Sunday, April 15, 2012

Is My Garage a Reflection of My Life?

My fingers, in desperate need of a manicure, were already reaching for the button that was velcroed to my visor even before I had rounded the drive to my home.  And before the door had entirely inched its way to the top, my silver/gray Chrysler 300 rolled to a stop deep inside my garage.

“I’ve just got to get rid of this darn junk,” I thought for the umpteenth time, “everything looks messy and cluttered.”  I took my customary glance into the rear view mirror to check my face, exited the car and struggled my way through the garage in a maze of old boxes piled high to the rafters, used office furniture, and old paperwork strewn across the concrete floor. 

It was already 8 months P.D. “post divorce” and HIS things were still piled up in MY garage.  Seems as if every time I thought the house was swept clean of him, something mysteriously appeared in a closet or drawer that I had obviously over-looked.  I quickly dismissed any thoughts of him now……I had better things to think about.

Home at last.  I had been out running errands; post office, drug store, bank, gassing up the car.   I tossed my keys, the mail, and a couple of small purchases made that day on the kitchen counter mixing it in with all the other little things I planned on getting to.  I shot a quick glance over to the phone.  No blinking red light indicating any long lost friend, or even foe, would have called.   Slightly disappointed but not discouraged, I quickly darted to the computer to see if I had any e-mails. 

With a quick shake of the mouse, the screen came to life and, surprise!  I had 1, 2, 3….8 e-mails!  “Oh, good,” I thought, “I’ll check them out later.”  Usually the anticipation of “later” was better than the e-mails themselves.  “For now,” I thought, “I’ll revel in the feeling of anticipation.”

Those days I eagerly waited for my phone to ring, or listen for the ding of my computer indicating another e-mail had arrived.

This was all new to me.  This new life they call the single life.  To me, I was divorced, not single.  And at 58, I found that I had a lot of catching up to do.  I was a 1968 teenager stuck in a 2008 world.  And what a changed world it was!    

John and Yoko

You know that revolution in the 70s?  That sexual revolution?  I definitely missed that one!  Right over my head…..gone….nada.

After a 36-year marriage to one man, I was still in the process of retraining myself that “we” is now an “I”… and “us” is just “me”.  Such a strange notion after forty years with one man. 

I was 17 when we met. He was only 16.  December of 1967.  December 16th, to be exact, our first date.  Seniors in high school.  I thought he was cute.  He thought I was cute.  We dated, and never saw anyone else after that.  Four years later we were walking down the aisle.

Straight from my parent’s home where I was raised, to the home of my husband and me.  Add another 4 years, two moves to two new homes, a baby girl, and 20 months later…..a baby boy.

Fast forward 30+ years and there I was again.  Feeling like I was starting over.  Only this time, alone.   

But now there were more people involved.  Two children…adults…who were married and had families of their own.  Yes, that’s me.  A single grandma.  There I said it.  Grandma.   So proud this grandma is…so proud.

Fast forward again another 4 years. And now the grandchildren number 5!  And they are all age 6 and under!  It’s wonderful.
Today.  I am 62 and am still in my same house.  Despite a bit of arthritis that assaults mostly my hands, I am proud of the things I have accomplished around my home.  It’s amazing what one can do when put to the test.  Sure I need a little extra muscle once in a while, but I can hold my own with a wrench, screw-driver or hammer.   And that little bottle of “Krazy” Glue?  It’s amazing!  Best. Invention. Ever!   And my pool?  Never has the water been so crystal clear.
I even borrowed one of those telescopic tree trimmers last week from a neighbor.  You know the kind. It can stretch out to 20 feet or more?  And has a rope on a pulley system that you yank to cut the tree branches?  I did it!  Lucky I didn’t smash the whole thing through my front window, though.  The pole felt so heavy to me that if I didn’t hold it straight up, the pole would start to lean one way and pull me with it!  The neighbor I borrowed it from yelled out his window asking if I needed any help.  “NO,” I called back, half embarrassed.  I probably looked a bit overwhelmed at that very minute, but it sure felt good that I accomplished my task…alone.  Although I paid for it dearly the next day when my shoulders and the front of my neck ached like never before.

I definitely don’t feel lost as I had during my first year post-divorce, but there are still worries.  Mostly financial concerns about how I will manage.  And if I live anywhere close in age to how long my parents lived?  My mother was just 87 and my dad 100 ½! 

I had quit my job in 2003 from a good, close-to-home, position with the encouragement and support of my “then” husband.  We had an eye on the Golden Years.  We were preparing to be grandparents when all heck broke loose.

My life was turned up-side-down.  There was nothing I could do to make things work.  I tried.  When someone has their mind made-up and is getting encouragement from outsiders, there is nothing you can say to change things.  Looking back, I wish I hadn’t begged and pleaded.  But, as in every situation, we do what we can at the time.

My 5 Favorite People
So here I am, today.  I’ve made some acquaintances through my Blog.  Some of my readers experienced the same difficulties as I.  I’ve connected with friends from my childhood, but most of all I enjoy my children and their families. 

I am fortunate to be able to take care of my grandchildren at least a few days every week.  I give their parents the opportunity to work without worry.  But more importantly, I am building a relationship with my grandchildren that will last a lifetime.  The kids get to attend “grandma school” where they learn the oldies (their favorite is Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis), and countless “Grandmaisms” (Move over Bacon…here comes Sizzleen” and “I ate too much, I ate too fast, now I have to _ _ _”) and rhymes, silly…and not-so-silly songs, and more rhymes.  They even pick up the pace when Grandma commands “Chop-Chop!”

I am confident enough to dine, attend movies, live shows, and weddings alone.  And I am also re-living things with my grandchildren…zoos…museums….Cedar Point.
Now in 2012, as I round that corner and my garage door is inching its way open, my Enclave (safe and big enough to hold ALL my grandchildren) rolls in to a clean, uncluttered garage.  Just as I am living a clean, uncluttered life.


  1. You are such an awesome grandma! Just the fact that you purchased a vehicle with those grandkids in mind proves how wonderful you are! I know I am so thankful to have my in-laws around for my kids. And I know your kids are just as thankful for you!

    1. Thanks, Kristen. Time passes by too quickly. Enjoy those little ones of yours. As for the car? For a "brief" moment I did consider a little two-seater convertible! lol I've always been concerned about safety, even when my 2 kids were young and started driving.

  2. Loved it, Joyce! Isn't it funny how we think our home, the cleanliness of our fridge, etc. are reflections on us? You are doing great on your own and everyday will surprise yourself with something new.

    1. Thanks, Sue. Our homes ARE a reflection of us. Our yards, too. But the garage? I never thought of it until I finally cleaned mine out and realized it paralleled my life!

  3. Hi Joyce,

    Rene Cizio at The News-Herald here; can you send me your contact info, please?

  4. Aww, those were just part of highs and lows of life. Right, Ms. Joyce? The important thing now is you managed to get up and live life happily, especially that you have your grandchildren with you. They are bunch of joys, aren’t they? You even bought a new car just for them. What’s better is that your garage is now free of clutter. Hehe. Speaking of your new car, are you considering remodeling your garage?

    1. No Kerita...I think my garage will stay as is. As for the car....for a minute......just a brief moment...I DID consider getting a little two-seater convertible for myself. Glad I took the grandkids into consideration, though. I had them all in there just the other day!

      Thanks for reading my blog!


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