2022- A Meh Kinda Year

It’s trigger season- that lovely time of the year when all of my Facebook memories show me visiting with my family and friends in Indiana and Utah right before the axe dropped. It’s full of updates about my pool. The trip out to Virginia to buy a house. Our bucket list of things to do before we moved. Pictures of our house in Utah up for sale. Pictures of us moving into our new home in Virginia. Pictures of all of our new furniture and how I decorated my house. It’s right around the time I found out about Harley the first time. It’s June now which means, not D Day, but the day he texted me to tell me he had lost his job and wouldn’t be sending anymore money my way. June 10th. And Father’s Day. Always a jolly holiday in our household. I’ve still got pictures of me renting a U-Haul so the kids and I could move to Indiana after Jerry Lee lost his job to look forward to in late July and August is the month of both of my D-Days- the 10th and the 14th. So many memories to trudge through. Or avoid.

This year, though, it’s been kinda “meh”. Maybe I’m simply too busy with work. I had already put in 38 or 39 hours by the time I logged onto the computer Thursday morning. It’s going to be a hell of a week this week, too.

June 10th came and went with no fanfare, which is exactly what I want. When it first happened it overshadowed DDay as the worst day ever. I thought that day would be a looming anniversary forever. An indelible memory. But once again it passed with almost no notice. I was actually sitting on the couch and I thought to myself, “Oh! Did I completely miss it this year?” I was quite excited and happy. And then I realized it was June 10th. So, it’s still there slightly niggling at my brain, but it’s like a cobweb that I can swipe away.

Today was Father’s Day. It was no biggie. I guess I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t had to deal with my kids happily trotting off with Jerry Lee and Harley, playing happy new family. I do, however, think about my kids and the fact that their father is such a piece of shit. I’ve said before it will never NOT hurt when he hurts my kids. The fact that neither of my children has a real father they can rely on hurts them, so it hurts me. I believe that in past years Rock Star and Picasso would acknowledge me on Father’s Day. One year I bought myself a Father’s Day gift. This year, though, it was very “meh”. None of us acknowledged it. It was just another day.

It’s nice when it gets to that point. It’s also a little weird. I often think it should mean more. I’m glad it doesn’t.

Next month will mark 6 years since I moved back to Indiana. It will also mark 8 years since we left Utah. I was all set to write a maudlin post next month about how July marks a turning point. We’ve been out of Utah as long as we lived there and every day henceforth would mark more time out of Utah, than in. Perhaps that’s when it becomes a reality. You realize the life you left behind has been gone longer than you had it.

Then I did the math and realized that we weren’t there for a full 8 years. We moved there in November of 2006. We moved to Virginia in July of 2014. We were in Utah 7 years and 8 months. Without even realizing it we were already living this new life outside of Utah longer than we had been living our lives in Utah. Once the math was done and I acknowledged that July wouldn’t be the start of the time clock, that the countdown clock had in fact already begun, it quickly became another “meh” moment. No use in reminiscing. What’s done is done.

It is getting late and I have another long day tomorrow.

Mother’s Day 2022

As mentioned previously I had a splendid Mother’s Day. 

Rock Star came up on Saturday because we went to the Garth Brooks concert. It was so much better than the concert we went to in October of 2019. That one was good; make no mistake. But the weather was miserable.This was the beginning of his stadium tour. It was outside in October. Which could have gone either way. The weather had been quite nice actually up until the time of the actual concert. We dealt with freezing rain and temperatures in the 30s. My feet were frozen. And since this concert was being filmed for the special that aired in December of that year we had to do a lot of stopping and starting and repeating.

This time though the weather was perfect. There were no cameras for filming so the concert flowed. He didn’t come on until 8:30, I believe, but he proceeded to entertain us for 2 and a half hours. He made his entrance hanging off a piece of stage equipment. He joked. He sang. 

I have to tell you, if you’ve never seen him in concert, the man is an amazing performer. He plays all of his big hits. At one point he was talking about a band member and how this band member had taught him to play the guitar, taught him three cords. He played those three cords and the crowd went wild. It was “Friends In Low Places”. He even sang the third verse. 

He has a way of making every crowd feel like they’re the best he’s ever experienced. And seemed genuinely shocked when he would play the real old songs and the crowd would burst into song along with him. He also loves reading the signs and singing the songs the fans are begging him to sing.

I said he played for 2 1/2 hours. I’m pretty sure a solid hour of that was the encore. He came back on and sang a few songs before starting the cover of “Shallow.” Up pops Trisha Yearwood to join him. She ended up singing one of her songs, “She’s In Love With the Boy,” as well, and then sang backup on a few more songs for her husband.

Then he did a second encore! The second encore was pretty much all sing alongs. It wasn’t his stuff but they were all well known songs, like “Piano Man”. We’d all sing with him and it was usually just one verse and a chorus before he’d go on to the next one. He did that with his first encore, too, where he was signing the songs the fans had written on poster board.

Anyway, it was amazing. It was probably the best concert I’ve ever been to. I’m so glad I got to share the experience with my daughter, my mom, the mobster, and Sweet J.

Earlier that day I treated myself because it was Mother’s Day weekend. I bought myself a new pair of Hokas and a new computer. It’s still not set up, primarily because it didn’t come with Windows and I’m trying to decide if I want to spend the money to lease it. I’ll also have to remember what my password was to my blog.

We had biscuits and gravy in the morning on Mother’s Day. My brother came over later and made beef stroganoff for us, with a little help from me. My daughter gave me flowers and some really great pictures of the two of us. She made picture frames, too. My son couldn’t wait for me to open my gift so he had set it up in my bedroom when I got back from the concert. He bought me a gold plated rose.

I don’t know if any of you remember The Rose of Death story I told about my 20 year anniversary gift from Jerry Lee. The cliff notes version for those of you who have never read it or have perhaps forgotten it is this: For our 20th anniversary Jerry Lee bought me a platinum plated rose mounted on a wooden stand. He paid over $100 for this. I was not a fan. It might not have been so bad except when I was opening the package I saw something about a family tree with little picture fames for the family so I thought that was what I was getting. And also, really? 20 years together and your gift is a platinum dipped rose? I was very disappointed. It would have been a perfectly fine gift for my birthday or Christmas or even Mother’s Day.

Back to present day. My mom told me he had showed her what he bought. She said he was so proud of it. “I finally have money so I can buy her something really nice!” he told her. She said she debated telling me about it because she knew how I had felt about the platinum dipped one years ago. Even Rock Star later admitted that when I brought it out she was inwardly dying. She, too, knew the story about the Rose of Death.

I love the rose my son bought me. It hits a lot differently when it’s your kid buying you something. I love that he wanted to buy me something really special. I love that he put time and thought into it. And I love that he was so proud of his gift. I love that he thinks I’m worth it.

Along with the rose he gave me a handwritten note. Basically it thanked me for being there and supporting him through the rough time he has had the past year or so.

How was your Mother’s Day?

A Belated Mother’s Day Message (Or An Early Father’s Day Message)

Mother’s Day has come and gone. Mine was splendid but I’ll write about that later. It’s a little late to save the moms this year but if I have any male readers dealing with cheating wives maybe I can save you some heartache this coming Father’s Day.

I saw so many people this year hurt and bewildered by their ex or soon-to-be-ex not wishing them a happy Mother’s Day.

I’m the mother of his child(ren) and he didn’t even wish me a happy Mother’s Day! You’d think the least he could do is acknowledge that. We were together for X number of years. I’m the one raising his kids, the ones he left behind. Is it that difficult for him to do this one small thing and recognize me on Mother’s Day?

Yes! Yes, it is asking for too much to expect him to acknowledge you on Mother’s Day. He couldn’t keep his dick in his pants while you were married/living together/in a relationship. Showing you any sign of respect is not his strong suit. What makes you think he’s going to treat you better now than when you were actually together? Before you at least served a purpose. You cooked his meals, kept his house, did his laundry, made sure the bills were paid, kept his life in order, had sex with him. You made him look like a stable, normal human being. Now you’re just a nuisance to him.

I know that sounds harsh and I’m sorry. There’s simply no way to sugar coat it. As Chump Lady says over and over, “You cannot look to the person who hurt you to help you heal.” That’s like asking your kidnapper to help you escape.

Maybe I am blessed with the ability to shut things off when I see them going south. I was all in with Jerry Lee and our wreckconciliation until I got the news from The Saint about Jerry Lee lying about where he had been. When I found out Jerry Lee was messing around with Harley again I was done. I wasn’t looking forward to what needed to happen but I knew it was over. I had warned him two years prior.

I remember my first anniversary post separation. Rock Star bought me candy and flowers. I took my kids to Olive Garden (ironically, an hour’s drive away from where we were living). I focused on making the day about them. Never in a million years was I expecting Jerry Lee to even mention the day in passing, much less send me a message acknowledging our anniversary or send me flowers.

I didn’t expect him to recognize my birthday and I wasn’t sitting on pins and needles wondering if he would do anything for me for Mother’s Day. Most of the time he half assed it while we were married. Why on earth would I expect him to pull out all the stops now that he was fucking his cousin?

Is it because we’ve been fed this constant stream of conscious uncoupling bullshit? Are we really buying into this narrative that “divorce doesn’t mean you’re no longer a family; it just means your family has been rearranged slightly,”?

I’ll say it again. You cannot expect the person who broke you to help put you back together. They are not capable of it. They have no vested interest in doing so. There’s nothing in it for them.

Protect your heart. Don’t expect anything out of them. Don’t expect humanity. This is your ex for a reason. When you no longer expect, or better yet, don’t even want acknowledgement from them on your birthday or Mother’s Day or Christmas you take away their power to hurt you.

Gentlemen, if you were wishing your cheating ex’s a Happy Mother’s Day- STOP! They don’t appreciate it and they don’t deserve it. It ends up making you feel bad because your acknowledgement falls on deaf ears and frequently is met with dead silence. It’s no longer your job to celebrate your children’s mother. Someone else can do that, and if she’s got no one else, well, she’s got no one else to blame but herself for her circumstances.

Ladies, I failed you on Mother’s Day but keep in mind, the above message goes for you as well on Father’s Day. You aren’t taking the high road by celebrating him when he ignores you. You are eating a giant shit sandwich and telling yourself it tastes wonderful. Please stop.

If your kids are old enough to buy a gift for him on their own, let them. If your kids aren’t old enough to do that, and they actually want to do something for him I’ve heard many people suggest letting them make him a card or draw him a picture. If you’re feeling rather generous maybe take them to the dollar store or some big box store and give them a budget of $5 or less. If your kids don’t ask to do anything, or maybe they’re not even old enough to do anything, don’t do anything for him. It’s not your job.

Take back your power. Take back your sanity. Don’t let them hurt you this way anymore.

Whoopi Disappoints Me

Have you heard about the Reddit thread where people ask if they’re the asshole in the situation they’re in? If not, I assure you it exists.

Right before Thanksgiving a woman wrote in asking if she was the asshole because she didn’t want to invite her cheating neighbor and his side piece to Thanksgiving dinner.

As she states in her post: I am part of a group of friends in my neighborhood. We take turns hosting dinner parties between our households. One of our group recently moved out because her husband was cheating with his secretary. In the last month he moved her in and is acting as if everything is normal.

Turns out the letter writer was due to host Thanksgiving on her month because none of the people in the group could go be with family that year. The cheating neighbor asked the letter writer’s husband about the plans for that month, assuming he and the mistress would be invited. When her husband informed him that no, they weren’t invited and that due to the circumstances none of the wives wanted either of them around, the mistress jumped into action.

She approached me right as I was getting home from work so I’m assuming she was waiting for me. She wants to try to mend fences and build friendships with the wives of her boyfriend’s friends and neighbors as she’s now part of the community.

The letter writer was having none of that. She simply told her she didn’t want to be friends with a woman that screws around with married men and let her know that her “boyfriend” stopped being her friend the minute he destroyed his family and broke her friend’s heart.

Not to leave you hanging but of course, cheating neighbor was furious because the home wrecker was upset.  How dare you upset his side piece? And in a shocking twist the husband stuck up for his wife, told his friend he didn’t approve of what he had done either, and let him know his wife didn’t wish to continue a friendship with him or his whore (although in the thread she was called his girlfriend).

They discussed this on The View. How I managed to see this snippet I’m not sure. I don’t watch The View. Maybe it came up on my Google feed? Anyway, Whoopi brought this up and she was all but sneering at this woman. She said all the typical things you hear in their defense: It’s none of her business. She has no idea what their marriage was like. It was presumptive. Maybe the wife was relieved to find out her husband was cheating because it gave her an out. And then she goes on to say that when she has friends that break up she remains friends with both of them because you just don’t know what goes on in other people’s relationships.

Balderdash! I have this to say in return: No one is entitled to my friendship. I have every right to end a friendship for whatever reason. Hey, you wore purple on a Tuesday. I’m done! You watch The Bachelor. I’m done! You’re a Tom Brady fan. I’m outta here! Your favorite M&Ms are the brown ones. Nope. It can be anything.

Obviously those are some extreme (and stupid) examples but honestly, anything can be a deal breaker. And believe me, if I’m going to kick someone to the street for preferring brown M&Ms I sure as hell am not going to be embracing a husband stealing, married-men-fucking whore that helped destroy my good friend’s marriage. I don’t give a shit if she didn’t “owe” her anything or not. Don’t shit on my friend and think I’m going to welcome you into my life. If I don’t want to be around your lying, cheating piece of shit new beau then I don’t want to be around you either.

Furthermore, no one is entitled to be invited to my dinner parties either. You don’t get to demand an invitation. You certainly don’t get to demand I invite your mistress or play nice with her.

I don’t care if I supposedly don’t know the whole story or that I only know my friend’s side of what happened. Guess what? She’s my friend. Her side is the only one I care about! I don’t care if someone thinks it isn’t any of my business. I can’t un-know what I know and if I know someone is a lying, dirty dog then I know that whether it’s my business or not. And once I know I can decide I don’t want to be around that person.

I’ll say it again for those in the back. NO ONE is entitled to my friendship, my time, or an invitation to my social gathering. You want to be invited to my neighborhood Thanksgiving? Don’t fuck my friend’s husband. You want to continue being invited? Don’t cheat on my friend.

The Warm, Soft Glow of Christmas Lights

One of my favorite things to do during Christmas is to sit in the still darkness while the Christmas lights softly glow around me. There is something so peaceful about this. I think the best time to do this is in the early morning when everyone is sleeping and all you can hear are the quiet sounds of the household. I sit there quietly, sometimes reading on my phone, sometimes doing nothing, and let the feeling of Christmas wash over me.

It seems like every time I’m with the mobster we are going, going, going! We go a hundred miles an hour, trying to wring every last second out of our time together. It’s usually on that very last day or evening that we finally sit and simply take it all in. It’s kind of like those moments in the dark in front of the Christmas tree.

This year when I went down to visit him for our Christmas together we made it a point to sit on his screened in porch in front of one of his two Christmas trees and just be. We had a cup of coffee and there may have been food. I don’t remember. We looked at the lights and simply enjoyed our quiet time together. In fact, that’s where we ended up opening our gifts to one another as well.

I think that maybe what I’ve been searching for these last few years is the feeling of Christmas. The Hallmark movies I enjoy the most are the ones that show the town coming together and people enjoying traditions and time spent with loved ones. It’s the spirit of Christmas and how they show that. I don’t care about the love story. They could have an entire movie about the town’s Christmas festival and if they didn’t showcase a single romance I would not be sad at all. Sitting quietly while I watch the lights brings that feeling back to me, if only for a few minutes.

Now, in our household, all things Christmas are done. The decorations are put away. The lights will wait until next year to make another appearance. My daughter is already headed back to school. Thankfully I have the mobster’s visit on New Year’s Eve to keep the holiday blues at bay.

Now it’s on to holiday leftovers. Get ready for the New Year, everyone. 

Christmas 2020

For being in the middle of a pandemic it wasn’t a bad Christmas. You don’t always know how the holidays are going to turn out. I think Christmas brings with it a lot of pressure.

Think about it. The stores start putting out Christmas decorations in September. I’ve actually seen Christmas displays in Hobby Lobby in July. Not large displays, mind you, but they definitely have stuff out. Then you have the Christmas ads that begin to run in September. Sometimes that’s just so they can say they’ve had the first Christmas ad of the season but they are definitely appearing by early November, if not in October. You’ve got radio stations that begin playing Christmas music on November 1st. Thanksgiving is treated like a precursor to Christmas a lot of times. There’s Black Friday for in person shopping and Black Monday for online shopping.

Speaking of which, did everyone prefer the way the retailers went about it this year? I was so glad not to be overwhelmed with deals and sales that one day on Thanksgiving this year. I liked how almost all of the stores were closed for all of Thanksgiving. I was never one of those who was planning on boycotting any store that was open on Thanksgiving (I’m also not a fan of Black Friday shopping and do most of mine online) but I thought it was a lovely return to times in the past where holidays were actually spent with family instead of rushing out to begin buying for Christmas.

Anyway, there is tons of stress surrounding the holidays and trying to make everything perfect. And with this year being a year of social distancing and sickness no one was really sure how this was going to play out.

My only disappointment this year was not being able to do the cookie exchange/white elephant gift with my friends. Covid hit a little too close to home right before the holidays so that was scrapped.

I did my Christmas baking and I think I made almost a perfect amount of food. There was probably a little too much and I have definitely been eating way too much. They call it Christmas crack for a reason.

I had a lovely time in Virginia with the amazing mobster earlier in the month. We played some Pokemon Go, did some Christmas baking, opened our gifts to one another, ate some great food, and just enjoyed each other’s company for a longish weekend.

I was a little bit upset about the short amount of time my daughter was spending at home this year. She didn’t come up until the 23rd. I thought she was staying until Tuesday or Wednesday, but it turned out she was scheduled to work so she left on Sunday the 27th. It all turned out okay though. It was good having her home and we have made plans for me to go down there to see her in January.

We weren’t sure how Christmas Eve was going to play out. Our Christmas Eve gatherings used to be so large that we would have appetizers for dinner because people came and went. Many years my mom and stepfather would invite friends over on Christmas Eve. Both of my brothers and their families were present. My stepsister and her kids started coming over. It was a big cheerful bunch. 

Over the years that has changed. The friends of my mom and stepdad have passed. My stepdad passed. My one brother has not been up for Christmas in close to ten years. My niece, Florence Nightengale, hasn’t been up for Christmas since she got married last September and when she doesn’t come up, her brother doesn’t come up either. My stepsister had to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Her daughter who is in grad school in Chicago opted not to come over because of Chicago’s Covid-19 restrictions. Her son and his wife had texted earlier in the week to say that they would be coming over but probably wouldn’t be staying long. My sister-in-law also worked on Christmas Eve.

It turned out to be a really good Christmas Eve though. My nephew and his wife ended up staying for several hours, and they were more talkative than they’ve been in years. Probably because they usually stick together in one little pod of four when they come together. This year they had no choice but to talk to the others.

My friend Sweet J is dealing with her crazy family so she opted to come over for Christmas Eve instead of dealing with them.

My son’s friend came by to drop off a gift for him. I asked him if he would like a plate of cookies to take home with him. He was hesitant to take it because he was dropping off gifts. I’m not sure if he thought he could only have them if he stayed and ate, but I told him I would be more than happy to fix a plate and he could take them with him. He is also friends with my nephew and said his was the last gift he had to drop off. I jokingly said, “If you’d waited until 5 he would have been over here and you could have killed two birds with one stone.” Well, that started off a chain of events that led to him being over at our house until 10:30 or 11:00 that night. He ended up staying for dinner and trying green bean casserole for the first time in his life. He sat with us while we opened gifts. I felt bad because there was nothing for him except for what my nephew had gifted him but it was pretty obvious his mom was not picking him up any time soon and we had a houseful of people waiting to open gifts.

Picasso and I pooled our money together and bought my brother a knighthood from Sealander.  Picasso asked him, “How does it feel Sir Uncle C?”

We had a feast of seven layer salad, deviled eggs, ham, Swedish meatballs, scalloped potatoes, corn casserole, broccoli, cheese and rice casserole, green bean casserole, and Texas Roadhouse rolls (yes, you can buy those suckers frozen and take them home!). There was pie but I don’t think we ever got around to eating it. We also had cheese and summer sausage and shrimp cocktail before dinner.

I got some amazing gifts, including a beautiful Mom necklace from my daughter, 2 bottles of my favorite wine from a local winery, and a giant stuffed Eevee from my son.

Christmas Day I had a full stocking. I had to have a little conversation with my kids about that because last year I was the only one without a stocking. I fill theirs and my mom’s and I had nada. But they made up for it this year. I got a huge coffee mug, another polar bear ornament (in addition to the two my mom gifted me), a wine journal, sugar free chocolate, and some gift cards.

Both of my kids loved their gifts. All of them. The gifts they opened on Christmas Eve and the ones they found on the mantle and in their stockings on Christmas morning. Picasso loved his record player and the vinyl albums he got and Rock Star loved all of the clothes, shoes, and jewelry.

I made a breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls in the morning. Queen B and my nephew (I need to give him a name- I think I’ll call him C2) came over a little later in the day to play Phase 10. My brother showed up as well.

You’ve never played Phase 10 until you’ve played it with him. He always wants to know who’s in the lead and how many points. Then he’s always sure to tell you who you should be skipping. This year he began the tradition of the Skip Box because people would forget they were skipped. Or rather, they would attempt to play when they were skipped and insist they had already served their skip. So he handed out the Skip Box. You can give it back once you’ve been skipped.

Picasso’s friend came over again because he was interested in playing Phase 10. He took my brother’s spot because he had to go back home. He and my sister-in-law were going over to the neighbor’s house for Christmas dinner.

Queen B left to go meet up with one of her friends and we ordered Chinese food for those of us remaining.

I sent Merry Christmas messages to my friends both near and far and got many back in return. Plus, I had a few video chats with the mobster and his Christmas guests.

It was a wonderful Christmas. I’m hoping next year will be equally wonderful. Maybe a little less food because we have so much left over. My mom and I both have said we are not cooking for several days.

Christmas 2020 is in the books. Time to start planning Christmas 2021.

It’s That Day Again

There were so many different things I thought I was going to write about.  I started off thinking I would write about the fact that no matter how much I try to train my brain that today is just another day there’s always a little part of me that recognizes today is the day I made the biggest mistake of my life, aka my now defunct anniversary.

Then I tried to find a new pair of jeans. I was going to write about that. Shopping in the age of a pandemic is not easy. All of my old jeans are too big; I really need some new ones. Truth be told I can usually wear the old jeans for about 30 minutes to an hour and then they begin drooping and falling off my ass. It’s a good problem to have, I suppose. Much better than the old problem which is where I couldn’t zip my jeans up because I was getting too fat. Nonetheless, I’d really like to find a few pairs that fit. After nearly two hours of trying to find a new pair of jeans, ones that would fit just right- not too tight, not too loose- I gave up and headed to the Chick-Fil-A in the food court at the mall. I was already there and my hope was that it would be less crowded than the other one.

As I waited in line for my food I got a notification on my phone. It was Jerry Lee. 

No, he did not text to commemorate our former anniversary. He was letting me know I should check my Venmo. Mississippi finally sent the money back and he was finally sending it back to me.

I find a certain poetic justice in that. Turning over a big chunk of change to me on what would have been our 26th wedding anniversary. I always find it humorous when he pays me alimony on our anniversary. I wonder if he realizes that? Do you think he’s connected the dots and ever thinks, “Jesus, Joseph, and Mary! If I’d just kept my dick in my pants and stayed married I could keep all of this money,”? Probably not. I’m sure if he even remembers the past significance of this date he feels it was a good deal. 

It won’t happen again though because it’s automatically deducted out of his paycheck now but you have to admit as far as anti-versary gifts go this one is a doozy. I got a nice big pay day and the saga with Mississippi is finally over. Plus, he has to pay me again on Tuesday. To cap off this fantastic day I’m getting on a plane tomorrow afternoon and flying down to see my love. Happy former anniversary to me!

Polar Bear Down

I love polar bears. I collect them. I actually had a polar bear Christmas tree back in my old life.

It was just a regular little 3 foot tree. My former sister-in-law had gifted me with a set of polar bear lights, knowing that I liked polar bears. I had accumulated polar bear ornaments over the years, as well. Eventually I had so many that I bought the little 3 ft. tree and put all of my polar bears on it.

As you can probably imagine it hasn’t seen the light of day since 2014 or 2015. I really couldn’t remember how much decorating we did for Christmas in 2015 because that was the year Jerry Lee was busy fucking his cousin and the kids and I headed to Indiana to spend the holidays with my family. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out I did not pull out the tree.

Regardless, every year I would put the tree, ornaments and all, right back into the wardrobe box we had. The tree fit effortlessly into it and when Christmas rolled around the following year I only had to pull it out, fluff out the branches, and maybe place a few of the ornaments that had fallen off back on.

This year I finally decided to bring it out again. We had space for it so may as well bring it out of the box and let it spread a little holiday cheer.  Only…. when I pulled the tree out of the box there were no ornaments on the tree. The polar bear lights were still on, and the silver beads I used as garland were still wound around the tree branches. But no ornaments.

I even ended up hauling in my box of ornaments for my own tree and going through the entire box of them to see if I had taken the ornaments off of the tree and wrapped them up with all the others. No dice. I found the heavy polar bears I had bought years and years ago as a full set with the dates on them. But I had accumulated so many polar bear ornaments that I eventually took those off of my polar bear tree and just put them on our regular tree. There were two others in the box as well, but that was it.

I don’t recall taking the ornaments off and storing them someplace else. My daughter swears she doesn’t have her ornaments either and they should be in a box someplace. So maybe they are. I tried looking through all the boxes out in the workshop but I didn’t see them. I didn’t get through all of the bins and boxes, and I didn’t take everything out of each box, so I suppose there’s some hope there. Then again, it may be the same thing that happened with Picasso’s Christmas nutcracker collection. I think they were up in the alcove in the garage and they got left behind. That sonofabitch.

When things like this occur I often find myself cursing his name. I whisper angrily to no one, “He wanted this. He chose this. He deliberately left everything behind. I didn’t choose any of this. It was all forced upon me.”

That doesn’t really help matters, does it?

I was in a funk for a little bit, mourning the loss of all of my polar bear ornaments that I had lovingly collected over the years- many of them gifts. Truthfully, I wanted to cry. I told the mobster what had happened and he assured me that we would get all new ornaments for my tree. They would be better and “gooder”. I didn’t want better or gooder. I wanted my old ornaments. The ones I had collected for many years. The ones I hadn’t seen in five or six years because I didn’t have any place to put my damn tree.

I think part of my problem is that I really do need to be dramatic and whiny first; then I can move on and do whatever the hell it is that I have to do. I really need to purge those feelings of disappointment first. I was thinking about that when I pulled the tree out and the ornaments were not there, and when I went through the entire bin hoping against hope that they would be safely wrapped up there. There was a fork in the road and I could play this one of two ways. I could be Pollyanna and tell myself, “They’re only ornaments. This will give you a chance to buy all new ones.” Kinda like the mobster said. Or, I could cry and throw a fit and declare that no polar bear ornaments would ever match the magic of the previous, now lost, ornaments. That was the way I was headed. Let’s just throw out the damn tree and forget about it. Take the few I have, stick them in a box, and give them to Goodwill.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, we were planning on going shopping so I didn’t have time to properly wail and gnash my teeth. Such a damn disappointment; however, in the end the shopping trip saved me. It took my mind off of my loss and I actually ended up buying a new ornament with a small polar bear on it while I was out. It certainly doesn’t make up for the dozens of ornaments I lost but it’s a start. I guess I’m learning to be a Pollyanna. Hooray for me?

Another Thanksgiving In the Books

It’s past midnight so technically it’s no longer Thanksgiving but I thought I’d write a Thanksgiving post anyway.

I got up and ran 3.25 miles so I could justify having some pumpkin pie and all the carbs I was going to consume. When I got back, even before jumping in the shower, I started cooking. My mom and I split the cooking. She did a new recipe for cranberries which was really good. She also made the green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, the turkey, and deviled eggs.

For as long as I can remember every holiday meal has included my mom’s deviled eggs. With the exception of Picasso, and maybe my nephew, we all love them. Some years we even fight over them. She’s learned from her mistakes though and makes quite a few of them so we don’t have to fight to the death for the last one.

The turkey was actually pretty good this year. I’ve often said it’s my least favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. I could easily have a Thanksgiving feast with only sides. Stuffing? Love it! Green bean casserole? Oh, give me a heaping pile of that. Pumpkin pie? Yes, please! I’ll even take the mashed potatoes and dumplings over the turkey usually. But this year it was good.

For my part I made the obligatory corn casserole, dumplings, stuffing, and a meatloaf. I think it’s now a tradition for me to make a meatloaf along with the turkey. This is the second year now that I’ve made a meatloaf. Last year I made one because my niece asked me to and buttered me up by telling me how much she loved my meatloaf. Of course, she also does not like turkey. This year my mom asked me to make one because she wasn’t sure that the FOURTEEN POUND turkey would feed the seven of us. The bonus was my niece was not expecting it so she was very excited when she found out there was meatloaf.

I am contractually bound to make corn casserole and dumplings every Thanksgiving. One year I didn’t make it and I thought my brother was going to grieve himself to death. “It’s just not Thanksgiving dinner without your corn casserole!” The funny part is I don’t even eat it. It’s something everyone else seems to like though.

My brother is a funny one. He is never the one to cook but he frequently likes to plan the menu. I keep trying to sell soup and salad for a holiday meal and he’s having none of it. This year he checked to make sure the corn casserole and green bean casserole were going to be on the table. I told him I was making the corn casserole and I thought Mom was going to make the green bean casserole. He told me if she wasn’t planning on doing so to let him know what all was in it and he’d do it himself.

What all is in it? How is the man in his 40s and ignorant of what all goes into green bean casserole? It’s not a complicated recipe. Green beans, cream of mushroom soup, dried french onions. Boom! There’s your recipe. Does it really need to be spelled out as to how to assemble it? I don’t think so.

I’m sure you’ll all be relieved to know he approved the menu and said that this would do nicely for Christmas Eve, just switch out the turkey with ham, and maybe I could also make my cheesy broccoli and rice casserole.

It was a fairly small gathering but that’s nothing new. Typically on Thanksgiving it’s only me, my mom, my two kids and then my brother and his family. My sister-in-law was working today so it was just the seven of us. Sweet J was invited but she’s been under the weather this past week so she didn’t attend. No, she doesn’t have Covid-19; she’s been tested twice now and both tests were negative. She’s just sick.

Picasso went home with my brother because they’re going out hunting again tomorrow. He’ll be gone all weekend unless they both get a deer the first day. 

I’m not clear on Rock Star’s timeline but I think she’s going back to school before Sunday. Tomorrow we are supposed to go shopping. She thinks she’s going to con me into buying her lots of clothes and shoes. She’s not. It’s way too close to Christmas for me to be taking her clothes shopping. So this ought to be an interesting shopping trip tomorrow (or rather, later today).

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Santa is coming!

August and Anti-versaries

Holy moly! I can’t believe it’s August already. This year has been such a shit year. It seems like all we do is tick days, then weeks, then months off of the calendar, hoping against hope that our lives might return to something resembling normal. I’m not sure there’s anybody out there actually enjoying this year. Most are enduring. I know I am. Between checking off the weeks that I’ve been downtown and away from our regular spot, and weighing in on Fridays, hoping to see the scale go down, it’s been an entire year of getting from week to week.

Summer is always a little tricky for me. I do my best to not let Jerry Lee and his past behavior influence how I see an entire season but it can sometimes be difficult. I found out about his first affair Mother’s Day weekend in 2013. I spent the entire summer pick me dancing and holding my breath, not knowing whether or not our marriage would survive. All that culminated in me getting a message from The Saint the day of Rock Star’s birthday party.

It was August 14th, 2013. My stepfather had just died. I was in the middle of buying drinks and ice, picking up the big 6 foot sub from Walmart, grabbing cupcakes, picking up chips and cookies and candy, and getting things set up down at the reservoir for her party after gymnastics practice. It appeared out of nowhere: Did you get a good lawyer yet? That was the way I found out Jerry Lee was a bald faced liar and had been in communication with Harley the entire summer, despite swearing up and down he would end it with her.

Two years later the kids and I took off for Queen Bee’s graduation and then headed out to Utah for 2 weeks. Not long after we got back we took off to Florida. Jerry Lee couldn’t come with us because of a work obligation. While in Florida I saw a purchase made in Whore Town. That was also the summer of him wiring his “mom” money for groceries and buying “her” and his “stepdad” phones and paying their cell phone bill. Needless to say there was no work obligation and he wasn’t sending shit to his mom. It was all Harley.

August 10th, 2015 I got another message from The Saint: I thought you should know Jerry Lee has been spending his weekends in Whore Town with Harley. Just like that my entire life crumbled.

This summer has been interesting. It marks five years since my life as I knew it ended. I’m pretty okay with it this year. I forgot June 10th this year. That’s the day, four years ago, he informed me with a brief text message that he had lost his job and wouldn’t be sending me anymore money. Period. Nothing else to be said. Completely forgot the date this year.

I also didn’t notice the day, six years ago, that we moved into our new house in Virginia. Oh sure, I saw Facebook memories. There were pictures of us going to some of our favorite places one last time before we left. Pictures of us going out to lunch and dinner with friends. Pictures of me with people who were saying goodbye. Pictures of the moving truck the day they came to load everything up. But I forgot the day we moved in. Ironically, it was pretty much a year to the day that Jerry Lee was fucking Harley instead of going on vacation with his family. Good times, good times.

Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll even make the connection this year. I was in the shower this morning after my four mile run and I suddenly thought, “Oh shit! It’s August. Some serious bullshit went down this month in 2013 and 2015. I almost forgot about that.” That was the extent of my thoughts.

Earlier this year I was trying to remember a date. I was thinking to myself, “Was it the 10th or the 14th?” Then I suddenly realized it was neither of those two dates. Those were my D-Days! This thing I was thinking about was a good memory and it happened about a week later. Those dates were stuck in my head but I no longer associated them with trauma. Maybe this is what getting to Meh feels like. Maybe it’s a way to see that I’m healing. Whatever it is those dates don’t hold much significance anymore.

Wanna know something really funny? We’ll see if Jerry Lee is going to follow the court order this month. He gets paid on the 15th and the last day of the month. This month though the 15th falls on a Saturday. So I should be getting my first direct deposit from his company on August 14th- 7 years to the exact day since my first D-Day. That’s even better than all the times he ended up paying spousal support on our anniversary. Maybe another celebration cake will be in order.