Driving Lessons

I am having a week long celebration countdown to my birthday. Wednesday was milkshakes. Thursday Picasso had a cello lesson so the only “celebration” was grabbing Culver’s because the line at Chick-Fil-A was obscenely long.

What the hell is up with long lines at Chick-Fil-A anyway? It’s not like this is a new company. It wasn’t a Saturday night so people weren’t standing in line, hoping to get their chicken fix before they shut down on Sunday. Maybe they were giving away free chicken sandwiches or something because the drive-thru was insane and when we parked and started to go inside Picasso said to me, “Mom, look at how many people are in there!” It was a mob of people waiting in line!

Back to the topic at hand, which was my birthday countdown. Thursday night (or rather Friday morning since it was after midnight) Picasso texted me and told me he’d like to see a movie on Friday. He wanted to see “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”. We ended up getting tickets for the 10:45 show. Yes, I know; it’s ridiculously late. However, he wanted to go to the theater with the reclining seats and we had to book that far out to get decent seats. I am not a fan of the front row, with my head wrenched back for the next 2 hours. As we pulled in to the parking lot he lays this on me: Maybe after the movie I could practice driving in the parking lot.

As you may recall he has not driven a single minute since getting his permit back in October. Therefore, I jumped at this opportunity. Finally! Baby boy was getting behind the wheel!

At approximately 11:55 the driving lesson began. I got to explain which pedal was the gas and which one was the brake. I briefly explained the gearshift. He put it into drive and began driving forward at about 2 miles per hour. Suddenly the bell goes off, alerting me to the fact he doesn’t have his seatbelt on.

“Did you forget to put your seatbelt on?” I ask him.

“Oh shit!” he cries out in return. Slams.on.the.brakes. Seriously. I’m pretty sure I almost got whiplash. “Oh crap! These brakes are really sensitive!”

Next lesson was to practice braking. He did a much better job once he figured out he didn’t need to push down full force.

He drove around the parking lot a bit, never going much above 5 miles per hour. At one point he was going to try to turn right but decided that there were too many obstacles in the way. We ended up turning left and went around the building. He thought maybe we weren’t supposed to be back there.

“Sure we’re allowed to be back here. Look- they have parking spaces.”

“They’re probably for the employees.”

Once we made it around the building he decided he wanted to practice putting it into reverse.

Finally he decided to make it back to where he started. This is when the real fun began.

For starters he was hugging the curb as another car was heading in the opposite direction. I could feel my tires starting to rub. I let him know- calmly- that he needed to pull over towards the left a little bit.

Then there was another car heading our way. Plus, the last of the people were leaving the theater. He referred to them as “obstacles”. As in, “Great! Even more obstacles in my way.”

He decided to just stop and let the other car pass him by and also waited until all the pedestrians were safely across the road before he took off again.

He did make a right hand turn and then parked where he started.

After we were done I asked him if he felt a little more confident now that he had actually driven a bit.

“I feel more terrified now,” was his response. He went on to ask why his sister and cousin drive so fast (the speed limit is what I believe he was referring to) and why we even needed cars. He also wanted to know why we couldn’t live more like in medieval times where you would walk everywhere and you lived in town so everything was a short walk away.

I did tell him that he might feel more comfortable if we could find some isolated country roads. That way he could drive without traffic. He could drive at a normal speed and he would be driving in a straight line. All plusses, I believe.

His reply regarding my suggestion we find some country roads? “Are they going to take me home?”

The Pity Party Conundrum

After listening for almost 25 years to the stories my patients tell me about sociopaths who have invaded and injured their lives, when I am asked, “How can I tell who not to trust?” the answer I give usually surprises people.

The natural expectation is that I will describe some sinister sounding detail of behavior or snippet of body language or threatening use of language that is the subtle giveaway. Instead, I take people aback by assuring them that the tip-off is none of these things, for none of these things is reliably present. Rather, the best clue, of all things, is the pity play. The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might image, at our fearfulness.

It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.”

-From the Sociopath Next Door

I can’t say that’s how CF gained my trust. We didn’t start our relationship off with his stories of woe. Instead I heard how he had been the captain of the football team, captain of the baseball team, captain of the wrestling team. I heard stories from his mom and stepdad as well about how the paper had written an article about him when they played against the #1 team in the state and upset them. I learned he was class valedictorian, president of the National Honor Society, and, of course, class president. I heard how he had been recruited by the Cincinnati Reds, got an appointment to West Point, and was awarded a full ride scholarship to Boston College (or maybe Boston University- I never could remember) for pre-med. He could have been a doctor or a professional baseball player but he chose to serve his country and went to West Point.

His pity party didn’t come until he had been caught with Harley the first time. Then he was all about the tears and telling me how broken he was. I remember the text he sent to me telling me how he was sitting on the couch our son had bought and he was crying. I’m pretty sure he sent me a picture of the tears falling down his face.

I noticed in hindsight that any time the conversation became too tough he would resort to telling me he was worthless. He would insist he was a horrible husband and a terrible father and it was no wonder his own father had disowned him.

My all time favorite though was when he told me that all this conversation about Harley and his affair with her had ruined his hard on. That must have been terrible for him.

When he finally decided to discard me he was in full blown pity party mode. It was non-stop crying and talking about what a horrible person he was, how he had killed so many people and God would never forgive him. He couldn’t forgive himself. He told everyone I hated him.

I’m pretty sure when he decided to go visit his mom in May that what he was really going to do was meet up with Harley. For whatever reason he couldn’t do it. He sent me pictures of himself crying; he was supposedly having issues with being able to drive. He turned around and came back home. I went out the next day to switch cell phone companies and get new phones because I felt terrible that I hadn’t received his message and had no idea he was “struggling”. We had never had a problem with our cell phone company when we lived in Utah, but they did not have great coverage in our new area. There were areas I had absolutely no service and many times calls either wouldn’t go through or they would get dropped.

Towards the end we couldn’t go out to dinner without him breaking down crying. He refused to leave the bedroom. He loved telling people how I neglected him, despite the fact I was helping to make appointments with therapists and psychiatrists for him and attending those appointments with him.

It went hand in hand with all the other accusations that would follow: I hated him. I turned the kids against him. I made him leave the state. I wouldn’t let him take anything from the house. I threw him out. I tossed all of his things out.

A commenter over on Chump Lady pointed out that another way to protect yourself and to try to wade through the good and the bad was to listen closely when a person describes why they are no longer with their ex. Do they give you a short and to the point answer? Or do they offer up vague explanations with little to no detail? We grew apart sounds so much better than I cheated and he/she threw me out. She’s turned the kids against me sounds a lot better than I walked out on my kids and haven’t seen them in three years.

Generally, if a person has nothing to hide and is not the one at fault you’ll hear things like: He beat me. She slept with my best friend. He had a gambling problem. She drank too much. He had an untreated mental illness. She had a drug problem. He gave me an STD.

If they’re the one at fault though, it’s not uncommon to hear: We grew apart. I needed to find myself. She didn’t appreciate me. He wasn’t supportive of me. I loved him but I wasn’t in love with him. It was complicated.

Ironically, I think both CF and Harley are masters of the pity party. He undoubtedly treated her to his tales of woe regarding me. I was such a horrible housekeeper. I bought extra clothes instead of doing laundry. I treated him like a handyman and a wallet. We never had sex. I hated him.

She started off their relationship the first time around by letting him know that her marriage wasn’t all that rosy. She told him that she worked 60-80 hours a week because her husband spent and spent and he had bankrupted them.

They must be delighted at the idea of rescuing one another. I say, “Thank God!” because it keeps them away from innocent people.

The lesson today? Beware of those with sob stories. Sociopaths use pity to play upon your emotions. And pay attention when people talk. If you ask a direct question and get a vague answer that’s probably your cue to cut your losses.

Why Leave?

I am watching my father care for my mother as her AD enters the late stages… Sometimes she didn’t recognize him, but lately she knows him again without question. He’s the only one she consistently recognizes. She lights up when he enters the room…My father does not deal well with any of it. He has some not desirable traits and cannot be alone. He’s stated that he will have to find someone right away, and we know he would prefer to have her in a home while he gets on with his life. And yet she still looks to him for comfort. She always facilitated his life (and everyone else’s). This is the time that your spouse needs you the most… My sisters and I are disgusted with him, and my brother pays for nursing care to keep her at home. He knows better than to fight us though, as we are his support systems She would never want to be in a home! She is now barely able to speak and he doesn’t encourage the nurses to get her up. I know he loves her in his own selfish way, but he also cheated on her many times and caused great pain and resentment.

I read this over on Chump Lady and the image filled me with sadness. The idea that this lovely woman had spent her entire life making her husband’s life more comfortable, catering to him, loving him… and when she needs him the most, when she is at her absolute most vulnerable, he is not there for her. Not really. He is resentful of the work he has to do. He wants to put her in a home and get on with his own life. He will not be putting into her care what he got out of her.

It is a frequent topic of conversation how so many cheaters, be they male or female, tend to leave when you need them the most. Stories abound of people who are deserted after a cancer diagnosis, while they’re caring for sick and aging parents (sometimes the partner’s parents), during pregnancy, shortly after childbirth, after a chronic medical diagnosis. Hell, for some it’s simply a matter of being left once you get older. God forbid you lose a limb or become disabled in some way.

Don’t we all deserve so much more? It breaks my heart to think of someone slavishly caring for another person. No task is too daunting. No request is too outrageous. Instead, they give and give and give. They continuously put their own needs and wants on the back burner to care for this person in their life. Until the day comes that they can no longer serve them. Either they are exhausted or they are worn out or just plain sick or declining in health themselves. When they look around for that person they’ve loved and devoted their lives to they see skid marks instead of their beloved. He or she has taken off because they have no intention of returning the favor. These people don’t give; they take. When you no longer serve your purpose as a handy kibble dispenser/spouse appliance, they are only too eager to replace you with a new model, one that will fawn all over them. One that will give and give and never ask for anything in return. You’re on your own.

I’ve said before that the mobster is a much better partner than CF ever was to me. From buttering my roll to running out and buying me shampoo to making me chocolate dipped strawberries or decorating the house or bedroom for me, he is always thoughtful. He thinks about what might please me.

I’ve also said I’m free to speak my mind with him. I can tell him when I’m having a bad day. He talks me down when I’m freaking out. He calms me.

With CF it always felt like a competition. If I told him how I wasn’t getting any sleep because Rock Star woke up in the middle of the night he would go on to tell me he had been woken up in the middle of the night because the alarm at work had gone off. Because being woken up in the middle of the night once is exactly like getting up at 3:30 in the morning every morning for six months. If I complained that it was difficult trying to take care of a baby, work full time, keep the house clean, do laundry, and care for 2 dogs and 6 cats, I was reminded that it wasn’t easy for him being away from us either. If I was stressing over something he treated it like a joke. When he stressed over something he was generally catatonic on the damn bed with me taking charge and solving the damn problem. When he pricked his finger on a cactus it was reason to shut down, return to the hotel room with three kids, and then demand that I sit by his side all afternoon. When I almost stepped on a snake in my damn garage I was told not to worry because it wasn’t poisonous.

Every time he was sick it was a major production. He wanted me to stay home with him because he wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t feel like I could just call off of work because my grown ass husband was sick. I went to work only to get a phone call a few hours later letting me know he had collapsed at least once (it might have been twice). It turned out he really was sick. He had a staph infection in his bloodstream which he probably got from the hospital when they did a spinal tap a week prior. He loved to lord that over me. “Remember that time I told you I was sick and you didn’t believe me?”

Yet, I had 2 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy and he wasn’t around for much of any of it. He did go to the doctor’s office with me when I had a sonogram done the first time I started to miscarry. He was at the hospital with me that evening when they performed the D&C on me. He also went with me when I had to go get the second shot for my ectopic pregnancy (and that was only because we were already getting ready to go to a friend’s house for a party that evening; we stopped over there on our way).

I remember going to the bathroom, wiping, and then checking the toilet paper and seeing bright red blood. I remember calling him at work in a panic, telling him what was going on. I remember heading home alone after the ultrasound because we had taken separate cars to the appointment. I remember getting the phone call from the doctor. He was so nervous; he had never met me in person and had only talked to me for the first time that morning when I called in hysterics, and now here he was, tasked with giving me the awful news that I was indeed miscarrying and that there was no hope. CF wasn’t there when I got that call. I sat at home all by myself and miscarried our baby. I remember lying on the floor, sobbing, as my stupid dog barked at me. I don’t remember if he stayed at home with me the next day after my D&C, but my guess is no, he did not.

I was by myself when I miscarried the second time. I had only known I was pregnant for about 3 days. I stayed at home and bled, while he went to work and carried on like normal.

Every test I had performed on myself to see why I was miscarrying I went to alone, with the exception of the blood test. He had to go because they wanted to test him as well. So the HSG where they shot dye into my fallopian tubes to check for a blockage, the one that resulted in burning pain that caused me to arch my back up off the table to try to get away from that pain? Yeah, I went to that one alone. And the endometrial biopsy where they snipped? scooped? a piece of my uterine lining to test it? I went to that one alone as well.

I went to appointment after appointment by myself when they were trying to find the ectopic pregnancy (or to simply confirm whether or not it was a viable pregnancy). He was never there to hold my hand as I submitted to blood test after blood test. He wasn’t there for any of the trans vaginal ultrasounds.  This continued for several weeks.

When I finally got the news that it was indeed an ectopic pregnancy I was told I needed to make a decision right then before they would let me leave the office. My choices were surgery which may or may not result in losing my fallopian tube, or the methotrexate shot. While my husband was sympathetic to my plight, and would support any decision I made, he couldn’t leave because he was in a very important meeting with Kimberly Clark. This led to my mom’s famous line, “Tell Kimberly Clark to get her own damn boyfriend!” Maybe if I had opted for the surgery instead of the shot in the ass he might have been able to make it to the hospital by the time I woke up.

All those follow up appointments I had to attend where they would draw blood and track my hcg levels to make sure they were going down? The ones where I asked the nurse if she could please use the baby needle on me because I had been stuck so many times in the last month? Yeah, I went to all of those alone as well.

Aside from the 20 week ultrasound for both kids, I’m not sure he attended a single ob/gyn appointment with me. It’s been at least 16 years so maybe he did attend each time we were supposed to hear the heartbeat finally, but I no longer remember. Him not accompanying me was much more the norm.

When I went to the genetic counselor when I was pregnant the second time I went by myself. The new doctor insisted because of the balanced translocation; it turns out I did have a slightly higher chance of having a baby with a birth defect. Hey, if I’m going to get bad news I may as well be by myself when I get it, right? Fortunately, there was no bad news, although I did find out I was having a boy that day. Too bad CF missed that moment.

Yet every time he was sick I was there by his side. I drove him to the ER. I advocated for him. I stayed with him. I asked for heated blankets and made sure he had something to drink. I spent hours at the hospital with him, sometimes at the expense of my children. And believe me, there were very few times when he got sick that it did not result in a trip to the ER. Every time that man threw up he was convinced he was dehydrated and needed to go to the ER for fluids.

Even on the rare occasion when his illness did not necessitate a visit to the ER I was checking on him, grabbing him a Sprite, fixing him a bowl of soup. I called the doctor. I made his appointments. Hell, I attended most of his appointments with him!

When I was pregnant with Picasso I had terrible morning sickness that lasted well into the second trimester. I eventually was put on medication for it. The day before Thanksgiving (or maybe that Tuesday before Thanksgiving) I was violently ill. I couldn’t keep anything down and I was puking so hard I would pee my pants. It was lovely. Add to that the fact I had a very active toddler. Miss Rock Star was almost 18 months old at that time. She very helpfully would shut the toilet lid on my head as I heaved and peed myself.

CF couldn’t leave work and help me out. He was a very important person and he was needed there at the plant. I spent the day mostly in bed, puking and trying to tend to my rambunctious toddler, hoping against all odds that she would pass out and take a nap with me so that I might rest in-between puking sessions.

Fast forward four or five years. Rock Star and I had tickets to see High School Musical On Ice. This time it was him that was sick. Picasso was a much calmer child. You could put him in bed with you, letting him watch TV while you slept. CF insisted he simply could not be left alone with him. Despite the fact that he literally would have sat in the bed beside him and watched TV the entire time. So I’m calling all around, in our new state, trying to find someone to babysit so that my daughter and I can go to this iceskating musical that we’ve had tickets to for more than 6 months. I thought I was going to have to disappoint her and tell her we couldn’t go when a friend called back and said his son was willing to leave his friend’s house and come babysit for a few hours.

I should have known then but I always told myself and others that I was a strong, independent woman and I didn’t need to have my hand held every time something didn’t go exactly as planned. It’s downright weak to need help from your partner! Other women might need their partner sitting by their feet when they miscarried, but not me. Oh no. I could handle it all on my own.

Now, twenty plus years later I’m realizing how nice it is to have someone around. I don’t need the mobster to hold my hand but I know he will. I’m not going to lie; it feels nice to have someone willing to do that.

I think what makes me the saddest about the comment that started this whole post is the fact that that poor woman spent her entire life giving and putting effort into her relationship with her husband; she spent years nurturing him and putting him first. She forgave his cheating. She strived to keep the marriage together. She probably told herself it would be worth it one day. Or, like one of my long suffering great grandmother’s liked to say, she would get her reward in heaven. Yet here she is, suffering from Alzheimer’s. Her husband is very little help. He’s focused on how hard this is on him and more concerned with finding her replacement than he is with caring for his ailing wife. She is of no use to him and is, in fact, a burden now. She requires considerable care while offering nothing to him.

Let that be a lesson. Don’t waste your time and efforts investing in those who won’t invest in you. If they aren’t doing it now you can’t count on them to do it when you really need it. Chances are very good they won’t. They’ll simply discard you and move along.

This Has Disaster Written All Over It

I have written before about my obsession with Pistol Annies. Miranda Lambert as a solo act appears more than a few times on my Freedom song list. I love her music but more and more it appears she’s a disaster. She seems to be one of those women who gets mighty pissed off if her man does her wrong, but she doesn’t have a problem with fucking someone else over.

It seems common knowledge that Blake Shelton left his wife for her. And apparently she dumped her own boyfriend for him. They dated for six years and were married for four. Who knows what actually ended that marriage because neither one would say much about it. She talks about her broken heart being a catalyst for all her recent music, and supposedly doesn’t want to field questions about his new love. He, in return, makes it seem like she was the one who stepped out on him.

It’s very hard to say because shockingly I don’t know her. All I know is what Google offers up for me to read. These last few years it has been having a field day!

After her divorce she very quickly took up with Anderson East who, as far as I know, wasn’t engaged or married or dating anyone else when he began dating her. That lasted about two years.

Soon after that she hooked up with Evan Felker, a member of Turnpike Troubadours, the group that was opening for her on her Livin’ Like Hippies tour. Perhaps it was coincidence but they toured together and “developed a connection” a mere two months before she would break up with Anderson East.

Evan also happened to be married. According to gossip reports (and Google, thank you very much) he slapped his wife, Staci, with divorce papers a mere fifteen days after meeting Miranda for the first time. If that’s not enough the ex-wife, through Instagram, went on to accuse Miranda of harassing her by calling her repeatedly at all hours of the night. This was while she was sleeping with Staci’s husband!

Evan and Staci divorced in August of 2018 and right around that time Miranda and Evan broke up.

Fast forward to now. I don’t know about your Google feed but mine is abuzz with news of her secret wedding.

It seems to me she really likes the idea of men leaving their wives for her. This one didn’t have a wife, but only a day or so after the news broke, when everyone was trying to figure out who this Brendan McLoughlin was, it was reported that he had welcomed a son with another woman only three days after meeting Miranda. Oh boy.

Then news surfaced that he had an ex-fiancee as well! He had been dating and was engaged to a woman named Jackie for two years. She was playing soccer in Europe for a few months. Maybe that is when he met and bedded Kaihla, his baby mama. If the ex-fiancee’s mother is to be believed he was living a double life! He was begging Jackie to still marry him even though Kaihla was pregnant with his child.

How could this go wrong? It has all the hallmarks of a successful relationship. Short courtship? Check. Met and married in three months. Long distance relationship? Check. He’s a NYPD officer from Staten Island, I believe. She’s a mega famous country music star who lives in, well, I’m not sure where she lives but I know it’s not New York City. Baby with another woman? Check. That baby is brand spankin’ new! Born the first week of November. Thankfully for the new mom Miranda does not strike me as the mothering sort. I don’t think she’s going to be very invested in trying to be the new and improved mommy.

They already made the news when Miranda lost her shit at a steakhouse in Nashville and dumped salad in somebody’s lap. Every day it seems a new revelation about her “hot, new husband” comes out.

As I said, this has disaster written all over it.

A Hex on Hax

I don’t know what your Google newsfeed looks like but mine is filled with news about the royals, some television, Ted Bundy, as of late, sharks, the Kardashians and Duggars, for some strange reason, and advice columns. So many advice columnists. I’ve got Dear Abby, Dear Prudence, and Dear Amy, and Carolyn Hax.

As you might be able to surmise I have a bone to pick with Ms. Hax. One of her latest columns featured a woman who had been married for 33 years. From what the letter writer writes it seems she was a stay at home mom to 3 children who are now all college educated adults. Husband traveled for work quite often. Letter writer held down the fort. She has “a feeling” one day and spies only to find out her husband has been cheating on her; the affairs go back at least 20 years. The entire time he’s been cheating he’s also been having sex with his wife. Wife quietly gathers proof- she’s downloading emails and texts and dating profiles. She’s got a GPS tracker. She is prepared. And then little by little she methodically divulges this information to the husbands, boyfriends, and families of the people involved.

I don’t want to speak for Carolyn but I think what upset her so much was the very matter-of-fact way the wife went about this and the fact she seemed to have no remorse. As she stated at the end of her letter: Shouldn’t all the players’ lives be altered as the wife’s life has been? Shouldn’t these people, without concern for wife and children- whom some met- be exposed for what they are?

Please don’t advise karma, therapy, divorce, the price of revenge. Whatever wife decides to do about the marriage isn’t relevant, this is about leveling the playing field.

It was probably the whole, “Shouldn’t all the players lives be altered as the wife’s life has been?” 
That sounds way too much like vengeance and as we all know, vengeance is bad. We must accept being cheated on and humiliated with a smile on our face and a song in our heart. We owe it to all the other parties to keep our lips closed and to let them wander about with no consequences.

This was Carolyn’s response:

You suffered a devastating pain, which no one deserves. I’m sorry that happened to you.

You responded, though, by inflicting pain just for the sake of inflicting pain, which nothing justifies. You leveled the playing field with firebombs and calculated fury.

And without apology or apparent remorse.

Even though such payback never affects only the guilty, but also the people who love them. Innocents all.

He did this to you, with them, yes- but you ensured that everyone affected got the most information in the worst way possible.

Yet I can’t talk about karma, therapy or the price of revenge?

Does that mean you’ve written only to invite applause?

I have none. I have only dismay at reading of a person who apparently worked hard for an entire lifetime to build good things, and then, under the influence of incendiary rage, turned destructive as if these were movie people and feelings, not real ones.

I know you don’t want help.

But I hope you cool down enough to see the wisdom of getting it, professionally and soon.

Huh. I guess we are once again back to the old adage, “It’s not what I did that is the problem; it’s your reaction to it that is the problem.”

I find it interesting that Ms. Hax seems appalled at the idea that the wife’s response was more severe than the injury inflicted upon her. I guess if there was a way to measure how devastated this wife of 33 years was by the information she uncovered then her response/revenge could only be equal to that. But how do we measure that? And what is an equal response? If you find out someone you know is fucking your husband are you entitled to call her a big ol’ poopyhead but telling her husband she’s a whore is out of bounds? I’m not sure of the rules here. Perhaps Ms. Hax thinks it’s better if we just go about our lives as though nothing is remiss. Smile and wave, ladies. Smile and wave.

I have this philosophy. It’s pretty simple. Probably too simple. It goes like this: If you don’t want your spouse or significant other to be told you’re sleeping with other people’s spouses, then don’t sleep with other people’s spouses. Crazy simple, right?

I also find it interesting that Ms. Hax seems so bewildered by the fact the wife is not remorseful or apologetic about blowing the lid off of these secret affairs.

If I’ve made the choice to tell someone’s husband that his wife has been fucking my husband I’m not going to apologize for it nor will I feel remorseful. I obviously feel like I’m in the right in doing so. I may feel terrible for that duped husband or boyfriend, but that’s not my shame to bear. Me telling him his wife/girlfriend has been sleeping with my husband isn’t what hurt him; her actually fucking my husband is what has hurt him. Period.

I will also take issue with her statement that the wife inflicted pain just to inflict pain. I think the letter writer can easily argue that she wanted to let these clueless men know what they were dealing with so they weren’t blindsided like she was. She’s offering up information. What they choose to do with that information is their business. At least they are fully informed.

I did love this gem: Even though such payback never affects only the guilty, but also the people who love them. Innocents all.

Are we including the betrayed wife’s children in the tally of innocents? Or just the families of the women who cheated with her husband?

Carolyn, I know you didn’t ask me but here’s my take on this bullshit. I really don’t think any of the guilty parties’ loved ones are suddenly going to turn against them. Their mommies and daddies will still love them. Their siblings will still invite them over for Christmas. Their children will more than likely still think the sun rises and sets by them. What we’re really talking about in this situation is the fact that the person who was sleeping with the wife’s husband may suffer a moment of embarrassment. Oh, the horrors!

It’s possible you might have an irate husband or boyfriend, but even then I’d lay 50/50 odds that he won’t leave her. I’m not sure if all of these people who were contacted were the significant other when the affair took place (they did go back 20 years) but in the case of a boyfriend who didn’t even know the hussy when she was doing the wife’s husband, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he didn’t care about her previous affairs. She didn’t cheat on him…

Plus, I’m still going to offer up the idea that if you don’t want the people in your life to find out you’re a husband fucking whore then don’t fuck other people’s husbands. If you continue to do so then that’s the price you may pay.

He did this to you, with them, yes- but you ensured that everyone affected got the most information in the worst way possible.

Information is bad. It’s horrible. Let’s keep everyone in the dark.

Again, Ms. Hax insists that the problem is not what the cheaters did; it’s the fact that the betrayed wife lets the other spouses/significant others know what they did. Fucking around on your partner isn’t bad. Telling someone their partner is fucking around is downright evil. You need professional help immediately!

I think my favorite part though was when Carolyn admonishes the betrayed wife for turning destructive because these people were real people, dammit! Not fake movie people. And their feelings were real. Their families’ feelings were real, too. Unlike the betrayed wife. She was just a movie prop. She had no feelings. No one needed to consider her. Or her family.

All those women who met her and her then minor children and then went off and gleefully fucked her husband certainly weren’t treating any of them like they were real people Nope. They were simply props in their affair-y tale world.

Quite honestly her final remarks were condescending and arrogant: I know you don’t want help but I hope you cool down enough to see the wisdom of getting it, professionally and soon.

Really? Why does this woman need professional help? Because she isn’t taking crap from the cheaters who felt entitled to cheat behind her back? Because she didn’t shut up and sit down and remain silent when she found out what was going on? Because she decided if some woman wanted to ride her husband badly enough then her family could damn well hear about what their lovely wife/girlfriend/daughter/mom/sister was doing? Because she dared to speak up? Because instead of remaining passive and having things done to her and her life she took charge and started being proactive? Because she dared to push back against entitled cheaters?

Hell, I wish I had half her moxie when I found out what my dear cheating husband was doing. The only thing I did was file for divorce and take all the money. I had no one to tell because I was the one that was contacted. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again for the record. I am enormously thankful that The Saint contacted me. If he hadn’t I probably would have gone on to pay off the pool and the kids and I would have been living in utter poverty from day one.

To hell with you and your worthless advice, Carolyn Hax.


This Used To Be My Wal-Mart, Part 2

Just to show you I’m not all doom and gloom here is the second thing I took away from my recent trip to my former town.

This used to be my playground

This used to be my childhood dream

This used to be the place I ran to

Whenever I was in need

Of a friend

Why did it have to end

And why do they always say

Don’t look back

Keep your head held high

Don’t ask them why

Because life is short

And before you know

You’re feeling old

And your heart is breaking

Don’t hold on to the past

Well that’s too much to ask

Memories aren’t always a horrible thing. I can’t say I personally have a lot of wonderful memories from my time in Harrisonburg. Picasso was beginning to settle in and find his footing. Rock Star was rocking it. I think what I miss most is my children’s security. And I do miss my house. I lovingly decorated it. I hand picked every piece of furniture. I made it a home.

What I took away from the song is what Madonna sings in the first verse. You don’t look back. You keep your head held high. You don’t hold on to the past.

It was a whirlwind two years. I could probably go so far as to say it was a move that never should have happened. Yet it did and it’s now a part of my past.

The secret, I think, is to take the memories, learn from the experience, and be thankful for the good parts, but to not dwell on the past.

It’s over. Done. You can question, “Why?” all you’d like but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s finished. Better to ask yourself where you go from here. What does the future hold? What do you want it to look like?

The mobster frequently asks, “What if?” What if our ex’s hadn’t done this to us? What if we never got divorced? What if our lives played out perfectly like we had hoped when we first got married so many years ago? He will then go on to say he doesn’t want to start over at age 50. It’s not right; it’s not fair.

I finally had to tell him that whenever he says things like that it makes me a little sad because if they had done the right thing then we never would have met. Some of you may be wondering, “Why is that such a bad thing? Wouldn’t you like to have your big house and your beautiful pool once again?” Well, sure. But in the months that I’ve been with the mobster I have come to realize he is a much better partner for me than the ex ever was. I would like to think he would say the same thing about me.

When I finally told him that he was quick to reassure me that’s not what he meant at all. He simply wishes that he was in a better situation. He wishes that his kids didn’t have to deal with the mess their mom has created. He wonders what he could have accomplished if he had had an encouraging, supportive partner instead of basically raising a fifth child. It basically comes down to him feeling like he has nothing to show for all his years of hard work.

We could sit around discussing what happened and what we could have done differently forever. We could spend years talking about the injustices. We could lose ourselves in memories and romanticize the past. Or, we can choose to focus on what is yet to be.

I’m trying very hard to leave the past behind. I’m looking towards the future. That may have been my Wal-Mart but I’ve moved on.

This Used To Be My Wal-Mart, Part 1

I met my cousin in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart less than a mile from my former home. She is a float pharmacist so she has an area where she will fill in where they need help. That particular Wal-Mart is one of the stores where she fills in, and that’s why I chose to meet her there.

It’s a strange thing. I lived in Whoreville, or Harrisonburg as the natives call it, for only two years. I was learning my way around. I wouldn’t call myself a pro but I was definitely learning the tips and tricks to make navigating the city easier. When Picasso and I got into the city we went directly to the lawyer’s office and then off to Wal-Mart. I was amazed that I knew the way still. I passed by Waterman Street (or maybe Avenue, I don’t know for certain), and remarked to Picasso, “I used to always call this Watermelon Street because I didn’t read the sign correctly and thought that was what it was one time.” I passed by the city high school and one of the houses that had been on my list to look at when we were house hunting.

I missed the hidden turn off as I drove by. I knew it was there but I wasn’t sure that was it. I ended up having to go to the intersection and then turning. I passed by the “Jesus Barn”, as Picasso called it, and the Exxon where I used to put air in my tires. I passed by the KFC where I bought our last meal we ate while living there.

The Wal-Mart is part of a shopping center. To the left is the nail salon where I would go and get my nails done.  To the right of the nail salon is the liquor store where I bought CF his last anniversary gift from me- 3 bottles of bourbon. And further down you can spy the stalls for the horse drawn buggies.

That was my Wal-Mart. That’s where I grocery shopped most of the time. That’s where I ran to when I was out of something, or had forgotten an ingredient for dinner. It was about a mile from my house so it was my go to store whenever I needed something quickly. It’s where Rock Star and my two nieces drove to buy more butterscotch chips so I would make more Scotcheroos right after Thanksgiving.

For some unknown reason Madonna’s song “This Used to Be My Playground” popped into my head. I tweaked the lyrics a bit to fit my situation.

This used to be my Wal-Mart

This used to be the place I shopped

This used to be the place I ran to

when I would run out of things

Or when I

Forgot something I needed

I know; I know! Get a grip, Sam. Stop being so maudlin! It’s a damn Wal-Mart. They have them all over the country.

I do know that. I think part of it is simply the whiplash I experienced in those two years. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t particularly like it there. It was too small. I had no friends. I missed my old life. I was starting all over again and it was proving rather difficult to do. Then again, I only had two years there. I only had one year before my life blew up.

I saw how much my daughter loved it. I feel an intense connection with the state (commonwealth) because it’s where I was born. It’s where my Mamaw lived. It’s where I still have dozens of cousins. It’s also beautiful. There’s so much to see and explore. I may not have been particularly fond of Harrisonburg but I love Virginia and I was beginning to warm to the place. I was beginning to truly love my house and feel like it was my dream home. I finally had my pool. Then BOOM!

I still remember driving into my neighborhood. The view was breath taking. I remember wishing so badly that I could stay, that I could continue living in my house and my kids could continue on with their lives they had forged there.


That Wal-Mart is simply another piece of the puzzle that was tossed aside and discarded. It’s almost like a dream. I’m pretty sure it all happened but it was over so quickly I can’t be certain. Of course, if it didn’t happen how in the hell did I end up back in Indiana?


This used to be my playground

This used to be my childhood dream

This used to be the place I ran to

Whenever I was in need

Of a friend

Why did it have to end

And why do they always say

Don’t look back

Keep your head held high

Don’t ask them why

Because life is short

And before you know

You’re feeling old

And your heart is breaking

Don’t hold on to the past

Well that’s too much to ask

This used to be my playground (used to be)

This used to be my childhood dream

This used to be the place I ran to

Whenever I was in need

Of a friend

Why did it have to end

And why do they always say

No regrets

But I wish that you

Were here with me

Well then there’s hope yet

I can see your face

In our secret place

You’re not just a memory

Say goodbye to yesterday (the dream)

Those are words I’ll never say (I’ll never say)

This used to be my playground (used to be)

This used to be our pride and joy

This used to be the place we ran to

That no one in the world could dare destroy

This used to be our playground (used to be)

This used to be our childhood dream

This used to be the place we ran to

I wish you were standing here with me

This used to be our playground (used to be)

This used to be our childhood dream

This used to be the place we ran to

The best things in life are always free

Wishing you were here with me

Weekend In Virginia

Gather round, everyone. I’m going to regal you with tall tales of my time in Virginia.

It was a long visit compared to what we normally get. I left after work on Tuesday, arrived on Wednesday afternoon and didn’t have to leave until Sunday. Three full days plus two half days.

I last left off with the mobster, T, and I getting ready to go to the Kane Brown concert. We had a great time. We were in line at the exit for close to 40 minutes. We probably bought stolen concert shirts. And once we finally got off the exit ramp and were close to the Berglund Center we found out that the only people allowed to park in the parking lot were those who had bought a parking pass online. Instead we were directed to go up seven lights, turn right and park “there” for free; there was a shuttle that would drop us off at the arena, we were told.


Oh, the mobster was not happy. I do believe an “F” bomb was dropped. That’s one of the things I love about him. Not that he drops the “F” bomb, but that he takes a stand; he speaks up. I’m the type to bristle silently and try to smooth things over. “Oh, don’t worry about it. It’s not a big deal. It’s inconvenient but that’s okay. I’ll suffer in silence.” Not him. He is willing to talk about it to everyone. And I do mean everyone. Not only was he asking the parking attendants what the hell kind of plan that was, he later talked to a police officer inside the arena about it. The cop agreed with him that they could clearly do a better job because they have events there frequently.

We did not drive seven lights up. We pulled into some other parking lot and walked to the arena. It was only slightly scary. I do recall muttering at one point, “What the hell is it with me and walking a mile to a concert every time?” You may remember the Garth Brooks concert debacle. It was freezing rain. We parked close to a mile away because close up parking was something like $65. My boots were not waterproof. It was not a fun experience.

We made it, though. The first opening act was Danielle Bradbery. We missed almost all of her act. I had to go to the bathroom when we first got there. Then we stood in line for me to get a hard cider. I felt a drink was in order after the parking incident.


Granger Smith was up after Danielle. He was entertaining. I hadn’t heard of him. Apparently he has been performing for some time. His very last song he did as his country alter ego, Earl Dibbles, Jr. All I remember is at the very end he tore his shirt off and threw it into the crowd. Not that I notice this sort of thing because I’m madly in love with the mobster, but he had a nice set of abs. I took a picture and sent it to my daughter. Because I’m a stellar mom.

Finally Kane Brown took the stage. The mobster and I sang along to “What If”. That’s one of our songs. One of our first songs, actually.

There was a group of young girls somewhere behind us that kept yelling out, “We love you, Kane Brown!” after every song he performed. I’m sure he was touched.

As we were leaving we noticed two men. It looked like one was possibly helping the other with his coat. I thought maybe they had brought a disabled person to the concert and the one guy was his helper perhaps. Then we realize the “helper” is pulling shirts out of the “disabled” guy’s coat. One shirt. Two shirts. Three shirts. They just kept coming. There was something about, “I told you to get out of here!” At that point the mobster and I looked at each other. “Holy shit! Maybe that’s how we got those shirts for $20! They were probably stealing them off the merchandise tables and then pawning them along the highway.”

T seemed to have a great time despite the fact that we are now probably accomplices to grand larcency. We wanted to go to The Waffle House afterwards but she insisted she had to get home and get to bed because she had school in the morning. So back home we went with no other stops.

The next morning Picasso and I took off to Whoreville so I could pick up my file. File is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually two bank boxes filled to the brim with papers. I have only briefly perused through the contents.

My lawyer talked to me and went over the numbers again. She offered to send it off to CF but I told her I was going to let the state of Indiana take over. I did ask if he would have to modify the order through Virginia and she said he would. She also said if she was me she wouldn’t move it to Indiana. Every time we have to go to court we will see the judge who oversaw our divorce. She thinks that’s a good thing because he has CF’s number. I have a feeling we’re going to be back soon.

I did get to see my cousin but because I was at the lawyer’s office a lot longer than I expected I only had time to meet her in the parking lot and talk to her for about 20 minutes before she had to head in.

Picasso and I then headed off to our favorite restaurant. I didn’t order my favorite sushi roll because it wasn’t part of the lunch time buffet. I would have had to pay roughly the same amount for one sushi roll as I did for the entire buffet. Plus, I was absolutely stuffed. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to eat the entire second sushi roll I had. I spent the first hour of our drive home trying to lean back and not throw up!

I swear, I don’t usually eat to that type of fullness. Plus, I only had 4 things! I had the Rainbow Roll, which was delicious, and the pan fried shrimp noodle, which was basically noodles tossed with tiny shrimp. It was okay. It was also a fairly small portion. It was served on a plate no bigger than a pie plate. We’re not talking huge servings here! After that I tried the Hibachi steak and shrimp. This one came with fried rice and vegetables. I think this was the one that did me in. I should have stopped there but I ordered the White Dragon roll before this came out. I probably would have done better with a second Rainbow Roll. The White Dragon was a little too spicy for me. If I have a chance to eat there again I think I’m going to stick with the sushi only. I’m also going to make sure I have dinner instead of lunch because all of the sushi rolls are on the dinner menu!


We got home only to turn around and head right back in the direction we had just came. Picasso, the mobster and I headed back to Roanoke to see Paula Poundstone. On our way we stopped to get something to drink. I want to say the mobster wanted a coffee and Picasso asked for a Dr. Pepper, but I honestly don’t remember getting a coffee. What I do remember is browsing through this quaint little store filled with all sorts of interesting things. We picked up a bottle of cherry wine from the winery we had visited back in May. He offered to buy me a t-shirt with the slogan, “Moonshine Capital of the United States” on it, but I declined. We grabbed the Dr. Pepper for Picasso. Again, I’m not sure what the mobster got but as we got into line he noticed a display of sharp things.

“Do you need an axe?” he asked me, showing off an axe, packaged in plastic.

This was a convenience store!

“No, but I bet Picasso would love that knife!” I joked, pointing to the large Bowie knife. At least I suspect it was a Bowie knife. It might have been a completely different type of knife. All I know is this one was huge! The mobster said it was actually more like a machete than anything. He ends up getting it for my son.

We walk up to the register and put our purchases on the counter. I start to giggle. There’s a Dr. Pepper. A box of chocolate covered peanuts. A bottle of wine. And a big ass knife. I could not stop laughing. It’s like the gun stores that are located right next to the liquor stores. Or the XXX rated theater right beside the regular theater playing Disney movies. Wine and big knives don’t seem like a good combination and yet here we were, on our way to a concert, buying those exact items.

I kept comparing it to an episode of ID TV where they watch the killer (or killers) on CC TV buying trash bags and a table saw.

Yep, I sure did think something was up when I saw those two ne’er do wells coming in and grabbing a bottle of a wine and a big ass knife. I knew it wasn’t going to end well.

Anyway, we made it to the concert.

This was yet another venue where they sold alcohol. This was much classier, though. The building was older and beautiful. Very ornate. The wine was in a plastic sippy cup, which I loved!


Paula herself was amazing. I was a little nervous because I hadn’t seen her in probably 20 years. I’m not sure I had even seen her on TV in that time. Picasso had said he would be happy with a D performance, meaning he laughed at least 60% of the time. At the end of the show he gave her a solid B-, which is much better than the D he was expecting to give.

We stood in line to meet her and have our things signed by her. We were the very last people in line and she was very gracious. As we were getting our picture taken the mobster and I both somehow must have mentioned how Picasso was always making funny faces in all of the pictures. I told him to be serious and smile correctly this time. After it was over and Paula had seen the pictures she said to him, “Thanks for not fucking up the picture this time.”

Paula 3

Afterwards we did indeed find a Waffle House and eat. I had a delicious waffle with a side of bacon. I can’t speak for anyone else. I don’t remember what they had. Then we were back on the road. If you’re keeping count that would be drive #6 (there and back for concert #1, there and back to go to Whoreville, there and back for concert #2).

That brings us to Saturday. We were going to try to meet up with one of my readers (hi, Tina!) but it didn’t work out. Truthfully, it felt wonderful to just spend the day at the house doing a whole lot of nothing. We made a quick trip to Walmart to get stuff for breakfast because the mobster’s son and his girlfriend were coming over before they went to her father’s house. I made breakfast casseroles and cinnamon rolls, which seemed to be enjoyed by everyone. It was more of a brunch because they didn’t come over until 1.

We took the dog for a walk. We got pizza for dinner. There were a few rousing games of pingpong. We watched some movies. Or rather, I watched some movies while I continued to poke the mobster in the side to wake him up so he could watch with me. It was a lovely day with no long distance driving.

Sadly, the next day was Sunday and Picasso and I were heading back to Indiana. We had leftover breakfast casserole and said our good-byes. The only thing making it bearable was the fact we knew we would see each other again in only five days when he came up for my employee celebration event. But that’s a story for another day…


Chicken Ole Crockpot Soup

I did a lot of potlucks at the school back in my SAHM days. One of my favorite things to do for the teachers was to have an assortment of soups for them to choose from at lunch. This one was brought in by one of the school secretaries and it’s a keeper.

Chicken Ole Crockpot Soup


1 can Rotel tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1 can of corn with the juice

1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)

3 chicken breasts

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2-1 cup milk (depending on how creamy you want it)

1 packet of dry Ranch dressing mix

1 T. cumin

1 t. onion powder

1 t. chili powder


  1. Put all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove chicken and shred it. Then place back in soup.

Chef’s Notes: This can be served with crumbled tortilla strips or chips, shredded cheese and/or sour cream. Really, any toppings you’d like. I’m not a big fan of black olives or jalapeños but if you like them feel free to add them.

This recipe is excellent and so easy!

My New Air Fryer

As I mentioned earlier the mobster bought me an air fryer at my request for Christmas. I tried it out for the first time and it was fantastic!

Picasso is a big fan of salmon. He’s probably one of the few kids out there musing, “Mom, we don’t eat enough fish.”

My first air fryer meal was salmon and asparagus. Delicious! The asparagus came out perfect. The outside was crispy and the inside was tender. It was a lovely combination.

The salmon also came out crispy and perfect. I used a fairly basic recipe- a little bit of oil and a liberal amount of lemon pepper. I think next time I’ll try something a little more citrus-y. It was still great. The fish had a crispy coating on the outside but the flesh was quite tender.

I would give it a solid A-, and the minus was totally my fault for not coming up with a better recipe.

I’m going to try steaks later this week and hamburgers as well. Next week I may give bratwurst a try.

I have a confession to make. After I asked for the air fryer I began having second thoughts. I didn’t know where I would store it and I wasn’t sure how often I would use it. I was so wrong! This thing is awesome. I am a definite convert. I highly recommend trying one.