This Day

On this day, three years ago, WordPress sent me a notification that a reader had liked my post, The Wacky Things Cheating Women Say.

If you have a WordPress account then you know every time someone likes or comments on your post they suggest you read their blog as well and link to three different posts. So I did. I figured I’d see what Divine Doorknobs had to say.

I read a heartfelt blog by a man who had put up with more crap than a person should have to. I read his blog as he detailed the ups and downs of being married to an alcoholic. One entry would be positive and almost giddy with relief that she was sober and working. Then the next would be the sad realization that she was drinking again. I read the whole thing from the very beginning until it culminated in her leaving him and his heart being shattered. His subsequent posts were heartbreaking in his yearning to get over her and find, as he put it, an honest love.

That day changed my life. I was going to meet the man that would turn out to be the love of my life, although I didn’t know it yet. We hadn’t made contact. I had no idea who he was. Our stories were so similar though that I had to comment. I didn’t do so thinking I was going to strike up any kind of a relationship with this person. I was just struck by the similarities and wanted him to know.

It wasn’t until the next day he responded to my comments and offered up his number with an invitation to be someone I could vent to. I told him then that I was an awful texter, plus I worked two jobs neither of which was conducive to texting. AND, I went to bed at the same time toddlers did, thanks to my super early job at Target.

The rest is, as they say, history. I have fallen madly in love with this wonderful man. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He is the sweetest, funniest, most romantic man in the world. He has staged elaborate, romantic evenings and he has washed out my shitty jeans. He makes me laugh and he listens when I rage on about injustices in life. He rubs my back if I ask and he’ll run and grab conditioner for me if I forget it and we’re at a hotel with no amenities. He is the smartest man evah! He is handsome and sexy. He knows exactly what to say. He is always up for anything- canoeing, kayaking, camping, ice skating, hiking. You name it he’s willing to give it a try. Because he’s up for anything I’m more likely to go outside of my comfort zone. He believes in me. He thinks I can do anything. He is exactly what a partner should be. He is my mobster, my love. He is the one that made me smile again after two really awful years.

Happy Anniversary, baby! These last three years have been fantastic. I love you more!

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Virginia Bound

I am off to see my love. It has been a very long 3 months since we’ve seen each other. I will be spending an entire week with him. Can’t wait!

I am actually sitting on a plane in Chicago, waiting to take off and fly to Virginia. I am dying! This stupid mask is suffocating me and I’m dying of heat stroke right now. Dying, I tell you!

Tomorrow the three of us are flying to New Hampshire for the holiday weekend. His oldest son is marrying Little Miss Sunshine on Monday. I’m very excited for two reasons.

First, they wanted me there which was nice. Little Miss Sunshine even asked me if I’d like to come with her when she gets ready. I love this girl.

Second, I’ve never been to New Hampshire. I’m excited to get to see where the mobster used to live and to let him show me around.

I went out to lunch with my mom and my son before I left and I found out Picasso would like to go to Maine. I have also recently discovered he would like to tent camp and fish, and that he doesn’t really remember most of the places I took them to when he was younger but he is definitely interested in road trips now. It is amazing the amount of information I find out when that boy is finally lured out of his room! So, I think next year the boy and I (and the mobster and my daughter, if they’re interested) are going to take a road trip up along the coast. Maybe we’ll fly to Maine and then rent a car. I don’t know. I have a year to plan.

I am hoping I can get some writing in while on vacation but it may not be possible. This is going to be a busy weekend and we’ll have to see how the week goes. The best part though is that I get to spend it with my love.

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.

#blessed

It’s so easy to feel defeated, to look back on all that has been lost and feel sorry for myself. I feel it when it comes on. I’m going to take a page out of the mobster’s book and look at it from another perspective.

I’m blessed in many ways. I have a fantastic mom who didn’t hesitate to take me and my kids into her home. I have a roof over my head and I know that my mom will do her absolute best to make sure neither of my kids do without. She was instrumental in keeping Rock Star in college when Jerry Lee “lost” his job. She’s the one that loaned Rock Star the money to buy her new car. She’s the one that runs Picasso around most of the time.

I know a lot of people don’t have that. They don’t have that safety net. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt my kids and I would have been living in a homeless shelter if not for my mom.

I know there are people out there who have had to figure out rent and where to live and how to buy food and toiletries and take care of their kids all on their own. I don’t know what I would have done if that were my situation. Well, yes, I do. I would be living in a homeless shelter.

I think of people like my friend D, who at one point was living in a garage with her four kids after her husband left her and their house had been foreclosed on. I think of people like Jennifer Ball, of the Happy Frau blog, who at one point worked three different jobs and had to shop at the food pantry because she couldn’t afford groceries. Both of those women have had it a lot worse than I have had it.

Hell, I’m blessed simply by the fact that my mom is alive and well. She’s healthy and active and loves to criticize my hair and complain that I don’t call her frequently enough when she’s away in Florida.

Her: I could have been dead for a week and you’d never know!

Me: Mom, don’t be ridiculous. You’re in Florida. Your neighbors would have noticed the stench and called the authorities. I’d know.

I’m blessed to have two children who love me no matter how much I may screw up. I’m watching as Rock Star reaches her goal of admittance to nursing school. I’m listening as Picasso talks about his plans to eventually get an apartment and be self sufficient. And to drive!

Kids get older and their lives revolve around their friends. They’re involved with other things and don’t have as much time for mom or dad. I’m fortunate in that my kids both still want to spend time with me. They both like to be around me. The mobster mentioned the last time we were together that he can tell Picasso sure does love his mom. He let me hold on tightly as we skated around the ice rink.

Both of them have been fabulous and written me many notes of encouragement. I still have Picasso’s note where he told me he wished I didn’t have to work so hard and he wanted me to have something nice for my birthday and he appreciated everything I did for him. I still have Rock Star’s message where she told me I had done such a great job of being both parents she didn’t even notice her father was gone. She even bought me an anniversary gift the first year her father and I were apart.

I do worry about them. I worry about depression and anxiety with them both, but so far neither are on drugs and both are good kids.

I’m blessed to have found the mobster. I wasn’t looking for him. I wasn’t looking for anyone. I had made peace with the fact that I would be alone for the rest of my life while Jerry Lee and Harley lived happily ever after. The anti-social fuck up whose own mother and sister never thought he’d ever find a woman to marry him would be on marriage number two while I was alone with my dogs. And then from out of nowhere he found me. He thought I was funny, resilient, strong, and beautiful.

He is a true partner to me. Years ago I mentioned to Jerry Lee that running a marathon was on my bucket list. He immediately let me know that there was no way I could ever do that. It was too hard and he knew because at West Point they had to run a marathon as part of gym class, or some other requirement. Yeah? Did you have to climb Mt. Everest and swim the English Channel, too? Maybe participate in the Tour de France?

The mobster upon hearing that thought it sounded like a great idea and immediately began planning for the day we could run one together.

I know I’ve made comments about our “exotic” getaways; the truth is we always have a great time. Chillicothe, Athens, and Columbus might not be places the masses would choose to vacation but we’ve explored almost all of the nooks and crannies of the two small towns and we’re crossing things off of our list for Columbus.

We’ve discovered wineries that we love- Rockside, Wyandotte, Chateau Morrisette, Pleasant Hill, Hocking Hills, Athens Uncorked. We’ve gone canoeing and kayaking. We’ve gone to lakes and we’ve gone to the beach. We’ve seen outdoor theater, gone to weddings together, birthday parties, the zoo. We’ve had many meals out and even in these towns 6 hours away we have favorites that are familiar to us. We’ve sat through graduations together. We’ve gone ice skating, to hockey games, to football games, and to festivals. He’s gone to my company employee appreciation party twice now. We’ve brunched at a historic mansion, gone to concerts, played Pokemon Go all over the place, and explored small towns in Indiana as well. He’s attended both Family Weekends with me at Ball State. We’ve gone bowling, played arcade games, traveled to Utah, and even watched a few movies. Our running joke is that we never see movies together because we don’t have a lot of time together. We’ve been together almost 3 years and we’ve seen 4 movies- Jumangi, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jojo Rabbit, and Jumangi 2. We’ve taken many walks together, we’ve gone to a Dickens of a Christmas, he’s accompanied me to a funeral, he’s met more of my family than my husband of 20 years ever met, and we’ve begun running together. We’ve done puzzles, we’ve spent weekends in, he’s tried to convince me of the wonders of carrot juice, and we’ve blasted Christmas carols nonstop. We’ve watched an awful lot of Bill Burr, gone Christmas shopping, drank a whole lot of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, and seen some amazing fireworks at the Blueberry Festival. In short, we have a blast together. He really is my best friend and the love of my life.

Finally, I can’t overlook the fact that I do have a job finally and I have my health, although I am currently taking high blood pressure medication.

I’m a fairly healthy person who doesn’t get sick very often and when I do, it’s usually not serious. I can move about. I live a pain free life. I have all my limbs and my sight, my hearing, and my sense of taste and smell. There are people out there that struggle with health problems. I’m blessed to not be in that position.

About that job thing… I know what it’s like to be looking and to never even get an interview. I know what it’s like to wonder if you’ll ever find a job. I certainly know what it’s like to have to work two jobs because both are part-time and neither one pays enough to cover your bills. The fact that I have a job and the fact that I no longer have to work two of them (thanks to support) leaves me feeling very blessed.

I’m not sure I can ever say that things are really looking up at my job. Don’t get me wrong. I like my job. It’s not difficult. It’s not physically demanding. Once I leave at the end of the day I leave it behind. On the down side, I’ve concluded that even if they gave me a 50% raise I would still not be making enough money to live without Jerry Lee’s support. Would I take it? Absolutely. Will it ever be offered? Absolutely not. But, things are looking up, bit by bit.

I just got my annual raise and I was told that before my supervisor leaves in June she wants to up my grade level so I can get more money, which means another raise in May. The way I look at it, if I do finally decide to venture outside of the bank, or even if I go to a different area of the bank, it’s that much more money I’m already making. I obviously wouldn’t be leaving my job for a lesser paying job. Not at what I’m getting paid.

There you have it. My moment of looking on the bright side and counting my blessings.

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.

Optimism and the Mobster

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When I saw this meme I immediately thought, “That’s my mobster; it describes him perfectly.” He is the eternal optimist. As my daughter says, “He’s like the real life Elf.” She has also said he’s the happiest man she’s ever met, and that’s despite the fact he doesn’t get any vacation time. He could be laying flat on his back, completely stuck, but he’ll look up at the sky and exclaim, “Oh my God, I’m flying!”

He’s always able to look on the positive side of things. When I had to buy four new tires before I drove down to Virginia for my divorce hearing he told me, “The good news is you no longer have to put air in that front tire.”

He’s always got a smile on his face. He’s always happy. He’s up for anything and eager to try new things. He can talk to just about anybody, and he does.

He has his moments. In the very beginning he was still quite raw from his own discard. There were weepy moments. But for the most part, even then, he was happy. He made me laugh. He looked on the bright side. And I was right by his side, telling him he could do it and pushing him onward.

Even now there are times his STBX still tries to put him through the ringer- sending vicious texts, threatening to take half of everything, demanding he pay her credit card bills. Some days it gets him down and that smile leaves his face, that twinkle leaves his eye. He bounces right back, though. Soon he’s casting her aside and finding yet another way to make his world right.

It’s so nice being with someone who is happy and who looks for the silver lining, instead of being with a person who is always miserable and sees disaster at every turn. I hope I can one day be as optimistic as him.

You keep flying, Mobster.

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?

The Change Progress

My word for the year is change. When you think about it it’s not a novel concept. As Patty Loveless once sang: Life’s about changing. Nothing ever stays the same.

I think that throughout the year I’m going to revisit this topic of change. After all, even if I had remained in the same town my whole life, went to school with the same people, remained friends with the people I met when I was 4 or 5, dated the same guy forever, got married and never divorced, and never changed jobs I would still be faced with change. It’s not just about me. Some of those classmates may have moved away. Some of those co-workers might have got a different job. Some of those friends might have got married and moved to another city. Life’s about changing. Nothing ever stays the same.

That’s enough of my existential crisis. When I chose the word change I was thinking more along the lines of changing my life. I was thinking about things like my health, my job, my children, my financial situation, my living situation, my goals and dreams. That kind of cream puff stuff!

First up, let’s review any changes being made in the name of health. What can I say? Change sucks! It’s haaaarrrd. It’s one thing to think it and another thing to actually do it. Thoughts versus actions. I have a ton of ideas on how I can lose weight but when it comes time to actually put down that Chunky Monkey ice cream and do a sit up… I am acting though. The mobster and I are training for a 5k. I haven’t ran since 2013. Holy cow! That’s a long time. I just typed that out and realized it’s been 7 years. Crikey! 

I have finished Week 1 of the Couch to 5k program. I did this once before when I lived in Utah. I actually ran several races. Perhaps I should say multiple races because there were at least two Santa Fun Runs, a marathon relay, a Halloween run, a Thanksgiving run, a St. Patrick’s Day run, a 9k, and a few others. Then I just stopped. Well, technically I hurt myself at the St. Patrick’s Day run somehow. I twisted my ankle and I just never got back into it. It was frustrating to go from running 5 miles back to running less than 1 or 2.

I have to say the first day I hated it. I was in such a bad mood. I went to the gym later, around 7 or 8. I was tired and I didn’t want to leave my house. My clothes don’t fit anymore so while I had this new pair of running tights (which are still uncomfortable when I sit) my old shirts paired with it made me look like 10 pounds of flour stuffed into a 5 pound bag. But I did it. Change.

Funny story. I was telling the mobster how I got off track a few times. The program this week is jog 60 seconds, walk 90 seconds for a total of 20 minutes. I went 30 but that’s not important to this story. I just wanted to brag.

“You need to get the app on your phone,” he tells me.

“I have the app on my phone,” I reply.

“So how did you mess up? She tells you when to run and when to walk.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Did you not see the start button?”

Pause. “No.” I then look at the app on my phone. “Oh! Well that would have been helpful information!”

Yes, I did not realize the app actually counted for you. I thought it was just like the old website which outlined the program for you. No, it’s not. This one you actually click the start button and she counts down with you. That was very helpful the second time I went.

I didn’t hate it as much the second time but I also rewarded myself with sushi. Picasso and I went out after I got back. We didn’t eat until almost 8 pm that night.

The third night I really didn’t want to go. I was tired. I’ve been doing double duty at work. I’ve been going in early. Plus, I’m lazy. And unmotivated. Nonetheless, I went. It was almost 8:30 before I got there but I walked and ran. This time I actually felt good about what I was doing.

I realize I’m not dropping 30 pounds overnight; quite honestly I’m not expecting any major changes from this program. I’m expecting to be able to work my way up to running 3 miles. Period. But I did feel a slight sense of accomplishment. The plan right now is for me to run a 5k down in his town in April, and then in June he’ll come up and run a race up here in my town.

Both of my kids are experiencing their own type of changes. Picasso dropped orchestra and dropped his cello lessons. I wasn’t expecting that. Yet again I watched a child do something they had once loved, not realizing it was the last time I would see them do that.

It happened the first time when Rock Star competed at the high school state gymnastics meet. I had no idea at that time I would never see her compete again. I thought we’d continue to live in Virginia, she would continue to go to her high school, and she would finish up with gymnastics in another 2 years.

This time it was watching Picasso at his Winter concert. They played one of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas carols and it was simply amazing. They played lots of other things as well, but that stood out for me. I didn’t know that night that I would never see him play again. He’s turning in his cello as I write this, and finishing up his last lesson.

He also managed to make an appointment with his high school counselor, hence dropping orchestra. I was proud of him. Turns out he can do hard things! Of course, as he put it: I walked into orchestra and I just felt depressed. I guess that was the push he needed.

While he was in there dropping orchestra he also found out he had all of his required math credits so he dropped his pre-calculus class. I had been telling him he needed to drop it ever since his report card came out. He ended up with a C for the semester, but his last grading period he had an F. He went from an A one grading period to an F the next. Geez Louise. I even managed to find a tutor for him but he had no interest in talking to her.

On a more positive note he is enjoying therapy and even though they are still in the talking phase he believes this guy will be able to give him the tools he needs to meet his problems head on. So that’s progress.

Meanwhile, Rock Star is applying for nursing school. She won’t find out until late March/early April.

Yet another change and this one happened before I decided upon my word of the year. My niece and nephew didn’t come up for Christmas Eve this year. We didn’t really expect them to because she just got married in September. If she wasn’t coming up we didn’t think her brother would come up by himself. She surprised my mom though by asking about our Christmas Eve plans and if they were still invited. About two weeks beforehand she asked us about dinner plans on the 28th. That is not Christmas Eve. But we adjusted. We had a nice dinner out with them. It was just different.

Yearly reviews at work were this week. I got a stellar review even if we’re handicapped from the beginning. I shall explain.

We’re scored on a scale of 1-5 but they’re not allowed to give 5’s. Why they don’t just get rid of the 5’s I don’t know. Probably because then they wouldn’t be allowed to give 4’s. Basically a 4 is your top score. I got a perfect 4 for my goals and achieving them. I got a 3.85 as far as my competencies go but again I’m hobbled a bit because on one of the sections they’re only allowed to give you a 3! We have to take these online courses and that’s one of the competencies. I did all of mine and I passed all of them. But apparently that is expected so the highest you can be scored is a 3. So, my end result was a 3.93 out of 4. Couldn’t have been better. My supervisor did ask me what my future plans were. I was honest. I told her I was looking for whatever would pay me the most. Now I wait to see what my raise will be for the year.

As evidenced by this long story I haven’t yet taken steps to make a change career wise.

One huge change I hope to see this year is the end of this legal battling. I want it OVER! I thought we were off to a good start but I found out earlier this week my case has not yet been filed. My lawyer’s legal assistant got in contact with me and asked for an updated spreadsheet with Jerry Lee’s payments and a promise to get it filed “soon”.

I asked what we were filing for- just legal fees or legal fees and spousal/child support arrears. My lawyer thinks we should go for all three. I’m a little nervous about what the judge may decide on the arrears for child support. I asked if it was possible to go for legal fees and spousal support only and also asked her what her opinion was in regards to how the judge might rule. We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime I have no idea what’s going on with the garnishment case. Apparently they like everything to be a big surprise. It will be a surprise when I find out how much he will be owing for child support. It will be a surprise when I find out whether or not he owes me back support and how much (assuming my attorney doesn’t get there first). It will even be a surprise when I finally find out how they will be paying me, or if they’ll even contact me to let me know the outcome. One surprise after another! FYI: Today marks one year since I turned my garnishment papers in.

I’m hopeful (maybe stupidly optimistic is a better description) that everything will be settled by June. I know that seems a long way out there but my lawyer hasn’t even filed the case yet. The last time she filed a show cause it took 3 months to get a court date. Ergo, if she goes to court in February (fingers crossed!) we should get a court date sometime around May. As for the garnishment case the county should have it but they still have a little over 2 weeks to file the case. I have no idea what happens next. I’m assuming a court date is set but who knows when that might happen.

I changed my hair color. It’s red right now. My mom hates it. I’m still getting used to it. I may change it back to blonde. I don’t know. Change is supposed to be good, right?

I’m still not playing hockey. I guess my first step would be skating lessons. I still haven’t learned to crochet or knit.

I have been cooking more. I actually have some meals in the freezer! I went grocery shopping today and I should be able to put together enough meals for about 3 weeks. I originally planned meals for every day but that’s way too many. It’s hard to cook for only two and we end up with a lot of leftovers.

I tried some new recipes. I didn’t like them. I tried a new Shepherd’s Pie recipe and I was not impressed. I also made a lasagna soup and it was terrible! It’s hard to ruin soup but I did it. The soup itself was very bland and then the pasta was added which only made it worse. The pasta shells tasted like paste! I looked to see if the box was really old but it doesn’t appear to be. It was just bad all around! It’s made me a little nervous for a few of our upcoming meals because they’re all new recipes. The bacon cheeseburger pasta was not a hit either. Same thing happened to the pasta once again. Maybe it’s because it’s added at the end? I’ve never had a problem with pasta in the crockpot before. Is it possible I’ve never actually cooked soup or pasta dishes in the crockpot before? Nah.

No other new changes I can think of right now. It’s been slow but steady. I’m looking ahead to Week 2 of the Couch to 5K program. 90 seconds of jogging/60 seconds of walking. Bring on the change!

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.

A Whole New Decade

Happy New Year! It’s 2020. Others say it’s the end of the decade. I say 2020 is actually the end. The new decade will begin next year in 2021. Sorry to rain on your parade. Nevertheless, isn’t this exciting? All those years watching the show 20/20 (which the mobster was on, btw) and thinking about how cool it would be when it finally was the year 2020. What would they call the show then?

I like to say that this will be the year of hindsight. The mobster says it’s the year of clarity. Yes, we are that obnoxious couple that laughs heartily at our own corny jokes.

I’d like to tell you I had an incredible New Year’s Eve. The fact is I don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve. I feel like it’s one of those holidays where everyone wants you to think it’s this amazing time and everyone is having fun. I’ve never really had an amazing New Year’s Eve. Most of the time it’s disappointing and at best, it’s okay.

I think one of my best New Year’s Eve celebrations was back when we lived in Olive Branch and had a fairly large group of friends. We went over to another couple’s house along with a few other couples and we played board games and ate delicious food. It was low key and lovely.

Two years ago I was with the mobster. We were at WinterFest up at Liberty University. That was another good night, but mainly because of who I was with.

Last night I fell asleep sitting up on the couch at around 11:30. I woke up around 3:30 and crawled into bed. No ball drop for me this year.

I also don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions. I know they are rarely achieved. I know they are mostly forgotten within the first few weeks of the new year. When I do make resolutions I like to keep them something easy, like moisturize more, floss more regularly. Sadly, I can’t even get the hang of the flossing thing.

I do, however, like the thought of choosing a word for the year. Anne wrote about it on her blog earlier this week.

I’m not sure if the outcome will be any different because there is still a goal but I like it. I’ve decided that my word for the year 2020 will not be hindsight, as I originally thought, but change.

I need change. The post I wrote the other day turned into a pity party. It’s very easy to fall into that pattern when I think back to all the time that has passed. It’s been four years since discard and I don’t have an amazing new life. I have an okay life.

I mean, the mobster is amazing. I definitely have a fantastic new partner in my life but that is not something I control, if that makes sense. If he up and leaves me that one fantastic part of my new life is over and done. I’m back to my life being “eh”. To be clear I don’t think he’s going to leave me any time soon, if ever, but unlike something such as going back to school or getting a new job, I have no control over the outcome of our relationship. It is dependent upon him and his desires as well.

I am thankful for my children. I am thankful for my mom. I realize I’m very lucky to have a mom who is willing to house me and my kids and dogs. I realize I’m fortunate that I’m not dealing with kids on drugs or who are suicidal. They haven’t shunned me in favor of their father as some have experienced. All three of them are healthy, despite Rock Star’s recent repeat trips to the Urgent Care and ER.

I suppose I could heed Clarence’s words in “It’s a Wonderful Life”: Remember, no man (or woman) who has friends is a failure. I do have many remarkable friendships. That’s one of the things that has impressed the mobster. I do, and I’m very grateful for that, even if so many of them are so very far away.

I don’t want to give the impression that I have nothing to live for; however, there is much room for improvement. I want to be independent again. I realize I wasn’t ever truly independent once I married Jerry Lee. His job was what allowed us to live the way we did. It was never me. I can (and will) take credit for the fact that I was in the background doing what needed to be done and never prevented him from making those moves that afforded us a better lifestyle, but I never made the money.

I would like to either live in my own house with my own things once again, or live with the mobster, and know that if he leaves me I’ll be okay and can afford to be out on my own.

I would like to work at a job that pays me enough to live on. I realize that for what I make my car payment is way too expensive. We bought it less than a year before my life blew up. We took the longest loan with the smallest payment because we planned to use big chunks of his bonus check each year to pay it off. While the loan may have been for six years we planned to have it paid off in two or three. Nonetheless, it ended up being a $365 payment each month. That was fine when I was living on almost ten grand a month. Not so much when my entire paycheck for the 2 week period was somewhere between $550-$650.

I know this is long and rambling but my point is even dismissing my car payment I don’t have much to live on after the bills are paid. Once that is done and over I’ll have $640/month. Even paying off all of my credit cards still only nets me around $900/month. I have no rent or utilities to pay right now, so finding a place of my own with what I make would take every bit of that and probably more. My job does not pay me enough money to live on. Period. That needs to change.

I’ve mulled over career choices. I don’t know if going back to school for my Masters or a different degree is a viable option or not. I’ve given thought to going back to be a nurse, a forensic accountant, a teacher, a social worker, and a school guidance counselor. I’ve eliminated two of those.

Maybe 2020 will see me back in school. Maybe I’ll find something that pays more that doesn’t require a degree. Who knows. I just know it’s time for a change.

I need to lose weight. This isn’t the, “Oh, I want to fit back into my size 2 jeans,” kind of needing to lose weight. For the record, I was never a size 2, even at my thinnest. No, this is more of a, “I hate the way I look and feel and my blood pressure is out of control,” kind of needing to lose weight.

It’s the blood pressure thing more than anything. I used to have terrific blood pressure. I remember one time having my blood pressure taken and then the nurse took it a second time. Then she asked me if I was an endurance athlete because my blood pressure was so low. Even then I had to reply, “Do I look like I’m any kind of an athlete?”

I don’t remember for certain when it started to climb but I do know at my last exam before the discard it was higher than normal. But, the divorce diet led to a 20-25 pound weight loss and the next time I went in, which was December of 2015, my blood pressure was perfect. It’s definitely a weight thing.

My health is primary but I also hate the way I look anymore and the fact that I’m outgrowing the majority of my clothes.

The mobster would love to see me drink more water and less diet Coke. More change.

I still have running a marathon on my bucket list. Kinda tough to do when you don’t even run a mile.

I think about all the things I believe I would like to do- learn to play hockey, learn to knit and crochet. Wow- that was a shorter list than I thought. Still, those are things I could learn to do, even at my age.

Even in my current situation there can be financial change. Taking charge and making a huge effort to pay off everything I owe. Considering where I once was it’s not a lot. Considering how much I make it is a lot.

The big change I hope to see is finally having Jerry Lee garnished and finally taking him back to court for the court fees he owes. I’d like to have all of that behind me once and for all. No more need to text him to ask about payments. No more wondering when this would finally all be over. No more being frustrated over the shit he is allowed to get away with. No more having to do with hundreds, if not thousands, less whenever he decides he needs the money more than I do.

Anyway, that’s my word of the year- change. We’ll see if anything does change.

In the meantime I have managed to accomplish some things.

  1. I got Picasso into counseling. He had an appointment within a day after I finally reached someone at the counseling center.

    2. Rock Star has her sophomore year paid for. Yes, it’s due to loans but it’s paid for. And she will be applying to nursing school this upcoming semester.

    3. I got a new position in my department and I finally got to move over to my new desk. I don’t make much more than I did before but it’s a step up instead of a step down.

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping for some well-deserved change in the upcoming year.