Hitting Life’s Reset Button

I think it was a Staple’s commercial where there was a big, red button you could press to reset something, and I always thought “Wow, how handy that would be.” How many times we all find ourselves going down one path, nothing seemingly wrong, and then BAM, you are turned, twisted, and left on something you don’t even recognize. That’s how I equate the last several weeks of my life, and it’s taking me a bit to travel back to my original road. Patience, not my strong point, hope it’s yours.

I am coming to the 7 week countdown soon here and I am SOOOOOO not prepared yet.  If anything of my impromptu trip to Texas taught me is that I have so much to get ready for and so much that I cannot possibly plan, but just let happen.  A quick update on Bob- he is doing well and he going into a Rehab center for a short period of time to just help move recovery a long a bit quicker.  Mom is well and enjoying the space and quiet between me leaving and him coming home- it will be a lot for her to deal with so I told her to rest up and to enjoy the peace for a little while before the harder stuff comes down the pipeline. They will have a nurse come by the home as well, if needed, and I made sure to set them up with as much as possible before I left.  We all watch our parents get older, as we get older ourselves, and it’s an interesting chapter to say the least. It’s hard, it’s just hard. Let’s hold onto them as long as we can.

So after two days of driving there, and two days of driving back, I did come across some firsts. I now know that I CAN conquer bridges from a traveler’s nightmare….I 10 has TWO GIGANTIC bridges that when you come around a corner and see them, you have no choice but to go up.  I literally prayed and sang all the way up one, trying to distract my brain from the “flight or fight” method because this sucker was STEEP!  You know the kind that you are almost positive that you are never going to stop going up, and that you wonder what fresh hell is waiting there once you get to the top?  OH and then one had traffic so thick that we all were braking on the way up- nothing like feeling like I could fall backwards at ANY point.  Yes, I will be avoiding these on my road trip, thanks waiter, check please!

I got to visit my first “Buccees” which is a gas station on crack of any of you wondering. It’s like if Target and Wawa had a baby, and then Kwik Trip, 7/11 and so on came to party as well, making this giant Beaver baby that is Buccees. To tell you how large this place was, my gas pump was #222. Seriously. They have them lining one whole side of the building, in layers!!  So the one in TX was smaller I guess, and it was manageable. I went in, checked it out, grabbed a chicken sandwich and a soda, and headed out. The one on the Alabama, FL Panhandle State line was something out of nightmares.  It was ike a Black Friday sale met the busiest Disney day you can think of- I didn’t know if I could or should enjoy looking around with so many people shoved into one building.  Half with masks, half without (even though CLEARLY marked that you must wear one inside).  Grabbed a sandwich, a drink, some hot sauce for Kyra, and bolted.  Not today Satan, not today.

If anything, it was a good dry run on driving long periods of time again. Honestly, this is what I will be trying to avoid on the trip. I want to only drive a couple hours in between destinations so that I may enjoy the excitement of that day and not get bogged down with all the driving.  It’s odd how driving makes us so tired when we are literally just sitting with our foot on the gas, but I guess the inactivity is what does it.  Day two this time I wound up driving for 15 hours due to Easter weekend traffic being horrific on the way into Florida on 75. Pretty sure I was delirious by the time I walked into the house- but oh so grateful to make it home safe and be with my family for Easter.

In an odd way, these reset moments help me process and cooperate with life’s messes a bit better each and every time they come along. It’s in the learning of how to cope with my emotions, how to spring into action when someone needs me, and more importantly, sidelining my life for a small sliver of time so that my heart and head are available to help someone else.  It brought me much joy to hug my Mom, be there for her before and after, but more importantly, to SHOW her “You matter, I am here. You are not alone.”  May we ALL have persons who will drop everything and show up for us, and may we all be that to someone in our lives.  You may never know the impact your life may have on someone, but let’s try to make it a positive one. Perfection? Heck no. Kindness, compassion, empathy, being present? Hell yes. So as I hit the reset button, again, I wish you all a go on yours, may it be a fruitful and positive one!

Why Fear and Uncertainty Cannot Win

As I sit here this week in the great State of Texas, I have had a lot of time to think. And boy, can I over think. In between hospital runs, taking care of Mom, trying to stay healthy myself, I do find my mind wandering to my next chapters in life and I get so incredibly scared. I turn on the news, which I can only handle in small doses anymore, and I get mad and frustrated. I am sure I am not the only one, and I find myself second guessing my road trip and what lies ahead for me BECAUSE of that fear. What if something happens? Am I prepared to handle all of this? Am I allowed to move forward past this?

Right now, I don’t know what will happen past Monday, and I hope and pray for the best.  So my brain then goes to “What can I do now while I wait?”  I cleaned up Mom’s place, put things away outside, done pretty much what I can physically here, and so then I try to focus on my life and the adventure that is ahead.  And yes, then I feel bad. How can I plan for something fun for myself when my Mom and Bob are going through this? I know I have done everything I can, and I know my life has to keep moving forward, but it’s almost like this permission you have to give yourself to let go and move on. There is guilt in life’s pleasures when those around you are suffering, so do you suffer as well to envelop that empathy or do you celebrate that this chapter of darkness is not yours yet. You’d want someone to help you and support you through the hard times, but not to stop their life at the same time. It’s a really weird line to walk, a balancing act we find ourselves in when we least expect it. I lean into what I know is right and feels right, and then hope I GOT it right and that I DID it right.

I know Covid is out there, and I have been blessed thus far to have not gotten it. I can’t get the shot until I get home to Florida (so far), which I am happy to say my age group is up, so I hope to at least get that checked off upon returning home. But it worries me with it out there, on top of the mass shootings lately, I get this tinge in my tummy that what if I am putting myself somewhere that that could happen. But then reality wakes me up and says “It’s not changing any time soon, none of it. You have to go and keep living your life, fear cannot win.”  I hate that voice, I wish she would just go get a drink and leave me alone to my overthinking sometimes. LOL I do what I can to stay safe in any circumstance, and again, hope I did enough. It is so random and you hope it will never be you next, or someone you love, but we all know that it could be, and that fear just sits under the skin. I guess anything could happen to me on the road, it could happen to me today, I just hope and pray every day that today isn’t the day. I think we all do.

I am still planning, still going, pending what happens here next.  I have a couple of plans in place to help Mom and then it will be up to her and Bob what they do next. My routine is so messed up that I didn’t even realize how much I loved it until I didn’t have it anymore.  I am giving my all to this, but still trying to hold onto the parts of me that were excited to go on my big adventure in the first place.  I am basically planned through Montana at this point, with the reality and expectation that many plans will be made on the road. It is too much to book a year’s worth of hotel stays, and honestly, it’s more fun to do it in small bites. Hopefully once this chapter is done I can concentrate on the next.

Mom got her second dose yesterday for the vaccine, so I am happy she is now fully vaccinated. I have been masking up around everyone here as I am probably the lone duck standing.  But hey, it’s fun to feel so young here. LOL Once this is over, I will definitely share my experience of living in a Senior Community, it’s interesting! So I am off to take her to the Hospital again, I hope everyone has a good day and still hoping that surgery happens Monday.

Pharr, Pharr, Away

Hello from this windy Thursday in the deep heart of Texas. I have been here 4 days now and it’s been a long week of waiting, praying, hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst. Nobody wants to talk about it, but Mom and I both know to be ready for anything. So far he is still scheduled for surgery tomorrow, Friday the 26th, so we hope and we wait some more.

I am not going to lie, I am exhausted. I am doing everything in my power for my Mom and Bob, but we all know there is only so much I can do. Still cleaning, driving her anywhere she needs to be, helping her remember things to pack every day, preparing food and so on.  We have their place here to “summer ize” before they head back to Wisconsin, so there’s a lot to do for that.  Temps can be in the 100s here over the summer so they have to do a laundry list of things to prevent the heat and bugs from getting to things while they are gone. With Bob being in recovery mode, he will be unable to drive back to WI, and certainly not be able to wrap things up here. So Mom and I will hopefully find the strength and knowledge to get it all done. 

Time frames are up in the air, it all depends on tomorrow. I am willing to stay as long as possible, and one scenario is having his son drive Bob and his car home to WI with Mom or I drive Mom up in mine, just for space wise. Then I will either fly back to Orlando and leave my car there and fly back and start the road trip there OR I will be driving all the way back to Florida and then resuming life from there as planned. Decisions….hate them.  Emily’s birthday is in May, and I’d rather not miss it as it is a big one, but I also know I am needed here as long as possible. I did bring as much I could for the road trip in case I would be starting from here, always trying to think ahead, but I didn’t pack very well and a lot I forgot at home. Craig has offered to ship anything I need, so that option is always open.

Trying to keep busy, writing, and planning but my heart’s just not in it right now.  My mom has this old bike that she wants to paint yellow and I thought about making it for her and adding flowers and then putting it in front to surprise her…but the problem with that is that they seem determined to leave for rehab possibly in WI rather than here, so I don’t want to add to more “stuff” to pack, put away, if they are planning on heading out soon.  I wanted to get fresh flowers for Bob for the hospital and here at the house as a “get better” feel- but he’s allergic.  I seem to keep going down these paths of wanting to do something but the end result keeps being a “wait and see”- so I am.

Yeah, this isn’t a post about a cool ghost tour or the Grand Canyon, wish it was, but just simply an update of life right now. I am not looking for pity or judgement, just good vibes and prayers for Bob’s surgery tomorrow and peace for my Mom’s heart and head. It will be a long one tomorrow, strength in whatever form is much appreciated. Sending much love to y’all from Pharr, Texas- have a good day.

The Power of Family

I have learned that blogs are a sort of journal, a diary of sorts that we feel comfortable sharing with others. Maybe it’s the day to day life, maybe it’s a vacation we have taken or a hobby we have perfected. For me, I feel it is my own, little outreach program, where I can share my life in small doses with larger doses of magic and adventure.  But sometimes, real life, and I mean the stuff that we never really want to talk about, sneaks in.  Who would want to share the dark corners? What does that benefit to anyone?  Well, it’s cathartic for the writer and usually relatable to the reader. That is the hope.

My step-dad had a heart attack last week and has been in the hospital ever since.  Scheduled twice now for a triple bypass surgery, he has been waitlisted due to his tests.  So Mom and Bob have been sitting in a hospital for a week tomorrow, and I had been on standby to help.  Nothing is worse than waiting to see what someone needs and not being able to be with them, I can’t even begin to imagine the hell people have been living through with their loved ones in the hospitals suffering and/or dying- Covid or otherwise. 

Once Mom said come, I left.  I can’t be with her in the Hospital due to Covid rules, but at least she can. I reminded her that a year ago they would have never let her be with him, so that’s a good thing at least.  I am here to drive her, food shop, make sure SHE is taken care of and mentally ok to handle all of this.  I had that scary realization that I am at that “stage” in life where parents start to get sick, and the latter. We all know it’s coming, but who is ever actually ready for this??!? Good gravy, I certainly am not. I would like to stay in that hazy thinking that my parents will be around forever.

The drive took 2 days, 19 hours, and one really interesting stay in Baton Rouge, LA.  I had stayed right after Spring Break, and every Fast Food place was depleted pretty bad, and the hotel I stayed at had a full house so there was a lot of “miscommunication” on what room was clean and which wasn’t.  Again, this was such a rushed trip that I just booked something quickly so I didn’t have to do it on the road, but yeah, it wasn’t the best stay. Live and learn.

Grateful I am here safe and sound, tornadoes ripped through Austin the same day I was traveling in Texas. Mom lives really close to the border to Mexico, so I am pretty much as bottom as I can get in the U.S. right now. So happy to see her, so glad to be here to lift her through the anxiety and tears, and just at peace that she now has someone to help her get through this. 

Bob is doing ok, they have him walking around, trying to get him to eat more. But they are frustrated as the surgery has been moved twice now, so the anxiety of waiting around for this BIG thing to happen has him and Mom very stressed.  She is only allowed to come in and out once, so while she sits with him at the Hospital, I am cleaning up her home, washing dishes, and eventually packing them up to head back home to Wisconsin once he is able too.  I don’t know how long I will be here….Mom asked how long I could stay and I said as long as she needs me.  These are the real moments, the ones where you can help the most.  I am just very happy and relieved that I could be here at all.

So there’s the update. Many have messaged me (thank you) and I just thought a quick message here would let everyone know what’s going on. So please pray for him on Thursday that everything is ok and he then starts his road to recovery.  Thanks for the love, support, and good wishes….they help, they are appreciated, and they matter.

To Whom It May Concern Who Left the Hate Comment

Today was one of those days where you are not sure just what happened. I woke up with a crazy migraine, and after getting it to go at least from a 9 to a 2, I wanted to write. I was SO EXCITED to share my “Spread Kindness Tour” with everyone, so happy to find out ideas and thoughts on what I could do to make this World a little brighter. So I posted, and then I dropped off a package at Pop Century for a dear friend, and then on the way I got news that my Step Dad had a heart attack and my Mom was a mess.  Ready to jump a plane to Texas, Mom said to hold off and wait, and so I have. Praying all day, worrying about my Mom and Bob, trying to stay busy with something while I waited for news. And of course, I checked Facebook. I hoped maybe someone left a kind comment, that someone may have liked my idea of the kindness tour. NOPE.  I got this instead…. A hateful, personal, cruel attack on my character, my intention, and who they perceived me to be.

I really thought about not posting it, sharing it, or even giving this a second thought. Some will always tell you “Don’t feed the beast.”  BUT this was personal, this wasn’t some troll, this was someone with a personal vendetta that needed to unload. I am not comfortable talking about it, I would rather be doing something else, but I AM TIRED OF THE BULLYING.  Call it WHAT IT IS. I don’t know if it is Society now, that we feel the need to unload on someone and then walk away without a care about how you made someone feel or what. Or how people waste their precious time on this Earth making fake accounts just to go and bash people who are just living their lives.  I don’t know or understand it, I just know that if I don’t like someone, something, whatever it is, I just don’t follow them anymore. Period. We are not in grade school anymore, and to have to address this in my 40s is hella ridiculous.

To set the record straight, and I don’t have too, I like to travel. (Hear the gasping) HOW I live my life is my life, and how you live your life is yours.  I don’t beg for money, if you want to donate, then hey, thanks! I have shared the magic for years, been a great resource for MANY who have moved to Florida in the last 10 years, and have met lots of cool and amazing people. And then those people offered me a place to stay on my trip, and I have literally hand crocheted blankets, brought Disney Souvenirs, surprised the kids in the homes with toys, etc… But hey, I bet they are pretty worked up about throwing my sheets in the wash. CLEARLY if someone is or was worried about my hygiene then or now, they wouldn’t invite me over…PERIOD.

Sure, people have bought me lunch, it was super kind of them. Free haircuts? Ah, no.  Free groceries? Yup, someone sent me some as a kind gesture when we literally were in a car accident and someone was being nice.  Am I supposed to feel bad about that? Am I not ALLOWED to accept kindness from others? Because if that’s the case, then this trip is going to be a mighty short one if people aren’t allowed to accept it from me.  The hubby working? Yup, I bet yours does too! Taking my kids to school? Not only did I do it in WI but SHOCKER I did it ALSO in Florida! College, High School AND Junior High!!! OMG AMY TOOK THE KIDS TO SCHOOL??? Puhleease…. I mean, what?? Of course I did!   The kids not being at Disney with me is actually the funniest comment of them all. Why? Because my girls didn’t want to be on the blog all the time, and I respected that, so I would take pics when we were in the Parks, hence making it look like I am there by myself (back in the day). Currently? YUP, I am there by myself BECAUSE my family doesn’t have AP’s anymore due to Covid. So I am the one who goes in, shares the magic all the time with all of you, and then takes my sweaty rear to my sweaty car and I go home and do laundry. SCANDULOUS!!!

Thanksgiving? Wow, this person has some memory and clearly needs more of a life. I literally met up with Beatrice to do Safari while the Turkey was in the oven…. In 2011!!! PEOPLE THIS IS 10 YEARS AGO!!! LOL . Craig probably did make it, my cooking sucks. But why would that be something that sticks with someone? Why care about me enjoying a Safari ride and then going home to have Thanksgiving with my family when the turkey was done? I had a great time at Animal Kingdom, I LOVE Bea, and I had a great day with my family. THAT is what you want to rant on me for???

As far as the personal attack on my marriage, it seems that some are simply obsessed with hurting you. That no matter the life path you are taking, they see it as a road of revenge, hurt, and anger. They never know what’s going on, and even when I have talked about things in the past, I enjoyed sharing with others who were going through the same trials and tribulations.  It was healing, it was helpful, and it is what it is. But to wish that someone’s hubby leaves them is cold and cruel, and boy you have NO idea what you are talking about. 

This “person” is hiding behind a keyboard because they are ashamed. They are ashamed, and even when I reached out to ask who they were and to talk to me like an adult, I still got the same lingo, all the while being a coward.  So if you’re reading this, and we all know you are, please, stop following me. I don’t know why you would follow someone you CLEARLY hate, but why spend the time to even bully me for the last 10 years? Your right, this World is in a State, and if it shows ANYONE, it is that you live EVERY second with passion and vigor. There is no time to be hating on each other and sending this kind of toxic garbage at people. I KNOW people are jealous, I also know that ANYONE else who had this opportunity they would take it in a heartbeat! They would NOT want someone bashing them for something they have worked hard for and are excited for.

You see, this is why I stopped writing years ago. People like this, who felt the need to bully, pile on hate, and basically set a mob on you for something they perceived I said or did. Let me be VERY CLEAR, I VOWED that when I came back to the writing world, I would NEVER bow down to bullies like you again. I would take a stand, I would write from the heart, and I would move forward being my truest self.  Haters like you will NEVER win, and you just made me want to spread the kindness even more. So I hope you find peace, I hope you got it out of your system, and I hope you think twice before coming for me again.  I may be kind, I may be sweet, but I am not stupid. Remember that.

Mid-Life Crisis or Mid-Life Celebration?

“Something has changed within me…something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules in someone else’s game.” ~Wicked Broadway Show

As many of you know, life gives us transformations we didn’t see coming, nor ask for. Whether it be a shift in jobs, a move across the Country, a diagnosis we never thought we would hear, or a pandemic we never thought we would live through. Every experience, big or small, seems to either chip away at what we THOUGHT our lives would be, or adds something in some weird twist of fate. 

So, I decided to take this mid-life whatever as a challenge and mission, rather than a crisis.  I am blessed my girls are grown, and as they find their feet to life, I am free to find mine. You never stop being a Mom, but you do know the day when they are ok without you, and frankly, you are ok without them.  For such a long time, I let life define me as a Mom and Wife, and although they are very important and blessed roles, they are not the ONLY roles that I get to be. That’s where life sometimes gets it wrong, that somehow you are put in this certain box and then you are expected to stay there.  Yeah, I don’t think so, not this woman anyways. Sometimes you just know that God has bigger plans for you than you could have ever dreamed.  I get to go find that Amy of 19 that I haven’t seen in a while,  and see what she’s up too (even if her reflection has changed a bit).

Not only with this HUGE Road Trip coming up this summer, but I decided to change A LOT in my life to shed off as much of myself so I could to hit that restart button fresh!  As you see, I am selling everything that I have collected over the last 10 years so that I have nothing to worry about leaving behind, packing, or just plain care about.  It has brought me joy when I needed it, but I’m finding life is sweeter without it. My closet has shrunk drastically, and I shop completely different now. The only things I am buying now are for the trip, and it’s been exciting because I know I will use them.

I have been running again a lot more, working on toning up and losing weight again. I didn’t want to hit the road again feeling like a lumpy marshmallow, and it’s easy to turn into one or remain one when driving so much and eating at so many new places. I have a strict morning routine now with protein shakes that I am IN LOVE WITH and a personal handheld blender that is my favorite thing I got for Christmas so far!  I have noticed that keeping my body healthy and on track, makes EVERYTHING else in my life run that much smoother. Trust me, it works!

What I have discovered is that we are all like Disney World in what Walt hoped for it…that the place would get more beautiful as it grew and changed.  I think we need to switch our view on growing older as not a bad thing, but just another chapter of growth and beauty.  I want to try new things, meet more people, add something to my life that is bursting with purpose and challenge.  I want to learn a new language, travel the globe, find my faith in the smallest to largest corners of the planet…and yes, I will do it older.  Life doesn’t wait for us, TODAY is the day you live. Yes, plan, but every day is truly that gift you wake up to and it is WHAT you do in your day to day that starts to define you and what you’re building too. 

I just decided one day that I was done doing things a certain way, and I cannot tell you the power that came from that decision. Sell, Run, Write, Plan, Disney and Repeat.  So I encourage all of my “Mid-Lifers” out there to seek out that fresh energy, find a new passion, discover your purpose, and then put your mind where your heart is. Join me as I do just that….it’s going to be a wild ride!

The Relocated Tourist

Thank you for your support!!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

$1.00

Happy Valentines Day?

As a kid, my thoughts on this day were rather a skewed. I truly thought naked babies were flying around the Earth, plunging arrows into the unexpected, minding their own business. I mean, if they want to keep sticking this “cupid” onto cards and signs, what are kids supposed to think? Of course then it turned into this weird popularity game they groom you for in grade school.  You find a box of Rainbow Brite valentines, sign them all, and then everyone in the class gets one….because that’s fair.  Yet somehow I felt like I never got as many as someone next to me, instead of happy for what I DID get instead. Never mind how Katie got a sucker attached to hers, and I got a rock. LOL J/K

Move on to High School…and some genius Key Club or the latter decide “Let’s raise money by making people feel less than themselves.”  Yeah, it’s true, you know who I am talking too. I don’t know if you had it at your school, but the ever famous “Send a Carnation” to a friend or loved one in school.  As a gesture of kindness, I applaud this effort. But as High Schoolers who were immature brats, this turned into a “You aren’t cool enough” if you didn’t get one.  The pressure I felt to send to ALL of my friends every year, the hope that SOMEONE would remember me….such. a waste. of. time.  First off, if you DID get flowers, everyone with time on their hands needed to know WHO sent them to you.  And you didn’t mind saying who, especially if it was a guy. But then I would see dear people in the halls who looked so forlorn and depressed and I just wanted to give my flowers away.  The feeling that someone remembered me wasn’t worth the feeling of seeing someone else upset. My empathy cup has always been probably to full for my own good, but hey, I was born like this.

Then after school you are an adult, married with kids and NOW the pressure is to remember everyone in your family circle. For YEARS I sent my parents valentines or a small gift, then made or did something for both of my daughters, and then try to think of something creative for my husband.  I felt I would give beyond my means and my capabilities sometimes to make everyone else around me happy, and yet almost every year I felt empty at the end of the day. My expectations of what others would do for me was never what it was, usually next to nothing. (Yeah, I know, that’s on me) Flowers were always nice, or a special dinner, but over the years I have learned that THIS DAY I feel less loved than any other. A holiday born to make us all feel less adequate if love isn’t available that day, and from someone you are romantically connected with.

Then God Bless Amy Poehler and her crew at “Parks and Rec” who came up with “Happy Galentines Day” which is celebrated Feb. 13th.  To honor all women, to love on all women, but to enjoy that day of celebration of EACH OTHER and not having that “special someone” in your life because believe it or not… that special someone is YOU! Such a greeting card statement, you are sooooo welcome.

So Happy Valentines Day for just the day of LOVE. Love your spouse, your partner, your parents, your kids, your pet, your favorite movie with your favorite ice cream today……love everything about yourself today and those in your life.  REINVENT these types of holidays and it completely changes how you see them from year to year. I LOVE you, I will ALWAYS love you, and that smile looks FABULOUS on you today!