Friday, May 29, 2009

the master plan

Like almost everyone else these days, my hospital is in the throes of cutting all kinds of "extra" costs. Our department, like all the others, has a census to meet, and if we don't see the number of patients we're budgeted to, then bad things may start happening - like not filling positions when staff leave and other things too awful to contemplate. It's a balancing act. How many people can you see on a daily basis and still have staff standing at the end of the shift?

It was a little slow at first today, which was a good thing for us but a bad thing for the census. My boss, whom I'm repeatedly on record as adoring, walked through the unit to take a peek. Not good. We needed people. Lots and lots of people. People crawling out of the woodwork. The sicker and needier the better. We needed to be overwhelmed, running for daylight, praying for our own deaths. And there was only one way to do it.

My boss approached the charge nurse and said the magic words.

"You need to put RC in triage."

Presto. The census was not only was exceeded.

Such is the power of a shit magnet.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I made it through the rain

I didn't cry. Oh, I teared up a bit (or a lot), but there was no witnessed spillage, which was a good thing because I was the only one among my friends to bring kleenex and I quickly ran short. Nothing at all like the bloodbath that was Gumby's Sixth Grade graduation last year. That, my friends, was brutal.

As much as I've made about this being the end of an era, I think part of my fear came from the memories of last year. It wasn't just their teacher - the same one this year - having to turn her back to the audience because she was crying so hard. It wasn't just that I cried buckets that night, both in the auditorium and once I got home. It wasn't even the unbelievable sweetness of Surfer Dude when he saw how emotional I was. No, it wasn't really any of those things. It was uncertainty, it was stress, it was an almost paralyzing fear. I sat there and watched Gumby graduate, knowing that in a matter of days my husband would be moving out and I would be on my own for the first time in twenty something years. I was terrified, and I vividly remember thinking, "If I can just make it through until Surfer Dude graduates, it will be okay. In a year I'll be in a much better place. In a year my life will be good."

And all of those things are true. Every morning when I wake up I say a little thank you for where I am today. Every night before I go to sleep I run through my gratitude list, and always on there is the fact that I am where I am now and not where I was then.(And by then, I don't just mean last Spring). There aren't enough riches in the world to make me go back to where we were then, and I'm quite certain I'm not the only one to feel this way. Even my kids seem calm and in a good place.

So tonight when I felt the tears starting, I inexplicably broke into a smile. Even though I had teased Sasquatch, threatening to use his shirt as a tissue if the waterworks started, I stayed relatively at ease through the entire process. I sat in a row with my two non-graduating kids (whom I had forced to come) and their father, surrounded by friends, and focused on all the amazing possibilities.

It's not an ending at all. It's all just starting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

it's all elementary

Things are crazy busy here right now, so I'm being a big old blog slacker. Nothing is wrong - quite the contrary - it just seems like time is doing nutty things. Like moving at hyper speed, for one.

My kids are down to one and two days of school, depending on the kid. Tonight we have a Sixth Grade graduation that is going to be a bawl fest all around, and I'm already trying to steel myself for it. This is for the same kid who just laid down in my bed and asked me to sing him to sleep with his favorite lullaby from when he was tiny. I snuggled up to him and sang (badly, as usual), trying to reconcile the thought of an itty bitty baby with this huge twelve year old in my arms. He fell asleep quickly and I briefly considered getting a jump start on the bawl fest, but I resisted. I have a bad feeling that once the tears start, there's going to be hell to pay getting them to stop. It's the end of the elementary school years, the end of an era...the beginning of so much more.

Next year I'll have a high school senior. God help us all.

Send me strength. I'm going to need it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

brace for the cure

You can't cure stupid.

You can manage it, you can educate it, you can even, if pushed too far, ignore it completely. But you can't cure it. It's a terminal condition. Apparently quite contagious. And far, far too widespread.

The patient had woken up with a headache and taken "a handful" of aspirin in response.

But wait a minute, said the doc, you're violently allergic to aspirin. It says so on all of your medical records.

Well sure, answered the patient, but this wasn't name brand aspirin. It was the generic.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

want ads - part two

When it rains, it pours.

Imagine reading your child's suicide note. Imagine how you would feel as they apologized for how they felt they had let you down, apologized for how they wish things could be different, how they wished they were a better, stronger person, told you things would be better now - now that they weren't here anymore to mess things up for you and the rest of the family.

Imagine looking over an itemized list of their belongings, with notes jotted in the margins as to who they would like to receive what. A detailed set of instructions as to what music they want played at their funeral, and, while they're at it, where they would like their ashes scattered. Imagine page after page of details, everything from bank account numbers to internet passwords. All left carefully addressed to you in the sincere belief that they would not be needing any of it anymore.

Now imagine holding all of this in your hand as you stand outside the glass door leading to the room your child is in. Your very much alive child, saved by the unexpected return of a roommate, saved from their hell bent determination to stop the screaming in their own head. Is your child grateful for the reprieve? No. Your child turns to the nurse at their bedside and says quite clearly that this isn't over just yet.

The nurse is chilled by the deadness in their eyes. She looks over at the parent, standing slumped by the door, tries to catch their eye and convey some sort of mom empathy. They look up from the floor and she meets their gaze squarely.

And wishes she had never looked beyond the patient.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

lucky numbers

I bought a lottery ticket on Saturday, and while this may not sound like such a big deal, for me it's really out of character. To tell the truth I bought five of them - all on one Powerball ticket. $5 was the total cost. 150 million was the potential payoff. And what did I get out of it?

Well, about 72 hours worth of fantasy, at least as it stands now. I still haven't checked to see if I've won, because I'm having such a good time spending my imaginary winnings in my head. Oh, I know I haven't won the big prize, because our local paper would have gone ballistic over the news of the winning ticket being sold in our town, but who knows? Maybe I won something smaller? Enough to buy a week's worth of groceries? A small Mediterranean island? Something in between?

As much as I love the chance to mentally spend money that isn't mine, I hate to throw hard earned cash down the toilet. And let's face it - the lottery is one great big toilet. It's like Vegas with worse odds, so it would take something crazy to make me buy even one ticket, much less five.

A couple of friends and I went to Open Houses on Saturday, and ended up running into another friend in the process. One of the houses that was open was one we've been curious about for quite a while, and this was the first weekend it was open to the public. I think half the town was there, and we were all saying some version of


I wanted it enough that I went straight to the Kwik Shop and bought five Powerball quick picks. God knows, that's what it would take. (It was much simpler than my friend Laurie's plan for three families to buy the house together and live there semi-commune style. On the plus side, I'm sure there's a reality series there somewhere. One with a big paycheck attached.)

Judging by the lack of newspaper headlines, I may have to let the house go. But I might wait a day or so before I dash my hopes completely.

What would you buy a lottery ticket for?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

help wanted

It's time to change careers. Or at the very least to never triage again. Ever.

Today I pulled a dead baby out of a car.

Yes, you read that right.

I. Pulled. A. Dead. Baby. Out. Of. A. Car.

While her mom screamed frantically at me to save her child.

While I took one look and knew it was already too late.

As I ran full-speed into the trauma room cradling the baby in my arms.

And participated in a balls to the wall full blown pediatric code.

Just on the off chance that we were wrong.

All of us.

We weren't.

It's time to change careers. Or at the very least to never triage again.


Monday, May 18, 2009

add as friend

Ah, the internet. Can't live without it, but it sure can make things interesting sometimes.

I now have two people that I'm close to who are both leaving their husbands for someone from their past that they've reconnected with on Facebook. Neither one of them were in untroubled marriages, neither one of them felt loved, or desired, or even appreciated. But, for the sake of the kids - seven between them - they stuck it out, marked time with a man they no longer wanted to be with, told themselves that dreaming of a better future was pointless.


Enter Prince Charming. Complete with white horse and escape route. Someone who knew (and even loved) them in a simpler time, before kids and stretch marks and money woes and career setbacks and husbands who were woefully deficient in...well, everything. Someone who loved them before life stomped the optimism out of them, and are able, with a word or a recalled story to take them straight back to that happier time.

Pretty tempting, no?

I'd be lying if I said I was never tempted by someone else in my marriage. To be perfectly honest, I spent most of my marriage tempted by other people, although I never gave in to that temptation. I always thought I was a terrible person, until the marriage counselor we saw put it in perspective. With a marriage as disconnected as yours, he said, I'd be more surprised if you weren't tempted by everyone who walked by. When your marriage isn't firing on even a single cylinder, you need a pretty active fantasy life just to get through the day. And while I get that wholeheartedly, I still think that the chasm between a fantasy life and actually picking up and leaving for that fantasy is huge.

One of these women is a really good friend and one is someone I love dearly. I want this to work out for them, want it to be everything they want it to be. One of them (the really good friend) left when the "fantasy" relationship became physical, and unfortunately for her when she asked my opinion on this she got it. (It's a good thing she loves me for my honesty. Too bad we can't say the same thing for my tact.) The other one (the one I love dearly) is trying to do the right thing and leave before anything actually "happens", but she's still got a really hard road ahead of her.

I'm all about the fantasy thing, and I do believe in lasting love, do believe in soul mates, am finally beginning to believe in happily ever after again.

But I'd be lying if I said this whole thing didn't make me really nervous.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Who: You

What: One fun thing you plan to do.

When: This weekend.

Where: Anywhere you want to.

Why: Why not?

I'll start. This weekend is brought to you by Surfer Dude's soccer tournament. First game was tonight and we got handed our shorts. Second game tomorrow night, and I'm afraid we'll be repeating the shorts routine. Third (and fourth if we qualify...rub a lamp) game(s) Saturday. Team party Saturday night.

But the real highlight of my weekend? My baby turns 12 on Sunday.


What fun things are on your agenda this weekend?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

it's pinch myself time

Every now and then something happens that gives me hope for the future. Today was one of those days.

Sasquatch has, as I feared, been having trouble catching the bus to school in the morning. Surely some of it is summer fever, but with frightening regularity, I get a call at work or hear him stomp in the front door with one of his patented excuses. This is the favorite -

"The bus came ridiculously early." (Translation: I was late and it was on time.)

But lately I've also been hearing a lot of this -

"I was standing right there and the bus went right past me." (Translation: Who the hell knows?)

The first couple of times I heard that I quite honestly didn't believe him. But when I kept hearing the same thing - especially when I was at work and helpless to do anything about it - I told him that he needed to call the bus company and complain. He wouldn't do it. Said he was the only person at that bus stop and the driver would know he was the one complaining. If I pushed it he pretty much exploded on me. Then I got the always calming Sasquatch platitude - "Don't worry, Mom. It's fine." (Usually said when it's clearly not fine at all.)

But today it happened again, and as he walked back in the door I could hear him talking to someone. It was the bus company, and he came into my room as he stated his case calmly. Said he had been standing right there and the driver had gone straight past him. He didn't blow up and he didn't back down. In the end, they sent another (smaller) bus to pick him up to make his connection, since evidently this driver has a history of this exact same thing. And lo and behold, he got to school on time - and in a decent mood. (This also demonstrates a lot about mass transit in our town, but that's a whole other story.)

I told him I was really proud of him, because I knew that he had stepped out of his comfort zone big time. And that he had handled it perfectly and without drama. And gotten to school independently and on time to boot.

Could the kid actually be growing up?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

not much more you can say

Perfect post for a (late) Bunco night. Thanks for sending it this way, Aims.


Before I lay me down to sleep,
I pray for a man who's not a creep,

ne who's handsome, smart and strong.
One who loves to listen long,

ne who thinks before he speaks,
ne who'll call, not wait for weeks.
I pray he's rich and self-employed,

nd when I spend, won't be annoyed.
Pull out my chair and hold my hand.
Massage my feet and help me stand.
Oh send a king to make me queen.
A man who loves to cook and clean.
I pray this man will love no other.
And relish visits with my mother.


I pray for a deaf-mute gymnast nymphomaniac with
big tits who owns a bar on a golf course,
and loves to send me fishing and drinking.

This doesn't rhyme and I don't give a shit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

memory lane

Maybe it was Mother's Day, maybe it was something my Aunt Dinah wrote yesterday, but I've been thinking of my grandmother all day today. There are a lot of directions my brain can go in when I get her stuck in my head, and today was no exception. Sometimes I think about the road trips from Michigan to Alabama, journeys that I'm convinced helped turn me into the road trip junkie that I am to this day. Then again there's the card games. My grandparents were voracious card players, and I was tossing my coins into the poker pot from a pretty young age. Sitting on my screened in back porch cradling a cold beer makes me think of her, too. I spent a lot of my youth hanging out on a front or back porch with them, although my drink of choice in those days was a bottle of Coke instead of the strong stuff.

She used to say that everything bad that happened to me happened when she was taking care of me. There was the fishing hook stuck in my hand, the time I fell out of a car when it rounded a corner right by my dad's store, and, in an amazing predictor of my future coordination, the time I got my head stuck when I hit the power window button as my head was hanging out the car window. She was a worrywart to begin with, but I think I made it a lot worse. Scratch that. I know I made it a lot worse.

But inevitably I go back to the food. Oh my god could my grandmother cook. Biscuits and gravy every morning for breakfast. Fried chicken. Homemade onion rings. Something she called skillet toast which I ate by the plateful. She did a banana pudding that could make you cry. And every time I would go to visit she would make my very favorite thing - a marinated broccoli and dill salad that gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. She gave me the recipe before she died, and I've made it a few times, but somehow it just doesn't taste the same. I'm a pretty decent cook, but for some reason I have no luck cooking anything that I associate with her. It always tastes just the slightest bit off.

But tonight I was grilling burgers and roasting potatoes. Corn was cooking on the stove, and almost without thinking I started making a cucumber and onion refrigerator pickle that she often had in the fridge. I used to eat it until I felt queasy. Just the process of slicing the veggies and putting it all together in the bowl made me feel like she was right there with me. And when Sasquatch came in and attacked the bowl I had to smile. I told him - like she had told me - that they needed to sit for a while before we ate them. And - like me years ago - he kept eating them anyway, telling me they tasted just fine the way they were.

In her own words, that would have tickled her to death.

Monday, May 11, 2009

just keep my cup full

I've realized this weekend that I should trade in my Registered Nursing license for a Certified Drunk Man's Negotiator certificate. All weekend long, but most particularly in the early morning hours of my shifts, I've dealt with the drunk, stupid and unlucky crowd. The fact that this happens in the morning, before I'm fully caffeinated, is a very bad thing.

This came home full force when one of my patients threw enough of a hissy fit to go smoke that I finally ended up walking across the street with him so he could puff away outside of the "no smoke zone". I'm tall, but he had at least 6 inches and a hundred pounds on me, and as he regaled me with stories of doing prison time for assault and battery, I realized to my horror that I had led him to the wrong spot and that I was totally off the security surveillance camera radar. I couldn't get him to move, so I rationalized. Oh, well, thought I, at least I'm by the ambulance bay, and if he tries anything one of the rigs coming in will see it. Or a cop. The cop cars come the exact same way. But no. Not a squad car or ambulance in sight. The television image of the cop/nurse/medic alliance actually has a hell of a lot of truth to it, and I knew that someone would save my butt if necessary. Only problem was that there was no one there to even see my butt in the event it should need saving.

My drunk and huge guy finally finished his cigarettes and agreed to go back into the unit. And I don't know if the combination of alcohol and nicotine finally caught up with him or what, but he then proceeded to proposition every single woman he saw until I finally got him shipped out to where he needed to go. Called them "hot" and "honey" and asked them if they'd "like a piece of this". He leered and carried on over every female in range. Except me. Me he called ma'am and then shook my hand to thank me as he left.

At the time I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be flattered or insulted. Actually, I'm still not sure. It's a rough thing when even a drunk and indiscriminate guy doesn't hit on you. Especially when he just propostioned the male lab tech with the long hair and shapely behind. (And little did he know that that just might have been his best chance at some action all day.)

Oh, well. At least he kept his pants on, unlike my first patient of his ilk. And he never asked me to check out his "hidden tattoo" either. Thank god. There was nowhere near enough coffee in my system for that.

Weekends are interesting. Holiday weekends are even more so. Some days there just isn't enough caffeine in the world.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

it's about time

Surfer Dude woke up this morning feeling fine, with not a hint of a puke bucket in his future. Woo hoo. It was a big relief for a lot of reasons, believe me. Just one more thing around here that has really started to look up in the last week or so.

My sense of calm and optimism has returned in spades as more fascinating pieces of life fall into place. Even a big "curve ball" that is about to be thrown at me is no real curve ball at all. I'm well aware of what is about to happen. Would it be wrong to say that I'm actually enjoying the thought of watching evolution in action? Firsthand? I've been the bug for the last couple of months, but in the last few days I've morphed into the windshield. It's a nice change. Amazing what clear karma can produce if you just give it a chance.

What do you mean I'm talking in riddles? What else did you expect during a three in a row stretch at work?


Friday, May 8, 2009

why us?

Oh, lord.

We just got back a little while ago from Surfer Dude's band performance, a show he's been really stressed out about. It went beautifully and he did a terrific job as the only baritone on the whole stage.


He has just crawled in my bed saying he feels sick as a dog and that he thinks he's going to puke. Let me just say this straight out. The kid is a puker. Gumby is pathologically afraid of anything even resembling vomit and runs screaming from the room whenever SD holds his belly. Can I tell you that this is not a good combination?

I'm scheduled to start three in a row at work tomorrow. Someone asked me to change a day for a kid related reason (theirs) and I did, knowing I have to juggle around kid schedules too, especially at the end of the school year. But right before he fell into an uneasy slumber he said,

"Please promise me that if I throw up you'll call in sick tomorrow."

I have six sick days to my name and five of them will be used for our California trip in July. I almost never use my PTO days for me, as any mother will attest. I use them when my kids are sick. But damn, I hate being down to one day. So what did I say?

"Of course, honey. If you're sick I'll call in."

So now we wait...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

the man list - part one

I'm making a list.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time this won't surprise you one bit. I'm a lister from way back, and like the good OCD/organizer/compulsive person that I am, my lists get me through the day. I like it that way. Never underestimate a good list - that's my motto.

This list is a little different. It's going to be ongoing and possibly kind of fluid. Some of the things on the list will be carved in stone and some will run the risk of changing depending on my mood. It's going to be very interesting (or a laugh your ass off kind of experience) to see how this plays out in the real world. That's okay. I've got plenty of time.

I'm designing the perfect guy. Or at least close enough to make me happy. For that time down the road when I actually feel like dealing with one of them again in that kind of way. It's a list of what I want, what I need, and what I absolutely won't put up with. Call it a Wish List, if you will.

And the first item on the list is...I want a guy who is practical. A guy who can fix things. A guy whose first response is "No problem" vs. "Oh, it can't be done". A guy who sees something broken and actually deals with it instead of walking past it repeatedly and hoping it goes away. I want a Can Do type instead of a No Can Do type. This is a carved in stone requirement. Is this asking too much?

No? I didn't think so either.

What's on your list?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

don't touch me with those feet

The sound of Surfer Dude spewing eleven year old invective is wafting down the hall toward my bedroom. He's in a snit, undies completely in a bunch, totally convinced that he has the most unreasonable mother on the planet. The fact that Gumby is poking him just for the heck of it isn't helping, but SD is so mad at me he's almost not even noticing that his brother is tormenting him.

Wow. What could I possibly have done to the kid now? What horrible, awful, control-freaky, unreasonable, totally out of left field thing have I come up with this time?

I made him shower. With soap. I am a devil, aren't I?

I drove the pick-up leg of the soccer carpool, and when the three pre-teen boys got in my backseat after ninety minutes of practicing in a warm rain, I thought I was going to die. Not only were they covered in mud, but you could almost taste the stench. And, it must be said, most of it was emanating from my kid. He has a world class shower aversion and is convinced that the festering smell under his arms is kind of cool to scare the girls with.

I've been waiting patiently for years for him to grow out of this, but it isn't happening yet. I think Sasquatch was a little older when he decided all on his own that he needed a shower a day, and while I really don't want to look too hard at his motivation I sure do appreciate the end result. Gumby is straddling the two, not resisting too hard, but not volunteering eagerly either. Maybe it's because SD is the most athletic, but the kid is ripe a good portion of the time. His socks alone defy description, and whenever any of this is pointed out his pride is palpable. Everyone needs a hobby and his is deliberately smelling bad.

And the muttering still coming from his room? Is because he's clean. And shampooed. (Uh oh. Forgot to smell his head to double check that. Crap. Scratch shampooed.) Oh, well. He's clean. And that makes me very happy indeed.

At least until Child Protective Services shows up at my door to see what I've done to the poor kid this time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

cinco de mayo - swine style

I have about had it up to here with the swine flu.

Not to sound callous or anything, but those two words are the quickest way imaginable lately to drive any medical professional up the Crazy River. The hype, the hysteria, the hypochondriacs with bacon on their breath. It's bad. It's really bad. And it's getting worse.

I'm a hypochondriac myself, sad to admit, but I've lost count of the people who have come in who are convinced they have the swine flu. One or two of them even have an applicable symptom. The rest of them have either been to Mexico lately, eaten in a Mexican restaurant or are able to find Mexico on a world map. One woman told me that she had been to Cancun on vacation (four months ago) and then had coughed a few times that morning. Well, hell. Call the ICU and save me a bed. After further questioning it came out that this gal was a two pack a day smoker and hadn't had a cough free day in twenty years. "Yeah," she said, "but it's the way I'm coughing."

Flu season sucks. Always. And, as many people have pointed out, thousands of people in the US alone die each year of the flu. Almost by definition the flu is respiratory, although people interchange it all the time with "the stomach flu". Well, technically the stomach flu is just a virus, a "bug", but the real flu can - and does - turn ugly fast. Last year was a brutal flu season, providing us with more "oh, my god" moments in the ER than I like to remember. Is this any worse? Not compared to some of the indelible images I have stuck in my head from last year. Not yet, anyway.

Then, to add insult to injury, is the never ending list of precautions and new standards we have to follow. The worst of these, in my opinion, is the goggles. We now have our very own pairs of special droplet resistant goggles that we have to wear in triage. So not only do I have to do all the triage crap I normally do, and deal with all the hypochondriacs that are pouring out of the woodwork, but now I have to do it in these horrible goggles that make me look like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly. Today, as first line providers, we all got shots to protect against secondary flu symptoms, and those damn shots have frozen up the deltoid muscles of every nurse from here to Puerta Vallarta. Even my Bugs Bunny bandaid doesn't help. Every time I reach up to adjust my Fly goggles my arm cramps up and refuses to move. Every patient who sits down in triage looks at the goggles and freaks. "Oh, my god, it's worse than you people are admitting to. Why else would you be wearing those?" Every time I look in the mirror I freak. "Oh, my god, when did I turn into Jeff Goldblum and how did my eyes get so BIG?" You just can't win.

One of our docs and I bravely marched to get our shots together. I offered to hold his hand if he was a fraidy cat. He suggested something else I could hold instead. I might possibly have called him a pig (among other things). I forget my exact words. This doc and I go round and round on a regular basis. Too bad for me that I adore him, but it's hard to believe he kisses his mother with that mouth.

Swine are definitely among us. Swine flu? I'm still not convinced.

Monday, May 4, 2009

multi-Fbombs in paragraph 8

I had stopped watching Dallas by the time this particular episode aired, but the howls of outrage from loyal viewers were loud enough to catch my attention. Evidently after an entire season of soap opera craziness about Bobby Ewing being dead, they were now going to write off the whole thing as a dream sequence and pretend like it never happened. Maybe their ratings went down, maybe the contract negotiations worked out for their actors after all, maybe they simply thought what the hell, but the bottom line is that they just went ahead and took the whole damn thing back. Can you imagine? The nerve! You can't just take something like that back, can you?

Yes. Yes, you can. Isn't that weird?

My disappearing act in the last week has been completely necessary to my mental health, absolutely crucial in getting some things worked out in my own head. I've always known that I would come out of this divorce a stronger, more self-reliant person, but I had no idea of how that all actually worked. It's one of those things that you don't understand until you're in it. And even then it takes a lot of time and effort to actually figure out. But when things started to fall in place earlier last month, it set off a chain reaction that really threw me. I reacted in ways that are very out of character, and in ways that really confused me. I know who I am, and I know what my point of view is. And now, after a week and a half of intense soul searching, I think I know how to present it. And to whom.

A little more than a year ago, I wrote this post, asking people for opinions on which direction to take this blog. The verdict was clear at that time. We want to go with you on this journey. We don't want you to write fluff when there are more serious things on your mind. So over the last year I've written a lot of stuff about my marriage and my divorce and my kids and all the things that have been in the forefront of my mind. And I know for a fact that some of you are sick to death of hearing about it. I know that there is a faction out there that thinks I've become bitter and whiny and basically lost both my sense of humor and my mojo in one fell swoop. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hurt by that opinion, but I can see where it could come from. I'm not the person I was a year ago, certainly not the person I was two years ago. When life throws you a great big curve ball, the best people manage to change and adapt. For the better. It would not say positive things about me if I were just carrying on with my life as if the last year never happened. The underlying person hasn't changed, but my world view sure has. How could it not?

But the absolutely incredible thing for me over the last year has been the universal element of what I've been going through. When my mother wryly said Welcome to the Club last Spring, I had no idea of what all that entailed, but I've found out. I can't express what a relief it has been as I've grappled with various issues to realize that this same shit is happening everywhere, and in frighteningly familiar ways. It comes across in comments, it comes in emails and IM chats and phone calls - there are a hell of a lot of us who already have or are still in the process of navigating these same waters and we tell amazingly similar stories. It's like David Letterman doing Stupid Ex-Husband tricks. You think yours is bad? Honey, I can top that! And then they DO! Incredible. Who knew?

It also seems to me that it may look like I spend most of my time ruminating about the end of my marriage, which simply isn't the case. I hate to bring this up, but here goes. A few road bumps notwithstanding, I am the happiest I've ever been in my entire adult life. My only regret is that we didn't do this years ago. And...I work full-time in a fairly demanding job. I have three kids who run me ragged. Three dogs who think they're all that. A 122 year old house that is actively trying to kill me - in more ways than one. I have friends, I have hobbies, I have meals to cook, bills to pay and toilets to clean. In short, I have a pretty full life. This blog, much as I love it, maybe touches on 5% of that life. All of you who have blogs know this. There's only so much you can write about on a regular basis. The rest just doesn't fit in.

So where am I going with all of this? What is my own particular Bobby Ewing moment? Well, to start with I'm opening up the blog publicly again. I have a few reasons for this, including the fact that I just want to. But the main one is this. Making it private never felt authentic, never felt like me. I did it because I didn't want my ex to be able to access my thoughts, didn't want him to think he had any insight into what I did or didn't do, even as he insisted he didn't read MY blog to hear about ME. So much has shifted in the prairie tidal wave of the last few weeks and I say what I'm about to say with open heart and clear mind.

Fuck him. If he chooses to he can read my thoughts all day long, but he can't touch me. Fuck him again. The reason that I vented in my "personal" blog was to be able to keep that anger out of our at the time civil relationship. Fuck him a third time. I refuse to give him the power - through his words or his actions - to impact something I love as much as I love doing this blog. And fuck him once more while I'm at it. Because I don't ever have to worry again about what he thinks. Fuck him one last time. Because I'm done.

And now... (finally)...

on with our regularly scheduled programming.