Saturday, December 22, 2012

An Open Letter to the Mayans

Dear Mayans,

It's 8 a.m. Pacific Time on Saturday.  December 22, 2012 - 12/22/12 . . . a full eight hours past 12/21/12.

Not sure whether you guys suck at predicting the end of the world, or we suck at interpreting ancient stuff when you're not around to explain what you meant by having a calendar that ended yesterday.   If it's you, don't worry - you're not the first person or persons to suck at predicting the world's end.  If it's us, don't be surprised either.  We're not so good at interpreting stuff either.  I mean, a good portion of the world is waiting for the second coming of the messiah, while some are still waiting for the first . . . and it wouldn't surprise me if one or both sides of that coin got some or all parts of it wrong. And let's not even talk about Y2K.

You had us going for a second - I mean, crazy stuff happening in the world like "Gangnam Style" becoming such a big hit and Pajama Jeans (as seen on TV) available in stores (did we buy them when they were on TV?).  And the Mitt Romney for President thing?  He made me wish George W. Bush was running again.  Then yesterday my usually sunny California was overcast and threatening, interspersed with some rainbows here and there.  And there was that whole crazy loud collection of loud, angry birds (not to be confused with Angry Birds, the app, though that might be a harbinger of the end of times, too) in the trees right outside of Costco.  Totally end of the world kind of backdrop to the day.

Whichever one of us was wrong, let me just say I'm glad.  Don't get me wrong - in some respects, end of the world would have taken care of some things nicely.  Like my last 12 months of filing personal paperwork, or my work email inbox that has grown out of control.  Let's not forget the three boxes of stuff I still haven't unpacked from my September office move.  Or the fact that I need to go scoop the dog doo in the backyard. 

But I didn't want it to end, really.

See, my kids are growing more amazing every day.  My oldest guy is now taller than me, with this fuzzy little mustache that threatens to become a full-sized, manly porn-stache any day now with just the slightest testosterone provocation.  And he didn't do half bad practicing driving the car a few months ago - my guess is he probably will total fewer vehicles than the average teenager when he gets his license.  And my little guy is slowly becoming a big guy, who demonstrates and interest in and aptitude for all kinds of things - think he's going to be my chef, my handyman, and my artist, all in one.

And I wanted a bit more time with my family - my nieces and nephews are growing up and doing all sorts of things I want to know about and be part of. And I kind of wanted my mom to come see my new place.  And I know there was that whole scare with my brother and his seizures, but his memory is just coming back, and I wanted to see him get back to his normal.

And let's not forget my friends - the girls and I were going to have brunch on Sunday with mimosas, and I might make stuffed french toast.  What a shame to miss out on that.  Plus, while the WPBT was fantastic this year and I got to see so many of my favorite friends, there were quite a few that didn't make it - was hoping we could see them this year at a gathering or two.

And while my company is going through some turbulent times, my job is really challenging and interesting.  And we just set a goal for ourselves to really reshape our department in the next 10 months, and I'm looking forward to that exercise.  I've got some really gems on my team and I want to work to make their next career moves successful too.

And I'm in love with this really great guy - someone who balances me in so many of the right places.  He's a fantastic cook, handy with everything, cleaner than I've ever known a man to be, organized and prepared, and a pleasant, easy-going type-B personality that keeps my type-A from going off the charts.  Not to mention he's brown-eyed, tall, physically fit, and sexy as can be.  Oh, and he thinks I'm amazing.  Can you ask for more?

So I was really just kinda getting into the groove of this part of my life, and didn't really want it to end.  Want to see my boys grow old so I can wonder "how am I even old enough to have kids this old?"  Want to see my family over and over again so I can say "how am I even related to these people?"  Want to have more dinners and drinks with my friends so we can have more stories, more blogs, more tweets and more memories so I can think "why don't we do this more often?".  Want to hear "I love you" whispered in my ear, over and over, until I just can't hear anymore.

No harm, no foul.  I live in California, the home of "I'm ok, you're ok" even when you are clearly not ok - but we all just like to get along.  So like the Romans, Egyptians, etc., you guys go back to being historically significant but currently not the big cheese.  I've got boxes to pack, gifts to wrap, and a life to live.

Respectfully yours,

The NL Wife

PS - If you were going to make a significant contribution to the calendar, you could have created one with an extra hour in the day or so for me to catch up with everything.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The No Longer Wife

Life pulled me inside of it these last few months, and writing took a back seat. Not that there weren't enough things to keep me busy between family, friends, and work. Throw in a challenging new job and life gets really crazy.

Being one to always go above and beyond, we were clearly not satisfied with that level of crazy, and as you may know by now, the good doctor and I are amicably ending 20 years of being a couple, 16 of them as husband and wife.

It's not something we talked about - in fact, we kept our decision to ourselves for nearly 3 months as we worked out details. And then, we only told the fewest people we could, and agreed that the rest of the world would be on a need to know basis. To date, our friends and family have been amazing and respected our wishes that no one "take sides" - we've done our best to make them not regret that, and are doing pretty darn well at being co-parents and old friends.

The WPBT was a relief, in some respects. It was the first time we were out in the same place with that large a crowd of friends in our newly separated lives. And, amazingly, it worked. DrChako described it well, and those of you who first found out in Vegas took the news like champs. Hopefully it's a glimpse into how we do this for the rest of our lives.

It was also a relief because it freed my head up to write and being around friends gave me inspiration. Hopefully, I may revisit this blog more frequently, and have one more way to stay in touch with this amazing collective of people.

DrChako was kind enough to refer to me as the "amazing and increasingly poorly-named 'The Wife'" - I thank him for the compliment, and acknowledge that neither "The Wife" nor "MrsChako" aptly describe me in this current situation.

Taking suggestions - though I'm a little partial to the term he coined . . . "The No Longer Wife" . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The NL Wife

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Answer

It's buried in the archives, but I'm pretty sure I posted it.

"For the next 365 days, I am the answer"

It was for my 42nd birthday. Any Douglas Adams fan (or other person mildly aware of pop culture) will get the reference. The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything - 42.

My 43rd birthday is only a couple months away and so many things are different than they were last year - things I couldn't even begin to imagine. I often quote W.E. Deming to my staff - "It is not necessary to change; survival is not mandatory." Didn't realize how much it could apply to me. Tonight, as another wave of change hit me, I pondered the statement I made last November (however tongue-in-cheek it may have been): "For the next 365 days, I am the answer."

Realized tonight that I am the answer. To everything. Not just for the 365 days that I existed as a 42 year old woman. For every day before, and every day to come.

When I ask myself:

  • How did I manage to accomplish these things - I am the answer.

  • Who gets credit for my successes - I am the answer.

  • How did I get lucky enough to have one thing or another - I am the answer.

  • What failed - I am the answer.

  • How do I make the best of it - I am the answer.

  • Where do I find my happiness - I am the answer.

  • Where do I find my peace - I am the answer.

Hard thing about this is . . . well, that I am the answer. Easy part is that it doesn't matter what the questions are . . . I know what the answer is. Can't fear a pop quiz when you already know the answer, right?

You still may need to remind me, now and then . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Wedding a Month and Other Things

Seems like when push comes to shove in the time department, this blog takes a back seat more often than not.

Given that I'm transitioning to my new promotional role (VP of Internal Audit and Chief Audit Executive, thanks much), and STILL doing my old job until the new guy or gal gets here, the time thing isn't surprising. Disappointing, but not surprising. So here's a recap of life in my world:

Promotion: It's a blessing and a curse. A steep learning curve, drinking from the fire hose, and a lot of responsibility. But the paychecks are bigger, the visibility is bigger, and its one more step on a ladder I feel like climbing. Now to just do a good job. :)

Motherhood: My oldest will be a high schooler. I am not old enough in spirit to be the mother of a high schooler. But he's excited about it, and got admitted to a special team program where they have an expanded curriculum and a team study environment. He's going to summer camp, and broke up with his first girlfriend, and danced his first slow dance with his mom at a recent wedding. And is almost as tall as me. He's got a dirt-stache and 10 long armpit hairs under each arm. Might not be ready for this.

My youngest is his sweet self, still on the verge of being a little boy and growing up. Maybe I can keep him young and innocent. Highly unlikely. He's struggling to be his own guy in the shadow of his brother. Which means a lot of mimicking (even the stuff we don't want him to mimic) , and a lot of frustration when big brother pulls rank or treats him like a kid. But in the good moments, I find him doing sweet things like building towers out of wedding favors and petting the dog sweetly, and giving me hugs. And once in a while he pulls out a few break dance moves on the dance floor at a wedding, throws up his milk, and proclaims "You know how they say sometimes you can have too much of a good thing? Well, milk is a good thing, and I think I had too much."

Friends: Missing a couple of my best girls. CA April is in Maine with her grandmother, while her grandmother recovers. BettyUnderground is on her great London adventure in the world of retail for the computer company that shall not be named in my office. Miss having them around. On the bright side, CountessMo has stepped in to her new role as best girl friend in California, and TX April is now trying to be CA April #2, so all is not lost. Plus I also gained the Countess' darling brother Sean in the circle of friends, and my other new best friend in the area, Bill, goes back all the way to my hometown and grade school with me - and still likes me. Now if only I had more time for them all . . .

Health: Blood pressure is still my enemy, though with the lowest does of a diuretic, it has come down, and we're still monitoring. Wish me luck, since I'll have to control it through other means - a low stress job is not on the horizon. :) Had a small scare with an abnormal pap, though a couple follow ups later, the Dr. isn't worried about cancer, or even anything less benign. Again, we're on wait and see. otherwise all seems to be in working order, and at my age, it's starting to be a blessing each day.

Weddings: After marrying off my former au pair, this month we did it again - DrChako gave away his youngest sister to the man of her dreams. DrChako looked handsome and played his role well - his dad would have been proud. I was a bridesmaid, trying to look fabulous for the special occasion. Only downside was I was nearly 9 inches taller than the tallest of the other girls - bride or bridesmaids, so I looked a little like the amazon woman they invited to the party for contrast. On the plus side, my groomsman counterpart was 6'4 and probably weighed 220 or better - so even in my Jimmy Choos I looked small, as long as you didn't glance at the women.

It was a fantastic wedding, and made all kinds of new friends from the bridal party, even if half of them were barely 30 (yes, folks, the Sister of DrChako robbed the cradle). Fortunately, being young at heart, I kept up with the best of them, even during the dance version of Florida's "Low", in which I did get as low as the people who already started out with a 9 inch advantage. It was a beautiful bunch of bridesmaids, bested only by the beautiful bride.

I'm sure there are hundreds of other things I should get out of my head. But I'm sure my limited readership is still getting over the shock that something appeared here so unexpectedly, so I'll let them digest.

Miss you all - but still love you.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Family Pride

I thought about being all wordy about this one, but I thought I'd do it in pictures, instead. Really proud of my "extended family" . . . hopefully you can see the love . . .

Our third au pair - Cheisi - a beautiful bride with her American "mother"!

Cheisi with our current au pair, Lisa, and all of our boys, including my "de facto" son Roberto - Son #1's best friend.

The beautiful bride being escorted by her "father" for her big day - isn't he handsome?

True to her "mother"'s spirit, she picked some awesome shoes for her special day!

Love to see all of the connections we've created in life come together.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Monday, May 9, 2011

Change - The New Norm

It's been in process long enough, and I've tried to keep in under wraps. Mostly because I'm a pessimistic optimist - anything is possible, just don't count your chickens out loud until they hatch and are running around under the heat lamps chirping.

Friday was a relief, then, in some respects - a new opportunity I'd been asked to apply for at work came full circle. Though I was hopeful after a quick cross-country flight last week for one last interview with our audit committee chairman, it wasn't until late Friday afternoon when the CFO called me into her office to offer me the position that I celebrated internally.

It's come with interesting reactions. Those who know and love me best are proud. My husband, kids, close friends, my mom - all know how important my career is and how this is one opportunity that just widens the path ahead of me. Opens new doors to new people and new places. Fluffs up the bank account a bit more. Same title, but bigger font this time.

Those who know me less well are still processing my motivations. One reaction was "why would she want a different job"? The words of someone who derives their satisfaction out of a task, not a career journey. Someone who finds satisfaction out of being skilled at one thing, rather than having the skill to try anything.

I pondered that question myself as I interviewed for the job. I still liked my old job; still had things I could do. Why take something with more learning, more risk, more uncertainty? The answer came almost as soon as the question did - because I'm a person who wants to demonstrate to the world that there isn't much I can't do.

The shoes fit a little lose right now, but I'm not worried. I'll wear the fat socks and walk carefully for a while, until the shoes look and feel like my own.

Until then, I've got family and friends who have confidence in me. And more importantly, I've got confidence in myself.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Once a Mom . . .

Always a mom.

Although some days I want to send them away to boarding school or sell them to gypsies, the best gift DrChako ever gave me was these two boys. Watching them grow has been one of the most rewarding experiences and one of the most challenging at the same time.

Mother's Day was pretty low key, but the two reasons I got to celebrate were with me, and that was all that mattered. Hugging a teenager who's almost as tall as me; kissing the top of the head of my 8 year old who's teetering on the brink of little boy and big boy.

My little guy was up with the sun- his handwritten note on the empty kitchen island. When I went back into the bedroom to take a shower this morning, he added to the pile of "gifts", including a potted petunia and a card with a flower pop-up inside and the following poem:

My mom
Wishes for me to clean up my room
Wonders how I do in school
Dreams of peace
Is good at cooking
Likes shoes
Loves Jared, my dad and I

My mom is the best mom ever.

Love, Jason

I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry.

Here's to all the mothers, past and present - may you always find a few words to tell them how much they mean. We treasure them all.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife