Welcome to my life – or should I say, the change of my life.
For over fifty years I considered myself a retailer or a retail consultant, as I ran my store, worked with other stores, and gave workshops and seminars on retailing all across the US and Canada. In 1989 I began a newsletter which developed into a magazine in the 2000’s, but I still continued the travel and the in-store work, visiting about ten communities a year, and attending 15 markets. It was not until about 2015, that I realized – I am a writer, a journalist – not a retailer. I may be writing about fashion, stores, trends, and sales training, but the point is I am a writer!
I like to share my thoughts, my feelings and my beliefs. When I confessed to myself, “The length of a skirt or the color of the suede really doesn’t interest me at all anymore,” I knew it was time for a change. Put away the store owner hat, and reach for a different cap. What kind of cap? Maybe a baseball cap! A writer doesn’t care.
So today is the first day of the rest of my life – that dumb statement that people make when they change things like husbands or locations or even jobs, I guess. There is no job to actually change since I retired in August of 2017. In 2016 I learned too many life lessons by a breast cancer discovery which led to a double mastectomy in April. Then while still in recovery from that, on August 16, 2016 a flood came and we lost everything in our house. The four foot wave of water took out the furniture, the clothing, the pots, pans, appliances. Even the fireplace had mold between the bricks. The water created such a mold problem we had to tear out everything, and we were left with concrete floors and studs and roof. It was a true heart-breaking experience. Larry lost his new motorcycle – but IT, of course, was insured. The house wasn’t because we were not considered in a flood zone.
Few things were spared, but most of my photos were in scrapbooks in my office on high shelves, so they were salvaged. The baby books unfortunately were in my nightstand drawer, and didn’t fare as well. I did get to use the hair dryer and attempt to save a few pages. My china and crystal were stored high, and my Blue Dog Rodrigue screen prints hung high enough not to be damaged. Unfortunately one of Betty’s was under the bed in my guest room because I had just taken it down. No saving, it was found floating in the kitchen.
She is such a good friend. Instead of killing me, she allowed us to live in her extra bedroom for 42 days, until we got our rental ready. Then we lived in that little house for 6 more months until finally we got back home. Everything brand new felt good, but strange. At first, it seemed this was someone else’s house and we were just visiting. It’s getting better, but I still miss things they way they were. I try to remember my three little girls playing on the stair steps, but they aren’t there anymore, or sitting around the kitchen table but it’s all different now. We were in this house over 20 years, almost half of our marriage. My little girls are now 19, 20 and 22. Change is hard – and I am stubborn.
Thank God for friends, because I am not at all a house person or a home interior decorator type. My friend, Kim from Dallas (who had been my nurse for weeks during my cancer) flew over twice to help me pick out knobs and tiles, light fixtures and switch plates and cabinets and shelving and all the other stuff you have to choose when starting from scratch. She then put it all together, furniture, picture frames, knick knacks on the shelves. (Every time we clean, I take pictures so I know where to put everything back!)
I hated every minute I spent in Home Depot, and don’t even mention Lowe’s. Do you know they don’t sell COKE? They are a Pespi only retailer which was reason enough not to want to shop there. Can you image spending hours in a place like that without a Diet Coke?
A bit of advice – old women should never build houses. Find one you like and pay someone whatever they are asking. It’s worth it in the long run, I promise.
Come back every few days and join me on this journey. This is the kind of stuff I write, it varies every day with my opinion and what happened in my life. Hopefully it’ll all be together in a little while. You just got us as we started, which is good – you won’t miss a thing!