Today is Barb’s birthday. Happy Birthday Barb!! Barb and I have been wishing each other Happy Birthday since 1976, actually 1977, since when we met in ’76 our birthdays were already over. That’s a long time. Barb, Sandy and I met at Edinboro. We’ve been through a lot together. Sandy’s a grandma now. How did that happen? Lots of my friends are grandma’s now (including both my sisters) but Sandy? We just don’t seem old enough to be grandmas; granted she’s a couple years older so maybe the timing is right on that. 🙂
Bobby and Cathy turned 60 this year. SIXTY!! Bobby has always been in the older crowd. Really older when you’re in highschool, but Cathy just turned 50 didn’t she? I remember being at her 50th and Max holding up the “just say no” sign (to get her to stop volunteering). I’ve known Cathy a long time too. Since our kids were in preschool together (and best buds). They’re 23 now. So how long Cath? 19, 20 years? She was my pool buddy at the Country Inn for years until she grew up and joined a country club. A very sad year for me. I’m like “wait, can’t I come with you? Can I join the country club too?”
My life has turned out nothing like I thought. Nothing. When I was still in my teens I remember being at Cricket’s house and I clearly remember thinking that I wanted to be like Cricket’s mom when I grew up. I wanted a life like hers. She was pleasant and funny, she had lots of kids, but seemed calm and amused by it all. (not sure Cricket would agree but this is “my” story) Mrs. Gordon was in the living room writing a letter at this very cute little secretary desk, for some reason I thought that was cool,and like grown up. She had a drawer of things she knitted for various kids (I think that was in later years) – I want a drawer for things I knit too. She didn’t work. She had 6 kids (ok, I get it), a couple of big houses, a very handsome husband, country clubs, I wanted to be just like her. So when I got married in my 20’s and got pregnant at 24, I thought I want 6 kids by the time I’m in my 30’s, early 30’s, and I was okay with waiting a few years before joining the Edgeworth Club. I believe that was the beginning of God’s amusement.
Divorced by 30 with 1 child. Then one more child, out of wedlock, in my 30’s. Although common now, who does that in their 30’s? That’s like a 16 year old mistake isn’t it? And yes, of course, Jimmy is anything but a mistake. BUT getting pregnant like that is not really what we “think” is going to happen when we plan our lives. Unplanned, out of wedlock, out of order, but the best mistake yet.
So now I’m a single mother in my 30’s. I had the best career of my life in my 30’s, traveling the country, Priority status, flying in and out of LaGuardia and taking limos to meetings in Stamford. It didn’t last long. It did last long enough for me to buy a fixer upper house in Fair Oaks. Fair Oaks? Fixer upper? Like I would have never thought I’d end up in Fair Oaks, let alone with a fixer upper. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But again, I CLEARLY remember Lorie Kumer in their fixer upper sitting on the floor hammering nails into something and I remember clearly declaring that I would never ever buy a fixer upper house, not to mention it is a far cry from Mrs. Gordon’s life (well she would have had others fixing it up). Clearly not what I planned, yet, I loved that house, I loved my neighbors (Freida and Mike) I loved my dogs and my yard. I had great times in that house. The Christmas teas were fun. We started Bunko there! The kids made those forts in the living room. I didn’t care about the furniture. It was kid-proof furniture. Jimmy and his friends slid down the steps (luckily no one broke their necks, at least at that time). Zachary and his girlfriend would come home at 1 in the morning and wake me up and sit in my bedroom and chat for hours (hmmm), but I loved it. Lots and lots of great times in that house. Luckily I bought the house while I still had that great job of my life. Because then I lost that great job of my life. I sure didn’t plan on that happening.
Now I’m in my 40’s, unemployed, with a house, and still have those two kids (really, they were still there?). So what do I do? Go back to college because everyone knows I’ll get a better job with a college degree. LOLOLOL. I say I will never go back to office work. LOLOLOL I’m either going to be a writer or a lawyer. My writing teacher died after the first semester. DIED!! I didn’t like the next teacher so I switched to Sociology figuring I’ll go on to Plan B and get that law degree. Then I somehow ended up taking all these Theology classes and had no idea what I was doing career wise. At the end of 3 ½ years, tired of homework, I just wanted out, so end up with a liberal studies degree. LOLOLOL! I must say those college years were probably the best years of my life. A little different than Jimmy’s college years (or Barb and Sandy’s ). But college as an adult is a totally different experience. My college life was the best. Out of order and not planned, but the best years of my life…so far.
And now I had that degree and options, I would NEVER work in an office again. I was sure of it.
Soooo, I worked in an office for the past 8 years (I’m not laughing), never making more than I made before my college degree (still not laughing, like mostly crying). Does anyone else see the pattern here? It seems as soon as I decide how I want my life to be or what I think is going to happen next (or not going to happen) Life then says Nah ha..and are there angelic organizers laughing out loud?
I mean seriously, did I not just sell my house in Fair Oaks – I downsized didn’t I? I happily moved to an apartment that took me minutes to clean. My poor Max (the dog) and I spent his last years together happily lying on the floor in front of the heater. Took a year to adjust to not having a dog and getting rid of dog hair. I got adult furniture, planned a life, planned my future around not having a dog or kids or a big house. I sold my house so I could move to Florida, get another 2 bedroom near the beach and do something fun or even if it wasn’t fun I’d be at the beach.
I am up early because I have to clean those freakin bathrooms. Everything is extra dirty because of the dog hair. I turn my back for 2 seconds the dog is on the couch. My couch, that I bought, because the kids were grown and I had no more dog hair concerns. The kids (and Phil) are eating lollipops, LOLLIPOPS, on the couch, the dog is slobbering on the couch, I have the biggest house I’ve ever had (not that it’s huge, but it’s just bigger) and in my late 50’s I’m cleaning bathrooms. BATHROOMS, someone else’s kids and someone else’s dog hairs. Something is wrong here. But yet it feels so right…and out of order and not the way I planned..but as life seems to be going for me, I am hopeful that these years will also be the best years of my life. Because really, unplanned and out of order seems to really be working out for me.
I have a bit of Mrs. Gordon’s life now. I guess I have 6 kids, sort of (big stretch). I have my own pool so I guess I don’t need the country club. My Phil is very handsome. I’m blogging in the other room (that’s like writing too, just like Mrs. Gordon). I’m not working. I’m amused and calm most of the time. Mrs. Gordon always had a dog. She apparently didn’t care about the dog hair. (although I’m sure hired people to clean) I guess I’m sort of like her. Out of order, and not the way I planned and yet here I am, just like her. (well, you know, sort of)
Barb and all my long term friends I’m sure are equally amused watching my life, hearing my plans, and then seeing how everything BUT what I’ve planned happens…or happens out of order. We’re all a lot calmer now. It is what it is? Right Di? I will say looking back I probably would do it all over. Maybe. Okay, seriously I would change a lot. But in each situation, good or bad, I’ve had good friends to get me through. And we’ve all been celebrating birthdays together a long long time.
Emily turned 30 this past week. THIRTY. Most of us know she’s a baby yet, but really 30 is something. A lot of things are going to happen in her life after thirty. Just remember to not make any plans. Enjoy the ride.
Barb, Sandy, me at Edinboro and one in our 20’s
Emily and me
Cathy and Sally Brooks
and Mrs. Gordon – Mrs. Gordon died just a couple of years ago. Hopefully she is looking at me now, calm and amused.