Day At the Races

I should be in Virginia right now. It’s a little after 5 pm so our race would have been long over. We should have been taking pictures at the finish line. I should have been congratulating him on a race well run and he should have been cheering me on as I slowly jogged across the finish line 20 minutes or so after him. We should be talking about where we’re going out tonight, maybe playing some Pokemon. Last night I should have been having a pre-race spaghetti dinner with the mobster, despite me being on a low carb diet. Thursday after work I should have got in my car and started the drive to Virginia. We should be together. Period. Instead, I’m sitting here in bed in Indiana. I’m surrounded by 3 dogs. I’m waiting to go take a run. The weather is crappy- gray and rainy and not all that warm. In fact, I’d say it’s downright chilly.

I know I’m not the only person who has had plans interrupted. The Indiana governor has declared schools will not re-open and eLearning will continue through the end of the year. My nephew graduates this year. I have no idea if he’ll have a graduation ceremony. I have many friends who have graduating seniors this year. I feel awful for them. Many of these kids were looking forward to Senior Day, prom, the last high school musical/choir performance/orchestra or band concert, their last spring sports season. They won’t get to celebrate their last day of school. They may not even get to see their friends again, assuming the schools are up and running in the fall.

I feel guilty, too, because the truth of the matter is if it had happened when either of my kids were a senior it wouldn’t have been a big deal.

Rock Star hated her last two years of high school. She never felt like she fit in. She didn’t really have friends. If she didn’t cheer I don’t think she would have gone to a single football or basketball game. She didn’t have friends over. She didn’t go out. She went through the motions, put her head down, and did what she needed to do to graduate and get the hell out of there.

Picasso hates school. Hates it. He has no interest in prom. He never played school sports. Most of his friends are a year older than him so it’s not like he would have missed anyone and been upset over not having a chance to say goodbye.

My supervisor’s father died. Those of us working at the downtown location couldn’t do anything except sign a card for her. I don’t think they could have a visitation and even if they could those of us at the new location wouldn’t have been allowed to go. I believe the funeral was pretty much family only.

The Virginia governor has put the commonwealth in lockdown until June 10th. My vacation was scheduled to start the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Unless he rescinds the order it looks like I won’t be going to see the mobster in May.

In the Dallas, Texas area the lockdown has been extended to late May. I can’t remember if it was the 21st or the 27th. Either way, it’s a long damn time.

My mom heard that somewhere a governor has banned all sales of non-essential items. So, if you’re at WalMart to buy food and toilet paper (good luck!) you can’t also buy a lunch bag or toys.

In Michigan the governor is banning short term rentals and Air BnBs. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before other states do the same, which means if we do decide to say, “Fuck it!” and meet up we will have to make the full trip to either Indiana or Virginia. Flying is cheap now, so there is that. At least until they ban flying and start having check points at all the state and county lines.

I try not to think about it because it’s so frustrating and disappointing. I want to scream but there’s absolutely nothing I can do about any of it. I try not to count the days because it pisses me off. If that order stands it will be 3 1/2 months before I get to see the mobster again.

This world is surreal right now, isn’t it? Gas is at an all time low and flights are cheap. But you can’t go anywhere. People are being arrested for going outside. They’re limiting how many people can go into a Wal-Mart or Target or any other type of store at a time. There are food shortages and it’s difficult to find toilet paper still. Millions of people are out of work or working from home (not me but millions of others). Facebook is flooded with posts from people telling others to stay home and flatten the curve. Or, talking about Tiger King and what to binge watch on Netflix. Others talk about how much weight they’re going to gain during this quarantine. Still others talk about all this great quality family time they’re getting now since they’re no longer running the kids to a million different after school activities.

I guess part of my bad attitude is the fact that this stupid virus isn’t giving me any benefits, like extra family time, time off of work, Netflix binging, time to organize, comfort eating… My list goes on and on.

My time to run kids around for activities has passed. I have a 19 year old still down on campus (well, off campus apartments) and a 17 year old who spends most of his life in his room online. It’s not bringing me extra family time. In fact, I completely forgot next week is Easter. The bank gives us a half day on Friday and I don’t really give a shit this year. I’ll work the whole fucking day. I don’t care!

I doubt I will be buying Easter baskets. Can’t get to the store. If I get to the store I have to wait in line. I don’t have time for that shit. Perhaps I will buy something online and ship it directly to Rock Star.

Easter dinner will be the three of us- me, my mom, and Picasso. I’m doing low carb anyway so most of the stuff we would have I can’t eat. Quite honestly I don’t feel like celebrating. I have never been a big fan of making big huge holiday dinners for the same people that you see every day.

I still go to work every day. I’m essential. I qualify for Medicaid and don’t make enough money to actually have my own home but goddamn it, I’m essential! I’m so essential that they’ve taken me out of my regular building and plopped me down into our downtown office that houses hundreds of employees. I’m so essential that I park two blocks away and walk to the building because they’re too fucking cheap to pay for our parking in the garage that is connected to the damn building. Meanwhile, back at my old building they’ve got people stuffed into cubicles like sardines. My partner said she had never seen the building so full.

On one hand they email us every day about social distancing, washing our hands, and all of us doing our parts. They’ve eliminated all business travel. They are doing their best to limit our personal travel by making us self report if we leave the area and then forcing us into quarantine for 14 days when we come back. They’re limiting riders in the elevator to four people and even have handy dandy little floor diagrams in case we’re too stupid to figure out where to stand. They want everyone to stay on their own floor and not move around the building (even though the only break room in the building with vending machines seems to be on the 2nd floor). They have a brand new maze to get to said break room with the vending machines so that you aren’t passing by people’s offices. They are forbidding you from sharing food. They’ve taken away the ice machines and the coffee pots. In our new office space we are now forbidden to go into the mail room to drop off our mail because the hallway is too narrow and we wouldn’t be able to maintain a six foot distance if anyone else should come in. In fact, we are forbidden to use that hallway at all (people use it as a shortcut to get to the other side of the building). Yet, back at my old building people are seated less than six feet apart all day long. Two of my co-workers measured the distance. Side by side they sit approximately four feet apart. The people behind and in front of you? Probably less than three. We didn’t measure that.

They are testing to see if some of these so-called essential workers can work from home. I was one of the six or eight test subjects so I worked from home one afternoon last week and then for two hours in the morning a day or two later. But I’ve heard that they’ll only have us work from home as a last resort.

Meanwhile, HR apparently sent a letter to those who are high risk in our company and told them they could work at home. My partner is one of those people. She’s 65 so her age alone qualifies her. She started Wednesday, I think.

I’m glad I have a job still and that I’m not relying solely upon Jerry Lee paying spousal and child support, and yet it still grates on the nerves when I hear over and over and over, “Stay home!” I would love to, but I can’t. I’m not binge watching Tiger King; I’m not binge watching anything. I’m not running out of things to binge watch. I haven’t watched much TV in two to three years. I don’t have shit tons of time to organize things and make sure my house is in tip top shape. First of all, I don’t have a house and second of all I’m still working 40 hours a week. And running three days a week.

I’m trying so hard to look on the bright side and it’s so difficult. Even the job thing… The rumor is those on unemployment are getting an extra $600 per week. I realize that for many people that would barely make a dent in what they make; however, after paying taxes and insurance premiums and contributing my piddly amounts to my HSA account and 401k, I don’t bring much more than that home every two weeks. So if I were laid off I would be doubling my income. Hmmm…. doubling my income and not having to do anything? That does sound better than going to work forty hours a week under increasingly horrible conditions.

Still I try to be positive. At least I’m not in the situation where I have no job and unemployment doesn’t come close to paying the bills needed to pay. I’m not worried about paying rent or a mortgage (although I do find it interesting that off campus apartment complexes aren’t giving the kids a break on their rent- so much for not paying). I’m doing okay financially so long as Jerry Lee continues to pay. I know from my 20 years with him that his new company not only produces corrugated but a lot of paper products. Combine that with the fact that many corrugated plants run for a lot of food vendors and I am confident that he will be working throughout this pandemic.

With me still working and going to an office every day I am not one of those people wanting to bring back days of the week underwear because they don’t know which day it is. Life remains fairly normal for me. I leave the house sometime between 7:30 and 7:40, work until 5, get home sometime between 5:30 and 6, run for 45 minutes, come home and eat, shower, talk to the mobster and then go to bed. I’m not losing my mind. I’m not homeschooling young children. My mom is usually the one making the grocery store runs on Senior Day, although I told her today we should probably switch over to InstaCart.

I would love to throw caution to wind and partake in some amazing comfort food. A pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, a bag of salt and vinegar chips, maybe some chocolate chip cookies or a chocolate cake with vanilla icing. Hell, I’d appreciate a nice bowl of soup. But, instead I’m making due with low carb choices. Bacon or sausage and eggs for breakfast on the weekends. Just a hard boiled egg or maybe some heated up sausage patties on weekdays. Rediscovering pork rinds so I can actually snack occasionally. I found a really good low carb ice cream bar; I can’t eat it often because it’s still 8 or 9 grams of carbs and I’m trying to stay below 30. My lunch many times consists of a hard boiled egg or two and two pieces of string cheese. Or tuna fish salad minus the bread. Dinner is always a toss up. Last night my mom and the boy had tuna fish and noodles. I had the remaining leftover piece of KFC chicken and green beans.

The good news is I’m down 16.8 pounds since beginning the weight loss challenge at work. We started March 9th.

I’m still running, as I alluded to above. I’m up to 45 minutes. I’m focusing on time now instead of distance which is a good thing. I think I’m usually running right around 3.2 miles. The part that really sucks is that the path back home is an incline. It’s not a steep incline; I’m not running up a huge hill. It’s an incline, nonetheless, and when I’ve ran 40 minutes and I’m at the end of my rope I really don’t want to be running on an incline. But, I do. I’ve got no choice unless I want to be a good 15-20 minutes away from my house when I finally finish.

That’s about as positive as I can be on this gray, gloomy day when I should be with my love in sunny Virginia.

Covid-19 and Long Distance Relationships

I realize I have a lot to be grateful for. So far no one in my family is sick. My friends are all healthy. I’m still working which means I’m still bringing home a paycheck. I’ve got food in the cupboards and freezers, I’ve got dog food to feed the three dogs, and I’ve got plenty of toilet paper (not a hoarder- I just always tend to buy the bigger packs of toilet paper because I don’t want to have to run out and buy more any sooner than necessary).

I’m still going to say it: This Covid-19 virus sucks. I know the following is all selfish but I need to get it out. Our race has been canceled. Originally I was going to drive to Virginia anyway- leave Thursday after work, stay at a hotel, and then finish up the drive on Friday. With the recent stay at home orders by Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia governors I don’t think it’s a really good idea to drive to Virginia. The mobster and I didn’t see each other at all in March because we decided we would wait until the race weekend. That was already going to mean we didn’t get to see each other for 6 weeks. Now God only knows how long it will be before we are finally able to see each other again.

I have a court date in the middle of the week in July and as of right now I have 4 1/2 days of vacation left to schedule (well, 5 1/2 since I rescinded my day in April to go to Virginia for the race). I have 2 choices. I can take a half day off on Tuesday, drive all the way to my former city, spend the night in a hotel, go to court and leave right after so that I’m able to be back to work on Thursday. I can keep my vacation time in May over Memorial Day weekend, use a day and a half and still have 3 days left. Yet, that trip sounds like torture. Not only do I not wish to drive 9 1/2 hours on Tuesday followed by another 9 1/2 drive on Wednesday after a court hearing, but also I hate the idea of being only a few hours away from the mobster and not being able to see him. Or, I cancel my vacation at the end of May so that I can take it in July instead. And go to court in the middle of said vacation. Why don’t I take those 5 days I have in July? Because I don’t want to use all my vacation time by July (save for the one day I have scheduled after Thanksgiving).

Hell, who knows if we’ll even be free to travel by Memorial Day weekend? Maybe my court date will be rescheduled to an even later date. Everything is up in the air.

All I know for certain is that I won’t be seeing the mobster for more than six weeks. I don’t really see them lifting the travel bans and stay at home orders until May at the earliest so we’re going to end up being apart for more than two months.

I know military spouses deal with year long deployments. I’m sure there are other situations out there where couples have been separated for long periods of time. Hopefully it won’t be a fucking year before we see each other again. Here’s the thing though- I’m not a military spouse. I don’t have a husband who travels for work and is away frequently. No, I have a long distance boyfriend that I get to see every two weeks if I’m extremely lucky; it’s usually more like every 3-4 weeks lately. This is my life and I think I’ve adjusted pretty damn well, especially considering the whiners that complain they only get to see each other on the weekends or they have to drive a whole 45 minutes or an hour or two to see one another.

Boo-fucking-hoo. Try driving 5 1/2 hours just to meet halfway. Try regularly only getting to see each other every 2-4 weeks, and since you’re already driving 5 1/2 hours to meet in the middle and you’ve got a job where you can’t take off in the middle of the day unless you’ve got the vacation time, that means you get literally one full day with this person in that 2-4 week period. One. A few hours Friday night. A full day Saturday. A half day on Sunday.

I know. I know. I chose this. I chose it the moment we began talking, the moment I agreed to let him come up to take me out to dinner, the moment we began video chatting. I chose it when I told him I loved him instead of walking away because the distance was too great.

Don’t get me wrong. He’s definitely worth it. I adore him. We have an amazing time when we’re together. I’m simply irritated. Irritated my plans are being interrupted. Irritated that I won’t get to see the mobster for another 4-6 weeks at best. Irritated by all the people on Facebook advising everyone to stay home and those who act like everyone is under quarantine- reading books, binging on Netflix, sleeping in, and eating bad food.

I’d love to be home. I’d love to be doing all those things. Instead, I go to work every day. I come home and I run three days out of the week. I’m still following low carb so I’m not gorging myself on cookie dough or potato chips or any other kind of comfort food. On one hand my life is going on like before. On the other hand I’m in a completely different building. I have to walk from a parking lot two blocks away to get to the office. Snow? Rain? Oh well, bundle up! Carry an umbrella. I ride up a glass elevator to the eighth floor and do my best to not look because my fear of heights gets worse as I get older and I’m afraid I’m going to hurl. They are limiting the number of people in the elevators to four people at a time and there are actually charts on the floor where we’re supposed to stand. We’re not allowed off of our floor. The break rooms have been shut down so I have to get back on that damn elevator and walk two blocks back to my car so that I can eat in my car. There’s a rumor they are going to limit the number of people allowed in the bathroom at one time to two. There are only three fucking stalls to begin with!

My Wednesday dinners with friends are no more. At least not until the restaurants are allowed to open again. My race is canceled. I have no idea when I’m going to get to see my mobster again. Maybe late April. Maybe May. Maybe June. Hell, I’ll just keep canceling vacation days and then it won’t matter that I’ve got court in the middle of July.

I’m irritated with all of it. I realize it’s all for the greater good. I don’t want anybody getting sick. I also realize that there are others who have had much bigger plans derailed- graduating seniors who have seen their senior year go up in smoke with no prom, no graduation, no spring sports, no final spring musical, athletes who thought they would be participating in the Olympics this summer, my sweet co-worker who will probably be delaying her retirement at the end of the year because of the hit her 401k has suffered, all the people who are out of work, wondering how they’re going to pay their bills, people who have fallen ill and died. At the same time I’d like to see the mobster more than 3 times this year. It’s not looking real good.

My friend, Sweet J, who is always trying to look on the bright side said to me, “It will make it that much sweeter when you finally do see each other again.” Yeah. Sure. That’s how I’m looking at it. Thank God I don’t get to see him for 12 weeks! Our time together is so much more precious than those who get to see each other all the time. Praise Jesus we’re not like all those losers who are together 24/7. Suffering through all these obstacles have made us a much stronger couple than any of those people who actually get to see each other on a daily or weekly basis.

Hell, I think everyone should get themselves into a long distance relationship. I’m not talking an hour or two away. That doesn’t count. That’s like having a spouse that travels for work. You get to do what you want during the week and then on the weekends, like clockwork, you’re together. Nope, you need a long distance relationship where you are at least 4 hours away, and I think that’s being generous. It needs to be far enough away that running away for the weekend is not an easy task. Remember, the longer you’re apart the sweeter it will be when you’re together again. I feel so sorry for those of you who must spend every day with the love of your life. It must be torture.

All right. I’m done being irritated. I’m going to put on my big girl panties and get on with life. Like I said earlier I have a lot to be thankful for. The mobster and I both are still working. He’s doing a brisk business right now with all the grocery stores selling out. He’s even planning on signing up for Door Dash to make some extra money. We’ve got FaceTime and free long distance- both a perk I did not have in prior long distance relationships. We’ll make it through. I still really miss him though and wish I could be tortured with his presence on a daily basis.

Random Thoughts On Travel

I’m sitting on a plane, getting ready to take off to spend the next few days with my love. We’ve got tickets to the Wine and Chocolate Festival down in Greensboro, North Carolina.

As I’m sitting here waiting to take off the pilot announces we should expect turbulence around Cincinnati. Be prepared for a bumpy ride, he tells us. Oh goody! If there’s one thing I love more than flying it’s flying with turbulence.

The last time I flew it was a disaster complete with a 3 hour delay, lost luggage, and bumpy enough ride that the coffee sitting on the hostess stand shot out of the coffeepot like an invisible geyser, landing square on my arm. It took me a minute to realize I was being burned by droplets of hot coffee. Instead of focusing on turbulence let’s focus instead on my random thoughts as I traveled, shall we?

I don’t know why I thought of this but as I was driving to the airport at 4:30 in the morning I came to the realization that the person who came up with the idea to put wheels on suitcases is a genius. A genius, I tell ya.

Hopefully a few of you are old enough to remember the days before wheels on a suitcase became standard. We actually had to pick up and carry our suitcase. No matter how big, no matter how heavy. We lugged that sucker through airports, up and down stairs, through hotels, across parking lots, into homes. Wherever it went we were carrying it.

Then somebody came along and said, “Hey! This would be so much easier if it were on wheels!” Now you can stroll through the airport, sipping on a Starbucks coffee while your 50 lb. suitcase lightly trails behind you. It’s amazing. Whoever you are, suitcase wheel inventor, thank you!

If the person who decided to put wheels on a suitcase is a genius then the person who decided the best way to board an aircraft was by groups is an idiot.

Who came up with this plan? How on earth did they come to the conclusion this was the most efficient way to board an aircraft? Am I missing something or does it seem that starting in the back row and gradually going towards the front would be the most efficient way?

I was in group 4. I’m seated in row 10 of 12. When I finally get a chance to board I have to wait until pretty much everyone else is finished settling in before I can get to my seat all the way in the back.

My final thought was this: Why do they continue to demonstrate how to use a seatbelt? It must be a federal regulation but seriously, who, in this day and age, doesn’t know how to use a seatbelt? I could understand back in the early, heady days of flying. Seatbelts weren’t required in cars so I could possibly forgive someone for being so stupid they couldn’t figure out how they work. But today? In 2020? Seatbelts have been mandatory for years!

I know what you’re thinking. Car seatbelts go across the shoulder and snap into place. Or click. Whichever you prefer. To that my rebuttal is: amusement parks and carnival rides. Sure the rollercoasters have the lap and shoulder bars but there are plenty of rides that use the same seatbelt system as planes.

That’s all I have. No more rants from me. I’m going to lunch with the mobster’s daughter, meeting the new dog, and then probably taking a nap since I’ve been up since 4.

Emotional Happiness or Financial Security?

I was talking to someone who came through our department the other day. She was there to observe what we do and we got to talking. The topic of me being divorced came up, as did my new dating life. She asked me which I felt was more important- financial security or emotional well being.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a trick question. Looking back over the 20 years I was with Jerry Lee I can see how our marriage wasn’t a great one. We probably had a decent five years but even then there were signs he wasn’t going to be all in. I’ve already written about his reluctance to go to my grandpa’s funeral with me. He didn’t attend my friend’s wedding in Chicago with me. Didn’t go to my class reunion with me. And I’m not quite sure he ever went to my grandparent’s or dad’s house again after we went down to announce our engagement. He was also a no show at my best friend’s wedding, didn’t come to support me when I went skydiving, couldn’t be bothered to take time off of work when my ectopic pregnancy was finally found, and didn’t go to either of my grandmothers’ funerals.

In comparison the Mobster is amazing. He’s a wonderful partner. Not only does the man go to funerals, weddings, and company parties with me he travels 10 1/2 hours to do so! Okay, the funeral was in Virginia but still… my point remains.

I have never felt so loved by a man in my life. He listens to me. He laughs with me. He supports me, encourages me, stands up for me, and is willing to help me in any way possible. He is an all in partner in every way.

Do you prefer the emotional well-being or the financial well-being?

I’ve got a bill sitting on my dining room table from the hospital where my daughter went to the ER. I haven’t even got the courage to open it yet. I wouldn’t blink an eye in my old life (primarily because we had great fucking insurance and it probably would have cost me a $50 co-pay but that’s a rant for another day!).

I used to be able to drop a couple hundred of dollars on my daughter when she said she needed new shorts or a new wardrobe.

I used to be able to buy my son a new game system if I felt like it.

I used to be independent. I lived in my own home. I had furniture and dishes and possessions accumulated throughout over 45 years of living.

Quite honestly, the last eight years or so of our marriage I didn’t have to worry about money much at all, and in that last year I didn’t worry.

Now I worry about money every month.

There have been times when I briefly wished both of my kids were self-sufficient and out on their own because trying to meet their needs was overwhelming to me. I still count down until the day I no longer have to pay over $200 a paycheck to cover them on my insurance. I never did that before.

There are times I don’t know if he’s going to pay spousal support or child support and Picasso needs one thing and Rock Star needs another thing and they all converge on me and I begin to have a mini nervous breakdown. Their needs and even their wants were met without a blink of an eye before.

I always figured we would always be there to help them out if they needed it. Both of them would have college paid for. We would send them money each month while they were away at college. My pipe dream fantasy at one point was to buy enough land where we could build a house and both kids could build their own homes so they would never leave me. My kids and grandkids would all live in close proximity.

It’s a trick question.

I think we all know money doesn’t buy happiness. I think we also know that while it may not guarantee happiness it sure makes life easier.

No matter how happy I am no bank is going to loan me a couple hundred thousand to buy a house. No store is going to let me have groceries based upon a happy relationship. I can’t buy new shoes for my growing son or pay utilities with love.

I’d like to borrow two hundred thousand dollars to buy a house.

You don’t make enough money for us to lend you two hundred thousand dollars.

But I’m really happy!

M’am, that’s not how lending and finance works.

Well damn!

In an ideal world I’d have both. I’d be working a job that made me a shit ton of money and I’d come home each day to the mobster. Or at least I’d have a job where I made enough to support myself and my kids and have some left over.

I’m not stupid. I wouldn’t go back to Jerry Lee for any amount of money. I am far, far happier with the Mobster than I ever was with him.

I’ve already psychoanalyzed myself and decided that all the shopping I did and all the material goods made up for a marriage that was lacking.

I still think it’s a trick question. Would you rather be able to feed your children or be in love?

Two Weddings & a Funeral

I took a last minute trip to Virginia the week before Christmas. My great uncle died.

He was the last of nine siblings. At our last family reunion, which occurred 3-4 weeks after I found out my husband was cheating on me, there were two left. My Uncle Donnie and my Uncle Gene. Uncle Donnie was actually the youngest of the nine. He died a year later on Christmas Day.

I loved my Uncle Gene. He always told the best stories. He was an amazing storyteller. He spent over 30 years as a state trooper so he had a lot of stories. I hadn’t seen him since 2016, a few days before I moved back to Indiana. I went mainly to be a support for my mom. Originally I hadn’t planned on going at all. I didn’t really have the time to take off. But this was going to be difficult for my mom so I went. She drove and I flew. It turned out they planned the visitation on Tuesday and the funeral on Wednesday. I couldn’t take that much time but there was a flight that left here at 6 in the morning and would get to Virginia by 10:30 so I could make it in time for the graveside service.

Why am I telling you all of this? I will tell you why. The first thing out of the mobster’s mouth upon hearing that he had died and we would be attending the funeral was, “I want to be there for you; I want to support you and your mom.” He rearranged his route and put things off all so he could accompany me to this funeral.

To most of you that might not seem like anything out of the ordinary. To me, it was extraordinary.

During the twenty years I was married to Jerry Lee I lost both of my grandmothers and my sole surviving grandfather.

In 1999, almost five years after we got married, Jerry Lee accompanied me from Mississippi up to Indiana for my grandpa’s funeral only after my mother threw an absolute fit upon hearing that he might not come with me.

“What do you mean, ‘He might not be able to come?’ That’s your grandfather and he’s your husband. He should be by your side.”

Yes, you read that correctly. He wasn’t sure he could take that much time off of work. Ironically, my grandfather’s visitation was on a Saturday (could have been Friday and Saturday) and his funeral was on a Sunday. I remember because my dad and aunt talked about how my grandma paid more to have it on Father’s Day instead of waiting until Monday. So Jerry Lee wasn’t missing much work. Three to four days at the most.

The funny thing is this was my dad’s father, not my mom’s.  Yet, she was still incensed at the idea that Jerry Lee would allow me to travel 8-10 hours on my own and attend my grandfather’s funeral by myself.

So, he acquiesced and made the trip with me. Had my mom not thrown that fit, which in turn made me lean harder on him, he would not have gone with me. I have absolutely no doubt that if I hadn’t pushed he wouldn’t have gone. The sad fact is I’d come to expect that from him already at only five years into the marriage. It didn’t seem that unnatural for him to choose not to come with me.

My Mamaw died in 2007 when we were living out in Utah. I made the 30+ hour drive by myself. Well, with my two young children I should say. They were 7 and almost 5 at the time. Not big helps when it came to driving by any means.

I got the news on a Saturday that she had taken a turn for the worse and they didn’t expect her to live much longer. Father’s Day was that Sunday and so as to not ruin Father’s Day for him and take his kids away from him on “his” day I waited until later in the day on Sunday, probably around 5 or 6, before I finally left. I remember driving until around midnight and stopping at a hotel in Nebraska. Picasso had no interest in sleeping for some reason so I locked the door, put the chain on it and went to sleep, letting him stay up as long as he desired. I was woken up by a small boy straddling me and staring down at my face. When I reluctantly opened my eyes he greeted me with the chipper greeting, “Wake-y, wake-y!” It was five or six in the morning.

I got back on the road and discovered a few hours later that the air conditioning that had just been fixed was once again broken. The mechanic had warned me the belt might break. I forget why now. As luck would have it my father-in-law worked at the automotive center at Wal-Mart and if we could get to Kentucky and buy a belt he had a co-worker that could put it on for us. We drove from Nebraska to Kentucky with no air. I started driving at six in the morning and didn’t arrive at my in-law’s place until just after midnight. I was exhausted.

The belt was bought and replaced. I drove the remaining four to six hours and finally we got there. My Mamaw was still alive. She held on for four days, I think, if not more, before she finally let go.

He was not there with me. He didn’t even have his company send flowers. I made a 30+ hour drive to watch my beloved Mamaw die and he couldn’t be bothered to be with me. He had to work. We’d been married over ten years at that point.

Four years later my sole remaining grandparent died. We were still in Utah. Again, he couldn’t bother coming with me. He didn’t have the time to spare. So once again I grabbed the kids, put them in the minivan, and made the drive. This time the drive was only about 24 hours so I got a bit of a break. But once again I was alone while burying a loved one.

In contrast, when his father died in 2010 I got the kids excused from school, got their homework, boarded our two dogs at two different places, finished up the laundry, cleaned the house, put both kids in the minivan and drove all night long to get to him so he wouldn’t have to go to the family visitation or the funeral without me. I pulled over around 8 in the morning at a rest area to sleep for a bit. I left the van running, the air on, a SpongeBob video in the DVD player, and locked the doors while I took a nap so I didn’t run off the road and kill us all.

Twenty years and he went to one out of three of my grandparent’s funerals with me. Hell, he didn’t go with me to his step grandfather’s funeral. My mom accompanied me and a year old Rock Star. That funeral took place only a few days before 9/11. I remember driving home that day, wondering if we were going to be safe or if there might be another attack. I actually asked him if he thought it would be safe if we drove back or if we should stay there. Naturally he didn’t think there was any danger. Aside from one gas station with some high gas prices he was correct, I suppose.

The mobster has been with me for less than three years and he volunteered to go to a funeral with me. He brought it up before I ever had a chance to. His attitude was, “Of course I will be going with you!”

It wasn’t just that he was willing to go to this funeral with me either. There were many family members there that he had never met. Jerry Lee had never met them because he never went to Virginia with me. Yet here was the mobster. I was taking him by Mamaw’s house, sharing memories with him. He met my uncle (my mom’s brother). He met many of my cousins. He chatted with them. The restaurant was filled with family and the mobster didn’t bat an eye. He was amazing.

He kept asking me if Jerry Lee had been there or if I had shown him these things I was showing him. I had to keep reminding him that in 20 years of marriage Jerry Lee had never been to my Mamaw’s town with me. He’d never been to her house. He had never met any of my Virginia relatives aside from my Mamaw. He had no clue.

He was supposed to go to the cemetery with me that summer (2015) so we could plant flags on the veterans’ graves. That was something we had just started doing on Memorial Day. Most of my uncles served and my favorite cousin’s son was KIA 4 days after arriving in Iraq back in 2012. That year we would have been honoring my family. Of course, Jerry Lee was knee deep in his affair with Harley so he couldn’t come out of his room and be with us. I once again went by myself. Or rather, the kids and I went by ourselves.

That was all a foreign concept to the mobster. He kept saying he couldn’t understand that. Yeah, well, in hindsight, me neither. Probably should have been a giant red flag.

The mobster has been a godsend. My cousin adored him. Everyone I’ve ever introduced him to has come away with that feeling. They all tell me they really like him (and believe me- I’ve let them all know I’m vetting the shit out of him!). They comment on how easy he is to talk to. He really is. He’s one of those guys that never meets a stranger. He can always find something to talk about. And it’s not in that fake, schmoozy way either. He has a genuine interest in people and can always manage to find a topic to talk about. You never get the feeling that he’s making small talk to kill time or because that’s what he’s supposed to do; he’s trying to find a real connection with the person he’s speaking to.

It’s been two and a half years for the mobster and I. In that time he’s been to two weddings and a funeral with me. Jerry Lee has him beat on the weddings so far. We went to six together, I believe. Then again, he had 20 years and most of the time he was more of a pain in the ass than as asset.

These few short years with the mobster have shown me how a relationship is supposed to work. At least for me. Maybe other people enjoy doing everything on their own. I did it because that was the hand I was dealt. I did it because that’s what I saw in my parent’s marriage for the most part. I did it because I didn’t think it was all that unnatural. I did it because “I didn’t need anybody holding my hand”. Well you know what I’ve discovered? Having someone hold your hand is pretty nice.

I’m rambling now. The point is the mobster is once again showing me everything I missed out on in my twenty years of marriage. He shows up. He wants to be there for me. He is amazing and I am the luckiest woman in the world.

There Will Be Bad Days, Part 2

As of Thanksgiving Day I was still waiting for my prescription. My mom let me know she had a blood pressure cuff so I’ve been taking it. My lowest reading was something like 167/102. I had a high reading of 177/114. Not good. I’m sitting here wondering if I’m going to stroke out and leave my kids orphans. And, I can’t donate plasma if my bottom number is over 99 so it’s costing me money as well.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but the 60-90 days timeline I was given after I had my interstate meeting back in September is coming to a close early in December. I emailed my caseworker to ask her what exactly happens in 60-90 days. Is it over and a decision has been rendered? Do they have until that time to set a hearing date? What exactly happens in 60-90 days?

It turns out the state has 60-90 days to receive the case, record it in the computer system, review it, and get it to the appropriate county. THEN, the county has another 45 days, she believes to review and file the case.

Bonus points because Mississippi is having technical issues with their website so she’s not sure where they are in this process. So, maybe they’ve passed it off to the county; maybe they’re still thinking. I don’t know.

I emailed her back and asked her what happened after that. After the county has their 45 days to get their act together then what happens? Then we do the hearing? Then he gets garnished? How many more days, or rather months, is this going to take?

I also mentioned that I had heard it was possible to download garnishment papers from the internet, attach the court order, and send it directly to the company. I told her I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize my case and asked if she had any idea how a judge would take that. I figure she’s been around this sort of thing a lot. Maybe she has some anecdotal stories she can share.

The next email back ignores my question about what happens after 45 days and is centered around how she can’t give me legal advice. If I choose to go with sending the papers directly to his company she advises I keep very careful records and keep her informed so she can communicate with the state of Mississippi.

At this point I’ve pretty much had it. She can’t give me legal advice and yet she’s the one who was adamant that I could not submit a new court order from Virginia to whatever state Jerry Lee was living in. Oh hell no. It had to be modified by a judge in that state.

I again asked what I could expect once the case was forwarded to the county. I also told her that the timeline of this process always seems to be changing. First it was 60-90 days period. Then it was 60-90 days to get it to one state and back, and then another 60-90 days to get it to the next state and back. Now I’m being told it’s another 45 days after that. So how much longer after that 45 days? I asked for an approximate end date of all of this bullshit and for some idea on how much time could potentially pass between him finding out he was being garnished and him actually being garnished.

That was the 22nd. I have heard nothing since. She’s probably on vacation this week. Hell, why not? It’s not her kids that are going to go without. It’s not her trying to figure out how to pay her bills and feed her kids. She’s got all the time in the world.

I’m so tired of being invisible. I’m just twisting in the wind. It goes all the way back to my interstate meeting and being told she can’t tell me how much he makes at his new job. He owes me money! The amount of money he owes me is dependent upon his income. I’m expected to go into this hearing blindly, not knowing if I have been jumping through hoops so that he is legally allowed to pay me less in child support. I’m expected to sit back and be patient. However long it takes, it takes. No use rushing it.

Zen can fuck right off. The last time I tried being zen it blew up in my face. That would have been my pool. Construction was supposed to take three weeks. It took ten. Every time we hit another snag, or it rained again, or the die blew up I would tell myself, “Sam, take a deep breath. I know it’s taking forever but once it’s done you’ll have this pool for years to come. You won’t have to go through this again and you’ll have a pool to enjoy every summer from here on out. Next summer it will all be worth it and you can just jump in.” Yeah, that didn’t work out.

I am pretty sure I wrote about my lawyer getting back to me pretty quickly once I told her that while I didn’t want to have to change lawyers I didn’t want to wait another six months with his unpaid legal fees hanging over my head. She apologized profusely, let me know that all of her cases have been going to trial and she hasn’t taken any new clients in months, and that she wouldn’t be able to work on my case until January. She gave me the names of a few lawyers, and said she would forward anything they might need if I would like.

I wrote her back about a week later and told her that if she was confident she could get to my case in January I would be willing to wait. That was November 18th. I’ve heard nothing.

The easiest solution would seem to be to make a call to one of the lawyers she suggested. One of them is a brand new lawyer that interned with her. She may trust that she can handle everything, but I don’t. The other option is well respected and is even on the list of Super Lawyers.

Unfortunately, I’m sure they’re also going to require a $3000 retainer and they will probably charge more per hour than my current lawyer.

It’s easy to say spend the money; it’s worth it; however, my daughter’s medical bills are going to sink me already. I feel guilty enough using my plasma money to buy Christmas presents when this medical bill looms over my head. In addition, it is almost the last day of the month and Jerry Lee has not managed to pay the second half of his self-modified spousal support.

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not enough that the motherfucker shorted me $700 a month while acting like he was out of work. It’s not enough that even when he was called on it he still refused to pay his court ordered support but instead did some strange calculation and paid me that. It’s not enough he has the gall to think I should be grateful for whatever he pays me. No, now he’s not even going to pay the amount that His Highness decided upon.

Sure, maybe it will come on the last day. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the best track record so whenever I don’t have the money in hand before the end of the month I get nervous. Plus, I have the garnishment hanging over my head. I don’t know if he knows and he’s punishing me by not paying, or if he’s just being his typical asshole self.

Once again I’m sitting here thinking, “I’ve had a needle stuck in my arm twice a week since August for Christmas gifts, and now that it’s here I probably shouldn’t buy Christmas gifts. Instead, I should be using that money to buy food and put gas in my car.”

He always finds a way to fuck with me. Every goddamn time I have a plan he finds a way to fuck with me.

First it was when I was trying to figure out how I was going to pay for a graduation party or a gift for Rock Star when she graduated. I finally realized I could use my share of his restricted stock. He would owe me for the next four years. Only he quit his job so he could be closer to the whore. Poof! All that money up in smoke. Back to square one.

Then it was when I finally figured out how I was going to deal with insurance for myself once the divorce was finalized, and when I figured out the logistics of getting a job to supplement my support and getting both kids to their various extracurriculars. That’s when he lost the new job.

The kids and I ended up losing a whole hell of a lot more. We lost our home. We were forced to move out of the state. We were forced to move back to Indiana and in with my mom.

I knew how I was going to pay to break my daughter’s housing contract and I knew how I was going to pay my taxes and he fucked that up when he lost yet another fucking job! He has yet to go back to paying what he is supposed to.

God, I hate him!

Back From Columbus, Part 3

I like to call Sunday “Our Day of Frou Frou”. It began with breakfast at the South Village Grille and ended with a trip to Native Cold Press.

Our host had listed the South Village Grille as one of the places visitors should try so we opted out of going to the German Village Coffee Shop again and decided to give this place a try.

South Village Grill

It was definitely busy! We lucked out, however, and were seated immediately. I tried the crab cake benny and the mobster went with the French toast.

Wow- both entrees were amazing. They serve the French toast with some of the best bacon I have ever eaten and they top it with ice cream! It was delicious! I say that having only taken a bite.

French toast

My crab cake benny was a new twist on one of my favorite breakfast choices- eggs Benedict. They served it with a simple salad. Now, this would not be my first go to choice for breakfast, but it turned out to be really good. I would have loved to have had a side of that bacon, but I had crab cakes instead.

We knew we were slightly out of our element when we examined the menu but what sealed it was when they brought my mimosa to me. They garnished it with a thin piece of dried orange.

The mobster and I both looked at it and then at each other. Hmmm…. Nonetheless, the mimosa was delicious. I went on to have what they call their Sunday Spritz and even though it had vodka and cranberry, among other things, I did not like that nearly as well. Maybe it was because the vodka was infused with hibiscus. Or because there was too much seltzer water in it. I don’t know. It didn’t taste bad; truthfully, it didn’t taste like much of anything.

After brunch we walked around some more, caught some more Pokemon at the park and participated in a raid with three other people before heading back towards our cars. The mobster wanted to grab a cup of coffee for the road.

We had two choices- The Fox In the Snow, or Native Cold Pressed. Let’s just say we should have gone with The Fox In the Snow.

They advertise themselves as one of the best coffee shops in America. No, I take that back. They were actually chosen as one of the best coffee shops in America. They boast about their delicious homemade pastries and show pictures of lattes with cute designs in the foam. I checked their website and they have a menu consisting of such delights as: hot chocolate, New Orleans iced coffee, mocha, latte, custard filled donuts, sour cream coffee cake, salted dark chocolate brownie, croissant morning buns, and carrot cake. I’m not even finished! They also boast about ham and swiss tarts, banana bread, lemon pound cake, house-made granola and yogurt, and a ham and cheese baguette. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? You know what we had instead? Two vanilla mushroom coffees.

This is a place that advertises itself as GMO free, gluten free, HPP free (whatever that is!), and dairy free. They forgot to add that it’s also flavor free.

They sell a charcoal lemonade for $9, beet juice for $11 and smoothies for $10. They also have something called “Adaptogen Lattes”. That’s what our vanilla mushroom coffee was- an adaptogen latte. We paid $7.50 for some reishi, lion’s mane, vanilla bean, coffee, coconut sugar, and house made cashew mylk. Yes, they spell it with a “Y”.

Native Cold Press

If you’re hungry, bite into a protein bite. They make one called Blueberry Moon that contains raw cashews, sacha inchi protein, coconut, Blue Majik algae, dried blueberries, dates, lemon, and himalayan salt. I love a good bite of algae in the morning. It clears the head and really gets me going.

God bless ‘em. They are health conscious and driven by the desire to do good, I’m sure. As we said to each other, “Hey, we gave it a try. We can say we had a vanilla mushroom coffee.” I’m no longer sure why we would want to say that, but if asked, we can acknowledge it.

As an aside, the vanilla mushroom coffee was not horrible. It was actually quite bland (although I had to toss it out once it got cold; I could not force myself to swallow the rest of it). Is that the new trend- pretentious but bland?

Sadly, that is how we ended our weekend together. Overall, it was a wonderful weekend. I am looking forward to going back. I’d love to spend another Community Day in that park, grab another burger at Thurman’s, and eat some delicious pastries and drink some delicious, normal beverages at The Fox In the Snow.

cobblestone

house 3

house 2

house

75196459_2691390367610045_261386379580145664_n.jpg

Back From Columbus, Part 2

We ended our evening at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus. Billed as the top tourist destination in German Village it is a sausage lover’s haven. It is housed in an historic livery stable. The servers are in cute little German costumes. They even features a live oompah band. For those not in the know, that basically means a guy with an accordion singing polka tunes.

Yet again I went against my instincts and had the buffet instead of going with my first choice- the Hoffbrau Schnitzel. It was billed as a thinly sliced center cut pork loin with a light, crispy breading topped with mushroom gravy. Yep, I should have gone with that.

Let me say the buffet was not bad. But as I said in the beginning Schmidt’s is a sausage lover’s haven. I am not a sausage lover. I don’t dislike it but I can think of many other things I’d rather have. The buffet was filled with sausage, all kinds of sausage. They had knockwurst, which is a funny thing to call a piece of sausage. They had a hot and spicy sausage they called the Bahama Mama. There was a milder version of it called the Milder Mama. There was bratwurst, which I do love. They did have baked chicken as well and it was good. I had a drumstick.

Their sides rotate but even so I was not all that impressed. The green beans were billed as green beans with spatzle. I found them to be bland and I saw no spatzle, although perhaps I did not know what to look for.

The mobster loved the German potato salad. He compared it to scalloped potatoes. I took a bite and was instantly overwhelmed by the vinegar taste. That’s not what scalloped potatoes taste like.

The mac and cheese wasn’t bad, but I’ve had better from Stouffer’s. The mashed potatoes and gravy were good. I did not even attempt the red cabbage with apples. I took a bite of the mobster’s and promptly made a face. I believe they had sauerkraut as well. Again, I’m not a fan.

The big draw with the buffet was the half price cream puffs. Folks, these things were huge! I’d say as big as your head but I’ve already used that comparison.

Schmidts Sausage Haus.jpg

Their entire dessert lineup looked amazing. Chocolate pie, multiple flavors of cream puffs, what looked like banana cream pie, German chocolate cake (of course). We both got a cream puff and ordered one for our kids as well.

Right after dessert, however, the night took a terrifying turn.

I like to mark my territory so I ended the evening with a trip to the bathroom.

To get to the bathrooms you must go through yet another glass door. It’s off in a separate part of the restaurant. The banquet rooms are upstairs, but aside from those empty rooms there was nothing in there when I went in to the bathroom. It’s deserted, ok?

The bathrooms were nothing special but there was no line and it appeared to be empty.

I was in there, minding my own business in this small stall while I did my business when all of a sudden I heard a voice. It was loud. I was startled. I wasn’t completely sure what they were saying but it sounded angry. Then I heard it again. Only this time I couldn’t understand what was being said.

My heart lurched in my chest. Someone was in the bathroom with me. Oh God! This is it. Michael Myers has found me and he’s pissed. “You still worried about where I get my shoes now, bitch?”

I’m debating pulling my legs up so that the lunatic can’t see there’s anyone in the stall when I suddenly realize it’s a freaking loudspeaker in the bathroom. It’s quoting famous movie lines and then translating them into German! Not cool! Thank God I was on the toilet or I probably would have pissed myself.

After all of that excitement we decided to walk home and stay in for the rest of the night. We made a quick detour at the park which we had to walk by anyway. We took some pictures and caught some more Pokemon. We sat on a bench in the cool night air and just took it all in before finishing up our walk home.

the two of us

Once back at the Air BnB I changed into my cute polar bear jammies and we watched the new Netflix movie “Holiday In the Wild” with Kristen Davis and Rob Lowe. I can’t give it a review because I fell asleep about 3/4 of the way through it.

Back From Columbus, Part 1

I’m back from a lovely weekend in Columbus with the mobster. We stayed at a gorgeous Air BnB in German Village.

Oh my! Where to begin? German Village is so quaint and amazing. We got in the car one time the entire weekend and that was to make a repeat visit to a winery that makes a fantastic cranberry wine (more on that in a bit). The rest of the time we spent walking the brick streets to our various destinations, checking out the various shops and restaurants, and admiring the homes that line the streets.

Our first night we went to Thurman’s Cafe for a late dinner. It’s been around since 1942 and is still a family owned establishment.

We walked in not quite knowing what we were getting into. The hostess stand is in a separate room with a Munsters pinball machine and an old school Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga arcade game. We were wondering if we were in the right place, or if maybe they were closed already. But once you walked through the doorway into the bar area it took on a life of it’s own.

It was crowded and busy, but not overwhelming. Music was pulsing, thanks to the iTunes jukebox in the waiting area. You can tell people love hanging out there.

Dollars bills cover the walls, the bar area, the booths. We did a bit of Googling and apparently they donate the money to charity. Where do the bills come from? Well, it’s their customer’s version of writing their name on the bathroom stall. Instead, they write them on the dollar bills; then they’re encased in packing tape and strategically placed all over the restaurant.Thurmans bills

This place has been featured on Man Vs. Food and has burgers as big as your head! We started off with the fried pickles and then the mobster had the Jason burger. It’s a burger with: fried egg, bacon, Genoa salami, cole slaw, fries, tomato, mayo and mozzarella cheese. Wow! The toppings alone make a filling meal. I chose a regular ol’ mushroom and Swiss and it was delicious! The mobster’s burger came with a side of hand cut fries. Mine came with chips. We also enjoyed five Angry Orchards on tap between us.

They have a great concept. The servers don’t have set tables. Every person there takes care of each table and they all split the tips equally. We ended up with three different servers, including, I’m pretty sure, one of the owners.

It was a great spot and I’d love to go back. We had planned on stopping in on Saturday just for a drink but other plans ended up taking precedence.

I’m sorry to say those two Angry Orchards I had pretty much did me in. We walked the two or so blocks back to our Air BnB and I promptly fell asleep.

Saturday morning we were up fairly early. We decided to try another one of our host’s suggestions- German Village Coffee Shop. They bill themselves as home of the Western omelette and the breakfast sandwich. Our host described it as a cheap greasy spoon diner with great food.

German Village Coffee Shop

It definitely had the greasy spoon atmosphere. It was packed; we waited, mostly outside, for a good 20 minutes or so. The servers told us this was actually a pretty tame morning compared to some.

We both had the breakfast sandwich. I took mine on toast; the mobster chose a bagel. He had oatmeal with blueberries as a side while I went with hash browns.

I’m not much of a fan of breakfast sandwiches. The mobster makes a fantastic one, but his is really the only one I like. I should have gone with the create-your-own-omelette. It was a decent sandwich; just not for me. The coffee was good and I really enjoyed the V-8.

No surprise- it was Pokemon Community Day. We were 3-4 blocks away from Schiller Park which was fantastic. It had a terrific ratio of Pokemon stops and Pokemon. We played for the full three hours. We caught a ton of Chimchars- the Pokemon for Community Day, and even did a raid.

Schiller park

The best part of the park was all the dogs! Being in the city and having small yards so many people bring their dogs to the park to walk, to play, to train. So. Many. Dogs. I was in heaven even if I didn’t get to interact with many of them.

They also had some amazing art work in the park. They had metal sculptures that were hung from wire. I wish we had taken pictures.

After our big Pokemon Community Day we made a car trip over to Wyandotte Winery. This is a winery tucked into the middle of a neighborhood. It is literally a house with a 4000 sq. ft. basement where the wine making magic happens. A portion of the house is dedicated as the tasting rooms while the rest remains the family home.Wyandotte 1119

We had visited Wyandotte a little over a year ago. They have wine slushies, a great Catawba, and the most amazing cranberry wine that flies off the shelves. Sadly, they were still waiting to bottle this year’s batch because it was still fermenting. We were told they began bottling it the night before and it was fermenting in the bottles which meant the wine was bubbling and corks were popping before they called it quits. So, no cranberry wine for us. I’m very disappointed. Still.

We had a good time anyway. How can you go wrong with wine and a hearty meat and cheese tray, topped off with fruit and crackers?

I freely admit I like my wine sweet and fruity. We each tried four wines, including a chocolate infused red. I ended my tasting with a glass of the cran-apple wine slushie and the mobster had the warm mulled wine.

us together

To Hell and Back

The mobster and I have a whole playlist of “our songs”. This song by Maren Morris made the list recently.

So much of what she sings on this song fits us perfectly.

You didn’t save me. You didn’t think I needed saving.

You didn’t change me. You didn’t think I needed changing.

He’s never treated me like I was broken or less than. When I wondered, “Why would you want someone like me?” his response would be, “Why wouldn’t I? You’re amazing.”

“But I’m poor. I work two jobs just to make ends meet. I live with my mom. I’m going on year two of a horrible divorce from a horrible person. I don’t have a bedroom to call my own. I’m fat, no longer some slinky, sexy little size 6 and I have two teenage kids- hardly the kind of attributes that make you highly desirable.”

He didn’t care. He saw all my flaws and thought they were pretty awesome. He didn’t think they were flaws. He didn’t think I needed saving. He’s always believed I was capable of great things. There were so many things I did in my old life that I never received credit for and he would tell me how amazing I was for doing what I did. He’s always propped me up and told me how great I am.

He didn’t try to change me either. He didn’t try to fix everything. He didn’t give me a list of things I could do to improve myself. He doesn’t go over all of my faults and I never feel like I’m a constant disappointment to him.

Instead, we are two people who both suffered through pretty miserable marriages for years. We weren’t appreciated. We weren’t valued. We sloughed along and did our best, despite the little encouragement we received from our spouses. We found each other. We appreciate each other and lift the other up. Our wings are frayed and what’s left of our halos are black but lucky for us our kind of heaven has been to hell and back.