Sunday, June 26, 2011

Consider My Bloomers Aflame.

Here I said I was going to start blogging regularly and have I?  HECK no!  Consider my bloomers aflame.

I've been so busy what with this whole being a mom thing (FOUR doctor's appointments for the boy last week...he gets his bad back from me...or maybe his of us anyway) and being an employee thing (the person who helps me, who I am not allowed to call my assistant, was on vacation all week) and being an honorary ex stepmom thing (got to see The Girl this weekend....I can't express the happiness there)....anyway the whole being a blogger thing had to fall by the wayside for a bit.

But I'm doing surprisingly well, or so everyone tells me.  There are scary moments, to be sure.  Being told by a car salesman, after NINE HOURS of negotiating, that there isn't a single new car that I can afford was one.  SO I traded in my dream car, and my mom's car which has been rusting in my driveway for two years, for a new-ish used car.  A very basic, small, smoky-smelling used car...with a good warranty, better gas mileage and a lower insurance bill.  But it still felt like a major, scary step backward in terms of success and adulthood. 

When The Ex came over to teach The Boy how to run the lawnmower and couldn't get it started...that was one.  Have I mentioned I have an acre and a half of land?  Yeah...a funcitonal riding lawnmower is sort of a necessity.  And when I was hearing the list of things that had to be fixed on it...that was another one.  But fortunately I have good of whom has a husband who repairs lawnmowers for a living, so I got to get it fixed AND keep my house (for now). 

But I learned something yesterday....only about two hours after getting my lawnmower back from being fixed.  When you're mowing the lawn and you have to cross the driveway, apparently you're supposed to turn off cutting thingy and even raise it up.  Who knew?  Not me! friend's husband is coming back out next week to get the lawnmower to repair the damage I caused. 

So yeah, scary moments but also learning opportunities.  And at this point I have to acknowledge the good in everything to keep from curling up into a ball in a dark room and never coming out.

Another thing I've learned is that the less desirable the vegetation is the more difficult it is to kill.  Why is that?  Is it some cosmic joke or something? 

I'm not amused. 

I have spent quite an impressive bit of time over the past week trying to keep plants alive.  I have a notoriously black thumb and XBF's thumb is the greenest of greens.  Even though I didn't ask for the nine hanging baskets, five potted arrangements and a tree (sans partridge or pear) that are on my deck, it would just feel like too much of a failure to let them all die.  I'm fairly certain that all but the tree are of the type of plant that doesn't come back next year (annual? perennial?) but dammit they WILL LIVE at least the better part of the summer.

So last weekend I learned to work the elaborate somewhat automatic watering dealio that XBF installed on the deck.  I got quite wet in doing so.  The Boy was amused.  But this makes at least the hanging baskets and the tree somewhat self-sufficient.  The rest I have to remember to water...God help them.  But I'm trying.

Yesterday after taking The Girl home I decided to tackle the flowerbeds.  I didn't realize how miserably overgrown they all were and I think this may be some evidence that XBF had a foot out the door before I even realized, because he used to be meticulous about them.  I don't think he touched them once since the snow stopped falling, and it showed. 

I had a hard time telling what I was supposed to yank from the ground and what I was supposed to lovingly preserve, but I finally figured it out.  If it looks healthy, it's probably a weed.  And as fragile as the flowers are, the weeds are just that robust, and then some.  I find it just WRONG that if I forget to water the flowers, or don't pinch them back correctly, or don't talk to them, or don't cut them back in the fall, or whatevertheheck you're supposed to do to them...if you don't do that, they die...but these weeds, many of them snapped off at the soil line when I attempted to pull them out of the ground, so I know they will be back mocking me within the week. 


I also learned that weeding uses exactly the same set of muscles and tendons as typing and, theoretically, playing tennis, because my tennis elbow is KILLING ME.

But really, the biggest thing I've learned over the last two weeks or so is that feelings are very much like the weather, or city busses.  If you don't like one, just wait, another one will come along soon.  There have been MANY times in the last two weeks when I thought I couldn't keep going.  Things are hard right now.  Emotionally and financially this is the scariest time I've ever been through.  And like a nasty one-two punch, along with the fear comes a sadness.  The things in my life that are scary and different are scary and different BECAUSE my relationship failed, and that's a very sad thing.  I guess it's expected that it hurts to lose someone you spent five years of your life with.  It hurts more to not understand why.

But there have been times over the past few weeks when I've found myself thinking that I can't bear to feel this pain another minute...but then I do.  And another minute.  And that sometimes leads me to worry that I will have to endure this pain for the rest of my life.  The obsessive planner in me starts to wonder HOW I will stand the pain, or the fear, for the rest of my life.  But then something magical happens...I don't have to.   The pain or the fear or whatever feeling is gouging at my soul at theat moment grows weary of trying to kill me.  When I refuse to die, it moves on.  Of course, after a while, it comes back.  But it comes back a teensy tiny bit smaller the next time around.  So every time I feel the pain, whether it's from seeing a picture of him (they're everywhere I look, be it in my Facebook albums, my desktop or in frames throughout my house) or from coming across a sweet note he wrote me (I kept them scattered in various places because it brought me such joy to come across one.  Funny how something that used to bring such happiness can later cause pain that is like a mean, prickly, hateful living thing) or even if it's just the fear that I'll never have the strenghth, knowledge or money to do everything that needs to be done to keep this house...I'm trying really hard to just feel the feelings in the moment without fearing that I'll have to feel the feeling every minute for the rest of my life...because I won't.  Another feeling will be along in just a minute.  Waiting for it.......

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Froze a Banana

I'm not sure how much of the Blog Over Lunch will actually be written over lunch any more.  Today I had to make phone calls and, you know, eat & stuff.  I didn't have time to write.  But now I it's Blog Over 8:04 pm.  Oh and a glass of water.

One of The Girl's favorite movie lines is "I carried a watermelon", from Dirty Dancing.  Well today I thought of her (I sure do miss her) as I froze a banana.  Ok, I froze four of them.  Did you know you can freeze bananas?  If so, why didn't you tell me?

I had four turning brown.  I love me a good nanner & peanut butter smoothie but am not a big fan of just sitting down and feasting on a banana.  Turns out you can peel them and freeze them and then they're even better for smoothie making!

Yeah, clearly I'm excited by virtually ANY good news right now.

Another thing I did today...I ate chicken noodle soup with crackers and did not once fear that I would puke it up.  This is a first in several days.  I've lost four pounds in the three days since XBF left.  Not entirely unappreciated, but I'm a bit tired of feeling like hurling all the time thank you very much.

For dinner I had PB & J, grapes and whole grain tostitos.  Ok...whole grain tortilla chips.  Who can afford brand names anymore?  Not I!

But I was nearly giddy with the freedom of just slapping some generic peanut butter and generic jelly between two slices of generic bread and calling it dinner.  These are the little pleasures of a single woman while her son is spending the week at dad's I guess.

Today I have to keep reminding doesn't all have to be done right now.  I keep telling myself that, over and over and over again.  I hadn't planned on a free evening tonight.  XBF was going to start moving his stuff, but he had to postpone. No biggie really.  His stuff being here is SO far down on the list of things to care about right now.  But it left me with a free evening which, surprisingly enough, did NOT send me into a sobbing, hyperventilating panic attack of near medical-emergency proportions as would have been the case if I were faced with an unexpectedly free evening this soon after The Ex left six years ago. 

Instead, it sent me into a mental list of all of the things that I could accomplish in the time between work and bed, and left me trying frantically to decide which ones I should do.  Anything from emptying the dishwasher to mowing the lawn to trimming the hedges to programming the automatic watering dealio so the hanging baskets don't die, to just watering the damned things by hand to visiting the car dealer to car shopping online to getting a jump on tomorrow's work at the office to cleaning the bathroom to clipping coupons to washing the sheets to balancing the checkbook to fixing the roomba get the picture.  I have a lot on my plate right now.

But...say it with me doesn't all have to be done right now.

I emptied the dishwasher, I balanced the checkbook, I watered the damned plants.  I texted The Ex and asked if he could find time between now and the weekend to bring The Boy here and teach him how to run The Lawnmower (as it is still the one he used when he lived here).  He agreed.  I will soon fix the roomba. 

Oh...and I froze a banana!

And that will just have to do.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shoe Two.

It's Sunday, and I'm at the office.  I just got here.  I figure if I'm going to work on a Sunday I don't have to feel guilty about coming in VERY late, or about blogging before I get to work. 

I got the first decent night sleep in a very long time last night.  I don't think I've slept more than ten accumulated hours in the last four days.  The light of the oncoming train kept me awake I guess.  I tried to fool myself into thinking it was the light at the end of the tunnell, but my gut told me different.

Yesterday when my alarm went off I was wide awake, running in my head through all of the catastrophic circumstances that MIGHT happen, which I would be unable to handle alone.  But I spent yesterday with a good friend, and spent a lot of time on the phone with another, and they have convinced me that I can handle more on my own than I think, and that they are there for me for the things I can't.  So today, when the alarm actually WOKE ME UP, I turned it off.  Because I could.  And because I needed it.

When I got up my house was empty.  And it wasn't scary.  It was actually kind of nice.  Nobody was there to criticize me for sleeping so late.  XBF is an early riser and he took great joy in poking fun at me for my love of sleep.  And I was the only one there to criticize myself for not going to the gym.  But you know what?  I've been through hell the last few days.  I deserved some rest.  So there.

There are things about my empty house that are hard to get used to, but they're not entirely bad.

My house is a tad on the dark side now.  Blinds are drawn, sheers are closed.  To the outisde it may look like I'm trying to shut out the world, but really I'm just trying to shut out the heat to reduce my electric bill.  XBF liked everything open.  These are the decisions I can make on my own now.

My house will feel more strange before it starts to feel more my own.  Seeing XBF remove his stuff will be hard.  Rearranging my stuff to make the the holes less noticiable will need to be done in my house and in my life.

The Girl's bedroom being empty will be....I can't even think about it. 

But I've been through this before.  In fact I wrote about it way back then.  Let me find it.  Maybe I'll post it tomorrow.

There is SO much that is familiar about this.  Too much that is like the divorce. Along with the divorce came A LOT of bad stuff.  Things that didn't happen BECAUSE of the divorce, but things that came at the same time.  Maybe to test my strength.  I lost one of my best friends shortly after the separation.  I lost my job two weeks before the divorce was final, and most of my friends were at work.  By that point I was already dating XBF.  I had far less debt and far more child support, and I had him telling me everything would be ok, but still being unemployed and newly single is a hell I wouldn't wish on anyone.

I'm stronger now for going through that.  There are moments still when I'm not entirely sure I'm strong enough for what lies ahead, but I'm worlds stronger now than I was when I filed for divorce.

But because of all of that trauma, one blow after another after another, now when I start to feel like "Ok! I can do this. We'll be fine"...and those moments are coming more and more frequently as the days pass, the feeling is too often followed by a silence where I can hear nothing but the frantic beating of my heart as I wait for the other shoe to drop. 

I'm trying to convince myself that the child support cut was shoe one, the end of the relationship is shoe two.  And this trial of my strength will soon be over and some semblance of normal life can begin.  Shoe two will be a bit more drawn out in its descent and impact, because I still have his stuff, and his daughter still has my heart.  There are things to be resolved in this.  Even though there is no marriage license between us...(Note to self...thank him for his inability to commit. He may have been wiser than I.) there is more than five years between us, so there will be untangling to do.  I am going to try to make it as painless for both of us, well for the FOUR of us, as possible.  I can only hope he will do the same, but I can't fool myself into thinking I have any control over that.

I'll end this with a Facebook post from one of my idols, Jillian Michaels.  Like I said I've felt this coming on for a while.  I wanted to believe it wasn't what I thought it was.  And I've spent my fair share of time with my fingers in my ears and my eyes squeezed shut screaming "la la la la I can't hear you" at my gut feelings. I'm not doing that any more, because Jillian says.....

"Best piece of advice I ever got was about listening to my gut. When you feel something strongly LISTEN and act accordingly. Every time I've gotten into trouble in my life it was because I didn't listen to that inner voice. Say no when you feel like you should. Take a risk you believe in even if others tell you not to. Follow your heart always and live in your truth. Your truth will never lead you astray."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Little Bites

I'm back.  With a twist.

I've changed elbow braces, started wearing wrist braces to bed, changed keyboards and the elbows are much better, so I'm ready to start blogging again somewhat regularly.

But the content will be a bit diiferent this time around. 

Yesterday, my relationship of five years ended.  I'm a wreck right now.  I'm prone to disolving into a puddle of snot at the drop of a hat.  It's to be expected.  He lived with me, and I am head over heels in love with his daughter, so it is very difficult. 

A couple of weeks ago my child support was cut in half.   And of course The Man contributed financially to the household.  So the emotional blow to the heart is enhanced with a lovely one-two financial punch to the bank account.

It's been a suckola month you guys.

So now I'm single.  I'm on my own and solely responsible for myself and The Boy.  This is really a first.

When I was 19 I lived for a year in an apartment with a friend right after business school.  Really I just slept there during the week and went home to mommy & daddy's house on the weekends.  I was SO far from "on my own", though I thought I was all grown up.

I got sick and had to move back in with mom & dad for a year, I then moved in with my high school sweetheart.  We got married and had The Boy.  Then we got divorced. 

That whole paragraph up there /\...that was 20 years of my life.

I TECHNICALLY lived alone, just me and The Boy, for a year after The Ex moved out.  But during the first six months he was still very present....good guy that he is.  I mean he continued to take care of the lawn and he always offered help and was generally better to me than I deserved.  Then I met The Man.  He needs another name.  The Ex Boyfriend I guess.  XBF.  I met XBF about six months after The Ex moved out and he almost immediately started 'taking care of me', and my house.

So I've never REALLY been alone, solely responsible for my own existence, and half responsible for the existence of my son.  Until now.

The last two days have been hard.  I saw it coming, like a freight train.  I hoped it wasn't what I thought it was.  But it was.  And now I have to move on.

So the new direction of the blog.  It's about being single.  It will be about my journey to get to know myself, to be independent, to raise my son and be a positive, strong influence on him and, I hope and pray, to The Girl.  But that's up to her parents.  That is very VERY hard to think about.
This won't be about my relationship or the end of it.  As raw and fresh and new as this is, that's the past.  This is about the present and the future.

When I look around this house and think of everything that lies before me, all of my new responsibilities, it is beyond overwhelming.  I mean panic-attack-inducing overwhelming.  I have a four bedroom colonial on an acre and a half of land.  The Ex's dream home, which I have stubbornly hung on to for The Boy.  It has served its purpose for him and I don't believe it would be the end of the world if I left this house behind at this pont as long as I could stay in the same city and keep him in the same schools.  His friends are all over the city.  Not in our neighborhood.  So it wouldn't be as hard on him at sixteen as it would have been at ten.  But the housing market being what it is, and my mortgage and SECOND mortgage being what they are, selling seems unlikely.  I owe FAR more than it's worth, which is a trap I know SO many people are in.  So my goal is to stay put as long as it is practical to do so, but to try to realize if/when it's not. 

Bankruptcy may very well be in my future.  Won't THAT be fun to read about???

But I got off track.  Trying NOT to get overwhelmed or ahead of myself.

Someone once told me that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  Gross...but true. 

I am nothing if not methodical.  So my method will be to break this humongous, daunting, overwhelming, scary thing that is my new life into little, manageable bites.

Yesterday I changed my locks.  All by myself.  I went to The Home Depot, where a very nice young man cut a piece of wood for me.  This is my new patio door lock, because the regular lock is broken and I have NO idea how to fix it (neither did XBF).  And I bought two new deadbolts and installed them myself.  I used a screwdriver.  Hear me roar.

Today, the boy and I reprogrammed the garage keypad. 

None of this is anything at all against XBF.  It's more symbolic than anything.  I don't know why...I just felt compelled to do it.  I guess it's a MY HOUSE thing.  Taking control of my surroundings, or some such psychological rot.

Little bites. 

The days ahead will be really, really hard.  There is no doubt.  But I have friends literally coming out of the woodwork, offering me support and shoulders to cry on and telling me how strong I am and that I'll get through this.  And I will. 

And some day, as much as I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone, someone I know WILL be as scared as I am, and maybe some of what I'm writing here will give her some hope.

I heard this one the radio today, and it gave ME hope.