Monday, July 21, 2008

postcards from the edge

It's a surreal snapshot of my life...

I've always been an early to bed kind of gal, but as I write this it's midnight and I'm wide awake. For like the hundredth night in a row. All of the reasons why I need to a) go to sleep or b) finish packing or c) love on my dog who has been giving me the fish eye for days , fade away. I think I'm actually going to bow to the inevitable on this one. For months I've stressed out about the fact that I can't fall asleep. I think I'm just going to give in and chalk it up to a life experience. I sleep like a dead person when I finally drift off. For now, that's going to have to suffice. The control queen is surrendering her crown.

Evidently, my mother (Altaglow) and Peter (WT) are throwing it down. Damn. I guess it was his comment about the mother/daughter menage a trois that pushed her over the edge. I was less bothered, figuring that his last experience with Belle and her mother had whetted his appetite. Either way, I plan on staying out of it. My mom sounds like a pushover (but is in fact the exact opposite) and Peter comes off like an asshole (but is in fact the exact opposite). May the one with the biggest cojones win.

I'll still be posting from LA. Just maybe not every day. It's all part of the laid back, non-control freak RC. God knows I won't go two weeks without blogging. I'm sure I'll have lots of fun stuff to talk about. At least I sure hope I do.

And now...I'm off to finally pack.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

packing it in

Why are the last couple of days before a trip such torture? It's not the anticipation of the trip - although it's certainly there. It isn't the excitement of getting away - although that's certainly there, too. It's not about any of the fun stuff.

It's all about the damned details. My last three days have been about one stupid detail after another. For every one thing I marked off my list, I added another. And a lot of it was stupid stuff. The light in the downstairs bathroom burned out. Could it be a standard size? Noooo. I forgot to call someone to fix my bedroom window, so I have that to look forward to when I get home. There's all the details to get ready for the friend who is house sitting and taking care of the dogs. And the dogs have seen the suitcases come out and are sulking mightily.

I know the instant we hit the road to the airport I'll start really getting excited. But for now I'm just stressed.

Am I the only one who does this?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

ramblin' gal

It's finally sunk in that we leave for California in about sixty hours and there's still way too much to do to get ready. I've made some serious progress in my last two days off, but my To Do list is still obnoxious. I work Sunday, so today is D-Day. But what the hell? I'll take any excuse at this point to put it off a little longer, so why not blog?

I don't have anything exciting to report, except that in today's chapter of Retail Therapy, Old Navy bore the brunt of my wrath. (And thanks for that term, CrazyCath. In my recent years of being a non-shopper I'd forgotten it). I'm all done now, but boy, oh boy, did that feel good. It's nice to not look like a bag lady all the time, and even though I completely understand that you can't polish a turd into a diamond, it's still been fun.

Let's see. What other random things can I ramble on about?

In answer to Marti's question about Dee Dee and the sheets, the moron dog has a ritual. She gets on a bed and drags all the blankets off. Then she lays down flat on the fitted sheet and kicks her back legs out as hard as she can. She always does this in the same spot on any given bed. After a while she tears a little hole in the fitted sheet which just keeps getting bigger every time she does it. She's probably destroyed ten sheets since we've had her. This dog needs therapy. And a trust fund.

Speaking of therapy, my counselor has cut me back to once a month sessions. Evidently, she feels I'm well adjusted. It's a good thing I didn't run into her with my arms full of underwear Friday. Hey, it was a really good sale, okay?

On the subject of underwear, I may need more therapy if Peter talks about my panties again. In the meantime, look for my picture on the cover of the upcoming Roughage Diet for Dummies book.

And talking about my picture, I will do my best to post one somehow. You may not believe this, but I don't have a camera anymore. It went away last month with other assorted items (and people), so even if I wanted to be held liable for cracked computer monitors worldwide, I couldn't. I'll come up with one in LA. Somehow. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Have I rambled enough?

I thought so.

PS. Sorry, Ped Crossing. I completely forgot about the window. Apparently there was a fight over the remote and Surfer Dude threw one of Gumby's big honkin' tennis shoes at him. He missed and it went straight into the window. On paper it would appear that the blame is all SD's, but I know Gumby and his instigating ways a little too well. Let's just say that this particular dog house is big enough for two.

Friday, July 18, 2008

uh oh

I slid into the chair and looked up a little defiantly.

"I'm ready," I said.

She met my gaze in the mirror, looked me over well, and slowly smiled.

"You know what?," she answered. "You finally are. Let's do it."

And we did. Wednesday I chopped off all my hair.

My hairdresser - who is also a very good friend - runs a tight ship. I had mentioned wanting to cut my hair months ago and she had shot me down immediately.

"No," she said firmly. "You're not ready. There's too much going on"

But now? My down to the middle of my back Roseanne Roseanna Danna ringlets turned into a really cute, funky shag. The blonde highlights got amped up and the red highlights got deeper. My curls got flat ironed and I felt like a million bucks when I sashayed out of the salon. The response at work was gratifying, to say the least.

Today I went out and bought a bunch of shirts. Really cute, in style at the moment, appropriate enough for my advanced age shirts. Shirts that are a little out of my comfort zone, a lot more pow than I've gone for in a long time. My buddy Stacey, checking them out in my laundry room during Chick Flick night, said "Wow, hon (that's the Baltimore girl in her), those are some seriously girly shirts."

I bought more clothes today than I've bought in the last two years combined. I don't know what came over me. But I liked it. A lot.

And you know what? I'm going back to the sale tomorrow. I need to buy school clothes for the boys, but more importantly I need new undies. Lots of them.

What in the world is happening to me?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

you win some...

Eleven hours and forty five minutes into a twelve hour shift, Surfer Dude called. He sounded weird.

"Is everything okay?" I asked.

"Well, no, not really," he answered. "Gumby and I kind of broke the window in your bedroom."

"The window? In my bedroom? HOW?" I stammered.

"Don't worry, Mom. We're going to pick up all the pieces before you get home," he said.

"DO NOT TOUCH THAT GLASS," I shouted, garnering attention from all of my coworkers. "SHUT MY DOOR AND LEAVE IT ALONE UNTIL I GET HOME."

I raced home and was met at the door by two kids holding out a bowl of mint chip ice cream for me. This wasn't going to be pretty. I have four windows in my bedroom, but for some reason I had the idea that it was one particular window that was broken - the window furthest from my bed. I stopped in my tracks as soon as I walked in my room. It was the window right at the head of my bed, and my sheets were glittering with tiny little glass shards. Next to the bed stood a trash can that the little pishers had filled with the big pieces of glass even though I had emphatically told them not to. Keeping a titanium strength grip on my temper, we put a big piece of cardboard over the broken window and I stripped all the sheets off of my bed. Have I mentioned that because of Dee Dee the retarded dog I only have one set of sheets for my California King bed?

It's 11:11 pm and my sheets have just gone into the washer. I plopped down with my laptop to try to chill out a little. When I opened my Firefox page, all of my bookmarks had disappeared. They're just completely gone. All of my blogging stuff, the household bills I pay online, kid's activities, email...poof. Vanished. Into thin cyberspace. Gumby, who had used my computer to look up gaming cheats, got a deer in the headlights look and said,

"Uh oh. I think that happened on my computer once when I was looking up cheats."

The bad news is...well, all of the above. The good news is that I'm never going to run out of blogging material.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

the accidental dinner

In theory I was off work today, although it didn't really work out that way. I went in for a few hours, had a hair appointment this afternoon, went to the grocery store and the library and Voila! the day was almost over. The plan was for a really simple dinner, no stress, no fuss, not many dishes to wash, and fast. On the menu? Hamburgers, frozen french fries and canned baked beans. Disgusting? Possibly. But easy, fast and kid friendly. Sign me up.

I always buy frozen hamburger patties because it grosses me out to touch hamburger. But Sasquatch, the resident carnivore, asked if I'd buy real hamburger and he'd do the patties. Then walking through the store I saw some really nice looking baby red potatoes and threw them in the cart. Across the aisle was some gorgeous corn on the cob, so I grabbed several ears. While I was at it, I replaced the sunflower seeds the kids had polished off, with visions of our beloved ramen noodle cole slaw in my head. Shopping bags in hand, I headed home. Suddenly, I had a different idea about dinner.

An hour and a half later (and about fifteen minutes of actual work) we sat down to eat. Real hamburgers. (And Boca Burgers for Gumby and I). Oven roasted red potatoes with olive oil, garlic and sea salt. Corn on the cob and sweet butter. A huge bowl of tangy cole slaw. It didn't take a lot longer than my original plan but the difference was huge. Instead of food thrown together in a flash, it was a real meal. And it was delicious.

Why do the small things make such a difference?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

people's court

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Only in more daunting circumstances.

Exhibit A: Sasquatch has a new obsession. He wants to go to the High School all the way across town instead of the one five blocks from our house. He has a lot of reasons for this, and while my heart understands his reasons, my gut is sending off alarm bells. The kid who can't get up until fifteen minutes before the final bell in the morning is promising me that he will ride two cross town buses (each way) that will force him to leave the house at zero dark thirty. And that he'll do it without expecting me to drive him, because I've already told him I won't. He is so sure of this move that he's promising me the moon to get me to say yes. I don't want the moon. I want him to trial ride the bus at the time he'll have to for school and to write me out a contract that spells out exactly what he will do during the school year. I might as well ask for the moon.

Exhibit B: All of my kids seem to have the idea that if I get further than five feet in the door from work before they hit me up for something, they're dropping the ball. I don't want to say that they lie in wait for me, but very often I haven't even put my keys down and there's a line of people who all need me to do something "urgent" for them immediately.

Exhibit C: Work has been brutal lately. I haven't lost butt parts because I've done anything wrong, but simply because it has been absolute insanity from the second I've hit the door until the minute I crawl out to my car. I've been in Triage a lot lately, which will take the starch out of anyone. ("What's going on with you?" "My knee hurts" "How long has it been hurting?" " Six months" "Is the pain getting worse?" "No" "Is there some particular reason you came to the ED tonight when your knee has been hurting for six months?" "Well, there's nothing good on TV tonight").

Exhibit D: Sasquatch can still pull my chain faster than any human being alive.

Scene of the Crime: I walked in the door Monday night to Sasquatch following me around obsessively about the new school. He had not done a single thing I'd asked him to do about it, opting instead for a sleepover. Surfer Dude and Gumby got brought home by their dad from their weekend with him, and I asked him to come in because he needs to be up to date on this whole school thing. Sasquatch, deflecting as usual, said my stipulations were "stupid" and "ridiculous". I lost my temper, which ended with him stomping out of the house and SD screaming at me and their father (who has the same problem with Sasquatch that I do) looking at me as if I'd lost my mind. All I wanted was to come home and collapse, and what I got was a fifteen minute brawl and an hour of damage control. By the time we were all good with each other, I was too wired to collapse.

To the Jury: I sat the kids down and said Listen. Listen very carefully. You have to cut me some slack. I know you only see me as She Who Provides Cash, Food and Rides, but you have to understand that I'm tired. A lot has changed lately. I'm working full time. I'm taking care of everything in the house all by myself, and the only time any of you "remember" your chores is when I make a fuss about them. I'm tired of being met at the door with a list of demands, and while I'm at it, stop calling me at work to ask if you can order food in and have me pay for it because, after a $150 grocery shop there's "nothing good to eat in the house". Don't call me at 3:30 pm from a sleepover and tell me you just woke up, when I'm at work with a paranoid schizophrenic who is absolutely convinced he has an air bubble in his sinuses that is talking to him. Don't automatically assume I'm at fault when Sasquatch pushes all of my buttons for sport. And dont' think that there's a person in the world who will take it positively when someone tells them their wishes are stupid or ridiculous. I repeat. Cut. Me. Some. Slack. I. Am. Not. Superwoman.

The verdict: The jury is still out. But tomorrow we'll hear their decision. I hope I can live with it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

fill in the blank

Unfortunately, quite a lot of my butt got left at work tonight when it got chewed off - big chunks at a time. On the plus side, when I go back first thing tomorrow, they should still be laying around - slightly gnawed on but basically alright. If I remember to buy super glue on the way in I should be okay.

The bottom line here is that I am a woman without a post. I am, however, in hot negotiations to bring something so different, so raw, so...vaguely disturbing to you that you will cry genuine tears of delight when you see it. I'd appreciate any mojo you'd care to throw my way as I delicately try to bag my target. Just don't throw it at my butt. It's seen better days.

So here's the plan for today. Let's play Finish The Sentence. Ready?

I would be an absolutely perfect human being if it wasn't for....

And my answer would temper. It has sunk me more than once. Of course, I can be a little intestinally challenged, too. Hmm. Tough call. Maybe losing half my butt will help.

What keeps you from being flawless?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

RC...really cheap?

Surfer Dude and I went to Target today to buy his school supplies. We still have a month until they go back, but he likes to be prepared. Since only one of my three children is what I'd call a "planner", I try to indulge him as much as I can. It's also practical. We leave a week from Monday for two weeks in California and when we get back it's time to do the big school countdown. This would mark one thing off of my pre-school starting To Do List, and I'm all for that.

When we went to check out, there was a woman ahead of us who was quibbling over a hardback book. It was sitting on the price scanner while she and the cashier went back and forth. Eventually they got it worked out and it was our turn. $100 later, we piled in the car while I tried to figure out how in the world we spent that much on notebooks. When we got home, I pulled out the receipt and quickly saw that they had accidentally charged the hardback book on my bill.

I immediately turned around, dinner uncooked, and went all the way back to Target, burning $4 a gallon gas the whole way. It wasn't just the money. It's the idea that I've convinced myself I can't afford hardback books, so I'm darned if I want to pay for someone else to get one. And also...oh, all right. It is about the money. You think $15.01 grows on trees?

Would anyone else do this? Or am I just cheap?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

ending up

Three years into our marriage, halfway through his senior year of grad school, my husband came home from school one day and told me he wanted out. I don't know if I love you, he said. I don't know if I've ever loved you. We separated. Six weeks later he had a change of heart and we began the long, painful process of putting our relationship back together. Everything about it was agonizing, from the words themselves to the idea of being divorced after only three years of marriage to simply living alone. When we stayed together after all, I took it as a testament to the fact that we belonged together.

We should have let it die right there.

Alright, maybe I don't totally believe that. After all, we have three children we adore who couldn't have gotten here any other way. And I'm willing to overlook a lot of hindsight regrets simply because at the end of the day I have my kids. But the cold hard truth remains. This has never ever been easy. For either one of us. We've turned a Starter Marriage into a twenty year journey.

I'm not even sure how to explain it. There are just so many things we never got. He's been away so much in our marriage and I've had to handle so much by myself that I told myself for years how nice it was that we were able to be so self-reliant and independent. We became so self-reliant and independent that I was almost happier when he was gone, and I suspect he would say the same thing. Every time things got rough we would turn on each other. For years, I pleaded and said Why can't we ever do the united front thing? You know, the one where it's us against the world? Why does it always turn into you vs. me? Everything - from the way we handle money to the way we present ourselves to the world to the way we deal with our stresses to the way we problem solve - is diametrically opposed.

Somehow, somewhere, we stopped wanting to spend time together. I would go to sleep early. He would stay up late. For years, I went to office parties and film wraps feeling very out of place and alone, while he schmoozed and basked in the attention of his peers. Eventually, he stopped asking me to go. Rather than being upset, I was relieved. I would always skip my work parties, and rather than encourage me to get off my ass and go, so he could meet some of the people who became so important to me, he just shrugged and said Whatever you want. It was less work that way. At get- togethers with family and friends, more often than not the kids and I went by ourselves. He hid behind work and I hid behind the kids. We were the couple who sat in a restaurant and had nothing to say to each other. One of my friends said to me last week that she had never once heard me say I missed him when he was on a shoot, no matter how long he was gone. I was always happy to see him get home, but only when I actually saw him. There was no wonderful anticipation of his homecoming, even when he'd been gone for a month.

Even the things we both loved turned into things we didn't do together. Take travel, for example. Between us we've been all through Europe and the United States, been to Russia and Mexico. But almost never together. Always separately. I think I can count the plane trips we've taken together on my fingers. There was the trip to San Francisco a couple of years into our marriage, the "second honeymoon" to Hawaii after our separation, a trip to Vegas to meet up with my dad, and I think there's maybe one more I'm spacing out on. That's not a lot in twenty odd years. There was always something wrong with the timing, or money was too tight or the kids were too little. The last trip we took together was a few years ago when he had a film in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. He was there for the run of the festival and I flew out the weekend the film opened. Even though we stayed in a condo with some of the other workers from the film, and were surrounded by people most of the time, that may have been the last time we really had any time just the two of us. It was nice. There were moments on that trip where we actually clicked.

For years, he had a stock quip when people would ask us how we'd managed to stay together this long. Inertia, he'd say, and then we'd both chuckle. How dense can two bright people be to see that the answer was right under their noses for years and no one ever caught on? And rather than focus on the how of it, what the hell about the why?

We're both very stubborn. We're both children of divorce. We both hate to admit when we're wrong. And, lets face it, it was familiar, and, in its own way, comforting. When your expectations are low, they're more easily met. For years I smugly viewed people who wanted to be with their spouses as clingy. I've given my mother endless grief because she and Stu talk on the phone constantly when they're apart. I've rolled my eyes when a friend would moan about her husband's four day business trip and how much she missed him. I just figured that we didn't have that kind of marriage. We were self-sufficient.

And lonely. Oh, my god, so very lonely, the kind that goes to your bone. I always told myself that I didn't have a romantic or sentimental nature, but my daydreams and my fantasies told me something far different. I'm not talking white horses and heaving bosoms, but something far more elusive. A connection. An intuitive understanding of another person, and, even more intoxicating, a person with an intuitive understanding of me. I've had males like that in my life. Some of them have even been straight. Two of the best friends I've ever had have been males who "got" me, males who were always "just friends", as if you can consider that a bad thing.

I love my husband. I do. I always have. I always will. He's a good person who is passionate about what he does, and very focused on the things that interest him. I'm just not one of those things. I haven't been for a long time. Once upon a time, we met on a film shoot. He stayed in film and I ultimately went on to the field I always wanted to be in. Sometimes I think it would be easier if we both worked in the same field still, but I don't know. He's always been competitive, and I've always thought I wasn't, but am realizing now that that may not be so true anymore. I think with us, with the way we are with each other, it would just be one more rock in the road. I'm the woman who started out being his partner and somehow, over the long haul, became the woman who took his freedom away. So many of the choices he's made in his life that he now regrets have been laid firmly on my doorstep. Well, you can't change the past. It's such a cliche, but it's true. All you can do is try your best not to make the same mistakes in the future.

There was a pivotal moment in our "marriage" counseling that should probably be engraved on the headstone of our union. I had, in a moment of anger, made a snotty comment about what would constitute his "perfect day". I didn't give it a second thought. But for him, it was the dawning of the end. He explained it to me last week. I'd never realized, he said, how well you know me, how much you understand me that you could say that and be absolutely right. But I also knew that if you knew that was what I wanted, and you weren't doing it, it must mean that you never would, because you didn't want to. And I said, Why in the world would I go out of my way to make your life everything you want it to be when you won't go out of your way to make my life anything I want it to be? Consider yourself lucky that I know you that well, because at least I know what would constitute your perfect day. You don't have a clue what would constitute mine. When he agreed with me you could almost hear the coffin slamming shut.

We've had some good times, he said. We really have. I know, I replied, but you shouldn't have to work so hard for every one of them. Later I thought maybe with someone else we won't have to. In a strange way, I owe him one, and I told him so. I would never have left this marriage, whether it was from a sense of obligation or a need to protect my kids or whatever. I would have ridden it out to the bitter end. I would have continued to convince myself I was happy forever. He took that option away from me. And I can't thank him enough.

For years I've said that if my marriage ever ended I would never again venture into the male-female waters. I would become the crazy lady who lived on the corner with big, scruffy dogs and countless knitting projects. I would spend my days with books and friends and writing and of course my children. But no men. Never again. Strike one. You're out.

I mentioned this to a dear male friend who has gone through a divorce of his own in the last few years. I could see all kinds of emotions swirling on his face as he contemplated what a newby I was to the whole divorce game. In the end he spoke kindly, but with years of experience I don't yet have. You might want to wait a while before you decide that, he said. You may be surprised.

And I am. Already. I'm not talking today. I'm not talking tomorrow. Not next month or even next year. But I want to experience it before I die. The connected marriage. To a guy who "gets" me. To a guy who loves my independence but pulls me back when I get too far away. To a guy who thinks I'm more exciting than work, and a hell of a lot less confining. To a guy who loves me for me. And lets me love him the way I'm dying to love someone.

Is that too much to ask?

Friday, July 11, 2008

not quite there

I'd fully planned on posting part three of the Marriage Chronicles today, but have run into a little problem. It's not easy to write this last bit, and I'm really struggling to get it right. It's a funny thing about blogging. It's far easier to be brave and honest in (semi) anonymous print than it is in person, but even so I'm finding it very rough going. Check back tomorrow. I'll get there!

I also got very happily side-tracked by Chick Flick night, and have just finished a kind of cheesy 80's movie and a fab female gab fest. Sometimes life does interrupt blogging, and this was one of those times.

And that's perfectly okay.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

middle ground

I think it was a sixty minute phone conversation. And it changed my life. Forever.

I asked all the questions I had wanted to ask for months. I repeated questions I had asked but never had answered. I got to say quite a few of the things that had been keeping me up at night. At the start of the talk, I was still foaming at the mouth, itching for a fight. By the end of it I was feeling something completely unexpected.

I came out with both barrels, convinced that I had been put through all of this because of another woman, positive that the whole "I'm not happy" bit was a deliberate cover-up of an already made decision. It's not even that the idea of someone else was a shocker. I've always considered that as the most likely scenario, since a man who loves his strokes is unlikely to walk away without a safety net. What pissed me off was the fear that I'd spent months jumping through hoops trying to save my marriage while he was doing the marital equivalent of dispassionately trading in an old battered car for a new shiny one. What pissed me off was the thought that he'd known all along why he was doing what he was doing but simply wouldn't, for whatever reason, "man up" to it. What pissed me off, basically, was the idea that I had been lied to. I called him on every last bit of it.

And for the first time in months, he started talking. For the first time in months, he was talking about what was really going on with us, what really had gone on with us. He wasn't hiding behind psycho babble, he wasn't playing the revisionist history game that had driven me half insane, he wasn't trying to score points off of me. For the first time in months I felt like I was hearing the truth. For the first time in months I felt like I was hearing the authentic voice of the man I've spent twenty three years of my life with. It took me a while to recognize it. It had been a while since I'd heard it.

As it turned out, it had been longer than I thought. What I heard was basically the story of a man who realized quite a while ago that he was no longer in love with his wife. A man who realized quite a while ago that the life he was in was not the life he wanted to be living. A man who was so scared of what he was feeling and thinking that he tried as hard as he could to bury it deep in his soul so no one would know. And there it festered, growing more and more toxic until one day it just burst, and had to be dealt with one way or another. There's a thin line between depression and anger. We had crossed that line this year.

He violently denied the other woman theory, and based on some of the things he said and the way he said them, I'm choosing to believe that. Now, this is not to say that he hasn't done some stupid things (like the one that triggered this whole other woman fury to start with), but I'm giving him a pass on this one. Maybe it's more for me than for him, I don't know. All I know is that at this time it feels like the right thing to do. The story he told me sounds more than plausible. It sounds like the truth.

So I guess I can cross Other Woman off of my original list. Could I be wrong? Sure. No question. For all I know he and his sweetie are curled up in bed reading this blog right now and chuckling at my gullibility. (Analyze that). But I don't think so. I think I can also remove Nervous Breakdown from the pack, although it was a real front runner there for a while. However, I reserve the right to move Whoop Ass Midlife Crisis to the top of the list. Hey, it's my list. I can arrange it however I want to. I'm sure he has lists of his own.

He didn't love me anymore, but he didn't want to hurt me. And in trying not to hurt me, he hurt me worse. In being afraid to tell me the truth, he ripped huge holes in my trust. I've lost my respect for him this year, but listening to him finally talk I felt a little trickle of it coming back. In theory it's easy to tell the truth. In reality it can sometimes suck. He may have been a whole bunch of months late, but he was finally stepping up to the plate. Sometimes you've gotta take what you can get.

At the end of the conversation I had something I hadn't had all year. Closure. Peace. Absolute and total calm. I was finally okay with this entire thing. I was better than okay, to tell the truth. Because I've done a whole lot of soul searching myself, and I've realized some things that haven't been easy to look at too closely. I've put myself under the microscope too, and not particularly liked what I've seen.

Twenty one years ago, a good, decent, lovable man and a good, decent, lovable woman stood at an altar and exchanged vows. And neither one of them had a clue that they were marrying the wrong person.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

in the beginning

A big part of my angst over the collapse of my marriage has been the uncertainty of it all. One day in January I was cruising along like usual and the next thing I know someone is sitting me down and giving me the "I'm not happy" speech. From there, things moved with frightening speed. Our initial attempts to "fix it" failed, and we headed to some weird kind of counseling that wasn't about the marriage so much as it was trying to understand a depressed - and very angry - husband. Any initial denial on my part of the seriousness of the whole situation disappeared pretty fast, as I realized that this was going to hell practically overnight.

When the decision was made barely two months later to divorce (and not by me), I was stunned. How does almost twenty one years of marriage go away that fast? I asked that question of the only person who could answer it, and still never really understood the reasoning behind it. I've known people who gave their dog groomers a longer trial period, and I was resentful, not only over the end result, but over the speed at which it happened. Didn't twenty one years deserve something better?

But the more questions I asked, the murkier the water got. No answers were ever given that I understood, so of course I started filling in the blanks on my own. Another woman? Surely the most obvious answer. A nervous breakdown? A strong contender. A whoop ass mid-life crisis? The third goal in a really bleak hat trick. Which was it? A combo of the above? All of the above? An X factor? Alien abduction? Who knew? Not me, that's for sure. I spent the first six months of 2008 completely in the dark. And it was not a fun place to be.

Then, last week, a month after we had officially started living in separate houses, something happened. Something that made me sure that all the puzzle pieces had finally fallen into place. It all fit perfectly. (Here's a hint. Go for the obvious). And it made me angrier than I think I've ever been in my entire life. I have behaved beautifully through this entire process (and been gratefully thanked for it, too), but all that went out the window in a flash.

For the first time, I was acting the way I think I was supposed to from the start. I. Was. Livid. Ballistic, even. For five days my blood was at the boil continually. For the first time, I understood what makes people want to bad mouth their exes to their kids, their family, their community and CNN headline news. And while I left my kids and CNN out of it, I have a couple of people who put in overtime listening to me scream last week. It was a good thing I had no computer. I think Blogger might have banned me for life.

We avoided each other mightily, until five days later, when the bashed one called about some benign kid detail and something in me just snapped. Six months of pent up uncertainty was ready to be laid to rest. I wanted answers. I wanted the truth. I wanted answers that were the truth.

And I wanted them now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

different hats

I have a nursing confession to make. Actually, I have two of them.

Number one: I hate giving grown people baths. Yuck.

Number two: I hate feeding people at work. Honest. I know it's weird, but I just don't like it. I'm not even talking about physically putting food on a fork and putting it in their mouths, either. I just mean feeding them in general. I think there's something wrong with me. I really do.

I wiggled my way out of the first one when I moved from the ICU to the ER. In the ER you don't ever give people baths unless you're washing blood off of them, which doesn't bother me nearly as much as lathering up someone who looks like my grandpa. Go figure. The only thing worse is brushing someone's teeth, which gives me the heebies just thinking about it. Double yuck. (There's a reason I'm not a floor nurse, believe me).

I bring this up because today at work I felt more like a waitress than a nurse. ("Hi, my name is RC and I'll be your server today. Because we all know that the type of soup on the specials today is far more important than those pesky cardiac enzymes.") Take my sweet little old lady who had me recite the entire cafeteria menu (most of it completely wrong, mind you), before she settled on a simple sandwich. But she had to have potato salad with it. No chips for her. No green salad, either. Did you hear me, young woman? Potato salad. Period.

So I called Dietary and threw myself on the mercy of the potato salad gods, mostly (I'm sorry to admit) to shush her up (as my grandma would say). The tray came up and voila! A bowl of potato salad. I took it in to her as proudly as if it were a five star meal, and left her to eat in peace.

She ate everything on the tray that wasn't nailed down. Except the potato salad. That, she didn't even touch. Not a single bite.

A few minutes later she hit her call light and when I went in, she looked at me hopefully and said, "Pudding?"


On the other hand, she was a ray of sunshine compared to a couple of my other patients. This spiel got quite a workout -

"Hi. My name is RC and I'll be your drug dealer today. Would you like to hear the specials or would you like to just cut straight to calling me bad names when I cut you off? Or how about the special combo plate? That's the one where you're nice as can be until I say the word "no" in any way, shape or form and then you grow fangs that would make a T Rex jealous and demand to see my doctor, my boss, my senator and my priest, in that order?"

This is all by way of saying that I'm not trying to avoid talking about my last week. I just need a few moments to hear myself think first.

Monday, July 7, 2008

full circle

I'm back. Did you miss me?


Hello? Hello?

Yeah, that's what I thought. Oh, well. I'll bet my mom missed me.


Hello? Hello?

Man. This is a tough audience. I'll let you in on a little secret, though.

It's a really good thing I had no computer this week. Sometimes things truly do happen for a reason, and this whole virus thing is a perfect example of that. We've had a very interesting seven days around here, and if there has been a single emotion left unturned, I can't think of what it would be. I started out last Sunday in a white hot fury, the likes of which I have never before experienced, and ended on Thursday with a sense of peace that is still wrapped snugly around me.

Anything I'd have written last week would have been a knee jerk reaction, and I'd probably have had to spend a lot of time repairing the damage. But now I've got a brand new outlook on everything, a brand new perspective that has finally gelled in the last week. It's safe to let me back on the keyboard.

And, boy, do I have a lot to say.