Facebook After Infidelity & Conversations With the Kids

I’m still waiting on the judge’s decision so nothing new from me right now. I have a lot of posts in my drafts section but they are all about things I don’t want to publish until after the divorce. Maybe I’ll loosen up a little as time goes by if I have to wait much longer. Strangely, I’m not really nervous. I’m expecting the worst and hoping for the best.

September 2015

Doing a bit better today.  I should probably stay off of Facebook for a while because all of these anniversary announcements make me sad.  For 2 years I wanted to be able to shout it out:  Happy Anniversary to the love of my life!  But he ruined that.  Every year when it rolled around I couldn’t do it.  I was hoping this year would be different.  I think that it probably would have been.  I was pretty much healed.  And now…. well, now it’s just over.  There won’t be a 21st anniversary.  Oh, technically we’ll be married 21 years at the time of our divorce.  But I won’t count it.  Not when he’s out fucking his whore.  And then you have the memories they share with you.  A year ago today I was talking about Picasso commenting on Zack playing football “back in the day”.  And 2 years ago I posted a meme about him having an awesome wife.  I wrote:  And he knows it, don’t you?  To which he replies:  I do.  Of course I do!  Just fucking heartbreaking stuff.

I took the kids out to dinner last night.  Rock Star tells me she’s terrified of her dad.  Why she’s not exactly sure but she is.  She’s afraid he’s going to hit me.  She wants to start up a hate page about the whore.  Tonight she said he wouldn’t care if they didn’t spend Father’s Day with him or not because he would be too busy with his other kids.  I find that sad.  I also find it extremely hypocritical.  He’s been so busy criticizing my one brother for walking away from his daughter and yet what does he do?  He’s planning on moving away to be with his whore and her kids.  She really hates him.

I did try to remind them of the good times they’ve had with him.  Unfortunately those good times are all clouded over now by his lies and his behavior.  Picasso said he didn’t recall his dad going to Disneyland with us.  And then he made a comment that he was probably all excited about it because he knew he was moving to our new state soon to be with his girlfriend.

He’s worried that I’m going to have to get a job.  He told me he likes having me here.  He’s not fond of his dad either.  I think with him it’s more of a disappointment.

They were giving me their list of requirements for a new dad, not that I’ll ever remarry.  Rock Star wants me to marry someone rich.  Picasso wants me to marry someone who will be involved because, as he puts it, “I’ve never had an involved dad.”  He was sad when I told him I wouldn’t ever remarry; that’s when he brought up the job.  I guess maybe he thinks that if I remarry I won’t have to go back to work.

Every day brings new questions.  My mom googled whether or not you could get a home loan using only spousal support.  The answer was yes but you had to show a divorce decree and have been receiving it consistently for a year.  So…. looks like I’m not going anywhere for over a year.  I may get lucky and be able to move into a rental place if it’s someone a friend of mine here knows.  Otherwise, I’m screwed with that as well!  So if his next company offers him a house buyout he may not be able to take it.  Take that, you bastard!

Every day brings new twinges of sadness, things you don’t always think about.  Yesterday I was driving somewhere, maybe to dinner, I suddenly thought to myself:  Our house isn’t going to be decorated for Christmas this year. At least not on the outside.  He always did that.  And then my next thought was:  Of course, I’m sure he’ll decorate hers.

I try to feel the feelings and then move on quickly because it doesn’t help to dwell.  Sometimes I am enraged when I think about all that he is taking away from us.  Then I tell myself:  You have a great opportunity to reinvent yourself and your life with your kids.  Create some new traditions.  You are no longer going to be brought down by his behavior and his moods.

More and more I’m realizing just how incredibly selfish and self centered he is, and always was.  It was always about him and the amazing thing is if you asked him he would tell you it was never about him.  No, it was always about him.  His moods, his wants, his needs, his peace, his quiet, his feelings.  Don’t talk while Dad is watching tv.  He doesn’t want to have to pause the damn television show.  Don’t tell him you’re mad.  Don’t tell him you’re sad.  Don’t tell him something doesn’t work. Hell, I told him I hated the fact that everyone in his damn family still kept in touch with his whore and his response was:  I can’t control what they do.  God forbid he do anything difficult!  I told my mom today that I was pretty close to being done when he bought that bourbon after his psychiatrist appointment.  And when he stopped therapy.  I know that aside from the money I am going to be so much better off without him.  Even if I never have another single date.  Even if I never fall in love again.

 

They Don’t Care About Our Pain

March 2015

I’ve spent the weekend reading a blog by a woman who’s husband was murdered by his mistress’s husband. Heartbreaking and fascinating.  There are 3 things I want to touch upon but I have a feeling I will only get 1, maybe 2 of them down in print before I retire for the rest of the evening.  I fell asleep on the couch but it is now 3:55 in the morning and I’m supposed to get up and go to #### tomorrow.

Anyway, here are the 3 things I contemplated: 1. She talked about wanting to confront the woman when she finally ran into her.  She went to the bathroom to steady herself and while she was in there she heard the Lord tell her to be still, that this woman didn’t care about her pain and suffering.  She didn’t care then, when she was doing it.  And she wouldn’t care now.  Powerful.  2. This woman met her new husband within about 2 months after her first husband’s murder.  Being LDS I’m sure they married quickly and by the sounds of it she was married before Thanksgiving that year.  This made me think of E as well.  I think that within 6 months of her husband’s death she had gotten involved with his friend. Before the 2 year mark had arrived she had moved to #### to be with him and she is now engaged.  Looking at Ashlee’s progress E actually took it slow! But it makes me think of what would have happened to me, to my children, if CF had left us for Harley.

Yes, I had a third topic but I’ve already forgotten it.  Maybe it will come to me later.

She doesn’t care about my pain.  Reading that on Ashlee’s blog resonated with me for some reason.  I suppose it’s the first time I really thought about it like that.

Got it!  The concept that the OW owes us nothing and is blameless in the affair.  That’s been a heated topic on a debate board I read and this blog has solidified my thought that no, she’s not an innocent bystander.  She’s a party to everything that is happening.

OK, back to me and good ol’ Harley.  I doubt she ever thought about me when she decided to fuck around with my husband.  Her only thought was about herself, her own crappy marriage, having someone around that could make her feel good. If she ever was forced to realize I was a real live person I’m sure she justified what she was doing by telling herself I was a horrible person and I didn’t deserve to have CF.  No doubt he was telling her how awful I was as well. So, why would she have any sympathy for me?  No, she was driven by what she wanted.  I was nothing to her.  And I’m sure that even today she doesn’t think about how she hurt me.  That’s not for her to worry about. She only needs to worry about herself and making sure she gets whatever she wants. That was such a powerful moment for me.  I realize that I have undoubtedly given her much, much more thought than she has ever given to me. I’m sure that once her little affair with my husband was disrupted she never gave me a second thought (not that she was thinking about me when she was fooling around with him anyway!). It’s been almost 19 months since I found out they were still messing around, almost 2 years since I first found out he was texting her.  I know that in that time I have thought about her and her impact on me many more times than she ever thought about me.  Writing that down sounds so sad.  But isn’t that the way it usually works? She is selfish and thinks only of herself and what she wants.  She’s not going to think about the wife of the man she’s screwing around with; I’ve had very little to no effect on her.  I, on the other hand, have been affected by her actions. My marriage was affected by her actions. I have a vested interest in her because she almost destroyed my life.  I have done nothing to hers. But at the heart of it all is the fact that she just doesn’t care. She doesn’t care about my pain and she never will.  And quite honestly, my husband should be caring about my pain, not her.

As for all these people getting married AGAIN right after the death of a spouse… Well, let’s just say that I’m sure if CF and I had divorced I would still be single today.  I mean, if I was single for 5 years between my last serious boyfriend and meeting CF I can’t imagine I would immediately meet and fall in love with someone else.  I met CF when I was young, relatively thin, and had no children.  Now I’m fat, old, and have 2 kids.  Oh yes, I’m a catch. No, I’m fully aware that if anything happens to CF I will be alone the rest of my life.  No one wanted me when I was young and cute so I can’t imagine there will be a line for me when I’m old and ugly and bringing baggage. Hell, even Jezebel is smart enough to realize that when she’s done with one husband she needs to lose weight before she finds the next one. I’ve come to realize that a fat Jezebel is happy in her marriage.  When she starts losing weight watch out! She’s on the prowl and another one will bite the dust.

As for the third topic, well, I think it is bullshit.  Yes, your husband made the vows to you.  But the OW is fully participating.  Affairs are just plain ass wrong.  You may have not made vows to the wife but you know damn well you shouldn’t be fucking her husband.  It takes 2 to tango.  My husband couldn’t have cheated on me if he didn’t have a willing partner.  Is he ultimately responsible?  Sure.  But that doesn’t excuse her behavior. I look at it like this:  Charles Manson is sitting in prison in California; he will probably never see the light of day.  And yet, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, he himself has not actually killed a single person.  He sits in prison because of what he was able to talk a group of people into doing.  If I hire a person to kill someone am I not responsible?  Can I say, “Well, sure I gave him money and I mentioned how nice it would be if this person ceased to exist.  But come on, you can’t hold me responsible for what he did! I didn’t force him to shoot that person!”  Or does the guy who pulled the trigger get to plead innocence?  “It was all her idea!  I was sitting there, minding my own business, when she lured me in with promises of money if I would just do this one little thing.”  No, both of us would be held responsible.  Me for offering him the money to do the deed, and him for doing the deed.  Similarly, if I were to say, “I really hate that person!  I want to burn his/her house down!  If I had a match I would.  I’ve got plenty of gasoline I just don’t have a match and I’m too lazy to go buy one,” and someone says, “I’ve got a match.  I’ll give it to you,” that person is now culpable. They knew what I was planning on doing was wrong and they helped me.  They participated.

I sat there reading Ashlee’s blog and learned how this affair affected her poor little kids.  Even at their young ages they were so traumatized by the death of their father.  It was heartbreaking.  And that woman had something to do with it.  Her husband killed him because she was sleeping with him. For anyone to say she had nothing to do with it and she shouldn’t be blamed is ludicrous.  She slept with a married man!  She was married herself!  Their affair led to her husband’s murderous rampage. She helped betray that young wife and mother.  She was part of the disaster that led to five children being left without a father. I shake my head at the number of women who are ready and eager to excuse that behavior. Even women who themselves have been cheated on.

Generally these same people will say that a successful person can’t take credit for his/her success.  Countless people helped to make that person a success.  The parents who paid for the education, fed and clothed them during the early years, nurtured them… the people all around them that gave them chances… even the government that made the roads and bridges that people use to get to the building where this person works.  I find it so interesting that a person can’t claim success on their own, but if a person has an affair they’ve suddenly done that in a vacuum.  No one else participated.  No one else is complicit.  No one helped them have an affair.  It was all on that one person.

I continue to shake my head at the people who use the excuse of: He made vows to you.  She didn’t.  She didn’t owe you anything.  I’ve heard people say, “I wouldn’t sleep with a married man, but it’s not because I owe it to his wife.  I owe it to myself to not be with someone who would put me second.”  OK, if that makes you feel better.  Is that really why you’re not sleeping with a married man?  If he put you first, ditched his wife on all holidays, made sure you were provided for before his wife and kids, would you seriously be ok with it?  I’d like to think that the majority of people have an inner moral compass.  I’d like to think that the majority of people would say, “It’s WRONG to sleep with someone else’s spouse.”  Hell, do you not molest children because it’s not fair to yourself because they’re too young to fully participate in a relationship with you, or do you not molest children because it is WRONG?  Do you stay the fuck away from your son’s and daughter’s 17, 18 and 19 year old friends because they just can’t help pay the bills, or do you stay away from them because that is WRONG?  Do you not steal or embezzle because it is WRONG or is there another more practical reason?  I can think of many things that I don’t OWE to other people but I don’t do them because it would be wrong and my inner compass doesn’t allow me to do that: kidnap someone’s child because I want him/her, steal from people, embezzle, scam them out of money, take things from their home, take their car for a joyride, spread rumors to get them fired so I can take their job… I could go on and on.

Everyone thinks they know everything about affairs- why people have them, what their marriages must have been like. They don’t.  Some people fool around because they’re broken.  Some do it because they think they deserve it.  Some do it because it’s a thrill.  Some people are unhappy in their marriages.  Some people aren’t. For some it’s just a perfect storm.  The right circumstances with a willing partner.  Some do it to get out of a marriage. Some are sex addicts and others are having a midlife crisis.  The reasons vary. But, I think one of the biggest complications is that everyone believes a person only cheats if he or she is unhappy in their marriage or the spouse isn’t fulfilling all their needs.  They never stop to think that maybe the cheating spouse has had a setback in life.  Or even that the attention from this new person makes them feel giddy and young again; they can pretend they don’t have all of these responsibilities.  If that other person wasn’t there, feeding their fantasies, maybe the spouse would move on and go back home.  I’m sure that’s not true in every situation.  But I’m equally sure that it’s true in some.  Look at CF.

I don’t think he was out looking for an affair.  He just happened to touch base with someone he knew on FB.  They messaged back and forth.  He complimented her.  She was supposedly lonely and her marriage not so rosy.  She tells him about her miserable life.  He tells her about his.  And from there they decide they’re in love and have a future together.  If she hadn’t been there, willing and eager, would he have still cheated?  I don’t think so.  Not then.  Maybe later, if things hadn’t changed between us.

No, the OP is never an innocent bystander.  They are fully complicit in what they are doing.  They are wrong and they know it.

The Best Revenge

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I came across a meme the other day, very much like the one above. I also came across this:

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and this:

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Logically, I know that this is all good advice. I knew this way back when I was a mere 21 years of age. There was a guy that I dated for about a month. He dumped me for one of my best friends. I briefly fantasized about being an alcoholic and watching my life fall apart, and then quickly realized neither of them would really care about the mess I had made of my life.

The stakes are higher but it’s the same philosophy now, 25 years later. Me being miserable for the rest of my life won’t make CF or Harley feel bad. Hell, if anything it would probably make them ecstatic. The thought that I can’t make it without him has to be glorious news to Cousinfucker’s ears. I’m sure he takes great satisfaction in knowing that my life has fallen to shit and that I will never have anything to call my own again. There will be no more shopping trips, no more vacations, no more day excursions, no splurges. My kids will never have anything they want anymore. I can’t afford it and I doubt I ever will. That must make him and the whore so happy.

If I killed myself tomorrow, or was diagnosed with cancer, or just had a heart attack like I’m hoping for, he wouldn’t feel shame or regret or guilt. No, he’d be dancing on my grave, thanking me for letting him off the hook for child and spousal support. Oh, did I say thanking me? No, he’d never actually thank me. He would dance gleefully and probably shout out loud about how happy he was that I was so stupid and pathetic, though. Ding dong the witch is dead!

In my head I KNOW all of this. I know that the best revenge is living well. I know the best revenge is to be awesome and amazing and to show him that I don’t need him and that the kids and I are doing great without him. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of seeing me suffer. I want him to hear that I’m doing awesome without him, that I have a full social life and I have a great career and I’m making money and I don’t need him to support me (although I will take his money- I earned every dime). I don’t want him thinking he’s broken me because, honest to God, I sometimes think that’s exactly what he tried to do with his cross country move.

I sometimes think he wondered to himself, “Hmmm… how can I destroy Sam? She’s way too happy for my tastes. I need to knock that bitch down a peg or two. How can I make her suffer? I know! I’ll move her across the country and take her entire life as she’s known it for the last eight years completely away from her. I’ll move her to a desolate place where she can’t get involved and will have few friends so that she must rely on me. I’ll give her everything she’s ever wanted. And then, when I’m the only one she has and when she has everything she’s ever wanted, I’m going to walk away and leave her empty handed and completely alone. She will never recover. Finally, she will know what it’s like to live life like me- never happy, always miserable.”

Yep, that about sums it up, I believe.

So knowing this, knowing I don’t want to be pitiful and knowing I don’t want him to beat me the question then becomes HOW do you do this? How do you rise? How do you live your awesome life? How do you find happiness in a world of gray repetition? It’s a nice little quote but it doesn’t offer much guidance.

How happy am I supposed to be when I’ve lost everything? I’ve lost my house. I own very few possessions. I live with my mother. My husband cheated on me with HIS COUSIN, for crying out loud. I work two jobs, both of which pay a whopping $11/hour. I’m NOT living a fabulous life. I’m just not.

It is demoralizing to get up every fucking morning at 3:20, work stocking shelves at Job #1 and then get ready to work as a damn bank teller for another 9 hours. And the end result isn’t a fantastic lifestyle. No, it’s being able to barely pay my bills, put food on the table and buy household necessities. Or as I prefer to put it: I don’t have to choose between wiping my ass and eating.

Rock Star wanted to know if I could take her clothes shopping. I had to tell her no. After years and years of being able to indulge her whenever she wanted to go shopping, I can’t drop even $100 on clothes for her once in a blue moon. I don’t find anything happy or fabulous about that.

She wants a car so badly. She was promised a car when she got her license. Then her dad lost his damn mind. There is no car, and again, I so badly want to make her happy. I would love to present her with an inexpensive car. Obviously, if I can’t afford to take her clothes shopping I can’t buy her a damn car.

I hate not being able to go places. I hate the fact that I won’t ever get to take my kids on vacation again. I hate not being able to spend money like I used to. It sucks! Anyone who says that money doesn’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop! The fact of the matter is money problems are the leading cause of arguments and disagreements within most marriages. It’s a huge stressor in people’s lives, and more than a few people have actually divorced over it. Money may not guarantee happiness but it certainly helps. I prefer not having to worry about how I’m going to pay my bills over worrying constantly.

Because I get up at 3:20 in the morning and don’t get home until around 6 every day I have no energy to go and do things after work. I think about volunteering somewhere but the truth of the matter is when I finally get a chance to go home I want to take it. I want to go home and chill for an hour or two before I need to go to bed so that I can get up and do it all over again.

I work 6 days a week most weeks.  That means I have one day to catch up on everything I need to do. While I do get off work by 9:30 at the latest on Saturdays keep in mind I’ve been up since 3:20 am. If I don’t take a nap on Saturday and I run around getting stuff done then I’m conked out early-  like 7:30 or 8:00.  I usually don’t want to go anywhere. It’s exhausting. If I go and do something and run all day on Sunday then that means I have to go another 6 days at full speed before I get another chance for any downtime.

Then we add in the fact that he moved me 2000 miles away from my life and then, just as I was adjusting, I was forced to move again. I have to start all over and I’m tired of starting all over. I’m tired of reinventing my life again and again. I’m in a town I don’t want to be in. My friends all have lives of their own. I do not have a jam packed social schedule. I don’t even have a moderately packed social schedule; the last time I went out with any friends was approximately 6 weeks ago. My friends who would have had me over for a night of drinking or who would have gone out with me or kept my mind off of the hell I’m living or who were actually going through the same crap all live 2000 miles away. I rarely go out and do anything with anybody I know. I’m tired of MeetUp groups. I have no desire to start attending church again. I can’t get involved at my kids’ schools because I work constantly. I can’t even help out at the track meets because you need to be there by 5 and I wouldn’t get there until at least 5:30.

So I don’t have this great new social life. I don’t have a life that is full of activities that I enjoy. They don’t exist anymore. I don’t know anyone. Or rather, I have about 3 people in my social circle and they are unavailable most of the time. Quite honestly I think I’m being very generous when I say I have 3 people in my social circle. I used to have PTA, and Bunko, my neighbors, my fellow gym moms. I was a hockey mom. I volunteered for my son’s T-ball team. I have none of that anymore. I will never have it again. That part of my life is gone. He made sure to take it all away. I don’t know what to fill it with. I don’t know where to go to get involved. I don’t have the time or inclination to do it anyway. Like I’ve said before I’m tired of wasting my time with dead end events that never go anywhere. I have no desire to go walk dogs or take hikes or to go out and sit in bars with people I don’t know and end up having nothing in common with.

Yet there is a part of me (a very small part) that says I need to somehow keep trying because I will never find a new, fabulous life sitting in my mom’s living room. I didn’t get my old life by sitting at home. I got it by putting myself out there and reaching out. I didn’t meet some of my very best friends by watching TV and eating cookie dough. I did it because my daughter was involved in gymnastics and I would sit with some of the same parents. Some of them I really clicked with and we are still friends today. But I wasn’t working 55 hours a week then either. If I wasted some time it was no big deal because I had plenty of it to spare.

There is a big race coming up this summer. I have thought about training so that I can run. I only have time to do a 5K, as opposed to a 10K. But let’s be realistic. I’m up at 3:20. I work from 4-7. I come home, get ready for my second job, and then work until 5:15 or thereabouts. I head to pick up my daughter and finally get home around 6. I honestly don’t see myself strapping on my tennis shoes and going out for a run. I’m a very slow runner so eventually running 3 miles would take me almost 40 minutes. Take a shower. Eat dinner around 7. After I’ve reheated it because my mom is not going to eat at 7. She’s got dinner ready no later than 6! And then I have maybe an hour or two before I need to go to bed.

I’ve even thought about joining a gym but the same questions plague me. When would I go? My mom usually goes in the morning. She doesn’t want to wait until 6 or later. Now I have to actually drive somewhere so that’s taking even more time.

I see people traveling and taking vacations. I don’t have the money for traveling or vacations. I see people getting involved in things they love. I don’t have the time and I don’t know what I love anymore. That’s the truth. Everything I enjoyed was taken away from me and now I have to start over yet again and I have no clue what I want to do if I even had time to do anything.

I sometimes think the reason forgiveness and this whole “living well is the best revenge” tripe is so popular is because they have all these nifty phrases. Vengeance gets a bunch of warnings and people pleading with you to take the high road. No wise words. No inspirational memes.

I don’t think I’m going to be getting any sort of “revenge” on Cousinfucker and Harley anytime soon. That’s okay, though, because I prefer Confucius’s warning about revenge:

 

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I’m fine with that. I’m willing to go down with the ship in order to take him down. It’s not like I have anything else. My happiness is nonexistent so I’ll stick with making sure I can make him miserable as well. Living that insanely happy life is probably a better form of revenge but I don’t think I’m ever going to get that so this is all I’ve got.

 

Life Rollercoaster

Is this about over? I swear, every time I start to be a little more optimistic I get knocked on my ass. I was just thinking about how working two jobs has allowed me to have a tiny little bit of breathing room, that maybe I’m not so completely poor and that maybe I can provide just a tiny bit for my kids.

Then life comes along and says, “Not so fast!” I’m not sure what it is I’ve done to deserve all this hell being heaped upon me. I don’t sleep with married men. I don’t steal. I don’t beat my kids. I’m generally a very kind, giving person. I like to think I have a good sense of humor and am a good friend.

“What happened?” you may be wondering. Let me tell you. First, I open the letter from my attorney (who needs another 3 grand, btw). Jackass has got an expert witness lined up to testify that he’s unable to work because of his supposed PTSD. Great! An expert witness who will tell the judge that poor little sweetie pie can’t work because he’s suffering from the trauma of war.

You wanna know who should have a fucking PTSD diagnosis? Me! I was moved 2000 miles away from my entire life to make him happy only to find out he would never be happy. I put him and his happiness above me and my kids and our happiness only to be shit on repeatedly. I trusted that cousin fucking piece of shit and he turned around and spent an entire summer looking me right in the face and lying.

I’ve gone from being in the top 2-3% of the socioeconomic population to the bottom 5-10%. I’ve lost my home. I was forced to move out of the state. I was forced to move in with my mom or be homeless. I had to get rid of almost all of my possessions. I had to tell my kids we had to move. I had to rip their lives apart again. I’ve gone from being a stay at home mom who lives for her kids and does everything for them, to being a person who works 2 jobs, 55 hours a week, 6 days out of seven, who farms almost everything out for my kids and who dreads having to go to another event when I’m already so damn tired and my days are already so fucking long. I hate my life. I have absolutely no joy in it. I pray every day that I will die early so that I don’t have to do this shit anymore. But you don’t see me getting a fucking expert witness to testify that I’m just way too fucking fragile to work.

You know what I do? I scream and cry and cuss that sonofabitch out all the way to work. And then I pull myself together, dry my tears and go to work. Why? Because unlike Cousinfucker I don’t have a fucking choice! I don’t get to ignore my kids and pretend they don’t have needs because hey, out of sight, out of mind!

I’ve been doing this all along, with no one by my side telling me how wonderful I am and how horrible he was. I get up and I GO  every single fucking day. Every morning I wake up at 3:20 in the fucking morning. While the rest of the world sleeps I’m up and getting ready to go to my first job and stock shelves and toss boxes around. It’s not glamourous. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. And it pays for shit.

Then I come home, get ready for my second job, and I go to work and I smile and I joke with customers and I’m all happy and cheerful while my life is spiraling down the drain and I continue to go through this divorce from hell.

That’s what I do. Meanwhile, Cousinfucker finds himself an expert witness to testify that he can’t possibly work.

But that’s not all. Because Cousinfucker refuses to work and pay support I have been forced to work two jobs so that I can pay the bills and feed the kids. My second job doesn’t pay for a boat. It isn’t paying for a luxury vacation or three or four. It doesn’t allow us to go out and go on shopping sprees. No, my second job means I can buy food. If either of my kids needs something for school I can probably buy it. It means I’m not down to $1 by the time pay day rolls around.

My daughter works as well. She works so that she can buy a car because her dad decided he’d rather go fuck his cousin instead of sticking around and helping to raise his kids. She works so that she can buy the clothes that I can no longer buy her. She works so that she can help to pay her car insurance because I’m not sure I can take another $100/month hit. She works so that she can go out with friends, buy make-up, grab something to eat, and just have spending money in general because her father refuses to pay support, which in turn means I can’t do any of those things for her. Or her brother.

Guess what it also means?

It means between the two of us we now make too much for me or my kids to qualify for Medicaid. Yes, I got that lovely bit of news as well. The program that I was once embarrassed to need I am now crying over. No doubt due to the fact that I will now need to get a third job to pay for the medical insurance I will have to purchase through work. It’s $185 every two weeks and it’s a high deductible plan. I have to pay out $2600/person before it kicks in a dime. Isn’t that wonderful? Or I take the tax penalty come next April. Awesome! And with my luck if I don’t carry insurance on them then some catastrophe will hit one of them. Then again, I’m broke anyway so who cares if I have to declare bankruptcy because of medical bills?

If I quit my second job then my kids don’t eat and there are no tiny extras, like Easter baskets or money for school sports. Or, my retired mother has to shoulder even more of the burden of the three of us. If I don’t quit my second job then I need to get a third job. I guess I’ll find something where I can work Saturday and Sunday. I’ll work 14 hour days on Saturday and Sunday will be my light day where I only work 8 1/2 hours. I’ll get two of those a week and those will be my official “days off”. Doesn’t that sound fair? I work three jobs and Cousinfucker works none. I never show up for anything for my kids. I’m never around for my kids. All so that I can support them. Because Cousinfucker won’t pay child or spousal support. And because he’s very busy playing Daddy of the Year to the whore’s four kids.

I’ve been going through old entries, mainly because I deleted a bunch of pictures and realized when I did that I lost my images on the posts. Duh! But as I was reading I realized I kept saying that maybe in six months things would look better. Maybe in a year things would look better. Maybe I was wrong and I would get an amazing job and my kids would do wonderfully here. Maybe this and maybe that. But you know what? None of it is any better. Picasso and Rock Star both are doing well but I’m not. I work two shit jobs for shit pay and that’s cost us our free health care. Their father is doing everything he can to get out of having to pay. I have no new and better life. I have, like, three friends here and I rarely go out with any of them. They all have lives of their own and very little time for me. I have no life outside of work. I’m too fucking tired to do much of anything after I’ve spent 13 hours at work. I have days where I fall asleep sitting up in a chair around 7:30 because I’m so tired I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. I feel horrible even admitting this but I dread the days I have to go to something for either of the kids because it means that I no longer get my 2 hours of down time. And then I feel bad if I don’t go; I feel bad that I don’t want to go. Because I have always wanted to go and support them. I have a life that I am desperately hoping ends sooner rather than later. I try and I try and I try some more. I work my ass off. I desert my kids. I try to be positive and I try to look on the good side of things and it comes around and kicks my ass. Every. Goddamn. Fucking. Single. Time!

You know what’s funny? No one believes me! I mention I hope I die of a massive heart attack and people think I’m joking. Someone once said to me, “I hear you work a second job.” I told her that, yes, I do indeed work a second job. I work from 4-7 am most days before I come into Job #2. She told me she didn’t know how I did it and how I managed and I replied, “Well, I cry every day.” Her response? “You’re so funny!” No, seriously, I cry pretty much every day. No one believes me. They think I’m hysterical. The funny kind, not the crazy kind. And lest anyone gets all worried I’m not suicidal. I wouldn’t kill myself but I’m not looking forward to staying alive most days either.

I really don’t think I can do this anymore. I’m so over all of this shit. I’m so tired of getting knocked down. I’m so tired of feeling just a tiny bit of hope only to have it slapped down hard. So many days I just want to tell him, “Fine! Take it all! I’ll take all the debt. I’ll pay you support. You keep your 401k. You keep your pension. I’ll pay you back for every goddamn thing you think I owe you and you pay me back nothing because everything you took was absolutely positively yours and yours alone. Hell, I’ll pay you half for my goddamn car so that I can still drive it even though you haven’t made a single payment on it in almost 2 years and have never paid the fucking property tax on it!” It still wouldn’t be enough for him. I hate him. I hope he dies. I hope it’s painful. I hope someone videotapes it and sends it to me so that I can watch it every night as a sweet bedtime story as I fall asleep. It might be a nice change from ID TV.

P.S. I know I said earlier I was generally a kind and loving person. I am. Unless I hate you. Then I hope you die. Painfully.

What If There Is No Life To Gain?

I wrote this post a few days ago. I actually rewrote it because the first edition was enough to make me want to slit my wrists. It was really pitiful. Believe it or not this is the sunnier version and it’s still not all that sunny. I wanted to post it anyway because despite having a fairly decent weekend, and despite having a more hopeful disposition in the past 24 hours, I spend most of my life feeling the way the post describes. Who knows? Maybe a change is a comin’. That would be delightful. For today, however, you’re left with this.

The motto over on Chump Lady is, “Leave a cheater, gain a life.” I’ve read many inspirational stories about people who have done just that. They’ve received promotions, went back to school, finished Masters or PhD programs, traveled, done fun things with their kids, remodeled or bought houses, got a new family pet, took back their lives, stopped walking on eggshells, found out that life without the cheater was fantastic, etc.  Good for them. Sincerely. These are the questions I’m always left wondering:  Did you have a job when you got divorced? How old were you when this happened? How long had you been married? Did you lose everything when you got divorced? Did you have to sell off all your furniture and belongings and leave whatever you couldn’t sell behind? Were you moved across the country and then forced out of your house, forced to move hundreds of miles once again, or do you still live in the same city? Did you have to yank your kids out of their schools once again and make them start all over? Did you move in with your mother or father or some other relative that took pity on you because without them you’d be homeless? Were you left with nothing but debt? Did your shithead ex quit his or her job after 15 years of making 6 figures and leave you destitute? Did a judge take pity on them and slash their support obligation by almost half? Were you old, fat and pretty much used up when they left for the shiny new whore?

I try very hard to hold on to that inspiration. To this belief that there is a new life out there to gain. A better life. One that will be so good that I won’t miss anything about my old life. But honestly? There is absolutely nothing that I find appealing about this new life I’m living. Believe me- I would love to say those words I just wrote: I have created a new life for myself and it is so much better than anything I lived with Cousinfucker. But the fact of the matter is, despite that 14 part bitch list I shared, I wasn’t unhappy.

I had things I enjoyed doing- Bunko, PTA, Teacher Appreciation, hockey and gymnastics for my kids. I got to travel for gymnastics meets, go shopping and buy whatever I wanted within reason, get my hair colored and cut at an actual salon instead of out of a crappy box and Great Clips. I knew lots of people. I had fantastic neighbors. I carpooled. I had lunch with friends. Hell, I had friends. I kept busy. I was able to go to all of my kids’ events. I drove them around everywhere. They were my life.

My husband wasn’t much of a partner or a father, but the kids and I got along without him. And he did join us occasionally, especially right after he was caught in his first affair. I figured out a way to be happy and fulfilled even if I didn’t have a husband who wanted to do everything with me and be by my side every minute of every day. I liked my old life, especially the one I had before we moved to Whoreville.

Now my life consists of drudgery. I work and I sleep and if I’m very very lucky I run my kids around. That’s it. I work approximately 55 hours a week. I work 6 days out of seven on a regular basis. I begin my day at 3:20 am, leave the house at 3:45 and get home sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 4 days out of 5. I dread pretty much every single day because it’s just more of the same- get up at an ungodly hour, go to work, come home, take Rock Star to school, head back home to get ready for the second job, go to work, come home, repeat. Also, make sure you’re in bed before 9 unless you’ve got to pick up a kid from a game or work. In between getting home from work and going to bed I enjoy the following fun activities: emailing teachers and/or counselors, making sure we still qualify for Medicaid, filing taxes, doing laundry, cleaning the bedroom, shampooing carpets, washing dishes, making dinner, feeding and watering the dogs, picking up Rock Star from practice, taking her and picking her up from work, and taking out the trash.

I know I should feel inspired by the stories on Chump Lady but I don’t. Every time I read them it’s like a kick in the gut once again. Promotion? Career thriving?  Making more money than I ever did when with the cheater? I didn’t even have a fucking job! I hadn’t worked outside of the home since early 1998! My big accomplishment was getting a seasonal part-time job that paid me $10.50-$11 an hour. I followed that up with getting a full-time job that also paid an amazing $11/hour. The kids and I live on approximately 15% of what we used to live on. It sucks. I hate being poor. The reality is he waited until I was middle aged and out of the workforce for far too long before he left. I don’t think I will ever get even close to living the same kind of life. I’m not sure I’ll ever even get to the point where I only have to work ONE job as opposed to two. There are not a lot of job opportunities for middle aged women who are starting over at the very bottom. Plus, we’ve already established that I suck at my new job so it’s not like this is going to lead anyplace.

Traveling? Having fun with my kids? I don’t have any money! Where the fuck am I going to travel? Hop in the car, kids! We’ll take a drive down the road, cross the state line and call it a vacation! Or maybe I’ll take them to Steak-n-Shake and we can get one of their $5 meal deals. No milkshakes, kids; Mommy is poor and Daddy is busy faking PTSD so that when he finally gets a job all of his money can go to his whore and her kids.

I remember one woman saying she created a scrapbook of things she and her kids had done since the divorce. I seldom do fun things with my kids anymore; again, I don’t have the money. Or the time. I also rarely see them anymore. Picasso is usually holed up in his room playing video games with his friends but even if he wasn’t I wouldn’t be around. Between my schedule and Rock Star’s schedule driving her to school and to work are about the only times I get to see her. Thank you, Cousinfucker, for ensuring that the last 2 years that my daughter lives at home I never get to see her. You chose to abandon her. I didn’t. And yet I’m the one that gets to continually pay for your choices.

Remodeling a house? Buying one on my own? Don’t. Make. Me. Laugh. I live with my mother, for crying out loud. If I didn’t we would be homeless. I’m not joking. I don’t make anywhere close to enough to pay rent somewhere, much less rent and utilities.

Finishing a Masters or PhD program? Snort. When exactly would I have time to go back to school between the two jobs and raising my kids? Something would have to give. It couldn’t be the jobs because I need those to pay my bills, take care of my kids, and pay for this magical schooling. Plus, I’m almost 48. I need to carefully consider whether or not someone would be willing to hire someone at my age fresh out of school. Getting discarded in your late 40s holds a few more challenges than being discarded in your 20s and 30s. Not as bad as being discarded in your 50s and 60s, I suppose, but still not a great position.

No longer walking on eggshells? Life being so much easier and stress free now that the cheater is gone? Pshaw! I have an uncanny ability to put up with tons of bullshit. It’s not like we ever walked on eggshells around Cousinfucker. If he was in a mood I just ignored him and left him to his own devices. He was probably sexting whores but I didn’t know that at the time. I just went along my merry way, doing my own thing while he pouted and sexted. I would say that this new life is the more difficult and stressful one.

Someone else said she took spin classes and met up with friends when her child was gone. After already putting in a 14 hour day I’m in no mood to do any exercise of any kind. Not spin class. Not yoga. Not aerobics. Nothing. Maybe, possibly, I might enjoy a good ol’ boxing or kickboxing class IF I can pin a picture of Cousinfucker and Harley on the bag and proceed to kick the shit out of it. Honestly, though? I’m probably too fucking tired to even do that. It all sounds great. Oh yeah, after work I’m going to lace up my running shoes and run 3 miles. Or, I’ll hit the yoga studio. Or, I’ll pretend I’m beating Cousinfucker and Harley to a fucking pulp at kickboxing class. The reality is that time kicks your ass. When you’re getting up at 3:20 in the morning 6 pm rolls around and you suddenly find yourself tired. You’ve been up for almost 15 hours by this time when most people have been up for maybe 12. Hell, I didn’t used to get up until after 7. You’ve put in a thirteen hour workday and you know you get to turn around and do it all over again the next day! It’s not like this is an aberration. No, this is your life.

Plus, Cousinfucker moved me away from all of my friends so it’s not like I have this huge support system and we get together and drink wine or do fun things together. The friends I have from my hometown have lived a life without me in it for 20 years now. Their lives are full and I make up only a tiny part of it. That would be fine if I actually had something to fill my life with outside of them; unfortunately, I don’t. So there isn’t much of a social support network.

They always counsel us to find something we are passionate about, something that we enjoy doing. I had those things. They were all taken away. I have roughly 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours each night to devote to “my passion”- if I never want to see my kids again. And if I can afford it. And if I’m not too tired. Or I can take my one day off each week and use that to devote to my unknown passion. Fuck the dishes. Fuck the laundry. Fuck the kids. It’s all about me. Only I’m not like that. I’m not going to desert my kids, especially not after their father has done so. I have so little time and I’m always tired so whatever I end up doing I would like it to be something that I really do love and care about. I don’t want to fill in space just to fill it in. That’s what all these Meetup groups feel like. I’m afraid that’s what church is going to feel like. That’s what I think a divorce support group will end up being.

I don’t know what I’m passionate about. Everything I knew and loved was taken away from me, even before Cousinfucker started fucking his cousin. My life as I knew it has been obliterated. It has been filled with work and poverty and trying to raise two kids while poor yet working nonstop. I hate it. I absolutely fucking hate what my life has become.

There is a part of me that says, “Try to get involved with a theater group. You loved that once.” But then there’s another part that says I’m too old to get any decent parts and yet another practical part that says, “Hey! Plays take an enormous amount of time and commitment. You don’t really have any time to spare. And if you do what’s going to happen to your kids? Are you going to abandon them, too? You’re already down to 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours a night with them. If you do this then you’ll really never see them. And who will get your daughter where she needs to be?” So I’m afraid that will be put on the back burner at least until I no longer have kids in the house, and probably indefinitely. Yet another thing I waited too long to reclaim.

I have no joy in my life. I have brief moments where I laugh at something funny one of my kids says. I occasionally will have a day where things are going right for me so I get a 24 hour period of relief. There was the moment my daughter finally was happy. I’m glad for her but I’m not happy. I don’t think I’ll ever be happy again.

For the most part I just exist. I’m numb. Life is neither good nor bad. It just is. I’m just here killing time, counting down the days, the weeks, the months, the years. My life consists of working all day long and then running to and fro for my daughter who doesn’t have her license yet. I don’t really look forward to anything. I don’t even look forward to or find joy in attending my kids’ events because it just means a longer day for me. It’s one more thing on my list of things to do and I’m already exhausted most days. The last thing I want to do is go for another 2 or 3 hours when I’ve already been going for a good 14 hours or more. I dread most days, actually. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve stumbled out of bed at 3:20 in the morning, got ready and headed off to Target and thought, “This is my life now.” There is a certain feeling of defeat when you realize that this is your life and it’s never going to get any better. You realize you are never going to live a good life again. You will never take another vacation. You will never get to travel to places you’d love to visit. You won’t be able to ever take your kids to DisneyWorld. You will never be able to go shopping or buy your kids things just because. You’ll never be able to give them grand gifts or surprise them with something they’ve wanted for a while. You will never own your own home; hell, you may not even be able to afford to rent your own apartment. You realize that you will struggle in poverty for the rest of your life. That you will always be pinching pennies and remembering the life you used to live- the one where you didn’t have to worry constantly, the one where you had a home of your own, the one where you had furniture and household belongings and friends and joy. It was a life I didn’t dread and wish away.

I keep hearing about this new and improved life. I really wish I could create it. Unfortunately, with the choices Cousinfucker has made I now must spend the bulk of my life working for very little money, which leaves very little left over to create any kind of new and wonderful life. I would love to report soon that I love my life, that I’m happy and content. First I heard give it six months. Then I heard give it a year. Now I’m hearing give it two years. Well, I’m a year and a half out from D-Day and I’m no closer to Meh or to a new and improved life than I was 2 weeks after that day. Perhaps I shall begin the countdown anew once we are officially divorced.

A Tale of Two Sams

Catchy title, huh? My ode to Dickens. A tale of two Sams, you say? Tell me more!

This is the way I feel most days. There are two different sides waging battle inside of me. There is the happy-go-lucky Sam that does her best to forge ahead, be positive, and have faith. This Sam chirps cheerfully, “No use in crying about the things you can’t change. Just put your head down and plow through it!” I sometimes hate her. She’s way too cheerful for me and she’s going to end up on her ass because nothing ever goes according to plan. Then there’s the pessimistic, defeated Sam who is still convinced she will live in poverty forever and that life isn’t really worth living anymore. “Dear Lord, just kill me now!” she begs through her tears. Honestly, I can get behind this Sam. She’s very comfortable, like a warm sweater. She doesn’t ask anything of me except possibly a Kleenex so she can blow her nose. Occasionally I have a third Sam. Let’s call her psychotic Sam. She spends her days weighing the pros and cons of life in prison and taking careful notes while watching ID TV. I’m just saying… if I can get him to Corsica somehow it’s possible I’ll only serve about 7 years if they catch me. Yeah, Psychotic Sam is also weighing the pros and cons of trying to get away with any shenanigans versus just taking the prison time. Usually Psychotic Sam is kept waaaaaay in the back but sometimes she manages to fight her way up front, knocking Happy-go-lucky Sam down onto the ground, stepping on her back and grinding her face right into a big ol’ patch of mud and grabbing Defeated Sam and telling her, “Wipe away those tears and watch this!”

Truthfully it’s difficult to believe anything good is ever going to come of this. It often feels like he set up his whole new life and then abandoned all of us and I’ll never get a chance to make a new life because I’m always ten steps behind. Then there are the days I feel like Monica on Friends. Do you remember the episode where her identity was stolen and she eventually befriends her identity thief? She loved hanging out with her because she took all of these crazy risks and lived life to its fullest (until she went to prison, of course). At the end of the episode she’s in a tap dancing class and the instructor yells out, “You’re doing it wrong!” and Monica replies, “Yeah, but I’m doing it!” Or maybe it was, “Yeah, but I’m here.” Either way, Monica showed up, she put herself out there, and even if she wasn’t doing it as well as everyone else she was there and she was trying. That’s how I feel some days.

I’m barely hanging on most days but I’m here. I show up. I’m doing it. I’m tired. I get my ass up on a good day around 3:20 in the morning so that I can go in at 4. On other days I go in anywhere from midnight to 2 am. Right now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m only functioning because my dear mother is helping to pick up my daughter, do my laundry, cook most evenings, and wash dishes. I have no idea what I’m going to do when January rolls around and she’s no longer here and I’m working TWO jobs.

Yes, folks, I managed to get hired at Kohl’s for the holidays. I interviewed on Monday, found out I got the job on Tuesday and I should be starting sometime next week. So, this means that my job at Target generally covers my monthly bills and the job at Kohl’s will allow me and my kids to eat! I was excited about that. Plus- employee discount!

I’ve also interviewed for a full-time job. I’ve had interviews with three different people and just sent off my pre-employment stuff so they can interview references and do a background check. I applied for the same position at 3 different places and apparently they are considering me for 2 of them. I am hoping for one position over another just because the hours are better and the pay is more since you’re not at a sole location. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll take it if they offer me the permanent location. It’s only $10/hour and the hours are terrible for trying to work a second job. Unfortunately, I will still need to work a second job because neither position pays me enough to only work 40 hours a week.

I’ve also taken an exam to work at the post office. I haven’t been called in for anything yet but I took the exam and I passed. Plus, my sweet J has a long-term boyfriend who has an aunt that works there so hopefully something will pan out with that.

The other job at Aldi’s didn’t pan out. They advertised for a big job hiring event and it was basically going in and filling out an application.  Apparently I was not Aldi’s material because I didn’t even get called in for an interview. Normally, Defeated Sam would be moaning, “I can’t even get hired as a stupid cashier!” and, “You went out of your comfort zone and took a chance at applying for a manager trainee position when you clearly had no business trying for anything like that! You’re a cashier and nothing more! You got your hopes up and then they were shot down! This is why we don’t try things!” but here is where Happy-go-lucky Sam took over. For some reason I didn’t dissolve into a heap of tears at being passed over as a cashier or a relief supervisor or a manager trainee. I just kind of shrugged and said, “Oh well. I guess I need to apply for more stuff,” and then went on my way. I’m surprised by my attitude, too, because a cashier at Aldi’s makes $12 an hour! A relief supervisor makes $16! Those in the manager trainee position make around $22.50 an hour. That’s nowhere close to what I was living on but it would make a world of difference to Broke-Ass Sam.

I feel like I never see my kids anymore. The week of Thanksgiving I was going in at 1:30 in the morning, so I’d go to bed around 6 so that I could wake up around 12:45. I guess they’ll live but I find it sad that their father isn’t worth a shit and now their mom isn’t around much to participate in their lives either.

Let’s see, where else does Happy-go-lucky Sam pop up? Well, I was briefly filled with hope when I read someone’s status on FB. Eight years ago she was going through a divorce and believed she would be alone forever. But, she met someone and she’s been married for 3 or 4 years now. Good for her. Bonus points for the fact that she isn’t some lithe size 2 either and yet she still found someone who loved her. That gave me hope for a millisecond, not that I’m looking for love or that I ever want to remarry; then I realized she was about 30 when she went through her divorce. I’m 47. I’m fairly certain my dating years are over and honestly CF has damaged me way too badly for me to put myself out there any time soon. But for a millisecond, Happy-go-lucky Sam was in charge. She pokes her head around occasionally, pointing out various people that have found love later in life. Hey, look at that one! He’s remarried. Look at her! She’s fat and she’s married. Hey, don’t mean to rub salt in the wound but Jezebel got married for a third freaking time at age 47 and Cousinfucker managed to find someone at his age and with all his problems! But then Defeated Sam stops bawling in the corner long enough to pipe up, “Yeah, but Jezebel is very pretty and she always loses weight before she cheats on her husband so she’s thin when she snags the next one! Cousinfucker found someone else because his gold digging whore of a cousin latched onto him, thinking she had found a sugar daddy. All these people you see around you who have someone new in their life are younger and thinner. Men always have it easier when it comes to remarrying so don’t look to them for examples.” Then Happy-go-lucky Sam pops her head up and cheerfully chirps, “If you think you need to be thin in order to ever date again you can always start going to the gym. Eat better. Lose weight.” Then Psychotic Sam clocks that bitch and laughs.

I do feel a small sense of accomplishment seeing as how I am indeed taking care of all that needs to be done, albeit with help from my mother. I mean, if I had to live on my own we would be in a homeless shelter because I just couldn’t make enough to make a mortgage payment or pay rent. I readily admit that living with my mom has been a lifesaver. But I am doing what needs to be done in order to pay my bills, buy a few Christmas gifts for my kids, and purchase food and essentials for the three of us. I probably still won’t make enough to be able to go to the movies or out to eat with them, but we’ll have food. Maybe if everything works out I can work a third job for some extras. But here’s the thing. As much as it sucks (and it does indeed suck so much!) I’m doing it without Cousinfucker’s help. I am so much stronger than he is. Yes, he made good money but he also had a wife that was his biggest cheerleader and who made numerous sacrifices so that he could climb the corporate ladder. I’m sure he wouldn’t like it put this way but he wouldn’t be anything more than possibly a first shift superintendent if he weren’t married to me. I always agreed to move whenever he got an offer. I was the one who left behind friends and community and activities; he didn’t make friends or socialize much. It was no big deal for him to leave an area. I was the one who always got involved and made the new location a home. He went to work and once a week he would mow the lawn. Sometimes there would be a household project. He had me to take care of everything else. I made dinner, I did the grocery shopping, I washed and put away his clothes, I made his doctor’s appointments and picked up his prescriptions, I fed and watered the animals and cleaned out the cat boxes. Most importantly, I was the one responsible for our children. I bathed them, I got them ready for bed, I fed them. I took them to school and I picked them up. I took them to and picked them up from their extracurriculars. I volunteered at their schools and went to parent-teacher conferences and helped out with the PTA. I signed permission slips, gave them lunch money, made them breakfast, and took them out to get school supplies for projects. He didn’t have to lift a finger. He went to work and that was pretty much it. Hell, he even outright stated that if I got a job it couldn’t interfere with his job and he wouldn’t be helping out around the house or with the kids.

I’m working and I’m still taking care of my kids. When my mom goes to Florida it’s going to be tough but I’m going to figure it out. I’m going to figure out how to get my daughter to school, whether it’s coordinating rides to school, putting her in charge of getting rides, or just relying on the bus. I’m going to drag my tired ass over to her place of employment at 10:00 at night when I need to get up at 3:20 in the morning to go to work seeing as how she still doesn’t have her license. Because I’m her mother and she’s my child and it’s my responsibility. I don’t have the luxury of walking away and pretending like I have no obligations. As much as it pisses me off that I have to do this instead of her being able to drive herself, thanks to him forcing us out of our home and out of the state, I’m not going to bitch and moan; I’m just going to do what needs to be done. As always. I’m going to figure out how to feed them when I’m working 2 or 3 jobs. I’ll probably resort to doing a bunch of cooking one day and then relying on the crockpot for the rest of the week. Laundry will get done. The house will be picked up. The dogs will be fed and watered. There may be cleaning charts involved. Who knows? What I do know is that it will all get done. And Cousinfucker can’t lay claim to any of it. I’m doing it without his help just like I always knew I could. I’ve always been the stronger of the two of us. I’ve always had it more together. I’ve always been the one to take charge and take care of things. I can do this! I might not want to but I can, and that’s the important part. I might be poor. I might be barely hanging on. But I’m not relying on him for anything. I never will again. I don’t care if he starts paying child support and spousal support. I will continue to work whatever I need to work to cover my bills and take care of my expenses because he has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that he cannot be trusted to do what needs to be done. That’s not Happy-go-lucky, look to the positive, always cheerful Sam. That’s Kick-Ass Sam. She’s wearing her sassy little kick ass boots, too.

I’m also trying more to adopt ifonlymommy’s philosophy. She’s always so sweet and positive. She tends to believe that things will get better and that it won’t always be like this. Happy-go-lucky Sam is doing her best to get me to look at life that way. Yeah, I’m not making great money right now but maybe one day it will be better. What I have now isn’t necessarily what I will have in a year. Things could get better. This full-time job I’m interviewing for doesn’t pay all that great but there are advancement possibilities and more money in the future. I try to remind myself that my mom has helped me out a tremendous amount since I had to move back home so maybe even if I can’t do much for my kids right now when they’re older I might be able to help them. Maybe if I have grandchildren one day I can spoil them like I used to be able to spoil my own kids. Maybe if my son or daughter finds their lives upended by a cheating spouse I’ll be able to give them refuge.

That’s where I am today. I no longer cry every day. And most days when I do cry it’s for a short period of time. I’m at kinda-sorta okay most of the time. The days when I’m praying for an aneurysm or a massive coronary are getting fewer and farther between. I still don’t have hope, nor do I think I’ll ever have much of anything, but I’m learning to live in poverty without crying all the time. I feel small bursts of pride when I realize that shit eating chimp I married isn’t supporting me or my kids- I am (with a great deal of help from my mom). I doubt that life will ever be good or that Happy-go-lucky Sam will ever be the dominant personality, but I’m alive. For better or for worse, I’m alive.

Our Last Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a bittersweet time for me this year. I feel like last year I did fine. Maybe I was on autopilot.

Thanksgiving was our last good holiday together as a family. Come to think of it, it was probably the last happy time we really had before his big downward spiral, courtesy of Blockhead and his helpful information to CF.

I thought we had a good Christmas but then I read his text message to Jezebel on the 26th and discovered he was deeply unhappy. Here I am posing for family pictures with all of us in matching pajamas, we’re all smiles and he’s thinking about how unhappy he is and how he never should have tried to be happy. Told his sister he was heavily medicated. I would later find out that Blockhead had already started feeding him information before our anniversary because he was the one to tell him that I didn’t like my anniversary gift. I suppose that even while we were opening gifts with just the four of us, him buying me my laptop and clothes and lingerie that he was plotting his revenge and wasn’t really happy.

Thanksgiving of 2014 though was a great time. We had just moved into our new house. I had bought new furniture, unpacked all the boxes, and had decorated for the holidays. I had actual Thanksgiving decorations up. My mom, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and 2 nieces all came down to celebrate the holiday at our new house. My daughter’s best friend from out west had already flown out to spend the holiday with us. We had a full house. All beds were filled and we even had two blow up beds. I cooked. My mom and sister-in-law helped. I made extra mashed potatoes because they were Rock Star’s best friend’s favorite. CF decided to try grilling the turkey for a change of pace. There was tons of food. We ate, played Phase 10, indulged in yummy desserts- pumpkin pies, a chocolate dessert for my sister-in-law, Scotcheroos. CF was in great spirits. He was very sociable and outgoing; he woke the girls up with a turkey neck down his pants. He was in great spirits. I had everyone fill out slips of paper listing the three things that they would remember the most.

All the females forced me into going Black Friday shopping and that turned out to be a favorite memory for most of them. I got 2 great pairs of boots that night.

Yes, Thanksgiving 2014 was the last happy memory we have as a family. It might possibly be my last happy memory, period. Everything pretty much fell to shit after this day two years ago. I lost my house, my income, my husband. I had to move out of state. I had to pull my kids out of their schools. I disrupted their lives once again. They are slowly adjusting to this new life. They will be okay. They’re young and have their whole lives ahead of them. They have hope and can spread their wings and get out of this hell hole.

I hate it. I don’t think I’ll ever have another happy day. I’m old. I’ve wasted my life. I’m going to spend the rest of my life working menial jobs for sub par wages, struggling to make ends meet and knowing I can’t take care of my kids.

It is definitely a bittersweet holiday. I can stay stuck in the past and remember how great, or at least how comfortable, my life was, or I can “focus on the future” and try to make the best of this shitty, shitty hand I was dealt. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

 

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My Ideal Man, Part 2

Have you been waiting on pins and needles? Here it is. My list for the ideal man.

  1.  Absolutely no cheaters. Like I said before if he cheated before that is a deal breaker. I don’t care if she beat you, if she chained you to the bedroom closet, if she never cleaned the house, if she refused to have sex, if she made fun of your penis size, if she baked you a shit pie. Divorce her by all means. She sounds hideous! But don’t cheat.
  2. No smokers. I hate the habit and I just can’t do it. Yes, I realize it is not an indicator of whether or not a person will cheat. I still don’t want to be with a person who smokes.
  3. Another biggie- I would have to find someone who was willing to date exclusively but who didn’t need to get married or live together. That is huge actually. It’s not even about spousal support anymore. I don’t ever want to be put in the position where I have something thanks to another person.
  4. I would like a man who pulled me out of my shell a bit. Someone who, if I’m hesitant to try something or go someplace, would say, “Hey, it sounds like fun. Let’s do this!”  It would be nice to have someone who supported me when I was freaking out and could calm me down instead of heading into the crazy himself. I remember all the times I had gymnastics meets at unfamiliar gyms and I had to go in by myself. I always thought it would be so nice to have someone to navigate that with, someone to sit with, someone to talk to in between Rock Star and her teammates being up.
  5. I would want someone who is happy and upbeat and very little drama. I’m tired of miserable and sobbing and everything being the biggest deal on the planet. I can be very supportive when my hypothetical boyfriend is going through tough times but when it’s always tough times, or he doesn’t reciprocate, I draw the line. Also, I’m done trying to make someone happy. Fuck that! I learned the hard way that another person’s happiness is not my responsibility. There are some people who will never be happy no matter what you’re willing to do and I don’t ever want to be with one of those people again. I’m not talking about doing nice things like baking his favorite dessert or surprising him with something special. I’m talking being responsible for his happiness at the very core of his being. Cousinfucker was never happy and nothing I did was ever enough.
  6. I would want someone who has my back! That’s a big one after everything I’ve been through with Cousinfucker and his family. Don’t throw me under the damn bus and then act like you don’t know why I’m upset. Don’t throw me under the bus at all! Stick up for me! Don’t talk badly about me and don’t let others talk badly about me in your presence.
  7. I still prefer a guy who can make me laugh.
  8. I would want someone who is family oriented. If a guy has abandoned his own kids then he has no business playing family with mine. I would like a person who enjoys spending time with us, all of us. It goes without saying if he’s cruel or unkind to my kids we’re done.
  9. It would be nice to be with a guy who gave a little effort. Maybe plan a surprise birthday party for me, buy me something sweet that I’m not expecting (doesn’t have to be expensive- I love polar bears and pajamas and chocolate dipped strawberries!) or do something romantic on our anniversary (dating anniversary, of course, not wedding). I don’t need this all the time but occasionally would be nice.
  10. I would want someone who enjoyed spending time with me and who liked to go out occasionally. It would be nice to go to plays or movies, to a sporting event, out to dinner, anything really. Hell, I would be happy with a damn walk along the river!
  11. It would be nice to date someone who was there for me. Someone who would go to my class reunions, weddings, funerals, big life events, instead of always declining and making me go on my own. The running joke in my family was, “Yes, I swear, I really am married!” Actually, it wouldn’t just be nice, it would absolutely be another requirement. Why date this person if I have to do all that crap alone?
  12. How does he handle confrontation and communication? I think this is also huge because I don’t think Cousinfucker and I did this well. I will admit that I didn’t speak up, mainly because he always had such a bad reaction to any bad news or anything that wasn’t blowing sunshine up his ass. He liked to be adored and told he was doing everything wonderfully. So, being able to communicate effectively would be important.
  13. It is definitely important that my fictitious boyfriend likes animals. I have 3 dogs. I’m a huge animal lover. Honestly, I think the most romantic gesture a man could perform for me would be to buy me a dog. Seriously, I think I would prefer that over almost anything, including expensive jewelry or fancy romantic getaways. I read that in a book one time and my heart melted. In that instance she had 4 dogs already, I think. Her boyfriend saw a stray and fed him, and then brought him home with him because he knew she would never forgive him if he just left the dog there on the street. When he brought the dog home she was amazed. “No one has ever brought me a dog before. My ex-husband always made fun of me for having so many.” I know my mother is reading this and thinking, “No way in hell!” So, while it would be a wildly romantic gesture for me, I can’t have another dog any time soon.
  14. Obviously I want someone who is going to be kind and honest. I don’t want anyone who thinks he’s better than others or who talks down to people who are in a position to wait on him. I don’t want someone who lies.
  15. This isn’t so much a requirement as it is a window into his way of thinking. I would carefully look at how he interacts with people in his life- his parents, siblings, co-workers, bosses, exs if he has them (and let’s face it, at this age I’m sure he does), friends. I think you can gain a lot of insight by doing that. Does he treat his mother well? On the other end is he a complete Mama’s Boy that will never have any boundaries and never stand up for me? Does he think all of his bosses are idiots? Treat his co-workers well? What are his friends like? If they’re a bunch of cheaters and liars that probably is not going to bode well for our relationship. What does he have to say about his ex and how is their relationship? Look at me, living in a glass house and throwing stones! Yeah, my ex is a lying cheating asshole and we have no relationship.
  16. This one is a little shallow but I’m going to add it anyway. If I ever do date again I want to have great sex again. I know that sex isn’t everything but when it’s not good sex it becomes a really big deal.
  17. I would like to be with someone who is not afraid to hold my hand in public or put his arm around me. I rarely got that with CF. I’m a physically affectionate person. I want to be with someone else who is physically affectionate. I don’t have to be making out in public but I also don’t want to feel like you’re embarrassed to be seen with me.

Currently, that’s my list. I may revise it one day. I think it’s pretty comprehensive. I didn’t mention money issues but that’s mainly because I won’t ever have to deal with that. If I’m not willing to marry him, or even live with him, I’m fairly certain a joint bank account is out. Everything else is fairly negotiable. I would put it in the category of a wish list. It would be nice to have but it’s not a deal breaker. Those things I listed above? Are. Except for #9. That would be very nice and I would appreciate it, but if everything else was there I could live without it. #17 is on the edge of wish list/requirement. As I said above, I don’t need to be full on hanging all over each other, but I also don’t want someone who refuses to ever so much as hold my hand.

What’s the point of this post? I don’t know. It’s a moot point for me because I won’t be dating again; I’m at the point in my life where I figure anyone who would be interested in me would be some sort of predator. By that I mean someone who can see I’m at a vulnerable point in my life- single mom, cheating ex, struggling financially- and swoop in with the love bombing, followed by the discard and victim morphing. Someone who might think I’m easy prey and that I’m so desperate for a partner I’d be willing to put up with just about anything. Gosh, I’d almost like to encounter someone like that just so I show him how incredibly wrong he is. <insert evil laugh>

I suppose I’d like to think that if I ever changed my mind and thought better of my prospects I would choose a mate based upon his character. It’s one thing if we have a lot in common and like a lot of the same things; it’s a completely different thing to have the same morals and values. We can both love playing euchre and eating Mexican food, but that doesn’t guarantee that he’s not a cheater or a liar. Hell, nothing guarantees that! A person can be funny, charming, good looking, intelligent, and have a great job but they can still be rotten to the core. I guess that if I ever decide to put myself out there again I’ll keep my trusty list handy, refer to it often, and base my decisions on whether or not he meets those guidelines. If it’s true that this is indeed a second chance then I hope I will use it wisely if I ever decide to take it. Truthfully? I doubt I’ll ever take it. I need a guarantee and they don’t exist.

Trying To Put a Positive Spin On This (But Not Succeeding)

Note: I’m currently hard at work on another version of this because I know it’s depressing. So, even though this doesn’t read like it I am feeling a little bit better. Not because anything amazing has happened recently. No, in fact the job that I really would have been interested in rejected me but I’m telling myself, “That’s only one job. There will be others.”

I’ve been commenting on another person’s blog and some of the advice I’ve given is: Take it day by day or even hour by hour. And: Being in limbo is the worst; it’s all that unknowing. I’ve even written here that there is relief to be found when I finally drop the rope and let it go. I think I need to take my own advice.

I can’t be alone to think because every time I think my mind is flooded with bad thoughts. Not bad as in, “Uh-oh! She’s going to do something illegal!” More like, bad as in overwhelming and doubting myself and believing my life is basically over and I will never have anything again ever. So I can’t be alone to think. I’m going to try playing the radio or my iPod instead and singing loudly.

Speaking of music and positive thinking, I finally took my cheater songs off as my alarm. Back when Cousinfucker was still living in the house I decided to set all my alarms to songs that were in my Freedom songlist. There was “Before He Cheats”, “Cheater Cheater”, “Look It Up”, “Your Lips Are Movin’”, and “Since U Been Gone”. I knew he could hear them every morning so I delighted in playing them. But, he hasn’t lived with me in over six months. I got tired of listening to them. Honestly, I don’t like having the same song played over and over for too long. I need to mix it up. So, I downloaded some new songs and I’m using them instead. No love songs, but nothing about cheating either.
Other things I can’t allow myself to do: I can’t think ahead; I can’t visualize the future. I never allow myself to picture good things. I can’t allow myself to do so because I don’t want to deal with the disappointment if things don’t turn out well. Remember, in my version of being a pessimist it’s not that I’m wanting bad things to happen or even expecting them to happen. I just don’t expect good things to happen and I’m fully prepared for the worst case situation. If something great happens, well, that’s wonderful; however, I never anticipate that.

As much as it feels counterproductive I need to take it day by day and not think about anything long term. No use in worrying about not getting a job. Worrying won’t help me get one, and if I do get hired someplace then I worried for nothing.

The idea that there is a higher power that wants me to go through all of this bullshit for some purpose makes me want to vomit; nonetheless, I’m going to go with it for now. It’s that or go crazy. So hey, if anyone out there can shed some light on why God has decided to kick my ass feel free to let me know. The idea that the one set of footprints I see in the sand is Him carrying me is a BULLSHIT right about now. But hey, maybe He decided I was too materialistic, or too snobbish. Maybe He figured I needed to be humbled and completely broken. I don’t know. Maybe losing everything will somehow free me and that’s the lesson. Yes, because now I no longer wish to live in a spacious beautiful 4000 square foot home with modern amenities. I don’t want granite countertops or a jacuzzi tub or a big huge walk-in shower. Those poor, poor people who have all those luxuries will never know the pleasure of gardening and picking fruit from their own fruit trees, shopping for off brand food at the grocery stores, wiping their asses with cheap scratchy toilet paper or making clothes out of dryer lint.

I’m not doing a very good job at this one, am I? Perhaps I should skip over all the “It’s happening for a reason” crap. It really pisses me off. Because here’s the thing. I was a nice person. I was generous. I was kind. I volunteered. I gave and gave and gave. I didn’t act like I was better than others. I didn’t make fun of people. I was empathetic. I was a good person so I don’t know why I’ve lost everything. I don’t know what else God wants me to do or learn. Hell, I went to church until I moved. Now I have no desire to go. Picasso is an atheist and Rock Star really doesn’t care to go again and start all over. Why bother? I know some people say the church can be a great resource and a way to network. I have found that the church is a great resource for some people, usually those in the spotlight. The rest of us are left to flounder.

I was very involved in my church years ago before we moved out west. I led a small group, worked in the children’s church every week, helped with the meal team, helped out with Vacation Bible School, created and led the MOPS group. When I was getting ready to move and CF was already out there working, leaving me with two small kids all on my own, one of the pastors asked for help on my behalf. Two people volunteered to send us a meal. Two.
I never felt like I fit in at the church I attended out west. I met a few people but only in the sense that I knew their names and would say hello. I didn’t make any friendships outside of church. Eventually I quit going and cut off all contact.

Most recently we attended for almost 7 months before moving. I never really met a single person in that entire time. They were plenty friendly. The pastor said hello. But I didn’t make any new friends and there was certainly no networking. There was no one offering up a low rent house that would accept pets. No one who was offering a job. Which is what everyone assumes seems to happen when you join a church.

I could start attending on Sunday but the chances that I would eventually befriend someone who could help me job wise are extremely slim. And call me quaint or old-fashioned but I believe the purpose of going to church should be strengthening your faith and your relationship with God.

I’m going to do my best to drop the rope and let it go. I can’t control it. It sucks to the extreme. But I have to learn to say, “I have lost everything and I’m okay with that.” I have to learn to separate my life into chapters. My life the past two years is one chapter. This is another chapter. It is the same for my kids. I have to learn to be okay with this new chapter in Rock Star’s life.

At one time she was a gymnast. Our life was scheduled around gymnastics. That was a chapter. Then we moved. It was really difficult for her to leave it behind, but it was also very difficult for me. I had lived almost all of her life as a gymnast’s mom. That was who I was and now it was gone.

Instead she became popular and had the world by its tail. She was a star on the high school gymnastics team but gymnastics wasn’t her whole life like before. She had a great group of friends. She went to football games. She dated boys. She began cheering. She went to youth group. She knew her principal and her teachers. She was voted hottest girl in her grade. The boys wanted to date her, the girls wanted to be her friend, and everybody watched her. That was another chapter. Then we moved again. She’s not popular. No one knows who she is. Gymnastics is completely gone. There will be no cheerleading. Her only outside activity is working a job. There will be no more sports banquets. There will be no Hall of Fame. There will be no pictures of her gracing the cover of the Booster Club program her senior year. There are no more competitions or meets. She had to give up her team captain spot. This is her new chapter. There is no point in dwelling on everything she’s lost because she can’t get it back. She had a really good life and now she doesn’t. At one point she had everything. Now she has nothing. Those things happen. Honestly, if anyone would take her back there I would let her go live with them so she could finish out her last two years at the school she loves. If she told me she wanted to be homeschooled, or to do online school I would let her. There’s absolutely no point in her attending this school because she’s not getting a damn thing out of it. I had a kid who was having a dream high school experience; now I don’t. It sucks. The rest of high school for her is going to be nothing more than 2 years to get through so she can go to college, assuming we can get enough aid for her to go because I sure as hell can’t afford to pay for her to go. Two more years in this chapter for her. Two years of putting her head down, gritting her teeth and working part-time.

This is supposed to be positive though, correct? So let’s spin that into this new chapter will include her focusing completely on her education, downsizing her social group to an extremely small group, freeing herself from the illusion of those high school glory days. You don’t want to peak in high school, right? And this way she won’t be sad about graduating and leaving behind friend because she really doesn’t have any. Plus she is developing a wonderful work ethic. I mean sure, she had a fantastic work ethic before and had to learn to prioritize when she was training 20+ hours for gymnastics and when she was busy with after school activities. But this is different and so much more valuable. She’s going to get so much out of providing for herself and no longer relying on her mother to provide her anything other than food and shelter. She won’t be one of those spoiled, pampered kids who’s had everything handed to her.

I think the biggest thing is being in limbo. Those months between D-Day and the temporary support orders were rough because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I ended up getting screwed but at least once the screwing was complete I knew what I had to work with. I’m back in that situation. I have no idea how court is going to go. My guess is I’m once again going to get screwed. Hell, even if he’s ordered to pay a decent amount of support it’s not like I’m going to see it, and I’ve been told that if the judge believes his sob story about PTSD then I can’t even throw his sorry ass into jail for nonpayment. BUT once we have a settlement I know what I have to work with. There won’t be anymore guessing. If I had to guess though I would say I’m going to end up with half of his 401k, which I can’t touch unless I want to pay huge taxes that would result in me netting maybe half of the amount and would leave me with no retirement funds. I also figure I’ll be awarded half of his pension, which again, won’t do me any good until he retires. I’m guessing I’ll receive no spousal support, arrears, or reimbursement of money spent on Harley. In a similar vein I don’t think I’ll ever see half of the stock he cashed in and spent on her, or any of the stock he walked away from, or my half of the damn tax return. Whatever child support he’s ordered to pay, which I believe will be minimal anyway, I will never see. I would also guess that the marital debt will end up being evenly split since Cousinfucker isn’t working, although to be honest I wouldn’t be surprised if I got saddled with more than 50% if I get a job before we go to court and he’s still sitting around moping.

So what do I with my guesses? Do I tell myself not to worry because that’s in the future and I have no way of knowing? Or do I just say, “What the hell? I’m on my own. It sucks. It’s unfair. But this is what I have to work with so let’s do it.”

I know I’m still clinging to that rope of my old life. I also know it’s gone. It will never be recovered. It’s hard to figure out whether or not I should just accept that and the fact that I will never have anything worth having again, or if I should think positive thoughts and believe with all my heart that I’ll get a great job and I’ll be able to provide for my kids without government assistance and can tell that shit eating chimp to fuck off.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I’m moving. I’m going through every room in my house and sorting through what I’m going to try to sell and what I’m going to take with me. This whole process has been upsetting and tear inducing. Today I wondered if perhaps this was God’s way of saying I was too materialistic.

I’ve lived outside of my mom’s home since 1994. My first official home was a one bedroom apartment- perfect for a single woman with no children just starting out. I met CF while living at that apartment. Married him. Bought a house with him. I couldn’t tell you how large our first house was but I know that as we’ve bought houses over the years they have gradually become larger and more expensive. As most homeowners know we tend to accumulate things the longer we’re living somewhere. In short, I have a lot of stuff.  I like my stuff. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a hoarder but I do tend to hang on to things. And that’s what I’ve been dealing with all week.

Why do I feel a pang in my heart at the thought of giving away the mug I bought when I was probably a young teen?  It was from Hawk’s Nest and I’ve had it forever. I rarely use it so what’s the big deal? And yet it tore at my heartstrings to place it in the “sell” pile. There was also the lighthouse glass that I got on prom night my junior year. It’s not something I use but it was associated with a memory; I’ve had it for 30 years and moved it from house to house and state to state.  I can hardly wait until tomorrow when I go through the glasses!  I’m probably going to lose it when I set out the souvenir glasses from a restaurant we frequented on vacation in Florida.

I dread the thought of storing all the pictures of my kids that I’ve had hanging on my wall. I paid a lot of money to have pictures taken of my children when they were babies and those pictures are still proudly displayed. But no more. My photo albums will be tucked away and stored.  The journals I wrote in to document my kids’ lives and the funny things they say also won’t see the light of day.

I have a huge collection of books. I’m getting rid of almost all of them.  I may keep a few chosen ones but most of them, even ones I haven’t read, are going to be sold.

I’m selling off the bulletin boards I had made when I had a stainless steel refrigerator which meant I couldn’t hang anything on them. I knew someone who made these cute little boards with magnets and I figured they would be perfect to hang drawings and important papers. It’s not so much getting rid of them as it is the realization that I won’t be hanging report cards on the refrigerator.  I won’t be hanging up Picasso’s drawings or any important papers. I honestly don’t know where the hell I’ll put any of that.

I look at all the seasonal decorations I just bought and hang my head in sadness at the thought of selling them.  I worked so hard to make my home look festive- snowmen in January, hearts in February, leprechauns in March, fairies and flowers for May, mermaids, coral, fish and all things beach over the summer… Halloween and Thanksgiving, and Christmas and Easter decorations. All gone. I even bought a few new decorations just this past fall. I think my favorite one was the sign that listed all the wonders of fall; I hope its new owner likes it as much as I did. I bought them because I was determined to continue living my life despite what CF had chosen to do. Now those specific decorations have been used once.

I have hung inspirational signs all over my house but primarily in the kitchen.  All of those are going. I have a few that I love more than the others, like the one that says: Enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize they were the big things. Or: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning to dance in the rain. My favorite though I think is my sign that reads: Wicked chickens lay deviled eggs.

I’m getting rid of most of my beach towels. With us downsizing so much AND moving in with my mom we don’t have a need for 10 or 12 beach towels. But here’s the thing. Every summer for more than a few years now I would buy each of the kids a new beach towel at the beginning of the season. So I’m not just getting rid of beach towels; I’m getting rid of memories.

Like my shot glasses. They were a small, convenient, inexpensive way to commemorate the various places we had visited. Gone!

Who gets sentimental about towels? Me! It’s not the towel though.  I have a fantastic memory. I can look at every single towel in my linen closet and tell you when I got that towel; I look through all the towels in our linen closet and it’s like looking at a timeline of our life.  There are the towels that we were given as wedding and shower gifts. There are the towels I bought when we moved the first time, and the towels we bought when we moved the second, third and fourth time. Oh, those are the towels I bought for our last house when we needed a nice set of towels when we were showing the house. Finally, I have the towels I bought for the kids when they got their own bathrooms and could choose to decorate them however they wished. I’ll be taking those towels with us, of course.

I look at all the grape decorations I have, which are still in the boxes they were packed away in when we moved this last time.  I’ve had those decorations since around 1998, maybe 1999. I’ve used them on top of cabinets in three different kitchens. I couldn’t use them here because we didn’t have cabinets that would allow us to place anything on top of them.  CF promised to build me a shelf around the enclosed porch where I could use all of them. He never did, of course. As weird as it sounds those grapes have been a large part of my life.

It is the same for my huge picture of magnolias.  It, too, was bought the first time we lived down south; it’s been displayed in four different homes now. It’s not so much the picture that is important.  It is what it represents and the fact that I’ve had it for 17 or 18 years.  It’s mine, dammit!

I’m going through water bottles and kitchen stuff. The water bottles represent different places we visited and sometimes things that were going on in my kids’ lives at the time. I believe I have admitted I have a slight crockpot addiction and I am keeping 3 of my 5 crockpots. Will I ever use them at my mother’s? Maybe at Christmas time.

I’m looking through my cupboards and seeing all the plastic plates I accumulated over the years when my kids were little and I wasn’t going to put a breakable plate in front of them. They obviously don’t need them anymore; they’re teenagers now for crying out loud! But we do use them still. They’re larger than a dessert plate but smaller than a regular plate, so they’re perfect for toast or smaller meals. Or for when I haven’t ran the dishwasher and I’m out of regular plates.  Again, it’s not that they are needed. I’m not going to have to replace them. It’s that they are part of my family’s history; they represent a time when my children were young.

My brother has told me I should pack up and store all of my kitchen stuff. Rodents can’t destroy any of it and it’s not like plates go out of style. I’m getting rid of the plates and silverware and bowls anyway. I will probably keep the brand new hand mixer that CF bought me our last Christmas together and I know I’m bringing along my Ninja blender, my air popcorn popper, and new waffle maker.

I’m trying to tell myself it’s just stuff. It’s not important. People lose all of their things in fires and floods and other natural disasters and they survive.  The important thing is the people.  I have my kids.  They are what’s important. I tell myself that I hung on to way too much and that even if the items represent memories I can always access those memories by simply remembering the event; I don’t need a souvenir or anything tangible for that. I tell myself that if I ever do move out into a place of my own that I can start all over and keep things simple. I even sometimes point out to myself that there is an awful lot that I never or rarely used which means I’ve spent a lot of money on stuff I didn’t need. Maybe this will be a chance to be more deliberate about what I buy.  So why is this so hard?