About Me

My photo
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

Ex and I moved to Las Vegas on the Bicentennial Day - July 4, 1976. My mother had beckoned, saying if we wanted to be homeowners at a relatively young age, we might forego SoCal for a few years and start building our financial foundation in a place that was booming (but it does always bust eventually). Stepfather was a general contractor building homes faster than I can type it. Mom was the real estate broker who sold the homes. A post was found for me as an escrow officer - I escrowed the homes. Ex learned landscape and sprinkler systems - he put in the yards. It was a nice little dynasty we had.

We left LA that morning in our yellow VW Beetle with four kittens aged 8 weeks, a tiny traveling litter box, and everything we owned. Our home was to be one of the model homes in Stepfather's latest development. It was beautifully upgraded and we were excited . . . until we arrived in Las Vegas in 113 degrees to hear that decorating on the new model homes hadn't been completed and we'd need an apartment for a couple of months. OK ~ we quickly got one.

The 2 months rolled by and we did move into that first home. It was where I morphed from a teenager to a young woman. I learned to entertain and manage a "large estate" (ha!), keep a yard in an impossible climate, prevent my pack of cats from terrorizing the neighborhood. I belonged there. We (finally) married while living in this home. We spoke of beginning a family there. We hosted my Granny, my Dad and every known relative there. When you live in Las Vegas, you get lots of house guests. Funny how that works!

It should be noted, however, that while Ex loved everything about Las Vegas, I did not. I just liked where my life was during the time we happened to be in Las Vegas. He trenched by hand for sprinkler systems at high noon in August, no shirt on, braids to his waist . . and loved it. If I got a little dewy from heat, I hated life. When it snowed and my car spun off the road, I was ready to pack it in. He trenched for sprinkler systems in the snow and loved it.

When the economy busted, we headed for San Diego for the next 21 years (well, 21 years for me). Amber was born. We lived in one place for the longest time I've ever lived anywhere. When we divorced, circumstances were such that Ex got San Diego and I got - oh, NO, I've already served my sentence there - Las Vegas. Viva. ;(

Shortly after I returned here in 2003, and while the divorce conflagration was still roaring, I took a ride in my car to a well-known neighborhood. I parked and got out onto the sidewalk. An older man and his dog were in the yard, which was beautifully maintained, as was the paint, the wrought iron trimmings, the concrete driveway. I started to cry and he asked if he could be of assistance. "I'm sorry, Sir, I used to live here." "Then you must be Limes." Huh?

Ex and I had left Las Vegas before the house sold. We'd never met the eventual buyers. This couple had now lived in my former home for more than 20 years, and one might call them houseproud because they clearly spent a lot of time taking care of their home. For many years they had received catalogs in the mail addressed to Limes Now and had seen my name in the concrete patio with the date 6-18-78. The wife made me a cup of tea and gave me an inspirational book and then these lovely people did the most amazing thing - remember, he'd just picked me up sobbing on the sidewalk and I hadn't presented ID.

They went out into the yard with their dog. I remained in "my" home to walk through the rooms alone. The block hearth and mantelpiece I'd painted every year because the soot and ashes made it messy. The carefully concealed bullet hole from Ex's gun going off unexpectedly. My name and Ex's on the patio. Numerous rose bushes in the yard that I'd planted with my own hands. In the master bedroom, ex once hung some wallpaper I'd fallen in love with. He'd done a credible job of it for a man who'd never hung wallpaper. There it was in 2003 . . and, yep - the ferns on that wallpaper were still upside down.

I've never gone back there. I don't need to. Ex divorced me. And I divorced him right back during my stroll through our past home.

It happens that I will have the rare 2 days off in a row this weekend. I need a major walk to continue training. I've plotted my route. From my present home past the house that Stepfather built to the apartment shared with Ex and the kittens (which is now a pretty rough area). One of those kittens was in my life 17 years and waited in the bassinette when I brought newborn Amber home from the hospital. Turn around and retrace my steps. I figure it to be 16.75 miles round trip. On the 4th of July through Las Vegas. From my present through my past and back again. Very fitting!

In my ears right now: The Star Spangled Banner, what else? And James Taylor's truly beautiful tune, "The Fourth of July".

Something that charmed me: Choosing my words very carefully, so as not to ruin young men for life, I was telling some of the home dudes about different challenges of extremely long walks in heat. One is perspiring everywhere so that shirt, shorts, socks and shoes are soaked by the time one gets home. I also mentioned that my skin is irritated from moisture. "Men's clear antiperspirant, Limes. Even in the weird spots." Well, yeah! Duh. I shall try it immediately.

Something else that charmed me: Writing the blog post and scheduling it to post while I am out on my 16+ mile walk. I'll return home and maybe have comments before I've even checked out the post. We live in wondrous times!


  1. How generous of the current owners to let you wander through your old home. Kind souls. Our paths never crossed in San Diego--we left there in '74 and on this day in 1976 I had just graduated from high school and had my first "real" job. I hope you survived the heat today and the antiperspirant did the trick!

  2. Wonderous times indeed. As one wise man once wrote, the best of times, and the worst of times. Here we are!

  3. Closure...the word is so over-used and often trite, but the concept is huge. Being able to put the memories where they belong is freeing.

  4. Yow, folks. A "lost" weekend. First 2 days off in a row in a long while. On the 1st of them, I surprised myself. On the 2nd of them, I paid the price. Barely plodded 5 miles today in hot, blowing wind. The Badger said "that's enough miles following yesterday." OK, he'd know.

    @Doozyanner - you are a YOUNGSTER. I don't envy much, EXCEPT young. The home dudes' remedy did pretty well and the Badger has some anti-chafing/friction potion for me, so I feel pretty good about future long ones.

    @Badger - you KNOW I love A Tale of Two Cities! And, yes, that which doesn't kill us . . .

    @OB - It is a huge and complex concept. I wish it had been as clean as it seems in one short post. It took me YEARS to really land on closure, but being in that house those kind people let me into was the start. I recently told Mother Badger that I no longer hate Ex at all. Tonight, over dinner, I told the Badger that I don't hate Ex, and - in fact - have some good feelings about him. That's growth for me. Allowing the memories to keep draining one's self over and over again . . . is a disease I've experienced. Hopefully, I am healthier now.