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Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28
Put THIS in your pipe and DON'T smoke it! - 2014-10-23
Max, Wolf, and the goats - 2014-10-15
Maloney for Congress - 2014-10-08

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5:20 p.m. - 2014-01-21
Another Birthday

51

Fifty-one. Not a very big deal as far as milestone birthdays go. Not minding this. As I explained to Wolf this morning- not every birthday is Important. Sure in the cosmic sense in that each birthday counts because it means you're not dead, but as cause for huge celebrations and solemn life assessments, um, no. I'm here. I'm glad. So yay!

What's stronger on my mind today is impending transition. My life tends to be broken into 12 year chunks. There about, give or take a year on either side. Every 12 years or so I upheave my life with some massive life-changing paradigm shift. I marry, divorce, move house, have a kid, change careers, do a 180 with my outside decor (hippie to corporate, Barbie blonde to scalped brunette, thin to fat to thin again, etc), expand my world view and join/delete activities as suited...and I feel a change coming. Part of it is seeing how close the finish line is with Wolf's official school years. He's already halfway through his junior year and it's only a deep breath and a blink away from his graduation. Then there's the in-laws who are aging before our eyes. A scary time-lapse of increasing forgetfulness and frailty, they won't be able to keep up with that house and huge hunk of property out there in the boons for much longer and Arrangements Must Be Made. Mick will be eligible for retirement at the end of the 2015-16 school year and he's gagging to get out of there. Me? I haven't yet abandoned hope I'll get into the last stage of menopause eventually. My malign Aunt Rose is still showing up every few weeks (much to my dismay) but all things must end, even my stupid periods.

I love my house. No equivocation, no bullshit. It's the first space in my life which was wholly mine. No parent, no landlord, no interfering sisters or bitchy 'friends', this house was mine. But...it's coming on time to move on. In less than 18 months school district becomes moot for the first time in 30 years. How odd. How liberating.

I've bent my entire adult life around where my kids would go to school. 27 years ago I trucked my young family 2,000 miles east so I could send Alex to school in New York- the pro-Jesus/anti-science/all football all the time mindset of Texas schools horrified me. Once back home in the Hudson Valley I sacrificed much to get into and keep my kids in the Podunkville district. Small, upscale, academics over sports, well-funded this was where my boys should and would be educated. I turned down jobs. Passed over a gorgeous 10 acre farm and its house with the country kitchen of my dreams. Stayed married to the ex for almost a decade longer than I should have. So my kids could be here. The coveted Podunkville schools. My personal educational brass ring. That neither of my sons turned out to be Rhodes scholars was disappointing, but they never had to join a gang either. No teacher ever insisted Jesus hates Darwin nor was the textbook budget spent on a cutting-edge jockstrap cleaner for the football team. At Podunkville High Alex got to form and stage a comedy troupe and be in three different school bands/orchestras. Once they got the gist the district came through big time for my unusually wired younger son. (At first Podunkville treated the autistic like someone else's problem but they've since come around.) At times I hurt over the insular nature of Podunkville and its Old Dutch money and 'prep school on the public dime' mentality and wished like mad I could be a better fit with the Parents Who Matter but I did what I had to so my sons would get THE best public school education I could wrangle for them.

And now that time is coming to a close.

With Wolf graduated I'm free to go ANYWHERE.

For real. Galway. Panama City. Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine. Right now Montevideo is the frontrunner. Uruguay works for me and Mick. The climate is good. The food is meat-centric, especially beef. The cost of living is reasonable. The government is ex-pat helpful. Marijuana is legal. My Spanish is limited but with immersion will be fluent quickly. It's a long flight from NYC but the time difference is minimal.

Of course there's other family to consider. Like I said above, there's the folks to factor in. Mick talks big but I know damn well he won't be able to jaunt off for another continent unless his parents are settled and safe. SIL's participation will be minimal-to-none so it'll be on us to be the caretakers for Mick's parents. (What a blessing that we only have his parents to deal with, thank goodness I'm an orphan!) And Wolf? What's to become of my little Wolf? He's not without resources. He does have a father. What use Mike would be is debatable but the man is his legal father. Wolf also has a big brother. A brother already into his 30s by the time Wolf is 18 and technically an adult. Alex is a home-owner twice over already and might (albeit grudgingly) give some house space over to his little brother. There's the ex-SIL whose secondary life's mission after seeing to her career and own family has been to show me up and prove I'm a shit mother with her superior buying power and ownership of cool dogs. There's much more extended family on the ex's side besides ex-SIL. Uncles, grand-uncles, second cousins, grandparents, hell, Wolf has an inheritance of a classic Corvette already pimped out and safely garaged with Great-Uncle Jim out in Washington state. All Wolf gets from me is devotion and everything I had to give for his lifetime so far, but he's not bereft of family as I am. Of course he will be part and parcel of my life after his graduation, even coming to Uruguay with us if he wants (and would be welcome), but unlike his mother who had to live in her car when her life went toe-up when she was 18 my kid is safe and safer with backup places to go if life with Mom doesn't suit.

To that end I've had my eye on a house two wee towns over. Not the best cachet in local rep but doable. The town is the butt of local jokes. Yet the house itself offers much. An in-law suite on the ground level for Mick's folks (no stairs!), room and privacy for Wolf on the upper level. A detached garage for Mick's precious vintage Beetle and some of his copious piles of 'stuff'. And an aboveground pool. I've never sought one out but if it comes with I'll be a happy girlie. Doing laps is my favorite Zen. Me? As much as I loathe change I'll roll. You know me, I fear and bitch and drag my feet but once forced to deal I do quite well. Always turning the bright side up and finding the romance.

Perhaps this all seems far removed from the topic of birthdays, but what is a birth but a beginning? And if I began in the scant early days of 1963, an incredible 51 years ago, it's my birthday and for once instead of dealing with the burden of the past and its horrible scars today I am thinking of the future...and that's a Very Good Thing.

This time next year I might be closing escrow on a house nearby or I might be applying for a visa to take up a life far away, right now I honestly don't know, but I'm having all kinds of fun figuring it out.


Onward, ~LA



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