Sunday, January 24, 2010

If You Googled...

....."Navy". Or "USS Constitution". Or "Haiti". Then you should skip this.

This blog started off as a place for me to vent. A place for me to yell and scream and spout nonsense. It has evolved, as such things do and that's a good thing. But I miss being able to come out here and just say the things that some people scream into their pillows.

But today will be retro BostonMaggie.

It will be what it was before people knew who I was.

What it was before I felt any responsibility to anyone else.

When I wrote whatever I felt like without editing.

So if you are are looking for the GODNAVBLOGSTRIFOR or some political insightabout Scott Brown or such. Come back tomorrow. Tomorrow we will be back to your regular channel.
My ex-husband and I moved into this house in July of 1982. Tommy was seven months old. I created elaborate gardens in the front and small ones on the other sides of the house. I spent many enjoyable hours reading in the yard. Barely warm spring days when everything was in bud. Languid summer days, stereo speakers pressed against the screens of the living room windows, enjoying the smells of freshly cut grass, the scent of my flowers, a neighbor firing up some charcoal nearby wafting in on a fresh ocean breeze. Fall days that were warm and secret. I felt like I was stealing them. Back then the Nook would empty out after Labor Day and many houses around me would be buttoned up, their owners returned to the city. Kids would be in school and I felt like I had the Nook to myself. Every weekend was a project. Trim to paint. Windows to wash.

My family's cottage was just 500 feet away. My mother and my uncles share it, so the summer was a revolving series of visitors who had their own place to stay. It was ideal.

I can remember hot days when the tide was not good - Rocky Nook beach has such a high tide that you can swim two hours before and after the high tide, otherwise it's mud. It would be too hot to do anything. I would sit in chaise lounge, Frankie slathered in sun block, between my legs, the hose gently misting us.

I can remember cool fall days when Tom and I would snuggle under a blanket in the lounge chair reading Time magazine. He was 5 and he could name every world leader. People said read to your kids....that was what I was reading. Plus Tommy had a higher IQ than mine. I wasn't boring him, I was feeding his head.

The 80s and most of the 90s were spent gardening, cooking, reading and parenting.

When my husband and I separated, he and his girlfriend (later wife) lived a few doors away.

My sister Jen bought a house on the water in 2001. Just 800 feet to my east. It was perfect.

Later after I was divorced, I had to work more and the yard slipped by the wayside. I worked hard and paid the mortgage and even bought my ex-husband out of his share of the house. I remember reclining in the chaise looking up at the stars that night, thinking about owning the house all by myself. I always looked longingly at the yard and thought, someday I will get back to that.

And then of course I was diagnosed in July of '08. I remember standing in the yard after I told Frankie. I thought my heart would break. I needed to think of something else. I looked around and thought about the gardens and how I could bring them back.

Of course that didn't happen. I spent the first month tryng to hang on to my sanity. Telling people was painful. The next two months meeting doctors and trying to learn what I could to make the best decision possible. Treat, don't treat. Two drug cocktail, three drug cocktail. Then when I entered chemo, despite promises of how well most people tolerate it.....I was devastated. I couldn't have lifted a trowel at many points.

Recovery from chemo was supposed to take two to twelve months. Once again I drew the short straw and didn't return to my old self for nine months. This past summer, I was lucky of the lawn got mowed.

So there I was, fifty pounds heavier, deeply in debt, way behind on my mortgage.....and still full of cancerous plasma cells. Chemo had failed. The only flowers in the yard were the beds of orange daylilies and a few other rogue blooms.

I pretty much just got my feet under me when I had the car accident in December. It wasn't a bad accident. The Saturn withstood it and is still chugging along having passed 220K.

Apparently, I am more fragile.

The chiropractor advised me in the first visit that I would have to be patient. They couldn't approach my treatment in the normal way because of the multiple myeloma. she assured me that she could help me and she has. I feel much better and I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But my finances haven't been so patient. I got a letter the other day. The mortgage company has foreclosed and the sale date is scheduled for March 10th.

I knew it was coming, but I hadn't expected to be so blue.

I should be proactive. I should be shopping for a storage facility. I should be sorting what I want to keep. I should be tossing what I don't want to keep so I can streamline this process.

But all I can think about is going out to one of the small gardens and turning over the rocks that edged the iris and rose bed around the tree.

There is a big, half-dead tree that defines one of the borders of my yard. When my husband was little he lived next door. His grandmother had a similar garden on the other side of the same tree. She was the one who planted the iris, tall beautiful blue iris. She put two quarters under the rocks. When we moved in to this house years later, that house was abandoned. There had been a devastating fire there in the years after John's family left and no one was doing anything with it. That yard was wild and untended for years. Part of my gardening had been to push into that yard, trespassing, squatting. I would call John's mother, Marie. She was a lovely woman who I miss every day. Marie would tell me as I pushed, what I would find. I remember finding the bed of lily of the valley on the north side of the house and calling her, all excited.

I remember how I felt when I pulled out the rocks that edged Pearls flower bed on her side of the tree. I called Marie and we talked about her mother. We decided I would put the coins back and add my own.

When the Guildersons moved in and restored the house, they were too busy to bother with that corner of their yard and I continued to tend the rose bed. When the Bradaneses bought the house they were content to leave it where it was. I remember the first time I met them I was working the yard in that flower bed. I had just taken Tommy to school, he was in second grade. I had Frankie in a baby swing next to me and Anna Bradanese came out to meet me, but more to see Frankie. He was a beautiful baby. They have both passed on and I miss them.

The next owner and I never saw eye to eye. Now there is a stockade fence cutting the garden in half. I don't know what happened on the other side. I've never pulled the rocks out, afraid the coins are on the other side of the fence or lost. The neighbor still owns the property, but lives elsewhere. I think I am going to ask Frankie to look on the other side. He is very friendly with the tenants.

So I am at another crossroads.

Do I stay?

I think if I really put my shoulder to the wheel, I could probably work out some kind of deal with the mortgage company. The house is worth less than the mortgage. I'm sure there is a deal to be struck. It would take my all. It would get easier as I recovered, but it would still be hard and all consuming. My income is half what it was before my diagnosis. Fighting back to full pay will happen. But not immediately.

But is that how I want to spend the time I have between now and the next round of chemo? The next round of chemo will be more devastating than the last, they've already admitted that. What the first round broke in half, the next round will decimate. In all likelihood I will lose my job and have to go on disability.

Is an other spring and summer in this house worth it?


LargeBill said...


I could post something about God not giving us any burdens we can't carry, but instead of a pep talk I'll just send along my prayers that your burdens be lightened and better days be in your future.


wolfwalker said...

I wish I had some good answers for you, Maggie. Or even some good advice. But I've never been where you are right now, and I can't think of anything useful to offer.

Except that my thoughts are with you, and I hope you find the answer you need.

Kanani said...

Do I go or do I stay?
One of life's big questions.
Right now, maybe it's also a matter of energy. Which do you have more energy for --moving, or trying to work out something with the bank?

I'm so sorry this has happened, Maggie. If you need anything, let me know.

Kanani said...

P.S. There are many milblogs who do the day-to-day, but there is only one Boston Maggie. Take care of yourself first. Everything else comes second, third, or fourth.

Anonymous said...

If you decide to try to stay try:

"If you are a property owner/small investor facing foreclosure and need assistance, contact the MBHP Foreclosure Prevention and Tenancy Preservation hotline at (617) 425-6687. Or, see below for more information, including accessing eligibility information about the federal anti-foreclosure program and the federal refinancing program."


God Bless.

Boquisucio said...

Never forget, Maggie, that you are held dear by all whom you have touched; and that this crossroad that is facing you is deeply felt by us all.


Barb said...

That's such a hard choice - I don't know what I would do. I've moved so much in my life, I can't imagine the roots you have in that soil. But I'll help any way I can - starting with sending my prayers. And a lottery ticket or 10 ;-)

Blood said...

I'm hardly the poster child for these types of decisions. I've been a rolling stone practically since I was born.

However I have always envied those who could stay in one place and have the roots you have Maggie.

Personally, something like that is worth fighting for. it is what makes us who we are. In my mind my old home place is always there, but the years have changed it so much I barely recognize it now. We can go home but we can never go back.

We don't talk much these days, but for what its worth, I'll support you in any decision you make.

That's what friends do :)

John of Argghhh! said...


FbL said...

Say the word and I'm there--for as long as you need. My work location is completely flexible, as you know. *hugs*

SWWBO said...

Maggie, you have my full support in anyway I can give it, no matter what your decision. It sucks. Maybe a novena to St. Jude.
ya know, once a Catholic, always a Catholic. At least for me.

Love you, Maggie, dear!

Cassandra said...


I can't imagine what that house means to you - the memories, the love and care you put into it for all those years.

All my life I have wanted a home that would BE a home for more than a year or two. I have to say that one thing moving has taught me is that places are wonderful, but they are just that - places.

Home is the people you love. Home is wherever you are.

It sounds to me as though the house is - regardless of how much you love it - too much for you right now. You can't even enjoy it the way you used to and you need all your energy to fight off the cancer and get your strength back.

Only you can decide, but would it be so bad to be free of it if that lightened the load? I don't know the answer. I guess I just wanted to say that while I've cried upon leaving so many houses (including ones I've owned), in the end it is the people I can't part with.

You have such a strong spirit. I expect you can find a way to be happy anywhere, lady :)

AFSister said...

Maggie... perhaps the one good thing Obama can do for you is save your house. You love it too much to go down by just leaving. So many harsh things have happened to you over the past couple of years- you're the perfect example of someone the housing bill should help.

I am so sorry you're facing this. It could be any one of us, that's for sure.

BostonMaggie said...

Thank you all for being so kind and supportive.

As I said to someone who emailed me today - I am a strong believer in the proverb "If everyone stood in a circle and put their problems in the middle, you'd take your own back."

It's very true for me, and you people (and the people who have emailed me) are a big part of why it is true.

Thank you very much.

AW1 Tim said...

All you have to do is ask, and if I can do it, or arrange it, I'll get it downrange.

You're our Sailor Doxie. You're family. You'll never really be alone, kid.

YNSN said...

I am with AW1. If you need anything, let me know. I will do anything I can. I grew up in a home that seems very much like the one you made for your son (he seems to be the same age as me, even down to the same month).

You're the biggest champion for the Navy I have ever come across. You care about all of us so much, there is no way I could stand by and not help. Anything you need, just let me know.

Steeljaw Scribe said...

+1 w/LargeBill and will add you to our local prayerlist too. - SJS