Stop Expecting Equality, They Advise

I saw something once on a Facebook page. A woman who had been left by her husband of many years was lamenting the fact that he made approximately 4x what she did, and once support ended he would still be making 4x what she made and she’d be struggling on her own. Like many of us, she had been a stay at home mom, supporting him in his career climb behind the scenes for years, and now that she’s middle aged and he’s decided he needs a different model, she’s disposed of and left to fend for herself. She did have a job, a teaching job, but it paid far less than her ex-husband’s job. Where is the justice, she wanted to know? Where are his consequences for his behavior? Why must she suffer all of them while he suffers none?

Someone advised her to stop expecting equality. She pointed out that it was a fruitless exercise and once she stopped focusing on that, the better off she would be. Unfortunately it didn’t stop there. She went on to say that countless numbers of people undoubtedly make more money than the original complainant does and she needs to put her ex-husband in that group and focus on herself and what she can do to make more money.

I get it. I truly do. If we continued to dwell on the unfairness of it all we would go crazy. Hell, I consider myself to be at “Meh” when it comes to the end of our relationship and the fact that he married his gold digging whore of a cousin. I’m even pretty close to “Meh” when I think about my old lifestyle and everything that has been lost. But that’s because I’ve learned not to stay there in that cesspool of “What if’s?” too long. If I do, it infuriates me. Even to this day. So I walk away. I focus on other things.

But here’s the thing. This isn’t just someone else that makes more money than we do. This is the person who was supposed to be our partner. We supported them, encouraged them, picked up the home life slack for them. We thought we were building something together. We formed our plans for our life based upon them. And they decided to take their toys and give them to someone else. 

My boss makes more money than me. I’m pretty sure both of my brothers make more money than me. Most of the people I work with make more money than me. I’m perfectly aware that there are a lot of people out there that make more money than me. Am I resentful of them? No, of course not.

Those people also didn’t rise to their position on my back. They didn’t string me along until they got what they wanted and then kick me in the face and leave me and my kids to starve. They didn’t ask me to move multiple times throughout our relationship, leaving behind friends and a life I had foraged. They didn’t throw up roadblocks to me getting a job so that I was financially dependent upon them.

He did. He did all of that and he suffers no consequences. His life goes on exactly as it did before. And for the most part I don’t think about it. Because I would go crazy and the anger would consumer me. So I don’t dwell on it. I don’t expect equality. For crying out loud, he’s got a 20 year head start on me. I’d be crazy to expect equality.

But to act like he’s just some other person out there who makes more than me? To skip happily along and get a second and third job so I can get somewhere close to the amount he makes? To donate plasma twice a week on a regular basis to make up the difference? To sign up for Door Dash and Uber and tutor and babysit and string together a whole list of side jobs so I can hopefully take a vacation once in a blue moon while the ex takes two and three expensive vacations a year? To live in a crappy little dingy basement apartment while he’s living in a four bedroom/ 2 bathroom house with a fireplace and a hot tub in a quiet subdivision?

Nah. I’m not going to do any of that and act like it’s no big deal. It is a big fucking deal and that was the original woman’s point.

Thanksgiving 2021

This was going to be a much different post. Thanksgiving 2021 didn’t go exactly as planned and I was not in a very good mood because of it. By the end of the day I had Thanksgiving 2022 all planned out. I was going to the beach. I was going to stay at a hotel. Wake up and have a lovely hotel breakfast. For lunch/dinner I would go Captain George’s Seafood Buffet. Crab legs on Thanksgiving! Yes, please! I’d spend the day walking the boardwalk, playing Pokemon Go. Maybe I’d try to do a puzzle. Maybe I’d write a few posts. In the evening after the sun had set I planned to walk along the beach and look at all the Christmas lights set up on the beach.

And then I pulled my head out of my ass and reminded myself of how much I have to be grateful for. Yes, Thanksgiving 2021 didn’t go off as planned but it wasn’t horrible. It simply wasn’t what I had envisioned.

I think it’s fair to say that Christmas has a leg up on Thanksgiving. And no, that’s not a turkey joke. Christmas has music and lights. Pageants. Christmas plays. Church bizarres. Presents. Cookies. Lots of Christmas baking. Cocoa. Santa Claus. The Nutcracker. Hallmark movies. Christmas has tons of stuff. But Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving has food and family. That’s it. Oh, and a parade. But then again, so does Christmas.

I was feeling sorry for myself because my daughter and her boyfriend weren’t coming up the night before or spending the night the day of. In fact, they arrived right before dinner started around 2, and they took off 2 or 3 hours later. It was a very brief visit. And needless to say, I miss her. My mom misses her.

Then as I was getting ready to make the meatloaf that my niece loves (she’s not a fan of turkey) my mom told me Queen B had texted her to let her know she hadn’t been feeling well all week and still wasn’t feeling great. So she wouldn’t be at Thanksgiving. The appearance of her boyfriend had been up in the air until that point. Obviously, if he was only going to come for dessert even if she did attend he wasn’t going to be at our home when he had a family of his own.

Also during the conversation that morning I realized my sister-in-law opted to work the holiday so she wouldn’t be over either.

That now left myself, my mom, my son, my brother and my nephew, and my absent sister-in-law’s brother, along with a very brief visit from my daughter and her boyfriend. Hours of cooking, followed by cleaning up the mess, for 3 guests and a drive-by visit from my daughter. Awesome. How could the holiday get any better?

Oh yes! Notice how I did not mention the mobster? That’s because the Friday before the holiday he suddenly decided to return home to spend the holiday with his family. While I understood his desire to go back and spend it with his kids I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. I thought when he moved up here that we would get to celebrate the holidays together. 

Despite the many blessings I have enjoyed because I divorced once my children were older and Jerry Lee disappeared like a puff of smoke (they got a say in visitation; I never had to co-parent with a fuckwit- basically because he abandoned them; I never had to share holidays; they were old enough that they knew the truth and weren’t having any of his nonsense; I never had to deal with my kids being around him, Harley, his family, and/or her family) I realize that one of the pitfalls of divorcing when the kids are older is that you never truly blend your families. The kids are simply too old. It’s not to say they won’t get along or they don’t like each other. But there’s no sense of family between them, which means you live essentially two lives- the life with your kids and the life with your partner.

On the plus side he had a really good visit with his kids, his parents, and his siblings. I’m glad he went. Despite my sadness at not spending Thanksgiving with him I still made a batch of Scotcheroos and sent them with him. I’m very glad he got to see his kids and that he had such a great time with them. I know he’s given up a lot to be with me and it was just me being selfish that wanted him here.

Similarly I can’t be upset with my niece for being sick, or with my sister-in-law for taking the opportunity to make 2-3 times what she normally makes. Disappointed that our table is smaller? Sure.

And the reality is I did get to spend the holiday with both of my kids. I know there are a lot of people out there mourning the fact that their cheating spouse gets the kids this year. Not me. I’ve had my kids every holiday since this happened. Who knows what will happen in the coming years? My daughter and her boyfriend seem pretty set on moving out to Utah. I can say from experience that it’s not as easy as you think it will be to just buy tickets and fly home for the holidays. My daughter is going to be a nurse and it’s possible, probable even, that she’ll be working future holidays. My son likes his job at the supermarket and thinks he wants to stay there. Another job that requires working on the holidays. Hell, maybe next year I will make it to the beach!

Then I remember my best friend who just lost her mother earlier this month. Her father suffered a second stroke in July and she and her family have been enduring insurance and nursing home care nightmares for months. He was already blind from his first stroke a few years ago and this second stroke exacerbated his dementia. They’ve been so focused on him and undoubtedly preparing themselves for his death, and then after what was called a perfect day her mother slipped and fell, hitting her head as she went into her house. She never regained consciousness. And to top it all off her dad caught Covid so they couldn’t even go visit him at Thanksgiving. She’s had a hell of a year. I’m sure she would have loved to have been able to celebrate the holidays with her family, and here I am whining and feeling sorry for myself because my mom and I have been cooking for only a few extra people.

Maybe that’s the heart of it. If I’m going all out and cooking a huge feast I want a crowd. I’m not doing eighteen dishes for four people. Yet as I think back on my 52 (well, 53) previous Thanksgivings I can’t say that we’ve had a huge crowd throughout most of them.

Before my parents divorced we had Thanksgiving over at my grandma’s. Her father and my grandpa’s mother would be there. My aunt, and later, her husband, would be there. And then my parents, myself, and my brother. I think maybe sometimes they would invite a family friend as well, but I may have that mixed up with just a regular Sunday dinner. After my parents’ divorce it was often just my mom, my two brothers, and me. I remember at least once we went to Virginia and celebrated with my Mamaw.

Now, Thanksgiving at Tammy Faye’s was a completely different beast! One year I think there were 30 of us, including Pastor Fake’s ex-wife and her new, just released from prison husband. She met him at the halfway house when she got out of prison for embezzling. I’m also fairly certain I spent at least one Thanksgiving with a convicted murderer. I mean, I know he killed a man and he spent years in prison. That is not the part I’m doubting. I’m not 100% certain he was at Thanksgiving dinner, but I wouldn’t be surprised because Tammy Faye’s sister remarried him. Yeah, remarried.

Then of course we had the Utah years where it was just the four of us typically. Ordering Thanksgiving dinner after the first disastrous year where I cooked for hours and hours for what amounted to a 20-30 minute meal. Heading out to the zoo in the morning. Maybe catching a movie if they weren’t sold out.

Finally, we had our last Thanksgiving before the bomb dropped. Or as I like to call it, my last normal holiday. I hosted it at our new house which I had decorated to the hilt. I cooked all the food and it was a feast! My mother, brother, his family, and my other niece all came down. My daughter’s best friend flew out from Utah and spent almost a week with us as well. We played tons of Phase 10. They drug me out Black Friday shopping. We all wrote down 3 things that we liked best about the holiday. Maybe I’m hoping for that again, and if I can’t have it I’d rather just do something completely different.

Although, Thanksgiving of 2017 was pretty sweet. I don’t remember who came over for dinner but I do remember getting the judge’s decision the day before. $25,000 in legal fees awarded. Child support. Spousal support. He got imputed. Judge named Harley and basically said, “You’ve got the money; you just prefer to spend it on your girlfriend and her kids. That’s not acceptable. And by the way, your PTSD claims are rejected. This was a self-inflicted injury.” That was a good Thanksgiving.

This year had good parts, too. Sure, my stuffing was a disaster. Like, literally, it was a soupy goo when I checked it the first time. I kept baking it and baking it until finally it looked like stuffing- burnt stuffing. That’s my favorite part of the meal. But on the plus side, the turkey was really good, and that’s usually my least favorite part of the meal. And, I got to sing our Thanksgiving prayer. Yes, I was laughing and my brother kept trying to squeeze my hand as if to say, “Knock it off!” but I got out a good Hallelujah and a rousing chorus of Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna. There was something about pumpkin pie and it being so good I could cry. Usually when I offer to say the prayer and begin singing my brother interjects, “Nope. Stop. I’ll do it.”  My daughter told me after I finished it was the best prayer she had ever heard. “It had it all! Singing, shout outs, recognition for everyone!” It was supposed to be a duet with Picasso but he backed on me. “You’ve got this, Mom,” he told me. Rock Star is willing to do a duet for the Christmas prayer. Maybe we’ll work on it this weekend.  Oh, and Picasso has promised to do some Latin chanting at the Christmas dinner as well.

In the end I’m thankful. I spent the holiday with my family. Maybe not all of them, but enough of them. And we were able to welcome my sister-in-law’s brother over for dinner once again. He has been a frequent visitor in the past. His parents are in Florida. He’s single. And several years ago he suffered a stroke even though he was only in his 40s. He’s living in a rehabilitation center. Picasso’s friend who spent most of last Christmas with us also came over after the meal was over. And then another friend of his showed up as well. Apparently the kid brought his own pie with him. I like any kid that travels with his own pie. I think I might adopt that philosophy.

Also, Black Friday shopping was awesome. I didn’t get out there super early. My mom and I went to breakfast first and didn’t hit a store until after 12. But I bought myself a fabulous pair of 1/2 carat diamond earrings. Almost bought the 1 carat ones but I held back. Kinda wish I hadn’t. In exchange for buying myself an early Christmas present, plus a few other things, I ended up with $150 in Kohl’s cash. Went back the next day and bought myself a coat. It is amazing! So, so warm. And it’s got the little hole you put your thumb through to pull the top of the sleeve over your hand. It’s also slightly longer than my old coat so it covers my butt which is nice when the wind is blowing and you’re outside walking.

Happy belated Thanksgiving. I hope you all had a fabulous one. Maybe one day my Thanksgiving will look a little different. Until then I’ll give thanks for the blessings I have.

Everything Possible To Save the Marriage

Sometimes I shake my head. I get that everyone is on their own timetable. Honestly, I do. I also frequently hear the statistic that it takes, on average, a battered woman 7 attempts before she leaves her abusive husband. I know that there are things each individual, man or woman, has to deal with when considering whether to divorce or not: Does she (or he) have the financial means to leave? Will they be paying the cheating spouse if they divorce? Where will they live? Will they lose time with their kids? In some instances, can they protect their kids? So, I get it. 

In fact, there are times I want to scream at the pious people who chide a woman who stays, insinuating that the lifestyle she leads is why she puts up with it. Maybe it is, and if that’s the case then that’s her decision to make. But other times it’s because she doesn’t have a job. She doesn’t have a family member or friend willing to take her and her kids in. Maybe she is fearful about her children’s safety, or she doesn’t want to lose time with them and knows her husband will fight her on that if for no other reason than to hurt her. We all have our own path we’re on.

With that said I read a very sad tale from a woman who took her cheater back. It lasted about a year. And then he cleaned out the bank accounts and left with no notice. Right now she has no idea if she’s going to be able to keep the place she’s been living in. After she tells this story someone says to her: You need to know you did everything possible to save your marriage. Don’t feel bad. Only you know when you’ve had enough.

I read that and I thought, “Really?”  This woman has lost everything. Her husband is once again with his affair accomplice. The affair accomplice is encouraging him to fight for the land, despite him telling her she could have that. She’s encouraging him to fight dirty and to basically take it all and leave the wife with nothing. He cleaned out their bank account. Meanwhile, the wife has supported this man throughout their entire marriage as he’s a “brilliant” but struggling artist. Yet someone who has read her story and sees that “doing everything she could to save her marriage” has cost her her life savings once again applauds her for that and reinforces the message that everyone should do everything possible to save a marriage.

No. Just no. This is why so many of us implore those who have discovered cheating to get the hell out of Dodge. Don’t do everything possible to save your marriage. Don’t “stand for your marriage.” Don’t give them second chances (or third or fourth or fifth chances). Stop hoping that they will change and revert back to that wonderful person you once knew and loved. Trying to save a marriage and doing all that you can to save it is noble and wise when the issue isn’t cheating but when you attempt that with a cheater you are giving them entry into your life so that they can take advantage of you once again. They use that time to line up their ducks, to spend or hide all of the money, to put themselves into whatever position they want to be in. If you continue to do everything possible to save your marriage to a cheater you just may wake up one day and find out he’s cleaned out your bank account and you’re left with nothing. Don’t be that person. Please. For the love of God, don’t be that person.

Hello Again

Back in August I was ready to write a blog post asking what the hell had happened to the summer and how could it possibly be August already. Then I was going to ask how in the hell it could already be September. Next came my astonishment at the calendar turning to October. Now we’re into November.

I don’t know why I find it so shocking. I learned the months of the year way back in elementary school. I learned them in french in 7th grade. It’s not a hidden mystery. It’s not as though we started in January and then skipped to November. No, it follows a pattern. January followed by February followed by March and so on. But man, the time is flying by!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I’ve still got a Halloween care package I need to send to my daughter before I eat all the Reese’s peanut butter cups and the mobster eats all the Kit Kats. Christmas is in less than 6 weeks. The new year will be upon us. Life has been happening at warp speed since the mobster moved up here.

It’s nice to get to see him on a regular basis, although our diets are going to hell. Way too many yummy restaurants to try. And don’t even get me started on his Culver’s habit. “Hey! Let’s go get some custard!”

We’ve been biking once and just started back doing the Couch to 5K program. It’s taken us over a week to get our three days in. We’re pitiful. But we keep plugging along. Our gift to each other this Christmas is supposed to be cross country skis. We plan on going this winter.

He is so cute. He loves the flat spaces. I won’t go so far as to say I hate it but I do think it’s kind of boring. I’ve always loved the mountains in Virginia and I did love my beautiful mountain views in Utah. Now that is something to be in awe of! But the flat land is a novelty to him. He’s always lived near mountains and is enjoying the unobstructed views.

He’s also fascinated by the corn and all the farms. He watches farming videos. He asked me not that long ago if I knew what a combine was. He proceeded to watch videos about them and thinks they’re amazing.

We saw Shinedown in concert back in September. We were familiar with some of their music, so we decided, “Why not?” It was a week night concert but we went and we had a great time. It was an outdoor concert at the baseball stadium and the lines for concessions were ridiculously long but we had a lot of fun nonetheless. They put on one helluva show and we are now both obsessed! The opening act for the opening act was Ayron Jones; the opening act for the main event was The Struts. We did general admission seating so we were packed into a space pretty close to the stage. We were the middle general admission, so up closer than the 3rd tier, but not as close as the 1st tier. It did mean standing all night, which was fine. I knew most of the songs they played and the ones I didn’t I quickly downloaded over the next few days. And I got a cool concert t-shirt.

Rock Star and her boyfriend came up over her fall break in October. We ate way too much food! I took her to her favorite Mexican restaurant one day and another day we discovered this delightful small batch distillery. She and I ended up doing a flight of shots which were all disgusting. I am not much for straight alcohol and I’m even less inclined when the primary flavoring is jalapeño. I did have 2 lovely mixed drinks. The Sweet Jesus was a mixture of vodka, cranberry juice, ginger beer, and lime. I’m a huge vodka cranberry fan but the flavor of the ginger beer was overwhelming. The next one I tried was called Winter Bayou and it was fantastic. I don’t even remember what all it had in it but I believe there was vodka, butterscotch, and pineapple, at a minimum.

Their food was incredible as well. She had a burger and the gentlemen both had the BBQ pork mac and cheese. I opted for a few appetizers. I chose the Brussels sprouts and the “truffalo wings” which was cauliflower coated in some sort of sirracha sauce and then deep fried. It was amazing!

All of us went to a nearby orchard on her last day with us and picked apples, blackberries, and raspberries. They had a small store on site as well so we ended up buying fudge, hard cider, cherry wine, and apple cider.

We’ve also spent time wandering around downtown, drinking coffee, exploring the parks (yet another thing he loves about this area), and watching Christmas movies.

In other news, my remaining dog, Milo Tim, is a neurotic mess. I realized he has never been the only dog in the house. On one hand I think he’s enjoying it because he gets all the attention now. On the other hand, getting him to go outside to potty is a Herculean task. The dog won’t leave the deck most mornings unless I go outside with him. He’s used to following one of the big dogs out, or if not following, at least waiting until they’re ready to head down the stairs before darting in front of them and finally heading down.

And finally, I apologize for the long spaces in between blog posts. Work is crazy and I’ve been working a lot of long hours, but more importantly, my computer is not cooperating with me.

I have a MacBook Pro. It’s the last Christmas gift I ever received from Jerry Lee, so obviously it’s old. Purchased in 2014. Right now it’s telling me I can’t post anything using Chrome. Or any other browser. So I type the post, email it to myself, and then copy and paste from my phone. It’s a fun little adventure.

I’ll do better. I promise. I have a ton to say, just not a lot of time to write it down and get it posted.

And So It Happened… Again

I remember the day I brought her home. We had driven over three hours to meet this new member of our family. Probably through a monster rainstorm because that year we had had so much rain people were complaining their gardens were being flooded.  We had just lost Taz, our 14 year old Shih Tzu. My sweet Beau-ba-licious was three. He was on the trip with us because, of course, he had to approve this new one. No use bringing her home and finding out they didn’t get along.

I loved having a Boxer and wanted a second one. I saw an ad or maybe I googled Boxer rescue. I’m not sure. But I found this rescue site. They said to call and get placed on their waiting list because it could take months before you would finally get a placement. So I called.

The lady said she was supposed to be getting a white male from the Humane Society that Saturday. I told her I didn’t think that would work because I already had a male. She asked me what I was looking for and I remember telling her, “Ideally, I would like a brindle female.” A few days later she calls me back and tells me that somehow the Humane Society had given her the wrong information. She did not get a white male; she was receiving a young, female brindle. She went on to say that it was extremely rare that she ever got young dogs; she estimated this dog’s age to be somewhere between 10 months to a year.

I broke the news to Jerry Lee who questioned why I wanted a second dog. The answer? I just did. Eventually he relented and agreed to it. I loaded the kids and Beau up and we went down the next day to meet this mysterious female brindle.

She was a sweetheart. So pretty. She and Beau got along fine. We stopped at a gas station and somehow she escaped. I remember thinking, “Oh my God! We’ve had this dog for less than an hour and we’re going to lose her. She’s going to run away and we’re never going to see her again.” But we got her back. Into the minivan she went.

For years I had said I wanted a female brindle and I was going to name her Dixie. Well, I got my female brindle. I ended up naming her Laila, after Laila Ali. I had heard all of these cute boxing names other Boxers were given, like TK and Jab, and I decided to go with something like that.

You know what my biggest memory of that day is though? I remember watching from our little deck as both dogs chased each other around the yard. I finally had my two Boxers. They were joyfully playing with each other and I stood there in the moment, drinking it in. I remember thinking, “Enjoy this moment because it won’t last; one day they will be gone.” I don’t know why I thought such a morbid thing at such a joyous time, but I did. Enjoy this very moment in your life because one day it will all be gone. I guess I didn’t think at the time that my life as I knew it would also be over, but I knew that dogs leave us way too soon, and this would be a memory one day. And so it became.

Once again, cancer claims my dog. She was fourteen. For a Boxer, fourteen is old. I mean, for any dog that’s getting up there but Boxers, on average, tend to live around 10 years. A vet once told me that anytime he had a Boxer over 10 for a client he took a special interest in them because it was rare to see. So I knew each day was a gift. I knew it was a matter of time. Maybe she’d get lucky and she’d beat the world’s record, which is 16 years and 9 months, I believe. Maybe we’d have another Christmas, or another summer with her. In March she was given a clean bill of health. The vet said she was in remarkably good shape for her age. He noted a bit of arthritis and some tartar buildup, but that was it. Six months later she was dead.

We came home from the Apple Festival and saw that she had thrown up a couple of times. It looked like she was throwing up grass and pebbles. Not the usual thing you see. I thought maybe she had eaten something and had an upset stomach and was trying to throw it up. The next day her back legs were shaking. She was wobbly and not herself. We took her to the emergency vet where they did x-rays. The vet there said they saw large quantities of sand or dirt in her intestines, but more troubling were the masses in her chest; she believed she had metastatic cancer. She couldn’t tell me how advanced it was. She wasn’t able to tell me if there was a blockage in her intestines. She advised I take her to the regular vet’s to get x-rays done once again.

On Monday the mobster took her in and I met him there. Honestly, that morning I thought when I took her in I was going to be putting her to sleep. She was sleeping on her bed when I left for work, although she did raise her head when I came into the room. The ER vet had given her a terminal cancer diagnosis. She didn’t seem to want to eat or drink. But then hope was restored. When I met the mobster there she was walking around on the leash. She seemed alert. And then the vet there said he wasn’t convinced it was cancer. There was definitely something there that shouldn’t be but it could be a problem with her lungs and not cancer. He advised we try to get whatever was in her stomach to pass and we could do follow up x-rays in 2-4 weeks.

I took her home feeling positive. If we could get whatever this was in her stomach out then she would be okay. We might have another year or two with her. I ran to the store to try to get baby food, as suggested by the vet. When I found the shelves to be bare I bought chicken, hamburger, and plain yogurt, also suggested by the vet. The mobster took her out into the yard to see if she would use the bathroom. She had been digging holes. Eventually she had solid stools (sorry- TMI). She was drinking even if she still had no interest in food. This was good. This was hopeful.

Then Tuesday came and her breathing was labored. It sounded like she had a cold and couldn’t breathe through her nose properly. We were back at the vet’s on Wednesday. It was considered a partial hospitalization. This time they did blood work, x-rays, and an ultrasound. Found that while the junk had passed through her stomach it was stuck in her cecum. The new x-rays showed even more masses, which indicated it was indeed cancer and it was spreading fast. He didn’t think she would be a good candidate for blockage removal surgery because of her lungs. And while we could be aggressive and get answers in regards to where the original tumor was, it wouldn’t prolong her life. The growth of new tumors was causing her difficulty in breathing. 

She was fourteen. Even if we did everything as aggressively as possible what kind of quality of life would she have? How much longer would we get with her? My sweet Luscious Laila Lou was struggling to breathe, was having problems navigating any stairs (I was carrying her up the stairs from Sunday onward), wasn’t eating, and did nothing aside from lay around. I made the difficult decision to put her to sleep September 23rd. Rest in peace, my lovely Lou.

I still think about that day in June back in Utah. 2008. Watching those majestic beasts play. Being so damn happy. I like to think of it as a deposit into my memory bank. A really, really good memory.

The mobster says dogs don’t live long enough. He thinks after Ripley dies he probably won’t get another dog. He’s thinking maybe he’ll invest in a tortoise. Not me though.

It hurts like hell when you lose them, especially when you’re the one having to make that decision. But I can’t imagine living my life without them. I think maybe it hurts so much because they give you so much. They love unconditionally. They don’t lie. They don’t cheat. And they only break your heart when they die.

I lost my sweet Beau Beau in 2017. Laila Lou just days ago. In my mind she crossed the Rainbow Bridge and is once again happily running and playing with Beau. Just like they did that day in June thirteen years ago when they first met.

Miss Laila Lou
Saying goodbye
The day we met
Cuddling with her brother
In hindsight they were quite lazy.
Luscious Laila Lou and Beau, my hunky monkey.

Wow- Now That’s What I Call Karma       

You all know my mother is an avid ID TV watcher. Every TV in the house is tuned to that station as she makes her way from room to room.

I used to be an avid ID TV watcher but not so much anymore. It kinda bums me out and I just don’t want to see people begging for their lives or hear some of the awful stories you hear on that channel. I am, however, lazy. So when my mother has been upstairs and has turned the channel onto ID TV I don’t usually change it. I don’t deliberately watch a bunch of TV and when it’s already on I don’t go to the trouble of changing the channel.

Anyway, all of this prologue to tell you I was sitting at the dining room table doing something, don’t remember what, when the story of Lee Hartley came up on the TV. Let me give you the background.

Lee Hartley was a 35 or 36 year lieutenant in the Navy. As his daughter was quoted saying in an article, “My father and my mom were very happy at one time… And then my dad went through a mid-life crisis and fell in love with his secretary, Pamela Johnson.”  He had an affair with, and married, his 23 year old secretary. Shockingly, trouble was afoot. It seems that young Pam very much enjoyed drinking and flirting with the other men at the Officer’s Club when her husband was out to sea and her husband didn’t like that so much.

Huh. Who would have thought that a woman willing to sleep with another woman’s husband might not have the best moral character? I’m shocked. Who would have thought that a woman in her early 20s would want to go out dancing and partying instead of staying at home, counting down the days until her beloved older husband came home from sea? Again, I’m simply shocked.

Lee was labeled terribly jealous and it was said that he did not like Pam talking to other men. Pam, on the other hand, quite enjoyed it and wished her husband would stay out to sea so she could have her fun.

Since this is ID TV you know a murder occurs. They’re not peddling weddings and puppies on this channel. After less than a year of marriage Pam decides she wants out. Over a period of months she sends her husband care packages onboard his ship. They’re laced with arsenic. When she flew out to Spain to meet him in port (I think that’s the correct terminology) she poisoned his dinner. She continued sending him poisoned care packages. Finally, in the hospital where he was being treated after months of being slowly poisoned, she gave him one last lethal dose- in the apple juice she helped him drink. He finally succumbed to a cardiac arrest.

According to one source Pam did it because while she didn’t want to be married to him anymore, she certainly liked the status that being a Navy officer’s wife brought her; she decided it would be easier to kill him and be a Navy officer’s widow as opposed to being a Navy officer’s ex-wife.

According to the show I was watching, however, her purpose behind killing was much more altruistic… and bizarre. She claims she killed him because she knew he was so crazy about her and loved her so much that she didn’t want to hurt him by divorcing him… so she slowly poisoned him over a period of months which resulted in an agonizing death instead.

Huh. Again, I am floored. That is a new one. I killed him to spare him the heartbreak of me leaving him. Something tells me he would have been able to recover from the heartbreak a little easier than he could recover from being dead. But I’m no doctor.

That’s the story. Older, successful guy dumps his loyal wife for the shiny new secretary who is approximately 15 years younger. She turns around and kills him. When asked why she used poison her response was that women had been poisoning their husbands for thousands of years.

Oh yeah. Forgot this part. She got away with it for 14 years. She was only caught because someone decided to re-open his cold case. They discovered the polygraph test was read wrong which led to them looking at her as a suspect once again. This led to conversations with other people in the Officers Wives Club with Pam, and who admitted she had told them she was miserable in her marriage, wanted out, and she was trying to find someone to kill him. Why that wasn’t more closely examined 14 years prior is beyond me. Once finally convicted she was sentenced to 40 years in prison but ended up only serving 15 and a half.

I was only half listening to this story when something caught my ear and I realized this was an affair that went horribly wrong. I’ll admit when I realized his mistress turned wife killed him I let out a little bit of a laugh. I felt bad at first because this man left behind a daughter who adored her father, but the reality is I don’t really care. He left his wife for this person and she ended up killing him less than a year after they wed. He dumped a devoted spouse for a murderer. Maybe that’s not karma, but it’s something.

I don’t think a person who cheats, whether they’re the spouse or the accomplice, deserves to die; however, I don’t feel bad for them when it does happen, especially considering that the duped spouse is usually the murder victim in these triangles. Either the affair accomplice is trying to take them out so the spouse can be with them (or they’re pissed because the spouse won’t leave) or the spouse is killing them so they can be with the accomplice and not lose any of their money or possessions. It’s refreshing to see them killing each other off for once.

I think overall this story serves a big eye opener. Oh, not to the cheaters. They’ll never learn; they will never believe something like this could ever happen to them. No, it’s an eye opener for those who were left. It’s not always sunshine and roses despite what it may look like on the surface. We always want to convince ourselves that they’re living this amazing life and they’re so happy while we have to rebuild piece by piece. But what really happened in this story? Lee got his hot, young secretary; I’m sure all the men around him thought he had hit the jackpot. But the reality was he married a woman much younger than himself and she still wanted to act single- while retaining all the perks of an officer’s wife. She wanted to dance and drink and flirt with all the other cute, young officers and her husband got in the way of that. People might have seen them, or heard about them, in Spain and thought they were living the life- laughing, partying, drinking sangria every night. The reality was the new wife was poisoning the meals she was serving to her husband- and his friend! And while it may be true that Lee was madly in love with Pam which would definitely be painful to the discarded wife, it was also true that Pam was plotting his death and deliberately poisoning him. From all sounds of it neither one of them was happy, almost from Day One. Pam didn’t seem to realize what marriage meant. She wanted to party with other men and while her husband was out to sea it was easy to do that; she could pretend that everything she had wasn’t because she was married to him. Less than a year into her marriage she was sending him poisoned care packages. Lee discarded his wife for a woman who would soon kill him. He may have been besotted by her but he was also described as being jealous and controlling. Pam liked to flirt with other men and surprisingly Lee did not like that. It was reported that one of the reasons he wanted to get off the ship early was so that he could “keep an eye on” Pam.  To the outside world they might seemed to have had it all but in the end she killed him. And before that they made each other miserable- poor Pam not being able to go out and #$#% other guys without her husband getting upset with her and poor Lee always wondering what, or who, his much younger mistress turned wife was doing. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

I’ll leave you with Pam’s own words regarding the murder:

I’ve known a lot of people to divorce. And divorce hurts. I didn’t think past my actions… When the officers’ wives started talking about… not wanting the husbands to come home, that- planted a warped seed into a warped mind. And that’s how that seed got planted and started growing, how to get rid of Lee?… It was difficult watching what I was doing to Lee… I knew that poison was in him and that… I had done it to him. And it broke my heart.

Oh, Willow

Willow Smith appeared on her mom’s Red Table discussion recently, talking about her decision to be polyamorous. She’s twenty, so of course she’s got all of this figured out. I wish I could go back in time to when I knew everything… But I digress.

Where were we? Oh yes. Polyamory. Look, if you want more than one partner and you’re honest and upfront about it from the very beginning I don’t care what you do. If the object of your affection doesn’t mind sharing and knows what they’re getting into then have at it. It’s not for me but if two other people come to an honest agreement I don’t give a damn. Nonetheless, I have a couple of issues with what Willow is trying to sell the nation.  

“With polyamory, I feel like the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you and not just stepping into monogamy because that’s what everyone around you says is the right thing to do…”

Hmmm… who are all of these people that are commenting on other people’s sex lives? She makes it sound like people are forced into monogamy. No one is forced to get married. No one is forced to date only one person at a time. This idea that your only two choices are monogamy or cheating is a falsehood. Personally I’m beyond tired of hearing people act like monogamy is being forced upon them. No, what generally happens is that monogamy works for the cheater, or at least the appearance of monogamy works for the cheater. Then when they’re caught they begin whining about how monogamy was forced upon them and it’s not natural.

Willow goes on to tell us that after doing some research into polyamory she has discovered that “the main reasons… why divorces happen is infidelity.”

Willow, you’re probably onto something. Infidelity probably is one of the main reason that people end up divorced. Unfortunately, being polyamorous doesn’t mean you won’t experience infidelity. That agreement you have with your partners? Those are rules you’ve agreed upon. You need to follow those. Cheaters aren’t good at following rules. They hate following rules. Rules are for other people. Not them. They’re very special. All it takes is for you and your partner(s) to have an agreement about something, anything, and for your partner(s) to go behind and your back and do the exact opposite of what was agreed upon. Boom! You’ve now experienced infidelity- even in a polyamorous relationship.

I’ve head it said many times by people who have been cheated on that it’s not the fact their partner had sex with someone else that is so painful; it’s all the lies and the gas lighting along with the discard and everything else that goes along with cheating on your partner. Now, let’s be honest. If the mobster came up to me tomorrow and said, “Sam, sweetie, I love you but there’s someone else I’m very attracted to and I’m going to have to sex with her. I thought you should know because after all, it’s the lies and not the sex with another person that is so painful. We’re good, right?” well, let’s just say that conversation would not go over well. At. All. But I get what everyone else is saying. The secrecy, the lies, the double life, making you think you’re crazy, making you doubt yourself… those are the cherries on top of the shit sundae that is infidelity. It’s also what so many cheaters thrive on. They love the double life. They love knowing something that their trusting partner doesn’t know. They get off on it.

Now add in the fact that most of them don’t want their partners having other partners. It’s fine for them to have a buffet of choices, but let’s face it. If their partner also is allowed other partners then they won’t have their full attention and that simply won’t do. Everyone is to worship them. You are to have no gods before them. It’s not a transparent agreement. It’s a one sided arrangement that benefits only one person- the person who knows what’s going on. It’s amazing how many cheating spouses claim to be  polyamorous, yet all of their partners are monogamous. Strange, huh? It’s almost like that’s deliberate, or something.

Naturally mom Jada was all about the polyamory. She, too, bought into the idea that people seek out monogamous relationships because they “feel like they have no other choice.” She then suggested that the majority end up practicing “unethical non-monogamy” (otherwise known as cheating, and called out as such by her mom, known as Gammy on the show).

Again, no one is forced to be monogamous. But when you lead a person to believe that you’re going to be monogamous and have sex only with them, they expect you to be faithful. Funny how that works. 

Let’s be real. This idea that monogamy is being forced upon anyone is a load of horse shit. It is a total cop out. Most of these poor, misunderstood people forced into monogamy are usually getting something out of it. Either their spouse wouldn’t have agreed to marry them under other conditions, or the spouse is of use to them. They make them look like an upstanding citizen. They can pull off Mother or Father of the Year with their trusty spouse beside them, pulling the majority of the weight. They’re fed, their clothes are washed, their kids are taken care of, they have a steady income coming into the household. Another person is doing all of the adulting so they can go off and play. It’s not that they’re “forced” into monogamy. It’s that leading someone on to think they’re in a monogamous relationship means they’re getting their needs met. Then when they’re caught cheating they whine that they were forced into monogamy and if only they had been allowed non-traditional avenues none of this would have happened.

When Gammy tells Willow she’s not a fan of polyamory and prefers the traditional constructs of marriage, despite being married several times, Willow takes the ol’, “What if your partner isn’t meeting all of your needs?” approach.

“Let’s say you haven’t always been the kind of person that wanted to have sex all the time, but your partner is. Are you gonna be the person to say, ‘Just because I don’t have these needs, you can’t have them either?’

Let’s begin with the obvious. You don’t cause someone to cheat. After reading Chump Lady for years I can confidently say there are  people out there in relationships where none of their needs are getting met and their partner treats them terribly yet they still don’t cheat. I didn’t get my needs met in my marriage. I didn’t cheat. You’re either the type of person who will cheat, or you’re the type of person who won’t. If you will, it doesn’t matter what the other person does or doesn’t do; you’re going to cheat. If you won’t, it doesn’t matter what the other does or doesn’t do; you’re going to remain faithful.

And what is this shit about “you can’t expect one person to meet all your needs”? Who does that? I’ve never expected one person to meet all of my needs. Does no one have friends anymore? Can people only meet your needs if you’re fucking them? I don’t even expect my friends to meet each and every one of my needs. I had friends I played Bunko with. I have friends I go out to dinner with. I had friends I bowled with. I had PTA friends and gym mom friends. I’ve got friends from work. I’ve got friends from high school. I have friends I tell my innermost secrets to and other friends where I keep it pretty superficial.

I’m shaking my head here. I’m not sure anyone rational expects one person to be everything for another person. Again, does no one have friends anymore?  Just because your partner doesn’t share your interest in something doesn’t mean you need to find another warm body to sleep with in order to enjoy that interest. Just recently when I shared that sweet J and I watched the Kentucky Derby the mobster told me he had never seen the race, nor was he interested in ever seeing it. When I told him I planned on having an annual Derby party, complete with hats and mint juleps he told he would probably be working that day. Does that mean I should go find some other man that does enjoy watching the Kentucky Derby? One that would love to attend my annual Derby party? No, of course not!

As for the sexual mismatch… to be blunt I think you should know by the time you’re committing to a person what kind of a sex drive they have. If your libidos are mismatched and that’s going to be an issue then end the relationship. It’s called dating for a reason. People are far too reluctant to end a relationship, choosing instead to settle. That’s not on monogamy; that’s on people who are willing to compromise something important in order to remain in a relationship.

Look, Willow, I know you think you’ve discovered the magical cure for all relationship woes. If I’m just not tied down to one person but can instead experience a multitude of people, all with my partner’s blessing, my life will be blissful. Oh, you sweet summer child, people don’t cheat because they’re forced into “unnatural” monogamy. Cheaters cheat because that’s what they like to do. It’s no fun with permission. It’s not because they’re not “allowed” to sample others. It’s because they like duping you. That is the real thrill, not freedom to fuck others. Polyamory isn’t some magical elixir. A lying, cheating asshole “forced” into monogamy isn’t suddenly going to become Prince Charming once you tell them they can fuck whomever they choose… within the bounds of your agreement, of course. Monogamy is not the enemy and polyamory isn’t the answer to everyone’s prayers.