Friday, July 19, 2013

Ownership

Tonight's cocktail is a tomato margarita, courtesy of my friend Oma, who is my paragon in all things domestic. You won't believe how good this is, though you definitely have to use yellow sweet tomatoes to get the right flavor balance. It tastes like summer. Or at least what summer would taste like if it didn't currently taste like a 105 heat index and ass. Here's the full blog treatment of this yummy drink on the Better Homes and Gardens blog.

Photo courtesy of Oma Blaise Ford, who is kind of a big deal.
For the first time in four years, I now own a house, and I have to figure out what to do with it. My first and last house, bought with my ex husband, was nice, but we never got much beyond white walls and crappy furniture, almost as if I never accepted that I lived there. I didn't take much with me when I left, so I ended up buying some things quickly off Craigslist from (a) a guy who delivered in an unmarked truck and only took cash, (b) another guy who I had to meet in a self-storage unit at 9:00 p.m. in the dead of winter, not letting my fear of my head ending up in a specimen jar override my desire to get a really good deal on a leather couch and loveseat, and (c) an Indian family that was moving back home for better job opportunities. Now it's time for my home to look like a grownup lives here. Unfortunately, I suck at that.

For me, the process of retaining a broker, finding a house, securing financing, aggregating a down payment, negotiating the contract, clearing the inspection items, obtaining insurance, and understanding all the closing documents was second nature. I'm a real lawyer and everything, and I used to do commercial real estate work. Picking paint colors and window treatments, on the other hand, makes me want to curl up in fetal position because there are too many possibilities, and I just can't decide.

On another level, buying this house is a recognition that I am stuck where I am for the next decade or so (for those just joining us, here's the backstory). I can't leave my children behind, and I can't take them away from their father, but the love of my life is thousands of miles away and equally stuck. Though we communicate often and well, we have struggled with the logistics of seeing each other, given that our respective children have non-overlapping custody schedules. Our ex-spouses are dating or married to people who in turn have ex-spouses who are not necessarily the world's most reasonable people, so there's no way to change the schedule. Throw in work demands, limited leave, very different school and camp timelines, and ... well, I won't lie. It's kind of a shit sandwich, and every time I think we've reached a new low in terms of our ability to spend time together, I'm proven wrong. So I've been feeling sorry for myself.

Sad, sad kitten.
McDreamy is much better at rolling with all of this, which he says is because the military can pull the rug out from under you any time, so you learn to not have expectations. He loves me, he says, and we will find a way to make this work, and that's all that's important. I know he's right. But I had expectations. I feel like an entire life I'd dreamed of was taken from me, and I waver between sadness and anger. I always wanted to have a happy family life with the dad and the kids and the house and the garden and the pets, and now I never will. It hurts.

But still. This is my life now. I've found someone I love, who loves me back, who probably isn't going to be sent off to be shot at anytime soon. I am financially secure, and my children and I are healthy, and my cat likes me best of all. It's a good life. It's just not what I expected. To be honest, I suspect that this inner conflict has to be managed rather than cured. However much I try to modify them, trying to fit my expectations into the current reality is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The best I can hope for is to work towards balance and to choose to focus on the many positive things. I need to pick a color scheme and buy a rug and weed the flower beds. I need to be fully present now, because this time isn't coming back, and it would be a shame if I missed it because I spent all my time raging or mourning about what I can't have.

This is my life. I need to take ownership. Now, can someone please tell me what color to paint the walls?

2 comments:

  1. I paid someone a lot of money for this advice -- paint all common areas (LR, DR, halls, kitchen, staircases) the same color of either coffee-with-cream color or light-hot-chocolate color, then paint the bedrooms different colors that you like. Use semigloss paint on walls, since you can wipe it down. Paint all woodwork slightly off-white. Get some form of roman blinds or semi-see through roller shades for windows -- they will never go out of style, kind of disappear when they are up and can go modern or traditional. I used brown bambooey ones in kitchen, study, den, then white in the bedrooms. DONE! That will be $10,000.

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  2. I have the same reaction to decorating! So glad things continue to go well with McDreamster.

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