Emotional Happiness or Financial Security?

I was talking to someone who came through our department the other day. She was there to observe what we do and we got to talking. The topic of me being divorced came up, as did my new dating life. She asked me which I felt was more important- financial security or emotional well being.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a trick question. Looking back over the 20 years I was with Jerry Lee I can see how our marriage wasn’t a great one. We probably had a decent five years but even then there were signs he wasn’t going to be all in. I’ve already written about his reluctance to go to my grandpa’s funeral with me. He didn’t attend my friend’s wedding in Chicago with me. Didn’t go to my class reunion with me. And I’m not quite sure he ever went to my grandparent’s or dad’s house again after we went down to announce our engagement. He was also a no show at my best friend’s wedding, didn’t come to support me when I went skydiving, couldn’t be bothered to take time off of work when my ectopic pregnancy was finally found, and didn’t go to either of my grandmothers’ funerals.

In comparison the Mobster is amazing. He’s a wonderful partner. Not only does the man go to funerals, weddings, and company parties with me he travels 10 1/2 hours to do so! Okay, the funeral was in Virginia but still… my point remains.

I have never felt so loved by a man in my life. He listens to me. He laughs with me. He supports me, encourages me, stands up for me, and is willing to help me in any way possible. He is an all in partner in every way.

Do you prefer the emotional well-being or the financial well-being?

I’ve got a bill sitting on my dining room table from the hospital where my daughter went to the ER. I haven’t even got the courage to open it yet. I wouldn’t blink an eye in my old life (primarily because we had great fucking insurance and it probably would have cost me a $50 co-pay but that’s a rant for another day!).

I used to be able to drop a couple hundred of dollars on my daughter when she said she needed new shorts or a new wardrobe.

I used to be able to buy my son a new game system if I felt like it.

I used to be independent. I lived in my own home. I had furniture and dishes and possessions accumulated throughout over 45 years of living.

Quite honestly, the last eight years or so of our marriage I didn’t have to worry about money much at all, and in that last year I didn’t worry.

Now I worry about money every month.

There have been times when I briefly wished both of my kids were self-sufficient and out on their own because trying to meet their needs was overwhelming to me. I still count down until the day I no longer have to pay over $200 a paycheck to cover them on my insurance. I never did that before.

There are times I don’t know if he’s going to pay spousal support or child support and Picasso needs one thing and Rock Star needs another thing and they all converge on me and I begin to have a mini nervous breakdown. Their needs and even their wants were met without a blink of an eye before.

I always figured we would always be there to help them out if they needed it. Both of them would have college paid for. We would send them money each month while they were away at college. My pipe dream fantasy at one point was to buy enough land where we could build a house and both kids could build their own homes so they would never leave me. My kids and grandkids would all live in close proximity.

It’s a trick question.

I think we all know money doesn’t buy happiness. I think we also know that while it may not guarantee happiness it sure makes life easier.

No matter how happy I am no bank is going to loan me a couple hundred thousand to buy a house. No store is going to let me have groceries based upon a happy relationship. I can’t buy new shoes for my growing son or pay utilities with love.

I’d like to borrow two hundred thousand dollars to buy a house.

You don’t make enough money for us to lend you two hundred thousand dollars.

But I’m really happy!

M’am, that’s not how lending and finance works.

Well damn!

In an ideal world I’d have both. I’d be working a job that made me a shit ton of money and I’d come home each day to the mobster. Or at least I’d have a job where I made enough to support myself and my kids and have some left over.

I’m not stupid. I wouldn’t go back to Jerry Lee for any amount of money. I am far, far happier with the Mobster than I ever was with him.

I’ve already psychoanalyzed myself and decided that all the shopping I did and all the material goods made up for a marriage that was lacking.

I still think it’s a trick question. Would you rather be able to feed your children or be in love?

Chillicothe Getaway

The Mobster has challenged me to post something RIGHT NOW! I have nothing.

We are currently enjoying a weekend away in Chillicothe. Don’t be jealous. I could have flown off to Hawaii. I could have opted for a luxury cruise. But no! I chose exotic Chillicothe. That’s a lie. Option #1 and #2 are not available to me. So #3 it is!

Honestly we’re having a good time. We’re at a bar/restaurant that sits where an old lumberyard once called home on the Erie Canal. There’s live music and I’ve had two (soon to be three) Angry Orchards. Plus my tummy is full of chicken wings, cheese sticks, and mini tacos.

It’s easy to poke fun but I know I’m blessed. We may not go to the most exotic locations but we always have a great time.

Two Weddings & a Funeral

I took a last minute trip to Virginia the week before Christmas. My great uncle died.

He was the last of nine siblings. At our last family reunion, which occurred 3-4 weeks after I found out my husband was cheating on me, there were two left. My Uncle Donnie and my Uncle Gene. Uncle Donnie was actually the youngest of the nine. He died a year later on Christmas Day.

I loved my Uncle Gene. He always told the best stories. He was an amazing storyteller. He spent over 30 years as a state trooper so he had a lot of stories. I hadn’t seen him since 2016, a few days before I moved back to Indiana. I went mainly to be a support for my mom. Originally I hadn’t planned on going at all. I didn’t really have the time to take off. But this was going to be difficult for my mom so I went. She drove and I flew. It turned out they planned the visitation on Tuesday and the funeral on Wednesday. I couldn’t take that much time but there was a flight that left here at 6 in the morning and would get to Virginia by 10:30 so I could make it in time for the graveside service.

Why am I telling you all of this? I will tell you why. The first thing out of the mobster’s mouth upon hearing that he had died and we would be attending the funeral was, “I want to be there for you; I want to support you and your mom.” He rearranged his route and put things off all so he could accompany me to this funeral.

To most of you that might not seem like anything out of the ordinary. To me, it was extraordinary.

During the twenty years I was married to Jerry Lee I lost both of my grandmothers and my sole surviving grandfather.

In 1999, almost five years after we got married, Jerry Lee accompanied me from Mississippi up to Indiana for my grandpa’s funeral only after my mother threw an absolute fit upon hearing that he might not come with me.

“What do you mean, ‘He might not be able to come?’ That’s your grandfather and he’s your husband. He should be by your side.”

Yes, you read that correctly. He wasn’t sure he could take that much time off of work. Ironically, my grandfather’s visitation was on a Saturday (could have been Friday and Saturday) and his funeral was on a Sunday. I remember because my dad and aunt talked about how my grandma paid more to have it on Father’s Day instead of waiting until Monday. So Jerry Lee wasn’t missing much work. Three to four days at the most.

The funny thing is this was my dad’s father, not my mom’s.  Yet, she was still incensed at the idea that Jerry Lee would allow me to travel 8-10 hours on my own and attend my grandfather’s funeral by myself.

So, he acquiesced and made the trip with me. Had my mom not thrown that fit, which in turn made me lean harder on him, he would not have gone with me. I have absolutely no doubt that if I hadn’t pushed he wouldn’t have gone. The sad fact is I’d come to expect that from him already at only five years into the marriage. It didn’t seem that unnatural for him to choose not to come with me.

My Mamaw died in 2007 when we were living out in Utah. I made the 30+ hour drive by myself. Well, with my two young children I should say. They were 7 and almost 5 at the time. Not big helps when it came to driving by any means.

I got the news on a Saturday that she had taken a turn for the worse and they didn’t expect her to live much longer. Father’s Day was that Sunday and so as to not ruin Father’s Day for him and take his kids away from him on “his” day I waited until later in the day on Sunday, probably around 5 or 6, before I finally left. I remember driving until around midnight and stopping at a hotel in Nebraska. Picasso had no interest in sleeping for some reason so I locked the door, put the chain on it and went to sleep, letting him stay up as long as he desired. I was woken up by a small boy straddling me and staring down at my face. When I reluctantly opened my eyes he greeted me with the chipper greeting, “Wake-y, wake-y!” It was five or six in the morning.

I got back on the road and discovered a few hours later that the air conditioning that had just been fixed was once again broken. The mechanic had warned me the belt might break. I forget why now. As luck would have it my father-in-law worked at the automotive center at Wal-Mart and if we could get to Kentucky and buy a belt he had a co-worker that could put it on for us. We drove from Nebraska to Kentucky with no air. I started driving at six in the morning and didn’t arrive at my in-law’s place until just after midnight. I was exhausted.

The belt was bought and replaced. I drove the remaining four to six hours and finally we got there. My Mamaw was still alive. She held on for four days, I think, if not more, before she finally let go.

He was not there with me. He didn’t even have his company send flowers. I made a 30+ hour drive to watch my beloved Mamaw die and he couldn’t be bothered to be with me. He had to work. We’d been married over ten years at that point.

Four years later my sole remaining grandparent died. We were still in Utah. Again, he couldn’t bother coming with me. He didn’t have the time to spare. So once again I grabbed the kids, put them in the minivan, and made the drive. This time the drive was only about 24 hours so I got a bit of a break. But once again I was alone while burying a loved one.

In contrast, when his father died in 2010 I got the kids excused from school, got their homework, boarded our two dogs at two different places, finished up the laundry, cleaned the house, put both kids in the minivan and drove all night long to get to him so he wouldn’t have to go to the family visitation or the funeral without me. I pulled over around 8 in the morning at a rest area to sleep for a bit. I left the van running, the air on, a SpongeBob video in the DVD player, and locked the doors while I took a nap so I didn’t run off the road and kill us all.

Twenty years and he went to one out of three of my grandparent’s funerals with me. Hell, he didn’t go with me to his step grandfather’s funeral. My mom accompanied me and a year old Rock Star. That funeral took place only a few days before 9/11. I remember driving home that day, wondering if we were going to be safe or if there might be another attack. I actually asked him if he thought it would be safe if we drove back or if we should stay there. Naturally he didn’t think there was any danger. Aside from one gas station with some high gas prices he was correct, I suppose.

The mobster has been with me for less than three years and he volunteered to go to a funeral with me. He brought it up before I ever had a chance to. His attitude was, “Of course I will be going with you!”

It wasn’t just that he was willing to go to this funeral with me either. There were many family members there that he had never met. Jerry Lee had never met them because he never went to Virginia with me. Yet here was the mobster. I was taking him by Mamaw’s house, sharing memories with him. He met my uncle (my mom’s brother). He met many of my cousins. He chatted with them. The restaurant was filled with family and the mobster didn’t bat an eye. He was amazing.

He kept asking me if Jerry Lee had been there or if I had shown him these things I was showing him. I had to keep reminding him that in 20 years of marriage Jerry Lee had never been to my Mamaw’s town with me. He’d never been to her house. He had never met any of my Virginia relatives aside from my Mamaw. He had no clue.

He was supposed to go to the cemetery with me that summer (2015) so we could plant flags on the veterans’ graves. That was something we had just started doing on Memorial Day. Most of my uncles served and my favorite cousin’s son was KIA 4 days after arriving in Iraq back in 2012. That year we would have been honoring my family. Of course, Jerry Lee was knee deep in his affair with Harley so he couldn’t come out of his room and be with us. I once again went by myself. Or rather, the kids and I went by ourselves.

That was all a foreign concept to the mobster. He kept saying he couldn’t understand that. Yeah, well, in hindsight, me neither. Probably should have been a giant red flag.

The mobster has been a godsend. My cousin adored him. Everyone I’ve ever introduced him to has come away with that feeling. They all tell me they really like him (and believe me- I’ve let them all know I’m vetting the shit out of him!). They comment on how easy he is to talk to. He really is. He’s one of those guys that never meets a stranger. He can always find something to talk about. And it’s not in that fake, schmoozy way either. He has a genuine interest in people and can always manage to find a topic to talk about. You never get the feeling that he’s making small talk to kill time or because that’s what he’s supposed to do; he’s trying to find a real connection with the person he’s speaking to.

It’s been two and a half years for the mobster and I. In that time he’s been to two weddings and a funeral with me. Jerry Lee has him beat on the weddings so far. We went to six together, I believe. Then again, he had 20 years and most of the time he was more of a pain in the ass than as asset.

These few short years with the mobster have shown me how a relationship is supposed to work. At least for me. Maybe other people enjoy doing everything on their own. I did it because that was the hand I was dealt. I did it because that’s what I saw in my parent’s marriage for the most part. I did it because I didn’t think it was all that unnatural. I did it because “I didn’t need anybody holding my hand”. Well you know what I’ve discovered? Having someone hold your hand is pretty nice.

I’m rambling now. The point is the mobster is once again showing me everything I missed out on in my twenty years of marriage. He shows up. He wants to be there for me. He is amazing and I am the luckiest woman in the world.

A Toast

Today would have been my 25th wedding anniversary. I’m not bemoaning the fact that I’m no longer married to Jerry Lee, but it does seem that 25 years would have been quite the accomplishment.

I always used to like to tell the story of how I was almost late for my own wedding. The hair stylists were in absolutely no rush to get me, Jezebel, or my maid of honor done. They keep assuring me, “Don’t worry, honey. You’re the bride; they’re not going to start without you.”

Once we were finally finished my maid of honor and I were speeding down one of our main streets at about 75 miles per hour, trying to get to the church on time. We ran past guests arriving at the church.

On the plus side I didn’t have a lot of time to get nervous or emotional. It was pretty much get there, get dressed, walk down the aisle.

Despite how it all turned out December 10, 1994 was a pretty good day. I was young and thin. My entire life was ahead of me and it was filled with endless possibilities. Everything was good that day. Everything was untouched, unvarnished, unsullied. It was a joyous occasion.

Jennifer Ball of The Happy Hausfrau has a Facebook page as well. What would have been her 26th wedding anniversary was about 2 weeks ago. She wrote a brilliant post that day.

Today would have been my 26th wedding anniversary. And for a couple of seconds I thought about writing something. Something about could have beens and what ifs.

And then I said F THAT. I poured myself a glass of wine… and decided to make a toast.

Today I’m going to follow in her footsteps (minus the wine because it’s late and it will put me to sleep) and give a toast of my own.

This year, almost two years after being officially divorced and four years after having been discarded I’m raising my glass high.

I’m raising a glass to the fact that I have survived. I spent a lot of time crying and a lot of time wishing for death but I’m still here, stronger than ever. I have hated most of what I have gone through and the things I’ve had to do, the changes I’ve had to make, but I did it and I am stronger than he will ever be. He didn’t defeat me. Stupid little me who had been out of the workforce for 15 years and was dependent upon him filed for divorce and left his ass.

I’ve survived living under the same roof as him for six months after discovering what a lying, cheating asshole he was. I survived a divorce that went on for two years. I survived him not paying any kind of support at all for 10 months. I survived him slashing child support in half. I’ve survived him cutting spousal support down on his own as well. I’ve survived his slurs against me, him hacking into my Facebook account, him trying to turn my kids against me, and him harassing the mobster.

I’m raising a glass in my honor because I have continued to do the hard work of raising two children by myself.

There are a lot of people out there who will argue that if your ex pays support you’re not a single parent and you’re not doing it on your own. I’ll be the first to tell you that the money definitely helps. I’ll also be the first to tell you to shut your fucking mouth when you bring that shit around.

He sends money, when he wants and how much he wants. But he’s never the one leaving work and running down to the ER to be with a sick kid. He’s never available to leave work to take a kid that has missed his bus to school. He’s never there to talk to his kids. He’s never there to take them to a friend’s house or run them to the mall or to take them out to eat. He doesn’t pick his son up after his various clubs get out every night of the week. He’s not running to the store and picking up lunch supplies. He’s not the one they come to with their problems, their joys, their achievements.

Rock Star is almost through her first year and a half of college. She’s driven and smart and she’s going to be an incredible nurse one day in the very near future. Picasso is once again getting a D in math and somehow does not have an A in orchestra. Nevertheless, he’s a good kid. He’s funny and kind and despite his grades he is a very smart kid. One day I have high hopes he will get his driver’s license. When that day comes I will be here to celebrate with him; his father will not.

I’m raising a glass to myself because I have finally realized how toxic Jerry Lee was and how hollow our relationship was. I realize now how small I made my needs over the years of being married to him, and have resolved to never do that again. I have the absolute best partner a woman could ask for. I’m so lucky in that regard. I think that definitely deserves a toast.

For the first time ever I’m with someone who is happy. I’m with someone who makes me happy.  I’m with someone who thinks I’m amazing and can do all things. I’m with someone who is romantic and who enjoys pleasing me and making me happy. I’m with someone who appreciates the things I do for him as well. I’m with someone who laughs at my jokes and listens to me ramble on about everything- Candy Crush, bad traffic, stupid fast food restaurants that mess up my order, that guy on the bicycle who insists upon riding into traffic on a busy road with no bike lane. I’m with someone who let’s me vent and doesn’t expect me to be happy all the time or to never get upset or disappointed. He treats me like an actual person and not just an extension of himself or as a wife appliance. I’m real and I matter.

I’m raising a glass to myself because I’m back in the workforce for the first time in 15 years. My mom retired at age 52. I will have been working again for 5 years at that point. I’m starting over when others are at the pinnacle of their careers and/or looking forward to retirement. It’s not glamorous or fulfilling. It certainly doesn’t pay well. But I’m here. I’m doing it. Who knows? Maybe one day I will actually work a job that pays me enough to live on.

I’m raising a glass to myself because I don’t ever have to keep pick me dancing anymore. Those goal posts aren’t going to continue to move. I don’t have to feel like I’m never good enough or that I’m always a disappointment.

I’m raising a glass and giving a toast because I’m getting there. I’m getting to a place of acceptance. I’m letting go of my old life. I’m no longer mourning as intensely as I once did. I’m trying to see the positives. Like how I get to regularly see my oldest friends now that I’m no longer living hundreds of miles away. Like how both of my kids will graduate from my alma mater. Like how living with my mom isn’t a death sentence. There is definitely an upside to living with her and having three generations under one roof.

I’m raising a glass because I can finally look back on the many experiences I have had throughout my life and be grateful for them, even if they did end. I loved my life and friends in Olive Branch. I loved my life and friends in Utah. I even enjoyed my life in Michigan and Virginia. But those were just chapters, not the whole story. There will be more chapters. More adventures. Hopefully more friends.

I’m raising a glass to my dogs- Beau, Laila, and Milo. All three of them helped me get through those first few months when I found out my life was tumbling down. They slept with me in that big king size bed, making it seem a little cozier. They were all by side. Many a nights I would fall asleep in the recliner of our sectional with Milo on my lap, Beau right beside me, and Laila on the couch. I didn’t sleep a lot in those first few months- a few hours here, a nap there.

They watched me as I stomped on my cake topper and my wine glasses, as I smashed things to smithereens.They comforted me while I cried and calmed me down when I thought I was losing my mind. My sweet Beau Beau is no longer with us but I’m toasting him anyway.

I’m raising a glass to all my friends who supported me throughout this ordeal. So many people called and texted to check on me. I returned the favor and called and checked on those who were also going through the same hell. I’m forever grateful to those who cared and who to this day continue to check on me. I’m grateful for their anger on my behalf. I’m grateful to them for lifting me up and telling me how wonderful I am and how awful he is. I’m grateful to my favorite backyard neighbor who has faithfully done my taxes every year since I’ve been divorced (or at least trying to get divorced). I’m grateful for the two friends who sent me birthday flowers on my birthday from hell the year after I was forced to leave my house and move back to Indiana. I’m grateful for the friend who sent me a huge wine basket filled with wine and various snacks on my first single Valentine’s Day in 20 years. Those are the people in my tribe. Cheers to you!

I’m raising a glass to this blog as well. I love that I get to tell my story. I have a forum to say whatever I want. I can cut through all the bullshit that accompanies cheating and divorce and reconciliation. I actually have people who read this thing. Hell, this blog is how I met the mobster. Let’s do a double shot for that! Thank you to all of you who are reading.

Finally, I’m raising a glass to myself because I got rid of a lying cheater. I don’t have to wonder anymore if he’s still in contact with her. I don’t have to worry about triggers related to them. I don’t feel bad anymore about our relationship because it’s over. I don’t ever feel like I’m settling anymore. I don’t cry about our relationship. I am never hurt over his treatment of me. I never have to sit there and think, “How can he say he loves me and then turn around and do that?” I never have to feel like I’m wasting my life or wonder if it ever gets better. I’m free. I know it gets better. I know there is more out there. I have it now.

Cheers!

Back From Columbus, Part 3

I like to call Sunday “Our Day of Frou Frou”. It began with breakfast at the South Village Grille and ended with a trip to Native Cold Press.

Our host had listed the South Village Grille as one of the places visitors should try so we opted out of going to the German Village Coffee Shop again and decided to give this place a try.

South Village Grill

It was definitely busy! We lucked out, however, and were seated immediately. I tried the crab cake benny and the mobster went with the French toast.

Wow- both entrees were amazing. They serve the French toast with some of the best bacon I have ever eaten and they top it with ice cream! It was delicious! I say that having only taken a bite.

French toast

My crab cake benny was a new twist on one of my favorite breakfast choices- eggs Benedict. They served it with a simple salad. Now, this would not be my first go to choice for breakfast, but it turned out to be really good. I would have loved to have had a side of that bacon, but I had crab cakes instead.

We knew we were slightly out of our element when we examined the menu but what sealed it was when they brought my mimosa to me. They garnished it with a thin piece of dried orange.

The mobster and I both looked at it and then at each other. Hmmm…. Nonetheless, the mimosa was delicious. I went on to have what they call their Sunday Spritz and even though it had vodka and cranberry, among other things, I did not like that nearly as well. Maybe it was because the vodka was infused with hibiscus. Or because there was too much seltzer water in it. I don’t know. It didn’t taste bad; truthfully, it didn’t taste like much of anything.

After brunch we walked around some more, caught some more Pokemon at the park and participated in a raid with three other people before heading back towards our cars. The mobster wanted to grab a cup of coffee for the road.

We had two choices- The Fox In the Snow, or Native Cold Pressed. Let’s just say we should have gone with The Fox In the Snow.

They advertise themselves as one of the best coffee shops in America. No, I take that back. They were actually chosen as one of the best coffee shops in America. They boast about their delicious homemade pastries and show pictures of lattes with cute designs in the foam. I checked their website and they have a menu consisting of such delights as: hot chocolate, New Orleans iced coffee, mocha, latte, custard filled donuts, sour cream coffee cake, salted dark chocolate brownie, croissant morning buns, and carrot cake. I’m not even finished! They also boast about ham and swiss tarts, banana bread, lemon pound cake, house-made granola and yogurt, and a ham and cheese baguette. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? You know what we had instead? Two vanilla mushroom coffees.

This is a place that advertises itself as GMO free, gluten free, HPP free (whatever that is!), and dairy free. They forgot to add that it’s also flavor free.

They sell a charcoal lemonade for $9, beet juice for $11 and smoothies for $10. They also have something called “Adaptogen Lattes”. That’s what our vanilla mushroom coffee was- an adaptogen latte. We paid $7.50 for some reishi, lion’s mane, vanilla bean, coffee, coconut sugar, and house made cashew mylk. Yes, they spell it with a “Y”.

Native Cold Press

If you’re hungry, bite into a protein bite. They make one called Blueberry Moon that contains raw cashews, sacha inchi protein, coconut, Blue Majik algae, dried blueberries, dates, lemon, and himalayan salt. I love a good bite of algae in the morning. It clears the head and really gets me going.

God bless ‘em. They are health conscious and driven by the desire to do good, I’m sure. As we said to each other, “Hey, we gave it a try. We can say we had a vanilla mushroom coffee.” I’m no longer sure why we would want to say that, but if asked, we can acknowledge it.

As an aside, the vanilla mushroom coffee was not horrible. It was actually quite bland (although I had to toss it out once it got cold; I could not force myself to swallow the rest of it). Is that the new trend- pretentious but bland?

Sadly, that is how we ended our weekend together. Overall, it was a wonderful weekend. I am looking forward to going back. I’d love to spend another Community Day in that park, grab another burger at Thurman’s, and eat some delicious pastries and drink some delicious, normal beverages at The Fox In the Snow.

cobblestone

house 3

house 2

house

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Back From Columbus, Part 2

We ended our evening at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus. Billed as the top tourist destination in German Village it is a sausage lover’s haven. It is housed in an historic livery stable. The servers are in cute little German costumes. They even features a live oompah band. For those not in the know, that basically means a guy with an accordion singing polka tunes.

Yet again I went against my instincts and had the buffet instead of going with my first choice- the Hoffbrau Schnitzel. It was billed as a thinly sliced center cut pork loin with a light, crispy breading topped with mushroom gravy. Yep, I should have gone with that.

Let me say the buffet was not bad. But as I said in the beginning Schmidt’s is a sausage lover’s haven. I am not a sausage lover. I don’t dislike it but I can think of many other things I’d rather have. The buffet was filled with sausage, all kinds of sausage. They had knockwurst, which is a funny thing to call a piece of sausage. They had a hot and spicy sausage they called the Bahama Mama. There was a milder version of it called the Milder Mama. There was bratwurst, which I do love. They did have baked chicken as well and it was good. I had a drumstick.

Their sides rotate but even so I was not all that impressed. The green beans were billed as green beans with spatzle. I found them to be bland and I saw no spatzle, although perhaps I did not know what to look for.

The mobster loved the German potato salad. He compared it to scalloped potatoes. I took a bite and was instantly overwhelmed by the vinegar taste. That’s not what scalloped potatoes taste like.

The mac and cheese wasn’t bad, but I’ve had better from Stouffer’s. The mashed potatoes and gravy were good. I did not even attempt the red cabbage with apples. I took a bite of the mobster’s and promptly made a face. I believe they had sauerkraut as well. Again, I’m not a fan.

The big draw with the buffet was the half price cream puffs. Folks, these things were huge! I’d say as big as your head but I’ve already used that comparison.

Schmidts Sausage Haus.jpg

Their entire dessert lineup looked amazing. Chocolate pie, multiple flavors of cream puffs, what looked like banana cream pie, German chocolate cake (of course). We both got a cream puff and ordered one for our kids as well.

Right after dessert, however, the night took a terrifying turn.

I like to mark my territory so I ended the evening with a trip to the bathroom.

To get to the bathrooms you must go through yet another glass door. It’s off in a separate part of the restaurant. The banquet rooms are upstairs, but aside from those empty rooms there was nothing in there when I went in to the bathroom. It’s deserted, ok?

The bathrooms were nothing special but there was no line and it appeared to be empty.

I was in there, minding my own business in this small stall while I did my business when all of a sudden I heard a voice. It was loud. I was startled. I wasn’t completely sure what they were saying but it sounded angry. Then I heard it again. Only this time I couldn’t understand what was being said.

My heart lurched in my chest. Someone was in the bathroom with me. Oh God! This is it. Michael Myers has found me and he’s pissed. “You still worried about where I get my shoes now, bitch?”

I’m debating pulling my legs up so that the lunatic can’t see there’s anyone in the stall when I suddenly realize it’s a freaking loudspeaker in the bathroom. It’s quoting famous movie lines and then translating them into German! Not cool! Thank God I was on the toilet or I probably would have pissed myself.

After all of that excitement we decided to walk home and stay in for the rest of the night. We made a quick detour at the park which we had to walk by anyway. We took some pictures and caught some more Pokemon. We sat on a bench in the cool night air and just took it all in before finishing up our walk home.

the two of us

Once back at the Air BnB I changed into my cute polar bear jammies and we watched the new Netflix movie “Holiday In the Wild” with Kristen Davis and Rob Lowe. I can’t give it a review because I fell asleep about 3/4 of the way through it.

Back From Columbus, Part 1

I’m back from a lovely weekend in Columbus with the mobster. We stayed at a gorgeous Air BnB in German Village.

Oh my! Where to begin? German Village is so quaint and amazing. We got in the car one time the entire weekend and that was to make a repeat visit to a winery that makes a fantastic cranberry wine (more on that in a bit). The rest of the time we spent walking the brick streets to our various destinations, checking out the various shops and restaurants, and admiring the homes that line the streets.

Our first night we went to Thurman’s Cafe for a late dinner. It’s been around since 1942 and is still a family owned establishment.

We walked in not quite knowing what we were getting into. The hostess stand is in a separate room with a Munsters pinball machine and an old school Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga arcade game. We were wondering if we were in the right place, or if maybe they were closed already. But once you walked through the doorway into the bar area it took on a life of it’s own.

It was crowded and busy, but not overwhelming. Music was pulsing, thanks to the iTunes jukebox in the waiting area. You can tell people love hanging out there.

Dollars bills cover the walls, the bar area, the booths. We did a bit of Googling and apparently they donate the money to charity. Where do the bills come from? Well, it’s their customer’s version of writing their name on the bathroom stall. Instead, they write them on the dollar bills; then they’re encased in packing tape and strategically placed all over the restaurant.Thurmans bills

This place has been featured on Man Vs. Food and has burgers as big as your head! We started off with the fried pickles and then the mobster had the Jason burger. It’s a burger with: fried egg, bacon, Genoa salami, cole slaw, fries, tomato, mayo and mozzarella cheese. Wow! The toppings alone make a filling meal. I chose a regular ol’ mushroom and Swiss and it was delicious! The mobster’s burger came with a side of hand cut fries. Mine came with chips. We also enjoyed five Angry Orchards on tap between us.

They have a great concept. The servers don’t have set tables. Every person there takes care of each table and they all split the tips equally. We ended up with three different servers, including, I’m pretty sure, one of the owners.

It was a great spot and I’d love to go back. We had planned on stopping in on Saturday just for a drink but other plans ended up taking precedence.

I’m sorry to say those two Angry Orchards I had pretty much did me in. We walked the two or so blocks back to our Air BnB and I promptly fell asleep.

Saturday morning we were up fairly early. We decided to try another one of our host’s suggestions- German Village Coffee Shop. They bill themselves as home of the Western omelette and the breakfast sandwich. Our host described it as a cheap greasy spoon diner with great food.

German Village Coffee Shop

It definitely had the greasy spoon atmosphere. It was packed; we waited, mostly outside, for a good 20 minutes or so. The servers told us this was actually a pretty tame morning compared to some.

We both had the breakfast sandwich. I took mine on toast; the mobster chose a bagel. He had oatmeal with blueberries as a side while I went with hash browns.

I’m not much of a fan of breakfast sandwiches. The mobster makes a fantastic one, but his is really the only one I like. I should have gone with the create-your-own-omelette. It was a decent sandwich; just not for me. The coffee was good and I really enjoyed the V-8.

No surprise- it was Pokemon Community Day. We were 3-4 blocks away from Schiller Park which was fantastic. It had a terrific ratio of Pokemon stops and Pokemon. We played for the full three hours. We caught a ton of Chimchars- the Pokemon for Community Day, and even did a raid.

Schiller park

The best part of the park was all the dogs! Being in the city and having small yards so many people bring their dogs to the park to walk, to play, to train. So. Many. Dogs. I was in heaven even if I didn’t get to interact with many of them.

They also had some amazing art work in the park. They had metal sculptures that were hung from wire. I wish we had taken pictures.

After our big Pokemon Community Day we made a car trip over to Wyandotte Winery. This is a winery tucked into the middle of a neighborhood. It is literally a house with a 4000 sq. ft. basement where the wine making magic happens. A portion of the house is dedicated as the tasting rooms while the rest remains the family home.Wyandotte 1119

We had visited Wyandotte a little over a year ago. They have wine slushies, a great Catawba, and the most amazing cranberry wine that flies off the shelves. Sadly, they were still waiting to bottle this year’s batch because it was still fermenting. We were told they began bottling it the night before and it was fermenting in the bottles which meant the wine was bubbling and corks were popping before they called it quits. So, no cranberry wine for us. I’m very disappointed. Still.

We had a good time anyway. How can you go wrong with wine and a hearty meat and cheese tray, topped off with fruit and crackers?

I freely admit I like my wine sweet and fruity. We each tried four wines, including a chocolate infused red. I ended my tasting with a glass of the cran-apple wine slushie and the mobster had the warm mulled wine.

us together

To Hell and Back

The mobster and I have a whole playlist of “our songs”. This song by Maren Morris made the list recently.

So much of what she sings on this song fits us perfectly.

You didn’t save me. You didn’t think I needed saving.

You didn’t change me. You didn’t think I needed changing.

He’s never treated me like I was broken or less than. When I wondered, “Why would you want someone like me?” his response would be, “Why wouldn’t I? You’re amazing.”

“But I’m poor. I work two jobs just to make ends meet. I live with my mom. I’m going on year two of a horrible divorce from a horrible person. I don’t have a bedroom to call my own. I’m fat, no longer some slinky, sexy little size 6 and I have two teenage kids- hardly the kind of attributes that make you highly desirable.”

He didn’t care. He saw all my flaws and thought they were pretty awesome. He didn’t think they were flaws. He didn’t think I needed saving. He’s always believed I was capable of great things. There were so many things I did in my old life that I never received credit for and he would tell me how amazing I was for doing what I did. He’s always propped me up and told me how great I am.

He didn’t try to change me either. He didn’t try to fix everything. He didn’t give me a list of things I could do to improve myself. He doesn’t go over all of my faults and I never feel like I’m a constant disappointment to him.

Instead, we are two people who both suffered through pretty miserable marriages for years. We weren’t appreciated. We weren’t valued. We sloughed along and did our best, despite the little encouragement we received from our spouses. We found each other. We appreciate each other and lift the other up. Our wings are frayed and what’s left of our halos are black but lucky for us our kind of heaven has been to hell and back.

Radical Acceptance- One More Try

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two More Reasons

I have truly been blessed this time around. The mobster is one hell of a guy. His wife was an idiot to ever have let him go. I thank God every day, though, that she did.

I was sick pretty much the entire weekend we spent together. I felt it coming on Friday as I was driving but felt I could maybe talk myself out of it. I do this often. I feel like I’m coming down with something and I just say to myself, “Nope. Don’t have time for this shit.” Most of the time it works. I really think you can lean into things like that, or you can power through. Sometimes. Other times it just runs your ass over. This was one of those times.

Nonetheless, Friday night we went out. We made our first stop at a wine bar that sits slightly off campus. We enjoyed an amazing caramel apple sangria and some delicious appetizers. We also played some Pokemon and roamed the streets on what turned out to be one of the biggest college block parties in the country.

Halloween in Athens is huge, we were told. They shut down the main street on the campus and some of the surrounding streets as well. The kids are walking around in costumes from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. There is a lot of drinking, many house parties, and college kids come from all over to participate.

Saturday we went to our old standby- Union Street Diner- for breakfast. It was a rainy, drizzly day. All day long. Yet we still spent a lot of time outside. Playing Pokemon. Finally we returned to our Air BnB, changed into dry clothes and went out to dinner far off campus.

We were back at our Air BnB no later than 9. He insisted I needed to go to bed early and get some sleep. We had already bought some cough medicine, which I had taken, and we also had a glass of Asti Spumante.

I guess his original plan was to get me in bed and watch videos with me but I curled up, obviously ready to sleep!

He asked if there was anything else I needed; I told him it felt nice when he rubbed my back so he began rubbing my back once again. He massaged my shoulders and my neck for a while and then he just rubbed my back. That man massaged my back and shoulders for what felt like a good 15-20 minutes. At one point I thought he was going to rub my back until I fell asleep. 

It wasn’t like when I was married and I would ask for a back rub. There would be sighs. There would be reluctance on his part. It was a chore for him, nothing he would ever think to do to make me happy. I’d get maybe 5-10 minutes and then he’d be like, “Is that enough?” 

Fifteen to twenty minutes! At least. Not one time did the mobster act like he was put out by doing this for me. He wasn’t rushing or watching the clock, wondering if he had rubbed my back long enough. Instead he lovingly massaged my back and shoulders, soothing me and trying to lull me to sleep.

As he was rubbing my back he told me that once I began snoring he was probably going to play some PubG. I know to some it probably isn’t the most romantic thing you could say, but it truly touched me. He wasn’t complaining about my snoring. Rather it was more like, “That’s my signal that you’re sound asleep and I can play a game I wouldn’t play while you were awake.” There was no, “You sound like a freight train!” or “I thought you were going to suck the paint right off the walls!” He didn’t complain that I snored so loudly I kept him up. He didn’t ask me to sleep in another bed or to let him fall asleep first. In fact, he doesn’t understand what the big deal is about my snoring. He brushes it off. It’s part of me and who I am. I’m Sam and I snore.

You know what? He snores, too; I don’t mind at all. The alarm going off for two hours before he needs to get up, though? That shit is going to stop if I’m sleeping over.

Seriously though, he does the most romantic things and he also does all of these little things you might never think about. He rubbed my back without complaint for far longer than anyone else has ever done, and he doesn’t complain about my snoring. I’ve never had that before. It’s two more reasons why I love him.