Episode 6 - Spilt Milk
Updated: May 5, 2020
CLICK HERE TO READ ***Spoiler Alert*** Have you listened to Episode Six?
Before Brad died, I remember my mom and dad being very loving to one another. Always joking around and dad showering her with affection. Life was a party. Good food, great wine, and lots of travel. A palpable Joie de Vivre.
Do you think they look happy? Was it real?
My mom tells me she was 'content' and that before things went sideways, she never thought her life was anything but steady away. Husband, kids, a roof over her head. That's all she ever wanted for herself. Do you think she chose not to see what was really happening around her? If so, why?
That playful spirit between them was extinguished after the accident and never returned.
I remember how my mom would drive the Rolls Royce to K-Mart to buy our clothes-- she was super thrifty. Meanwhile, my dad would be blowing through wads of cash on decadent purchases. While reading the manuscript, I also discovered my dad was gambling away the equivalent of a brand new car every time he went to the casino. Their values could not have been further apart.
My mom said to me the other day, "I don't think I had one thing in common with your dad. I wonder what my life would have been like if I married someone who enjoyed doing the things I Iike to do?"
I loved discovering this report card from my father's studies whilst behind bars. A 'C' in Basic French! If he were still alive I would never let him live this down.
When I left my husband and lost my place in middle-class suburban society, the girls and I moved to a tiny wartime house in a rough neighborhood.
My eldest daughter, twelve-years-old at the time, was completely embarrassed to live here, but was probably even more horrified by the costume I wore to work for Halloween that year.
Any guesses what I am?
I liked the little old little house. After 15 years in a bad relationship, I had this overwhelming sense of a return to me. It was probably the first time in my life I felt a sense of real control over my circumstances. I rejoiced in the simplicity of things like making decisions about what we were going to do on my day off without having to get approval from someone else. Not having to walk on eggshells all of the time.
Do you walk on eggshells with someone in your life?
This is the home I built after I started making great money in the car business. I chose every tile, stone, knob, and door. I was very proud of this accomplishment and the girls were in love with the place, too. It was going to be my forever home.
I had to decide, 'Was I going to let this house own me. Was I going to continue to be a slave to a job I hated for a boss I couldn't stand for the rest of my life because of a bit of stone and wood?"
I'm not sure if people thought I was brave or stupid to walk away from it all, just like I had done before with my marriage, and while I got a lot of raised eyebrows and 'oh really?', no one told me what they thought and I'm glad for that.
As you heard in the episode, I cashed out my chips and spent nine months sitting on a river. Hiking, kayaking, reading, writing, staring into the abyss. A total unpacking of my soul.
I was 44 years old, starting over for the umpth-teen time in my life. If my childhood gave me anything, it was the gift of resilience.
It was here on the river I realized that my horrible boss was just another incarnation of my ex-husband. That I wasn't free at all like I thought. My boss 'owned' me and I let it happen. I gave him permission- just like my husband. He was a controlling, destructive, narcissistic, asshole. Sound familiar?
"Girls don't fly airplanes, and you'll never make it as a writer. You're not smart enough," said my dad about my childhood yearnings. By 9 years-old, I mapped my entire life on these goals, and his words crushed me to the core.
I had the great privilege of earning my FAA and Canadian pilot's license when I met and married the love of my life who happened to be a pilot with an instructor's license. What are the odds?
This is the first airplane I flew, a 1948 Piper Cub PA11. We used to fly old Cubby around Florida, landing on remote lakes and at little Tiki bars and restaurants. Isn't that romantic? I currently fly a 1946 Piper Cub on floats in the summer and wheels in the spring and fall.
So girls do actually fly airplanes, however, only 4% of pilots are female. I'm not sure why women haven't twigged into the many wonderful career opportunities in aviation. Not enough mentors exposing them to the industry perhaps?
I sometimes think if I had a mentor when I was in high school, I would have ended up as a bush pilot flying a Twin Otter based out of Vancouver Island. That would have been the perfect setting to live out my dream of living in the writer's cabin combined with an adventurous flying career as discussed in Episode 4.
The photo below is the day I passed my FAA pilot's exam. It was the most stressful test I ever took, but the glowing letter I received from the flight examiner proved that I had it in me to be a commercial pilot.
f I hadn't made the decision to leave everything I worked so hard for, do you think I would have found true love and achieved my childhood dream? Did scrubbing my soul clean on a river make space for goodness and joy in my life?
Do you have a childhood dream that you didn't pursue but wish you did? Are those dreams still possible? What's stopping you? Do you own your life?
I found my original script for Over the Curb
the other day in the back of my closet when I was doing a big clean-up.
I'm desperately trying to get Meg to write a Christmas screenplay with me, but she just smiles and nods then changes the subject. I'm going to keep grinding her down.
In my heart I know one day I'll get a film made. I have no intention of giving up on that goal no matter how long it takes.
In the meantime, I'm thinking about making Over the Curb into an Audible book. It's perfect-- I have the script and my little boudoir recording studio. Why not?
It was during the recording of Episodes 5 and 6 it occurred to me how much of my life was history repeating itself, and now much I am like my father. I love that Meg never misses anything and brings so much insight into my family story. I couldn't have asked for a better emotional tour guide. Perhaps that could be a new business for her, Meg Murphy - Emotional Tour Guide. What do you think? Might be timely with the whole global pandemic thing.
History is still repeating itself with the business I am running now. As I read the manuscript, I was surprised by how many shared feelings my father and I had about owning a business. Sleepless nights, worries about making payroll, loneliness, feeling utterly defeated, and stuffing our emotions deep down inside. Scaling a business is f'ing hard.
This is the signature line of my email.
Squirrel chasing is the quality I most inherited from dear old dad. The only difference between him and me, is I have the discipline to shoot squirrels, or at the very least, put them in a cage.
What have you inherited from your mom and dad?
What do you make on a former dairy farm in your kitchen mixer that you can scale? Themed bath salts packaged in vintage style milk bottles, of course! These were some of my first products and the side of the labels had humorous stories written on them - a card and gift all-in-one. Finally, those screenwriting skills came good.
In the early days, I made all of the products at the farm and sold them door to door to retailers or in a booth at wholesale trade-shows. Peter's job was to label the bottles at the dining room table. Now, we have six factories in Canada and the USA making eighty products.
Walton is our cruelty-free stance mascot. He's fake, but everyone thinks he's real. I've taken him with me everywhere including the Grand Canyon. He's even checked into hotels on my behalf.
This is the Circa 1852 barn before and during the renovation. I always laugh when people come over, 'yeah, our house's second story is stuck in 1970 but we have a stunning barn.' Priorities. Right? At least we know it will still be here 170 years from now. To put that in perspective, if the barn survives the same amount of time it has thus far, it will be the year 2190 when it's ready to be redone again. Wrap your head around that. I can put up with faded puke green bathroom tile a little while longer. Peter is right, we are merely stewards of the land for future generations.
I took this photo from my cub with my iPhone.
The young builders, Eli and Daniela of EC Construction, were married in our barn at the end of the restoration which delighted Peter and me to no end. The hands that saved the barn were forever tied to its history with an act of devotion and love. A beautiful full circle.
Do you think my daughter should have a duck dressed in a tux at her wedding? This duck looks pretty content, I must say, but I'm not sure what animal rights folks would have to say about it.