is the occasional last name. Like Cathy Susko is almost always CathySusko – one word – because that’s what she is in my mind…Cathysusko..There are no deep secrets about anyone obviously just about Cathy Susko white tile floors, or floating in the Besong pool.  There is one or two references to Bobby Rondinelli…anyway, everyone needs to think about whether or not they want their name changed.  I don’t think it’s a big deal and think it could be fun to read your name in a book….maybe…especially since my book is so mindless…Obviously I will change my housemates names.  I’m thinking I will become Lydia McDougal. Hmmm, should McDougal have one “l” or two? McDougall?  I am keeping a list of all the names I have mentioned in the book.  I have alot of them that I will do a search and replace but I’m telling Diane right now that I think she has to stay in there as Diane and “Di” – it just doesn’t work any other way.

And my last thought of the day…for today…you all know I like to walk on the beach right?  I love it actually. It clears my head, I get sun on my face, I get a dose of Vitamin D.  I also like to walk barefoot.  My old neighbor used to scold me a bit about wearing walking shoes to protect my back and whatnot but I just like to walk barefoot, with those unpainted toenails, in the sand and occasionally in the water.  I start here on 2nd Avenue and I walk down to about 14th Ave before I turn around and come back.  I could walk further but it’s the coming back around that I have to keep in mind.  Even with that small distance every time I get back to our house I am holding my hip where it starts hurting.  I know it’s that sciatica thing.  I think it’s from the slanted beach walking.  I’m not walking on a level surface.

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See the slant?

Today when I was down around 14th or 15th Ave I stepped on a seashell that went right into my heel.  No blood or anything but just didn’t give and I had to stop for a bit until the pain calmed down (I’m fine)  I happened to see the handsome man from the other day (who said hi to me twice) – just sort of hanging around there.  He did not come to my aid.  I have cancelled the wedding invitations.

Thank you all for caring, I am fine. I am really fine!!

xoxoxo

 

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Stay strong, make them wonder how you’re still smiling

A writing “coach” told me that she likes my writing because it’s an honest look at the human experience.  It went something like that – something about the human experience.  Amy, my northern most follower, told me to blog both positive and negative.  “Contrast” she said.  I like to stick to the positives.  So here are some of the positives in this current human experience of mine:

I’m in Florida.  Everyone knows how much I love Florida.  Sunny days, warm temperatures, it feels familiar and even though I don’t have a home I feel at home here in Florida. Temperatures are perfect.  Still in the 80’s (not 90’s).  I can walk on the beach without sweating profusely.  It’s even supposed to be in the 50’s Sunday morning.  Good thing I’ve brought some sweatshirts.

Stephanie’s home is very cute and comfortable.  I sleep really well.  There’s everything here I need (food, laundry, beach)…she too lives steps from the beach so I can run over to the Gulf for sunset and I can run over to the Bay for the moonrise. And when I say run I mean saunter.  Either way (Gulf or Bay) is steps from her home. Stephanie’s husband Tim is very pleasant and considerate and doesn’t seem to mind me being here.  I don’t even mind their two cats.  I usually don’t like cats…but they have nice cats.  It’s been a very pleasant experience.  Also Tim watches MSNBC.  I would have problems if it was a Fox News house.  Just sayin and I’m leaving it there.  Also I have a TV in my bedroom and in the office where I’m on the computer so it wouldn’t really matter if I didn’t like what he was watching I can come into another room. It’s just the two of us during the week as Stephanie travels for her job.

A positive in comparison to my mom’s is there is TV and internet which who knew I would have taken for granted.

My tan is returning which makes me feel like I look better.  I hate wearing makeup and when I have even a little bit of tan I quit wearing it.

Because I’m not working I am able to sit at the beach, meet friends for lunch, run errands and try and take care of some loose ends (storage woes) because I have all this free time.

I have friends here in Florida – people to see, people to visit.

My skin tags are falling off.  Do you know what they are?  They’re like pieces of skin that grow on my neck  They look a bit like moles that hang there.  Well last week the dermatologist said she could freeze them off so I was like “have at it” – which she did – and they looked 1000% worse.  These black gross pieces of skin on my neck.  Needless to say I was wearing scarves (except when I met poor Gay Lynn for lunch – she had to look at them) but the good news is they are falling off just like they are supposed to and I can see that my neck will look much better very very soon.  This goes under the positive category.

I already blogged about seeing the Baker girls.  Got my girl fix for a while.

I’ve made progress on the storage woes.

A very handsome man on the beach said hi to me, twice.

And now for the contrast, the human experience:

I am homeless.  There is no sugar coating it, there is no other word for it.  I am homeless.  I have never met anyone that is homeless other than those we see on the streets and who we walk on by.  While it is true that I have places to stay and I am very appreciative of that (the positive of being homeless) the reality of it is I am truly truly h.o.m.e.l.e.s.s.  I can’t even process this most days.  There was a time, and for a long time, that I wanted to test the world, test God and quit Point Park without having another job.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment and I wanted to write about it.  And look at that I am doing it, I’m writing about it (but not able to let go of the job hunting part.)  BUT, here’s what I said over and over and over and over….I don’t think my path in life is to be homeless…I was sure God did not want me to be homeless.  I was SURE of it.  What use would I be being homeless?, I thought.  Wouldn’t I be worth much more to life, to God, to be doing something productive?  Giving back to the world in a productive way? I really wanted to do it. I really want to just quit and live day by day and see what would happen. I thought it would be worth the risk.   Well then, Phil happened and I DID quit my job and I did have a brand new life and I WAS productive and I WAS doing something worth it. I was there for this family and I was being rewarded for it in many many ways.  Pedicures, horseback riding, trips to home, moms, vacations, a new car and my credit score was gooooddd.  But then, you followers of Finally Florida know what happened and I left that place.  I didn’t question leaving just like I didn’t question moving here with him in the first place.  All the pieces around “leaving” just fell into place and I was rewarded again with this perfect small place on the beach, so see?  God was proving to me that he/she was watching over me.  I did the right thing, something new was going to open up. My life was going to take off in a different direction now.  My time there was appreciated, as proven by my summer at the beach, but now I was supposed to move on.  Bills were getting paid, I was writing, I was engaged in life, not like I was before, no volunteering, no Reiki but still was engaged in trying to rebuild my life.  And then the bottom fell out because nothing was working.  Nothing was opening up.  It slammed closed.  I went to my mom’s. Even in my “quit work and test the Gods” scenarios I would always say to myself…how bad can it be?  I’d just go to my moms. BUT I never ever thought it would get that far.  So here I am in Virginia, I thought well now something in Virginia will open up.  I’m supposed to be here now I thought. A new adventure I guess. A new blog. Not where I want to be but a beautiful place, and time with mom was great. Although I didn’t apply to as many jobs as I do here in Florida (I hadn’t been there long enough yet) I did apply to jobs there and as has become the norm, I did get rejected…still..and again… and then the Florida job calls and well kismet right?  And I got here through the hurricane.  You all read that story.  At least I thought I’d get through a month of bills with some income, as I knew it was a temporary job but I thought perfect, settle the storage issue, and then maybe I’d go back to Virginia and keep trying there.  And nothing, absolutely nothing is going how I envisioned.  NOTHING. As you all know the temp job fell through and now here I am in Florida with no job…again. I’ve applied to more and more jobs, I had one interview which I was excited about but I’m going to guess that I’m not getting that one either.  I’ve had a Skype interview with a staffing agency in Richmond. Everything seems to go well but then nothing happens.  So no I haven’t been able to pay one bill in October (okay I did pay one bill).  I don’t want money from friends or family, I’m past that.  It was okay as a tide-over because well, we all knew that my life was going to take off any minute, right? but now I’m past that.  I mean if God’s not going to help me why should anyone else?  I’m doing my part but clearly he is not paying attention.

It’s hard to be in a situation like this and not constantly question God.  Constantly.  I don’t know whether to like him, hate him, or even question the existence at all?  It’s kind of easy to blame God because well who else am I going to blame?  Myself? What good would that do?  I already feel bad enough about myself so it just seems like I need some help here and well he/she seems like the logical choice to turn to.

So what am I learning?  God could care less that I’m homeless.  God could care less if I pay my bills.  God could care less about my credit score.  God apparently doesn’t want me to have an office job – that part I’m okay with – but I still need that income?

However, God does care about my safety and getting through hurricanes.  God cares that I have very comfortable homes to “camp” in in the meantime.  God cares that I have very very good and loving  friends and family.  God knows that I want to be here in Florida and has made sure that I get here and seems like he makes it difficult to leave so my “joy” at being here is prolonged. Every time I think it’s time to go, to head north, I can’t go again because I have too much to do with that stupid storage, or I get a call for an interview.

On the good side of the storage woes, I was able to move some stuff into a smaller unit –  all the things that I wanted to keep – very very few things I saved, and was ready to give the rest of it all away to Hospice who will come and pick it up.  But my friend told me that I am in no position financially to give anything away and I should try and sell it.  Again I thought THAT was the answer. I will sell it and I’ll get through another month. Not only did I not get one bite I got a nasty email from someone saying that I’d be lucky to get $150 for the entire storage unit.  Okay thanks buddy.  So now I have to drive 40 miles – one way – and bring one box at a time to this replacement china store that had previously offered me a couple hundred dollars for some of my china.  But because I live out of my car, literally my back seat is full of clothes and my trunk is also full, I only have room for one box at a time. Maybe next week I’ll put everything from the car on my bed here and try a couple of boxes at a time.  So tomorrow I’ll take my one box over to the China shop and if they give me anything at all it’ll probably just cover the gas to go back and forth to the storage unit.  And THEN I’m calling Hospice back and have them come back and get it all. I’ve been told, again just today, that getting rid of all of this stuff will be very freeing. And well, we’ve been over this so many times in this blog.  It is freeing but it also is just another reminder of the reality of the situation that I am homeless.  Just another reminder that I don’t have a home for any of it.  I don’t have a choice.  The only thing that’s freeing about it is after it’s all gone I’ll be free to go back to Virginia, where it will be cold, but at least it’s my mom that has to bear the burden of my presence…and I can give Stephanie her room back.

And here’s what my thought was today.  Where is the best place to live without a car?  So if my life keeps going the way it is –  is staying with my mom the best place to be where there is no public transportation incase at some point in my life I am supposed to work again?  I can’t stay with Stephanie indefinitely so I won’t be here long enough to get my car repossessed.  Should I live in Pittsburgh where I know there is public transportation? And if I go back to Pittsburgh where in Pittsburgh would I live?  Or should I even give up working at all and just stay in with my mom and have the neighbor grocery shop for both of us? I guess if I am “lucky” enough to get a job then I would be able to eventually get a car again I suppose.  Well the point is, these are the thoughts that I am thinking now.  Where is the best place for me to be even MORE homeless and MORE destitute.

Can you even imagine having these thoughts for real?  Like I am having these thoughts for real?  I know I’m not the only person in the world  that loses everything, has their car repossessed (maybe), has bad credit (I’ve been there before) but it sure does make you feel like you are a bad person, a very bad person.  Like you are stupid and have done everything wrong. Like everything that is happening to you is your fault.  That all the signs you thought you were following and all the talking to God that you do and all the trusting your instincts that you are on the right path, well that basically you have been wrong about everything. Like how you thought God cared about your happiness? How far back do I have to go to know that “this” is where it all started to go wrong?  If I had to guess I would go back to 2006.  But it doesn’t really matter now does it?  I am here.  At the beach. See? I can’t even decide if I’m happy or not. I truly love so much of this time so has he answered some prayers?  It sure seems like he has. (and I realize God is not really a “he”)

I did this thing/game on Facebook – it said “click here for your advice from heaven.”  Here’s what I got:

Lynn, these words are your advice from heaven: Stay strong, make them wonder how you’re still smiling.  (how did it know?)

Blame the blog contrast piece (also known as whining) today on Amy – however, it’s truly an unusual human experience.  I don’t know whether to wish you all a piece of it or not.  So much of my life is perfect – I’m right where I want to be.

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xoxoxo

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All is right with the world

No I didn’t get a job.  BUT I did have dinner with two of the Baker girls.  I love those girls. It was fun catching up with Zenah. We had alot of catching up to do. We had to wait a couple hours for her sister to join us at dinner and I don’t know about her but the time flew while I listened to her stories.  She’s applying for colleges, she’s writing her essays, boyfriend stuff, lots of boyfriend stuff, school stuff, teachers she likes, homework, eating habits, she’s working alot, LAX starting soon.  Love that girl.  Alyna showed up later because she had to work earlier.  She’s cooking for people.  “I” could cook for people; however, she really cooks making fancy shit.  Anyway, I’m very happy for her.  She’s busy.  Too busy as usual, but that’s just her.  Tashah was a no show but it’s okay.  Everyone is busy.  Jorden, well I don’t know how I’ll catch up with him.  But, it felt good seeing them, really good.  And now that I’m not crying everytime I see Zenah I hope to see them more often.

What?  Does that mean I’m staying here?  It means NOTHING.  It just seems like something natural to say.  I still have no idea what is going on with me on a day to day basis, but….BUT…I’m even calmer about that.  I am not only talking about taking one day at a time, I’m actually doing it and feeling it.  Each morning I wonder what’s going to happen.  Is today the day that it all falls apart even more? OR is today the day when it will all start to come together again.  OR am I still in-between.  There are a lot of in-between days apparently.

I went to a writing workshop this weekend.  Those workshops are very motivational for me to keep working on my book. The girls were fun last night coming up with names for themselves in the book. Stephanie has been helping reading and encouraging me to keep going. These in-between days are good for editing.  It’s a lot of work.  I’m in such a rush to get it done and then I meet people who work on a book for years…..years.  However, I think it’s basically done and I’m just working on edits so it’s okay to feel like I’m on the home stretch.  Right?

I also went to the beach a couple times over the weekend. I am successfully getting my bronze color back.  I left one month ago, okay a month and a half. When I left here I was floating, the water temp was in the 90’s. So I leave for just a short period of time, right?  The air temps are still hot but that water is freezing!  Maybe not actually Pacific coast freezing but there will be no floating going on.  We did manage to dip our heads in one day but it’s one of those things that you have to work up the courage to go under.  It’s cold.  How did that happen?  I am very very sad about that.  Yesterday I came up with a temporary solution of putting my beach chair “in” the water on the shore so I was successfully cooled off, reading a book, in the water.  So it might be the “fall” (i.e. autumn) method of floating.  I don’t understand how the air is still hot but the water is cooled off.  These are the perplexing quandaries that fill my days…how to successfully hang on the beach.

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I must get ready for a job interview. Yes I have one. I’ll fill you all in later.

xoxoxo

 

 

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Moving right along

Now today I’m really feeling like myself again.  I walked on the beach this morning (I counted 200 steps to the beach from here) – Doing some laundry – have some chores to do and on my to-do list is to work on my book for the writing workshop for tomorrow.  So what am I doing? Watching Price is Right, drinking coffee and eating cookies.  I upgraded my phone though to IOS 10.0.2. That should count for something, right?  It did change the appearance on the phone. This is something really important in life, right?  The way my cell phone display looks?

Since I’m procrastinating I thought “why not blog?” and so here I am.

My doctors appointments are all completed. Tooth is in, skin is good, I even got some of those nasty skin tags removed although at the moment they look even nastier BUT I believe the beauty part will come soon and then the last appointment was the blood work yesterday which I survived.  I’ll get a phone call with those results.  So that’s all done and that’s all good.  I’m also here to settle the storage unit issues and I’m moving right along there so I really do think my time here has been productive. I’m feeling good.

I got a call yesterday from a temp agency in Richmond.  I have a Skype interview with them on Monday which means I will still be here in Florida then. I am taking full advantage of the time I have being on-line. I had to complete those Prove-it tests…again…the ones that test your competencies in data entry, Word, Excel, and typing – I got 100% on all of them.  HOWEVER, my typing speed at 1 minute was only 69 words a minute – no errors, but still.  That’s pretty low for me. Mrs. Besong is definitely ahead of me.  Oh well.  So now watch I’ll get a job in Richmond, repack the car and head north.  If there is a hurricane again I’m not moving.  I’m not!

I really thought I had something else to say but apparently today is a blank-mind day.  Maybe I’ll go clean out the refrigerator for something to do.  OR maybe I’ll take my book over to the beach.  Hmmm, wonder which it’ll be.

xoxoxo

 

 

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Back to normal

Seriously, do I even have a normal these days? I have to say it feels pretty normal being back in Florida.  I stopped by my old neighborhood last night and after the initial tears which I choked back it just seemed pretty normal to walk on the beach with my neighbor friend and watch the sunset. The beach does seem particularly deserted since I left a month ago.  I left on Labor Day so this must be what it’s like 150 steps from the beach after school starts.  I’m thinking it’s pretty much like heaven now.  Stephanie also lives about 150 steps to the beach, maybe 200 steps, but I have not been over there to walk yet.  Why? Doctors appointments and job hunting of course.

My dentist and doctors appointments have had great results so that’s something going well. Also, I’m stopping by the storage unit daily waiting for the inspiration as to figuring out what to do with it all.  I believe I am formulating a plan which I won’t share because it could all change tomorrow.  I’ll share once it’s finalized. It’s hard though.  It’s hard to know what to do with a lifetime of things when you have no where to keep them.  Trying to decide what to keep, where to keep it, how to keep it and will you ever recover from parting with all those “things” that you have collected over your lifetime.  LIFETIME.  So I have a lot of emotional separation going on over this but I think I’m coming to terms with it.  Slowly, but still getting there. Once I get to “happy” about it I’ll make my move.  And I really think I’m going to get there.  It will certainly be freeing.  Well, maybe it won’t be. If I was confident it would be freeing I would be “there” by now.  But what I’m afraid of is that it will be devastating.  I’m somewhere between devastated and freeing.  Again, I’ll get there.  I really think I will.

I may have some internal functioning problem thing going on with this blog. Seems like nobody got “dinged” the other day when I posted about the harrowing trip from Richmond to here.  I apologize for my lack of technical blogging expertise. Another thing that I will get figured out while I have the use of internet!  Now that feels normal – being able to check emails, apply to jobs and blog at will.  THAT is normal for me.  Unplugged at my moms in Virginia, well that’s a struggle.  Mom also told me it’s cold there and she’s glad that I’m not there because #1 she’d have to turn the heat on for me and #2 she knows how uncomfortable I’d be.  But I tell you it should be my duty to be there and pay for her to turn the heat on so SHE’s not uncomfortable ya know?  The blind woman in the woods?  Have I deserted her?  I think she should come live with me in Florida during the winter.  I have suggested that to her. Of course I don’t know how Stephanie would feel about a blind woman bunking with us, but….

Anyway, mom would never leave her house so moving here, even if it would ever be a possibility on my end, would never be a possibility because she wouldn’t leave her house…probably.  I guess once I get extremely wealthy (or even get a steady paycheck) I could just pay for that stinkin oil so she can turn it on without fear of the cost.  How awful is that?  What is wrong with this world?  Wouldn’t it be nice to allow any senior citizen who lives solely on social security to not have to pay any utility bills, especially heat?  Electricity? Water?  Like the necessities of life should be free to marginally poor senior citizens. I can’t blog about this now because it’s making me feel really bad about being here in the warmth of Florida.

Check out this weather forecast for next week:

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I know alot of people are loving fall/autumn right now but personally, the month I spent up north was mostly rainy and miserable.  A sunny fall day IS really a perfect day but they were so few and far between when I was there.  Maybe that grey (gray?) cloud followed me there but it sure looks like it’s not followed me here.

Okay, enough of the weather report.  Time to go read.  My friend, A.K. Downing (her professional name) has written a book.  It’s really good!  I’m sucked in.  I need to finish it so I can write a review.  But I will tell you all now that it’s good and you should all buy one and buy one for a friend. Into the Air – check out her website.

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xoxoxo

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A Labor of Love

I had thought of many titles for this blog.  Some of the choices included:

  • I told you so
  • Never-ever again
  • Mom knows best
  • There is a God

All those titles are suitable but I chose A Labor of Love, because Labor I did and I’m back in Florida which I love. I had to get this story on paper while it is fresh in my mind…and surprisingly I’m still awake.

Here’s the background..

As most of you know I have this dental issue.  Crowns, etc.  And I have paid for this crown in Florida, now wearing a temporary, I wanted to come back to get my permanent crown.  So #1 I want my new crown, it’s paid for.  #2, I have a doctor here and we have a history and she knows my cholesterol issue and is watching a couple of other things for me.  #3 I need to see a dermatologist and well I have one of those in Florida too so here’s what I did:  I made all three appointments for this week, in Florida and decided I’d come this week and get the doctors appointments out of the way and hopefully figure out what to do with my storage and wrap up some odds and ends here in Florida.  Okay, sooo. Here we go…

Last Thursday, I get a phone call from the temp agency down here in Florida.  She has a job for me that starts on Monday.  I said PERFECT!! Not a “perfect” job but not bad, it was a temporary job, close to Stephanie’s (and where I used to live) so good this will work out well.  I’m leaving Friday and I’ll get in Saturday and be ready Monday.  I was also trying to get here for a party on Saturday in Pass-a-grille and meet some friends for the party.  So great I’m leaving Friday.  Then she calls back and said “wait, you can’t start Monday, you have to start Friday – to which I say “impossible – I can’t get there Friday.  It’s already Wednesday and it takes two days.”  So, oh well, so much for that, but still I’m heading down Friday, right?

Wrong, in comes Hurricane Matthew pounding the coast and no way I can leave Friday. I’d be driving right into the storm.  Not only can I not leave Friday I can’t leave until Sunday.  The temp agency calls me back and says the job said they’d take me as soon as I can get there.  Perfect again right?  I mean I have that car payment plus. So now I’m more motivated to get here because I also have a job.

Matthew hits the coast and then we even got lots and lots of rain at mom’s but no wind thankfully and no damage at her house, although I did have to get water out of the basement before I left.  I woke up Sunday, packed up the car with enough stuff to stay an indefinite amount, so like summer clothes, fall clothes, a sweater and sweatshirts, all my shoes, bathroom stuff, bills and stuff cause who knows how long this job will last.  Mom is nervous about me leaving because of the storm but I assure her that I have SIRI, there will be detours and I can get around the road closures. I need the job I tell her, I need the income.  I’ll be fine.

The very first road by my mom’s was closed and I had to find a way around that.  Once on the highway it was smooth, but windy conditions.  95 was open, clear, the sun was shining.  SIRI warned me of a couple of closures and took me right around and back on 95.  Easy-peazy. Although some of the work arounds were scary.

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Then SIRI tells me to get off at a certain exit but I decide I’m going to follow the traffic because there was no warning of a road closure and well maybe she’s wrong.  This was the beginning of the nightmare.

I sat on I95 with hundreds of other people wondering what in the world was going on.  SIRI and all satellite service went down. I couldn’t even check Facebook while sitting there, I couldn’t get on the internet and google anything, I couldn’t text and I couldn’t call anyone.  I sat.  When finally we moved we all came to find out that I95 was closed and all of us had to exit.  Single lane and we all had to go left and get back on I95 going north.  I could see that I95 south was under water:

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That’s I95 from the overpass

That’s all that we knew – SIRI is still not working.  There was a gas station (I still had a half  tank) but the electricity was off so no gas.  However I really had to go to the bathroom and they said no bathrooms.  It was bad.  This was a little strip plaza mall right beside the gas station, under water:

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Okay, now I’m going north on I95, no idea what to do or where to go so I just decide to call it a night because now it’s around 6:00 and it’s getting dark so I see an exit with Holiday Inn and a couple other large chain hotels.  I stop at a Comfort Suites and at least got to use the bathroom in the pitch black (used my phone for light) – when I inquired about a room they explained that they didn’t have any available because they’re not sure who was checked out and couldn’t clean the rooms.  I ran into a woman in the lobby who was also trying to get to Jacksonville (that was my original goal for the day) and she said she was going to head north until she saw electricity and get a room.  I decided a good idea.

So now I’m heading north.  I haven’t eaten since a pack of crackers I had at breakfast.  Luckily I wasn’t hungry – probably from the stress and good thing because with all the power out there were no choices of places to eat anyway.  Okay Okay so now I’m heading north and somewhere in there Stephanie calls me as she was trying to help me get a room with her points so she starts looking on line for hotels.  I told her I saw lights off an exit ahead so I was exiting. I exit and the lights that I saw turned out to be headlights as there was NOTHING off the exit, just another highway.  So I start following this highway and follow signs for Elizabethtown. I just thought maybe there would be something there.  Stephanie is panicking along with me telling me there are no Marriotts in Elizabethtown and I have to turn back and go to Lumberton.  I told her NO! Lumberton has no power and I’m not going back there. She really argued with me so I told her to call Lumberton and if they answered and had electricity I would go back – Still I have no SIRI though and wouldn’t know how to get back there.  She called and there was no answer and then believed me that it was not an option.

Then in the middle of nowhere there is a Marathon Gas Station – open with lights – I was even able to use my credit card and got a full tank AND a paper map.  I was enthused and kept going towards Elizabethtown certain to find something. There was ONE Knights Inn listed and when I called for a room the main reservation line said they were completely sold out.  Undeterred and without any other choices I kept going.

Elizabethtown was pitch black – no lights whatsoever.  I happened to find the Knights Inn and stopped anyway. The lobby was open with candlelight. It was sketchy but I was tired. It was now 8:30 and I had been on the road since 10 am.  Normally a 3 hour trip – 4 at the most – took me 10 hours so far.  Anyway, they said they had plenty of rooms but were taking cash only.  The room was $70.  I had $72 cash.  So there was that. Good news bad news as I had other plans for that $70 but…So I got a room, no card key.  The end of that part is I slept in my clothes, shoes and all, on top of the bed.  The pillow was comfortable and I actually slept through the night. They had given me two tea light candles.  I think it was a blessing I couldn’t see the rest of the room.  I slept through and got up early and got a freezing cold shower and hit the road again.  Another sunny day.  Met another Florida bound comrade in the parking lot who asked me what I thought I’d do – which way I’d go – and I said I was just going to follow SIRI and he said he was going to try 41 (I found out later 41 was under water so he would not have made it.)

SIRI took me on a round about in the middle of no where:

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20 miles into the detour she took me right to a road under water, then she quit working, totally. I figured no problem and that I would just go back the 20 miles the way I came but soon came to find out that I was lost. I had no idea where I was, no SIRI and there were down power lines in front of me.  I stopped and waited until I saw someone go over them then I did it too.

I was seconds away from turning North and going to back to Mom’s when Stephanie calls (and gets through!) I was telling her that I couldn’t find my way out – 95 was still closed and I didn’t know what to do.  Then I came upon another gas station – no gas available – no power – but somehow they had coffee and I had $2 left.  I sat in the parking lot and talked to Stephanie telling her the map was useless because it doesn’t show the back roads and it certainly doesn’t show the closed roads.  She was telling me to stop and ask at an IHOP.  I told her the only thing I was seeing were cotton fields:

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No IHOP for miles

But then she found a website called something like NC closed roads – In this miracle moment (looking back) I got a signal for about 5 minutes, found the website and saw that 410S and 74 West were marked green (meaning open) – the gas station happened to be on 410.  Then I lost the signal, but I had written it down and off I went. This route took me pretty far south and then back up north and west and supposedly was going to hook up with 95 after all the road closures in Fayetteville.  SIRI would interrupt every so often and tell me to turn here and there and I would just say “fuck you SIRI, I’m going this way” – 410 was open all the way, phew – and I got on 74 and started heading west and then I came to a spot where the road was under water, so I pulled over.  Everyone else was going through it.  You know exactly what they tell you NOT to do. I watched several cars go through.  I waited for about 20-30 cars, watched another low car and figured if they all get through I’ll go too.  And I did, go through, and I made it.

I passed a gas station that must have had power because the lines were incredibly long.

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gas lines – so happy to have gotten gas the night before

And then I got to 95 South – it was open – North was closed but I was going South. So South I went,  It took me two hours to get to that point.  I was probably 30 minutes away in Elizabethtown. Although there were hundreds of trees down along the road I95 through South Carolina they had cleared them from the roads.  There was water on either side in many places but again nothing “on” the road.  10 hours later I landed in Florida at Stephanie’s.

I heard that at some point during the day the levee in Lumberton where Stephanie was begging me to go to last night – broke and 1000+ people were being rescued on top of their houses etc. I also saw that both roads I took this morning are now closed, under water in spots, and I would not have gotten out.

I cried when I got on 95 and cried when I parked the car here. It was a long harrowing day.

I thought about my luck in running into that lady in the lobby (who I never saw again – an angel maybe?)  in getting off that exit last night when I had no idea where I was going – finding an open gas station – with power – In finding a room to sleep in even though I was told they were sold out.  In having $70 cash to pay for the room. In being able to sleep. Having Stephanie find that website and having 5 minutes of signal to see a green open route and then staying wide awake without incident getting here.  So happy to be in the warmth of Florida.  God was really liking me on this trip. There are so many horrible ways this story could have ended or still been going on but I’m here. Thank God, like for real I’m thanking God.

HOWEVER, I called the agency to tell them I was going to be here today.  They called back and said the first job fell through but they had a second job for lesser pay and an hour commute.  Downtrodden to say the least, knowing I still have a car payment plus other bills I knew I had to take it anyway. So depressed that I’m a bad person (at least in the area of career) I said okay and was told I had to start the next morning at 8 am and probably work the weekend but would get a day or so off next week and I’d have to cancel my doctor’s appointments. I mean the doctors appointments were the main reason for coming here – right?  Mom (in her new role of calming me down) convinced me to just wait and see what happens, which I did, having no choice anyway, and by 6 pm the agency called back and said that one fell through too.  Sooo, the whole push to get here, through the hurricane mess to start the job, to pay the bills is now a non-issue.  I have no job. I have enough clothes and supplies to last through December.  WTF

But here I am. I do not know if I’m staying just a week for the appointments and storage wars or will I stay longer and try again to be employed in Florida?  And what about leaving mom when didn’t I just say I didn’t think I could leave her?  And then I left her?  I have bills, I need to pay them.  I have to go where the job is.  I came here to where the job is, and then it isn’t.  That God has an odd sense of humor, but apparently was looking out for my safety, in a really big way.

I’m in my beautiful Guest bedroom in Stephanie’s house. She worked really hard to make it so nice for me.  I left most of my things in the car.  I basically live out of my car, but I’m thankful for good friends and family who let me “sponge” off of them.  I have a lot of paying back to do to friends and to God.

xxoxoxo

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Coming back to life

Remember my little jade tree?  The one that used to be the BIG jade tree that fell over?  Look – it’s getting stronger.  It likes it here on my mother’s porch.

Exactly 50 miles for my errands. That included the library, farmers market, Food Lion, the seamstress, Wegmans (for things that Food Lion didn’t have) and finally the Dollar Store because they are the only ones that carry the Kleenex box size my mother uses. It’s a lot of running around.  I don’t do that all the time.  Maybe once a week.

Speaking of cars (we were sort of) my car is doing great (knock on wood all together now).  I drove it here to Virginia of course (from Florida) then up to Pittsburgh over the weekend, in torrential rain on the way there, like really really harrowing scary rain and it did great.  However, those roads getting from the Southside up to Mt. Washington, well they aren’t even roads.  At one point the GPS was telling me to take a right and I didn’t see a road.  I drove by again and I’m like there is NO way that is a road and if it is who would take their car down it?  It was crazy.  So I would not want to keep my car in Pittsburgh.  I also don’t know about having this “sports” car in this area.  It seems like I need an SUV or something with four wheel drive.  I have a lot to think about where that car is concerned but for now it is not failing me and I’m loving it.  I wonder how long you can keep a car without making payments.

It is peaceful here in the woods but you people with big houses…:-)… when I’m not running errands or running somewhere to get an internet connection I’m cleaning screens, washing windows, doing yard work, cleaning floors. So not a lot of peace going on. There is a lot of upkeep.  Not that my mom doesn’t keep up with it but I’m here so shouldn’t I be doing it?  Isn’t that why I’m here?  Well, as my sister was quick to remind me when I mentioned that I think I need to stay here with my mom, she reminded me that I have no choice.  I have no where else to go.  Thanks for that sis.  But it’s true.  Although now I’m feeling that I “need” to stay, but again, my sister is right, I don’t have a choice, not like I’m here out of the kindness of my heart or like I made some sacrifice to take care of my mom.  Not that I’m NOT taking care of my mom…but you know, it’s the circumstances that led me here.  Someone mentioned to me recently that this is a nice reprieve for me.  Nothing was nicer than the reprieve I had living at the beach in 400 sq. ft. Nothing.

But here I am.

I have a friend – go me.  Lori, who I went to Edinboro with all those years ago, lives here in the area.  She’s relatively new to the area too so hasn’t made a lot of friends yet.  However, she said she was invited to Bunko and they said she could bring a friend!  How fun is that?  She’s visited here today and we drove around Goochland County (where I live) and then next time I’ll head over her way.  I’m very excited to have a friend.  Also, she rides (or used to ride) horses.  I mean could it be kismet? I gotta get my helmet and chaps out of storage. I gotta get a lot of things out of storage.  I have to get to my storage. That storage issue is a big headache.  But I’m not going to talk about that today.

I’ve been cooking very healthy food for me and mom so that’s nice for both of us.  She sure is enjoying that.  I “think” she likes me being here but is very concerned for my state of mind (she knows I’m sad and nervous about what’s next.) She is being very very kind and I couldn’t be in a better place under the circumstances. However, I don’t think she thinks for one minute that I’m staying here.  I’m not sure if she wants me to move back to Florida because she knows that’s what I want or if she wants her privacy back.  This is a very precarious predicament to be in because she would never want me to stay out of obligation, never! (see previous statement from my sister.)  So we will have to see how this plays out.  Wait and see.  It certainly is a new adventure.  It’s just instead of the move to Florida where I was 1000% all in and ready for that challenge, and so so so excited to move there, finally, I came here defeated, dejected, without a choice. And now I have to make the most of it.  A different adventure.  A different blog.  Instead of starting on this big high in Florida and falling down slowly I am looking forward to how I will rise above, starting out beaten down and rising above.  Maybe this is the wave Maryann was talking about.

Deconstruct to Reconstruct (Psych 101).

Ttfn..

xoxoxo

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Today’s view

This is only one of such views on my way to the library where I access the internet.

In other news, I attempted to hook a TV up today, got a new antennae and nada. Even moved the TV to a higher floor, still NADA.  Guess it isn’t meant to be. I trust the VP debates will go on without me.  I will still be able to listen.  I am mostly interested in the hurricane.  My plan is to run (like in a brief visit) to Florida next week but not if mom is going to be slammed with a hurricane. So many variables in life, ya know?

I am running errands now – after my library visit.  I’m going to check the mileage just so you can get an accurate picture of this “country” living life that I am now in. There is no such thing as a quick trip to the store.

xoxxo

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A work in progress

It’s hard to get back into the swing of things (and by things I mean blogging) after getting out of the routine. Without access to the internet, cell signals, TV, generally life in the 21st century (what century is this called anyway?) anyway, living in the woods just got me out of the habit.  There are other factors as well.  I decided to set up a “landing” page so to speak because when I start my next adventure I want to be ready to blog about that one too.  I’ll have to give it another name won’t I?  I’m still not sure what to call it as I’m not sure what the next adventure will entail. So this is “in the meantime” ramblings.  As you can see Finally Florida is now a link under the menu.  I’ve set myself up for failure…no wait that’s not what I meant to say… I’ve set myself up for the possibility of many new adventures and blogs to go with it, so I won’t have to keep everyone bouncing around they can all be located on one page.  That’s the hope anyway. Along with the hope that I get back into the habit of writing.  Some nights when I can’t sleep (which is like every night these days) I’ll start thinking of what I want to write and then when the time comes to write I go blank. Hormones? Weather changes?  I will, I’ll get settled, I’ll get back to it. I will. In the meantime here’s some pictures about my life this past month:

Views from mom’s neighborhood:

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Mom has sunset’s too – I have to drive to see them but they are still pretty.

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Post offices  – I kinda have a thing for these small post offices:

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Pictures from Field Day of the Past.  An event with lots of farming equipment, animals, an amusement park section, food stuff, tractors, and tons of antique machine/engine/car stuff, a rodeo and this thing called a tractor pull. Lots of people watch that tractor pull.  It’s very loud and a lot of dirty smoke comes from the tractors that are pulling this big trailer thing with a weight on it. (I don’t have a picture of it) Kinda interesting and much less violent than the rodeo.  The whole day was fun, even going by myself.

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I know these aren’t native to Virginia
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I guess I’ll have to replace my flamingos with something like these
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a form of transportation from the parking lot to the event
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I rode on this from the parking lot
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it was like a big sandbox with old equipment just picking up dirt and dumping it – it was a little hypnotic – I could have sat there a while and watched
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Don’t know but it’s big

The local bugs – wood bugs are different than beach/Florida bugs – at least the ones I have seen so far..oh how I remember stink bugs and now they are back in my life:

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This brings back nightmares (still mostly on the outside of the screens)
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Colorful but unfortunately now dead. This guy kept coming back and building this web right out the back door where mom grabs the railing so he had to go…I’m sorry.
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Who knows

a quick trip to Virginia Beach – sand a little browner, water a lot colder:

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and then finally a visit with the boys (views from Zach’s new place):

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I have enjoyed my visit in Pittsburgh with the boys (and babies) and a saw a couple friends but tomorrow I head back to the Virginia woods.  I am hoping to return to Florida next week to wrap some things up but it’s going to depend on that hurricane. I’m not worried about it hitting Tampa, I’m worried about it hitting my moms. I can’t leave her in the middle of a hurricane so I am just going to have to wait and see what happens. THAT should be the name of the next blog.  Wait and see.. I kinda like it.

Sorry to make Janelly wait so long to get back up and running. Thanks for caring and for finding me again. I shall find my voice again soon.

xoxox

 

 

 

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