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Episode #21: Being *Capable*

So, what do I mean by being *CAPABLE*? Well, the WORD and LANGUAGE GEEK in me HAD to look up the definition. *CAPABLE* is defined as “1. Having the ability, fitness or quality necessary to do or achieve a specified thing. 2. Able to achieve EFFICIENTLY whatever one has to do; COMPETENT.” Shit yeah, that’s all me. I get shit DONE. Cocktail party for 60 in my little Manhattan apartment, complete with martini GLASSES – not fucking plastic cups – for all the Cosmopolitans, with freshly squeezed lemon juice I might add. Cosmopolitans in martini glasses which the UNTRAINED drinker would spill all over my hardwood floors. The floors which would be so sticky while we all danced and drank and smoked – and I don’t think we ever ATE anything, because at that time in my early thirties and newly divorced in NYC, in the late 1990’s, cocktails and cigarettes were a big part of my weekly therapy. After those cocktail parties and BEFORE I even went to bed, I’d have hand washed and dried all 5 dozen martini glasses, mopped the sticky floors and have taken all the garbage – mostly cigarette butts – and empty vodka, grand marnier and cranberry juice bottles to the trash chute down the hall of my pre-war Upper West Side apartment. EXCEPT for the traces of stale cigarette smoke, it’s as if the partner never happened. And in more recent years, say, in the past 11 or 12 years or so since I’ve become a mom, my daughter and I can host little open houses or smaller gatherings or BBQs with friends, family and neighbors – that include lots of adult AND children’s beverages and all kinds of snacks and food. For the kids – MY kid especially since she’s such a picky eater – there’s the GOLDFISH and fresh fruit of the season – apples in the fall and winter, strawberries, watermelon and cantaloupe in the spring and summer – and of course chicken nuggets. And for the adults – and their kids who eat what WE eat, I prepare colorful and fresh chopped salads. Any who follows me on Instagram has seen just a few of the photos that I share – my *rainbow* salads with veggies and fruit that include the beautiful spectrum of mother nature: red, orange, yellow, green – maybe not usually BLUE! – then purple (yes, PURPLE that can be either purple cabbage or purple cauliflower). I might make a fabulous tomato, red pepper and red onion salad with lemon juice and olive oil and a sweet potato salad with chickpeas and cilantro, as a couple of examples. All beautiful, all fresh, all seasonal. Then some marinated chicken thighs and a salmon filet with a little white wine marinade. Anyway, these days, we’ll host friends, family and neighbors with all this beautiful food and drink – oh, and let’s not forget the desserts: homemade rice krispies treats or waffle ice cream sandwiches with sprinkles or a fresh fruit pie, as just a few more examples – we’ll host all this, prepared by me…and just like with my Upper West Side cocktail parties decades ago, before I go to bed, everything is cleaned up. The dishes and glasses are in the running dishwasher and every service plate and bowl has been hand washed. Any leftover food has either been sent home with guests – VERY appreciative guests who usually text me the next morning to let me know how they have turned the previous night’s dinner into breakfast or brunch and/or any other leftovers have been put away in our OWN fridge for some of – at least MY (since my daughter doesn’t eat much ADULT food!) next meals. Hosting homemade cocktail and dinner parties and cleaning up after them within a matter of hours – and before bed – is just one of the things I’m very capable of. And I think one of the things I like most about this particular COMPETENCE of mine is that it’s all PLANNED – effortlessly – and PREPARED – with so much JOY, because I LOVE to prepare beautiful food from mother nature with all natural ingredients and to present it is almost just as beautiful serving plates and bowls. And I should say the PLANNING is very minimal because I just decide what COLORS and FLAVORS I want to serve in a meal on a particular day because I follow NO RECIPES AT ALL – it’s all in my head what I’m going to make – it’s just pulling ingredients we already have at home and picking up a few more things at the grocery store. What I ENJOY the most about all the hosting and sharing beautiful meals with others is how much THEY – our guests – all seem to ENJOY it, TOO. I like connecting with others through good food and drink. I think it’s one of the best ways humans are meant to connect. Through good food and drink. AND through STORIES. SHARING and listening to each others’ stories, which is why I decided to create Audacious Freedom, the podcast – to share my stories with you – and hopefully to hear back from some of you with YOUR stories, too. 

So, back to being CAPABLE. I guess the reason this particular topic came to me NOW is because – after 5 years in our gorgeous and very happy home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. – in a spacious and open loft apartment, just 20 miles outside of D.C. and steps from shopping and dining right here in our own community, I want to share with you that we are moving. And here’s the best part: we are moving 5 blocks away from where we are now. Five blocks west to a space that is a little bit larger than the space we are in now, that will allow my daughter and me to spread out a bit. This past year and a half with the pandemic and my daughter and I both at home – her with her school work and me with my corporate/day job AND THIS PROJECT in the early mornings and evenings, we have been at home together all this time. This means my daughter has spent about 95% of her WAKING HOURS in her bedroom during the school year – in class all day, then doing homework, then running or jumping on her exercise trampoline and then resting. Then sometimes taking her dinner back into her room while I take care of our geriatric pug, Bogie, get my OWN dinner – something she won’t eat! – and maybe work on THIS project, my PASSION. Now in the NEW space, my daughter will have the TOP floor – with her bedroom, her bathroom, then her STUDY across the hall. She’ll have her own space to spread out into and I’ll have my study/office/den off the kitchen – my favorite room in the house!, where I get to do all my fresh food chopping! – and access to the deck for a dose of sunshine. My daughter and I will also be able to spread out in some new SHARED SPACES in the home, too. Overally, it’s going to be a wonderful new beginning for our little family, as my daughter starts 6th grade, as the oldest grade in her elementary school. I’m going to enjoy watching her thrive in her last year of elementary school and in our new home and neighborhood, even if it’s just a 10-minute walk from our home we have so loved for the past 5 years. 

So, why am I bringing up our impending move in this episode about being *capable*? Well, I’m having some moments of: “Holy shit, how the FUCK am I going to get this whole move done??” There is so much to coordinate – the MOVERS, all the new home furnishings orders and deliveries for the larger space, switching over the utilities from the old address to the new address, arranging for the post-move – literally the day after the move – handyman to hang up all our artwork and mirrors and rearranging any furniture that may not have landed right the day before because I can’t direct all 5 of the movers on all 4 levels of the house at the same time. These are a chunk of my *holy shit* moments about our move and then I think about my daughter on the day of the move. I have to get her to school in the morning and pick her back up from school in the afternoon. Once we settle into the new space and I notify her school of our address change, she’ll be able to take the bus and easily get home from there. But until then I’m driving her on the day of the move. Maybe I could ask another parent to pick up my daughter in the morning and drop her back off in the afternoon, or to arrange for her to ride the bus to and from school with another classmate. Dammit. THIS part feels so complicated and frustrating and then I think, “Take a big ass breath, Dee Dee. Calm down, I remind myself. YOU WILL figure out the easiest and safest way for your daughter to get to and from school on the day of our fucking awesome and even goddamned epic move. You ALWAYS figure things out. You are very CAPABLE.” Then I look at what I have already lined up with the movers, switching over the utilities, at what new home furnishings I have purchased and arranged for delivery and the handyman’s to-do list I am going to write out – every single line item – and I calm down. I calm down because I know I get shit DONE. One step at a time. And with a VISION of how beautiful all will be when I follow my plan, with the end in sight to MOTIVATE me to turn our new space into a loving and supportive home for my daughter and me. AND GUESS WHAT, LISTENERS?? It usually takes me a few days to write the scripts for my podcast episodes, because I write in the early mornings – often beginning before dawn and up until my daughter gets up and before I start working my corporate job. It usually takes about six hours of writing per episode, so that’s why it’s a few days of writing. So, in the middle of writing this episode, guess what happened?? Well, I’ll TELL you what happened. So sweet – the mom of a classmate of my daughter’s OFFERED for herself and her daughter to get to school over an hour before the bell rings in the morning – on the morning of our move! – to wait with my daughter, so I can get back home by 8am to meet the movers. How fucking sweet is that?? THIS is what I mean about knowing that everything works out and I need to remember and trust that and just calm the fuck down sometimes! And, the story gets even better, believe it or not! Guess what?? The same mom who made this very sweet offer checked the school calendar for the Friday of our move, the Friday before Labor Day actually, and…the kids are off school that day for a 4-day holiday weekend! Hilarious. You can’t make this shit up! So, it turns out another friend is going to take my daughter for the day and she will be able to hang out with my friend’s son, who is the same age and who will also be off of school that day. *Problem* solved! I love it. As of this morning, we are 6 days away from our move and, according to my best calculations, about 90-95% of EVERYTHING will be in its place – old and new home furnishings AND electronics within a matter of days, over the long weekend. By the time my daughter goes back to school and I go back to work the day AFTER LABOR DAY, 90-95% of everything will be done. The remaining 5-10% of what needs to be done will be ordering and hanging curtains and ordering and then laying down carpet tiles for the hallways and powder room. I’m waiting until we get all the other home furnishings and other carpet tiles in before deciding on the finishing touches of the curtains and the hallways. And I’m feeling really CAPABLE, kind of like a super woman, actually! This move is like a PUZZLE and I have the corner pieces in place, all the pieces with edges are in place, and the PICTURE of the puzzle is the layout of each room in our home, with all their furnishings and carpet tiles and artwork hung up and the only pieces I haven’t placed just yet are the curtains and the hallway carpet tiles. But I can SEE most of it and I can IMAGINE the rest and it’s coming together EFFICIENTLY.

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