Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

Who is the fairest of them all? 

We all do it. We all walk past a mirror and check ourselves out. Walk by and pretend we’re not looking at our reflection looking back at us. In my house there is a mirror behind the kitchen table and I swear, people talk while looking at themselves and don’t even look at the rest us at the table. Is this a self esteem issue? I once had a boyfriend who literally just looked at himself while we ate dinner. Another stellar choice on my part. (Cue eye roll). Don’t worry, it didn’t last long. Back to the important stuff.

Why is it that we find the need to ‘always check our hair’? 

The idea of even writing about mirrors started when I read an article and was discussing it with one of my girlfriends (shocker) and she literally had just listened to a podcast about the exact same thing. The two of us could relate. For the life of me, I can’t find the article anywhere aka or remember where I read it (she listened to Joe Rogan). Long story short, it goes something like this. A woman and her boyfriend were in a fight (we’ve all been there) and when she picked up her coat to leave in the middle of the argument, she noticed that she looked to her left. At a mirror. She looked at herself and didn’t turn around and look at the man she loved. She walked out the door and showed him. But, for the rest of the walk home, she could only think of how selfish she acted. There is no end to the story, we don’t know if they got back together or not, but that seems unimportant when you think about the lesson she was teaching us.

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? 

Do you see a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a friend, a companion? Do you see a survivor, a victim, a hero, or a tired soul? When you look in the mirror, do you smile and think, thank you. Thank you for another day. Thank you for another chance to be better than you were yesterday? Do you think, when you look in the mirror how many people love and count on you? Even the the gas station attendant who has little to no impact on your life but perhaps you were the only one who smiled at him today? Who do you see when you are brushing your teeth or putting your make up on? Who do you see when you are walking by a mirror?

At the end of the day, you are loved.

Someone is happy you are in their life. Someone likes to see those sparkling eyes, someone loves that smile, or to just hear your voice. You look great. You smell great. You look like you. So, with all the chaos going on in the world, lets take a moment to remember we don’t have to make our hair look perfect, we don’t need to glance at that mirror when we walk by it. Don’t distract yourself from the conversation you’re having to look at yourself. Don’t interrupt the person you are speaking with to adjust your suit. You look great. Be confident in the moment. Feel the people you are with. You have all night to be alone and admire yourself, but do you really need to do that? Confident people do not need to be told they are wonderful. Rich people do not need to be told they are rich.  You can walk by that mirror and just keep walking. You can do it.

Because, we are all beautiful. We are full of life and of hope and we all have a reason to be here. 

Real rent and fake checks.

I have been using Craig’s List for years.

We found a roommate in Breckenridge, Colorado who ended up becoming a dentist. She was great. And, ever since then, I was hooked. I’ve met roommates who then turned into friends (don’t get me wrong, I don’t have 10 cats and I’m not going onto Craig’s List to find friends or anything psycho like that), but I have found paintings for my house, and other odds and ends that go along with Craig’s List.

This month was a game changer.

The ‘Payment Department’ sent me a check.

Wait, back up.

I live in a small town with the only Law School in the State of New Hampshire so my roommates have come and gone through the years, semester, or visas. My latest roommate returned to Portugal after her visa was up. Naturally, I thought that this was a good time to find another roommate.

So, logically, I put an ad on Craig’s List. It was generic and sounded like this:

“Looking for a professional roommate, who can pass a background check, non smoker, no pets. Rent one of the rooms in a two bedroom apartment close to downtown Concord and share the utilities. I am very clean, quiet, and like to have a low keyed living situation. No drama. $650 plus half utilities.”

Photo credit: Contemporary Designs

I mean, how simple is that?

Well. Let me tell you, I got a few responses from two women who were “traveling nurses” that wanted to rent the room. Which, honestly, is pretty common. I live near the Concord Hospital and it would make sense to stay here for a few months. I don’t want a long term commitment on that level by any means.

Back to the scam.

I had two girls respond to me right off the bat. They sent pictures, and looked like “normal” everyday people. Facebook, Twitter, Insta; normal social media platforms that regular people would stalk.

As in, me.

I explained to them that I had multiple offers (truth) and the first person to send me a check could rent the room. Commitment and I are working things out, but for the most part, have come to an agreement, we can make this happen.

Long term commitment sent me a check. 

TD Bank didn’t accept it, direct deposit from my phone didn’t accept it. And then, I knew. I just knew that the fact that she wanted to borrow my sheets for her bed, that she liked to shower before work around 7:15, and, didn’t need a dresser, it was all fake.

And, then I called my mom.

Huge shocker. I talk to her all the time. If she actually used these words, she pretty much thought this was the dumbest thing she had ever heard. I think she literally said “You’re too smart to be this naive.”

Next move. I called a couple of my girlfriends.

I’m lucky they were available. Now, half the month had passed and I still didn’t have a roommate. It was game time. I would call them professional stalkers but that is not encouraged, so I will say that they quickly proved that the check was fake. My roommate was not coming.

It gets better.

LTC (I’ll abbreviate for everyone’s sake). Long Term Commitment asked me very casually to just sign a car for her. (One of my girlfriends in Breck had cars delivered when she needed them, so I thought, whatever lady. Let’s just get this over with).

Next time, hard pass.

Miss. LTC wanted her car to be here when she arrived, ‘to make the transition smoother’.

She sent me a check, with the amount for the car delivery and the amount for the rent. As if this was an every day situation.

But, seriously. Kate, no problem.

I called my favorite guy. Apparently it was all hands on deck for this debacle. Again, shocker. He laughed. Reminded me so kindly; ‘You potentially would have a STOLEN BMW sitting in your driveway that you signed for and you paid for the delivery.’ This is not my kind of fun. Netflix and chill is my kind of fun, no matter what night it is. With pizza.

Lessons learned.

Set up phone calls. Make every single person interested in what you’re selling speak with you. Don’t leave a key under your mat. And, definitely don’t sign for a car. EVER. The Concord Police operator even laughed at me. I mean, after you call your parents, your girlfriends, and main squeeze, apparently the police are the next great idea.

All I could think was, how the hell did I fall for this? Hook.Line.And.Sinker. Everyone told me this was the oldest scam in the book. So, note to self, be smarter than the book. Call your friends and family and don’t try to cash checks. Especially if the routing number starts with a zero.

Remember. Real rent, fake checks.

You’re not supposed to go through life…

“Thinking that you’re not where you’re supposed to be. Just remember, you’re not a finished product. You may have some weaknesses, and have areas you want to improve, but that will not help you move forward.Joel Osteen (no matter how you feel about him, that’s good advice).  You’re not supposed to go through life feeling defeated.

You must accept yourself right where you are.  As my mother always says, bloom where you are planted, if you will.

I’m obsessed with houseplants right now. So you’ll see a lot of them.

That was the last thing I expected to write about today.  As you know, we’re in this together. Fifty-two blog posts are coming your way. That’s five. two. Fifty-two times I get to escape from the world of HVAC, Google Translate, and swimming in SEO world. This was a little run in I had with Google this weekend:

Google Translate. Go home. You’re drunk.

So, together, we’ll make this happen.

I’ve written about how there is no perfect partner. And, then of course, my best friend from High School met the female version of himself. They like science, tide pools, and eating ice cream. They both have dogs, she loves cats, and he loves her. It’s like two peas in a pod. It’s awesome. So, I won’t bore you with that love story.

I’ve written about love lost, poor decisions, and, moving on. But, apparently, today I’m going to write about being happy right where you are. It’s not always the dream life, the way you envisioned it when you were young, but it’s right where you’re supposed to be right now.

For everyone born in the 80’s someone you know had this van. Photo Credit: The New York Times

This sounds so weird today, but I thought I’d have a minivan and five kids by now.  I thought I’d be cutting oranges for soccer games, and teaching swim lessons to my little bambino’s. But, apparently as of today, that’s not in my cards.

I’m married to my work. 

Literally.  I’ve always wanted to start a business and a wonderful opportunity fell into my lap. They’re starting a subsidiary of the parent company located in Shanghi – so we have their support we’re just starting the North American company here. I have a great boss and am psyched to make it happen.  We get to start a company and literally do every single detail of it. It’s not a Case Study at UNH, it’s real life. And, I’m so grateful that my girlfriends, family,  and boyfriend are so supportive because I’m literally never around.  I am swimming in work and loving every minute of it.

My sister and Molly Bean help keep the house clean, my roommate reminds me to eat, and I just work. Agh, I sound like a 60 year old man who can’t retire, but you get the idea.

Enough about me. I’m proud to be blooming where I am planted.  And, today I’m feeling nostalgic and asking you to do the same thing. Just for today.

Remember that you’re not supposed to go through life feeling less than.

Just for today, remember that you’re future will be brighter than your past.

Sitting on the stone wall

I met one of the nicest group of people I’ve ever met in my life. 

Not just any stonewall. A wall in downtown Concord, NH.

Every Thursday I have a standing hair appointment. It sounds so basic, I know. But my Grandmother was grey at a young age and I’m not ready to go there quite yet. These ladies know just how I like my color, that I don’t need a massage, but that I love to visit and catch up. We eat, we laugh, we visit, hear about each others lives. Regular coffee talk. Minus the coffee.

Anyway.

On my way there I see the same group of people sitting outside the Clock Tower as I always do. We exchange pleasantries, say hello, and go about our day.

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The regular view from the stonewall

It’s on my way home the magic happens. 

My buddy Kevin plays the guitar. He yells “HI KATIE!” to me from across the street. He waves and smiles like I’m the only person he has seen all day.  And, every time I see him, he moves over on that stonewall and makes a seat for me.  I sit down, I visit, he and his buddies fill me in on what’s going on in town. We talk about the small things and the seemingly big things, which are of course all relative.

Today he was right in front of the State House, depending on the time of day and what’s going on in town is a pretty normal occurrence.  There were dogs, and families, new bikes, old bikes, and per usual, he moved over, made me a seat and we sat down and talked.  There was a ceremony on the State House steps and men in uniform walked by and saluted him and thanked him for his service. Today, Kevin was decked out in his military clothes. I also thanked him for his service.

And, he told me it was an honor to serve his country.

He told me about combat and where he was in the world, what he saw, and the kind of friends he made. He told me about how he left everything behind and when he came home nothing was as he remembered it. He’s a pretty private person and will only give little tidbits at a time about his life but I love hearing it and he knows everyone in town and their story too.

These guys stick together. They know where each other are most of the time. If someone’s missing, it’s because this or that. They care about each other and are proud to call Concord home.

When it got way too busy, the Introvert in me took over, and I said my goodbyes and he told me to be safe. We don’t even high five. It’s just an understanding, thanks for being here, nice to see you, hope to see you again next time.

With a wave and a big smile that was it. Until, we meet again my friend. 

The Office

Is a joke.

Oh Susan, please tell me more about your life, I’ll smile and pretend to care about your craft projects, or guys you’ve slept with, and how your night was.

Actually, let’s call a spade a spade. Not so much.

I hear that people have a hard time working from home; that there is too much that needs to be done around the house, and that there are other things going on, etc…coming from someone with a very high level of energy and a serious case of ADHD working from home for me is a miracle.

I can get more done in 5 hours than I ever could in an office. It’s time management at its finest.

Perhaps it’s not for everyone, but for me, working from home is a blessing. I can get my work done, meet my deadlines, not have to hear about Susan’s date last night, or any other useless drama that goes along with small talk in the office. It’s like the Monday morning quarter back, water cooler talk, blah, blah, blah, which to me are a huge waste of time.

If you trusted me enough to go to college, I can self manage. Trust me. 

There is a mentality in our country that you must be at the office by a certain time, be watched, micromanaged, and babysat the entire time you’re there. And, for me that just doesn’t fly. I know how to self manage. I know how to hit deadlines, I don’t need someone looking over my shoulder telling what to do. Give me a deadline and an idea of what you need, and I’ll make it happen.

In order to get a job in this country a Bachelor’s degree is expected, and then you get it, and you go right back to being in high school. It’s bizarre.  Working from home should not be earned, it should be expected. I build budgets, I pay you to work, I don’t want to pay to babysit your every move too.

While I was at UNH no one cared if I showed up to class, no one cared how I did on my exams, but, I only had three exams a semester per class my Freshman and Sophomore year so I better be damn sure I passed them with a B (any grade above a C was mandatory) if I wanted to stay in the Business School or on the Crew team. Which, obviously, I did.

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I spent hours and hours at the Thompson Library at UNH. Photo curtesy of UNH.

My experience at college was a lot of drinking, a lot of eating, a lot of studying, and a ton of time figuring out how to adult.  I knew what I needed to get done, when it was due, and how to manage a project.

Even if you didn’t go to UNH if you have any kind common sense, you get the point. 

Time management is crucial in any part of your life, whether you’re a mom, a professional, or juggling a ton of other projects. If you can’t be trusted to work alone, why keep that job?

I say that because I was just promoted and sixteen hours into the promotion an Executive in the company decided that our entire department needed to report back to the office because his son can’t be trusted to work from home. I’ll avoid the entire subject of nepotism for the sake of my own sanity,  but you get the point.

Hmmmmm….on that note, check please.

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So to wrap this up, I want to end with the fact that in my experience, adults don’t need to be babysat. They need to be trusted, empowered, and enabled to make their own decisions with the right guidance to get a job done correctly.

If you’re one of the managers that thinks anyone likes their hand held there are lots of books on the subject. 

My advice to you is to be a good leader, be a good role model, and make your employees happy. It may not be easy, but it’s the most economical, financially fiscal, and time efficient way to succeed.

Growing up as your parents grow older.

Talk about a walk down memory lane. Adulting if you will. 

My parents are downsizing and selling our childhood home. The 5 year old in me wants to have a complete temper tantrum and stomp my feet and the adult in me wants to remember that this is for the best.  For them.

My parents can finally retire and be free of their responsibilities. No more stairs. Close to their grandchildren.  Fun money to live the American dream.

Dining room

I’ll periodically add pictures of the house for sentimental value.

But, I can tell you, that walk down memory lane as we cleaned out our old bedrooms was tough. It was bitter sweet.

Emphasis on bitter. Not to be dramatic. 

There were pictures from High School, when life was so easy, all we had to do was study, practice, and hang out. My mom cooked, my dad cleaned, and we had it made. I found pictures of friends that through the years I’ve lost touch with or who are no longer with us and I can remember the exact moment that picture was taken.

My sister killed it in Cross Country and every time I found a trophy or an award for something I did was reminded that the team won it and I just got one.

Those were the funny parts. 

There were tears. There were smiles. There were giggles. There was an entire spectrum of emotions and I can’t tell you which ones were the best and which ones were the worst. It was a sad day in the Putnam house but my parents are excited, so I’m trying to jump on the bandwagon with them.

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The kitchen my dad made us breakfast in every morning and my mom made us dinner for years.

When you never think it’ll happen to you. 

Obviously, I’ve heard of other people going through this, when their parents need to downsize and when parents decide that they don’t want to clean the whole house anymore or go up and down the stairs. I just never thought it would happen in my world.   I thought a lot of things would never happen to me, but I guess that’s just part of growing up.

So, for anyone else going through this, I feel your pain.

I know what it’s like to see pictures, trophies, memories, that you think are so insignificant and then suddenly you’re holding it and floods of that time in your life come rushing back.

It can’t be that bad, it’s just a new adventure, it’s a new start. It’s for the best for everyone, and it’s just a part of growing up.

Nobody is perfect…

And, neither are you. 

In a disposable society we have all learned to adapt.  No one will fit all of the thoughts and ideas we have created for the ‘perfect person’. In the expendable society that we have devised, finding and keeping the perfect partner is down right impossible.

couple holding hang

Photo credit: www.ixicreations.weebly.com

We have created a monster. And that’s OK.

Women are waiting longer to get married and settling down. Men are enjoying their freedom just as much and loving every minute of it. But, when you ask them, a woman will say; “I thought I’d have a minivan and three children by now” men will say; “I haven’t even thought of forever yet”.  You know, a little Men are From Mars moment.

It’s easy to find fault.

When we adapt to our relationships and know that you can trade in your latest partner for the next model (and coming from someone who hasn’t found the perfect partner I feel qualified to say that) no one can live up to the expectations we collectively have created. I should probably take my own advice but one of my girlfriends is going through this right now and I thought it was a good time to talk about it.

30 blogs to help you get through a divorce

There are 30 blogs to help you get through a divorce. www.criminaljusticedegreesguide.com

With the highest divorce rate in recent history, (I’ve unfortunately been there and done that) we all know people who didn’t make it for one reason or another. And, you can’t fault them. When two completely different people come together, molding your life and changing the way you do things can be a flat out nightmare. My advice if you’re going through it is a strong support system and a lot of tissues. The pain for me was unimaginable. I never ever thought it would be as emotionally disruptive as it was.

No one is perfect. 

But enough about me. Seriously. When you have an ideal partner, someone who qualifies and fits in to the box you’ve created, you’re going to be disappointed. I hate to tell you, but no one will fit into your perfect ideal. And if they do, please let me know. I’d love to hear all about it. The point here is that, no one is perfect. You’ll have to take the good with the bad, exchange the little things you thought you cared about for the big things. Who holds you after a long day at work? Who makes you dinner when you’re hangry? Who do you want to cuddle with at night?

rocking chair

Source: www.gettyimages.com

That’s what matters. 

Remember the little things. Who do you want to sit on your porch with when you’re 80? Remember that just because he doesn’t fit into your magical little imaginary box doesn’t mean he isn’t the perfect partner.

Because he doesn’t exist. 

 

Girlfriends make the best friends.

Every girl needs girl friends. There’s the neurotic, the systematic, the processor, the secret keeper, the advice giver, the one you don’t actually want advice from but love to talk to and hang out with, the ones you call at 2 in the morning when you can’t sleep, the motivational speaker, and the blind supporter. Everyone needs girlfriends. And, I just described all of mine. Who, combined, share all of these traits.

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The Neurotic. 

She’s intense, she’s on point, and you can not fuck with her. She gets stuff done and she’s usually the best at everything she tries. Her house is notoriously clean and her life is put together. You can count on her. She’s there for you when you need someone almost to a fault. She will come over at the drop of a hat and make sure you’re ok. She’s one of my favorites.

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The Systematic.

She’s a nurse. She’s loyal and does the exact same thing every day. You know where she is, what she’s wearing, and how she’s doing. She has this adulting thing down. She doesn’t worry what you think about her because she’s too busy organizing her car, her house, or her desk. She’s a doer and she knows how to get things done.

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The Processor.

She’s four steps ahead of you. She knows what she’s doing before she wakes up, she gets to work two hours early, works hard, and has a system. She doesn’t mess around. She’s busy working out, keeping her body in shape, and eating well. She likes everything done 1,2,3 in that order, and appreciates if you could keep your life as organized as hers. She’s an Accountant. A Financial Planner. She’s busy, organized and structured. But she makes time for you and she loves with everything she has.

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The Secret Keeper.

Everyone has secrets. And, I hope you have girlfriends that know how to keep them. Secrets are important. They are the foundation of trust. They are what make a relationship work. I like secrets. You can tell her you buried a body in your back yard and she’ll never bring it up again. She’s key.

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The Advice Giver.

This is who you want to talk to when your world is crumbling. She knows how to speak in a language you understand. She will tell you you did this to yourself or she will tell you the world did it to you. She will give you advice a shrink would never think of because she can talk to you in ways that only you two understand. And, she’ll let you absorb it and then tell you it’s time to move right along, and get over it. Get over that guy, get over that problem, get over how you were hurt and don’t make the same mistake again. But, when you do, she’ll be there.

The Blind Supporter.

She went Ivy and got a 4.0. She is legit and little bit blind to the whole life thing. She trusts you and loves you and believes everything you do is literally the best thing since sliced bread. She is the one you call when your ego needs a boost or you’re down on your luck. She knows how to make you feel special and she takes her job very seriously. She knows the difference between right and wrong but doesn’t really care because you’re her friend and she’ll support what ever decision you make. She’s the cheerleader and you love her.

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I had to throw Dallas in there.

To wrap this little number up, the most important thing to remember is that your girlfriends should have your back. They drink the kool-aid with you, they listen, cry, and give advice when you need it. So do yourself a favor and make good girlfriends, because at the end of the day, you need them and they need you.