News alert to friends and family — and to anyone else reading this post – my wanna-be desperate, rich housewife days are over! Kaput. Dead. I can no longer shop at Cherry Creek mall in the middle of a weekday – take a 9:30 am exercise class with all the married moms – or walk my dog at 1 pm while strutting the latest trend in bathrobes. Gone are my days of grocery shopping with cute senior citizens at Albertsons (and learning their names while helping them haul heavy laundry detergent) – and sadly — drinking a glass of wine at 3 pm because I “simply could.”
As some of you know — a few months ago I found myself with a lot of extra time on my ever-employed hands. I work as a producer/writer for tv shows on HGTV and the DIY channel (and all those other networks heralded by desperate housewives nationwide). And as we “tv people” say, I was “between shows.” This means one show ended – and I couldn’t jump ship to another one. Because another one didn’t really exist. Some would call this unemployed. Others would call it “Holy crap, what’s next?!” And for someone who held a job since she was 15 years old – I called it – “weird.”
But I’m happy to report – I now refer to that coveted free time as my “sabbatical.” I became a certified “lady of leisure” — albeit brief.
In the first few months…I focused all my time on my new condo – which is only new to me since it was clearly built in the 1980s given the hideous popcorn ceilings and the original “2 x 4” foot old-school microwave. I immediately removed all the popcorn, picked out paint colors with yummy names such as “Sweet Marzipan Cream” and Mid-day Mocha,” replaced the ugly grandma-mauve carpet with a modern, patterned HGTV style, and patched so many “drill holes gone-wrong” I never want to see spackle another day in my life. I felt like I was starring in my own remodeling reality show — despite the fact I hired other people to do most of the work!
Yep, I picked up some freelance “real” work along the way. I called everyone in the tv biz I knew. And I networked myself silly. Some of which didn’t pay off – some of which did. Dish Network hired me to produce and write a 30-minute profile piece on top 10 heavyweight MMA fighter, Brendan Schaub, who trains in Denver. It was a blast producing something with so much energy, spunk, and blood — after spending previous employment hours highlighting bitchy couples arguing over plumbing and grout.
But mostly during my single sabbatical I did this…
1. I ate a lot of these.
4. I skied without a care in the world.
6. I dated – a few cute dudes –a few duds. (no pictures…sorry.)
7. I enrolled in a storytelling workshop class – ended up in a showcase – and made everyone in the audience cry at the final performance.
8. I talked to my dad on the phone almost every day.
9. I volunteered at a temporary orphanage for kids.
10. I spent three days of my life dealing with Ikea. Day 1: Bought a set of sweeeet patio furniture. Day 2: Obsessed over assembly. Day 3: Somehow loaded all that crap back into my Mini Cooper, only to spend two hours in the “return” line. (Worse than the DMV, trust me.) Day 4: Found a better patio set at Target. Spent $100 less. Started drinking margaritas sitting on my new love seat in three hours flat without lifting a screwdriver.
Some stuff I learned along the way:
1. I found out who my friends were. My real friends called to cheer me up – passed along contacts — took care of my dog – helped me hang my mantel and curtain rods, and stopped by for a glass of wine.
2. I mastered baking a cake using only ONE pan from start to finish (as in eating).
3. I learned to relish my free time, instead of obsessing over it. I visited one of my BFFs – who moved one year ago to the gorgeous Oregon wine country. Can you say “Pinot?”
4. I learned I was smart to always live below my means.
5. I found out I could be ok – without a full time job.
6. I learned I’m much more than a job title — or a position.
7. I discovered my pets sleep all day, so there’s no need to feel guilty when leaving for eight hours.
8. I decided that Jimmy Kimmel doesn’t hold a candle to Craig Ferguson.
9. I mastered my “girlie” drill, my bad-ass level, and discovered how to clean paint brushes with mineral spirits.
10. Most importantly — I learned to have faith in my future. And to trust the unknown.
Today – my sabbatical — it’s over. I’m sad and excited. Back to the always exciting television grind. At least for a bit. I’ll be writing for a renovation show on the DIY network. Although I’m not sure what’s around the corner after this gig ends.
Maybe I’ll return to my wanna-be desperate housewife days someday – most likely not though. I feel the universe blessed me with the perfect amount of free time when I needed it most.
I did proudly cross a million things off my giant sabbatical “to-do list.” Except one. I’m STILL driving my mini cooper with the snow tires mounted! Somehow changing back to the regular tires slipped through my desperate housewife mind. Shoot. Oh well…October is just around the corner.