A quick note

I originally made some quick notes about my three loves, in hopes of later using these notes as I wrote more about it all.  Hugo’s grandparents, Polly and Bob, were the first bullet point on the list and about them I included phrases about being married for 70+ years, Bob always loving and admiring Polly, and ‘you don’t see marriages like theirs’.  I also jotted about Hugo’s mom’s recent frustrations with caring for an aging mother and the short story of putting Polly to bed (the evening I wrote about just last week).

The second of my 3 couples was Mark and Pat – ‘crying about Mark, crying together’, in reference to the two of them telling me during his cancer battle, they would spend long stretches of time sitting together and just crying.  My only other note about Mark was that he doesn’t deserve it because he is one of the good ones.

My third and final couple is titled ‘Me and Him’.  That’s how we have gone through the past 16 years, together and as a team, both of us equals.  My whole reason behind posting these notes was because I stumbled upon them today as I riffled through my binder, in search of real estate study material.  My short note sums up what Hugo and I are so I thought I would share it:

My story is littered with other stories.  Stories that co-mingle with our own and teach us about ourselves.  Everyone always loves our story…it’s one of growing up and intending to grow old together.  A story of the ability to forge lifelong friendships, and, most importantly, a story of fierce and beautiful love.

I will end it on that.  As I reread those words, I still feel the beauty in writing them.  It is the same beauty I have in living it.  And I don’t kid about how everyone thoroughly enjoys our real-life love story when we tell them about it – from meeting by chance in high school, to our cross-country adventure, to all the choices that ultimately led to me sitting on the couch typing tonight, missing Hugo while he works during this light rain on the weekend’s eve in Los Angeles.

One day I will get around to writing my short stories or maybe my book.  I am sixty hours out from taking and passing my state real estate exam so once that is checked off my list, I will have more time after work and in the evenings to pursue yet another passion project.  I know, I know, sounds like a bunch of excuses, but I only have so many hours in the day and so much fight in my heavy eyelids as they close on me nearly every night after a mentally and psychically exhausting work day.  Anyways, I love you Hugo ♥

Can’t breath (and I mean that in the best way possible)

Stuffed doesn’t begin to sum it up.  If there was a more severe word for being stuffed to the gills with insanely excellent food, I would be that…plus a molten lava cake.

Since my hubby and I were sick for this year’s Valentine’s Day, we were forced to cancel our dinner reservations.  Little did I know, this was a major blessing in disguise because, as a result of not going out to dinner and staying in, Hugo planned a ‘multi-course’ dinner for me tonight.  He continually labors in the kitchen for me on a regular basis and I am beyond appreciative of his attention and care towards my nourishment and health.  But this time was different.  Tonight’s ‘multi-course’, which I will explain in a bit, was a ten hour process, experience and endeavor, filled with hard work and a whole lot of love.

When he wrote his handmade card for me, Hugo asked me to join him for a multi-course meal.  I, of course, smiled and happily agreed (I mean, who wouldn’t?!?) and we joked about what the definition of multi-course actually was.  I poked by replying that five, if not nine, courses could be found under the multi-course umbrella.  Hugo enjoyed my little jokes, later divulging that tonight’s culinary quest would be a total of four courses.  And let me tell you, four was more than enough.

It started with king crab legs with garlic butter.  It could also have stopped there because that kind of course alone makes even a vegetarian happy.  What is it about garlic butter that speaks to the soul?  Oh, that’s right, it’s the garlic butter itself. – purely perfect in both the garlic and the butter.

Next, we moved on to a palate-cleanser of watermelon granita with mascarpone cream.  Never had it but it was pretty amazing.  The cool, refreshing watermelon did just as intended as my tongue was cool and refreshed.  The garlic butter was sadly washed away, but that was the point, right?

Next, mushroom carbonara.  And here, dear reader, is where I yet again realize Hugo is my soulmate.  I know it every day but let’s be honest, anything mushroom related truly has the key t my heart.  Rich, creamy and decadent, it hit all the right spots and satisfied my belly.

Finally, molten lava cake.  From scratch.  And it was perfect.  To think, my husband was nervous that it wouldn’t come out correctly or was even mildly overcooked, which it wasn’t.  When I tell you this cake was perfect, just imagine the ideal dusting of powdered sugar covering a slightly warm, freshly baked, personally-sized bittersweet cake.  Oh, with oozing chocolate ganache on the inside.  It was a great meal but that damn cake, complete with a large cold glass of milk, just made the night.

I have said many times how cooking for someone is truly the ultimate expression of love.  I believe that because of the way I was raised and the man I was raised by, as my father grew his own food and slaved away in the kitchen to feed my mother and I.  I believe it even more when I am greeted after a twelve hour day at work by a beautiful multi-course meal that my husband knows I will enjoy so much.  He knows this because he knows me, he listens to me, and, above all else, he aims to make me happy in life, as I do him.  This man must love me and I certainly love him, probably more than he knows and I deserve.  Happy Valentine’s Day ♥♥♥

PS – Josh Weissman gave Hugo his date night meal cheater for this special occasion.  He subbed king crab legs for steak, and a few other small alterations occurred along the way, but otherwise, bravo Josh and Hugo for a tummy full of goodness and a job well done.

Coming out the other side

What an awful last ten days my body has just experienced.  While Hugo and I still believe we have some form of Coronavirus, due to the fact we got insanely sick right as this worldwide pandemic began, in reality the two of us have been infected with a brutally aggressive viral infection similar to this year’s flu.  I was tested for the flu so I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I don’t have it, although my symptoms at times mirrored what I have come to know of the flu almost to a ‘T’.  Hugo is about five days behind me with his sick status, as I was Patient Zero, making him Patient One…?  Long story short, our household has been down and out for the greater part of two weeks and we are both ready for this nonsense to be over.

That is about all of the energy for a post I can muster together for now.  As a final thought, I will provide a quick update in regards to the other 99% of my life as of recent:  My real estate exam is eight days away so I am in crunch mode now.  Gunner is getting neutered tomorrow so no more food or water for him until he is post-op tomorrow night.  We have an upcoming trip to Hawaii in March, in celebration of our 11th anniversary, but I am a bit nervous since COVID-19 is slowly scorching our globe like wildfire, including one new recent case on the island we intend to call home for the whole of our vacation.

I realized as I wrote those update points that all of them involve nerves in some sense or another.  A lot to look forward to and a lot to be serious and focus about.  We will nurse little Gunner back to full strength after his surgery, I will study hard and succeed at my state exam, and we will have a love-filled and healthy trip together.  The power of positive thinking, people! ♥

Three loves yet it’s all the same

Love is love is love.  It all develops with similar circumstances, out of fondness and friendship.  It ends one of two ways:  falling out of love and moving on or when we take our last breath and depart this world.  I pray the deep relationship Hugo and I have will afford us the opportunity to part ways after decades of love and life shared, holding hands as we snuggle in bed, both of us simultaneously falling asleep never to wake again.  I want us to go out as we have lived together, as a team.

Well, that was somber.  Not my initial intention when I began writing this.  Despite how dark I just got, I meant it all with the fullest intent of love.  My love realized in life, through having Hugo, is probably the biggest unexpected aspect of my life.  You dream of finding a Prince Charming as a young girl but when it actually happens, you can’t help but question if your reality is, well, for real.

Then you realize it is and as you marinate in the perfectness of that perfect moment you also realize nothing else really matters.  As I always say – easier said than done – but seriously folks, what other nonsensical, annoying, ‘not worth my time or energy’ BULLSHIT matters in the least, or even stands up to something so magnificently beautiful?  Not that hard to answer.  Nothing.

Now, all of these thoughts and feelings come on the heels of yet another couple nights of frustration and angst, as I sit alone while Hugo works, letting my mind run circles around the things that cause me grief.  I am stressed and Hugo knows it all too well, because I continue to pester him about it every chance I get.  He is my best and most trusted outlet for over-analyzing all the things that make KK (yup, that’s me), KK.  It felt like the right time to speak in the third person – it adds effect, ya know?  Anyways, I bug Hugo until I can’t bug him anymore and I bug myself too.  I wish I could turn my feelings off when it gets too heavy and I have had enough.  I wish I didn’t care about most of the things that I do but then again, if that was the case and I didn’t care so strongly, I wouldn’t be me.  I am sensitive to the words that are spoken to me, in front of me and about me.  I am hyper-critical of myself in every way and when I perceive a misstep on my part, I circle back to the moment, the decision, the very word I stupidly said, until I can’t bear to think of it one more time.  I am sure there are others out there who engage in this behavior, right?  I presume I am not alone in this and, quite frankly, I think we all do it on some level, whether we’d like to admit it or not.  Personally, being my own strongest critic is also a strength and I only care as much as I do because I seek to improve and develop as a partner and friend.

As I have said way too many times, just writing this down makes me realize how asinine the excessive, critical behavior really is.  None of the recent moments I have been upset about are even noteworthy, if you can call it that.  The girl drama at work has mildly improved but still persists.  Today I received an update from an old co-worker about a scandalous, problematic, and damn-near criminal employee who we both used to work with – this stellar individual, who is still causing problems, is voicing his dislike of me.  I have said many times how I not only call it like I see it but I also can’t wrap my head around the fact that others are blind to his ludicrous ways.  I am stressed and nervous about submitting my transfer to another unit of assignment.  While I know these things should just roll off my shoulders, they don’t and I am here.  Getting better at being strong, keeping my priorities straight and focusing on the things that truly matter, but I am still me and me hurts a little.

Transitioning to bigger and better news – I am on the two week countdown until my real estate exam date!  Studying like hell and surprising myself with my retention level (I got a 92 on my progress exam today), I am cautiously optimistic about taking the test that will plunge me into my new second career.  Hugo has been so wonderful about the whole thing – encouraging me along the way, listening to me blab about the things I am learning and the things I still don’t know, but want to, and helping with everything in between as I forge tirelessly through vocab review and video lessons.  I can really feel his love when he spends hours cooking a vegetarian meal of my choosing, so he can take care of me by nourishing my mind and body, all while I sit on the couch studying for my passionate pursuit.  To be honest, one of the most exciting aspects of pursuing this new career is the excitement of sharing my success with him.  In the end, if not for sharing it with those we love, what is it all for?

I started this post off by speaking of similar loves, three of them to be exact.  My beautiful neighbors and my grandparents-in-laws (is that even right?) are both half of the couple they used to be for many years.  The male portion of both equations has since passed away, while their widowed wives finish out their earthly time alone.  Of the three relationships I strive to document further, I am the only woman alive and that makes me sad.  I think about the love I have for Hugo and I presume my neighbors and Polly & Bob had such a similar bond, which makes me hurt for their loss that much more.  One day soon, if I can finally get around to carving out some serious time, I fully intend on writing these three love stories for you to enjoy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them unfold, celebrating in their existence, and cherishing the fact that they even happened, so I know you will feel the same.  You already know a little bit about Hugo and I so now it will be time to learn about the splendid people who came before him, making my love bug even possible.

 

Full circle

I remember her laying in bed, being tucked in by several members of her family as if she was a child exhausted from the day.  She was just as vulnerable as a young girl but her ninety-year-old body was weathered and experienced, yet she needed to be minded nonetheless.  During one of our last trips back east about two summers ago, Hugo’s extended family rented a home in the country, large enough for all of them to sleep and roomy enough for everyone to gather in the evenings.  The purpose of the trip was the overdue celebration of life for Hugo’s grandfather Bob, who had passed away a couple months prior.  That event was a beautiful release for everyone, providing a loving gathering filled with many moments of happy reflection on the full life Bob lived during his 94 years.

One particular evening at the country rental house during that trip, Hugo and I stopped by to enjoy a couple extra minutes with his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and Polly, who is Bob’s widow and the subject of our short tale.  Exhausted from this day and the thousands of days she had lived through thus far, Polly was ready for bed around 8pm.  With love, we all escorted her to her first floor pull-out couch, where she found privacy in the rear den and comfort in the presence of her extended family all under one roof.  With one table lamp lit and the aged comforter tucked into the flimsy couch mattress, Polly sat down on her temporary bed as we all funneled into the room.  Everyone wanted to enjoy this moment of tucking their mother and grandmother into bed, just as she had done for the majority of them at one point in their lives.  I may have been the only one present who hadn’t been mothered by Polly at one point, although the love she had shown me during the time I have known her felt as if I was a member of that group.

A couple of the young kids continued playing in the other room, uninterested in a seemingly mundane task at their age.  A couple others, who sounded moderately inebriated, stayed outside on the patio – their loud stories and guttural laughs bellowed inside but it didn’t bother us because all of these sounds made the songs we have all come to know as summer nights.  We held her frail, bruised arms as she sat and fully reclined onto her back, relieved that the tasks of the day were done.  Her skin was paper thin and translucent, dark purple in certain places due to easy bruising from recent falls at her age.  Her eyes were always watery and sometimes she looked lost within her own gaze, as if she was looking off into the distance or right past you.  This was probably from battling cataracts and glaucoma over the past two decades – she was a warrior in her own right, going through laser eye surgeries, among other procedures, to right her senses and continue improving, never accepting a declining body or weakening capabilities.  She gripped my hand really hard, finding a sense of safety and security in my youthful strength and presence.  Polly knew she could rely on all of us to get her into her restful position and off to sleep, something that didn’t come easy to her when she was alone, as she often found herself since Bob’s passing.

For some reason, I really enjoyed this short moment in the rear den with my husband’s grandmother that night.  Something about the magic of the summer evening, with the windows open and warm air lofting in.  Knowing she was safe in the back room gave me peace and feeling as if I contributed to that safety made it a little bit better.  My own eyes teared up as they often do when I am around our elders or any old people for that matter.  I never try to think about any of them dying but just watching them maneuver through life in slow motion and with constant struggles always breaks my heart, particularly when I reflect on the magnificent lives some of them have lived as they are now fully engulfed in their final chapters.  I get so sad but somewhere inside of that sadness is a real happiness and love for who they are and what they have created.  With Polly and Bob came Hugo’s mother and siblings.  Later, Hugo and his brother were born.  Polly’s life and seven decade long love story with Bob gave me my soulmate so despite only knowing her as an old woman, a true grandmother, I have loved her completely and deeply and I owe her a thank you.

That summer night had an impact on all of us, not just me.  I know Hugo enjoyed a special moment like that, something he doesn’t get the chance to do often since we live so far away from them all.  I know Hugo’s mom and her sister felt the heavy love of it all too.  They had just recently lost their father, the patriarch of the family and Polly’s better half, so they were still moving through their grief as they tried to maintain their strength for their mother.  As we said goodnight to Polly and slowly shuffled out of the room as a group, she said goodnight to Bob out loud, as she said she always had since he passed.

Polly is still alive today, as she lives alone in an assisted living community near our hometown in the northeast.  Hugo’s mom visit regularly and we should be going more often, but life and distance gets in the way.  I pulled out a cute card with giraffes on it tonight, thinking how Polly would enjoy receiving it in the mail with a short note from her west coast grandson and family.  We always make an effort to think of her, not just because she is alone but because we truly love her.  I personally like sending her a short note from time to time so she has something loving to experience before bed, similar to when she had her Bob, tucking her in and holding her hand tightly as they both fell asleep side by side for all of those years.

Oldie but goodie

As I sit here watching Dumb & Dumber, one of my absolute favorite movies ever, I realize two things are true.  This cult classic is an oldie but goodie and so is Hugo.  After nearly sixteen years together, this man is my cult classic.  I provide his cult following and he is the classic example of a loving human being with a kind, beautiful heart.  He is enjoying a new video game for a few minutes before we watch tonight’s new episode of Saturday Night Live (another one of my all-time loves).

I find it funny when people say they don’t enjoy SNL.  Right now I happen to work with several people who claim the humor on the show doesn’t appeal to them, which I really can’t understand.  When they say such riot-inciting nonsense, I find it difficult to believe they aren’t a little stupid because they just don’t understand the jokes, skit dialogue and overall concepts.  Maybe that is just because I have grown up with the show, watching the early 90s seasons with my father.  We basked in the glory of Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, and Will Ferrell, as they all started their careers there.  As the years went on, I watched the likes of Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig develop strong and hysterical female characters.  Now, Hugo and I religiously watch every season, enjoying some more than others, but always appreciating the history and nostalgia associated with Lorne Michaels’ baby.

So tonight, I will enjoy a night of smiling and laughing, alongside my best friend.  Can’t ask for a better Saturday night ♥

I am on fire

So mad right now.

Starting to get mad about allowing work issues to get me this mad.  Getting even more mad about being mad this late at night, on the eve of the start of my weekend.

All I can say is that I am thankful I will not be at work for the upcoming four days (three of the days are my regular days off while the additional day is my gratis ‘work from home’ day).  If I had to go in tomorrow, I might just drive right past the hell hole and never look back.  Instead, I will enjoy coffee with Hugo and hugs by my dream team, comprised of a kick-ass husband and two pooches to boot.

So, here we go and before we do, might I add that I had a feeling it would go down like this.  Just last night, as I sat at home anticipating an uncomfortable confrontation between the members of my work team the following morning, I told Hugo how I felt like it wouldn’t go well.  I hate to say it but I fucking nailed that one.  Something inside of me knew my partners and I had issues that had begun to simmer months ago.  Those very issues were now boiling over and someone was about to be burned.

As 7:30 am rolled around this morning, five male coworkers, one female coworker and I took our seats in our conference room and shut the door.  Our objective – discuss a couple matters that affect all of us, such as recent changes to carpooling with our communal work vehicles, schedule changes and the needs of our organization, and a variety of other relatively small, yet critical, tasks.  Right out of the gate, it went bad.

As my coworker Jim (obviously not his real name), who was sitting directly to the right of me, began speaking on our first matter, some of our work adversaries were chomping at the bit to attack.  Just as soon as Jim finished explaining that we need to share vehicles in a more friendly and equitable fashion, Robert (also not anything even close to his name) and Stacie (you get the point) started yelling about all of the things they had pent up inside of them for the greater part of the past year on the issue.  They rudely condescended Jim, another partner and I as they pressed their point even further.

The discussion/argument/battle royal continued as time and topics passed, with my face further reddening and the divide widening among my formerly close-knit group.  They weren’t open to change, our concerns, or compromising in the least.  They wanted all of the perks and none of the teamwork involved.  They also felt as if any of the issues we were experiencing in our work environment were a direct result of Jim’s and my arrival a year ago.  To paint a better portrait of the rude dynamic of our morning meeting, during the entirety of Jim’s speaking points (which were necessary because he facilitated the meeting, unbiased, eloquent given the circumstances, and straight to the point), Stacie slouched in her chair, armed crossed at her chest, with her eyes completely shut.  Everyone in the room could feel her closed eyelids giving Jim the finger as he spoke.  It was a rude, bitchy move and, to be honest, rather embarrassing behavior for a 48-year-old professional to engage in.

My biggest take-aways from the event include the following:  First, I am not friends with several people I work with and they made that very clear based on the way they spoke to me during that meeting.  That decision is mine and mine alone because I make a very conscious choice to not engage or entertain sharing any moments in my life with those who are rude or disrespectful as well as anyone who treats me less than how I deserve to be treated.  Bottom line, I am kind so I don’t deserve to be shit on.

My second learning lesson from my awful Thursday morning was something I already knew but simply had reinforced – people are selfish jerks, a lot of which only care if and how something affects their lives.  If their world is not interrupted at all, then they are fine, but as soon as a decision, compromise or change may alter their perfect little existence, then they have zero tolerance.  The problem with these people (and sadly, there are way too many of them out there) is they are not team players because they only want to take and seldom give.  By definition, a team is founded on taking fair parts of good and bad, so that everyone gets a little of everything as we all work towards success.  In my workplace example, I happened to be giving and taking with a 90/10 split, while others reaped the rewards and always failed to compromise for the greater good.  I wasn’t the only one who was being treated less than stellar so Jim addressed it in the meeting on behalf of us. Sadly, his points fell on deaf ears, as Stacie and Robert defensively yelled and completely failed to grasp his simple point.

In the end, I am the one who is suffering from this nasty work encounter because I take my work home with me.  Case in point – I’m still sitting here bubbling over with frustration and anger.  While I am not quite on the verge of having a heart attack yet, I can see how additional years of allowing work stress to fester in my chest could ultimately lead to my demise. Hugo cautions me about it whenever I vent to him and I love him for it.  I love him even more (if that is possible) for always supporting and defending me, despite not being present or involved.  It feels so good to know my significant other trusts my opinion and believes in my heart to the point that he knows, deep in his gut, that my words are true and intentions pure.

I can’t help it but I am sensitive and I expect more from people, so when those around me disappoint or disrespect me, I take it to heart.  Thinking about it right afterwards, through lunch, all afternoon, on the drive home, as I watch TV, and later, as I begin writing this, is a typical example of how I am not only hard on myself but sad for these types of negative situations that transpire in life.  I would much rather exist in happiness and love, even if we need to have tough conversations.  Everything that occurred this morning, between the hours of 7:30-8:30 am, could have happened with mature, professional individuals discussing their issues, while maintaining composure and actively listening to their coworkers’ concerns.  When the maturity, professionalism, composure, and attempt to listen were thrown out, we all lost the opportunity to actually make progress.  And, although they don’t know it, those people lost me as a friend.  Life is too short for nonsense and bullshit – I have never engaged in any of it in my personal and professional life and I sure as fuck am not about to start now.  But regardless, I am still sad about the whole mess and I can’t wait to move on.

Speaking of moving on, it may come sooner than later.  Just before midnight yesterday, my cell phone buzzed with an incoming email from the California Department of Real Estate – my application has been approved and I am clear to schedule my state exam.  So I did.  Now, tonight, as I sit here typing about all the things that upset me today, I realize that this couldn’t have come at a better time.  Onward and upward my friends ♥