*This is a sponsored post. My experience and views are 100% my own.
Last Friday was one of those rare occasions. Moose was home. Quite often his time home is short, both on time and notice. We don’t tend to utilize it very well as a couple. But not last Friday. We got a babysitter, tucked our shirts in like fancy adults, and headed out!
Our usual go to is dinner but we decided to try something new and out of our comfort zone. There is a place not far from us, called Pinot’s Palette. It is magical. You go in, they put a smock on you, and then you paint a masterpiece! It is literally that simple. Now you may think that you have no talent whatsoever when it comes to painting (one of us is more artistic than the other) but they have a way of teaching you that makes it super simple. Our teacher, Meghan, was really friendly and patient. She walked us through the process and then left us plenty of time to complete our work, walking around helping as 80’s music played in the background timing our work. It is all very laid back and so much fun!
And to top it all off with a cherry, the place is BYOB. That’s right, you can bring in your own drinks! They have a very nice area set up with glasses and wine openers, room for snacks or whatever else you might need. Moose and I were a little under the weather, allergy season is the worst, so we didn’t partake but when I go back, I will definitely be joining in on the refreshment front.
Pinot’s Palette holds classes several times a week so you have loads of options, depending on what you want to paint. They also offer classes for younger kiddos, I know Blondie would have so much fun and I plan on bringing her back here for a girls day soon. And don’t forget their private party and corporate event options as well!
Check out their website here, Pinot’s Palette for details and registration information.
**Author’s Note** I started this almost 2 months ago, on my dad’s birthday. It was too much, so I walked away from it. About a month ago, my co-host wrote a beautiful piece (Check it out here!). As we talked about how well done it was and how proud her step-dad would have been of them all, I said, “I know how hard that was to write, I am sorry.” She said, “Yes, but we owe it to them and ourselves.” So true. And I knew then that I needed to finish this thought. It has still taken me several weeks to get back to it but here we are.
11 years ago today, I called my dad to wish him a happy 65th birthday. “Time is an asshole, Copper Sue.” He was irritated. Well, that was a pretty normal state of mind for dad. But more so on that day. His life insurance policy payout decreased on his 65th birthday and he was pissed to still be alive. He really would have been pissed if he had known he wouldn’t make it to 66. 8 months later, I sat alone in a hospital room with him as he took his last labored breaths. That morning, I woke up in Ohio to the phone ringing. That afternoon, I walked into a hospital in New Mexico. My mom said, “Roger, Copper Sue is here.” He opened his eyes and looked at me, “Oh.” That was the last time he woke up. That evening, I sent mom home to grab her meds, rest, and grab a bite to eat. I held his hand. I listened to the noises around me. I apologized for being such a teenage bitch. I told him how I didn’t know what to do without him. I told him I wasn’t ready but if he was than it was okay. And then he died. He was gone.
Two months after his 65th birthday, he had a scare and we all rushed out to him and mom. He recovered, much to the doctors amazement and we all dispersed. He said good-bye to everyone individually before they left. My sisters and brother all got closure that day with dad. I was an idiot and told him that he was being ridiculous. I would see him in a few months. I refused to hear his goodbye. He called me stubborn. Hello pot, have you met kettle?
Moose and I had flown out for Mother’s Day, the May before he died. He pushed himself that weekend. I could tell he was struggling but still able to make memories with mom and us. At the airport, he stayed in the car as we unloaded. I went to say good-bye to him. He grabbed my hand and pulled me into his window. “Goodbye Copper Sue”, he said with tears in his eyes and he kissed me on the cheek. It was only one of three times in my life that I can remember my dad showing me affection. “I will see you in a few months dad, no need for good byes. We are going to hang out without mom and eat all the good foods.” I think it hit me on the plane. That would be the last time we would see each other and he knew it. He knew it and I refused to see it. The cancer was officially back not even a month later but he knew it that day.
Roger wasn’t a perfect man. He was a self-proclaimed asshole, in fact he often said all Rogers are assholes. It’s been my experience that he was correct. He had many demons in his younger years but he had become a different person as he got older. He was solid ground for me. Always. I won’t get into a lot of that here because I just won’t. But I always knew he was there, making sure I was okay. He would listen to me. He would stand up for me. Give me honest advice, usually over ice cream. He wasn’t always on my side but he never bet against me. And I miss him. I get angry that he isn’t here. I get angry that without him as the cement, our family foundation has broken beyond repair. I get angry that I never got to say, “You are going to be a grandpa.”. I get angry that my children don’t know him, that they have been robbed of a person that would have relished that grandparent role. They don’t know what that is like and it pisses me off beyond belief.
They ask about him often and it pains me to the core but I answer honestly. I tell them stories. I tell them when we encounter something that would have made him happy. We listen to his beloved music. We laugh whenever we see flamingos. We talk about how he died and how his life choices took him away way before he was done with this life. We talk about how much he would have loved them and vice versa. I tell them all the time how much they are like him. I remember him so that they can know him.
I forget what he sounded like but when I talk to my brother, I can almost hear his voice. I don’t have many pictures of him. But if I close my eyes, I can see him leaning over the counter with his hands balled up and resting on his knuckles, watching mom cook (he loved her cooking). I have forgotten his handwriting, I tried to keep it in my head for as long as possible but it just isn’t there anymore. But I can still smell him, freshly showered with a splash of Brut. I can still see his black hair, peppered with greys as he aged, slicked off to the side and a little swirly in the back where it had started to thin quite a bit. I can still see him run his hand through the top, brushing it off his face while he was thinking. I still hear his constant humming, sometimes so loudly I think he may be right behind me.
My dad died on August 24th, 2006. It was hot as hell but it rained that night, it stormed like crazy. I watched it alone from their patio at 3 am, like I had done so many times before with him. I don’t think I ever felt so empty in my life as I did that night. That space has filled up with life since, sure. There are pockets here and there though, I believe they will always exist. The loss will be forever. I will always be sad. I will always be angry. I will always remember.
Well, I don’t work outside the home anymore. I had taken the summer off and decided that as much as I loved the place I worked at and my job, I didn’t love how it was going for me. It was difficult leaving, I had awesome bosses and even more awesome co-workers. It is hard to leave a place when you know that what they are doing is such a good thing. But after I got off the phone with my boss, it was like a weight off my shoulders. I did the right thing.
Moose has barely been home. Seriously, it was a rough year for him and he rarely graces us with his presence. So it has been just me and my little gang. It’s always hard to tell how his schedule will work so maybe this year will be the same, maybe we see him more. Either way, we make do. We miss him when he is gone and cherish him when he is home.
He also finished his bachelor degree! It has been years, YEARS, in the making. But he is finally done. I don’t know if it will actually change anything at this point and now we have a shit ton of student loans to pay off but he did it. He did it the hard way and wanted to quit so many times (seriously, who goes to school with a schedule like his?), but he still finished. We are very excited and proud of him!
I also started a podcast with my friend Heather! We have a blast doing it and have created a little following. You can check us out here at Life Under The Laundry Pile if you so choose! I had absolutely no intentions of doing this but when she came to me, it took literally less than 5 seconds for me to say “Why not?”. I leave in a couple of weeks for Podfest, I am so pumped to network and listen to people talk about this little community we belong too. And I am really looking forward to not acting like an ass when I meet people who have been a huge influence to us.
This blog. I have not been super diligent about posts on my website. It is something I want to improve. I promise you that there are drafts in my collection that you will love, I just need to finish them. But my social media game is great, it is so much easier to write 15 word posts than 500 word essays. Who knew? I went to Orlando for Type A and that was amazing. I have made connections with some really awesome people. And I have lots of opportunity up ahead of me. There are going to be some changes soon. I really hope you stick around for it.
And finally, the kids. They are a year older and even more amazing. Red started preschool in the fall. It has been quite the adjustment, luckily his teachers have to be the most patient people I have ever met. But at least he is wearing pants more often. Dude is in 1st, it hasn’t been as easy as kindergarten. He does struggle a bit and that is okay. Because he is still awesome and smart and sweet and I have no doubt that he will end up doing great things. Blondie is on the cusp of a new chapter and this year has been evident of that. I am not entirely sure how I feel about preteens but I will admit I am still happy when she wants to snuggle and read with me. Here’s hoping sweet Blondie sticks around a little longer.
There you go. My year in a nutshell.
I don’t know what will happen in the next year. I can’t even begin to guess. but hoping it will be good. And I am really hoping you all will be around to read about it. Until then….