I've taken the rest of the week off. Work has been stressful as my two fellow owners of our clinic are both leaving as of August 1st. Julie and Piper opened this clinic five years ago with the intent to help mainly children at risk with most referrals coming from health and human services and free medical clinics. We have a booming business and all is going well. But, about a year ago, Piper found out that she had cervical cancer. She took time off and was treated and she is now cancer free. But, during that time off she decided that at nearly 60 years old, she wants to spend all the rest of her time with her husband, children and grandchildren. Julie is a happier story. She fell in love several months ago (for about the millionth time, she does this with regularity) and declares that she has finally found the one. One problem. He is here from Mexico on a professional work visa and does not want to stay when it runs out. He's a doctor and wants to return to his native country. So, it was decided that instead of trying to deal with a long distance romance, that Julie will go with him and marry him there. She is 57. He is 58. It is a first marriage for both of them.
So...we have finally decided on their replacements. And while I have some reservations, I am planning on giving these new co-owners a shot. One is Jin. She is of Korean descent and very, very young. As in just turned 29. This will be her first job out of her residency. She has some money that her grandparents left her and has decided to invest it in co-ownership in our clinic. I like Jin. She is very serious for someone so young. I also sense that she has a deep stubborn streak. This can be very good or very bad. Also, she looks like she is about 14. Seriously. She is even shorter than I am and I am only 5'1. When I first met her, I thought she was interviewing for our Spanish translating job that is open even though I didn't think she looked Hispanic. It never occurred to me that she was actually old enough to invest in our clinic. Jin is newly married. Her husband is a school teacher ( I imagine she and I will have lots to talk about regarding our spouses) and brings a toddler son to the marriage as he was a widower whose wife died in childbirth.
Fawn (god help me that is REALLY her name) is a bit older. She is 34 and has more experience. She comes from a clinic much like ours in Missouri where she was working for the last five years. Her husband works for an insurance firm and was transferred here a few months ago. They decided to make an investment in our clinic and bought out Piper's share. They were high school sweethearts and have been married since they were both 18! They have two children, both under the age of five. I like Fawn too, although she looks like her name. She is very fawnish looking, with feathery blonde hair and wears beautiful, unusually tailored business suits that I covet. She looks like a model but is actually very pragmatic and practical, very business oriented and financially savvy. She told me that even though she and her husband married at 18, they waited until they were in their late twenties to start having children, waited until they were both established in careers. When she opened her briefcase to take out her resume, there was a Wall Street Journal on top of her papers. I instantly liked her just because of that. I liked her even more when we talked about our children and she said that she tried hard to give her children's nanny three day weekends whenever possible, so wanted to work four ten hour days instead of five eight hour ones. Anyone who is good to their nanny will be good to their secretary too, I think.
I am kind of depressed. I used to be the youngin' in the office. Both Julie and Piper were older than me. Now, I am the older, sage one. Not sure I like that! But, Julie, Piper and I all agree that some fresh younger blood might be a good thing for us. So, fingers crossed. But, watching Piper and Julie slowly carrying out boxes from their offices every day has made me feel sad, so when the heat wave finally broke and I knew I could get in my garden again for a while, I took this time off.
And it has been wonderful. I'm working quickly as another heat wave is supposed to arrive this weekend. I spent the morning pruning roses and snipping off sucker vines on my tomatoes and peppers. Most of my vegetables are very, very close to ready to pick. This is quite unusual. I usually harvest in late August, early September. This year, I will be harvesting in early August, I think. Our early Spring has everything on a hyped up cycle. And a lot of my vegetables are not enjoying this extreme heat. They prefer the prairie's usual weather of high 80's, low 90's. Steady temps of 100 degrees and over have made them a little anemic. I've been watering abundantly (I swear I hear them gulping in the evenings when I set the soaker hoses on to run until midnight) and trying to keep up with the weeding, but like us humans, they are not enjoying these heat waves. My herbs are faring better. Especially my chives, peppermint, and lemon verbena. The chives are running rampant over the rosemary, acting like teenaged boys playing hoops, wild and careless. The peppermint is nudging out the chicory, it's sprightly, tingly smell permeating over everything. The lemon verbena is the tallest I have ever seen it; Liv and I will have an abundance of herbs to dry and then put in cheesecloth bags for Christmas gifts.
When I am in my garden, I am at peace. I work diligently, then look at my watch and am astonished that three hours have slipped by. But, my garden is so grateful for my care. Sometimes when no one is looking, I kiss my plants. Crazy? I don't care. I rub my Bells of Ireland softly over my face, let my Lamb's Ears rub gently over my cheeks. I am careful with the rose's thorns, mindful of their prick, but love inhaling their soft scent and kissing their petals very, very gently. I feel them all lean into me, whether they be poppies, green beans or basil, they love me right back. Bing often comes out to the garden with her camera to take photos of me gardening in my big sun hat, no makeup, faded cotton shirts, and ripped capris. She says that I look my best in my garden. Makes sense. I feel my best in the garden. I look at the photos later when she posts them on our fridge and I confess to liking them. I look younger in the garden, prettier than when I am all gussied up for work. I have a peaceful, joyous expression on my face, as if I am right where I should be.
It's been a hard week for Liv, so I will try to coax her into the garden with me tomorrow. Last night was prelims for her swim team. It had been a difficult day, healthwise, for her. She had her braces tightened that morning and was battling a pesky summer cold. Her nose was stuffy and she said that when she leaned over, her sinuses pulsated. But, she gamely put on her swimsuit and we drove to her prelims.
She was in four events and didn't do well. Placed fourth out of five in two and last in the other two. And she had the best times out of everyone to start with, so we hoped that she would take first. Bing joked after her first heat that we should run and get Mandy (pool bully) since like her mother, Liv tended to be a force worth reckoning with when she was hurt or angry. As you may remember, at her meet last week when Mandy was cruel to her, Liv placed first in ALL of her events. I agreed with Bing. Both Liv and I tend to do well when we are angry. Anger is a huge motivator. The best term paper that I ever wrote in college was the one I wrote after my mother disinherited me.
Liv was upset when she crawled out of the water, aware of how badly she did. Her coaches were a little stunned, but still supportive. When she asked them if they thought she might still qualify to be in the finals on Friday, they were honest with her. She had a very slim chance of making it in the 50 yard breaststroke and the butterfly, her best events this summer. They would post the ones who made it to the finals the next day at practice.
I strongly suspect that she didn't make it. When I dropped Liv off at practice this morning, I requested that she text me when she knew something since she was going home with a friend to spend the day at her house and wouldn't be home until I picked her up after supper. I waited until noon and then texted her to ask if she made any finals. No answer. I texted her again, demanding that she at least acknowledge me. She sent a text a few moments later: I'm fine. Let's talk tonight, okay?
I'm guessing she won't be going to finals.
And you know...I'm sad for her but not devastated. It is a lesson that she will need to learn. Sometimes you fail. Sometimes you have a bad day and don't do your best and well, you FAIL. And then you pick yourself up and go on. Hope that you do better the next time. Life is full of these kinds of lessons.
Sometimes people don't like you and you will never know why.
Sometimes you work hard on a paper and get a C.
Sometimes people break up with you because they find someone they like better.
Sometimes your team loses.
Sometimes your hair just looks stupid and nothing can help it.
Sometimes friends betray you.
Sometimes you don't make the finals at the swim meet.
Liv will be fine. She will try again next year. I will be fine. I will adjust to office changes. Bing will be fine. Maybe her back will never heal completely, but she will go on. My plants will produce even if it is ungodly hot and way too dry.
We all just....keep moving, keep growing and do the best we can with what life gives or doesn't give us.
And pouting is for babies.