Author Archives: mysecondplana

About mysecondplana

A woman forced to make a second Plan A and now living it out happily in NYC.

Quarantine: Day 5 (6) ……

…… but who’s counting?

Actually, things have improved since Day 2 (3). I don’t really know why, but it could be the Italian margaritas.

It’s likely that, in spite of being a pariah, I really am in my Happy Place.
I love my apartment.
I love my plants. (And for those of you who’ve known me IRL for awhile …… can you freakin’ believe that I just wrote that?! I know! I don’t know what came over me, but in the Fall of 2019 (SO very long ago) I decided that I wanted to have some greenery in my apartment. Live greenery. And, I don’t mind saying so, I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping all of them alive! I KNOW!)

Anyway, in spite of being a prisoner here, with a dog, I’m doing well.
I’ll just add here that I’m doing well …… IN SPITE of Son #2 sending me videos like this (be sure to turn up your volume):

Yeah. He’s killing me.

So far all of the kids and grandkids are doing well and are Co-vid free.

By the way, I realize that I’ve neglected to post much about my other grandchildren, so I’ll correct that here.
But here’s the latest picture of Granddaughter #1:

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Yep. 5 months. Dang.
She’s the cutest, is she not?

So while I was going through my pictures today, I discovered that Grandson #2 had purloined my phone one day last week when I wasn’t in the room.
He tends to do that.
A lot.

Here’s the evidence:

Those are all separate pictures.
He’s consistent.

But, he did stretch himself on the last picture.
He evidently decided to go for a more “artsy” look:

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Yeah. How he managed to go from color to black & white is beyond me.
I don’t even know how to do that.
I’ll have to ask him to show me the next time I’m in Texas.

You know how everyone (by “everyone” I mean the media) keeps saying that “we’re all in this together”?
Well, I think we really are.
Today I received evidence of that.

I was very surprised (read “shocked”) to get a delivery today from a very special friend:

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Beth and I are friends because our husbands are dead.
Sorry to put it so bluntly but it’s the truth.
We always say that we wish we didn’t have a reason to know each other, but since we do …… we’re awfully glad that we do.

She welcomed me home (and told me to hang in there) with these lovely flowers and delicious chocolate covered strawberries.
She totally rocks.
Full disclosure: she only ordered one box of strawberries but for some reason they sent two.
Two dozen chocolate covered strawberries.
I’m a fan but still can’t manage to eat that many.
I sent one box downstairs to the guys/gals at the front desk who have to keep running my deliveries up to me.
You see, during this pandemic (should that be capitalized?) all deliveries in our building have been cancelled. You have to go downstairs to get everything. Delivery people aren’t allowed to come upstairs.
Unless you’re under quarantine.
Then the desk/door peeps have to bring everything up.
Like groceries.
Food orders.
Amazon.
And anything else I may or may not have ordered.

So yeah.
I gave them some strawberries.
Upon reflection it doesn’t seem like much.
But hey …… I’m very generous at Christmas.
So there.

Well, that just about catches you up with me.
I’ve organized some closets.
I’ve cleaned out quite a few cabinets.
Thrown out lots of expired stuff.
Like medicine.
And food.

I’ve watched some TV, but not a lot.
I’ve read.
I finished a good book that was mentioned in Real Simple last month.
It’s called The Last Flight by Julie Clark.
It’s no Pulitzer Prize winner but it’s a certainly a page turner.
(She wraps everything up too quickly in the end but I still liked it overall.)

I’ve played Animal Crossing.
I work WAY harder on that island than in real life.
Quarantine, you know.

I’ve played with Gracie.
Not enough for her liking but then it’ll never be enough for her liking.

I looked longingly out the window yesterday when the high was in the low 80’s.
I’m sure it’ll be in the high 90’s when I’m finally let out of here.
But it’s still my happy place.

So there you go.
Live quarantined in NYC.
I don’t think I’d trade it for anything.

Except maybe for time with my grandchildren.
But don’t tell my kids that.

Quarantine, Day 2 ……

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…… and this is going to be more difficult than I had anticipated.

I kind of half-joked with Daughter #2 before I left that I’d probably be fine for about 3 days and then start to go nuts.
I didn’t even last the first day.

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And by nuts I mean slightly depressed.

I was doing okay and then Son #2 sent me a video of his son, Grandson #3. He’s almost 4 months old.
If you’re not FB friends with me (or follow me on Instagram) then you don’t know that Saturday night my lovely daughter in law slipped in her kitchen while carrying him. They both fell and his head hit the tile floor.
I know. Trust me, I know.

They took him to the hospital and found out that he had a small skull fracture. So they were transported to the children’s hospital in Austin. They said that his vitals were good and he would be okay but they wanted to keep him overnight.
That was one rough overnight.
For everyone.

I think I did a good job of remaining calm for my son, who was not. Understandably.
He was not allowed to go into the ER to be with his son and wife.
That must’ve been beyond horrific.

But I was not calm later that night.
I couldn’t sleep.
All I could think about was his head hitting that floor.
And I was scheduled to leave for NY the next day.
It was a long, lonely night.

But, that beautiful baby boy was released the next day, with a scheduled visit to see his doctor in 4 weeks.
He has a huge bump on his head but otherwise seems his very happy self.
What a very huge relief.
For everyone.
Since he was okay I decided to go ahead and head to NY.

So back to the Quarantine.
When I saw the video of that cooing baby whom I love so much, I longed to be back in Texas.
Ugh.
Who would’ve thought I’d write those seven words?
Not me, I can assure you.

It’s not that I hate Texas, because I don’t.
I just love New York.
I like Texas.
See the difference?

So I’m only a little over halfway through Day 2 (though technically it could be considered Day 3, since I arrived on Sunday. But NY is taking this thing pretty seriously. I had to fill out a form on the plane that gave them all of my info. I briefly thought about not turning it in, but didn’t go with that thought, thankfully. Governor Cuomo (!) gave a press conference the very next day, stating that anyone entering the state and not turning the form in will face a summons and a fine. Yikes!)

This is lonely.
I mean, Gracie is cute and fun and all that, but that only goes so far.
I can’t leave the apartment at all.
I can get deliveries. The doormen bring them up, knock on the door and then run.
I haven’t seen them run. By the time I open the door they’re out of sight.
That’s why I think they run.

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I kind of feel like a pariah.
Yuck.
Pariah’s must feel very lonely.
Unless there’s a group of them, of course.
Then they must get sick of each other.

I digress.
So I’m only on Day 2(3) and I can’t imagine how I’m going to make it to 14(15).
It may involve a lot of alcohol.

Or yelling out the window.

If you live in NY and want to come yell back and forth with me, please let me know.
I’m on the 20th floor, but traffic is unusually light outside so we should be able to hear each other.

Unless you’re wearing a mask.
Uh oh.

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Who’s Your ……

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…… emergency contact?
Or, in other situations …… who is your driver?

There are few things these days that can send me back to the dark days after Jim’s death, but this is one.

I hate this question.
Because in most cases, wherever I am, I don’t have an emergency contact.
And that sucks.

Later this week I am going in for a …… brace yourselves for TMI …… colonoscopy.
(Don’t be jealous.)
And because we’re all in semi-quarantine and there’s no normal anymore, I didn’t have to have someone come to the appointment with me.
I needed a driver …… someone to bring me and then take me home.
So Daughter #2 was going to fill that role.
But today, when I went in to pre-register and take the Co-Vid test (oh my word, the fun) I was told that the driver needed to come in with me and wait for me.
Daughter #2 cannot do that. She has two small sons to tend with.

The only other people I know who live in Waco are my parents. Who really don’t need to be sitting in a hospital, even with a mask on.
I felt horrible to have to ask them.
But I did.
And of course they will be there for me.

But damnit, they shouldn’t have to.
Jim should be here to do this.
And it sucks that he isn’t.

These are the days when the loss of him feels immense.
Actually, more immense than immense.
These are the days when I feel that I’m more than single/widowed.
I feel alone.

I rarely feel that way.
So yay for that.
But when it hits …… it sucks.

I am grateful for the life I have.
It’s good.
I’m good.
Almost all of the time.

Just don’t ask …… who’s your driver?

If Jim Hadn’t Died ……

Jim smiling

…… is a thought I sometimes follow down a rabbit hole.

Life would be different. Extraordinarily different.
But not in the ways some people might think.

If Jim hadn’t died we would’ve left Texas within two years. Yep. After more than two decades we would’ve moved on.
His job would’ve required us to live in one of three places: L.A., Pittsburg or Atlanta.
We would’ve chosen Atlanta, hands down.
I’m glad I don’t live there …… now.

If Jim hadn’t died …… our two youngest sons wouldn’t have finished high school in Texas. Which might have been a good thing. But who knows?

If he hadn’t died …… I wouldn’t be living in NY. Not full time anyway. We had briefly discussed moving there for a year, just to experience living in the city. We both thought it would be cool. His word.
And that’s what propelled me onward to NY after 5 years. His word.

If I hadn’t moved to NY then Daughter #3 wouldn’t have met her husband there.
And my first granddaughter wouldn’t be here.

Son #2 wouldn’t have married his wife and grandson #3 wouldn’t be here.

And most likely, Daughter #2 may not have gone down the path that she did, seeking to help children who’ve experienced trauma, had she not dealt with her own.
Which means that my first two grandsons would not be part of our family.

All of that is too depressing to think about. For long.

If Jim hadn’t died I never would’ve met the amazing people who have become my “tribe” …… my fellow widowed peeps.
The people who literally saved my life and let me know that I could, indeed, survive this loss.

Here’s where I might lose some of you. I hope not, but these are difficult times and I want to be open and honest.

If Jim hadn’t died and my first two precious grandsons hadn’t joined our family …… I might never have ventured outside my “bubble” and would still be thinking that there’s no such thing as “white privilege”. I would still think that anyone who’s down (mentally or socially) just needs to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and live the American Dream.

But he did die.
And my bootstraps broke.

Had he not died I would be a less compassionate person.
I would still talk more than I listen.
I would seek to be understood more than seek to understand.
And I still would not understand that the American Dream is totally out of reach for some people.
Many people.
Most people.

I wouldn’t have seen that my grandsons will have to be raised differently than my white sons.
I wouldn’t have known that we’d have to talk to them about how they’ll have to act differently if they’re pulled over, or are going on a job interview, or jogging in a “white neighborhood”.

These two very young children have already taught me more in their young lives than I learned in my first 5 decades.

If Jim hadn’t died …… we’d be having interesting dinner conversations about today’s world.

One of his relatives asked me the other day, “What do you think Jim would think about everything that’s happening today?”
I’m sure most of his family wonders what he would think.
Especially of me and of my children and our political views.

He would be as horrified as everyone about the state of our country today.
But the 7 of us know, without a doubt, that Jim would never have voted for the current person in the White House.
He loved his daughters too much.
He respected women too much.
He valued integrity too much.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

If Jim hadn’t died …… I’d never have met (IRL or virtually) most of you.
I wouldn’t be writing this particular blog.

If he hadn’t died I wouldn’t have met the wonderful friends that I have in NY.
I wouldn’t be longing to get back there right now.

If Jim hadn’t died I wouldn’t have been challenged in some ways, grown in many ways, or leaned on God so hard.

Am I saying that I’m glad that Jim died?
Of course not.

But am I glad that so many good things came out of his death?
You bet.

I’m human.
I make mistakes every day.
I let people down.
I don’t always do the right thing.

But I’m growing.
And learning.
And stretching.
And am okay now with being uncomfortable.
Because I think that it’s in our uncomfortableness …… where we learn the most.
About ourselves.
And about others.

If Jim had not died …… my life would have been good. The way it was.

If Jim had not died …… I might not have known that I could be better.

If Jim hadn’t died ……

Thoughts on ……

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…… being quarantined.

These may be deep so prepare yourselves.
(Like with a high pair of boots.)

So, how’s everyone handling all of this free time? I know that it’s been isolating, frustrating, stressful and downright boring, but maybe we’re looking at it all wrong.

Instead of feeling trapped and “stuck” …… maybe we should consider this to be all of that magical, illusive amount of time we wanted to get ______ done (fill in the blank).

You know …… if I had all the time in the world I would read that stack of books on my nightstand.

Or …… I wish I had enough time to paint the house.

And …… if I had the time I’d cook more.
Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!
Sorry, maybe that one was hilarious to only me.

So, we’ve had about 6 weeks or more of this kind of time. What have you done with it?
Did you learn anything?
Have you checked multiple things off of your To-Do List?

If so …… YOU are a MUCH better person that I am!!!
How is it that I’ve had an almost infinite amount of time and yet haven’t accomplished much?

Here’s a list of things I intended to do (please note: some items were added before the pandemic):

1. Knit a blanket.

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2. Knit a mat out of plastic bags.

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3. Learn calligraphy/brush lettering.

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4. Finish some books.
(Yes, “finish” implies they’ve been started. Yes, all of them.)

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5. Tile a tiny bathroom floor.

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6. Teach my dog to stop following me EVERYWHERE I go.

7. Finish the illustrated Harry Potter books. (See #4)

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8. Start a doodling journal.

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9. Go to Spain, Portugal and Italy.
No, not all at once. Italy was going to be 2 weeks after Spain.
Sheesh.

10. Learn Portuguese. (See #8. And yesterday’s blog.)

11. Tan my legs.
(You may need sunglasses for this picture.)

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12. Blog more.

13. Teach J how to drive.
(That was just to see if you’re still playing attention.)

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14. Help potty train E.
(Don’t even start.)

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Yes, I realize that I ended on the number 14, which kind of freaks out those of you who are a bit OCD. Which reminds me ……

15. Throw people off balance more.
At least I’ve made some progress on THIS one.

Okay, now that you know how lazy I’ve been …… fess up.
🙂

And So ……

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…… we’re half way through May.
Just like that.

I certainly hope that teachers won’t require kids to write the usual essay, “What I Did This Summer”.
Those are going to be as boring as hell.
(Which begs the question, Is hell boring? Because, that would indeed be hell.)

What have you all been up to?  Any fun trips? Any family reunions?  Parties?  Parades? New restaurant experiences?

Me?
Oh, I’ve been experiencing all kinds of exciting things.

I’ll give you a list, in no particular order. (Remember, “exciting” is relative.)

    1.  Today I saw a hawk fall down from ….. the roof, the sky …… I have no idea but he definitely fell.  He plunked straight down into a planter right outside my window. Thankfully, Gracie didn’t notice because she would still be barking had she seen that. It’s been raining all night/morning so it was drenched. Maybe it was water logged?  Do birds get water logged and fall out of the sky?  If so, I think that’s a serious design flaw.It sat there for a minute, then slowly flew to a low branch of a nearby tree and then sat there for another minute before flying to a branch of another tree.  At this point I texted my daughter (remember, I’m living in an a studio apartment off of the house) to tell her to come and check out the hawk.  He/she was pretty cool looking, even wet.IMG_1504
    2. I succumbed to the latest craze and joined the ranks of Animal Crossing addicts this week.  It was my Mother’s Day present to myself.  The first couple of days I thought it was as boring as hell (?), but it starts to grow on you.  Yesterday I picked about 300 batches of weeds on my little island.  I’m a go getter!  To those of you who are in the know, I woke up to a real house today. Yay! Tents get old.
    3. I’ve ordered family size meals of fajitas (for pick up!) way too many times in the last month. But last night, for the first time, I ordered us margaritas! It’s a new world!
    4. I’ve watched too many episodes of Wild Kratts and PJ Masks than I can count. Mostly under duress.
    5. We got a blow up pool for the boys so it’s been nice to watch them play for 20 minutes and fight/fall/get in trouble for 40.
    6. I’m about to overrun the backyard with all kinds of candles and tiki torches because the mosquitos think I am a buffet.
    7. We got a grill for Daughter #2 because she had never grilled and it was high time. I told her to get hamburger patties on her grocery run and she did. We busted them out the day we got the grill.  They were already cooked patties. But hey, warming up previously cooked burgers is still grillin’. So she can check that off of her bucket list.(Seriously, if she really has that on her bucket list it’s a very sad list.)
    8. I put my house back on the market.
    9. I emptied my house of the last pieces of furniture in one evening by posting it on my Neighborhood app as “free”.  You can give almost anything away. And very quickly.
    10. I replaced a shattered french door pane in my house.  Well, “I” didn’t replace it but I paid for it so that’s just as good.   I’m off of a golf course so one would assume that a really bad golfer broke the window. But get this: it’s double-paned and it was the inside pane that shattered. Weird, right? No point of impact, no clues. Just a shattered pane of glass that was mostly still in the frame …… waiting to crumble into a zillion teeny pieces. I think I have a poltergeist. (Can you charge a poltergeist rent?)
      Between rounds of greeting people (at a distance and with a face mask, thank you very much) to give away furniture, I knocked all of the glass out of the frame and cleaned it up. And I wore gloves so no, I didn’t cut myself.
  1. I’ve done 3 nights of  3-4 hour on line training with D#2 so that I can be her support person with a new foster agency she’s signed up with. Also under duress. (Not the being her support person part, the 3-4 hours part.) IMG_1406
  2. I’ve played many, many games of mahjong, watched live theatre, participated in book club/movie group/NY meetup groups/walking tours/happy hours and a couple of courses via Zoom (but then, who hasn’t?).
  3. I’ve been learning Portuguese.
  4. This is a big birthday year for me.  (I won’t tell you which one but it has a six and an oh) so I planned a big year of travel.  BIG. Huge.  Hugely bigly.  So far four of those trips have been cancelled.  So I stopped learning Portuguese.
  5. I think the mail carrier thinks we’re crazy because I get a package from Amazon nearly every day.  Nearly.  Not always.  But that’s mostly because ALL OF MY  SUMMER CLOTHES ARE IN NY!!!  I’m supposed to be there!  Well, actually, I’m supposed to be in Portugal today (don’t go there).

Okay, I think that’s all of the excitement that you can stand for now.  I hope that I didn’t overwhelm you. If so, don’t worry.  It’ll pass.

I hope that you are all safe and healthy.  All of my family is, thank God.  The babies are good.  Growing fast …… away from me.  Sigh ……  But hopefully that will end soon.  Not the growing part, don’t be ridiculous.  The “away from me” part.  Sheesh.

I am missing NYC very, very much.  I know it’s good that I’m not there, physically.  But emotionally …… I’m sad.  I want to be there.  I want to support the city in the ways that I can by being there.  So I’m doing what I can from here to support theatres, museums, people and groups. I can’t wait to go back.  No, I don’t know when that will be.  I hope I it’s by the end of next month.
We. Shall. See.

Take care.  Wear masks.  Social distance.  Wash your hands. Stay home when you can.  Yada, yada, yada.

But seriously …… take care of yourselves.

xoxo

Does Anyone Else ……

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…… feel like they could start crying at the drop of a hat?
Or is that just me?

I feel weird.
In limbo.
In 2 places at once.

I’m physically here in Texas.
But part of my heart is in NY.

I know that I should feel good that I’m not there.
But I don’t quite.
Part of me feels like I should be there, doing what I can to support the city that I love so much.

But my heart is also here in Texas.
With most of my children and all of my grandchildren.
Especially the one I haven’t been able to meet yet.
Damn.

I know that I’m blessed.
I know that things could be bad.
We are all healthy.
We have food.
We have toilet paper. For now.

So why do I feel like crying?
Is it because Jim’s not here …… in this horrific, history-making time on this planet?
Is it because yet another dear friend lost her husband a few days ago?
Is it because everything and everyone is so uncertain?

Probably.

I’m not afraid.
I’m not worried.
I just don’t know what I am.

This is just …… the strangest.
Right?

One phrase keeps going through my mind.
“Jesus, take the wheel.”

Except it feels like there’s not even a wheel now.

Another phrase also keeps going through my mind.
And maybe …… it’s not just me.

Jesus, now would be a really great time for you to come back.

I’m just sayin’.

My Heart Hurts ……

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…… for a friend who is now a member of this horrible club called “widowed”.

The news of her husband’s sudden death shocked me and broke my heart. She is such a wonderful, kind and loving person. She’s kept up with me over the years and has always shown me love and support.
Her husband was a wonderful man who loved people and loved Jesus.
Death doesn’t discriminate.

There are just no words.

There’s only pain.

My heart hurts for the pain that she’s experiencing.
It hurts to know that she has to feel the things I’ve felt.
And still feel.

I hate this.
Grief sucks.
Death sucks.

I wish I could do something to take her pain away.
But I can’t.
No one can.
And that also sucks.

Love your people.
As hard as you can.
Because you never know.

Being Quarantined With Children ……

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…… should not be a thing.

It really shouldn’t.
And before you think I’m horrible for saying that, especially since I’m quarantined (read: stuck) with two of my delightful littles …… know that I love them with the fierceness of a thousand suns.
And can be driven up the wall just as fiercely.

I think that if our government would’ve been better prepared for a pandemic (hahahahahaha!) they would’ve thought through this scenario.
Or they should have.

If you’re going to have a pandemic then I think you should have professionals standing by to be stuck (read: quarantined) with young children.
And by professional I mean anyone who signs up.
After a background check, of course. I’m not an idiot.

Now, I’m not talking about babies. I would love to be quarantined with a baby. Especially one of my two new ones (one I’ve yet to see in person …… sigh).
No, I’m talking about any child between the age of 18 months (when the Terrible Twos/Terrific Twos (whatever) usually start and oh, …… 13. This could be stretched to the age of 18 if enough parents sign a petition.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for these two precious (read: precocious) little boys. They make me laugh and they touch my heart on a daily basis.
They also make me very grateful.
Mostly grateful that I don’t have to raise them.
I did my time.
I’m good.

They are wonderful little creatures who can be loving on one another one minute and then trying to see who can throw a toy at the other one the hardest a split second later.
They can be happily engaged in a project, making you stare in wonder at their creativity and intelligence.
Then they can then turn on a dime, screaming that the crayon broke, the Lego wheel fell off or the paper tore, making you stare at them in wonder at their ability to reach decibels you thought only possible on an Air Force jet.

Their ability to switch between calm and rage (and back) amazes me.
One would think you might need to warm up before going from zero to sixty.
Not these guys.
They are professionals.

I realize that they won’t be little for long.
I know that each phase they go through won’t last.
(Even though they feel like forever when you’re in them.)
I know that this time is precious and that I’m blessed to be able to be with them.

And yes, it’s better to be stuck down here than in Covid-19 riddled NYC.
I may think differently tomorrow.
😉