Reframing Things

Final post for 2020. 

Earlier this year, one day in the summer, I made some comment about Jerry Lee bulldozing my life. My mom replied along the lines of, “Why not look at it as a chance to redo your life?”

I had actually already been thinking along those lines so I didn’t take offense at the suggestion.

I suppose that’s the biggest change for me during 2020. I’m finally reframing what happened to me. I’m not always successful. It’s best if I don’t dwell on it too much, but for small moments I am able to reframe the betrayal and discard, along with the absolute destruction of everything I thought my life was.

When I do this I’m able to tell myself he didn’t blow up my life; no, I got a second chance at a much better life. Sure, there have been speed bumps- financial issues continue to stress me. My kids are in therapy. I’m working a job that isn’t all that personally fulfilling and I feel like I never have enough “me” time, or time to devote to my kids. But it’s not all bad.

I’m back in my hometown. I’m reconnecting with old friends. It’s familiar. I didn’t have to start completely over and figure out how to get around the town.

Living with my mom isn’t a death sentence. She hates it when I say, “I had to move back in with my mom!” or “I don’t have a home of my own.” The reality is she does my laundry which is great because I don’t particularly care for doing laundry. She also has dinner cooked most nights when I come home. I joke with her that it’s nice to have a wife. I realize why so many cheaters don’t leave one until they have another one! I am fortunate enough to be able to spend huge amounts of time with my mom. I get to shop with her, go out to dinner with her, vent to her, and laugh with her. I have too many friends that no longer get to enjoy that with their moms.

Ever since moving back here in 2016 I have seen it as a source of shame- I was too fucking pathetic to be able to stand on my own two feet. I had to move back in with my mommy. I couldn’t take care of myself or my two children. I needed help. It’s very humbling, especially when you’ve lived in your own home for 20+ years. You go from living in a huge home to not even having your own bedroom; I slept on the couch for two years. Perhaps it’s simply the passing of time, but I no longer care. It is what it is. Living at home with her allows her to spend much more time with her grandchildren, allows me to see her all the time, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a mortgage payment or rent somewhere. It allows me to be able to do more because my money isn’t wrapped up in housing. I’m finally accepting that this arrangement works for me.

When he left finding a new relationship was the last thing on my mind. I was in survival mode and honestly, I had spent so much time alone even while being married that I had no desire to ever pair up again. I was perfectly content to be alone for the rest of my life; I was good at it. Yet, him walking out the door finally allowed me the chance to experience a real relationship, one where I’m valued and loved.

The mobster and I have an amazing time whenever we are lucky enough to get together. He is the best and I would have never met him if Jerry Lee didn’t go off and fuck his cousin.

As for finances, well, I recognize that I don’t need as much as I used to have. I don’t need a huge house. I don’t need endless baubles. I do like shopping for clothes and my closet is exploding right now but I’ve always been a sale shopper. As long as I have enough to pay my bills, take care of my kids and spoil them some, and be able to have some fun with my friends, family, and the mobster I’m good. I’d like to be able to take a vacation here and there as well, but it doesn’t have to be an elaborate vacation.

I also realize it’s up to me to make that change as far as finding a better paying job. Writing about how awful it pays and complaining does nothing. I intend to change that this coming year.

Of course, my children and their well-being always weighs heavily on my mind. Fortunately, I am finally letting go of that as well. Not as in an, “I don’t care” way, but more in an, “I can’t change the past,” way. It still tugs on my heartstrings when I hear “Best Day Of My Life” or any of the songs I associate with Harrisonburg. The overwhelming desire to scream, “Why?” is always there, but that scream is slowly fading away. I do my best to reframe it as a wonderful moment in Rock Star’s life, one that wasn’t meant to last. Maybe the lesson to be learned was that her dad is an entitled jackass. I don’t know. Maybe it was to show her she was stronger than she knew.

My son seems happy and content. The medication has helped immensely. He has friends here. He likes his job. He likes living here. Hopefully therapy will soon be a thing of the past for him, but as long as he continues to get something out of it I will pay for it. He graduates this year and no one will be happier about that than me! He’s been complaining about school since second grade. I’m tired of fighting him.

My daughter has apparently resolved all of her issues surrounding her father and his abandonment in approximately three therapy sessions. She works fast, I guess. She has decided she is done with him and she’s no longer expending the effort to have a relationship with him. As she put it, “Why am I putting in all this effort when he’s the one that left?”

Despite Covid-19 wrecking havoc with her college life she is happy. She has a solid set of friends down at college. She loves her sorority and her sisters. She has a great boyfriend who treats her like she deserves to be treated. She is kicking ass in nursing school and will be a wonderful nurse in a few years.

She has said herself that everything she went through led her to where she is. If we were still married and in Virginia, yes, I would probably see her more and she would be happily reconnecting with high school friends over break, but she wouldn’t have this life she loves.

Despite the hurdles and all the worries these last few years my kids are okay. They’re not living the life I had hoped to have given them, but they are good. As my mom always says, “You guys had a helluva run.” Yes, my kids had an awesome childhood and they got to experience a lot of wonderful things. And then they experienced some really shitty things and a lot of loss. They lost their friends twice, and lost their mother in many ways. i wasn’t there the way that I wanted to be; I did the best I could with what I had and I hope in the end that proves to be enough. But ultimately they prevailed and they are both good and happy now. I have a great relationship with both of them, and that’s what counts.

I will never say that Jerry Lee cheating on me and destroying my old life was a blessing, or the best thing to ever happen to me. What I will say now though is he ended up giving me a second chance. He gave me the opportunity to live a much better life than the one I could have ever hoped to have lived with him. I get to frame this one. I get to choose. I can make this new life into whatever I want.

How’s that for change, 2020?

Change- The Year in Review

My word for this year was change. Boy, did I ever pick a doozy. I’m not saying my word caused the pandemic, but I’ve never actually picked a word of the year before. This was my first time and look what happened. Safe to say I don’t think I’ll be picking another word of the year again. I’ll go back to resolving to moisturize more. Floss regularly. Safe stuff.

I did choose the word “change” however so it’s only fair that I look back and see what, if any, change was made in my life. You know, aside from the whole world going to shit and being under lockdown and mask mandates.

When I picked the word I was really hoping that most of the change would happen in regards to my financial situation. As in, I hoped to either get promoted or get another job elsewhere. 

Technically, there were all kinds of changes in regards to my job. I got sent downtown to work for five and a half months. We’ve had to learn to do our jobs in a very different way because we’re not all together. I will probably never see my co-worker/partner again because she is working from home and is retiring no later than June 30th of 2021. We don’t have a lot of hope that everyone will be brought back by that point.

I did put myself out there and applied for the supervisor position. I didn’t get it but I did get exposure and I was told I’m a hidden gem. This little hidden gem had better get a new job title and a lot more money or I’m relocating to a newer mine.

I have been perusing online job postings but I haven’t seen much that excites me. I also checked out grad school but I think that is way beyond anything I can do. For starters, the deadline for one of the programs I was interested in had already passed and I would be looking at yet another year before I could start. Then there is the issue of getting transcripts, and taking entrance exams and getting referrals. Who the hell is going to write a recommendation for me? I’m not in college anymore. Do I ask friends who have jobs to write a recommendation for me? Based upon what? 

Another program would require me to do a bunch of prerequisites before I could start which would mean my two year program would probably take three or four years. Sure- I’d love to get a Masters degree at age 55 and then work for 10-12 years. I’m sure the employers would be falling all over themselves to hire me, a candidate that does not have much of a shelf life left. And no experience to boot.

I see people with no education beyond a high school diploma fall into these amazing jobs that pay well and offer great benefits. Why on earth can I not fall into one of those jobs? Why am I doomed to work a low paying job with crappy benefits?

Way back at the beginning of the year, before Covid-19 changed everything, the mobster and I made a lifestyle change. We began the Couch To 5K program. I am still running, although with the days becoming darker earlier I am not as consistent as I would like to be.

In March I began eating low carb. I say this as I’m coming off of a 5 day holiday from low carb eating. Nonetheless, at this point in the year I am somewhere between 40 and 50 pounds lighter. I say somewhere because I haven’t stepped on the scales in 2 or 3 weeks and I have no intentions of stepping on them for another 2 or 3 weeks. But, at my lowest weight so far I had lost just over 50 pounds. I believe it was 50.6 pounds. I’m wearing clothes I haven’t worn in 2 or 3 years, and in the case of my jeans, they’re all too big now.

I’ve greatly reduced the amount of diet Coke that I drink. That’s a huge change for me. I started that one in May. I have my moments where I go back to it, but I’m pretty good. I certainly drink a lot less than I ever did before.

The mobster has put his route up for sale so now we’re just waiting for someone to sign the papers. After that he’ll make his way up here and we’ll finally be living in the same state! Same town even. That’s a huge change.

I made the transition to being a parent of adult children. Neither of my kids is a minor anymore. After June of 2021 I will no longer have any kids in the local school system. Picasso, God willing and fingers crossed, will graduate this June.

My mom’s dog died earlier this month. He was 15 1/2 years old. He’d been losing a lot of weight recently. My mom took him in and unfortunately he never came back home. I miss that little booger with his big underbite. She swears there will be no more dogs but we’ll see. She said that before she got him, too.

I finally got Jerry Lee garnished. Basically. It’s not through the state but he did sign an agreement which was turned into a court order whereby he directly deposits his payments into my account twice a month. He also knows that if he tries to stop it or attempts to fuck with me I’ll take his ass back to court and from there he’ll find his ass in jail. For the first time since he took off to be with his cousin back in February of 2016 I know exactly when to expect that money. It is a wonderful feeling.

Plus, my saga with Mississippi is finally over! Everything is done. It took forever- it took them more than 3 months for them to return my money- but it’s done.

Bonus- once I got my money from Mississippi I paid off my car so there’s another change for the year. No more car payment.

I got my car in September of 2014, taking out the longest loan for the smallest payment with the intention of paying it off in larger chunks with Jerry Lee’s bonus check. As you all know that didn’t work out as I had planned. I ended up with a large car payment with no job, and then a large car payment with a low paying job. But I had so many miles on it that I didn’t think I could trade it in and by the time I realized it really would be prudent to do so my credit was in the toilet, thanks to Jerry Lee and his machinations. Honestly, it was the last thing left from my old life. I wanted desperately to hold onto it. I had already lost so much- my house, my furniture, probably 95% or more of everything I’d ever owned. I was determined to keep that goddamn car. I worked my ass off to do so. Now it’s paid off. A change in circumstances, and more change in my pocket. Not really. All my additional money is going into my HSA account so I can pay for my kids’ therapy bills.

My son got a job, so both of my kids work now.

And both of my kids are being medicated for depression and anxiety. In Picasso’s case it’s a blessing because he so desperately needed it. After almost a year of counseling which didn’t help the way it needed to he’s finally on medication and it’s working very well. He’s doing things he could not have done before. So that’s a great change. Rock Star, on the other hand, is getting worse and worse, especially now that she’s on nothing while she waits to see our nurse practitioner. As you might recall the medication she was taking caused her to be extremely nauseous so she was switched over to Prozac. That caused suicidal ideations so it had to be stopped. I don’t know why on earth she didn’t prescribe her something in the meantime, knowing she has an in-person appointment in December, but she didn’t so my poor baby has been suffering through it on her own for a few weeks now.

Everything seems to stress her out. She’s this interesting dichotomy where she can be so self-assured and opinionated at one moment and then turn around and be a blubbering mess another moment. She’s back in therapy and she seems to like it, but it’s not doing enough right now and she needs to be properly medicated. She is going to call this week and see about getting some new medication.

Here’s another big change, one I’m not really ready for, but it’s happened. My daughter won’t be returning home. She plans to stay down in Muncie over the summer and work, and then when the lease is up on her house that she is renting this year, she is planning on moving in with her boyfriend. My daughter no longer lives with me. I had no idea until this Thanksgiving break.

On one hand I understand. When I came home for the summer I looked forward to seeing my friends. We went to different schools so we only saw each other on breaks and over the summer. We got to hang out, go to the beach, hit the bars, see a movie. I don’t recall what all we did. I just know it was great being home and being able to hang out with them when I didn’t see them most of the year. Rock Star doesn’t have that. She didn’t make any close friends when she lived up here. Her life is all down at school.

I also didn’t have a serious boyfriend throughout most of college. I broke up with my high school boyfriend right before coming home for the summer freshman year. I broke up with the guy I was dating my sophomore year shortly after coming home for the summer. Hmmm… doesn’t seem to be a good time of the year for me. I just saw that pattern. I didn’t have a boyfriend the rest of college. She does.

So, like I said, on the one hand I understand. I really do. But on the other hand, I am so sick of being blindsided with the last time and never knowing it’s the last time.

I didn’t know that Thanksgiving 2014 was the last truly normal holiday we would have as a family. I had no idea that Christmas 2014 was the last one we would spend together as a family of four. I didn’t realize how much my life was going to change as we left to spend 3 weeks in Indiana and Utah that first summer after we moved. I had no idea what was in store for all of us while we were having fun and spending time with family down in Florida. I sure as hell didn’t realize that August 9th, 2015 would be the last semi-normal day in my old life. I suppose those are all things you never get forewarning on.  “Hey, honey, I’m planning on cheating on you with my gold digging cousin. Enjoy your turkey!” That just doesn’t happen. But other things you sort of do think you get a heads up on.

I watched those proud parents escort their daughters on Senior Night and envisioned myself doing the same. I didn’t know as I watched my daughter at States that February day in 2016 that it was going to be the last time I would ever see her compete in gymnastics. That was it. The end. No more. No warning. No fan fare. No flowers. No big announcement. It was simply the end.

I watched as the conductor would invite all the seniors to stand at their last concert and looked forward to the day my own senior would rise and I would clap and cheer. I didn’t realize that last year’s Christmas concert was the last one I would ever watch Picasso play the cello. He abruptly quit- at the beginning of the year. Look! More change!

And I sure as hell didn’t even consider that last summer was the last summer my daughter would live with me. I thought I had 2 more summers with her. I don’t. Last summer was the last time she was going to live under my roof. 

I wonder sometimes if it’s because I don’t have a home of my own. Maybe if I had been able to buy a house she would have felt like it was her home. Then again, nothing I did or didn’t do was going to change the fact we had to move midway through high school and she had no friends here. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because she feels like I’ve replaced her and am living a new life with the mobster, a life where she’s no longer important and doesn’t really have a place.

I really enjoyed having her home over the summer after her freshman year. I loved hearing her stories and spending time with her. In some ways it was more difficult saying goodbye that second year than it was the first year. Maybe because I knew how lonely it could be with her gone.

Last summer sucked. She worked during the week and was either gone or holed up in her room with her boyfriend every weekend. I’m not available during the week because I’m working. When she worked she worked 12 hour shifts and was usually exhausted when she came home.

I guess I was hoping this summer would be better. Turns out there is no next time.

I understand this is the natural progression of things. Honestly, I do. I wasn’t prepared for it at this point, though. I thought I had more time with her. I was prepared for her to move out in December of 2022, after she graduated. I was not prepared for this.

2020 has brought with it a lot of changes. Some good; most bad. I’ll roll with it as I always do. I would pick a word like “prosperity” but it would probably turn into one of those “The Monkey Paw” things where horrible shit would happen instead of it resulting in money in my pocket. So yeah, I think I’m going to be content with trying to moisturize more and floss regularly. My dentist will be happy.

There’s That Word Again- Change

A few weeks ago I was teasing my daughter, telling her that now that she had a new boyfriend she was going to leave me and move in with him and I would never see her again. She told me not to be ridiculous and that she intended to live with me for at least two years after college graduation. Then the other night we were out to dinner and she announces that she’s going to be looking for jobs at hospitals further south in our state. Apparently they pay more.

I know it’s not unexpected. Children grow up and they leave the nest. It’s what we’re meant to do as parents. It’s a sign of successfully raising our children, not a sign of failure.

Meanwhile, Picasso has long spoken of his desire to get an apartment and be on his own shortly after high school. Who knows how that will play out? Maybe he will. Maybe he won’t. I’m not rushing it by any means.

Nonetheless it resulted in me thinking about this whole parenthood thing and how it changes.

They start out as these little babies who are completely dependent upon you, and then grow into toddlers who must be watched constantly so that they’re not painting your walls or climbing on top of refrigerators, or cutting their brother’s hair. Or was that just my experience with toddlers? You get to that point where you think you’re never going to eat a meal without interruption again. You may never go to the bathroom again without an audience. I swore for the first three years or so of my daughter’s life that I was never going to take a shower by myself again. I was really really looking forward to having one in kindergarten and the other in preschool so that I could have two hours to myself again.

Then school begins. If you’re like me you get weepy eyed and start projecting into the future where your five year old is now going off to college instead of into kindergarten at the school two miles away. But you adjust. You begin to volunteer at the school and you run your kid around to various extracurricular activities. Even in kindergarten Miss Rock Star was a busy one. She had Bible Club, gymnastics, dance. Eventually Picasso was signed up for gymnastics as well, although he didn’t stick with it.

You’re busy with classroom parties, book fairs, talent shows, volunteering at Career Day, and helping them make Valentine’s Day boxes. You’re helping them get together an outfit for the Wax Museum, overseeing them at the 6th grade Valentine’s Day dance, and picking up cards, and Christmas gifts, and school supplies and all those little items you don’t even think about until your child is in school.

Before you know it you’re escorting your baby into the middle school so they can figure out their locker combinations and tour this new school. You think the world is ending and your poor baby is in peril from all these “big” kids.

The real shock comes when they enter high school. You listen at orientation as the seniors assure both them and you that they’ll love it here; it will become their new home and that those four years will fly by.

They’re not lying. Those high school years really do fly by. Next thing you know you’re attending their graduation, planning their graduation party, and shopping for items for their dorm room. Then you drive them down to that big school, help them unload their things, maybe shop for a few groceries with them. Finally you drive away, holding back your tears, knowing they’re entering a brand new phase in their life, and that things will never be the same again. 

All this time you’ve been running kids around. You’ve invested your time, your money, your life into these little humans who are not so little anymore.

There were so many things I didn’t do because I had kids. So many things I would have liked to have tried or participated in, but I didn’t because I put my kids first and I was always busy with them and their activities. 

I don’t want it to seem like I did nothing because I did have a pretty full life. As the kids got older I volunteered. I had friends. I played Bunko. I met people for lunch and breakfast. There were definitely things I couldn’t do though because I had to think of my kids. Jerry Lee was not much help and would whine and pout whenever he was left with the kids by himself, so I never had a girl’s weekend with my friends. I didn’t go out in the evening much, especially when the kids were little. The only reason I was able to throw myself a birthday party years ago was because my brother was willing to come up and watch all of the kids. It got easier as they got older, but there were still things I wouldn’t do because they needed me and they came first. This entire life after divorce has been about them and their needs.

Now, in another 2-3 years I won’t have any kids at home more than likely. Rock Star will probably have an amazing job offer before she’s even graduated. May of 2022 will be here before I know it. I’ll attend her pinning ceremony and she’ll probably move directly from her little house she’s renting with her friends, into an apartment of her own. If her plans pan out she’s going to be a good 2 1/2-3 hours away. I will rarely get to see her. I know it’s not a huge distance considering I moved 23 hours away from my own mom, but she’s a busy girl. I don’t see her coming home frequently. She already doesn’t come home frequently. 

Oh, I know. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s yet another change. I’ll go from being a mom first to being a person first. No more will I have to consider my kids before making plans. I’ve long said that by the time I’m finally able to buy a house my kids won’t be living with me any longer. That makes me sad.

You put so much time and effort into being a parent. So much money. I think back on all the things I did without so that my kids could have what they wanted and needed. I think about all the times my days or weekends were filled with their activities. Even looking back on our summers, which I fully enjoyed, I realize they were all centered around entertaining them. Long days at the amusement park, the water parks, hikes, the rollerskating rink, the museums. And then one day it’s over. Your job is done. They leave the nest and you’re all alone, trying to figure out the next step.

I’m not as traumatized as this is making it seem. I know you never stop being a parent. I know that in many cases they return home or they still need you for advice and support. I am exhibit A, after all. Nevertheless, it’s a huge change. One that I’m trying to wrap my mind around. Once both of my kids are out of the house and on their own a large part of my identity is going to leave with them. The only constant seems to be change.

Change & Progress

2020 has certainly been a banner year, hasn’t it? Kobe Bryant and 8 others were killed in a helicopter accident, Australia caught on fire, the coronavirus has us all practicing social distancing and self- quarantining, the stock market has plummeted, they had a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in Utah, and Kenny Rogers died. We’re only a quarter of the way through the year! Next year I am not picking a word of the year. Change has been a disaster!

Because I am in an industry that is defined as “essential” I am still going to work every day. I appreciate my sweet co-worker who says, “Be grateful we do work in an essential industry; we don’t have to worry about being out of work unlike a lot of these people.” That is true, and thankfully I don’t work with the public. Our lobbies are still open. My friends who are still tellers and desk people continue to interact with the public on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, half of my department has been relocated to our main office building in downtown. I will be moving on Monday along with 7 other co-workers. The reasoning behind taking us out of our building that houses maybe 75-100 people and relocating us to our main office building which houses around 600 or more employees is they don’t want an entire department out and quarantined at home. So, half of the departments at the downtown location are swapping with us and three other locations.

In addition to exposing us to even more people in the main building, that space is also occupied by a hotel. My hope is that the hotel is fairly empty right now. I guess their precaution measure is that each floor is locked so we are only able to access the floor we are assigned to. No mixing and mingling.

Finally, instead of having us park in the underground garage attached to the building they are having us park about two blocks away. The convention center is closed and is willing to offer us free parking. They’d rather have us walk the two blocks to the building than to have to validate our parking for however long this goes on.

I keep telling myself that even if I get the virus it will probably end up being a mild case. In the meantime, there’s no telling when or if Jerry Lee will pay again so I’m thankful I’m still working and earning enough to cover my bills.

In other “change” news I’m up to running 35-36 minutes and have conquered 2.5 miles.

I decided this past week I would increase my time by 5 minutes and see where I was distance wise. If I was close to 2.5 miles I would run until I hit that mark. The first day it took me 35 minutes and 50 seconds, I believe. The second day I was over 36 minutes. 36:20, I believe. Hey- I was dedicated enough that I ran in the rain. Not a pouring type of rain but more of a mist. I still ran with wet shoes and ended up with wet hair and clothes. My final day I ran it in 35 minutes, 18 seconds.

Next week I’ll up my running time to 40 minutes. We’ll see where I’m at. If I’m close to 3 miles I’ll push forward. If I’m just over 2.75 miles I may call it a day at 40 minutes. I’m going to play it by ear.

Not that we really expected anything different but our race for April 4th was canceled. We are thinking of doing a different 5K in August. This one is a mud run and should be a lot of fun. It’s also part of an entire weekend of a festival.

I also joined our workplace Weight Loss Challenge. It runs through July 3rd. So far I’ve lost 8.5 pounds. I’m doing the low carb thing because I get crazy counting calories (as you all have come to realize).

My poor mobster. He said something to the effect of, “That was a crazy few weeks when you were doing that!” I told him it had only been a few days. His reply? “It seemed like years!”

I’ve got a court date set for mid-July. We’ll see what Jerry Lee offers. It seems to me he wants to avoid court. The problem is he’s too cheap and too arrogant to actually make a decent offer. Instead he’ll try to take control and count on me being so desperate for any little crumbs that I’ll take whatever he offers. He’s going to be very disappointed.

That’s the change going on in my life. Everyone stay inside and stay safe.

I Was Rant-y and Now I’m Not

Thank goodness I was too tired on Thursday to write because I would have been a 24 karat, grade A total bitch when I posted.

I was in a mood. The weather was horrible. It was snowing and blowing and it was cold. I went to the gym anyway and I was probably ranting the entire trip there. Then, when I finally got to the gym the parking lot was full. Full, I tell you! There’s a damn blizzard outside and everyone’s first thought is, “I’ve got to get to the gym!” I fully understood the irony of my rant because I was at the gym in this weather as well; however, I excused my own behavior by reasoning that I was only there under duress. My word for the year was change and so I had to be at the gym. Believe me, I was sorely tempted to change my word to stagnant.

It didn’t get better. I once again failed at my run. I ran the first 3 minutes. I did the 90 second walk. I even managed to get through the 5 minute run and the 2 1/2 minute walk. Then things fell apart. Well, technically things started to go bad when I almost flew off the treadmill. Yes, that was fun. Apparently I was not running fast enough. I usually try to stay right up at the front but occasionally I’ll let myself get a little further back. I guess I was getting a little too far back because my heels felt the conveyer belt rolling under which meant I was at the end. Oh shit! I had to speed up. Because let’s face it, even though it’s Planet Fitness and it’s a judgement free zone where they serve pizza and cupcakes and have open buckets of Tootsie Rolls, when you fall off the treadmill people are going to laugh. Or at least think, “What the hell is wrong with that person? Who falls off a treadmill?”

Anyway, I survived with my dignity intact. Got ready to run the next 3 minute run. Couldn’t do it. I think I made it 2 minutes and then I walked. I walked until it was time to do the five minute run. I lasted about a minute and a half. Maybe 2 1/2 minutes. I started to run again at the 1 minute 48 second point, hoping I could finish it out, but alas, I stopped with a mere 26 seconds left, I believe.

I was so pissed! And dejected. The mobster is walking at 4 mph and running at 6 mph. He did all 3 days and at that point I had failed 2 out of 3. I was seriously ready to call it quits and tell him I wasn’t going to run in April.

This was me: I can’t even run five fucking minutes and he’s ready to run a goddamn marathon already!

I told you. I was in a rant-y, horrible mood. I was also still having flashbacks of the previous weekend when the three of us went ice skating. I hadn’t been on skates since I was 16. Picasso took back to the ice like a fish to water and lo and behold, my mobster was out there skating like a pro. I’m clinging to the railing as I go around. My feet are killing me and the staff assistant comes up to me to make sure I’m not having a heart attack and am ready to collapse right then and there on the ice. Meanwhile Picasso and the mobster are throwing triple axels. Okay, they weren’t really doing triple axels but they were both skating backwards like it was no big deal and Picasso could still do his hockey skate stop.

Next up, I was pissed off about the whole “judgement free zone” bullshit. Not because I think there needs to be a judging zone but because there are very few people there who need to worry about anyone judging them. I think the total is two- me and one other person. Most of the other people are walking around in their teeny tiny tights and a sports bra as their only top. I don’t begrudge them their beautiful, fit bodies but I don’t think many people are wandering around thinking, “What’s fatso doing here?” when they see them either. What do I know? I was a bitter, horrible, ranting lunatic that night.

To top it off I had to stop at the grocery store on my way home because my son, who at age 17 does not drive, informed me he was out of lunch meat and we had no milk. I was exhausted. I had failed once again. It was still cold and snowing. Plus, I was sweaty and smelly.

I waited around until the people in the deli stopped talking to each other and noticed me so I could get Picasso’s turkey. Then I had to walk all the way to the back to get milk. At that point I was pretty convinced they deliberately placed the milk at the back of the store because they felt milk drinkers were a bunch of fat asses that needed to walk a few extra steps.

I did make it home and you should all be relieved to know that once I had my fish sticks and Stouffer’s mac and cheese I settled down quite nicely.

Anyway, all that to say I went back to the gym on Saturday. I drug my feet and I was not looking forward to it, but I went. And I was successful today. I ran all 4 legs. I did not even come close to falling off the treadmill. I felt good. I felt victorious. I was really proud of myself. I saw I had 2 minutes and 48 second left of the 5 minute run and it was tempting to quit but I told myself if I could hold out a little longer it would only be 2 minutes left and then only one minute. Once I got to one minute I could finish it out. Finish it out, I did. So, instead of repeating Week 4 like I was going to I’m going to go ahead and and start Week 5 on Monday.

I guess unless it’s a field sobriety test you can pick yourself up as many times as you need.

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Failing February

I am not meeting goals. I told myself I was going to post every day in February. It’s a short month. It should be possible. Only 28 days. It’s not like I picked January or March to do this. It hasn’t happened. What is even sadder is the fact that I do have quite a few posts written. They just haven’t been edited and all that good stuff.

Last night was the real failure. For the first time since beginning the C25K program I failed to run the distance required. Yesterday was supposed to be Day 1 of Week 4- run 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 5 minutes, walk 2 1/2 minutes, repeat.

I made it through the first 3 minute run. I may have made it through the first 3 minutes of the 5 minute run and then I walked. I did run the next 3 minutes, but only made it maybe 2 minutes of the next 5 minute run.

I’ll see what happens next time I go, which probably won’t be until Thursday because I’m meeting friends for dinner tomorrow night.

I’m trying to pump myself up by reminding myself I had an incredibly busy weekend with lots of physical activity. I got in over 30,000 steps between Friday and Sunday!

Oh well. If things don’t go better next time I suppose I’ll just re-do Week 4. I’d love to be able to complete it in 8 weeks like it’s set up but if it takes 9 or 10 weeks so be it. It’s not about how quickly I’m able to run a 5k; it’s about being able to run a 5k, period, right?

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Life’s About Changing… Nothing Ever Stays the Same

As you know my word for the year is change. Since choosing that word I’ve noticed how much change happens, regardless of what we may choose. Honestly, I’ve known that for a while but with this being “my” word for the year I will probably be writing quite a bit about it.

Change is inevitable. People die. People move. Friendships fade. New friendships are made. I’ve experienced a lot of that over the course of my life. When you move every 2 1/2 years for the first five or six years of your marriage you get used to the constant upheaval. Then you start to settle in after that 2 1/2 year mark and you begin to think, “Maybe this is it. Maybe this is the place I’ll remain.”

I thought that way after we moved to Michigan the second time. It was different. We had a child now. It wasn’t just the two of us. Jerry Lee settled in. Until that call came six years later, telling him they had an exciting offer for him. They wanted him to take over as the production manager in Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City? I knew nothing of Utah except Mormons. I’d never lived west of the Mississippi. Nevertheless, I gave him the go ahead and we moved. I called my best friend crying only weeks before we moved. I watched my precious children flounder in their new surroundings. I missed having family close by and missing out on so much. Yet somehow it all worked itself out. I fell in love with the state. I made great friends. I got involved. My children made friends. Rock Star devoted her life to gymnastics. Picasso fell in love with hockey after trying out just about every other sport under the sun. We spent eight amazing years out there.

Jerry Lee always said we would never leave so I began to feel like Utah was the place I would remain. Until Harley came along.

But this isn’t about Michigan, or Utah, or even Virginia. It’s about my 2 1/2 years living in Olive Branch, Mississippi. It’s about the fact that living there was one of the happiest times of my life. It’s also about the fact that now Jerry Lee and Harley are there, defiling this place that I once loved so much.

We had been married less than a year when Jerry Lee took a job with PCA up in Michigan. While living there we took a week long vacation at the end of May and visited Memphis to see Graceland and the zoo, and then headed over to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. I’m sure the fact that Michigan was experiencing a very cold spring (that morning I left for vacation the wind chill brought the temperature down to zero) didn’t help, but we both fell in love with Memphis. I loved Beale Street. I loved the food. I can’t explain it; I just loved it. I didn’t even mind the humidity. A little less than two and a half years later he was offered a job in Olive Branch, which is right outside of Memphis, Tennessee. In fact, when I lived there I would often hear it described as, “Memphis’s fastest growing suburb”, which I always thought was interesting considering they were in different states.

We had an amazing group of friends. Jerry Lee was actually social. There were quite a few transplants working at the plant so they hung around together quite a bit. It was nothing for us to go out to dinner in a group of 12-14 people. Robert and Judy. Bev and Tommy. Arch and Alice. Kevin and Kelly. The good Aunt Judy (who would later turn out to be the bad Aunt Judy) and her daughter, Sheri. Julie. Eric. We went to each other home’s. Some of us bowled together. We had parties. We went out to dinner. We went to football games (okay, once we went to Knoxville to see a football game but we couldn’t get tickets). I had a key to Bev and Tommy’s house. We were such good friends we were at the point where we just walked into each other’s homes. I spent a lot of time in their above ground pool and hot tub. I went out to dinner with Bev, Judy and Judy every week while Jerry Lee and Tommy played golf. Arch and Alice trusted us enough to leave their son with us on the rare weekend they managed to get away. We exchanged Christmas presents and spent holidays together if we didn’t go home. We would go to the restaurant Robert and Judy owned, The Oasis, and eat dinner, talk with the locals. One time the place got overwhelmingly busy and neither Judy nor Robert was  there. Bev and I jumped up from our table and began helping out. We ran the register, got drinks, ran food out. I got pregnant while living in Olive Branch. I had three separate baby showers and lovingly decorated a nursery in classic Winnie the Pooh. I  brought my baby daughter home to that house. They had a brand new high school there and I envisioned my little Rock Star graduating from that high school one day. Rock Star was surrounded by people who loved her. Judy, Judy, Bev, and Tommy were all at least 10 years older than me, and in some cases 20 years older. A baby was a welcome addition. We finished our upstairs and now had a five bedroom house. I had a life there and I loved it.

Then Jerry Lee got fired. Seems he and his boss didn’t get along. So he was hired back on at PCA. He had an area VP that loved him and had stayed in contact since he left the first time.

At first he was assigned to Manufacturing Services, which is a team of people that travel to various problem plants and try to help them fix whatever issues are plaguing them. That lasted for four months before a position opened at one of the plants. As luck would have it we moved back to the same area and he was at the same plant as he had been before.

We moved, and despite the fact I would once again be only two hours from most of my family, I was devastated. I was losing my friends. I had to start all over.

Now, Jerry Lee and Harley are living there. Funny aside- I think he’s actually in the subdivision his old boss that fired him lived in. Her kids are going to be the ones graduating from Olive Branch High School. She gets to shop at all the great places in Memphis. She gets to visit Graceland and go down to Beale Street. She gets to marvel at those beautiful red clay roads. She can eat all the fried catfish and BBQ she wants to. She can go to the fantastic Memphis Zoo. In short, she gets to pick up where I left off, in one of my favorite cities.

When I first heard the news that they were living in Olive Branch I’ll admit it took me back a moment. I had this, “WTF” moment and probably a brief feeling of jealousy. They moved back to one of my favorite places and they replaced me with her. How did I feel about that?

I’ll be honest. When I heard that the Olive Branch Catfish Company was no longer in business I felt a little better.

Oh, such great memories of time spent there. Our realtor took us there when we were down looking for a house. If you like catfish you would have loved this place. It was amazing. And always packed. They had added on at least twice to the original restaurant. Our large group of friends would gather there on a Friday or Saturday night. Wait an hour or more to get a table. And then enjoy that amazing fried catfish (although you could have it grilled if you chose). We always took visiting friends and family there as well.

I’m glad Harley doesn’t get to experience the Olive Branch Catfish Company. I’m happy that Jerry Lee doesn’t have access to it either. Ha! It’s a small, selfish, silly victory.

That aside, I realize that my Olive Branch no longer exists. Kevin and Kelly moved away probably a year before we did. Robert and Judy, who had been together for many, many years, went their separate ways and Judy spent most of her time in Hot Springs, Arkansas after that. I found out years later that Robert had died. As I said earlier the good Aunt Judy turned out to be the bad Aunt Judy. She had an affair with Tommy, Bev’s husband. They divorced. Bev put the house on the market and it sold within 24 hours. I held onto my key to their house for years until finally I threw it away. Bev eventually moved down to Jackson. Judy and Tommy got married and then divorced 2-3 years later. Arch and Alice moved back to Chicago. Eric moved back to his hometown of Corinth, which was probably 2 hours or so south of Olive Branch. He got his ex-wife pregnant and married her again and then went on to have one more child with her. He left Menasha sometime after Jerry Lee got fired. Julie went to work at a different corrugated plant and then eventually remarried her ex-husband and moved back to Tennessee, although I’m not sure what order that took place. Sheri, who was just a young teen back then, is married with a daughter and a son on the way. She lives in Florida now and is a stepmom to two older girls.

Life’s about changing; nothing ever stays the same. Even if he didn’t get fired the Olive Branch I knew and loved wouldn’t be there. All of our friends are gone. We would have watched as Arch and Alice moved back home, and we would have had a front row seat as Bev and Tommy’s marriage exploded and we were faced with the fact that Judy was the other woman. And then I would have been left behind when Bev made her move to Jackson. Maybe there would have been new friends as Rock Star, and then Picasso, began high school. Or as new people were hired on at the plant. Then again, maybe those few years were like lightning in a bottle- never to be captured again.

That high school I envisioned my daughter going to? It had only recently been built and they were already using multiple portables because they had outgrown the building. Apparently a lot of parents were not fans of the Memphis school system. That high school probably doesn’t exist anymore. My guess is they have already built a new one.

If I were to visit I’m not sure I would know my way around anymore. It’s been 19 years since I lived there and 17 years since I last visited.

I can still see that shopping area with the Kroger, the cheesesteaks, Applebee’s, and Cookout. I think there was an eye center there as well. I remember where the new Wal-mart was built. But who knows what’s there now?

I would love to take my kids to Memphis one day because I love the city. Maybe I would take them over into Olive Branch as well. Show Rock Star where she lived when she was a baby. Show them where Bev and Tommy lived. Show them where the Olive Branch Catfish Company used to be.

I know it’s no longer the Olive Branch I once knew and loved; it’s only a treasured memory now. What made it so special was the people, and the people are all gone.

I’m fine with Jerry Lee and Harley living there. It takes nothing away from me and my memories. It won’t ever be replicated. I doubt very much that they’ve made friends, and that was the best part of it. Even if they have it doesn’t change the fact that they’re not living in my Olive Branch. My Olive Branch is gone. They can have this new one.

I’m Not Loving This Word Anymore

Change, change, and more change! My supervisor just announced this week that she is retiring at the end of June. I am not happy. I’m thrilled for her. She is constantly taking vacation days to help her father out and she has two adorable granddaughters that I know she would love to spend even more time with. But I’m not happy for myself.

First, I know there is no way in hell that this is going to lead to a promotion. I have not been in my area long enough to move up into a supervisor position. They are even talking of restructuring our department so there are at least 3 supervisors but I still know there are plenty of people in the department that have much more experience than I.

Second, if there are any perks to working a low paying job it is the fact that it is flexible because of my supervisor. She’s always very willing to work with me. I can ask if it’s possible to leave an hour or two early on a Friday if I only take 30 minute lunches and she says, “Sure!” She’s the one that told me I should leave earlier than 5:00 for my flight to Utah the first time I took some vacation time. She’s just been fantastic and very understanding.

It is quite possible that her retirement will be the catalyst for me looking for a new job.

On the legal front my lawyer has contacted me and thinks we should file a show cause for not only the legal fees he owes me but also for the arrears for child and spousal support. That’s old news. However, I wrote back and told her I wasn’t sure if we could do that or not with the modification going on. I got an answer from her fairly quickly and she assured me that until another court takes jurisdiction the court in Virginia is the only court that can legally compel him to act and the only court that can find him in contempt. I actually called her office to get clarification and ended up talking to her for about 15 minutes.

The end result is I’m not sure what in the hell my caseworker was talking about. My lawyer says it makes no sense that a court in Mississippi where the father resides will be the one enforcing the order. We weren’t divorced there, the order wasn’t issued there, and the kids don’t live in Mississippi. I’ve got to say I’m fine with Mississippi doing the modification since they base it off of his salary alone, but I do agree that that part always sounded strange. I’d always heard the child support goes where the kids go. I figured if anything Indiana would take over the case.

I sent my attorney snippets of my email conversations with the caseworker where she explains how things need to work, and I emailed my caseworker asking her if she knew whether or not Mississippi had taken jurisdiction. I’ve heard nothing back. So this morning I pulled the plug and told my attorney to file. The worst that can happen is she finds out she can’t file a show cause for the support issues, right? Let’s get this thing done! Jerry Lee has spent way too much time walking around a free man, doing whatever he pleases.

I finished Week 2 of the Couch to 5K program. I’m up to a whole 90 seconds of jogging at once! Next week I do 90 seconds of jogging, 90 seconds of walking, 3 minutes of jogging, 3 minutes of walking, and repeat. Pray for me. 

Rock Star took her nursing exam in order to get into nursing school. She was ecstatic with the results. I would share them with you but don’t want to get the details wrong. She got a 90 something on the math section and another 90 something on another section. She told me she did a lot better than she needed to. Now we just wait to hear the official word.

I think Picasso and his counselor are getting into meatier areas because he won’t share stuff anymore, which is fine. I continue to cross my fingers that everything is going well.

He’s exhibiting more interest in getting a job and learning to drive so that’s good.

That’s it. That’s all my recent change. I’m trying to embrace it but I don’t like it. It’ll be good for me though, right?

The Change Progress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What are you talking about?”

“Did you not see the start button?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Whole New Decade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the meantime I have managed to accomplish some things.

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

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

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

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