Lost Races & Pixies

WP_20180923_15_02_52_Pro

I despise selfies, but here is the pixie.

With my pixie, I can fly. At least, according to Peter Pan, all it takes is pixie dust to fly. I had my hair cut into a pixie last week. I have never before had my hair shorter than a bob. This is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I wish I had done this, oh, say 7 or 8 marathon medals ago.

I’m quite overwhelmed with the amount of responsibility I have right now, so I am trying to make myself as low maintenance as possible. Since I have to take care of everything and everyone else, this way I don’t have to worry about taking care of me. To add onto the increased responsibilities, I have been having trouble with my health. I don’t feel 90% anymore. Each day is a struggle.

When, I had my stroke in 2016, that was the Lost Year when I did not have a race. Unfortunately, after only a half marathon in 2017, I have another Lost Year  – 2018. Let’s not make a habit of this.

With the financial burden of paying 65% of my income in rent over the summer, I was not able to properly fuel (read: buy groceries and eat enough) or even drive to the running trail to be able to train. With all my money being sunk into getting this house and preventing us from becoming homeless, I also do not have the funds to travel to Connecticut for the race I had planned.

Mostly, it is lack of training. When you are barely able to afford food to eat every day, you cannot keep nutrition up to be able to train for a full marathon. It’s just not possible. Being a person with multiple severe food allergies, that meant that food pantries are not a resource to me. While my mortgage is quite a few hundred dollars less than the rent increase that was thrust upon me in May, I can’t train for a full marathon in less than a month.

Combine that with the health problems I am currently having, and I am not even able to salvage a half marathon. I was hoping to run a Veteran’s Day race, but that is not happening. Training for a half would have had to start at the beginning of September, and I am only able to do about 2 miles a few times a week right now. At least I’m running. That’s always a positive.

Another Lost Year is both sad and it pisses me off. I had a solid base of 4-5 mile runs multiple times a week and was all set to start marathon training when the housing crisis hit. So, I guess this year is the Lost Year due to the housing crisis. I hate the feeling of knowing I am registered for a race that I am unable to run.

On the plus side, since my financial situation has improved with the house, I finally had the extra $25 for a hair cut. This pixie is the best decision ever. I hate bangs. I hate hair in my face. This hair style is perfect. I don’t fight with my hair at all anymore. It is literally wash and go. Running with the pixie is amazing. I need to keep the pixie for my next full marathon. This is the best running hair cut ever.

My one concern is that people still know I’m female. I figure if someone thinks I’m a boy, I can always put a bow on it like Hello Kitty. So far, no one has mistaken me for a boy. Everyone has either made a positive comment or kept their negativity to themselves.

I figure since the house is my midlife anti-crisis that this new hairstyle can be my midlife crisis. I just didn’t wait the six months until my 40th birthday in March. I may not believe in pixie dust, but with a pixie haircut, I sure feel like I can fly when I run.

Since 2016 was the Lost Year due to my stroke, maybe 2018 is the year of Lost Races & Pixies. Hey, if I think about having two lost years, I’m going to be depressed, so you have to put a little creativity in it somehow.

My goal right now, if I can get my health to cooperate, is to at least be back to the solid 4 mile base before the snow flies this winter. I am also looking to swim this winter for my cross training. We will see how that goes. My stamina in the pool is not great. Swimming will definitely help work other muscles and increase my endurance. The only challenge is finding a pool schedule that works with my work hours.

Swimming in the winter with a pixie should be a good choice as well. The pixie dries fast, so I won’t have to worry about the hassle of swimming with long hair in the winter.

I have no regrets about this pixie. I have had no tears and no sadness over my hair. It’s a little odd. I have gotten bobs before, and cried and threw a fit trying to “style” it out of my face for running. With the pixie, I have none of those frustrations. This is literally the best hair cut ever.

For the record, when she cut all my hair off, it was more than halfway down my back going down to my butt. Now its short and spiky. I love it.

So if this is the year of Lost Races & Pixies, then so be it. That just makes my 40th birthday something to look forward to in 2019. That means the 2019 running season will have to be amazing. Hey, I got the pixie to fly.

Advertisements

Hello, again

WP_20180918_16_48_40_Pro

Kickin’ it old school with a landline home phone

Hello, again. It’s me. The year is 2018 and I have a landline again like it’s 1993. The house phone is a french blue 1960s type with a receiver that actually sits in the cradle and push-button dialing. If no one is home, there is no machine and no voice mail to leave a message. You just have to try again, or text my cell phone.

The house I bought is in a rural part of the county, where only one cell carrier has service, and that “service” is spotty at best. Luckily, my cell phone is already affiliated with the one carrier that offers the occasional service. The phone constantly oscillates between no service and one bar. I can generally send and receive text messages. If a cloud goes by in the sky, then service is completely disrupted and text messages have to be sent again. Welcome to rural America.

The funny thing is, I don’t consider my house location to be rural. I am actually closer to my work location in the city than where I was living previously. My commute time has literally been cut in half. The house is in a village where I have a store, library, laundry, churches, parks and schools all within walking distance. My apartment was located on a busy highway on a dead end street – you literally had to drive everywhere and could only walk as far as the end of the driveway.

I considered the apartment to be rural and cut off from services. Especially the winter where we were literally snowed in for about four days because even the snow plow truck got stuck at the end of the road. I do not consider my house to be rural at all. Apparently, though, when it comes to cell service, I am rural.

This is the first time in 15 years that I have a landline. The phone was just connected today, and it is comforting to have it there. I can now fully communicate with the world by all means – text by cell phone and voice by landline.

The house phone was connected at the best time. Today I had the day off for various doctor appointments. Apparently one doctor office was tying to get a hold of me for additional blood work. Because my cell phone does not receive voice service at the house, I did not receive the message they left on my cell phone until I was already in the city at the doctor office. The cell phone never rang at the house and only indicated it had voice mail when I drove the four miles into the city for the appointment.

I’m sure the novelty of the landline will wear off once telemarketers figure out the line is active and start calling. That is pretty much a given in today’s day and age. For right now, I am enjoying the peacefulness of knowing that if I have an emergency, I can call for help. I can call for anything, really. I can even call the library to register for craft class without having to walk over there to register.

When the snow starts flying this winter, I will have phone service to be able to call and talk to people. This is key because I am pretty sure that in winter, I will lose the ability to text from my cell. If I have to resend a text message because a cloud decides to float by, I can only imagine what it will be like with snow flying.

Speaking of snow, what did people do back in the day before treadmills were available for winter running? Well now, they ran outside, and shoveled snow, of course.

I have not used my gym membership in about 6 months, since maybe March. That is over $400 a year I am wasting on something I don’t use. I am still running, but I run outside. Now that I live in the village, I can literally lace up my mizunos and take off from my front door. At the apartment, I would always have to drive somewhere to run because it was too dangerous to run the busy highway on which I lived.

I basically cancelled my gym membership to pay for my monthly phone service. I am no longer going to drive someplace to run. How ridiculous is that? It’s it ironic to sit in traffic waiting to drive someplace to run on a treadmill? Now I can run right out my front door and down the street. If the weather is bad this winter, I can workout indoors. The house is big enough and I no longer have neighbors below to worry about. I can make as much noise jumping around to Jillian Michaels doing mountain climbers and burpees as I need.

I’m also looking to get back into the pool this winter and do some swimming. The off-season is typically when I go hard on the cross training to prepare for the next running season. This year, my goal is going to be swimming. I will run outside all I am able, and swim when it’s below zero out. A pool membership in my area is a lot more affordable than a full-on gym membership with access to all the facilities. In fact, I will probably just pay-per-visit or get a punch card.

It’s also time to get back to basics for my health. The four months of hell I lived through trying to address my housing crisis really did a number on me. I have had mini-strokes. The doctors are now watching me to be sure I don’t have another full on episode like I did a few years ago. It’s kind of important that I follow the directions and am able to communicate with the world.

Hello, again. It’s me. We’re trying to get this home ownership thing under control and back on a normal schedule again. Let’s hope for a quiet fall and end of 2018. I’ll be partying like it’s 1990-something with a throwback landline phone. That’s about my speed.   

Don’t Fill My Space

WP_20180902_08_53_51_Pro

Owning a home is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is overwhelming. I have finally come to the conclusion that I at least need help with the grass so that I can regain some sanity. Between trying to take care of everything inside and outside, I am losing my mind. I am constantly exhausted; falling asleep pretty much as soon as I sit down at the end of each day.

I am very fortunate in that I have many good friends who have been helping and supporting me in this process. Many people have lent their time to helping me. Some people have brought me practical items – wine (consumables always welcome), screen for my vents, hedge clippers, etc.

Most people know that I am a minimalist. As a new home owner, I am already overwhelmed, so the last thing you should do is bring me a car load of stuff to overwhelm me even more. Yes, I did move from a 600 square foot apartment to a 1,600 square foot house.

Don’t fill my space.

I have spent the past 14 years in stable housing. Except for the particulars necessary for home ownership (like lawn care items), I have what I need. In fact, I was surprised to find that I have things in every room. I was honestly expecting to have empty rooms when I moved into the house, but that was not the case.

I had to purchase three new towels when I moved into the house due to the water problem at the apartment. Normally, as a minimalist, I would have taken the three stained towels from the apartment and donated them to the animal shelter. However, as a new homeowner, I have actually kept those three stained towels in a bin in my basement – I have used them twice to clean up water in the basement due to washing machine mishaps. For the record, the washing machine issues have been addressed. The basement is completely dry now, and I am laundering loads of laundry with no issues.

One of the splurge purchases I made after I moved into the house was purchasing blue Adirondack chairs. I have always wanted blue Adirondack chairs. I got four of them for my front porch. I purchased four because people have been visiting me in groups of two or three people at a time. I have had more people visit me these first two weeks in my new house than visited me in all the 14 years I spent living in the apartment.

I figure that the four chairs are a good purchase, as they can also be used in the back yard for the fire pit when we have a housewarming bonfire. I have to figure out a date for this event when I am not feeling overwhelmed and if it finally stops raining.

The four chairs will be able to be moved indoors this winter so that I can have game night at home. I definitely have the space for them. By having open spaces in my home, I have the space available for what is most important in life – family, friends and fun.

So if you feel the need to bring me furniture or other indoor household items, please don’t. I have all that. I have been living independently. Being a minimalist in a larger space does not mean that I am going to start accumulating items. It means I finally have the space for the most important things in life. In my apartment, three people felt cramped. In the house, there have been four people here at a time, and the house still feels huge.

The cats have been settling in and  enjoy running and playing. They go upstairs and downstairs all the time. I have been finding their toys strewn about, so I know they feel comfortable here when they are home alone while I am at work.

At the end of the day, the only thing that needs to fill my space is love. I have that with my family and the presence of my friends. Don’t fill my space with things.

Midlife Anti-Crisis

WP_20180902_14_28_45_Pro.jpgAbove: I have the best and most blinged-out mailbox on the block thanks to my friends.

The midlife crisis is a way to rage against complacency, stagnation and stability. Tales of shiny red corvettes, new hair styles and relationships embody the stereotypical midlife crisis. Midlife is typically the time when you “arrive” in life – you are well-established in your profession, are comfortable in your mortgage, and are raising a family with a long-term partner. The midlife crisis is a way to shake up the hum drum of the everyday.

I’m here to tell you that I am NOT having a midlife crisis. I’m having a midlife ANTI-crisis.

Remember my housing crisis (genuine crisis) I have been having since May 2018? Well, here we are in September 2018 and I have effectively solved my housing situation.

I bought a house. #Boom. #ProblemSolved

I have never even lived in a house in my life and now I own one. Over the course of my life, I’ve gone from homeless to home owner.

While most people my age are trying to shake things up a bit, I am looking for stability and a sense of permanence. I needed a place to live that I could afford and keep my family together. Since the new landlord that bought my apartment building raised the rent to well over 60% of my income and is going pet-free, I needed a place to live.

All the rentals in my area are “no pets.” Or, they only allow one pet. Would you be able to choose which of your children to put up for adoption in order to keep your housing? Me neither. We are a family and we stay together.

The only viable option for me to be able to keep my family together was to buy a house and I have done so. By the way, my mortgage (including taxes and insurance) is almost $400 a month LESS than what the new landlord was going to charge me in “market rate” rent.

I’m going to live in this house until I die. While most people are bored with life, I’m just getting started. This is my midlife anti-crisis.

We just moved in last Thursday and have been here less than one week. Within the first 24 hours of home ownership, I already had an “idiot call” to the plumber. I broke down sobbing one night at bedtime saying I wanted to go home, but didn’t know where that was. I have used every tool in both my toolboxes. I don’t know the names of the tools, but I know what they do and I have used them all.  

I have a real mailbox with a real flag for the first time in my life. I have curbside garbage pickup for the first time too. I have more cuts, bruises and sore muscles that I have ever had in any of my 15 marathons.

I have been on vacation from work during this, and have pretty much “vacationed” at Lowe’s – I’ve been there every day. Some days, I’ve been there twice. I have been amazed at what I can fit in my 4-door sedan, and humbled by the many people who have been helping me and checking on me.

I successfully assembled a lawn mower and used it. I bought an old fashioned push mower. I only have .11 worth of grass to be in charge of. I mowed my own lawn for the first time. Mowing a lawn is some level of hell Dante forgot to mention in his inferno, but now that it’s done for the week, it’s kind of comical. One of my neighbors came out to check on me, and I could not tell from his reaction whether he was laughing inside, genuinely concerned about my efforts or both, but I’m sure I amused the neighborhood.

I have a detached garage and this was my first time in 24 years of driving that I have had a garage in which to park my car. Someone came to visit me while I was assembling the lawn mower, and I texted them to say I was “in the garage.” Hey, it was exciting to me.

I have a front porch where I’m writing now. I don’t think I have sat down for 4 days straight. I have plenty of chairs for all the people who have been helping and visiting. If it weren’t for my friends, I would not have been able to laugh through any of this.

Simon is adjusting slowly but surely. Jude has not left the kitchen cabinetry. I’m sure it will take time. I don’t think they realize what I had to go through to keep us all together. I was so scared that if this had not worked out, we would have been living in the car (again). We finally were able to escape anti-pet greedy people.

My goal is to get settled by the end of this week so that next week we can get into some sort of regular home owning family routine. The past week has literally been the ride of my life. I never thought I would own a home. I’m just happy that I was able to keep the family together.

While everyone else is having a midlife crisis, I am happily learning the positives and negatives of home ownership. Based on my first few days, I can tell you that this is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Hopefully, it will be worth it.

So far, it’s already worth being away from the toxic situation I endured with the new landlord over the past few months. It’s scary to think of all the responsibility that comes with a house, but at the same time, I get all the rewards.

So far, the time I spend on my new front porch with friends is the best time ever. It almost makes up for the fact that I sacrificed my camping trip, marathon, and summer beach days. Almost.

I have a lot to learn on this new journey. Instead of shunning responsibility, I am embracing it. This is my midlife anti-crisis.

Welcome home.