August 8th, 2013 | No Comments »

be still my bleeding heart

My life has been a road of many twists and turns.  The paths I’ve traipsed over the past few years have led me to face some of the most arduous challenges of my life.  I’ve made hasty, monumental decisions.  I’ve put myself into difficult situations.  Backed myself into corners.  Wasted time, wasted money, wasted emotions, wasted life itself.  I could say, “Hello, my name is Regret.”  But I won’t.  No, because I’ve been thinking about the wasted time, the wasted money, the wasted emotions.

I’ve been thinking about the ripples.  All the ways that lives have changed because of the roads I’ve traversed.  Good things come!  Good things happen!  It’s absolutely concrete.  While I could say that I wish I never wasted so much of my life chasing a mythical love, and I might wish I’d never said those two fateful words (“I do”), I have two vibrant and beautiful testaments to the perfection of that journey right before me.  Every day I am blessed by the wonder of these two human beings entrusted to my care.  And they would not be, had I not walked down that particular path.  And since then, for all the painful twists and turns that follow divorce, I can see how other people’s lives have changed for the better, all because our lives intersected at some point along that path.  This isn’t to say that I take credit for anything; it’s only to say that providence allowed me to be in a particular place at a particular moment in which I could (and did) do something that would (and did) help another.

It’s real.  It’s tangible. I can name names.

A child in Bali.  A village in Cambodia.  A single mother with two young children.  A battered wife.  A young mother with four children.  A woman.  A family.  A man (or two, or three, or seven, not that anyone’s counting).  If I even start to dwell on why or how I am here , in this country house so far from the madding crowd, I can turn my thoughts to any one of these people and quiet my anxious heart.  I don’t care how much money is gone.  I don’t care how many days, months, years have passed.  I don’t care how many tears I’ve cried.  Lives have changed!  Even one of these would be well worth any of the suffering I’ve put myself through.  I won’t dwell on the pain.  I won’t entertain regret.

True, I’ve been losing myself all along the way, bit by bit, so that I don’t even recognize myself any more.  I do wish I’d been vigilant from the start and given my self greater care.  I’m recognizing this now, and slowly but surely I am taking steps to restore myself to my self.  I’m going through the fire.  The refiner’s fire.  I’m going to be shiny and bright, when I get back to me.

Hello, my name is Hope.

I’m glad for this journey.

July 13th, 2012 | No Comments »

All around me, the people I love are struggling.  I see my niece and nephew, teenagers without a dad.  I had a dad, but he wasn’t there for me, and when I was a teenager, I especially needed the love, support, affirmation, and validation of a dad.  My niece and nephew don’t have a dad, because their dad was my brother, and my brother is gone.  Who do they have in their season of need?  Who do they have to help them navigate these teenage years?

I get so caught up in my own world that I don’t even notice this struggle they have, yet, if I take a moment to be there for them, to be with them, I see their need.  My heart weeps for the gaping void that is the absence of my brother, their father, their dad.  They need a dad.

And what of my own children?  Their dad is not present, and is lost in his own reality that I simply cannot comprehend.  My love is there to be a dad for them.  My beautiful man.  We are a heavy load, and stepping into a broken family, trying to pull the pieces together amidst the insanity that is our situation is overwhelming.  Navigating the emotions and perceptions and differences in opinion is so very difficult.  Sometimes it seems like it’s too hard and too painful to try to continue, but if we can step back and take a deep breath for a moment, we might see the rainbow and the sunshine and realize that we are strong enough to prevail, and that love will find a way.

All around me, the people I love are struggling.  I see families in which the parents are exhausted and consumed by the demands of very young children coupled with the demands of making a living and staying afloat, simply trying to make ends meet.  Thresholds are short, emotions flare.  The love is there, somewhere, but it’s nigh on impossible to carve out together time in which to nourish and replenish and edify one another.  Who do they have besides each other in their season of need?  Where can they draw strength to navigate these toddler years?

I get so caught up in my own world that I overlook this struggle they have, yet, if I take a moment to step out of my own chaos, I see their need.  My heart weeps for the growing void in their marriage.  They need rest.

We gather together, each of us holding our own expectations for this family time, each of us hoping we will be nourished and that this time will help draw us out of the dark places where we find ourselves stuck.  And if we don’t get out of our own heads to see the struggles all around us, we are quickly overwhelmed and nearly crushed with despair.  But if we do find a way to look beyond our own suffering, to see that we aren’t alone, we can put our own troubles into perspective, and suddenly they don’t loom so large.

When we do this, and talk with each other, we reminisce about the good times when we’d gather.  We were younger, the collective stress seemed smaller, or at least different.  We laughed and sang and played and ate and painted and played and sang and laughed and ate.  We had so much fun.  Life for all of us is different now, but we try to step away for at least a moment, and stay up late to play board games, allowing the kids to mill around us, trying to recapture at least a glimpse of the way things used to be.

February 12th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

I’ve just dropped the boys off with their dad.  I crave the tidbits of kid-free time that it affords me, but as soon as we part, I fall apart.  Every time.  If I’m not crying on my way home, I’m crying by the time I get there.

I’m nothing, if not consistent.

~*~*~

I try to put my finger on it.  I think a part of it is grief over the absence of a nuclear family.  It seems like it should be so simple.  Why can’t the man be the man and do his job as a man, the woman be the woman, and do her job as a woman, and the couple be a couple and do their job as a couple?  It worked in Mayberry RFD.  It seems like the Cleavers and the Cunninghams had it figured out, too.

Maybe it’s even more simple than that.  Why can’t the grownups be grownups and do what grownups are supposed to do?

~*~*~

I put some valentine goodies together for the boys to share with the other kids, and a card and box of chocolates for them to give their dad and his wife.  I wasn’t planning to do anything at all for Valentine’s Day, but it occurred to me that other kids in school will probably be exchanging valentines, and I don’t want my BB to show up empty handed and feel awkward about it.  So.  He will be well prepared.  While perusing the options, it also occurred to me that the new kids, the step-brother and sisters, would probably be delighted to receive valentines from the boys.  And of course, their dad would probably appreciate the sentiment from his boys as well.

I am a saint.

Mostly, I hope to instill thoughtfulness in my boys.  I doubt they will pick up on it much now, but if I’m consistent and steady, they will hopefully –eventually– learn to think of others, and not just themselves.

~*~*~

I have to get used to the fact that our life isn’t a storybook life.  It’s our own story, and we’re living it, and we’re living it fairly well.  I know this.  I have evidence.  My boys are healthy, boisterous, imaginative, inquisitive, humorous, and playful.  They laugh.  They tease me, tickle me, and play tricks on me.  They sleep soundly.  They are happy.  They know they are loved.

October 10th, 2010 | 3 Comments »

not so comfortably numb

I woke up with a sore throat and a screaming headache, and did a sinus flush to try to clear out the gunkies.  I was so distraught that this sore throat continues to make my life miserable, and spent some time re-assessing whether I should drag my sorry self back to the doctor, but the headache has improved a bit and I’m not hacking up as much or coughing as much, and the throat pain is at bay for now, so I think I’m starting to get better.  My neck aches now, though.

Oxycodone makes me itch.  It’s a seven year old prescription, so I’m surprised it does anything at all.  One pill left.

So Gadget is out there, somewhere, saying I Do to a twenty seven year old today.

I remember the day I said I Do.  I had a screaming migraine.  I was 38 and three days past the most traumatic and horrific miscarriage of my life.  And I was thinking “I do NOT” in my head the whole time.  But I went ahead and said it anyway.  Coward.  So what was I thinking?  That I don’t want to have bastard children.  Social pressure.  Imagined social pressure.  And so it goes.  I’ve paid the piper, again and again for that moment of cowardice.

But I have my boys!  My world!

Posted in divorce, health, marriage, me
August 22nd, 2010 | No Comments »

Stupid stupid stupidy server that keeps choking, how am I supposed to blog with you being so fickle?

Gadget’s MO is to play his passive aggressive games and not give me the courtesy of any advance notice with regard to when he will take the boys. While it appears there may be a light at the end of this tunnel, since he’s expressed interest in synchronizing the visitation with his new woman’s visitation schedule such that all children can be together for the same weekend, there is no guarantee that he will follow through with any level of consistency.

Anyhow. He called at 8 a.m. Saturday morning and said he’d take the kids, and to meet him at 9 a.m. Nice. Does this give me time to make any sort of weekend plans?

I prefer to be able to make plans. I still sort of fall apart when the boys aren’t here. As much as I yearn for some down time or me time, I still haven’t learned how not to fall apart when they’re not here. A cloud of anguish descends — the grief that we aren’t a family, and I so, so, so want to be a family. Not with Gadget. That ship has sailed. It’s just grief that we aren’t a family, or rather, I’m not a family when my boys are gone. So I fall apart. Because, truly, that’s all I want. Family. Sigh. Therefore, knowing this is how things tend to go, I like to be able to book up my alone time so that I don’t have much time to fall under the spell of that cloud that so deftly and swiftly descends upon me.

Luckily, I’ve been able to schedule very short notice massage appointments each time I’ve come upon a free weekend. If nothing else, this indulgence does much to improve my overall well being. Man hands on me, this time for two full hours, working deep, deep, deep into the bound up muscles of my body. Wow, that almost sounds saucy. I could put a little more effort into that prose and come up with something racy! Massage doesn’t have to be man-hands. I’ve been trying different practitioners, but lately am pleased with this particular therapist. He’s got a little familiarity now with what I need, and because we went for two hours yesterday, he really made some progress and was able to loosen up the upper back and shoulders. I’ve been having chronic headaches, so this is a step in the right direction. And besides, I’ll take two hours of man hands on me any day, even if I have to pay for it!

So this free time can become very expensive. Shopping is one thing that gets me out of the house and that can be done on the spur of the moment. And what struck my fancy this weekend? I stumbled upon this iPod speaker contraption called an iHome, that claims to produce excellent sound. It’s kind of odd looking, and more expensive than the other options, but I figured, what the heck. I can return it if I don’t like it. Oh, I love Costco. Love. Costco is my crack. There, I said it.

Of course I can rationalize any mad spending. See, a speaker solution for the iPod allows me to listen to music without having to wear headphones and carry the iPod around. I seldom have pockets, so have to stuff the thing in my bra. And if I’m dancing around, well, it gets sweaty. Gross! Not to mention potentially limiting the lifespan of my iPod. Electronics and moisture don’t play well together. That’s just plain irresponsible, and we can’t have that!  And singing and dancing to music, reliving memories and experiences that the music evokes, is very therapeutic. Therefore it’s good for my soul. Good for my well being. And something that is good for my well being is worth spending mad money on. Yes? Yes!

I’m good. What can I say.

I tried to wrangle together a date or two within my minuscule window, but it’s just as well that I wasn’t successful. I could get myself into trouble if I acted on spontaneity like that! Instead, I stayed in, drank some wine, bombarded everyone’s FaceBook walls, and cyber flirted. So entertaining. This week I’ve had a sugar daddy offer, a few boy toy prospects, a heap of not-at-all-my-type-please-leave-me-alone pursuers, messages from a small handful of actually nice sounding men, including one or two I might agree to actually meet in person. Maybe. Or maybe not.

It’s fun, but wearying. I don’t really want to look around, troll about, or anything like that. I just want Mister Right-For-Me to show up in front of me, and I want to recognize him, say, “Hello there cutie pie, how are you, where have you been all my life?”, to which he says, “Looking for you, Sweetheart”, and that’s that. We live happily ever after. We don’t have to figure out if we’re ready to meet or even be with someone. We don’t have to figure out if we’re compatible. We don’t have to figure out if we’ll get along until we’re a hundred and one. We don’t have to wonder if the love and honor and respect and compassion and communication and understanding and interest and attraction and affection and everything or anything else will ever fade. We don’t have to wonder if the other will help raise our kids the way we want them to be raised. We don’t have to wonder if they’ll be true and honest. We don’t have to wonder if they’ll always have our back.  We don’t have to wonder if they’ll be responsible and trustworthy. We just jump into forever together.

I know. I’m bat crazy.

hello cutie pie, it's me, bat-girl

I don’t want that sugar daddy, though. That much I do know.

Oh, and that iHome thingy?  Sounds pretty darn good.  Whodathunkit?

Tags:
March 22nd, 2010 | 1 Comment »
  • Here’s the TMI bit.  Still bleeding.  I guess you can call it spotting, but it’s still annoying.  Thirteen days, but who’s counting.
  • I’m feeling crabby today.  I’ve had three meltdowns in less than one month.  I’m not used to this, and I’ve barely recovered from the last bout.  It’s exhausting, not to mention wholly unpleasant for me and my loved ones, and it just plain sucks.
  • So here goes.  I’m going to proceed with another long discourse that attempts to sort things out.  It helps me, and yes, it’s narcissistic, but that’s the point of my blog.  I blog for me. You know the drill.  Run along now.  (Oh, she IS crabby, isn’t she?!)

I think I may just draw the conclusion before I even go anywhere.  I’m a sore loser.  I don’t handle criticism well, in any form, constructive or destructive.  The inability to handle criticism reflects the following character flaws:  insecurity, inflated ego, pride, self-consciousness, low self-esteem, and inordinate people pleasing (which may be better stated as too much concern or regard for what other people think).

Of course, acknowledging these character flaws only prompts immediate self-flagellation.

Now that’s helpful.

If I could only stop my brain from short circuiting to the least constructive place to be, and take that split second needed to squeeze the question, ‘What does Sueeeus Maximus think of this?” out of my exploding head.  If I’d answer that question for myself, I’d be much more centered and balanced.  I’d see the forest and the trees.

Also, if I could take a moment to recall or realize that any negative emotion I elicit does disservice to me and all I hold dear, maybe, just maybe, I’d not bother wasting any time at all with it.

It’s like exercise, and requires serious training and effort.  Why can’t it just be first-nature, and easy?

~*~*~*~

I can put together a complete string of events that contributed to my funk.  Having already drawn conclusions, this may actually prove constructive.  We shall see.

  • After receiving a good report on my bill of  health STD-wise, I sent a message to Skills’ ex to let her know that I didn’t have the thing she claimed he gave her, and that he wasn’t the carrier.  I also responded to some of the things she’d said about him.  She’d written some things from her perspective, and I replied with my own observations.  I was cordial and not trying to stir anything up.  In retrospect, however, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything.  She sent me a curt reply, and left him a voice mail calling me a psycho and telling him to tell me to leave her the hell alone.
  • Gadget said he won’t take the kids for my birthday weekend.  I don’t know why it is, but there is something about birthdays reminding me of a lifetime of disappointments.  Sort of like the holiday blues that people get around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.  All this hype of love and gratitude and joy and life is great and life is beautiful and oh the love, nothing but love, love is all around,  swirling about while inside the reality is there is turmoil and travail, and it’s just such a relief when January 2nd rolls around and all that focus of unfulfilled life and love is behind you.  The thing about birthdays, though, is all this internalization of “why am I here?”, “who is glad that I’m here?”, “who cares that I’m here?”, all compounded with a “don’t look at me!” self-conscious complex.  The battle between wanting attention and not wanting attention.  Maybe psycho was apt.  Because in reality?  I am loved.  Loved by many!  If I stepped outside of my ego for just a moment, I could see that.  “You are loved.  You are loved.  You are loved!”  Loved by my fine and beautiful friends.  Loved by my sisters.  Loved by my children.  Loved by my nieces and nephews.  Loved by my mother.  Loved by my brothers (at least some of them).  Probably even, in some as yet to be comprehended way, by my father.  Loved by my coworkers.  Loved by almost everybody I’ve ever known.  (Probably.  I’m lovable.  What’s not to love?  Apart from the psycho bit.)
    • Loved by Skills.  [pause; she stops, smiles, thanks God for this man]
  • Every time I talk to Gadget, without fail, he cries about money and how he has to make sacrifices to make ends meet.  I’m so tired of hearing it.  I want to scream at him to just man up and shut up.  I don’t know Skills’ financials, and I don’t care, really, but I’m guessing his may be in the same ballpark as Gadget’s.  Yet, in comparison, he supports himself, his two boys, pays child support for his daughter, which is more than Gadget has to pay for his daughter, and doesn’t say a word about “I want, I want, I want”.  I respect that, in Skills.  But I digress.  Gadget has been waiting for an insurance claim check to arrive, and he asked me to open his mail to see if it had.  He went so far as to ask me to deposit it for him.  He has no problem asking me to go out of my way to do something for him, yet turn the tables?…  I told him I wouldn’t forge his name to endorse it, so he said forget it, he’ll come by the house and get it.  When?  Probably Saturday morning.  I mentioned this in my last blog post.
  • The irritations with Gadget mixed with the drama from the STD-ex and a houseful of four children to keep entertained –all this energy being drawn out compels me to want to regenerate, and how do I do that?  Pester Skills for attention.  Now, consider a tired and drained after a long week boyfriend, also subject to the drama of the STD-ex, and now accosted by a needy girlfriend.  He called me selfish.  Said my attitude reminded him of her and the games she used to play.  A night that could have been restful turned toxic, and he had to leave.  So I managed to take a low point and drive it to even deeper depths.  Insane.
  • So I have to run damage control.  Again.  I have to pick myself up from the pit I’ve managed to put myself into, and I have to grovel and redeem myself and somehow explain that no, I’m not playing games, nor do I want to play games, ever, nor do I want to come across as being needy, nor do I want to be needy, ever.  All I want is to love unconditionally and to be loved unconditionally.  Do I know how?  I don’t know.  I’m aspiring.  And at the same time, the prideful part of me who won’t just sit still, rises up with indignation that I would grovel in the first place.  That person will defend me and say, “There there, if he really understood you, he wouldn’t say things like that, that are so hurtful and cut you to your core.”  But that’s pride speaking, and the sore loser speaking, and the one who doesn’t want to take responsibility for not taking that split second necessary to squeeze the question and thought, ‘What does Sueeeus Maximus really think of this? and any negative emotion I elicit does disservice to me and all I hold dear” out of her exploding head.
  • He left, and I didn’t know whether or not he’d read my last blog post, so didn’t know if he knew that there was a possibility that Gadget would show on Saturday morning.  But since he was gone, it seemed moot.  If Gadget showed, he wouldn’t be here anyway.  And Gadget didn’t show.
  • Damage control.  A bit of regrouping.  Some talk.  [The part he keys on]:  You silly girl, why don’t you get it.  I’m here.  I’m not going anywhere.   [The part I hear] If I’m not meeting your needs, we need to nip this relationship in the bud, and not waste our time.   Me [jumping to wrong conclusions]:  I don’t want to end this relationship because of some potholes that I’m not smart enough to avoid before I go crashing through them.  Me [trying to explain myself, not feeling understood]:  So maybe I appear desperate when I’m all whacked like this, but this isn’t the real me.  Please, let’s not jump to conclusions when I’m not in my right mind.
  • There is much to be said about the healing power of sleep.  When he’s rested, and when I’m rested, there is calm and clarity, and the static and craziness of other days is put away.  He’s very good about knowing this about himself.  He can’t process properly when he’s tired.  He knows he needs to be rested and recharged before he can think seriously and clearly about things.  I need to learn from this and follow this more, too.  It would save a lot of grief.  Yet I so stubbornly cling to the words, “Let not the sun go down on your wrath.”  I could follow that scripture by putting away the wrath without resolving it.  It’s a personal choice to hold or release the wrath.  The resolution can come with the dawn.  There.  Thinking outside of the box.  I just gave myself the means to let things rest.  Win win.  Because, with the dawn, there is renewed energy, and things can be seen in clear light, for what they are really worth.  Then we can see if we do or do not have a real issue to contend with.  And if we do, we take it from there.  In truth.  In honesty.  With humility.
  • I feel so much better.  But I’m not done.
  • So we repaired and continued our Saturday.  It was such a special day, because he got to have his daughter again, and this time, for an overnight.  We had her, my two boys, and my niece and nephew.  We went to the park and had a picnic, and lo and behold, one of his sons was there with his friends, so we had even more family together.  We had a football, a soccer ball, and a frisbee to play with.  We walked along the dock and watched people fish.  We enjoyed the fresh air.  (Okay, the kids claimed boredom, but the grown ups had a nice time.)  Later that night we watched movies and had a taco bar dinner.  It was a nice day, a nice evening, and a nice night.  Morning came and I made some quick bread cinnamon rolls and we lounged about.
  • And then Gadget showed up.  With his fiance.  Unannounced.  I assume he came to get the check, but in retrospect, I’m not so sure.  Maybe it was like an ambush.  I definitely could have handled the situation better.  She was fashionably dressed, very tall, wearing high heels.  She has long long dark hair, and is pretty.  She seemed nice enough.  Skills was still in his jammies.  I guess that was awkward.  He wasn’t completely pleased that I hadn’t told him that Gadget might show (scroll up a few bullet points).   We made introductions all around.  I’d just put LB down for his nap, but told Gadget he could go say hi since he was here.  I shouldn’t have let him, though, because then LB didn’t want to go back to bed, and he ended up crying.  And it seemed like Gadget and his fiance were upstairs quite a while, which made me sort of wonder what they were doing.  Was he showing her around at all the things he’d done to improve the house — installing the ceiling fans and changing the light switches — or whatever?  Or snooping in the rooms?  Looking at my rumpled bed?  (Good, I hope it looked like there was all kinds of crazy love and acrobatics going on very recently.)   And of course Gadget made comments about the kids being sick and odds and ends in general that in retrospect are the same old $#!t button presses that I’m not savvy enough to recognize before I say things I shouldn’t say and get myself all upset.  Because I am the one who ends up frustrated and upset.  He’s just pushing buttons because he can.  And I totally let it happen.  Idiot. IDIOT.
  • What does Skills say after they leave?  “It seems like you still have feelings for him.”
  • WTH
  • Seriously, I don’t get that.  Words like that send me straight to defense mode, compounded with frustration and general consternation.  Feelings?  Yes, I have feelings.  Feelings of frustration.  Feelings of anger.  Anger at myself for wasting so much of my life with somebody who is so polar opposite.  Anger at Gadget for being such an ass.  Anger at him for being such a buffoon.  (But really, that’s not warranted.  I can’t hold against him his own mental and intellectual limitations.  That’s on me, for not honoring my own standards.)  Anger at him for not being man enough to end a dead relationship civilly.  I can love Gadget as I can love any other human being on the planet, but no more.  I can have compassion for him as a human, if and when I can see through the prickly crust he lives behind.  But love?  As in, love between a man and a woman?  No.  That love waned long ago.  That love only burned brightly for a very very short time, and then remained as sorry embers that I tried valiantly to tend for far, far too long.  If I were to be brutally honest with myself, I should never have married him.  I should never have taken him in at all.  But I jumped in like a fool, and then, as a more stubborn fool, tried to make it all work.  Square peg, round hole.  Whatever.  Water under the bridge.  It’s over.  OVER.  So yes, I’m still harboring much anger at myself for letting things be what they were, and for so long.  Much self disdain and anger.
  • I think that we, Skills and I, are both somewhat affected by ex-drama, whether we admit it or not.  His ex has tried to plant some seeds of question and doubt, and to generally stir things up.  We’ve both exhibited anger and frustration at our respective situations.  The bottom line?  It’s emotion.  Granted, it’s negative emotion, but any investment of emotion to things past does disservice to things present.  Truly.
  • We are here and now.  We are blessed with this opportunity to be completely free to love and be loved.  We are blessed to be able to laugh and rejoice in the life we are living at this very moment. We need to recognize that, remember that, and not let things past place shadows over our brightly shining present.
  • I am in love with him, this man called Skills.  We have pasts.  We’ve made poor decisions in our lives.  Some of those decisions helped us learn and grow into stronger people.  Nobody is perfect.  I have a hard time stepping up when the finger is pointed at me.  I squirm and feel uncomfortable and defensive, but truly, I accept full responsibility for every mistake I’ve made, and I’ve made plenty.  What can I do about it now?  I can only learn and try very hard not to repeat the same mistakes.  I can try to grow and become stronger and better and just a bit wiser.  In so doing, I honor myself and those whom I love.
  • So.  My goals.
    • Honor myself and those I love by practicing more humility, by taking that moment to remind myself that any negative emotion I elicit does disservice to me and all I hold dear, and dismiss it before it can take hold.
    • Be a better mother — be more attentive to the effect that my actions, words, and emotions have upon my children.  Take the time to steer them in the right direction, to encourage them, to bolster them, to give them what they need to grow up to be fine people.
    • Listen with an open heart and an open mind, rather than react and become defensive or make assumptions of criticism.
February 25th, 2010 | 11 Comments »

…that would be the high road…

~*~*~*~*~

My boys spent Saturday night and all of Sunday with their dad.  Their coats were forgotten.  Sunday night, night, I repeat, I got a call from Gadget.  The truck won’t start.  I’ll have to pick them up directly, rather than meeting in the middle.  Fine.  I repeat the address back to him, that he’d given me, in order to comply with visitation rules, only to learn that he’d given me a bogus address.  WTH.  WTH. Armed with the correct address, I set out to collect my boys.  Of course I took a wrong turn and ended up way the hell away, deep in the heart of parts unknown, parts where it’s best not to pull over, parts where it’s best NOT TO BE.  He doesn’t exactly live on the nice side of town…   But I eventually got there, collected my boys, and returned home.  I think it was well past 10pm when I finally returned.  Pissed off, on many levels.  I simply don’t get why he would give me a bogus address.  In what universe does it do any good to do such a thing?  I’m flabbergasted, to say the least.  And grateful to have gotten divorced. Grateful.  Who is this stranger that I spent the last nine years with?

~*~*~*~*~

Now the boys are sick.  Pneumonia.  Nice.  It’s hard not to point any fingers.  They could just  as well have gotten sick while under my care.  Even so.  They are on antibiotics, and we caught it early, so we’re nipping it in the bud.  My beautiful little boys.  I want them to be WELL!

~*~*~*~*~

I, myself, am disoriented.  Having trouble with names.  What are my boys’ names, what is my name (Sueeeus Maximus, I’m not completely gone yet), what is Skills’ name?  It’s so strange not to be able to hold my own thoughts, and somewhat disconcerting.  So much so that I came home from work, just in case.  Had a hot eucalyptus and peppermint bath, a two hour nap, and a small salad, but still feel like my brain is not quite connected to the rest of me.  So strange.

~*~*~*~*~

Skills has a psycho ex.  Nice.  Does everyone have at least one psycho ex?  She’s throwing the STD card, among other things.  Noice. Maybe I should introduce her to Gadget.  They could be very interesting to one another, leaping about in the quagmire of all their tales and deceptions.

~*~*~*~*~

Oh, did I forget to mention that Gadget’s roommate L and her son C have moved out, and he is now entertaining a new woman roommate, who has three kids.  Gadget told me he was tired of the drama and tantrums on L and C’s parts, and that he was looking for a new roommate.  According to BB, and this has to be taken with a grain of salt, as he is just 5, the new woman shares a room (bed) with Gadget.  Just like the last woman, L.  Nice.  I really don’t care if Gadget sleeps around or goes through women like bubble gum, but I do care what environment he presents to my children when they are in his care.  I need to know that any other people, whether children or adult, who are living there are being decent and good to MY boys.  This, in addition to the crap address bit, makes me inclined to refile the visitation papers to remove further rights until adequate responsibility can be shown.  It’s asinine, that he would behave like this.  He loves his kids and wants to be a part of their lives, yet he pulls this $#!t.  And I want the kids to grow up with respect and admiration for their dad, if at all possible.  Can he not see this?  Is he so immature that he would make these piss-poor life choices that ultimately do nothing but hurt himself more?  I shake my head in utter consternation.  I need to talk to him about these things, but have to collect myself and my thoughts before I do.

But I am just. Too. Tired.

~*~*~*~*~

Apart from the scorned lovers’ drama, I had an incredible weekend.  Incredible!

~*~*~*~*~

I hired a sitter and went OUT on a Friday night.  Out!  Skills took me to his ‘club house’ where an AC/DC tribute band was playing.  I actually had a couple of drinks.  Drinks!  Me!  And loosened up commensurately.  Wink wink.  We danced and laughed and laughed and danced.  He’s a people magnet, is Skills.  It was fun to see him in that element.  Master of all he surveys.  Kind of like me.  Queen of all I survey.  (In our own worlds.)  Ahem.

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Saturday night, after Gadget drove off with my kids, Skills arrived to whoosh me away.  We drove into the city, where he’d secured waterfront view reservations at a fine seafood establishment.  He fed me steak, asparagus and king crab legs.  So, so nice.

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We slept.  (Minds out of the gutter people.  We truly just slept!)

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Sunday I made pecan and apricot waffles, and we went for a two hour walk along a nearby trail.  So, so nice.  We enjoyed each others’ company for the rest of the day, until it was time to collect the kids.  After which everything went to hell in a handbasket.  See above.

November 23rd, 2009 | 7 Comments »

He’s being an ass.  He doesn’t think so, but I think so.  It’s all perception anyway, and this is my reality, regardless of how he sees it.

So, what should I think or how should I take it if he got a new cell phone and won’t give me his new number?  Never mind the part about not telling me, so that I get to continue paying his $100/month service plus there will be a $175 cancellation fee.  Nice move, Mister Communication Skills.  His job changed hands and he won’t give me his new email address either.  He did give me his new work number, but what good does that do me if there’s any reason to reach him while he’s not working?  He won’t tell me where he’s staying either.

Ass.

He was supposed to go to a parenting seminar, ordered by the state in all divorce cases, on Friday.  But did he go?  No.  He had things to do he said.  He said he rescheduled.  I hope he was telling the truth.  I don’t know what happens if you don’t fulfill your court mandated obligations, but I’m sure it’s not particularly pleasant.  He doesn’t seem to think it matters much.  Or something.  Maybe he thinks he’s above the law.

Ass.

Yesterday he showed up to winterize the boat.  I thought he’d do it himself, but he said something about taking it to a friend.  I wanted to go to the cable store to get the account switched to my name, since it’s in his name, and asked if we could do that.  He said he had to get going because his friend had somewhere he had to be at 3.  Since it was after noon, I thought that was pushing it for getting it done, even if they were super efficient.  Meanwhile, I begged him to load the generator in the van for me so that I could return it, since he’s refusing to do anything for me any more.  He won’t install it.  He won’t winterize the sprinklers.  He won’t do anything.  He says, ‘You wanted to be single.  You can hire out.’

Ass.

Am I right?  Anyhow, I figured I’d better return it while I could, but it turns out it had a 30 day return policy and this was day 40.  Nice.  I’m stuck with $1400 store credit for Home Depot.  Maybe I’ll get a granite slab for my island counter.  It was a challenge returning the electrical box as well.  That was $300 and he’d gotten the display, so it was marked down.  The store didn’t want to take it back because it was used (as THEIR display) and it claimed to have all parts there, but when they looked it over, they said it was missing three things and that I’d have to take it back to the store where he got it, 30 miles away.  Meanwhile, I’m holding a tired and cranky LB and trying to keep my ADD BB within reach, and insisting that all the parts that it came with are there.  Back and forth and forth and back, and finally I asked which parts are missing, and they described them, and I said, let’s look in the boxes.  Lo and behold, eventually, I accounted for all the parts.  And they still wanted me to take it back to the other store but I begged the man, and he could see I was on the verge of tears, so he authorized the return and I got my $300 back.  Meanwhile, I’m not sure how my blood pressure fared.  It’s so hard not to voice my frustrations or keep my composure in front of the kids, when I want to SOB and just wail it out because the stress is so….   ….stressful.

Back home, I thought he’d be there.  The cable store closed at 5, so I gave him until 4:30, but started calling around 3:30.  Finally he called me back around 4:30 and had no intention of returning home.  He had dropped the boat off and gone on with his day.  Without so much as a word, when he knew what I wanted to do.  Yet somehow he claimed that he didn’t know I wanted to do that.  So frustrating.  And I had things I needed to do as well, so I ended up driving my tired kids on another errand, cutting into their dinner and bed times and totally messing up their schedule.  Such a frazzled day.  Even so, I sort of expected he might return at some point to put the boat back, but he never did.  When he did call, I finally said to him, ‘You know you’re being an ass, don’t you?’, to which he actually sounded surprised. ‘No!’  Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, and when I said goodbye, he hung up.  Without a goodbye.  How rude.

Ass.

I spent the evening reclaiming my bedroom and bathroom.  I removed all his stuff and put it in his office.  I made more room for LB’s crib, sorted LB’s clothes, rearranged to make things a bit more baby safe near the bed.  LB likes to play ‘run away’ on the bed and crawls off as fast as he can, stops, turns and sits, but he gets SO CLOSE to the edge that it practically makes my heart stop.  I dread him falling, so at least now there are no sharp corners in falling proximity.  It felt good and liberating to have my own bedroom.

Today I had more errands to run.  I noticed the boat house (a 10’x20′ aluminum/tarp structure) had shifted somewhat, and hoped he’d return while I was out and resecure everything.  Imagine the horror of returning home, turning the corner into our culdesac to see the boat house had blown across the front yard and had lodged in and against a tree.  It looked like it must have tumbled end over end completely.  Thank God it didn’t blow into the street or damage any body else’s cars or property.  That was around 4:30.  I called, and called, and called.  I called the new work number, the discarded iPhone number and sent email.  No returns of any kind.  Since it wasn’t blowing any further, being stuck for the time being in a tree, I semi-calmly proceeded to feed the children, bathe the children, put on a movie for BB while I put LB to bed.  8:30, still no word.  So what did I do?  I took the blessed thing apart.  Piece by stinking piece.  Most pieces snapped together, but two parts were bolted, and I couldn’t for the life of me find an allen wrench in the chaos of his garage clutter.  I had to leave them in place, and in the end, one support rod crushed under pressure.  I’m sure he’ll have something unkind to say about that.  But I took care of it.  I took it all down and put all the parts in the utility trailer and even strapped them down so they wouldn’t blow away.

I am woman, hear me roar.

And I am SO PISSED OFF.

November 18th, 2009 | No Comments »

I have been told, on countless occasion, that I am up tight about things. Especially money matters. Oh, I s’pose there’s some truth to that. What with growing up keenly aware of the value of a dollar and the need to make it stretch to feed, clothe, and shelter nine kids, and all. We never took handouts. No government cheese. No food stamps. My parents were too proud to accept assistance (which made absolutely no sense to me as a child, because, hey, it was free, and if we got food for free, then we could maybe buy clothes at the store, and not the neighborhood garage sales), so we made do. There are others who have real need, I was told. Little did I know I was learning an important life lesson, which was made all the more meaningful the Christmas that I volunteered for the Adopt-a-Family program and filled the Christmas list for an underprivileged family. I shopped happily, thinking of the joy I was bringing that family. It began to turn sour when I drove up to their home and realized that they lived in an apartment complex that I had considered, but decided against because it was too expensive. As I arrived, a very fashionably dressed woman stepped out of a new Toyota Camry, and I soon discovered she was the mother of my adopted family. I was driving a 1982 Subaru hatchback (which I bought for $300). Once in the apartment, I couldn’t help but notice the giant 50-some inch television and the black leather furniture. Honestly, I was sickened by it all. She was saying how glad she was to be able to put something for her boys under the tree. It was all I could do to maintain a cheerful face, leave the bags of gifts and groceries, and hightail it out of there. These are the kinds of people that take advantage of the system, the kind my mother did not want to be. Sure, maybe that woman needed to maintain a particular image in her line of work, but it certainly seemed that she could have been able to do better for her children if she’d cut back a little on herself. But that’s just me. (And I’ve digressed, again.)

I was raised to make do. It was the respectable thing. So it’s been ingrained for a very long time. Sure, there were the teenage years where I would have loved to have something name-branded like the cool kids wore, but I survived. Then came the age of acquisition, my twenties and thirties in which I over-compensated the poverty of youth with all manner of tchotchkies –I finally found that word spelled in a book I’m trying to read. If nothing else, I have the until-now-elusive spelling to show for the effort. Now in my forties, it’s time to purge and simplify. I feel so burdened by clutter and belongings. I want only things that have form, fit, and function. Plus, perhaps, a handful of frivolous items that I absolutely love or that have historic and/or sentimental value. Apart from that, I want to be free of it all. That is where I am now.

So it has been somewhat irksome to notice how intently Mr. Gadget has been perusing the Dell web site and ads, looking at laptops, going so far as walking through the web site configuration wizard. A laptop purchase, at this time, seems frivolous to me, since he has a fairly new, over the top computer already. He does no hard core computing. No graphics, no programming. No blogging. A little emailing. A little surfing. It just seems unnecessary. It’s just another toy. And the acquisition of toys? Annoys me. He came from a large family, and I think they possibly did take some assistance, and they got to wear new clothes, rather than rummage-sale finds, yet, it seems that he remains firmly embedded in the age of acquisition. Perhaps it’s because of his first marriage. I’ve heard tales of how the wife (certainly not he) charged up their credit cards to the limit so the kids could have a good Christmas. They could only afford to pay the minimum so of course the interest charges racked up, and up, and up. Eventually things fell into a state of collection. WTH, I say. So irresponsible. That’s my big thing. Don’t spend money that you don’t have. If you don’t have it, find a way to make do, do without, or save up. However long it takes. Okay, so it may look like the pot is calling the kettle black, because I put nearly all my purchases on my credit card, but I pay it off every month. Never, ever, do I buy something that I can’t pay for at once (well, except real estate, but c’mon… …not many people can buy that outright… …so that’s a reasonable exception). If I say anything, he will always say, “It’s easy for you. You make a lot. You have a lot. You can buy whatever you want.” Apart from the fact that I made a conscious effort to obtain credentials with which to make a good living, whereas he did not, he doesn’t seem to get that one of the reasons I might have more is that I don’t buy every single thing that I might fancy, and that I no longer carry the attitude that I’m missing out on anything and need to keep up with the latest trends. Perhaps he feels like he had to do without for so long (due to trying to keep up with the ex’es spending habits) that he’s still trying to compensate. I get that. I just don’t like it. If he does decide to buy something that requires a loan… Oh my goodness, all hell will break loose. (If I find out about it, that is.)

We’ve kept our accounts separate, and that suits me fine. He had a joint account with his ex which she controlled, and it got out of hand. I had a joint account with an ex that I controlled, and it was fine, but we both maintained our own individual accounts, and also, we never actually married. I wouldn’t mind having a joint account for the common expenses, but it would be one more set of books for me to keep, so our current arrangement works well enough.

It’s just wearisome, that he continues to want things. Expensive things. On many, I cave. We have a large screen tv. We have a 3-car garage. We have a hot tub. We have a 4-wheel drive truck. It’s the act of wanting that I find wearisome. I wish he could be content with simplicity. Where I might like to paddle a canoe or a rowboat, he would want to drive a speedboat with a wakeboard. Where I might like to go sledding and build snow men, he’d want to go snow-mobiling. The faster the better. Where I’m happy to camp in a tent, he dreams of an RV, or at least a camper trailer. All these material things. They suffocate me. And if I ever do find something that I want, I feel guilty about it. As though I shouldn’t have anything, because I don’t want him to have anything. And it’s not that I don’t want him to have anything. I just don’t want him to want what he can’t afford. (And I certainly don’t want to be buying all this crappe!)

Meanwhile, I realized that my old desktop hasn’t, in fact, given up the ghost, and has behaved quite well for the last several months. I hardly use the laptop at all. It’s not convenient to sit outside and blog, because the screen brightness is lacking in daylight. It’s hazardous to sit with it on the couch, what with a rambunctious two year old leaping about. So. I wrapped it up in Christmas wrap and gave it to Mr. Gadget. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday (and please don’t you dare ask or suggest anything of any monetary value when Christmas and birthday time rolls around, and you’d better give me something really REALLY nice). Now Mr. Gadget is happy, with his almost new top of the line whiz bang $2000 reduced to $1400 with employee discount laptop. Until the next gadget catches his fancy.

November 15th, 2009 | 5 Comments »

I’m starting to come to the realization that if only is no solution to anything at all.

The easiest trap I allow myself to fall into is the ‘if only I were thin’ trap.  If only I were thin, I would be happy.  If only I were thin, I would look good, and if I looked good, I’d feel good, because I wouldn’t have any reason not to like myself, so, I’d be happy. And besides that, if I were thin, others (say, significant others) would love me more.  Because nobody likes fat people.

I conveniently forget that there was a time when I was smokin’ hot (never thin, but I was a cutie), and even then, I still found fault with my looks and wished I could be thin.  I’ve always had something to hang ‘if only’ on.  If only I could get through school.  If only I had a reliable car.  If only I had my own house.  If only I were out of debt.  If only I had somebody who loved me.  If only I had kids.

If only.

It’s nothing but a trap.  An excuse.  A crook that distracts me from the beauty of this moment that I will never get back.  Robbing me of my very life.  Tricking me, disarming me, incapacitating me, making me not like myself, making me think I’m not worth liking.  What’s not to like?  I’m nice.  I’m caring.  I’m friendly.  I’m even half-smart about some things, and can hold a reasonable conversation (depending on the subject, that is).  So I’m not thin.  WHO CARES?  Seriously.  Who?  And if anyone besides me, then why?  Why would anyone care what I look like?  Do I care if someone is tall or short or large or small?  No.  NO!  Well, I do have a little trouble with over-cologned people in close proximity, but I have chemical sensitivity and it’s nothing personal.  I’d love it if I could wear cologne myself.  And I don’t particularly like to be around loud people, because I have noise issues.  Loud pleasant people are okay.  I just don’t stand too close so that my head doesn’t ring.

It may be time to break out the zoloft.  But first I will try some more small changes, and give them a chance.  I’ve been going to the gym four days a week.  I need to make that a part of my day, so that there’s no questioning whether or not it will happen.  It just needs to be part of my life.  And I plan to revamp the menu towards more whole foods, and less cheese and meat.  Definitely less cookies.  I’m a cookie fanatic.  And somehow, more sleep.  I put the kids to bed an hour ago, and struggled between grabbing a little bit of me time, or just joining them.

I wish I had a little more time to blog.  It’s so good to take time to collect some thoughts.  But now I hear the baby crying, so off I go.

*~*~*~*

Being the stellar mother that I am, I took just long enough to reread my post that the baby soothed himself back to sleep.  So I have a little more time.

*~*~*~*

Part of me struggles with taking any time to blog because of Gadget’s accusation that I spend all my time on the computer.  When we argue, it invariably comes up.  To which I say, I WAS PUMPING.  Because I did spend 4 hours a day strapped to the breast pump (and hence, on the computer), back when the dairy was in operation.  Since weaning, I’ve spent very little time on the computer.  (Or so I claim.)  I shouldn’t allow false accusations to make me feel guilty.  So here I am, blogging.  (He’s not here, though, otherwise, I’d have stopped at ‘If only I had kids’.)

*~*~*~*

Well hell.  I might as well come out with it.  I mustered the courage to tell Gadget that even though he was back, I realized that I wasn’t happy with ‘us’, whatever ‘we’ are, and don’t want to try to patch things together any more, because all we’ve ever done is sweep things under the carpet and not one thing between us has ever, ever been resolved.  We’re more like oil and vinegar than yin and yang.

So, he left immediately, a week ago Saturday.  And I’ve not seen or heard from him since.

I’m not letting myself manufacture any assumptions about what he’s thinking or feeling.  How can I have any real idea what’s in his head?

I will just feel more peaceful when all the turmoil is a thing of the past and we’ve settled into whatever our new lives will be.  If only this were all behind us…

*~*~*~*

A coworker’s son was died yesterday.  He was killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver.  He, the son, had been in a coma for the last few weeks, and there was much hope and things were looking promising, but when he finally came out of the coma, there was no neural response.  He drifted away yesterday.  He was 29.  It rips me up, that my friend and her family have lost a child who could have had so much life ahead of him.  It’s so, so wrong.  The order of the universe is all messed up when we lose our children.  We are supposed to go first.

*~*~*~*

It’s tragic that someone with so much potential for a beautiful life has no choice; his life was taken from him, and here I am, alive, and wasting precious moments making excuses for myself.  I’m making changes, and change is hard.  Oh GOD, change is hard.  But I owe it to myself, and it would be criminal for me not to.  It’s time to wake up and do what I can to love each and every moment that I get the privilege of living.