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This is a little embarrassing…  OK, more than just a little…  Here I am, a fabulous shade of 41 and in the course of six weeks or so my heart has experienced the entirety of Junior High School.  I fell madly “in love” – with two different guys that I have occasional contact with –  complete with all the freaky, weepy and totally illogical thoughts and emotions that go along with it.  Crazy, crazy stuff like:

“Does he know how much I love him?”

“I just want to be near him, I don’t care that he doesn’t seem to notice my existence.”

“He is sooooo beautiful.”

“How can I get him to notice me?  I’ll just die if he doesn’t love me back.”

“I wish I could hold his hand… ooohhh, a dance would be better, where do grownups go to dance?”

“His eyes… his smile…  his laugh… <sigh>”

I tell you, it is a miracle that Junior Highers can grow up to become functioning adults at all!  I suspect I’m a little more stable than your average Junior Higher on the downs but the ups are an amazing high that I don’t want to let go of quite yet although I know that if my infatuation were actually to be reciprocated I would be terrified…

Fortunately being 41 and having survived the life I had is good for something!  I’m pretty handy at hiding all those emotions away where they can’t hurt anybody until I can sort them out later – and in my case it’s been decades later.  My counselor says “Maybe you need to experience these things because you didn’t get a chance to work through them as a child” and there might be something to that – the sensations of Being In Love are absolutely delicious, I’ve never had them before.

Seriously, never.

The grown up part of me knows that the insanity will come to an end and hopes it will be sooner rather than later but the newly discovered, child-like part of me wants to stay on this roller coaster for a long, long time and enjoy the ride.

At the very least I’ve spared myself some of that famous Junior High humiliation by refusing to pass notes that say “Check the box if you like me”, eh?


So this morning I actually put on some eye makeup and lip goo and went to work.  Todd’s first reaction was to laugh so I’m thinking that whole does-he-like-me thing is all in my head.  His brother, the man who noticed and commented about me dying my eyebrows at the same time I dyed my hair, didn’t appear to notice at all until the others pointed it out to him.  My female boss gave me lots of compliments and wanted to know if I was going on a date after work.

No, no dates for me.  But it was an excellent opportunity to make a joke using the “Honey” line and I made the most of it.  The brother boss asked (in front of a full house of customers) if I was sure I didn’t have a date and I said “No, only you… Honey.”  And we all laughed.  Todd said “So you admit it.” and I said no, that it was just such an excellent joke I couldn’t pass it up and then we all laughed some more.

It was an extremely busy day and I felt good about how I looked – and – I beat my record and made more money than I had made in a single day up until now so I was pretty happy.  My female boss said we were so busy because I wore makeup today and therefore I must wear makeup every day from now on.  They are so superstitious, it’s kind of cute.

Then I started noticing that Todd wasn’t making eye contact with my made-up eyes at all like normal and at some point he started to give off a vibe that makes me wonder if he’s upset with me about something.  Maybe because I called his brother Honey in my too-good-to-pass-up-joke?  I give up.  I’m not even sure why I want to know if he likes me or not because a positive answer would just ruin everything.  At this moment the male species is better off remaining a mystery to me.

After a long day at work we went to my female bosses apartment for some “non-spicy” soup.  Ha!  Oh, and immediately upon arriving the fiance of my female boss was informed in Vietnamese that I wore makeup to work today whereupon he turned to me and said I looked “radiant” today. Oh boy.  I’m about ready to throw all of my makeup away and go back to being plane Jane, I feel like it’s causing more problems than it’s worth.  There wasn’t much spice in the soup but it builds so by the end of my small bowl of soup my eyes were watering and somebody asked me if I was crying.


After dinner we had watermelon, blessedly cool, sweet and take-away-the-spice-from-my-tongue watermelon.  Todd reverted a bit to his normal, joking self while cutting the watermelon but then right after stalked away in a brown study.

Yep, I’m giving up.

In the middle of my watermelon eating I received a text from my younger daughter this evening asking if I knew about Timmy.  Timmy was the orange tabby cat that we had for 13 years and he died today.  My ex-husband called my younger daughter to let her know and she texted me.

I was upset that he didn’t tell me.

I stayed a bit longer until 10 pm and then left.

An hour later my ex-husband called me and tersely informed that Timmy died and he was doing me the courtesy of calling me instead of informing me by text message.  It was our first conversation since we met at the courthouse and filed the divorce paperwork.  After performing his public service announcement he wanted to know why I hadn’t reached out to our older daughter (who doesn’t like me).  He informed me that I’ve really hurt her and I needed to be the grown up here and reach out to her.

He seems to be all about her and it’s gotten worse over the last several years.  A mutual friend has noticed that they have an unhealthy relationship.  Yes, they do.

He did ask if I was safe, I have to give him credit for that.

And I don’t think he could help himself so he closed our phone conversation with another guilt trip saying, again, that he doesn’t know why I left him or why I despise him so much that I wouldn’t even tell him the address of my new place.

Ummm… his parents told him my new address so I didn’t feel the need to tell him and besides, my telling him felt (to me) like I would be giving him permission to drive by and check it out, maybe even knock on my door and try to visit me sometime.  Maybe even give me more guilt trips in person.  No thank you!

He finally hung up and now I’m in my own brown study and I wrote my oldest daughter an email.  It will probably backfire but at least I reached out to her, eh?  Here it is:


Dear Oldest Daughter,

Dad just called me and told me about Timmy and I wanted to say I’m so sorry.  I’m sorry that he died and I’m sorry I haven’t reached out to you sooner and I’m sorry that I’ve hurt you.
I don’t know what else to say except I’m sorry.
I was sad that you didn’t come in to get your nails done like you said you would before your Mexico trip – I hope you had a great time and touched lots of lives down there, I thought about you a lot the day you said you were leaving.
I honestly believe that you don’t really want a relationship with me and that has made it easier for me to say that I’m giving you space instead of owing up to what it really is – I’m afraid to reach out to you because I don’t think you want to be around me and I’m tired of being unwanted.  I feel like I’ve never met your expectations or been good enough for you as a mother or a human being.
Again, I’m sorry, that is a wrong attitude on my part.  I would like to get to know you for maybe the first time and I’d like you to get to know me.  Not the me you think you know but the me I really am.  Maybe we could start over?  Or maybe you could just give me a place to start a conversation from.  Write me a nasty letter and tell me what you really think of me and how much you hate me.  At least we could have some sort of meaningful conversation then.
No matter what, I do love you.
So I’m sad, I’m mad and I’m bewildered on today, the day the cat died.  I think it’s a good time to go to bed.

So there’s a man in my life now that I’m not sure what to think about.  He’s actually one of my bosses, the one I call Todd here, and we work together six days a week.  Todd is lots of fun and very easy to be around and every once in a while I think he might like me in a romantic sort of way but most of the time I’m positive there is nothing there… until I start adding up all the little things I’ve noticed.  For my part I’m honestly hoping I’m wrong, I’m not anywhere near ready to be in a romantic relationship and probably won’t be for a very looooooong time.

Here’s some of the dots I’m connecting and I’d really love some feedback on this one – am I just seeing things out of nervousness, is it just the Vietnamese culture that I’m misinterpreting or could there possibly be something trying to start here?

Talking to the customers about anything and everything is a big part of my job as a Nail Tech and Todd has a great memory, several times, to me and to others, He has referenced things I’ve told customers, often it’s a piece of information that I’ve only said once and it usually surprises me that he remembered it and/or paid close enough attention to what I say to even have heard it.

Todd, his brother and sister are three out of the four owners of the salon I work at and we go out to dinner frequently.  I feel so blessed that they include me because it stops me from being home alone and the three of them really make me feel like I’m a part of their family.  I’ve even had them over to my house for dinner a few times and while somehow I’m no longer the good cook I used to be they are gracious and eat it while telling me it’s very tasty, lol.  The first time I had them over I told Todd that I needed the BBQ put together before we could use it and he said he would do it.  (It was a $40 cheapy charoal BBQ from WalMart.) Normally his brother puts everything together but when Todd got to my house he immediately started working on the BBQ – although his brother jumped right in and took over – but it was clear that Todd intended to put the BBQ together for me and that his brother’s taking over frustrated him a bit.

Tonight at dinner Todd ordered an appetizer that is one of my favorites, something I had only mentioned once weeks ago at a different resturant.  He then asked me what I wanted to eat and then when the waiter came, placed my order for me after first making sure it wasn’t spicy.  (I am a total baby when it comes to spice…)  I’ve never had a man place my order for me before, that was very interesting.  When the appetizer came he only ate one.

My sister made a joke that Todd’s brother was going to start setting me up on dates so that he wouldn’t have to be the one to keep fixing my house (Todd is good with electronics and techology, his brother is the handyman).  I told Todd what she said and he didn’t laugh at all like I expected him to, he just looked at my face and said “Too soon, huh?”  Not only is he rarely so serious, I’ve never had anyone read me like that.  He was dead-on and I didn’t even realize it until he said it.

A customer thought I was saying “Thank you honey” to Todd’s brother and asked if he was my husband/boyfriend.  I told Todd thinking he would find that hillarious but his reaction was actually the opposite.  He looked upset and it felt like he shut down for the rest of the day.  The first thing that came to mind was that it would have been funny to anybody except the person who wished I was calling them honey… yes? His brother, by the way, is somebody I absolutely adore but have no romantic interest in whatsoever and he has no romantic interest in me either.  When I told Todd’s brother what the customer said he roared with laughter and now loves to tell people about it as if it were the best joke ever.

Todd will do and say things while we work on customers side-by-side just to get my reaction, it feels like he is always keeping an eye on me and watching for me to smile or laugh and I get the impression that he’s more interested in getting me to laugh than the customers.

Todd has asked me to go to Vietnam with him.  It was kind of a general “someday” type of request but the way he said it was very specific – did I want to go to Vietnam with him, not him and his family…  That’d be a heck of a first date!

Tonight at dinner his brother and sister kept talking to each other in Vietnamese and then looking at me while Todd very studiously stared at his phone and wouldn’t look at either me or them.  His brother would stare at me but looked away with a funny little smile when I turned to look at him, it was a little strange.

One day I brought a little baggie of Chia Seeds to the salon with me to put in my yogurt.  The next day a giant, barely used Costco bag of Chia Seeds shows up at work.  He brought them from his home for me because “nobody was using them”.  Those little suckers are expensive!

He frequently comes and sits at my nail station to just hang out when we’re not busy.  He’ll be on his phone playing a game or texting, whatever, so I pull out my phone and find ways to look busy because I don’t want to just sit and stare at him.  Eventually he gets up and goes elsewhere but he seems to like to be nearby where I am.

There’s more but these are the things I can think of right now, at 1:45 am, ha, ha.  It’s probably just me being paranoid because I’m afraid of losing the friendship with his family group for any reason but especially if he does like me and I can’t like him back.  Besides me recovering from an almost 21 year marriage, he’s about 10 years younger than I am… and a Buddist… and he talks to customers about getting married and having kids after the salon grows more successful…

Right now I’m really hoping that he’s just a fabulously nice guy who sees me as a sister and that all these little things I’m noticing are part of being Vietnamese.  On my end, a successful romantic relationship with anybody is going to take a miracle and I’d rather see him happy with a young little Vietnamese girl who can give him little Vietnamese babies than trying to struggle through my baggage.

But it’s the little things that make me go “Hmmm…”

It’s actually not as terrible as the title sounds – I’ve been drinking the heck out of the neck of my bottle of hard apple cider, lol.  My Vietnamese bosses like to have one single bottle of something alcoholic with dinner and I’ve had several more dinners with them since my last post.  There’s always a round of “cheers” and bottle-clinking and it just seems really lame to try and clink with my red Solo cup of Dr. Pepper… besides, drinking isn’t actually a sin – believe it or not – so I’ve been clinking away with my bottle and manage to sip it down to just past the neck because I still don’t like the taste of alcohol.  My sister is worried I’ll become an alcoholic because addiction runs in our family but I don’t think she has anything to worry about, besides, she drinks more than I do!  Also I’ve stopped drinking caffiene daily, I’m down to maybe once a week now and I’m having one non-caffinated soda a day, usually mixed with juice.

In the last 22 days since my previous post not much has changed.  I’m living in my new place and really enjoying it.  I’ve become quite handy and fixed my swamp cooler and installed a shelf over my washer and dryer all by myself!  I’ve also been trying to get all my stuff out of my mini-storage one tiny carload at a time.  I pack the car full, bring it home and try to put it all away before bring the next batch in but I’m just about done with the stuff that will fit into my small car so I’m getting ready to ask for help from the guys at church to bring the rest here.  I especially miss my piano so I need to set up a time to have it delivered soon.  I’m finding that going through the stuff is emotionally harder than I expected because of the memories and emotions attached to the stuff I took out of my old house.  I’d almost rather donate all of it and start over but I need to be wise with my resources so I’m forcing myself to go through it.

My job is still good although the euphoria has worn off somewhat.  I still leave feeling happy and fulfilled, grateful to be a part of their little family but the giddy, schoolgirl feelings have finally dissapated.  It looks like one of my bosses will be moving back to Vietnam next month so that will change the dynamics somewhat but everything will be fine.  Once or twice a week we all go out for dinner or a movie and last Sunday I even had everyone over to my new place for a BBQ, that was so much fun!  It was just me, my sister, my bosses and one of them brought her boyfriend.  We grilled steaks and had a great time, I think I grinned like an idiot the entire time but I was so happy to have them all in my home because I love entertaining!

I also got a bunny rabbit for a pet, whoo hoo!  I figured a bunny is probably the perfect pet for me because it’s just fine being alone in a cage outside while I work 11 – 12 hour days six days a week but I can bring it inside and pet it when I want to.  A neighbor in the trailer park moved out and gave me the rabbit cage they left behind and then I have a friend who raises rabbits to show and sell and she gave me a sweet little 4-month old lop eared bunny that I have named, with the help of my sister, Bernard.  Bernard is very soft and quite a bit larger than I expected for 4 months old but he is currently in the dog house because he peed on me while I was trying to hold him and watch a movie.  It was A Lot of pee and it smelled very much bad…  I was grateful that only a little, quarter-sized spot wound up on my couch (and I cleaned it up right away) but I can see that I’m going to have to invest in some absorbant pads in the near future, ugh!

I made a new friend at church, we have the same first name, which is unusual since it’s not a very popular first name – we went to lunch together and spent an enjoyable 2 hours talking about all sorts of things and discovered we have similar life stories and interests in several areas.

So there it is, an update on me.  Life is still good, I am happier than I’ve ever been and I’m feeling healthier than ever both mentally and physically.  Oh, my next oldest brother and I are starting to really communicate now too but I’ll post some of those letters later.