Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
My sister and co-blogger Dana’s picture of that hellhole apartment and blogpost yesterday, really took me back to my roots, literally.
You know, these days, when someone asks me my age I tell them that I am old enough to not want to talk about it. And because our dad had me up at the crack of dawn as a little girl cleaning apartments–all these years later–I CANNOT believe that people STILL live this way! How can you be so disrespectful of someone else’s property? My mother and my sister work their butts off to make sure that these dwellings are habitable and comfortable in every sense of the word. It is work! A financial, laborious, caretaking, sometimes sleepless night investment.
I mean, are you kidding me???
In my recently released book, Incompatible with Nature–a Mother’s Story, in the chapter called, Destiny, I recall my introduction to the family business:
The two rental properties my father owned when he married my mother would eventually over a span of twenty-five years snowball into nearly four hundred. Everybody had to earn their keep. I entered at the grass roots level, literally.
“Well, good afternoon.”
I peeled open an eye and looked at the clock on my nightstand. It was seven in the morning. Saturday morning. I closed my eye.
“Mornin’ Daddy. What do you want?”
“Sugar, I need you to get up and get dressed. I’m’ll have to drop you off at the apartments over on 16th. We’ve got to pull some weeds and pick up the cigarette butts and empty bottles in the yard. Get the place spruced up a bit.”
“Okay, but let me sleep one more hour,” I said snuggling further down into the warmth of my bed.
“One more hour? The day’s already almost over. You got to get up and get on it. Come on now. Get up and get your clothes on. I’ll be waiting for you in the kitchen. You want some breakfast?”
Reluctantly I threw the covers off and wiped the sleep from my nine-year-old eyes. Got to get up and get on it…
With the tips of my gloved fingers I picked up the cigarette butts, dirty tissues and empty cans and bottles and tossed them inside. Holding my breath I scraped dog poop with the tines of the rake onto the dustpan and dropped it in the bag. I had to get all that out of the way before I could start pulling weeds.
Over the years, I progressed from cleaning the yards and parking lots to filthy ovens and refrigerators. I quickly learned to scour dirty sinks and ring-rimmed bathtubs until they would look as though they’d been licked…
You can read more about Running an Apartment House Operation #101 in my book.
So here we are 10,000 years later and things haven’t changed. This is truly, unequivocally, unbelievable to me and it really grabs (sorry about that) me in my craw that, especially our mother with her 84 years, has to witness her property being treated this way. Thank goodness not everyone lives as though they raise their hands in the air and just don’t care.
The other day, I happened to look up and see this painting on a building near the grocery store. The quote is written in several languages across the facade–it is a universal thought indeed: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” I would like for the sake of today’s blog to add: “Others and their property.” It’s just so much easier to be decent in every sense of the word. Don’t you think?
Happy weekend everybody.
Here’s to life!
You don’t hear me weigh in often on Religion, Politics or the Economy, as I like to pick battles I can win.
I also truly respect everyone’s position and I will simply say this…
Religion: I’m a Christian, but I don’t believe the child born in Bangladesh will not inherit the Kingdom- we are ALL children of a Merciful God.
Politics: After watching the final debate, I too remember when Sarah Palin was the craziest person in politics.
Economy: My reflections this morning are on the economy- and housing -yes, there is a crisis in America and today, I’m going there.
Yesterday at 7 30 A.M., I found myself seated at a packed Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle at the invitation of my long time friend, attorney, John Rizzardi. I admit, I was intrigued and intimidated by the topic,
Bellweather Housing, Creating Affordable Quality Housing with key note speaker, author Matthew Desmond who wrote EVICTED Poverty and Profit in the American City. Intrigued and Intimidated… I am a second generation life-long Landlord. I know the bad wrap we as Landlords receive, and as the title aptly suggests- we are just looking for profit in the American City.
I listened intently as this Harvard Sociologist shared an insightful look into poverty in America. He took the captive audience to the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee and his book shares the story of eight families on the edge. One of them, Arleen, a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Arleen’s son a fourteen year old, who the author depicts as a normal teen getting into trouble caused multiple evictions for the family. His antics from throwing a snow ball at an oncoming car to kicking a teacher in the shin got them displaced. Arlene’s sister died unexpectedly and she used rent money to pay for funeral services. The landlord’s response- Love Don’t Pay the Bills.
As I listened to the plight and hardship, and don’t get me wrong- it is REAL, I couldn’t help but think of my experiences from a landlord’s perspective. I have had to do my share of evictions over the years. Some of you may remember the Menopausebarbee Post, Somebody Help Me Out Here, about the tenant who had a pee fetish. After hiding a hidden camera in the hallway, I caught this guy with his pants down literally soiling the common stairwell every morning. Busted- he claimed he liked the smell of his pee. As a landlord, you play many roles. The FIXER. Residents clog toilets, break windows, ruin appliances and often destroy your property. The Psychologist, I’m so sorry, Mr. Pee Pee, but you and your fetish gotta move. The Lender- Oh, you had an emergency. Your car broke down and you can’t pay rent til next month? I’m sure my mortgage and utility company will understand- really??? Pest Control, Drug Counselor, Abandoned Cars Towed, Roof leaks, Hoarders, Plumbing backups, Noise Complaints, Taxes and Insurance hikes, Maintenance, Clean up- trust me.. these are daily issues I address.
Imagine if you as a employee expected your paycheck and your employer said, “Sorry, had an emergency, and had to use your salary to cover it.” It’s no different for us as landlords.
Two weeks ago, after an eviction on a Seattle Housing resident, the below is what I walked into. The Section 8 inspector at the annual inspection told my maintenance foreman he should be ashamed at having the resident live this way and that she could be his mother. When I successfully succeeded in getting her moved after a four month battle, threats, loss of rents and now massive rehab, I wrote back to the inspector and shared the move out condition. She did not take kindly to my response that she could be her mother and what was she going to do to prevent this for the next landlord.
Years ago, I was in court and the judge asked me who initiated the eviction. I was in my early twenties, and I could tell the power in the black robe viewed me as an arrogant kid who had no experience in compassion or understood the responsibility that I had inherited. I answered, the tenant initiated the eviction. The judge looked at me incredulously. I responded, by not paying the rent. I’m sorry, but love truly doesn’t pay the bills. Landlords are often mistaken as having an unlimited bank roll to cover the fallout. Yes, we need to create much more low income quality housing. I walk the streets and see and serve the need. My family has housed many of the same residents for over 50 years. It is an honor and privilege to provide shelter. But we also need programs to get people back to work, education on birth control- especially for our youth, and adhering to the responsibilities of being a quality resident and neighbor.
We hope you all have one in your life. That person who has a heart as genuine and precious as your finest treasure. A person who has your back unconditionally. One who would never betray your friendship and never murmur an unkind word. A person who weeps with you when times are a struggle, as they too have known pain. But by the same token, your success is one they celebrate, as if they were your personal boxing coach in your corner in the final round. You can see the love in their eyes. They know that life is a gift and therefore, they treat each day as the present it is. One of my “sisters”, Patti Savoy refers to these individuals as our chosen family.
My sister and co-blogger, Tracie and I are fortunate in that we have several of these angels in our lives. But a post I saw on Facebook yesterday just made me need to express how grateful we are to one in particular… Alice Hanssens.
If I’m having a bad day, I just pull up Alice’s Facebook where she will make me laugh, ponder, and always smile.
As many of you know, my sister, Tracie has painstakingly spent years writing, years editing, and re-editing to get it just perfect – her memoir, Incompatible with Nature – A Mother’s Story. This is no easy feat, and honestly, I hold my copy and marvel that my sister is a part of the small percent of published authors. We have been blessed by the response and book purchases and want to thank each and everyone who has thus far contributed to her efforts. And just as Alice shows here- let’s continue to support each other and never giving up!
Tracie will be state side in December and we will be hosting book readings in Seattle and we are setting up tour dates if you would like to participate in your city, please connect with us.
I was so moved when I walked in my mom’s room last night and saw the tears she shared with her sister, my Aunt Margie as they recalled what Tracie reveals in this moving story. You will literally go to another world on this journey.
Please get your copy and post reviews! We can’t wait to hear from you! www.traciemayer.com on Amazon Incompatible with Nature A Mother’s Story by Tracie Mayer
Thank you Alice, for being our chosen family and as my sister says, “Here’s to Life!”
As we near Halloween, we are on the countdown to the holiday season! I made a vow at a dear girlfriend’s birthday last January, that I would be the catalyst for finding her a quality soulmate before Christmas. Well, yikes, that was over 10 months ago and the clock is tic-toking away and I still have yet to find her needle in a haystack. As I was reflecting on this dilemma over the weekend, I flash-backed to a blog I did a few years ago, Wookin Pa Nub! Perhaps it was the vino I consumed after a long day of work, but I enjoy a good laugh and this fit the bill- literally. Take a read and enjoy!
Ahhh, so once again, I am left to share a dating story from H-E-L-L.
A girlfriend called me last evening distraught. She went on what she promised herself would be her last attempt on Match.com. I’m beginning to believe there should be a site called
Mis-Matched. That’s what my girlfriend, a successful, independent business woman thought as she approached Bill, her online dating connection. She stood 5’9 in her heels and glanced down at his 5’6 slight frame. She suffered through mindless conversation over “unhappy” hour nibbles and when the bill came, you know the story, “Bill” came up short. Life is indeed short, and so is Bill and his pocket book- Thanks Match!
So today, I’m asking our readers to help my sisters and brothers out. I recall vividly as a child watching and laughing with tears at Saturday Night Live and Eddie Murphy’s rendition of Wookin’ Pa Nub aka Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. Well, for some it’s no longer a laughing matter.
I’m social, resourceful and shameless and my friends who are on the dating app Tinder say I am the Common Eve of connections. I get phone calls everyday from people asking – “Do You Know—-?” Truth is, I generally don’t know my 3000 plus contacts personally. However, I am a connector and I feel at the core of my being that is what we are here to do and be of service to others.
So today, I am asking our readers to weigh in- where did you find love? And if you are still “Wookin’ Pa Nub”… let us know! Y KNOT? A closed mouth never gets fed. Besides, you might help me keep my vow to my girlfriend- and she’s a keeper!
It was one day last week.
I desperately needed to find a garment to wear under a certain blue jacket.
The few times I’d previously stopped by the atelier, they were closed. But that didn’t deter me because the owner of this intimate lingerie store has the MOST beautiful undergarments in the window! Always!
Last week I had luck. The lights were on. Store was open. I stepped inside. Demet Taha, the owner was alone and warmly greeted me.
During the course of my trying on different garments Taha asked me about myself; where I live, what I do and so on. I told her to take a look inside my purse which I’d left on a chair right by the draped curtain of the changing room. She found my book, Incompatible with Nature–a Mother’s Story and was wonderfully surprised. She asked of course what the book is about and I told her it’s a story about a mother’s love and faith and hope and courage and not giving up and not giving out. . .and a mother’s love.
She was quiet.
I pulled back the draped curtain. “What do you think about how this one fits?” I asked her. She was still staring at the book. Then she looked up at me, opened her arms and hugged me.
“Oh this is so beautiful!” she said and I thanked her and gave her more insight to the story. When I finished she just stood there staring at me and then, Demet Taha shared with me an old Turkish tale her grandmother told her:
When God created the earth, He also created worry.
He looked to the ocean and said: You are vast and deep and wide. Your currents are powerful. You are the connector of nations. Surely you are strong enough to carry the weight of worry.
The ocean declined.
Then God spoke to the mountains: You are tall and rugged. You are magnificent and will hold the blood of many battles. You tower and loom and soar into the sky. Surely you are strong enough to carry the weight of worry.
The mountains declined.
And that is why God gave worry to people.
I share this with you because I want you to know, that no matter what you are facing right now, at this moment, you are stronger than you think.
As I say in my book in the chapter entitled, Trials and Tribulations, Twists and Tricks:
…But I could not allow fear to coerce me into submission and leave me unable to function…Within the very reaches of my soul, I reasoned that my fear had to be tempered with strength. I had no idea what I would yet have to face and had to be open to all possibilities as the unimaginable had already happened. I could not succumb to the angst. It would surely destabilize me… So I challenged fear to stimulate me, motivate and pull out the fight in me. Dared it to reveal the difference between the chickenshit and the chicken soup in my spirit. The result being that in a strange way, fear quickened my strength…
So today, You’ve Got This! is shining in the the menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight.
Have faith, be hopeful and courageous! Don’t give up. Don’t give out. Hang in there! Get more inspiration from my book, Incompatible with Nature–a Mother’s Story available on Amazon now.
Here’s to life and a great start in the week!
And thank you Taha for sharing this tale with me.
I woke up this morning and had my early coffee chat with my bestie who is without power. As I sipped and savored my Starbucks, she lamented missing her morning jolt of java as well as all the creature comforts we all take for granted daily. No lights, no hot water, no heat, NO POWER. Seattle is bracing for one of the worst storms in decades in our region. As I write this, more than 10,000 in Puget Sound are without power.
I can’t help but think of those who live daily without power. When I have gone out on Union Gospel Mission’s search and rescue and paid witness to those living under our bridges and makeshift cardboard boxes, my heart truly breaks especially for the children. Without power takes on a more significant meaning for the children as they truly are without power to change their circumstance.
I’m so honored and proud to share the results of what our community did last weekend. We had the POWER to make a change! Congrats to my co-chairs on our raise of nearly $600,000 for supporting these children.
It’s a POWERFUL Thing!
Seattle IN Style!
Who says we in the Pacific Northwest only wear Bierkenstocks with Tube Socks and Hug Trees? Or better yet, who claims we get bundled in GAP sweats and UGG Boots while rushing through Starbucks, trekking in the rain to a Hawk’s game?
Last Friday night, we laid that fashion fable to rest as Seattle represented with elegance and the hottest couture at the SAM Gala celebrating the perfection of style, Yves Saint Laurent.
The exhibit was as picture perfect as the crowd. In this case, if it was on your ass… it was indeed an asset!
Take a look for yourself. Your eyes will feast at the fashion! Bravo Seattle!
Exhibit runs through January 8, 2017
Marburg, Germany is a romantic German riverfront town that dates back to the ninth century.
Marburg Castle, built in the 11th century, is located on top of Mount Schlossberg and overlooks this medieval university town. A perfect setting for a beauty pageant.
And this is where I had the pleasure to be last Sunday noon for the honor of being a juror on the panel for the selection of Miss Marburg. Thank you William Balser (Miss Mermaid International, Miss Tourism International and Top Model of the World), the lovely Liane Wirzberger (Moderatorin/Kolumnistin bei Radio Primavera / PrimaSonntag / primavera24.de at Funkhaus Aschaffenburg) and the entire team.
Like the Miss Giessen pageant at which I also served as juror, (menopausebarbees post: The Reckoning, June 14, 2016), this event was also a lead up to the finale pageant during which the selection of Miss Germany will take place. And just like in the event in Giessen, all seventeen contestants ranging in age from seventeen to twenty-six were poised, coiffed and of course, a bit nervous. But just a bit. They were all actually quite confident as they strutted their stuff in dirndls, evening gowns and in their bathing suits/bikinis.
I, and my book, Incompatible with Nature, had been introduced to the audience before the contestants took to the catwalk, (thank you moderator Lutz Riemenschneider), and as I watched these young women, I couldn’t help but think about my mother and her days as a beauty queen. She won three titles, her second one the evening she met our dad:
A continuous hubbub of excitement permeated the air of the auditorium on that balmy summer evening in 1950. Anxiously waiting in the wings, Mama directed her gaze towards the trio assembled rear center stage. She watched Daddy bob his head to a count of three whereupon his teardrop-tipped drumsticks made a sound, the right sound, giving his bandmates their cue. Before the evening had come to an end, forty- five contestants had strutted back and forth across the stage to various thunders of applause. As the Master of Ceremonies prepared to call out the name of the winner, Daddy’s sticks rolled across the drums heightening the anticipation. Mama could walk her talk. And she did as she glided triumphantly in strappy high heels and a white one-piece bathing suit across the stage to pick up her second beauty title, Miss Bronze of Seattle. Her lips, the same intense hue as the hibiscus pinned above her breast, looked as though they’d be red forever. Aside from his mother, she was the most divine woman Daddy had ever seen. He dropped anchor…
You can read more in my book, Incompatible with Nature–a Mother’s Story, available now on Amazon.
I recognised a couple of these ladies in Marburg from the competition in Giessen. And I must say, I tip my hat to all of the young women in these contests. I mean, you really, really have to believe in yourself to subject yourself to be judged by someone else. You have to be willing to lose, and that takes guts. And self-esteem. And the ability to be happy in your own skin. You have to take your dream seriously and not give up. And you’ve gotta have grit which entails working long and hard toward a personal goal regardless of disappointments, setbacks, plateaus, and even failures along the way. I get it.
On Sunday, the Miss Marburg crown and title was bestowed upon Monja Moeser. Congratulations Monja! Well deserved. And congratulations to Monja’s fellow contestants. You were prepared, organized, charismatic–you all walked your talk! Congratulations, all of you are winners!
Here’s to life!
Last night, I along with the Nation watched the Presidential debate. The refrain that stuck with me was, “When they go low, we go higher.” Today, I’m using this phrase to reflect on all aspects of life, not just politics. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful world to live in, when we are knocked, criticized, berated and deflated that we just decide to go higher?
Imagine a time when you were told you have no choice. You were at your lowest ebb. Perhaps your spouse wanted a divorce or you found yourself financially, spiritually or emotionally bankrupt. You felt like a failure of every degree. Now imagine even worse, you are sitting in a doctors office and you receive the dreaded news that your health is poor and your prognosis is dire. Imagine that the doctors are directing that debilitating news about your newborn child who has no voice or ability to stake his or her claim in their desire to fight. Sometimes in life, you simple have no choice. When the news is so grim and low, your only option is to go higher.
Go Higher. That is exactly what my sister, and co-blogger, Tracie did as a new mother in a foreign country some 32 years ago. To this day, I marvel at her determination after recently moving abroad, not comprehending the challenging German language, and without the support of friends and family to embrace. I recall as if it were only yesterday when we received the frantic call from overseas. Tracie was inconsolable, the doctors had mandated not to give her son nourishment and let him die. My parents had recently returned state-side after the celebration of their first grandchild. Blindsided, we had not seen this coming. The pregnancy was uneventful and my sister had delivered the first offspring of our family. Daddy had held Marc high and proclaimed ‘Man Child.’ After raising three daughters, he was thrilled to have a grandson.
Suddenly with this news, our worlds so far apart but intertwined, collapsed. What choice did my sister have? Fight or flight? Again, I just watched the debate and some things in life are not debatable.
In her newly released memoir, Incompatible with Nature, you will go on a journey that will leave you believing in the power of prayer and miracles, fortitude and determination.
Tracie and my nephew have not only gone higher, they have soared!
Throughout the years, many friends have heard about this journey of my nephew being born with a rare heart condition, Heterotaxy Syndrome. All have been enamored with the handsome, witty, smart, athletic, headstrong man that Marc has evolved into.
Now you can read the story in detail and I promise whatever challenges you might be facing, you will agree as I quote and agree with Dr, Gillor “Tracie is my hero. May many parents learn from her experience.”
A special thanks today to all my friends who have bought the book- some multiple copies. Let’s continue to share this book and get it in everyone’s hands. Please post on your page or social media. Someone, somewhere needs the encouragement right now.
Go Higher… It’s Not Debatable