Does anybody read these?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I would've...

I haven’t really written for a while, but I’m pretty sure if I don’t do so today that I will actually go insane. Have you ever actually felt your mind reeling and your soul shocked and not known what to do with yourself? Yeah, that’s me right now.

So when I last checked in last month, I was telling you that things had not worked out with the adorable boy from Michigan who lit up my world with his smile. I loved the way he smelled. I loved his bald head. I loved the sound of his voice. I loved that he knew to give me Vernor’s when I had an upset stomach and had his brother send us BetterMade chips to take on a road trip. I loved the way he called me babe or mama and always told me he loved me as our heads hit the pillow at night.

When I was last here in June, we were broken up. We both made mistakes and it seemed like we were doomed. But then at the end of last month, he called me one night and told me things he swore he never told anyone else. I was there right next to him when his mom was in the hospital for a week. I held his hand, I rubbed his back while he rested his head on my chest, exhausted and worried about if she was going to be OK.

I was the first person he called when he found out he was getting a big promotion and raise at work. They were sending him to Chicago for training, and he wanted me to meet him up there at the end of the week so we could spend some time together. I hated that I was out of town, but we promised to celebrate when I got back.

He said he was working long hours, getting his shop ready for the new equipment coming from Japan, and maybe he was. He apologized profusely because now that I had free time, he was the one working 14-hour days. I told him not to worry because I wasn’t going anywhere.

But apparently I was. Last week, we talked several times and he seemed happy. He sent me a text every morning to wake me up, using words like “beautiful” and “baby.” We talked on the phone and he ended every call with “I love you.” He told me that he was really missing me and was working on finding some free time to see me, but work was “crazy as shit.”

The last thing he said to me on Friday was, “See you tomorrow, babe.” He was coming to his sister’s birthday party on my side of town the next day, and we were supposed to meet up after I got off work.

Friday, 6:15 p.m. See you tomorrow, babe.

Saturday I texted him to see if he made it to work. He didn’t answer, but he had told me his phone was acting up, and I knew he was trying to get his work done to go to his sister’s party. I got busy with my day too. Finally on my way to work I sent him a message that I hoped his phone was working and to let me know if I was going to his mom’s when I got off work at 10.

When I hadn’t heard back at 9:30, I worried about how to get in touch with him, figuring his phone was not working. Knowing his sister loves to post pictures on Facebook, I figured that I’d check to see if there were any from her party.

And I was unfriended. Figuring it was a mistake, I sent a new friend request. I drove to his mom’s as planned, and it was dark and his car wasn’t there. I decided to call and I saw my friend request had been declined. He didn’t take my call.

So, here we are five days later. He did finally send a text saying that he was sorry it happened this way.

That’s nice, but I still don’t know what it is or what this way is. I have no fucking clue how we went from “I love you and I miss you mama,” and “See you tomorrow, babe” to crickets.

Nothing. Not a word. No explanation. I am not saying that he owes me some big dissertation or some weepy break-up scene. If you’re going to be a pussy anyway, just send a two-sentence text or something.

Apparently there is a new phenomenon that you just disappear rather than break up with people now. But that’s for after a few weeks maybe, not on the six-month anniversary of the day you met.

I don’t deal well with not knowing or understanding things. Not having any type of answers or warning is really not good for my mental state. I have had some pretty bad break-ups, but this is so bizarre and I don’t even know how to process it.

And while I know it’s his loss, and I know whatever he thinks he found out there is not going to be as good as what I had to offer him, I am kind of feeling a little used right now. I feel like maybe there wasn’t anything there at all and I missed it and there was some agenda that I didn’t realize. And that’s not a good way to feel.

Every day is easier than the last, and the shock is wearing off. I’m beginning to see that maybe he wasn’t the person I thought he was. But I also like to think I’m a pretty smart cookie most of the time, and this whole situation has left me feeling like the dumbest shit in the history of the universe. I also feel like maybe, perhaps I was just a big girl who lost her mind because someone paid attention to her. It never felt like that at the time, but he sure did get what he wanted and high-tail his way out of town, didn’t he?

“See you tomorrow, babe.”

I had really hoped it was a broken phone or a misunderstanding. And as I realize that it’s not, there are so many fresh wounds and raw emotions that I can’t tamp down.

If I’d known that was our last hug, I wouldn’t have held him a little tighter for a little bit longer.

If I would've known it was the last time I would hear his voice, I would’ve listened a little harder so I wouldn’t forget it.

If I would’ve known it was the last morning I woke up to those big brown eyes , I would’ve stared into them a little longer.

I would’ve said “I love you a few more times.”

I would’ve called more and texted less (although it’s nice to still see the words on my phone).

I would’ve grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to his house that night I was tired and just wanted to go to bed early.

Would’ve. Would’ve. Would’ve. We never really know when our last day with someone is, regardless of the circumstances.

I wish I could call him and talk to him about the Tigers trading Dave price today.

Oh, and to say:
I love you, and I am really missing you, babe.

Song of the day: "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey (because it had to be. Come on, now.)

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Too long

I'm not quite sure why I haven't been over here for so long. It's embarrassing really. To some extent, life's been good so I haven't needed to bitch about it. In other ways, I've been clinging on to the edge hoping that no one steps on my fingers.

And nine times out of ten, they do. But that's a story for another day.

Let's see... what have I been up to?

Well, I fell in love. With a sweet, adorable boy with a job who paid for things sometimes because he had a job. He was from Michigan too, and we bonded over our love of coney dogs and Tigers baseball. We even went to Florida for spring training.

And then it went to shit and he was gone as quickly and unexpectedly as he arrived.

Oh well. Thinking that it must not have been meant to be helps me sleep at night.

My new bed -- the first one I've purchased in my entire life -- also helps me sleep at night. I have the improved sleep apnea numbers to prove it. This new bed contains memory foam, a regular mattress and a layer of gel under a pillow-top to keep me cool. It's pure heaven. It's also way too tall for a short girl, but like to think watching me get a running start every night is entertaining.

I completed a quarter marathon in May, which was crazy and exhausting, but I'm sure it surprises no one that I am registered for a half marathon in September and actually thinking about doing 8 Tuff Miles in February. (And by thinking about it, I mean it's most likely going to happen.)

I started selling jewelry. In my attempt to wean myself off of several of the various enterprises and occupations I have, I added something to hopefully bring some money in. We'll see how it goes. If it could just replace about 20 hours of these 60-hour weeks, I'd be happy.

And less exhausted. Maybe have a clean house. Who knows?

Anything else going on? Not really. The year without a mouse is going somewhat well, although I haven't ruled out one day in the Magic Kingdom at Christmas. We'll see how my week in the Caribbean is shaping up first.

I think right now I am going to commit to at least a weekly update. I feel like I've developed ADD or something. If I can't say it in 140 characters on Twitter, it just isn't happening lately.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Student Loan Saga

I don't like to air my dirty laundry on the internet (OK, that's a teeny bit of a fib), but I want to make sure that everyone understands what we are doing to our young people with student loans. Yes, I know that I am not young. Yes, I understand that I probably should've paid my loans off by now. And yes, I know that ultimately it's my problem if they don't get paid, but when my loans were managed by the U.S. government, they seemed less interested in ruining my life than this private outfit that manages them now. So, here is my whole letter today after my bajillionth letter from Granite State Management and Resources (I hope they google themselves) saying that I need to work with them, despite the fact that every time I call them, they are unwilling to work with me. Enjoy, and pay your bills, kids!

[Note: I am copying the office of my Congressman, Jim Cooper, on this letter. I would hope that since you are a contractor for the federal government and under that contract at the will of the U.S. Congress that bringing his attention to the way you do business will help other student loan borrowers in the future, if not myself.]

Thanks for your letter. I am going to reply by email, which was one of the ways that you suggested contacting you. I appreciate that you are checking in on me and warning me of all the horrible shitty things that could happen to me if I don't pay my student loan. However, I will not be calling you from my office where my co-workers can hear my business to listen to you tell me once again that you are unwilling to work with me on my student loan despite my willingness to come to a solution that works for everyone and your monthly emails saying that you want to work with me (which is zero percent true at this point, but I'm sure the federal government makes you send those out).

First of all, while I have missed several payments this year (which as I explained and you do not care, was due to my roommate not paying her rent for several months leaving me in a very precarious situation), I am now paying you above the minimum payment required every month. Although with the amount that I am in arrears, it will take several months -- if not years -- to get myself back into a situation where I am caught up. I am fully aware of this, but the last person I talked to explained that as long as I made my payments it knocked 30 days off the number of days I was in arrears and as long as I stayed under 365 (which I was well under at the time I had this conversation) that I would not default. However, your current email talks about all the bad things that happens when one defaults, so I am beginning to wonder if this was yet another of your fibs and exaggerations. Or maybe it's just a heavy-handed attempt to milk blood out of a turnip. I'm not quite sure. If you could enlighten me on where exactly we are in that process and if, in fact, I am shaving 30 days off my impending doom in my attempt to catch up, that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the newsflash that you are about to trash my credit several months after you have decimated my credit. I could not even get a loan to buy lunch at this point. I pray to God everyday that my car won't stop working, and I live in constant fear that the bank will recall my mortgage due to the rapid free fall of my credit score, and I will be homeless. All because I missed a few loan payments and you refuse to work with me.  I am not asking for debt forgiveness. I am not asking for reduced payments. All I want is a reasonable agreement that will allow me to not be punished for the rest of my life because I fell on hard times for a few months. Literally, this situation has me understanding why people feel like there is no way out and kill themselves over their student loans. Because most days I feel completely and utterly hopeless that I will never be able to overcome this because I don't have $2,400 sitting around. Because I keep sending payments, yet the amount that I am in arrears seems to be growing, not decreasing. And despite that fact that I am now making payments and supposedly decreasing the amount of time that I am in arrears, now I am getting a letter saying I am about to default, which should not be happening if the last person I talked to gave me correct information.

I would love very much to work with you on this. But every single month I call, you tell me there is nothing that can be done. And then every single month you send this BS letter saying that I'm the one who's not cooperating. I send $300/monthly, which is more than what is required, but I cannot afford to send that much extra. And obviously the $300/month is not helping.

Feel free to call me on this issue if you have any ideas on how to fix it besides sending me lip-service letters while ruining my life and my future. I am willing to work with you, but there has to be some give and take on both ends because at this point I am completely drowning and terrified about my entire future due to this situation. And I want to make sure that Congressman Cooper's office knows how the student loan process makes people feel, because I feel like our people deserve better. At least I'm 38 and own my home and vehicle. I can't imagine what it must be like for young kids just starting out to be in this situation.

My cell phone number is [redacted] if anyone would like to contact me.

Laura Richards

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It's not all about you.

I'm pretty sure that I told you that I cared very much about a person who chose to delete me from her life. No real explanation, no attempt to mend fences: Just proclaiming our friendship "awkward," telling me that there was no point in trying to fix things and deleting me from her life, including social media.

As much as it pained me, at that point I just went along with my life without her. If she doesn't think our friendship is worth saving there isn't much I can do about it.

And life has moved on without her. And that's fine. Each day is a little better than the last one. But, a lot has happened in my life that she's not privy to. Of course, that's her choice. It isn't one I would make, but nothing's accomplished by sitting around and hoping that she'll come to her senses, because I just don't see that happening. There were times that I thought about apologizing and seeing if I could patch things up, but I did nothing wrong and patches usually only last so long.

So, even though it really sucks some days, I don't pick up the phone and call her when I have a shitty day like I used to. I think about what happened at Disney World, and how for a long time, she's the only person who knew besides my family who was with me. But, when everything in the world was going horribly wrong, she's the person I wanted with me. Her smile kept me from losing my shit. Her voice was the one that I wanted to hear.

I would have loved for her to have been there for me when we buried a young man who was like a brother to me. I would have loved to have been able to call her when I watched my parents break down because a boy they thought of like a son had taken his own life.

But she wasn't there, and that was her choice. Not having me in her life has been her choice. I never did anything to her but care for her and love her, for better or for worse.

When Robin Williams killed himself a few weeks ago, my heart was still stinging from my personal loss. Having someone leave my world by suicide rocked me to the core. It is really the absolute worse thing that can happen to a family and/or friends. It is unexpected and devastating, and it leaves you wondering, wishing what you could've done to stop it, even if the answer probably is absolutely nothing.

So, Robin Williams passed away, and I was still reeling in my own grief and pain. And, on a mutual friend's Facebook page, I summed up my feelings about Robin the same way I summed up my feelings about my friend:

"So sad. What a permanent solution to a temporary problem."

Well, apparently someone felt like that was a jab at her. You know, because she did actually utilize a permanent solution for a temporary problem and all. Of course, that also depends how you define permanent. I am surprised that I figured out that's what my perceived grievance because the only reason that me not being in her life would be permanent is if she remains to prideful to do anything about it. So, she blocked me from Facebook, which I wouldn't have even noticed if a mutual friend hadn't tagged her in something. Because I hadn't actually looked at her Facebook since she deleted me as her friend. I can take a hint.

But it wasn't about her. Not at all. And I am kind of pissed that she thought that.

I'm not pissed that she blocked me. I'm pissed that she thought I was taking a jab at her so she blocked me. First of all, I'd have to give her a thought to take a jab at her. And secondly, she doesn't know what's going on in my life because she removed herself from it. She wasn't there for me when my friend killed himself. She wasn't there to comfort me when I was hurting.

It doesn't matter. I'm not sad that she blocked me. I am sure it will upset her way more than it upsets me. In fact, I just hope that some day she finds peace and happiness and love in her life because she deserves all of those things, whether she believes it or not.

Song of the day: "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon (and I still need to know who this song is about)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Time flies by

Am I the only person who feels like the older we get, the shorter our days seem?

Time is flying by. It's hard to believe we are half way through August. If you see the eight months that have come and gone with warp speed, let me know.

Over the weekend, I went to New Orleans. That place was awesome. More on that later, including a possible rant about the dangers and pitfalls of this always-connected society.

Now I am home. The week started off on Monday with a lecture from my nurse practitioner about not meeting my weight loss goals. This new gal is really take-no-prisoners, so I need to step up my game.

With that in mind, here are some short-term goals related to fitness.

1. Working out at least five times per week.
2. Logging food for at least 20 days in a row.
3. Wog (walk/jog) a 5k on Sept. 27 (which is already paid for).
4. Complete the 30-day tricep dip challenge, with another challenge to follow.
5. Lose 10 pounds by the time I go to Disney World in October.

I also have several personal goals that I need to work on. Yesterday I finally realized that I am in a much better place than I was at the beginning of the year emotionally, even though it took me a helluva long time to figure it out. I deserve to be with a partner who is truly my partner, who is free to love me as much as I love him (yes, probably him). This means no more people with exes or spouses or emotional baggage that is holding them back. I shouldn't have to say that and it shouldn't have taken this long to figure it out. The reality is, when God sends you the person you are supposed to be with, that person will not be encumbered to someone else. They won't. They'll be ready to love you. And if you meet someone who isn't quite there and you love them, well, let them go and pray for them until he or she can figure his or her shit out. It's not your job to figure someone's shit out for them.

Which reminds me, after I get back from Disney I am tightening the belt and getting in a better place financially, even if it means eating dried beans for half my life. I need to not rely on any other human being for anything, including my ability to pay my mortgage and/or my light bill. At some point I really do need to live like a grown-up, which means paying all my bills myself and not living beyond my means. Ideally, I would like to have my mortgage and my student loans be my only debt by the end of next year at the latest. This could be an interesting year.

Lastly, I want to get back on trying new recipes every week. I know I keep saying that, but I am for real this time. I have 70 million cookbooks and get at least 16,000 recipe emails per week. So why am I going back and forth among the same recipes? It's time to get creative.

That's it for my update. In short, shit's about to get real and it should be pretty fun. If nothing else, I promise you'll get a laugh or two at my expense along the way.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Not a bad thing

If I had seen this video before everything fell apart, I might have used it to plead my case.

It's not a bad thing to fall in love with me.

It really isn't. Despite what you may have heard.

There's no pleading now. Ships have sailed. I don't know about everyone's heart, but mine is in 20 million tiny, little pieces.

I lit a candle today at church. I prayed that she'll be OK, whatever that means. Her place in my heart is secure, even if it gets smaller as time passes by.

Lessons learned. Tears shed. It really is getting easier everyday.

But some days I would still love to run after her, apologize for whatever imaginary grievance is in her head...but I know that's not fair to me, accomplishes nothing and will probably only end up hurting me even more in the end.

Every single nook and cranny of this part of town reminds me of her. Every single day when I go to work it's like pouring salt into wounds.

Not sure how to fix it. Not sure how to fix anything.

But anyways, back to the topic. I seriously am pretty damn lovable, and I promise that I'll catch you if you let yourself fall...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's the same...only different

About this time seven years ago, someone who had walked out on me reappeared in my life rather miraculously. Folks who have been around for some time, know what it was like for me to reunite with someone who is truly my soulmate (just not the house, two kids and a golden retriever kind of soulmate) and rekindle our friendship like we had never been apart. There have been lots of tears and laughs over the past seven years, and it's hard to believe that we've known each other since 1997, because I can tell you almost every detail of the day we met like it was yesterday. And I -- this will shock you -- was pretty not sober the day we met. I was wearing a plaid flannel shirt (it was the 90s, I was in college and loved bands from Seattle) that day. We were standing by a fish tank in a house in Dayton, Ohio, talking about how much we hated John Engler. Of course, we had to be lifelong friends.

And we have been for the most part. I adored him, and I thought we'd be married and have kids, because I thought we were that kind of soulmates. And, had he not been gay, I am 99 percent sure we would have been. Of course, that sticky little point led to a lot of problems between us and a lot of heartache for both of us. He, because he couldn't love me and didn't feel like he could tell me why; and I, because I loved him with my entire heart and didn't understand what I was doing wrong and why things weren't going the way I thought they were supposed to.

Ultimately, rather than tell me why things weren't working, he disappeared off the face of the earth. It was before cell phones, but landlines were disconnected and emails bounced back. My belongings that were in his possession were returned to me unceremoniously in a box in the mail with no return address and no explanation.

Sparing you all the gory details, I will say this is not a good way to leave someone who likes to blame herself for all the world's problems. It took me a long time to recover, and as I sit here right now going through a similar situation and feeling all the same feelings of rejection, negative self worth and blame, I am wondering if things are ever really OK.

Before I moved to Nashville, I was riding in the car with my mother and my aunts from Detroit back to Ohio. I was sitting in the back seat, when I looked over and saw his car next to us. When he passed us, I saw that he had Georgia plates, and I remembered that the last time I saw him he told me that he was going to move to Atlanta when his parents retired to their property in East Tennessee. I told him this story when I found him later, and he never saw me that day. Oh, and did I mention that I-75 is one of the largest roadways in the United States? When you think about it that way, seeing him that day had to be a miracle.

When I moved to Nashville, I knew he lived in Atlanta from that encounter on the highway. I knew his parents lived outside Chattanooga because he had shown me their retirement property. At a friend's urging, I looked them up and reached out to them. They gave him the letter I wrote to them, and he contacted me. And I will never forget that day I came home to Carol's house and saw an envelope with his handwriting on it on the kitchen counter, mostly because it was a day that I never thought I would see. I thought he hated me. 

So, let's fast forward to 2014. If you have been following me since February, you know that I found myself in a very unexpected relationship that I believe ended because the other person involved couldn't reconcile her feelings about me with how she thought she was supposed to feel. Throughout our relationship she kept telling me that she was crazy about me but it was complicated and she would explain it, but she never did.

Sound familiar?

Anyhow, we tried to be friends and I thought we were doing pretty well with it, but ultimately she declared our friendship "awkward" and walked away with no more explanation than that.

I should've been getting a sense of deja vu about the whole thing, but I was too busy being sad that someone I cared about so much was walking away from me. I have also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I did wrong to make someone go from loving me and being crazy about me to completely discounting my existence as a human being, deleting (and/or blocking) me from all aspects of her life and treating me rather cruelly. It's so odd, because I never would've imagined myself in this situation, and at the time I didn't feel like our relationship was so big, but this is a lot more painful than I ever thought it would be.

And then last night, I was telling someone who told me he had no gay friends the story of me and Mike. And then it hit me.

When Mike walked away (also because he couldn't reconcile his relationship with me with his sexuality), I never thought I would see him again. I blamed myself because I didn't know the truth. All I knew was that I didn't know how I could go on without my best friend in my life anymore.

But then, several years later, once he and I were both in better places, God had him drive past me on one of the busiest and largest interstate highways in the world. And, not long after that, we were finishing each others' sentences again. Yeah, it's different now, but all I really wanted was to have my friend in my life, and I do. And it's exactly what God always intended for us.

And nowadays, it's easier. I've had the same phone number for 15 years. You can pretty much google anyone and find them. And as easy as she blocked me on all that social media, she could unblock me.

Well, I take that back. Contacting someone when you're ready is easier. But getting there is still a big, giant pain in the ass that requires tons of work. And prayer. Everyone just pray that I will heal and she will find her way in life. In times like this, it's good to remember the words of Mother Teresa: "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much."