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!

Merry Christmas, Love Dad

A Christmas miracle has occurred! Picasso and Rock Star both got envelopes in the mail from their dad. Same day! This never happens! The last time it did happen was December of 2015 when he could leave their gift cards for them. I honestly no longer remember if he put them in the mailbox or if he left them on the kitchen island, not that it matters anymore.

Another Christmas miracle- he used his real address! He didn’t try to hide out like he was still living in Kentucky. Nope, he put that fancy address on the envelope this year. I guess he figured the cat was out of the bag. No use hiding.

Strangely, he listed the return address as “The Jackasses” instead of using his full name (Jerry Lee Jackass), or only his last name. I don’t know if that was his way of finally telling the kids he got married or if it was an oversight on his part.

He sent them both a Visa gift card. Nothing else in the envelope. Not a card. Not a letter. No, “I miss you,” or, “I love you.” Not even a “Merry Christmas!” on the flap of the envelope. As Picasso said, “Good to know how much he loves us. Couldn’t even bother to wish us a Merry Christmas. This is more like an obligation than an actual gift.”

Even better? The gift card was one of those where you determine how much you want to put on it. The card said you could choose from $5-$500. He didn’t bother to tell them how much was on it. Rock Star called the number and found out her dad gave them $50.

I know Christmas is not about the gifts and it’s not about how much money you spend. Yet I still shake my head and whisper, “Jesus Christ!” under my breath. This man makes over $100k a year. His cousin turned wife makes somewhere between $75,000-$90,000 a year (last records I saw she brought home $5000/month). He lives in a nice big house in the most sought after subdivision in Olive Branch. Pretty sure he’s driving a new car, too. I know damn well the mulligans did not get a mere $50 spent on them. This man who whines endlessly about how I’ve turned his children against him gifts them a $50 Visa gift card with not a word said to either of them.

I sat with a needle in my arm twice a week for the last four months so that I could give my kids the kind of Christmas they remember. I almost fainted one time. Another time I ended up with bruises on my arm and had to use the other one to donate.

The mobster who is not even their father spent over $100 on each of my kids. He gave me $100 to put towards Picasso’s computer and then ordered a $50 gift certificate to a nail salon for Rock Star, plus he gave her a stocking stuffed with another $50 or so worth of little odds and ends.

My mom undoubtedly spent right around $100 on each of them.

When my kids went down to see my dad my stepmom gave both kids a $100 bill.

Again, I know it’s not about the money or the gifts; however, he doesn’t do anything else for them either. Out of all of the adults in their lives, with the possible exception of my dad, Jerry Lee is the one with the most resources and yet he’s the one that chooses to spend the least. This was a total fuck you gift. Like Picasso said, it was an obligation. He can’t admit to giving them nothing so he gives the least amount he can.

My mouth is still hanging somewhat open at his audacity but as I told the mobster, “They’ll remember which one of us donated plasma twice a week for four months so they could have a great Christmas, and which one of us gave them $50.” I went to great lengths to make sure my kids got the things they wanted for Christmas. They know this. It’s not just the money but the sacrifice, the willingness to do whatever it takes to provide for them.

I will never forget the look on my son’s face when he walked downstairs and saw the computer he so badly coveted sitting there, instead of a few hundred dollars in his stocking knowing he was going to have to make up the difference.

I know how much Rock Star loves her stocking; she has said many times it’s her favorite part of Christmas. This year it was bangin’! She was thrilled with the cosmetics and skin care products she received, along with the gift certificate for a massage and her Air Pods.

Every hour I spent in that plasma center was worth it. Every stick was worth it. My kids are worth it. It’s sad he doesn’t realize that.

This is not my battle to fight. He is who is and his kids are going to have to accept that. I would say that he’s going to have to accept responsibility for the state of his relationship with them but I think we all know that’s not going to happen.

There Will Be Bad Days, Part 1

For any of you out there just starting this infidelity/divorce journey I am here to tell you that there will be bad days. It’s a process. One day you will wake up and everything will seem to be going swimmingly. You’ll be in a great mood and feel blessed to be alive. Then the next day you wake up and everything will come crashing down. Doubts will wash over you. You’ll feel like you’re at a standstill. You might even shed a tear or two. Hopefully, it passes quickly and you’re back to feeling grateful and blessed, and pretty darn content.

I had a moment like that on Thanksgiving morning. I was overwhelmed and worrying about things that don’t improve with worry.

The unfairness of it all welled up in me and I wanted to scream. I’m over here in Indiana, living with my mom. My son is dealing with crippling anxiety and I don’t know how to help him. It’s bad enough that even though he’s doing poorly in pre-calculus he can’t ask for help. The nurse practitioner who was willing to dispense anti-anxiety medication to Rock Star like it was candy is reluctant to prescribe it to him. As he said, “When I finally do open up and tell someone about my anxiety I’m told, ‘Well, you’re able to talk to me,’ and nothing else is done.”

I’ve been donating plasma twice a week since August to build up a Christmas nest egg so I’m not going into debt or worrying about how to pay for Christmas gifts. Then my daughter gets sick with some mystery illness.

When she called me crying on Saturday, not wanting to go to the urgent care because it would cost too much, I urged her to go. I have a check on my dresser for an overpayment of a previous medical bill. I have about $120 in my HSA account. Paying for that visit wasn’t going to be a problem.

But now she’s been to the emergency room. I don’t even want to know how much that visit is going to cost. I keep envisioning around $1000, but that’s probably going to turn out to be low. I have no fucking idea how I’m going to pay it.

Then on top of that she’s been to the regular doctor’s as well, which is another $87 I’m going to have to pay.

Meanwhile, Jerry Lee is living in his luxurious 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with a fireplace and granite counter tops, in a sought after subdivision.

He has no legal obligation to his daughter. He won’t be contributing to these medical bills. They all fall on me while he continues to pay whatever the fuck he wants to pay, whenever he wants to pay it.

So I envision my plasma Christmas money going down the drain. Instead of spending two days a week, every week, since August with a needle in my arm so that my family has gifts for Christmas, instead it will go to pay for an ER visit.

It doesn’t stop there, of course, because by this time I’m drowning in all the fears and doubts.

It moves on to the mobster. I fear that we are never going to be together, that I am doomed to never be with an every day partner. I spent 20 years married to a person that didn’t share life with me, and now I’ve found the love of my life and he lives 10.5 hours away from me. We do not spend day to day life together. We don’t spend holidays together. We’re not able to be together for the big events in life because of the distance. We see each other every two to three weeks, if we’re lucky. His kids live in Virginia and have no desire to move to Indiana. My kids live in Indiana and at least one of them has no desire to move back to Virginia. In order for us to be together one of us needs to move to where the other lives, and that means one of us is going to have to leave our kids behind.

Don’t get me wrong. I would rather spend every third weekend with him than 24 hours a day with someone else. I know what I’ve gotten myself into and I’m fine with it. As I’ve told him before, if we never live in the same state I’ll be okay with it. I’d rather have that little bit than to have nothing at all.

His new plan is to begin doing in home care. His parents used to do it and all three of his siblings do it now. It is a lot of money and you have a very flexible schedule which would be great, considering the distance. The downside is, unless the family of this person or persons, was willing to let him or her move he wouldn’t be able to bring this person with him when he moves up here. That means he will lose his income stream.

The bottom line is this: He’s got a house where he lives. He’s got a job that pays the bills and lets him buy pretty much whatever he needs; there’s a possibility he could increase his income by several thousand dollars a month. Three out of four of his kids live in his small town that I nicknamed the armpit of Virginia. He has to give all of that up in order to move up here and start all over. It’s crazy and it makes so much more sense for me to move down there.

I don’t need to sell a house. I don’t need to sell a business. It’s not like I’m working my dream job and there’s no way I’ll find another job making as much. But if I move I either need to get a place of my own which means I’m going to be living on a shoestring budget seeing as how I’m now paying rent, utilities, and all food, or I move in with him and must give up spousal support.

He knows I don’t want to rely upon another man once again. I cannot go through losing everything again if he decides he’s tired of me. Until I can live comfortably on my own I am not giving up spousal support.

On top of the money and the mobster fears, I’m frustrated and feeling invisible. I’ve been trying to get my high blood pressure medication called in since last Thursday. I’m still waiting to hear back from my case worker to learn what the hell happens after the county gets the case. After my lawyer quickly got back to me once I asked for her to refer me to someone else if she couldn’t take the case, I am again dealing with radio silence. And, Jerry Lee still has not sent the other half of his self-modified spousal support. Put all those together and you have one very frustrated Sam.

What a Week

I’m tired, folks. I’ve had quite the crazy week. I realize I’ve only been doing this “work” thing for three years now but this is the first week I’ve ever not worked all the hours I was scheduled.  Monday I left work abruptly to meet my daughter at the ER approximately 3 hours away. Tuesday I took off to get her back to the house. But let’s face it, even if it hadn’t been Thanksgiving break there was no way I was going to be able to drive back at 10:30 at night, get home around 1:30 and then go back to work, all the while wondering if she was going to be okay. Today I took an extended lunch to meet her at the doctor’s office.

The people from Med Express, the urgent care center she used, called to give her the test results. They were negative. No bladder infection. No kidney infection. This worried them because she was obviously very sick when she came in on Saturday. They thought it was a kidney or bladder infection because of her symptoms and that’s not it. So we’re back to square one.

The doctor she saw today mentioned the possibility of an ovarian cyst. That would account for the pain but I’ve never heard of an ovarian cyst to cause a fever, or nausea. He also briefly considered appendicitis but said he really didn’t think it was that.

He gave her a different prescription for antibiotics and if she’s not improving the next step is an ultrasound.

The bright side to this whole thing was supposed to be Chick-Fil-A for lunch for me. It’s right down the road from the doctor’s office. I was all set to enjoy a delicious chicken sandwich. Then I remembered the peppermint chip shakes. That made me really excited. Especially considering last year when we went in specifically to get the seasonal peppermint chip shakes they were freaking out of it! How do you manage to run out of your seasonal shake only weeks into its limited time run?

Spoiler alert: I did not get Chick-Fil-A. I didn’t get a sandwich and I certainly did not get a delicious peppermint chip shake.

Why? Because everybody in this damn town has lost their freaking mind when it comes to Chick-Fil-A! The lines are insane! My mom always suggests I go inside but the line inside was even worse. I couldn’t even tell where the line began because there were so many damn people.

I was there a little after one. Not exactly a lunch hour rush. Certainly not worthy of the crush of people that were there. It doesn’t really matter when you go, though.

I took Picasso once at some random time in the afternoon and we still had quite the line. I remember muttering under my breath, “WTF? Are they giving away free sandwiches or something?”

No, it’s always packed. Always. It doesn’t matter if you go at noon or you go at 3. You can go at 6 or 7 or 8. You will still wait. There will still be a line a mile long.

I don’t understand this. Yes, it is a delicious chicken sandwich. Probably my favorite. But this is not a new restaurant. We’ve had a Chick-Fil-A in this town for more than 35 years! I have high school classmates that worked there for crying out loud when we were in high school. I graduated in 1987. That’s a long time ago!

By the lines we get you would think this was a brand new restaurant, at least to this area. But, no, it’s not. And the lines never die down.

When I lived in Utah we finally got an In-N-Out Burger. The day it opened the lines wrapped around the parking lot and the line for dine-in spilled out the door. They had people out there coming to your car and taking your order. We were in line for over 30 minutes. It might have been longer. I get that. It was new, or at least new to the area. Within a month or two, maybe a little longer, the lines were no longer insurmountable. You could generally pull right up or go right in.

That does not happen at Chick-Fil-A. It’s constantly busy. I haven’t had a Chick-Fil-A sandwich in months. I haven’t had a peppermint chip shake in two years, at least! I’m getting cranky.

You know what else makes me cranky? My damn doctor’s office. I have been trying to get my blood pressure medication refilled for going on a week now. That’s not a medication you want to quit cold turkey. It’s not even a medication you want to randomly skip here and there. Yet when it comes time to refill my prescription they can’t seem to get their act together and get it called in.

I took my last pill Wednesday night. Thursday I went in to get my blood pressure checked and to get the prescription refilled. When I got there around 4:30 they looked at me as though I had two heads.

Who told you you could just stop in and get your blood pressure taken? Why do you need it checked?

My nurse practitioner told me I could just stop in and I need it checked to make sure the medication is working and she doesn’t need to up the dosage!

Jesus Christ on crutches. Do they really think I just pulled this out of my ass?

Turns out they have a new system and because of the new system they do things a little differently now. You need to make a “nurse appointment” to get your blood pressure checked. Those only occur between 8:30 and 3:45. Meaning I need to take another hour to two hours off of work to get my damn blood pressure taken.

The lady at the front desk takes down my request to refill the prescription and tells me she’ll get it back there to someone and get it called in. This is Wednesday afternoon, sometime between 4:30 and 5:00.

I get no call from the pharmacy that evening, not that I was entirely surprised. Friday comes and goes with no call either. Well, this is great. I’m now going to go the entire weekend without my medication. Wonderful. Let’s hope I don’t stroke out.

I call on Monday. The person who answers the phone tells me she understands and she’s so sorry it didn’t get called in. She’ll make sure the request gets back there and someone calls it in to the pharmacy.

Before I go any further, let me set the stage. My current doctor’s office is part of a very large medical group. When you’re walking up to the building to the right of you is a bariatric weight loss center. To the left is an urgent care center. And just past that is yet another building for, I believe, radiology. The office itself has a nifty little phone system setup where you push 1 for appointments and 2 for radiology and 3 for prescription refills and 4 for billing and so forth and so forth. I really have no idea if the person who gets the phone call about the prescriptions works in the same building as my nurse practitioner or not. Now that you know that I can continue with my story.

I’m sure you already know the ending. No prescription. Plus, I was a little busy, rushing down to meet my daughter and her friends at the ER several hours away.

I check again on Tuesday. The pharmacy has no record of anything being called in for me.

I call the doctor’s office again. Press 4 for prescription refill. I tell the lady who answers the phone I came in on Thursday and I called yesterday and I still have no prescription. She tells me it is being processed right now.

Very well. I shall wait for the phone call from the pharmacy, alerting me when it’s ready.

Alas, that phone call never comes.

I call today. I let “Caroline” know I have been trying to get this prescription filled since Thursday. I have been out of my medication for almost a week now. If it doesn’t get called in today I’m not going to be able to get it until Friday at the earliest. Caroline actually seems a little concerned. She can’t figure out why on earth it’s in the system but hasn’t been processed. You and me both, Caroline.

She tells me she is going to flag this as a high priority and run it back “there” so that it can get called in.

Now, I don’t know if Caroline is a liar, or if the pharmacy is just taking it’s sweet time to call and let me know my prescription is ready, or if the rest of the idiots at the office are simply incompetent, but I do know this- I still don’t have my damn blood pressure medication.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I have a meatloaf to make. Seriously, my niece loved my meatloaf so much from that Sunday dinner that she requested I make one for Thanksgiving. So, I’ll be making that, along with the stuffing, corn casserole, and dumplings.

I hope that all of you who are celebrating the holiday have a great one. And for those of you who aren’t celebrating Thanksgiving, have a wonderful day anyway.

Pardon the Interruption

Sorry about the missing post yesterday. I was all set to come home from work and write. Life, however, had other plans.

I mentioned on Sunday that Rock Star had gone to the urgent care down at school. They thought it was a kidney infection, treated her for such, and instructed her to go to the ER if her symptoms got worse or if she didn’t improve.

Yesterday around 4:30 she called me at work telling me her friends were worried about her because she wasn’t getting any better, the pain was getting worse and she was continuing to take her anti-nausea meds every 4-6 hours to keep the nausea at bay. One of her friend’s mom has worked in healthcare for years and she, too, was very worried about her symptoms. So, off to the ER she went. Needless to say my child was not going to go to the emergency room while I remained at home, 3 hours away.

I left work and drove to the hospital.

The good news is she is fine. As fine as you can be when you’re sick, I should say. They were concerned she might have a kidney stone along with the infection. She does not. They gave her an IV, did a CT scan to rule out the kidney stone, and gave her two or three more prescriptions- one for pain and one for the nausea. If there was a third one I don’t know what it was for.

They went to a hospital about 50 minutes from campus. We didn’t leave until around 10:30. Got home sometime between 11:30 and 12. I stopped to get her something to eat and to grab something cheap for me to wear. I left work with nothing except my coat and purse.

I told my supervisor when I left that I didn’t think I would be in today, and sure enough, I’m not. I’m packing her up and getting her home for the Thanksgiving break. She’s hoping to be good as new by Friday because she’s scheduled to work.

Right now I am refusing to think about the  medical bill that’s coming my way. Just thankful she’s okay and that no surgery was required.

I pledged to post every day for the month of November. I didn’t reach that goal. I think I had a good excuse though.

Radical Acceptance- One More Try

I admit I began feeling a little mopey while writing about this so-called radical acceptance earlier. I’ve thought about it some more and I’m going to give it another try.

I still think radical acceptance is about finally acknowledging and accepting that the life you once had is no longer. It’s a completely different looking life that you are leading. You lean into it instead of fighting against it with everything you’ve got.

It’s easy to feel sorry for myself. My God, I’m 50 years old and I am living with my mother. I don’t have a bedroom of my own. I own almost nothing anymore. My standard of living has decreased by probably 75%. But you know what? Everyone has a sob story. I’m not the only person who has lost everything thanks to a divorce. So what to do now?

Years ago Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” In many ways losing everything has freed me. You learn very quickly what’s important and what’s not when you’re forced to leave almost everything behind. The good news is I don’t have anything left to lose. I’m not chained to the bullshit. I can speak my mind. If they want to fire me at my job who cares? I can replace that job easily. At about $30,000/year it’s not like it’s the job of a lifetime. I will never be thinking, “Oh my goodness! I’ll never find anything this good again!” 

I can lament all that was lost or I can celebrate the freedom to recreate my life. For the first time in a very long time I get to be in charge of my life. I don’t have to move because someone else got a job. If I want to move to New Orleans I can find a job and move there. If I want to stay here for the rest of my life I can. If I want to go back to school to get my Masters I don’t have anyone discouraging me from doing so. All these decisions are mine to make now. No one else.

I’m not sure that’s what Janis had in mind when she sang that but that’s how I choose to look at it. This is my life and I’ll live it the way I want to.

I can focus on everything that was lost- my home, my pool, my furniture. Pretty much everything I’ve ever owned. I can dwell on how I moved back to my home town, in with my mother, completely defeated. Or, I can celebrate how I survived that hell. I didn’t just survive it. I rocked it. I got shit done.

I was 46 years old when I realized my life as I knew it was going to radically change. I had been a stay at home mom for 15 years at that point. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. I knew I would end up on aid and that we would pretty much be living in poverty. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: If it weren’t for my mom, my kids and I would have been out on the streets, or living in our car or in subsidized housing somewhere.

Even knowing how badly life was going to suck I continued to put one foot in front of the other. I continued to do the things that needed to be done. I interviewed lawyers and filed for divorce. I fired my first lawyer and hired my second lawyer. I continued to take care of my kids.

Later, after moving back to Indiana, I continued to do what needed to be done. I got my kids enrolled in a new school system. I applied for Medicaid and free lunches and textbooks for my kids. I took a seasonal job at Target, unloading trucks and stocking shelves that had me getting up anywhere from 1:30 to 3:30 in the morning. And then I took another seasonal job at Kohl’s where I worked from noon until 6 or 8 pm. That’s right. I worked two jobs while he worked none. Do you know why? Because it needed to be done. I had two choices. I could cry and bitch about it, or I could do something about it. I chose to do something about it. Yes, it meant I fell asleep sitting up many a nights. It meant I relied on my mom to get my kids where they needed to be. It meant that there were days my feet and back hurt so badly after working both jobs that I limped out to my car at the end of the night. It meant I woke up at ungodly hours and I worked 21 straight days before finally getting a day off. But I did it. I did that. Chumpy little me. A stay at home mom for 15 years with no great job prospects.

Then I pushed for a show cause hearing to get the support my kids and I needed and deserved. And then I hired an expert witness to counter his PTSD bullshit and I kept going through all of it.

I did all of that, and I did it without someone by side telling me how wonderful I was and how I deserved to be happy. I had many days where I would cry all the way to Target, wipe my tears and go to work; then come back home, pick up my daughter, take her to school, get ready for my full-time job, and cry all the way to that job as well. Once again, I would wipe my tears, put a smile on my face and go to work. The biggest compliment I ever received was a co-worker telling me she would never have known I was going through all of that because I was always so sweet and cheerful, always had a smile on my face.

Radical acceptance means saying goodbye to your old life and embracing this new one. It means celebrating all that you have accomplished instead of focusing on what was lost.

I did so many things he never had to do, things I don’t think he has the balls to do. I raised our kids with no help from him while working two jobs for a while. He can’t say he’s ever done that. He can’t even say he worked and raised his kids because all of their care fell on me. He never took a single day off because a kid was sick. He never had to tell his boss he couldn’t go in early, or that he wouldn’t be available to go out to dinner with the bigwigs from corporate at the last minute. Because I was there, making sure everything went smoothly for him.

Today I no longer work two jobs but I donate plasma twice a week so that my kids can have a nice Christmas without me stressing out over it. Is it fair? Probably not. Is it anywhere close to what my life was like five years ago? Oh God no. But you know what? Christmas will be paid for and I won’t be running up any credit cards or worrying about how far my paycheck will stretch. I am free to concentrate on the fun parts of Christmas. Ultimately, fair or not, I’m getting it done. I could cry (and believe me, I did a lot of crying in the early days) or I can choose to celebrate the badass I am.

Am I where I want to be? No, I’m not. But again, I can cry and gnash my teeth over my poor paying job, or I can do something about it. Radical acceptance, to me, means accepting that it’s not going to be handed to me. It doesn’t mean lying down and playing dead; it doesn’t mean I accept this as though it’s my fate. If I want a change I need to go after it. Maybe that means going back to school. Maybe it means getting a different job.

It’s so easy to get sucked into that cycle of feeling sorry for yourself. Look at all that I’ve lost. Look at what I’ll never have again. At some point though it’s necessary to give thanks for what you do have.

I have two great kids who love me. There are those out there who have been cheated on and discarded and their children have turned against them as well. I have been fortunate in that my two have remained steadfastly loyal. They demonstrate on a regular basis how much they love me and how important I am to them.

I realize he does not value the same things I value and yet I still feel fortunate to be able to say I am a large part of their lives. They talk to me and tell me things, I get to laugh with them and make new memories with them. I get to be with them and be a part of their lives.

I have a mother who has gone above and beyond for me. She’ll take Picasso his lunch if he’s forgotten it. She’ll get him where he needs to be after school. She’s provided a home for us these last three years. When I was working 12+ hour days she would take Rock Star to work or pick her up so I could sleep. I am truly fortunate; I know many others do not have the luxury of going back home.

Divorcing Jerry Lee meant that I was free to pursue a relationship with the mobster. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know I happen to think this man hangs the moon. He is a much, much better partner than Jerry Lee ever was.

No matter how sorry I’m feeling for myself every time I talk to him I’m filled with happiness, and am so overjoyed he is in my life. That other stuff doesn’t matter nearly as much. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I would rather live in a one bedroom apartment with him than in a mansion with Jerry Lee.

If I were still with Jerry Lee, living in my big ol’ house with my brand new furniture, and my luxury pool, I never would have met the mobster. I’d never have experienced all the wonderful weekends we’ve spent together. I wouldn’t know the joy of Athens or Columbus or Chilicothe. I never would have known a man would actually rinse your jeans out for you when you shit yourself on a bike ride. I wouldn’t have my cute little glitter jingle bell elf slippers. I wouldn’t have been kayaking or visited wineries or gone geocaching or known anything about Pokemon Go. I would have missed out on a lot.

I have amazing friends, both near and far. So many people rallied around while this was happening. And moving back to my hometown has allowed me to spend more time with my oldest friends.

I once wrote about going to Holland when you thought you were going to go to Italy. Radical acceptance is a lot like going to Holland. My hometown isn’t a horrible place. It has lots of great things. It has wine walks and Jeff Dunham shows and cool movie theaters. It’s close to Chicago and Lake Michigan. It’s just not what I had planned.

I won’t ever live in another 4000 sq. ft. home unless something very unexpected happens. I don’t think I even want another house that big. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever have a home. Hopefully one day the mobster and I will share a home. It will be quaint and charming and homey. It will be a haven for us and our combined six kids when they choose to visit. Except for Picasso. I’m pretty sure he’s going to live with me forever.

My job isn’t horrible. It doesn’t pay very well but it has a few other perks, and it turns out I’m pretty decent at what I do. Like I said earlier, I can always get another job. Right now I’m lazy. I haven’t looked because I haven’t had to.

I may not be able to buy my kids all the creature comforts that I once could but a little hard work won’t kill them. I’m extremely proud of my daughter and how hard she already works. She sets a goal and she goes for it. She got a job at age 16 and has been working ever since.

Plus, if the mobster and I were to ever marry I feel like I’m contributing equally to the relationship. It’s not him going out to work and providing for the family while I stay at home and do nothing (at least that’s how Jerry Lee viewed it). He’s self-employed so I always figure at least I can bring insurance to the table.

I can’t say that I’m all the way there, or even that I won’t backslide now and again, but I do feel like I’m further than I’ve ever been before.

Me and Michael Myers

I hate scary movies so I’m not sure how it is that I once watched “Halloween”. Furthermore, I’m not sure how it came to be that I went to see “Halloween 2” in the theater.

OK, I do know the answer to that one. It involved a boy and a big group date. I’ve forgotten a lot of the details over the years but I do remember it began, somehow, with one of them prank calling me every morning. One day I was running late. The prankster called as usual and I had no time for him and his nonsense. “I’m running late today. I don’t have time for this. You want to call me back later?” That sure shocked him. But he agreed to call me later. We talked over a period of weeks. This was back in sixth grade, by the way.

I don’t remember how he got my number. I don’t think he was even the one I ultimately liked and agreed to go the movies with. But eventually a group of us met up. I have no idea where any of them are today and I don’t care at all.

Shortly after watching “Halloween 2” I locked myself out of the house. I had to crawl in through the basement window. It was very dark down there. Plus, I had to pass by the furnace room. It housed the furnace and the water heater and the doorway was covered only by a cheap curtain that hung on an equally cheap curtain rod. It was dark in that room and it seemed to go on forever. Every time I passed by that room, I steeled myself against what I knew I was going to see. I was positive that Jason and Michael and Freddie all hung out in that endlessly dark room, waiting for me to pass by.

Look, I am 50 years old and I still cannot flush the toilet in the middle of the night for fear of waking Michael Myers.

Funny story about that furnace room… One evening I was passing by it on my way to my bedroom, which was located in the basement. I was thinking to myself, “It looks like there’s somebody standing back there.” As I got closer to my room, my then boyfriend stepped out of that fucking dark furnace room. He had somehow snuck into the house and was waiting for me. How I did not scream bloody murder is beyond me.

I have not seen the new “Halloween” movie. I didn’t see the earlier sequels either. I have no plans to, but I did have some questions.

Like, where does he get his shoes? At one point I wondered how it was he always had something to change into. And it’s always a jumpsuit, which is hideous. But then I read he gets his hideous jumpsuit off the poor soul he kills. Yet, what are the chances the person he kills wears the same size shoe?

Plus, there’s always been this strange dichotomy to his murder sprees. I know from reading about Ted Bundy that generally there are two types of killers- organized or disorganized.

An organized killer, as the name implies, is organized. They’re prepared. They plan it. They have a contingency plan. It’s well thought out. A disorganized killer, on the other hand, kind of wings it. They might not have actually planned to kill someone but the opportunity arises. They haven’t thought it out. They have no plan.

Ted Bundy was usually a very organized killer. When he was busy kidnapping, murdering, and disposing of women out in Utah and Washington he was very methodical. Towards the end of his crime spree he became a much more disorganized killer. The attacks at the sorority house and the murder of his last victim were all extremely disorganized.

Michael Myers is a lot like that. On one hand, he grabs a hammer or a knife and whacks or stabs someone randomly. Very disorganized. No planning. He’s like a shark hunting for prey. Then other times he really thinks it through. Like when he waits for you in the backseat of your car. Or when he pretends to be a ghost and impales your boyfriend before strangling you. Or, like in the latest installment, when he patiently waits for you to discover him in the closet.

Why am I even writing about this, you are probably asking. I will tell you why. Because I scared the shit out of my son the other night. I had knocked on his door and let him know that dinner was ready. I’m sure he thought I had left to go back to the kitchen. Originally that was my plan. As I stood there, right up against his door, waiting silently for him to open the door and see me standing there, I thought to myself, “Is this how Michael felt when he waited patiently in that closet for someone to find him?”

Sure enough- I scared him. He yanked open his door, ready to come grab a plate, and I was right there. He was not expecting that. He let out a yelp and I believe the words, “Jesus Christ!” were uttered as he sank to his knees. “Why would you do that?” he asked me.

“To scare you!” I replied. Duh.

Rest assured, hugs were exchanged, I finally stopped laughing, and all was forgiven.