When I go gray

img_0479In 13 months and counting down, when my husband, Howard. is no longer the Mayor, I will let my hair go gray. And I’ll grow it long and put it up on my head to contain the wildness of it, but some will escape.
I’ll wear no added make up.
And I’ll ride my bike around my block. I have everything in my block.
Dentist, Doctor, Dermatologist, Chiropractor (all crucial for my demographic). There’s a bank that I go into because I never use an ATM Machine, my office, my manicurist moved into my block and as did my hairdresser, the hairdresser who won’t be coloring my hair anymore. Politics should make it a nice gray.
My favorite restaurants are here too- Café Zuppina and Gosh. There’s a library, gyms, gas (my bike has me for the gas—oops-didn’t come out right)
I can get a massage in my block and there are mental health therapists, if I needed one and my Publix is here, too, thank the Lord.
And I will only wear the most comfortable, ergonomic, aerodynamic, supportive shoes because my podiatrist is not in my block.
As I ride my bike around the block, I will sing to world and smile to the degree that people might wonder if I do need that mental health care worker.
Some fast paced woman driving to work will feel sorry for me because it’s so embarrassing to not be dressed up with real purpose in the middle of a weekday. I know that woman. I was that woman. I was the one who would be drumming my cell phone with my manicured nails as I was getting the facial(also in my block). I was the one who was working, doing emails, phone calls and going through piles of desk debris as I was getting my hair colored.
When I told one of my NAWBO sisters, a fellow business owner that someone implied that I didn’t work when I was doing the job of my self-care. She was aghast. We work all the time around whatever we are doing. How dare someone question our work ethics.
I would define my life by jobs: Mother job, Grandmother job, Daughter job, Wife job, Political wife job (which had its own unique skill set) and of course my Job job.
So now I don’t have a Job job, by design with years of planning to release that need for one.
All the planning didn’t prepare me for the shift. When I was that fast paced “working” woman, I would yearn to have the time to spend the day (A week day) at home. I didn’t have time to be sick to realize that desire. I wished I had time to cook more or any. And now I realize that all that yearning was exactly what I enjoy doing now and Yes, I know what to do with myself.
Now I am planning for something that is hard for me to admit.
Real Retirement.
In 13 months, counting down, when Howard is through with his public service, my political wife job will be complete.
This is the time I will pump up my bike tires and let my hair go gray.
Oh, and I am still the consummate multi-tasker, I wrote this on my Iphone as I was getting my hair colored.

We became a political family in 1990

In politics, children are good for ecology, they aren’t something you use and throw away; they can be used over and over.

Who could have resisted an adorable two year old asking you to “Please vote my daddy”with the tagline “he cares about Lakeland’s future.”
Well 394 people too many resisted and it was at that UnVictory party that Howard had to explain to her that he didn’t win. 

howard-and-kimber-at-nonvictory-party-1990It was actually a good thing, because he would’ve been the guy who killed Peggy Brown, the Cookie Madame; instead he was elected to the Lakeland City Commission two years later where he served with his staunchest ally, Peggy Brown.

After 21 years on the Lakeland City Commission, my husband decided to run for Mayor.  The 15 month campaign was like a $95,000 corporation.  We had a campaign manager, a deputy campaign manager, an advisory board, a marketing committee, and interns. We raised the money with fund raisers and from asking for donations.  We spent the money on direct mail postcards, yard signs, 4 x 4 signs, a few radio ads, t-shirts. Then we closed the corporation after the election, with the help of our treasurer who made sure all the forms and moneys were well documented.

Our team each took the well deserved credit for the win.  Social media, interns waving signs, door-to-door team, advertising campaign and many groups of constituencies.

I think he won because he was committed to his Pro-Business, Pro-Family, Pro-Lakeland platform and he worked like a mono maniac with a mission.  My main goal for the election was that he wouldn’t die.

Before election day, we talked about the campaign. We decided that win or lose,  it was good for our marriage.  We were working together on those committees.  I went with him to the events, although not as much door-to-door.  We strategized together at night.  He would ask my input as he practiced his speeches.

I have learned much being the Political Wife for 27 years (of our 32 year marriage).
people aren’t as aware of your campaign as you.
-when they are aware, they are looking out for what you will do for them, their issue, their cause.
-people won’t care about you, until they know how much you care.

1990-scott-and-kimber-campaign-tools-It is a family affair and it’s crucial to have the support of the people you love.

I was valued as his confidant, coach, political psychologist, message tweeker, security detail. It was even more fulfilling because we were friends and partners, and that was helpful during the action packed and stressful campaign.

We are in the throws of the Olympics of Elections this year.  Next year, Lakeland will be electing a new Mayor and a couple of City Commissioners.  My advice to anyone who is considering running:  want it, work for it, win it and do the great job people count on you to do.  Surround yourself with wise counsel and reach out,touch the folks.  And enjoy the process and stay alive.

Choose or chosen

img_5594-1What percentage of time do you get what you want? 50%, 80%, 20%?
And what percentage of time do you get what you get? 100%
SO, if you choose what you get, you get what you want 100% of the time. I didn’t make that up, but when I first heard it some decades ago, (est Training/Landmark Forum) it became a way for me to look at what I was getting in life with gratitude and introspection
There was a drama in my life that looked like something that I would not have chosen, but I was chosen by him. I didn’t listen to my inklings, my chronic stomach pains, or my upset moods. I got entangled in a bad marriage and business partnership that lasted three years. 1 ½ years plus another 1 ½ years of expensive and time consuming legal battle.
This was a learning experience. Experience is what you get right after you needed it. At one point, in all of the desperation, I blurted out “This is the most exciting time of my life.” The gifts for me: realizing what was important to me (my family business), how strong I was (making it through the death threats and court battles) and getting to know who I was when I had intentionality in choosing my success.
It was also a time I became a Workshop-aholic and stepped up my personal growth path.
Here are things I learned along the journey:
Life is perfect, although sometimes, not preferred (Coach U). And that I am perfect just the way I am in all my divine magnificence. (Arnold M. Patent)
Life is just the way it’s supposed to be. (Linda Bagley Wiggs)
The gratitude came with my notion that the experience, although not preferred, was perfect for a learning, growing, The aha! (Creative Problem Solving Institute CPSI)
If this situation were a gift from God, what is the gift? (Dan S. Bagley III)
I am not advocating being passive and simply accepting the situation. It’s more than the optimistic view that in this room of horse manure that there has to be a pony in here somewhere. (an old joke). There are things to do more than sticking a Happy Face sticker over the gas gauge.
Life gives us MESSAGES. If you are having discomfort, or an unsettled feeling, this is a message for you to change something in your life. If you ignore the feelings, then
Life will give you LESSONS. This pain could result in a sick day or worse yet, a day that you ignore the sickness and don’t take the sick day. If you don’t take care,
Life will give you a PROBLEM. This could turn into emergency room visit. If you consider being noncompliant to the doctor’s direction, your body WILL get you, and
Life will give you a CRISIS. You can make up what that would look like. I told you what mine looked like.
Pay attention to the MESSAGES that Life gives you (My personal life experiences and Coach U)
So you choose your actions with intentionality. Notice the messages you get when you are chosen. Do you choose to be chosen?
Your feelings are your guidance system. (Abraham-Hicks)
Is choosing an action? Is being chosen passive or is it an attraction? There is an energy around both. How you feel about being chosen is what will give you the message about the energy around it.
In being intentional and aware of your guidance system, stay present.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery,
Today is a gift, that’s why they call it The Present.

Stay tuned. And tuned in.

Make up your day

Linda at home officeHe: What does your day look like?
She: I don’t know I’m going to have to make it up.

This was a regular conversation I had with my husband/business partner throughout the decades of my successful sales career. While nobody else scheduled me, I did live out of my Daytimer, Palm Pilot, or Iphone calendar. My hours were determined by my to-do, to-see, to talk-to list. The days I made up were the ones without appointments already. I had made those days up in advance.
Now, as I am starting a new venture there is not the momentum of projects to keep me in the flow. I am truly making up my day.
The most rewarding weekdays are when I am busy interacting with people or producing something creative. Your rewarding day, you get to make up.
What is key to that rewarding day is to have an appointment, something on the calendar that has me touch someone. When I am out or in action, it facilitates more of the same, creating that momentum. One task, accomplished, gives me energy to do another.
I heard a woman say “After three years of retirement, I have finally gotten into a routine that fits me.” Hers was to work on her garden from 7-9AM on Mondays and Tuesdays. The rest of the week was other occupied. My routine includes auditing one class a semester at Florida Southern College. This term the class is Middle Eastern Politics, next semester, I hope to get into beginning acting. They don’t have my demographic in that college class, so I might get that part.
Have you ever NOT had the experience of reaching for your smart phone to do something and gotten distracted by what pops up? The destroyer of focus are the phone interruptions, computer notices, news alerts that lead you down the rabbit hole. Facebook can be rationalized as work, but don’t confuse “Busy” with “Productive”.

In this 24/7 techno world we live in, it is important to decide what time to work and what time is personal.  Uninterupted family time is a gift to yourself and the ones who love you.
Where is it that is your productive space? An office in the home, the kitchen table, an office out of the home, Starbucks, Catapult? Mine is an office in my home, even though I have an office at Executive Plaza. What isn’t my productive space is in the Florida room answering emails while watching the news. Included in LOCATION and TIME BLOCKING is to bunch your errands and appointments close to each other or on a path like the UPS driver, she never makes left turns.
It is important to have a plan of something to look forward to: hence the Vacation. This time is crucial, even if your life looks like a vacation. That is the time to disconnect and VACATE. You will accomplish more by taking that time to get bored, even, than you will by staying connected. You will give your mind time to incubate on problems to solve and your body to be in different motion. If you have a spouse that cannot do this without going into hard jerking fits, then take a cruise or leave the country……AND don’t get international phone service or buy the WiFi package on the ship.
Life goes on without you. Both my partner and I discovered that our business went on without me for a year when I took a sabbatical to take Coach University classes on the phone and later when he left for 7 months to focus on another business. AND the business continued when we both left after selling it many years later.
Whether you are retired, starting a business, in sales, in transition, or a stay at home mom, you are your own boss. What do you do that gives you energy? What tools do you use? What activities have you added when you came into a new phase of your life? Let’s start a dialog.

By the way, the list should not include any “SHOULDS”. I am certainly not going to make up my day to include cleaning out a closet, just because I should.

Training Happened

Be careful what you do that first week of marriage.

Exactly 1 week before the incident

As glowing newlyweds, fresh off a cruise, we returned to his house to the bloody stench of dead rotten meat. It was powerless, the freezer in the utility shed. Long brown streaks that had been red were no longer streaming down its walls. If only it had taken our breath away, then we wouldn’t have been overwhelmed by the nose singeing smell.
As the new good wife, I assured him it would be alright, I would clean it. Go sit down and relax.
NOT. This wasn’t my first rodeo. I was a 30 something woman of independent means. Advice to young women watch what you do that first week of marriage. It sets expectations like feet in concrete.
My response to the situation was more like:
“Awe, that’s awful. I better go home to my condo and get a nap.” I hightailed it in my twelve cylinder Jaguar XJ-S back to the lakefront townhouse in Lakeland leaving him with HIS mess in Keysville, a suburb of Nichols, which was three potential railroad stops outside Mulberry.
Allow me to digress: When he had asked me to marry him, he said that this was a life commitment. To clarify, I said “So one of us doesn’t make it out of this one alive?” That was the bargain.
I couldn’t fathom. “Why mess up a good friendship?” To me, marriage was the beginning of the end.
“For the sake of the children.” He had possession of his three boys. “And you don’t have to live with us.”
It was a compelling invitation for this lifelong commitment.
I counter offered. ”It better be fun, because I am not long suffering”.
When I returned to his house a few hours later, I had regained my serenity and as a rested, clean and dazzling bride who cheerfully greeted him.
There he was holding a stiff Scotch highball, tensely seated in the brown velvet chair in front of the stereo with Credence Clearwater Revival booming in his psyche. With narrowed eyes, and a week of marriage under our belts, he said, “I don’t think this marriage is going to work out”.

With breath gasping sobs, begging his pardon, I promised him it would never happen again.
NOPE that didn’t happen either.
“Turn off CCR and snap out of it”. He may have pouted for some time after;
But, we understood each other and what he could expect from me. And by the way, the freezer was squeaky, Virgo, clean.
It wasn’t hard being the mother figure of this family of men. They didn’t plop down on the couch saying, “great we got a woman here, now, what’s for dinner?” No, they knew how to do their chores and I fit in by doing what I was good at: Supervising.
That house had been theirs. The Biological Mother (BM) had put the decals of owls on the kitchen cabinets. They had raised the boys there, next door to her parents. I never moved into that house. I would bring an overnight bag, but never hung anything in the closet.
She (My ex-wife-in-law) let herself in with the hidden key and left notes chastising me about not making up the boys’ beds. Hah!
Our happy little family moved to where she didn’t have a hidden key to the newly constructed pond-front home in South Lakeland. I quit ragging on the boys to make up their beds. It was more important to have peace than made beds. Whenever one of them would ask me to iron something, I would laugh and remind them “Minnie comes on Wednesdays.”
One time I was ironing something of mine and my husband caught me. I begged, “Please don’t tell the boys.”