Sunday, September 9, 2012

2012 - Summer of CRAZY!

Flashback, May 2012. Mr. Mouse, "Are you serious???" Me, "Yes....they wanted to know if we want to sell the house and in this market, it'd be downright stupid to turn down an offer." Thus began the summer where so very much in the Brouse House changed. We were lucky, there was a house on the market that I'd had my eye on for a year or so. It was about twice the size of our little lake house; had a huge (acre+) fenced in back yard with a pool. After the first walk through, we knew it was meant to be our house.

They say that money is cheap these days with rates the lowest they've been in years. While that may be true, the strangle hold banks have on loans make it nearly impossible for people with excellent credit and an impeccable track record to get a new mortgage. Why? Because banks no longer have any faith in the real estate market. They won't hold the mortgage so even local banks will only lend if they can turn right around and sell your loan to another institution. Welcome, to the era of "UNDERWRITERS ARE KINGS!" That said, through persistence, creativity and a lot of prayers I was able to secure our mortgage and we finalized the sale of the old home and purchase of the new home in early August. We moved in 5 days later.

Now let's be clear about this. Even though I took 2 weeks off to handle the pack up, move out and move in, we're still 1/2 living out of boxes. But the important stuff is done. The rest will happen when it happens.

I was worried how Mouse would handle the transition, but he was generally unfazed. First night in his room there were ZERO issues. And to say he loves his new backyard is an understatement. He now has a huge playroom but of course still prefers to play under my feet in the kitchen.

So now...we're just trying to get back into a regular routine and schedule. It'll be a while before this place really feels like home. I'll admit, when I walked around my old house that last time after it was empty, I found my self awash in memories and tears. That house meant a lot to me. I helped come up with the layout and decided how it would sit perfect on the land, watched as every board and wall was put up and carefully stressed over each fixture. All this I did as a single girl in my early 30's....not bad for a kid from very very modest means. (Some day, I'll share the stories of how my Mom provided for a family of four on my Dad's security guard salary.) That house saw my greatest love, my greatest heartbreak, the death of my father and the birth of my son. So many much laughter.

It's funny, the old house I always considered mine. Not because of any sense of meanness but because I put so much of me into it's building. When I built it, I was a me not a we. While I do miss it, I'm not sad. Our new house feels more like ours. I'm looking out into the evening twilight through the sunroom windows and looking around I can imagine how our first Christmas tree will look in here. I can look out at the pool and imagine my son, as a teenager, horsing around with his buddies. In time, this house will indeed become our home.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Father of the Rain - Review

Father of the RainFather of the Rain by Lily King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Father of the Rain takes three snapshot pictures of Daley's relationship with her alcoholic father. In the first, Daley is eleven years old and while she adores her father, she's beginning to see that something is very wrong with their relationship. King deftly stays within the parameters of Daley's youthful, and sadly hopeful perspective as Daley's mother leaves her father and her father quickly jumps into a painfully dysfunctional relationship with wife number two. Watching how Daley's weekend visits with her father's new family is really painful but realistic.

We are brought forward to Daley's graduation from Grad school and plans to move in with the man she loves and to start her dream job as a college professor. Still hopeful , albeit guarded due to the damage caused by her father in her youth, she finds herself sucked back into her father's world as he faces his own crisis of wife number two leaving him.

The last portion of the book is present day. Daley is called again to her father as he lay dying.

This book touched me in a very personal way. While my father was not an addict at all, we did have a fair amount of dysfunction in our family. My mother died when I was nine leaving my father to raise my older brother and me. Looking back, I do know he did the best he could. But there are a host of issues that still linger in my "grow up" psyche related to being left really to fend for myself at a very young age for long spaces of time. And while my damage is nothing like Daley's, I felt a true kinship to her. King's ability to tell the story from Daley's perspective keeping in her realm of understanding brought me back to my own eleven year old self...alone, confused and desperately trying to connect with a father incapable of connecting. But perhaps the best thing about reading this book for me was that while it brought back some difficult memories, it also left me remembering that I am the woman is today BECAUSE of what I went through, just as Daley is.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

One year ago today

One year ago today the world was changed forever.

Our little Mouse was born via emergency C-Section at 8:21pm. I remember not caring one bit that the birth had not gone as I’d hoped, but rather I was strapped down, numb and just straining to see your face and praying to hear a healthy cry. I remember Mr. Mouse’s eyes as he tried to hide his fears and be strong for me. I remember the gentleness in the stroke of hand on my hair and cheek…the only thing he was allowed to touch.

And then…you simply were. You were the screech of fear and health that filled the room with your anger at the bright lights and cold air. You were the squinty, bloody face that I could not look away from. You were the tiny soul your daddy held next to my face to kiss. I could only cuddle you with my eyes and voice. Those moments were too brief because it seems that in an instant you were leaving with your Daddy so they could sew me back together.

The recovery wait seemed like hours; but made tolerable by your Grandma who came to hold my hand and remind me again and again that you were alright; that I would see you again.

And there you were again. In the haze that is my eyesight without my glasses, I saw your Daddy walking towards my bed wheeling you ahead of him in your crib. He laid your tiny body against my chest and it felt as if you were finally home again; against me, heart to heart. No longer sharing the same beat and blood, but still attached by that invisible tie that only a Mother has with her child. You opened your dark eyes to look at my tear filled eyes and we both knew it really was going to be all alright.

It has been an entire year my dearest son. A year filled with joys unimagined and love unbound. I’ve found depths I never imagined; depths of strength, wisdom, fear, laughter and joy.

We three are now changed forever. Our little family while not even close to perfect, is, indeed ours to make of it all we can.

One year ago today, the world changed forever

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

11/22/63 by Stephen King ~ Review

11/22/6311/22/63 by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been a diehard fan of King since he scared the bejeezus out of me at the tender age of 12 when I read Salem's Lot. Please don't ask me what in the world a 12 year old was doing reading Salem's Lot; suffice it to say that it's complicated. I read MANY things in my youth that were well above what would be considered an appropriate age. That said, I have read almost everything (fiction & non) written by Stephen King. Given that, I'm about to say something I can't believe I'm going to about this author beloved by me. But here goes...

With 11/22/63, Stephen King has written a beautiful, painful, real and aching love story. Yes, 11/22/63 at it's heart is a love story. Said love story is wrapped around an amazing journey through time tied to stopping the assassination of JFK. What if you were given the opportunity to change the course of the world? Would you take it? What if it would only cost you 2 minutes in your "now" to spend several years with your goal to save our beloved president? Looking more promising? What if every trip back is an assumed reset? Meaning, if the outcome didn't work, you just travel back again to the exact time and place and everything is all reset? No harm; now foul. Would you do it?

Jake Epping did. He did so with with solely good intentions: stop a family from being murdered; stop a boy from being crippled savagely by his deranged father; stop a girl from being shot during a hunting accident, but most importantly; stop Lee Oswald from killing JFK. But here's the rub, and there's always a rub isn't there, the past is obdurate. Very...very obdurate.

In 2011, Jake Epping discovers a bubble in time which allows him to travel back to the the exact same place and day in 1958. After some small test runs, through the bubble, or rabbit hole one may say, he goes to become George Amberson armed with his knowledge of what will be he navigates this time and place directly towards Oswald with a plan to stop Oswald, somehow, before the murderous shots are fired at JFK.

During Jake/George's 5 years in the rabbit hole, King does what he does best by immersing the reader completely in that time. In a way, it feels like he's letting us in on his love affair with the period. But make no mistake, this is not the sugar coated 50s & 60s that we've heard from our parent or grandparents. Yes, there are the sock hops, gorgeous cars, unlocked doors in bucolic towns he also reminds us of the rampant racism, women "in their place," bad healthcare and all the ugly. But we come to love it nonetheless. King creates "place" like a master.

George (lets drop the Jake for this past) meets lovely Sadie at a warm summer evening garden party. Sadie: beautiful, clumsy, broken, wonderful Sadie. George never had a chance really. Was it that obdurate past that brought them together? Another block? Fate? One doesn't know. And while I know I'm writing in an all to frilly manner about this, I'm happy to share that King does not. He does that other "thing" that he does best; he create real characters, multidimensional, heroic and flawed. That is why readers cannot help but fall in love with George and Sadie too.

In all this, I've only lightly brushed on the Oswald. King truly brings him in to a more human focus. For most of us, I'd venture to guess that the name Lee Harvey Oswald brings to mind the picture taken just as he's gunned down by Jack Ruby in the garage of the DPD. King uses the facts of Oswald's life to bring him out of that iconic picture to humanize him. Keep in mind, humans can be evil and ugly creatures. And we come to understand how ugly truly Oswald was as George weaves himself into the fringe of Oswald's fabric; keeping close, until the time (pun intended) is right.

I'll let you find out if George succeeds; and I'll let you found out if he can save JFK and keep his beloved Sadie. But I will say again, and again...the past is obdurate and the Butterfly Effect is in-calculable.

If it's not clear, allow me to be blunt. Read this book. If nothing else, because there's dancing. Sweet, sweet dancing. (And poundcake too!)

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