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This morning I woke up before three despite the exhausting day. My oldest crawled into bed with me at some point and rather than disturb her I got up to see what I could accomplish before anyone else was up. The other day I was talking to my aunt about how it seems that the more you do, the more you have left to tackle. Today I cleaned off the dining room table. I piled my paperwork into a giant stack and set it on a barstool for now. I moved the barstools I bought for the condo under the butcher block shelf/ counter thing in our kitchen and moved the regular barstools back so now we have extra seating that doesn't look too terrible since all the barstools are black. I started cleaning in the living room and started sticking books back into the case instead of trying to sort them which was giving me all sorts of anxiety. Thank goodness I never had a hankering to become a librarian, I don't think it would have been an ideal career for me. My ex still has things here so I started a pile for him in the hall. More than the possessions accumulating is the emotional response which is one part relief, one part sadness, and a couple of parts wanting to get things out of here so I can move on in more ways than one.

I didn't buy many groceries yesterday, the girls were fighting over the yogurt so I was annoyed by that. I pulled out the things in the bottom of my bathroom closet so that's a big mess that I need to get to at some point in time today. I'm trying to spread out my focus into the areas that need attention so I have more balance in my life. My brain tends to do bits and pieces of things or dive headlong into an overly ambitious project. I really need to learn how to manage my time better and prioritize things before I start. It was an unwise use of my time to pull things out of the bathroom closet, the door closes and apart from sweeping under there I doubt I'll make any radical changes in there. That's the kind of spinning my wheels activity that ends up with me feeling like I'm chasing my tail. We did some tidying in the pantry and organized the tea and most of the vitamins. We're all tired from the weekend, I doubt the girls got a good night's sleep while they were gone. When I was my oldest daughter's age the seven of us lived in a teeny two bedroom house that we rented for a sum that was still a great deal to us. I remember hating my parents, hating my brother and sisters and longing for the time when I would be grown up and have more power over my destiny. 

The only job I had was my short paper route. Most days I would ride my bike out to see the guy I was dating. He's since been in a terrible car accident and I don't know the extent of his injuries, but when I saw his sister at a wedding it didn't sound like he would ever go back to work. I was both naive and aggressive that summer, not knowing where the relationship was going or how he felt about me. His parents weren't farmers, but they lived in farm country. His mother was a short and stout red faced woman that others were scared of with good reason as she could be nasty, but I always got along well with her. She was our softball coach and later on I was dating her son so maybe she was nicer to me than she was to others. I'm not sure why this memory comes to mind, but during the winter he called and we met at a grade school where we had our track meets. He picked me up and we went for a glorious snow mobile ride that ended much too soon for me. When we stopped to warm up his mom asked me some questions. She was trying to be conversational and I remember standing in her front hall wearing the warmest clothes I had and feeling like I wasn't good enough to be standing there with my matted hair and bright red cheeks.

Their home had a lower level with a walkout basement where people could sit and watch TV. When his parents were on vacation I had a friend over, he had another friend over and we sat down there watching Andrew Dice Clay while the guys drank cheap beer. I was both a goody two shoes and a rebel without a cause. I wanted him to kiss me harder, pull me closer and fill my heart with love. He was a good athlete so he would run down to the bridge and back while I waited for him. He played football, but wrestling was his sport. I never really got into it, I just played with his hair and rubbed his long nose that was the family trademark. His parents resembled each other although he didn't look much like his sister apart from the nose and ears they shared. She became a massage therapist and I wonder if she still does her hair the way that she used to as it didn't look much different the last time I saw her. We moved when I was in school. The new place was a lower flat that had been a funeral home so we had stained glass windows in odd places like the bedroom I shared with my sisters. 

I'm the type of person who would get rid of big heavy furniture if it didn't fit, they crammed it into a room that should have been stately. That was another indignation I suffered although now that I have adult eyes my parents were probably too poor to buy anything new. The bedroom set we had wasn't in amazing condition and it was cheaper to use what we had than it was to go out and buy anything. My mother is very frugal. My father has an odd brand of it. He'll buy caffeine free diet soda instead of drinking water, but he'll do stupid things like not take care of his car. Before he moved I received a call from a neighbor of his telling me that it was going to be towed. I drove that car out to my house and spent I don't know how long cleaning it out. My dad was working for a company that was contracted by the city to help maintain lower income housing. It was dirty work, landscaping, snow shoveling, and minor repairs like unclogging sinks. My dad worked at a gas station and I was embarrassed by that. I don't know what he did with his money, but it disappeared while his car and apartment accumulated more and more junk. He didn't have an eye for what to keep and what to leave. If there was a toy he would bring it over for my kids regardless of what shape it was in or how decrepit it was. 

I got a lot done today. I need to be more frugal and I need to let the anger go. I drove past a house that was for sale. A part of my heart hurt when I saw it, but I told myself that the house I'm living in now is just a temporary place to stay. I measured the front porch for a bench. My youngest helped me with that before she wandered off with my tape measure. It's really frustrating to work so hard while the girls laze around, but again, I can remember my own insolent and self indulgent teen years so I'm trying to put myself in their shoes. I just realized I forgot to tell Jill's therapist something. My therapist said I could come in on Thursday. I just have to keep chipping away at the tasks before me. Our house isn't huge, but anything left in disrepair for a length of time is a bitch to set to rights. I want to have my brother over to tackle the burn pile after we cut back our lilac bushes. We have a yellow play house that I want moved. Once things settle down it will be easier. I'm going to try turning my back room into a dining area. Moving the loveseat into the space we use for dining now will be something new that I think could work and I'm nothing if not experimental when it comes to moving things around. It may never come together the way I think that it could, but I'm doing my best with what I have and that's all anyone has the right to ask of me

Morning breaks. The embers smolder still
from last night's revelry -- a dancing fire,
the party gathered round it, close... until
at three or four, beginning then to tire,
they left the beach, a multitude in tow.

Half listening, half sleeping, dreamily
I thought I heard your voice, elusive, low;
it wafted through my window, rousing me.
I rose from bed to listen for you more,
too late: the crowd, retreating on their way,
fell quiet in the distance.

                                        In the light
of yet another morning, I could stay
and grow old waiting for you by the shore.
But spare me this: choose me, forsake the night.

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