Reframing Things

Final post for 2020. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How’s that for change, 2020?

Christmas 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dating While Divorced

I’ve seen over and over again women (it’s almost always women) say they aren’t going to date because they’re going to focus on their children and/or their children aren’t ready for them to date. Someone actually threw out this idea that once you divorce your focus should be on your children and you shouldn’t think about dating until they turn 18.

It’s a nice idea. I have no problem with someone choosing that for themselves. To be honest, before I got divorced I thought that same way. Okay, maybe not the exact same way but I did feel that there was no need to rush into another relationship right away; I also thought it was important to make sure you gave your kids the time and attention they needed instead of getting your own needs met. But as with most things there is the theory on how things should work, and then there is the real life application.

I think there is a huge gulf between jumping back into dating an hour after your spouse has left, and not dating for the next 1-18 years because you have minor children. I’m not suggesting moving the first person you meet into your home a month or two after your divorce is final. I’m also not suggesting that a person absolutely must date again after a divorce. If you have no interest in dating for whatever reason then I fully support your right to not date; this post is not about declaring that everyone should be putting themselves out there or that not dating is a horrible tragedy. It’s the opposite. I believe this notion that we do our children a disservice by dating before they graduate high school is kind of ridiculous.

As the mother of an 18 year old and a 20 year old I can tell you my kids don’t really have a lot of time for me anymore. My daughter has been exceptionally busy since beginning competitive gymnastics back when she was still in elementary school. Practice 3-5 days a week. As an optional she went to school and went directly to the gym where she practiced from 3-7. She came home, ate, did homework and went to bed. That was 6th-8th grade. As she entered high school she was busy with friends, extracurriculars and sometimes even a boyfriend. She added a job to that list of things that took her away from me when she turned 16. This summer I spent five days with her. Five. Out of the entire summer. Every weekend she was either running down to Muncie to spend the weekend with her friends and her boyfriend, or her boyfriend made the trip up here. The only reason I spent five days with her and not two is because one weekend I took her, her boyfriend, and Picasso to Ohio to spend the weekend with the mobster for his birthday. That was the weekend we rented a cabin, went fishing, and went out on a pontoon boat. Aside from that- nothing! She also spent the majority of her time in the house in her room where she kept the air conditioning on a chilly 64 degrees. It’s not that I didn’t see her. We just didn’t do anything together. She worked mostly 12 hour days when she was scheduled to work. I work Monday-Friday, 8-5. Weekends she was always busy with her boyfriend.

My son still spends most of his time at home in his room. His meds seem to be working and he’s much chattier lately but he would still prefer to spend his time playing video games, drawing, watching YouTube and hanging out with his friends.

My experience isn’t uncommon. The mobster has four children. Four! His oldest son lives in New Hampshire. He rarely sees him. A and his wife, Little Miss Sunshine, are busy with careers, each other, raising his son, and hanging out with their friends. Taking off for a long weekend to drive 13 hours and see his dad isn’t a regular thing. His next oldest is married as well; even though he lives in the same town as his dad the mobster rarely sees him. He’s busy with his wife’s family and they both work full time. His third son just moved to West Virginia, about 2 hours away. Even before the move the mobster said he didn’t see much of him; he spent all of his time with his live-in girlfriend. This is kind of funny in a sad sort of way because they lived in the apartment that is above the mobster’s garage. Finally, his youngest, his only daughter, is now 19. She works full time and she spends a lot of time with her friends. There are many times he’s all by himself in that big ol’ house because T is house sitting for her brother, or is off with friends. She’s also got a new boyfriend so she’s beginning to spend time with him as well.

The point of these examples is that our kids develop lives independent of us. If we decide we owe it to them to remain single until they turn 18 there is a great chance that we’ll be sitting at home all by ourselves, waiting for our kids to throw us a freakin’ bone in the form of their undivided attention for an hour or two.  Please, child, may I buy your dinner in order to enjoy your company?

Rock Star actually tried to pull that bullshit with me towards the end of the summer. When I told her I felt like I never really got to spend any time with her this summer she actually had the audacity to blame it on me being gone to spend time with the mobster. Oh hell no! I quickly pointed out that the time in particular that she was referring to was when I went to court. I didn’t exactly have a choice in that matter. I also invited her to come along (not to court but to Virginia) and she conveniently mixed up the dates. To put it into perspective she saw her boyfriend every weekend this summer. I honestly don’t think she went a single weekend without seeing him. I, on the other hand, saw the mobster three times this summer. Three whole times in the three months she was home. One of those times was the weekend I took Rock Star and her boyfriend with me. Another time I had to go to court.

Maybe she’s not representative of all kids but there are enough of them out there that would prefer their parents don’t have lives of their own so that they are better able to be at their beck and call.

It’s not just at age 18 that they’re off on their own, leaving you to find something to do in their absence. I’ve heard a lot of parents say that once the kid gets his or her driver’s license it’s a whole different ballgame. No longer are they dependent on mom or dad to take them from Place A to Place B. I spent a lot of time in the car with my kids, especially Rock Star since she always needed to be somewhere. Once she could drive that completely changed.

How far does this extend anyway? Is it anything that might take your attention away from them? Am I allowed to volunteer? What if my kids want me to take them over to a friend’s house at the same time I’m supposed to be packing backpacks for the local food pantry? What if I take a night each week to answer phone calls at the domestic shelter? Can I go out with my friends on a Friday night? Do I get to go to grown up concerts or movies ever? Can I go listen to a band playing at a bar? Is picking up a new hobby allowed? What if I join a community theater group and I have practice every night for three months? What if I immerse myself in knitting or playing hockey or paint pouring? Can I sign up to run a race? Can I even go running several times a week? I don’t see the difference between me dating and doing any of those things. All of those activities take time away from my kids. If I’m doing any of those things instead of spending it with my kids then I’m taking time away from my kids. Are we not supposed to do anything except sit around waiting for our kids to want to do something with us?

Look, I believe I was an involved mother. I’ve received some positive reviews from my own kids. I chauffeured them around plenty. Most summers were spent on the go- museums, amusement parks, water parks, lakes, rollerskating rinks, arcades. I took them to horseback riding lessons, we hiked in the mountains and toured caves, and on Rock Star’s late start Fridays I took her out to breakfast. We went shopping and got pedicures. I went on field trips and volunteered at their school. I took them to Moab where we toured Arches National Park and The Hole In the Wall, went white water rafting and took a HUMVEE tour up on the red rocks while Jerry Lee stayed behind in the hotel room. I took them to Yellowstone another year; we toured the park and went white water rafting (again!) and horseback riding. I took them to the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, and Florida. I even made a trip up to Twin Falls, Idaho to go camping. I made numerous cross country trips with them and always did my best to stop at attractions to break up the time and make things interesting for them. I took them to the movies and to play putt putt golf and bowling and a whole lot of other things.

Of course, that was all while I was married. Then I got divorced and worked two jobs and was exhausted all the time. Getting up at 3:30 in the morning will do that to you. Yet, even if I hadn’t gotten divorced my kids would still be growing up. They’d still rather do things with friends than with me.

I’m not saying you never see your kids once they get a driver’s license or once they hit a certain age. I am saying you’re a fool to think that once they’ve hit that magical age of 18 you’re suddenly free to go build a life for yourself independent of your children. It’s far better to have an actual life outside of your kids before they graduate high school and/or college and move away.

All of those things that are listed above- volunteering, going out with friends, hobbies- I did all of those things as my kids got older. When they were pre-kindergarten age I spent most of my time with them and didn’t do very much on my own at all. Then again, I didn’t have a supportive husband. But once they got a little older I started to spread my wings. Yes, most of the volunteering I did centered around their school and was done while they were in school. And true, most of the time I went out with friends I did so when they were in school as well. But there were the occasional times that I wasn’t around in the evening. They survived.

I wouldn’t recommend that a person who is married close themselves off that much and live a life completely dominated by child rearing. I sure as hell don’t recommend it for a person who has divorced and is forging a life with no other parent to help out.

I think the mobster and I have done a very good job of balancing our relationship and our kids. From the very beginning we agreed that the kids came first. That’s why no one moved when we had kids in high school. At our best we got to see each other every other weekend; that left plenty of time to do things with our kids. Most of the time we did not see each other every other weekend; it could be 4-6 weeks between get togethers. If either of us had a kid related event we scheduled around that. One weekend that meant meeting up on a Saturday instead of our usual Friday because my daughter had Prom on Friday night and I wanted to see her and take pictures. Another weekend he didn’t leave to meet up with me until after his daughter’s softball game. There were weekends we had planned to get together and he had forgotten it was his daughter’s birthday so the weekend together was canceled. We’ve stopped phone calls in the middle of the conversation because a child needed us, and we’ve delayed calling because we’ve been busy talking to our kids. It is possible to balance dating/being in a new relationship and raising your kids.

I want to say once more that I don’t think you absolutely must date. I know there are plenty of single women and men out there that have no desire to do so. They find the single life suits them just fine. For those people I say, “Good for you!” I wouldn’t advise that they change a thing. But I do have a problem with this idea that if you have children under the age of 18 and you choose to date, you are somehow not focusing on your kids and they are suffering for it.

If I can spend time with friends or take up a new hobby or spend time volunteering and not somehow take away from my children, then I can go on a few dates and/or begin a new relationship. And if the people who think you shouldn’t date also think you shouldn’t do anything lest it take away from your kids… well, I would advise everyone to have a life outside of their children. It’s not a bad thing for them to realize you are a person, too, and that you have things you like to do. Sometimes you might even do those things without them <gasp>! If you spend every moment of your life focusing on your kids, and only focusing on your kids, you are going to end up a very lonely person.

Your kids are going to grow up; they’re not going to live with you forever. They’re not even going to want to spend all of their time with you. Their own boyfriend or girlfriend, sports, high school activities, and weekends spent with their friends are going to take precedence. Getting their license is going to be a game changer. Enjoy them! Cherish all of those memories that you get to make with them. Gobble up every minute of time you get with them. Celebrate their achievements. By all means, put them first. At the same time, don’t be afraid to spread your own wings and develop a life of your own- with or without a new partner. It’s a lot of pressure on kids to be the center of their parent’s world.

The Biggest Mistake We Make

I was reading Chump Lady the other day. Someone had written in to see if she would put his STBX-wife’s texts through the UBT (Universal Bullshit Translator). Seems cheating ex-wife thought they should come together for their son’s graduation and present a united front- for the children, of course.

Surprisingly, this post is not about presenting a united front, or all the insane things people think divorced couples should do for the sake of their offspring. No, this is about something else.

At some point in his letter he mentioned that he had met a wonderful new lady and they had been dating for about six months.

One regular reader made the comment that one of the biggest mistakes divorcing chumps make is to date before the divorce is final. Among his reasons for thinking this is the biggest mistake you can make:

1. It’s too soon which isn’t fair to your new partner because you haven’t had time to heal.

2. You’ll probably be bringing baggage into your new relationship because of #1.

3. It might look like you were the cheater.

4. You’re still technically married.

5. It can give your cheater ammo to use against you.

I’ve written about this before. I’ve also admitted that I used to think exactly like that. You’re still married until you’re divorced. Don’t date. Keep your marriage vows. Then I divorced a lying, cheating fuckwit. Let’s just say that experience changed me. If you’re in a state (or country) where you can get a divorce in 6 months or less? Great! You probably can get through your divorce without dating. You certainly don’t have to, but you could.

There are many of us, however, where we can’t even file for divorce until we can show we’ve been separated for a year or more. In my situation I had no desire to begin dating; I had no plans to date. I resisted other people’s suggestions that I try online dating. I wasn’t looking and I was fairly certain I would never be in a relationship again. I didn’t even know the mobster existed until almost two years after D-Day. D-Day had been approximately 1 year, 9 months, and 20 days prior. My first divorce court date had already been continued, thanks to Jerry Lee and his claims of PTSD. I had a new date lined up. While I was working two jobs, supporting our two children with no help from him, and navigating all the emotional hurdles with them, my “husband” was living over 300 miles away with his cousin/mistress and her kids. He had financially cut us off that August of 2015, approximately 2 weeks after being caught; he, Harley, and the mulligans were living it up and living their best life ever. I hadn’t seen him in over a year. The month the mobster fell out of a tree and landed on my head marked a year since Jerry Lee had paid any support.

I’m solidly on board with the line of thinking that says I will not let him take one more minute of my life. Obviously you don’t need to be partnered up in order to live a full life, but if someone enters your life and they make things better I see no reason to avoid that person just because your cheating spouse wants to drag this divorce out. And often, they do. It’s the last means of controlling you they have. And because so many “helpful” people tell you that you need to keep your halo shiny and remain true to your marriage vows, they know they can get away with living their new lives, complete with a new partner, possibly new kids and a new house, while you’re left twisting in the wind, waiting for them to finally release you from your matrimonial bonds.

I would never have the relationship I do now if I listened to all the naysayers who say you need to wait until you’re officially divorced. It took me over two years to get my divorce. How much more time was I supposed to wait before I began dating once the divorce was finally finished? Another year? Two? Three? The mobster is still trying to get one. How long is he supposed to put his life on hold while she merrily goes about her life, doing whatever she pleases, shacked up with her boyfriend? We would both be missing out on the best relationship we’ve ever had while our spouses are shacked up with their new loves, doing whatever the fuck they want to do. Why are we supposed to forego our relationship?

Oh yeah- Reason #1- it’s too soon which isn’t fair to your new partner because you haven’t had time to heal.

Who is anyone to say what is too soon? In my case almost two years had passed and I was still married. I can tell you this though. I was way too busy working and trying to survive to go to therapy or do any work on myself. Year one hadn’t been too bad as we were still in our house the first 10 months, but year two sucked! I was thinking of nothing except survival and how much my life sucked. I was also pretty sure it was never going to get better.

I didn’t want Jerry Lee back. I wasn’t mourning him. I wasn’t mourning the loss of my marriage. Again, I was way too busy trying to keep afloat financially. Maybe people with plenty of money have that kind of time to navel gaze and overthink every little nuance of their past relationships.

I actually did fear that the mobster was moving on with me too soon. We met only two months after his wife walked out and less than a month after he had filed for his online divorce. But as he said many times, his marriage had been a living hell for 12 long years by the time he met me. He craved an honest partner. As he wrote once upon a time he wanted honest love; he was ready for that.

In the early days I grappled with a lot of self-doubt. I sometimes thought the love he had shared with her was far too big for me to ever measure up. They had twenty-five years together! But over time the fears lessened. I don’t worry about that at all now. And honestly, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if he’d been separated or divorced for a year or two. The issue was mine and it was mine despite the fact that my marriage had been over for almost two years, I had no lingering feelings for Jerry Lee, and I absolutely knew his cheating had had nothing to do with me.

Not everyone needs a year or two or more to heal. Not all of us need years of therapy and time to heal from a major trauma. Some people have been detaching for years, and once that person is out of their life it’s like a weight has been lifted. The mobster would say that he had been grieving the end of his marriage for twelve years before I came along. All those years he spent trying to get her help and get her sober he was grieving the end. I don’t think the mobster used me to replace her. Truth be told I wasn’t the first person he had dated after she left so it’s not like he just took whatever he could get. He chose me. He told me he fell in love with me the moment he laid eyes on me, crazy as that may sound. He was determined to not let her be the last chapter in his story. He moved ahead with full intentions of finding love again. And, as he always likes to point out, he knew when he was done with her. He didn’t need months or years to recover once that point was reached. When he finally got to that point recovery was well under way. The further away he got from her the clearer his mind became.

Similarly, point #2- you’ll probably be bringing baggage into your new relationship because of #1, isn’t true of everyone. Or maybe it is true of everyone regardless! I think I brought a certain amount of baggage into this relationship and it would have happened no matter how long I had waited. Anyone who watched twenty years of their life go up in smoke is probably going to be a little jumpy now and again. There are certain things I learned while my life unraveled and I don’t think I’m going to unlearn them any time soon. I also don’t think time heals all wounds, and I think everyone heals at their own pace. One person may be ready right away, while another person might never be ready. So, don’t date because you might bring baggage into this new relationship? Honey, I think we all bring baggage into our new relationships, even if that baggage is Louis Vuitton. We can’t help it but we can learn. Again, everyone does this at a different pace.

I’ve already gone over what I think of the “you’re still married” bullshit. Yes, legally I was still married. Legally Jerry Lee owes me somewhere around $60,000. Whether or not I’ll actually get that is a whole other topic. If it makes you feel better to say you didn’t date until the ink was dry on the divorce decree, knock yourself out. I’m certainly not advocating that you must date while you’re in the middle of that. But I no longer see anything wrong with it. Fuckwits are going to do what Fuckwits are going to do. They like to drag it out. Case in point- BSC. She’s been living with her boyfriend for 3 years now but has absolutely no interest in getting a divorce. It’s stall tactic after stall tactic, lie after lie, outrageous demand after outrageous demand. Any time the mobster starts talking settlement she gets all crazy and expects to get everything.

Point number five- you give your cheater ammo to use against you. Well, not really. If you’re in a no fault state they really can’t use the fact that you’re dating against you. And you can always remind them that if they want to try to drag you through the mud because you’ve dared to date before divorced that you’re only dating because they cheated on you. Which in effect means they’re dating, too, and they did it behind your back while you thought you were in a committed relationship.

But what if you live in an at fault state? As a person who divorced in an at fault state I can tell you that all three of the lawyers I met with were very clear that even if I could prove adultery it wouldn’t result in anything extra for me. Debts would still be split 50/50; assets would still be split 50/50. The judge wouldn’t give me full custody because of it. I wouldn’t get everything while he walked away with nothing because he cheated. I was advised to not date but the other side of that coin was that I was also told he could run around town declaring his love for Harley and make out with her in the middle of Main Street. Unless I could prove they were actually having sex I couldn’t prove adultery. The bar is set pretty high when it comes to proving adultery.  Jerry Lee and Harley were living together. He had moved out of the state to be with her. My lawyer still said she didn’t know if she had enough to prove adultery. They. Were. Living. Together.

Plus, it’s only a potential problem if you’re the spousal support receiver. If you would be paying spousal support you can do whatever you want. It’s not like you’ll have to pay more because you’re dating. Even if you’re the receiver you’re allowed to date; you just can’t have sex. Unless your spouse can prove you’re actually having sex and not just going out to dinner and the movies with this new person, you are operating within the law. Personally, I wouldn’t announce it to the world (and I didn’t) because cheaters don’t like consequences and they are always looking for a way out of them.

Finally, I take issue with this little gem, otherwise known as point #3- it might look like you were the cheater.

To whom? The cheater in my case is a perpetual victim. Even if I hadn’t met the mobster until months after the divorce was final Jerry Lee would still be whining and crying. It’s what he does. I don’t care if he likes it or hates it. I don’t care if he thinks it’s unfair or that I’m a horrible person or that he says  horrible things about me. The opinion of a man who cheats on his wife and walks away from his kids means absolutely nothing to me. Furthermore, what on earth do I care what his family thinks? They are nothing to me anymore. They will always side with him; they have supported and encouraged him throughout his entire affair. They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our marriage ended when he began carrying on with Harley again. They know I was blindsided and that there was no one the entire time I was living in Virginia. They know, and he knows, that he was the one packing a bag and leaving his kids every weekend to go meet up with Harley. Not me. More importantly, I know none of that matters to them. So why in the world would I care if they think I cheated on him?

The people that matter to me know the truth. They had front row seats to the Jerry Lee Divorce Chronicles. They were there when I found out. They were there when he moved out without saying a word. They were there when he lost his job, forcing us out of our home. They were there when I moved back with my poor kids in tow. They were there during those long, long months where I worked two jobs while he worked none and sent no support for his children. Those are the people that matter to me and they all know that I’m not the cheater.

I can say the same thing about the mobster. The people important to him know he didn’t cheat on his wife and leave her for me. They know about everything she put him through. His dad, a Baptist pastor, even told him at one point that maybe it was time he considered divorce. When he told me that story he admitted that his dad suggesting that, when he had always grown up with the idea that marriage was forever and you just did not get divorced, shocked him. It must be really bad if his dad was offering up divorce as an option. They also know that I didn’t come into his intact marriage and break them up. She was gone before I came into the picture. His parents know that. His siblings know that. His kids know that. Jerry Lee can spin whatever kind of lies he wants to about me. His family can judge me as being a homewrecking tramp. I don’t give a flying fuck. You know why? Because the people who matter know the truth. Jerry Lee and his ilk don’t matter. And they wouldn’t know the truth if it came up and bit them on the ass.

Time With the Mobster

Finally! After three long months we are together again. It has been heavenly. There have been a few snags but nothing to do with us- just little things forgotten or eaten.

For example, I forgot to pack my pick. I had packed pretty much everything a day or two before. I knew there were a few last minute things I needed to add, along with my toiletries, but my flight didn’t leave until 4:15 so I wasn’t terribly worried.

Then we went out to lunch before leaving for the airport and since the restaurants are at half capacity and the wait staff seems to be at about 25% capacity we had quite the wait, which meant I had all of about 15 minutes to finish packing before we needed to leave.

Somehow I forgot to pack my pick which I KNOW had to have been right there on the sink by all the rest of my toiletries. That was Friday. This is Saturday, over a week later, and I have finally bought a new brush. Seven days of no comb, no brush, no pick.  Thankfully my hair is short so I was able to fluff it out with my fingers.

I also realized once I got here that I forgot to pack two of my sports bras. I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to do a lot of laundry but if I’m going to run I guess I’ll have to.

If that wasn’t enough my dog, Ripley, ate my damn jeans the first day I was here. They’re not completely gone but they definitely have bite marks in them and I can no longer wear them.

Those were the snags. Small things compared to all that’s going on in this crazy world.

I arrived around 9 pm on Friday. They picked me up in Roanoke and we had an hour drive back home.

We left to board a plane to New Hampshire around 10:15 the next morning. The flight was pretty uneventful. We made a few stops along the way to his oldest son’s house.

The mobster showed me his old house on Haig Street. We pulled into their very nice liquor store which is actually called an outlet. It was huge! State run, of course. We bought the sparkling wine for the wedding on Monday and another bottle of peach Moscato just because it sounded good. We also grabbed an apple cider donut for each of us. They were delicious!

We finally made it to A’s house. Nothing is open in New Hampshire, or so it seems. You can grab take out but they only have outside dining right now. We eventually ended up at a little roadside ice cream stand. It sold dinner as well. We inadvertently paid over $80 for 3 lobster rolls. They were listed as “market price” and we never inquired as to what “market price” was. The mobster picked up the check and was stunned when the cashier told him it would be over $150. On the plus side they were very, very good!

Sunday the mobster and I went for a run first thing in the morning. A and Little Miss Sunshine bought whole lobsters for all of us for lunch. Two each! Sadly, they paid less for 10 whole lobsters than we did for 3 large lobster rolls. And if it wasn’t less then it was right around the same amount.

We played some Pokemon, walked to the park, and went up to Weirs Beach to walk around as well. It was great just spending time together.

Monday was the wedding. It was very short, very simple, and very sweet. It was exactly what they wanted. The mobster and I bought the cake and the sparkling wine and her mom paid for the Chinese take out.

Tuesday was return home day but we managed to work in a trip to the Flume. I saw pictures of this place in a Family Fun magazine when we were living in Virginia, so probably late 2014, early 2015. I really wanted to take my kids but life had other plans for me. When I found out I was going to be visiting New Hampshire we checked out their website and it said they were closed until the end of May for repairs. Fortunately, that turned out to be false so I got to go.

I have to say, as much as I hate all this social distancing bullshit, it was really nice having the park to ourselves for all practical purposes. I mean, I’m sure there were other people there but we didn’t see anyone else until the very end, when we were coming out and they were going in.

Needless to say, my “lifestyle change” has been upended this week. I did fine Friday, the day I left, but I have to tell you, we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts every day we were in New Hampshire. I stuck with regular coffee with Splenda and cream or half and half, but I also had a donut. I’m not sorry either. And on Tuesday coming back home we stopped at Chick-Fil-A and I had an entire meal- sandwich, fries, and a diet Coke. First diet Coke I’ve had since May 3rd. While I did fall off the diet Coke wagon I only drank half of it and I haven’t had another one since.

These past 3 days I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on the couch, watching TV and playing games on my phone. I haven’t even been blogging. The first day back I got up at 6:30 and helped him load his truck before coming back to the house. I showered because I was all sweaty and disgusting. I read until around 9:30 or so and then I kept getting woken up every hour on the hour. The mobster called me at 10 and then again at 11. Then the alarm clock started going off at noon. I couldn’t get it to shut off completely so I had to keep hitting snooze every 10 minutes or so. I finally gave up and got out of bed. I didn’t get up until after 11:00 on Thursday. That was nice. Then on Friday I woke up around 9:30, took both dogs for a walk (big mistake!), and then went for a 3 mile run. Came home. Showered. All in all it was a very relaxing week once we got back.

It’s also been raining a lot. We went out for dinner Thursday night and to go raiding (Pokemon Go) and we got stuck in a downpour!

Went back to the same place on Friday night. Thankfully, there was no downpour this time. Plus we found the most adorable new antique store in town. So many cute things inside.

Today I went out on his route with him. I don’t feel like I’m much of a help but it was nice just being together. We grabbed lunch at Chick-Fil-A. I was good and had the Cobb salad with grilled filet. We did a little bit of raiding and we did a little bit of shopping. He grilled salmon, tilapia, and rock fish out on the grill tonight and we’ve polished off a bottle and a half of the wine we bought at the Wine and Chocolate Festival back in February. Honestly, I’m a little surprised I can even type this. 😉

Tomorrow is our last full day together. Oh, I guess that’s the last thing that went wrong actually. I was scheduled to fly out tomorrow around 3:30. I got an email while I was in New Hampshire telling me my flight had been discontinued and I was rescheduled on this new flight, taking off at 7 am on Monday morning. Yeah, I’m supposed to be at work Monday morning at 8 am. Fortunately I was able to work it out with my boss and I’ll be showing up around noon, maybe 12:30 instead. But I am thankful for the extra day with him.

Then it’s back to the grindstone. Fortunately things are opening back up and we have solid plans to spend his birthday next month together. At most it will be a month before we see each other again. Maybe we’ll even sneak in another weekend in between.

It’s been a great week. Sorry I haven’t written much this week. I had big plans to do so but life got in the way. Til next time….

This Day

On this day, three years ago, WordPress sent me a notification that a reader had liked my post, The Wacky Things Cheating Women Say.

If you have a WordPress account then you know every time someone likes or comments on your post they suggest you read their blog as well and link to three different posts. So I did. I figured I’d see what Divine Doorknobs had to say.

I read a heartfelt blog by a man who had put up with more crap than a person should have to. I read his blog as he detailed the ups and downs of being married to an alcoholic. One entry would be positive and almost giddy with relief that she was sober and working. Then the next would be the sad realization that she was drinking again. I read the whole thing from the very beginning until it culminated in her leaving him and his heart being shattered. His subsequent posts were heartbreaking in his yearning to get over her and find, as he put it, an honest love.

That day changed my life. I was going to meet the man that would turn out to be the love of my life, although I didn’t know it yet. We hadn’t made contact. I had no idea who he was. Our stories were so similar though that I had to comment. I didn’t do so thinking I was going to strike up any kind of a relationship with this person. I was just struck by the similarities and wanted him to know.

It wasn’t until the next day he responded to my comments and offered up his number with an invitation to be someone I could vent to. I told him then that I was an awful texter, plus I worked two jobs neither of which was conducive to texting. AND, I went to bed at the same time toddlers did, thanks to my super early job at Target.

The rest is, as they say, history. I have fallen madly in love with this wonderful man. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He is the sweetest, funniest, most romantic man in the world. He has staged elaborate, romantic evenings and he has washed out my shitty jeans. He makes me laugh and he listens when I rage on about injustices in life. He rubs my back if I ask and he’ll run and grab conditioner for me if I forget it and we’re at a hotel with no amenities. He is the smartest man evah! He is handsome and sexy. He knows exactly what to say. He is always up for anything- canoeing, kayaking, camping, ice skating, hiking. You name it he’s willing to give it a try. Because he’s up for anything I’m more likely to go outside of my comfort zone. He believes in me. He thinks I can do anything. He is exactly what a partner should be. He is my mobster, my love. He is the one that made me smile again after two really awful years.

Happy Anniversary, baby! These last three years have been fantastic. I love you more!

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Virginia Bound

I am off to see my love. It has been a very long 3 months since we’ve seen each other. I will be spending an entire week with him. Can’t wait!

I am actually sitting on a plane in Chicago, waiting to take off and fly to Virginia. I am dying! This stupid mask is suffocating me and I’m dying of heat stroke right now. Dying, I tell you!

Tomorrow the three of us are flying to New Hampshire for the holiday weekend. His oldest son is marrying Little Miss Sunshine on Monday. I’m very excited for two reasons.

First, they wanted me there which was nice. Little Miss Sunshine even asked me if I’d like to come with her when she gets ready. I love this girl.

Second, I’ve never been to New Hampshire. I’m excited to get to see where the mobster used to live and to let him show me around.

I went out to lunch with my mom and my son before I left and I found out Picasso would like to go to Maine. I have also recently discovered he would like to tent camp and fish, and that he doesn’t really remember most of the places I took them to when he was younger but he is definitely interested in road trips now. It is amazing the amount of information I find out when that boy is finally lured out of his room! So, I think next year the boy and I (and the mobster and my daughter, if they’re interested) are going to take a road trip up along the coast. Maybe we’ll fly to Maine and then rent a car. I don’t know. I have a year to plan.

I am hoping I can get some writing in while on vacation but it may not be possible. This is going to be a busy weekend and we’ll have to see how the week goes. The best part though is that I get to spend it with my love.

Covid-19 and Long Distance Relationships

I realize I have a lot to be grateful for. So far no one in my family is sick. My friends are all healthy. I’m still working which means I’m still bringing home a paycheck. I’ve got food in the cupboards and freezers, I’ve got dog food to feed the three dogs, and I’ve got plenty of toilet paper (not a hoarder- I just always tend to buy the bigger packs of toilet paper because I don’t want to have to run out and buy more any sooner than necessary).

I’m still going to say it: This Covid-19 virus sucks. I know the following is all selfish but I need to get it out. Our race has been canceled. Originally I was going to drive to Virginia anyway- leave Thursday after work, stay at a hotel, and then finish up the drive on Friday. With the recent stay at home orders by Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia governors I don’t think it’s a really good idea to drive to Virginia. The mobster and I didn’t see each other at all in March because we decided we would wait until the race weekend. That was already going to mean we didn’t get to see each other for 6 weeks. Now God only knows how long it will be before we are finally able to see each other again.

I have a court date in the middle of the week in July and as of right now I have 4 1/2 days of vacation left to schedule (well, 5 1/2 since I rescinded my day in April to go to Virginia for the race). I have 2 choices. I can take a half day off on Tuesday, drive all the way to my former city, spend the night in a hotel, go to court and leave right after so that I’m able to be back to work on Thursday. I can keep my vacation time in May over Memorial Day weekend, use a day and a half and still have 3 days left. Yet, that trip sounds like torture. Not only do I not wish to drive 9 1/2 hours on Tuesday followed by another 9 1/2 drive on Wednesday after a court hearing, but also I hate the idea of being only a few hours away from the mobster and not being able to see him. Or, I cancel my vacation at the end of May so that I can take it in July instead. And go to court in the middle of said vacation. Why don’t I take those 5 days I have in July? Because I don’t want to use all my vacation time by July (save for the one day I have scheduled after Thanksgiving).

Hell, who knows if we’ll even be free to travel by Memorial Day weekend? Maybe my court date will be rescheduled to an even later date. Everything is up in the air.

All I know for certain is that I won’t be seeing the mobster for more than six weeks. I don’t really see them lifting the travel bans and stay at home orders until May at the earliest so we’re going to end up being apart for more than two months.

I know military spouses deal with year long deployments. I’m sure there are other situations out there where couples have been separated for long periods of time. Hopefully it won’t be a fucking year before we see each other again. Here’s the thing though- I’m not a military spouse. I don’t have a husband who travels for work and is away frequently. No, I have a long distance boyfriend that I get to see every two weeks if I’m extremely lucky; it’s usually more like every 3-4 weeks lately. This is my life and I think I’ve adjusted pretty damn well, especially considering the whiners that complain they only get to see each other on the weekends or they have to drive a whole 45 minutes or an hour or two to see one another.

Boo-fucking-hoo. Try driving 5 1/2 hours just to meet halfway. Try regularly only getting to see each other every 2-4 weeks, and since you’re already driving 5 1/2 hours to meet in the middle and you’ve got a job where you can’t take off in the middle of the day unless you’ve got the vacation time, that means you get literally one full day with this person in that 2-4 week period. One. A few hours Friday night. A full day Saturday. A half day on Sunday.

I know. I know. I chose this. I chose it the moment we began talking, the moment I agreed to let him come up to take me out to dinner, the moment we began video chatting. I chose it when I told him I loved him instead of walking away because the distance was too great.

Don’t get me wrong. He’s definitely worth it. I adore him. We have an amazing time when we’re together. I’m simply irritated. Irritated my plans are being interrupted. Irritated that I won’t get to see the mobster for another 4-6 weeks at best. Irritated by all the people on Facebook advising everyone to stay home and those who act like everyone is under quarantine- reading books, binging on Netflix, sleeping in, and eating bad food.

I’d love to be home. I’d love to be doing all those things. Instead, I go to work every day. I come home and I run three days out of the week. I’m still following low carb so I’m not gorging myself on cookie dough or potato chips or any other kind of comfort food. On one hand my life is going on like before. On the other hand I’m in a completely different building. I have to walk from a parking lot two blocks away to get to the office. Snow? Rain? Oh well, bundle up! Carry an umbrella. I ride up a glass elevator to the eighth floor and do my best to not look because my fear of heights gets worse as I get older and I’m afraid I’m going to hurl. They are limiting the number of people in the elevators to four people at a time and there are actually charts on the floor where we’re supposed to stand. We’re not allowed off of our floor. The break rooms have been shut down so I have to get back on that damn elevator and walk two blocks back to my car so that I can eat in my car. There’s a rumor they are going to limit the number of people allowed in the bathroom at one time to two. There are only three fucking stalls to begin with!

My Wednesday dinners with friends are no more. At least not until the restaurants are allowed to open again. My race is canceled. I have no idea when I’m going to get to see my mobster again. Maybe late April. Maybe May. Maybe June. Hell, I’ll just keep canceling vacation days and then it won’t matter that I’ve got court in the middle of July.

I’m irritated with all of it. I realize it’s all for the greater good. I don’t want anybody getting sick. I also realize that there are others who have had much bigger plans derailed- graduating seniors who have seen their senior year go up in smoke with no prom, no graduation, no spring sports, no final spring musical, athletes who thought they would be participating in the Olympics this summer, my sweet co-worker who will probably be delaying her retirement at the end of the year because of the hit her 401k has suffered, all the people who are out of work, wondering how they’re going to pay their bills, people who have fallen ill and died. At the same time I’d like to see the mobster more than 3 times this year. It’s not looking real good.

My friend, Sweet J, who is always trying to look on the bright side said to me, “It will make it that much sweeter when you finally do see each other again.” Yeah. Sure. That’s how I’m looking at it. Thank God I don’t get to see him for 12 weeks! Our time together is so much more precious than those who get to see each other all the time. Praise Jesus we’re not like all those losers who are together 24/7. Suffering through all these obstacles have made us a much stronger couple than any of those people who actually get to see each other on a daily or weekly basis.

Hell, I think everyone should get themselves into a long distance relationship. I’m not talking an hour or two away. That doesn’t count. That’s like having a spouse that travels for work. You get to do what you want during the week and then on the weekends, like clockwork, you’re together. Nope, you need a long distance relationship where you are at least 4 hours away, and I think that’s being generous. It needs to be far enough away that running away for the weekend is not an easy task. Remember, the longer you’re apart the sweeter it will be when you’re together again. I feel so sorry for those of you who must spend every day with the love of your life. It must be torture.

All right. I’m done being irritated. I’m going to put on my big girl panties and get on with life. Like I said earlier I have a lot to be thankful for. The mobster and I both are still working. He’s doing a brisk business right now with all the grocery stores selling out. He’s even planning on signing up for Door Dash to make some extra money. We’ve got FaceTime and free long distance- both a perk I did not have in prior long distance relationships. We’ll make it through. I still really miss him though and wish I could be tortured with his presence on a daily basis.

Best. Birthday. Gift. Ever.

I went and had a birthday yesterday. I’m now fifty-FUN!

Wednesday night I went out to dinner with some friends of mine from high school. We met at 6:30 and didn’t leave until 10. Surprisingly we didn’t spend a lot of time reminiscing. Some highlights of the evening:

C announcing she wished she was a man because she wants a penis of her own. I don’t know why. I think it has to do with being able to pee anywhere and being able to write your name in the snow. L and I tried to tell her that we could still do that as women, although we did need to clarify if she meant cursive or printing.

Sweet J letting us all know that laundry is her favorite chore. We all looked at her like she had two heads. “Don’t you have a favorite chore?” she asked us all. “No!” we all replied. “They’re chores; they’re not fun! We don’t have a favorite.”

Found out Sweet J won’t buy Tide pods because she thought the problem was they were designed to look like food. We had to explain to her that kids weren’t eating them because they thought they were edible; they were eating them because they’re stupid. Nonetheless, she’s going to hold fast to her Tide pod strike, but she let us all know that she likes the liquid laundry detergent over the powder.

Shortly after this conversation L asked, “Do you remember when we used to talk about going out to bars and who we took home?”

Yes, now we’re talking about laundry detergent and our favorite chore. And menopause.

We had a lot of laughs. It was a good time.

I may not have lived in the same town my entire life but I do feel pretty fortunate to be able to get together with people I’ve been friends with since I was 15, 16, 17 years old.

The next day I got flowers at work from the mobster. They were lovely as always. He also sent me some cooling towels for workouts, and tells me I’m to expect something else tomorrow.

I got lots of Facebook messages and texts wishing me a happy birthday, and my mom called and sang to me on my way to work.

Last night I went out to dinner with my brother and his family. I had told Picasso that depending upon how late dinner ran I might go to the gym and walk on the treadmill. He asked me why I didn’t go downtown and play Pokemon instead.

Well, I don’t usually do that in the middle of the week. Plus, I didn’t want to go down there by myself. He offered to go with me. I was plenty excited about that!

Then during dinner it began to snow so I told him it didn’t look like we would be going downtown after all.

As we were getting ready to leave I turned on the game. I told him there was a PokeStop in the restaurant so I wanted to get it. Shortly after that he turns to me and says, “I’m not getting any reception in here,” and he shows me his phone, which is open to Pokemon Go!

“You’re playing!” I shrieked happily.

I have been begging this kid to play Pokemon Go with me. He has friends that play. One of his very best friends plays. When the mobster was up earlier this month we ran into three kids Picasso knew; they were begging him to play. He has staunchly refused, saying he’s played it before and he doesn’t like it.

For my birthday he played Pokemon Go with me. We went downtown and walked around for about 2 hours. He did a raid with me. We battled in a gym. He was so cute. He was afraid he didn’t have high enough Pokemon to take part in a Level 1 raid. “Don’t worry, buddy. Mama’s got ya!” At the end of the night we stopped at the Chocolate Cafe where I bought him a hot chocolate. It tastes just like a melted candy bar. It was the best birthday gift ever. The willingness to play Pokemon, not the hot chocolate. Even better was the fact that he later told me he actually had fun and planned to keep playing.

Yes! I have converted him!

Optimism and the Mobster

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When I saw this meme I immediately thought, “That’s my mobster; it describes him perfectly.” He is the eternal optimist. As my daughter says, “He’s like the real life Elf.” She has also said he’s the happiest man she’s ever met, and that’s despite the fact he doesn’t get any vacation time. He could be laying flat on his back, completely stuck, but he’ll look up at the sky and exclaim, “Oh my God, I’m flying!”

He’s always able to look on the positive side of things. When I had to buy four new tires before I drove down to Virginia for my divorce hearing he told me, “The good news is you no longer have to put air in that front tire.”

He’s always got a smile on his face. He’s always happy. He’s up for anything and eager to try new things. He can talk to just about anybody, and he does.

He has his moments. In the very beginning he was still quite raw from his own discard. There were weepy moments. But for the most part, even then, he was happy. He made me laugh. He looked on the bright side. And I was right by his side, telling him he could do it and pushing him onward.

Even now there are times his STBX still tries to put him through the ringer- sending vicious texts, threatening to take half of everything, demanding he pay her credit card bills. Some days it gets him down and that smile leaves his face, that twinkle leaves his eye. He bounces right back, though. Soon he’s casting her aside and finding yet another way to make his world right.

It’s so nice being with someone who is happy and who looks for the silver lining, instead of being with a person who is always miserable and sees disaster at every turn. I hope I can one day be as optimistic as him.

You keep flying, Mobster.