a piece of my heart.



This will be the last Saturday I’ve owned this home.  A long story, stretching over 6 years of saving it, one day at a time.  Our home will sell finally on Wednesday, and someone else’s name will be on the Title.

And I don’t know where we are going.  Or when.  But I know this.  We will be fine.  I have a great, dream job, with good income.  I have saved this house, long after most people left in the housing crisis of 2007.  My sons are both in High School, and know how to run every part of a home.  They cook, clean, do laundry (to the end…I brag), barbecue and fix stuff.  (Getting them into Boy Scouts when their dad left was ingenious.)  We lovingly call this the Duct Tape Home, since I never wanted to put too much money into fixtures, once we knew we would be moving…And who knew we would be here until 2014.

I woke groggily today.  Slowly.  I felt a heaviness as I looked around my room, knowing that this time is really it.  It took a lot of time, maybe 2 hours to acclimate myself to the fact that there are no more sweet deals.  And so, I simply did what we do.  Laced up to hit my streets.  I took off for a 5K run, even though it was already warm at 66 degrees.  Save for the man I passed on the overpass who apologized for being too slow, I have spoken out-loud to no one all day.  My sister called for a quick 5 minute chat.  I came home.  I sat in the spa.  I was numb.  A girl I sponsor called.  I talked to the AT&T and Apple people to help me fix my accounts and phones.  I closed my eyes for a brief nap.  But that’s it.

And it’s not the house.  The memories you might imagine.  It’s touching the under side of the wooden blind in my front room and remembering an argument the long gone ex and I had over a camping trip with his then paramour.  (Yes, you read that right).  It was looking at the angel vase that the boys gave me one Mother’s Day. The Santa Claus Ping Pong table surprising the boys in the garage at Christmas. Staring at a random book in my bookcases.  A Gift From The Sea.  The Scrabble Dictionary. And wondering how they are together, since one is blue and one is red, and remembering that my books are arranged  to the color of their spines. I walked to the back with Chet, and looked at the pile of rocks that we put in as a decorative touch.  My cactus with one bloom.  The now gone potting bench, where after studying for my MFT license, we would pot strawberries and channel Martha Stewart.

I would be sitting somewhere today, and from a low place in my soul, a cry would bubble up, exploding in a smallish wail.  Chet would immediately be in my lap as soon as it would start.  On at least three different occasions, he simply could not stand it, and let me know he was there, making his presence known with his cold nose.  And he would stare at me.

For weeks, I have been looking at rental houses.  They look great on paper.  Then we drive there, and the farmhouse that was adorable sits across from a Dueling Banjos house, complete with thatched roof.  The perfect price with pool is one street over from the most dangerous part of town.  And the beautiful home I dream about is a 25 minute drive to school for my boys.  One way.  One owner wants $1000 pet deposit for my dog, one house is sans windows.  I’m about to move from being a homeowner to a renter, and I haven’t been that for over 20 years.  It’s slightly unnerving.

So.  I sat in solitude today.  Quiet.  Feeling and remembering the pulse of this house. The parties.  The times I was alone and angry. Little children peeking around the corner when they should be napping, and family dogs:  one black, yellow and chocolate lab.  And Princess.  Forever guarding this place.

I suppose marathoning has prepared me for this day.  The fun runs, the aching middle miles, then the final push toward home.  In some ways this week is like taper week.  I’m not really hungry.  I’m empty of thought and drive.  I don’t want to talk. I want to sleep.  And it’s not depression.  It’s life, and adjustment.  I went out with friends last night as if to avoid looking at more rentals, and feeling the future pinch of my paycheck.

Just as I am finishing this blog post, my two teenagers come in, looking for me, and for a sweatshirt and socks, because they are spending their weekend at Relay for Life with the Scouts.  They say it’s boring.  I say take this deck of cards.  And the Poker Chips.  And they breathe life into my evening, because they needed something, and I was here.  When they could have gone to their Dad’s house, equal miles away, they came here.  Because I’m here.  They give me a kiss, take more stuff, grab games, and tell me they love me.  And I got to be right here to hear it.

Most people know that I’m anything but an introvert.  In fact being with people is my most favorite thing.  But this day spent in quiet was most necessary and beneficial. And slowly as I head into the night, I have new fire, hope and resolve. That this will not break me.  That I can spend the next few weeks or months saying goodbye, in my time, to a place that is not just a clump of wood held together with nails, but a place that grew people.   Of course I look forward to new vistas and home shopping.  But, for now, I begin preparing for the next step.




so much to say. so little desire to say it.

first: the good news

  • will the la marathon just 17 days away, i’ve been running 8 miles so regularly, i can almost run our route in my sleep.  i run, eat, sleep, eat, eat and sleep and run.  that’s about it.
  • stats read: Feb-126.74 Jan-144.46 2011: so far: 271.20
  • i’m in love.  in love with harley guy.  one of the most surprising things to me here, is that i had my life all planned out.  i was going to retire, then move back to woodland hills and take care of my mom and dad when they were 90.  i was not going to fall in love.  he appeared so suddenly in my life and has swept me clearly off my feet.  it’s good.  it’s sustaining me.

now.  the bad news.

  • i found out last week that i will not be hired back.  i was a probationary teacher.  i stood up against a bully.  i took my administrator to the union, because the dye was already cast…but it didn’t help.   i’m not a great team player.  i admit this.  but i hate lying.  HATE it…and my profession has put the good of the students on the back burner in the hopes of using edu-mumbly-jumbly speak to fix the problems.  what about just teaching?
  • full reconveyence of my house.  the next business day after i lost my job, i got this letter.  i think it means i no longer own my house.  whatever the case, it’s not good, and i know it.  i’ve lived in this house for 3 years fighting the lender.  it looks like it soon is coming to a close.
  • the ex husband is full of threats and verbal assaulting and trying to make me out to be a bad mother.  he is especially on fire because of harley guy in my life.  he has been throwing fast pitches at me for years, and i would hit one every now and then…and now i’m swinging at every dig.  every inappropriate comment.  but i’m tired.  he’s a bully.  and i’m tired of it.
  • i woke up one morning with dread in my heart.  i’m almost 32 years sober, and the thought of drinking clearly crossed my mind.  not because i want to drink.  i just don’t want to deal with all these things at once. i won’t drink because i’m a recovered alcoholic.  god has removed my drink problem.  for a long time.  but clearly.  i’m exhausted.

so. so that brings me to the same conclusion.  i must simply keep running.  period.  both metaphorically and physically running both grounds me and helps me soar.  it is in the quiet, dark streets that i lay all this out on the road.   that i take all the bad news and channel it into the pavement.  and i know.  i know that running has saved me, and i will survive this.

“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.”   – Maurice Greene (attributed to Roger Bannister shortly after running the first sub-4 mile)


This Old House

This old house.

Purchased in 1990.

I moved in in 1994.

He moved out in 2007.

Remodeled, recarpeted, pool, spa

Luscious morning glory vines.

And over 3 years, slowly I stopped doing anything to the house

Because my inability to pay for it became a source of trouble.

And then there were deals, lots of deals

My lenders are bottom feeders, I always thought.

AND then,

suddenly it dawned on me this morning,

 that they have houses and families too

In this economy, everyone is trying to stay afloat.

I don’t sleep as well as I did

when I had a mortgage

 there is a price to be paid.

I’m not getting off scot free.

So, last Wednesday, I am in court for one. more. last. ditch effort

To save this old house.

And the case is postponed.


Like it has been for more than 2 years.

And the government has another new plan.

And I wait.

I have done nothing to this old house in the last 6 months,

because I’ve been too sad.

Facing the likely fact that we will be going somewhere else. 

Very shortly.

But, we’ve been hearing this for a long, long time.

So I write a statement purpose for this house today. 

If I can’t live here,

someone else will.

And, I weeded, and I dusted, and I decided.

That I would love this house, and get it ready for the next family.

Not putting in money I don’t have.

Putting in time, energy…to change the lightbulb,

 fix the flower garden, clean the lime stained porch.

Because the next family who lives here…

I want them feel my love.

And who knows?

It could be us.


(A small break from running this week.  I ran twice, and my shoes are completely ruined on the heels.  My coach got word that I have a vicious heel strike (funny how this internet life is really life, after all), and I am off to look at shoe options on Wednesday.)