Change- The Year in Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Thanksgiving In the Books

It’s past midnight so technically it’s no longer Thanksgiving but I thought I’d write a Thanksgiving post anyway.

I got up and ran 3.25 miles so I could justify having some pumpkin pie and all the carbs I was going to consume. When I got back, even before jumping in the shower, I started cooking. My mom and I split the cooking. She did a new recipe for cranberries which was really good. She also made the green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, the turkey, and deviled eggs.

For as long as I can remember every holiday meal has included my mom’s deviled eggs. With the exception of Picasso, and maybe my nephew, we all love them. Some years we even fight over them. She’s learned from her mistakes though and makes quite a few of them so we don’t have to fight to the death for the last one.

The turkey was actually pretty good this year. I’ve often said it’s my least favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. I could easily have a Thanksgiving feast with only sides. Stuffing? Love it! Green bean casserole? Oh, give me a heaping pile of that. Pumpkin pie? Yes, please! I’ll even take the mashed potatoes and dumplings over the turkey usually. But this year it was good.

For my part I made the obligatory corn casserole, dumplings, stuffing, and a meatloaf. I think it’s now a tradition for me to make a meatloaf along with the turkey. This is the second year now that I’ve made a meatloaf. Last year I made one because my niece asked me to and buttered me up by telling me how much she loved my meatloaf. Of course, she also does not like turkey. This year my mom asked me to make one because she wasn’t sure that the FOURTEEN POUND turkey would feed the seven of us. The bonus was my niece was not expecting it so she was very excited when she found out there was meatloaf.

I am contractually bound to make corn casserole and dumplings every Thanksgiving. One year I didn’t make it and I thought my brother was going to grieve himself to death. “It’s just not Thanksgiving dinner without your corn casserole!” The funny part is I don’t even eat it. It’s something everyone else seems to like though.

My brother is a funny one. He is never the one to cook but he frequently likes to plan the menu. I keep trying to sell soup and salad for a holiday meal and he’s having none of it. This year he checked to make sure the corn casserole and green bean casserole were going to be on the table. I told him I was making the corn casserole and I thought Mom was going to make the green bean casserole. He told me if she wasn’t planning on doing so to let him know what all was in it and he’d do it himself.

What all is in it? How is the man in his 40s and ignorant of what all goes into green bean casserole? It’s not a complicated recipe. Green beans, cream of mushroom soup, dried french onions. Boom! There’s your recipe. Does it really need to be spelled out as to how to assemble it? I don’t think so.

I’m sure you’ll all be relieved to know he approved the menu and said that this would do nicely for Christmas Eve, just switch out the turkey with ham, and maybe I could also make my cheesy broccoli and rice casserole.

It was a fairly small gathering but that’s nothing new. Typically on Thanksgiving it’s only me, my mom, my two kids and then my brother and his family. My sister-in-law was working today so it was just the seven of us. Sweet J was invited but she’s been under the weather this past week so she didn’t attend. No, she doesn’t have Covid-19; she’s been tested twice now and both tests were negative. She’s just sick.

Picasso went home with my brother because they’re going out hunting again tomorrow. He’ll be gone all weekend unless they both get a deer the first day. 

I’m not clear on Rock Star’s timeline but I think she’s going back to school before Sunday. Tomorrow we are supposed to go shopping. She thinks she’s going to con me into buying her lots of clothes and shoes. She’s not. It’s way too close to Christmas for me to be taking her clothes shopping. So this ought to be an interesting shopping trip tomorrow (or rather, later today).

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Santa is coming!

Hitting the Wall

It’s happened. I have finally hit a wall. I realize I have spent the last five years worrying. Constantly. Worrying about money. Worrying about what was going to happen. Worrying about my kids. But mostly worrying about money- when he would pay, if he would pay, how much he would pay.

I FINALLY got everything settled. After more than 2 years of him self-modifying child and spousal support, and almost three years of him paying whenever he felt like it, I FINALLY had an order requiring him to directly deposit a set amount into my bank account on set dates.

Much like my pool that I had wanted for years and finally got, only to enjoy it for a mere six days before my world collapsed, I got to enjoy my victory for a small window of time. One month between court and the day I finally got my first direct deposit. Even that was marred because Jerry Lee texted several days before payment was deposited into my account to tell me he was being garnished.

Six days of having my pool and one direct deposit. That is the story of my life.

I thought the days of waiting for a response and hounding people to get to my case were over. I have been working on this in ernest since January of 2019. I finally had my day in court on July 15th of this year. And now I am back on the hamster wheel trying to get shit done.

I am so tired. I don’t think I have it in me to keep fighting this.

It is Wednesday. The caseworker has not gotten back to me, despite the fact that I emailed her on Saturday morning. My lawyer has not replied to my email or returned my phone call from Monday.

Monday morning the direct deposit came in considerably short, as expected because of the garnishment. I received an email from my lawyer letting me know that she had received a phone call from Jerry Lee’s lawyer. He was informing her that his client’s paycheck had been garnished by Mississippi. Her advice was for me to send that money back, assuming he had paid the correct amount per our order. Isn’t that cute? If only it were that easy.

I wrote her back and told her I had no idea where the money was and that Mississippi had garnished him before his company could put the money into my account. I also told her I had already told him I would send him that money back.

I tried calling her to get a quicker answer because I didn’t know what to do. On one hand she’s telling me to return the money. On the other hand, she’s telling me to return it if he’s paid the correct amount per our order. Well, that’s the Catch-22. He couldn’t pay me what our order required him to because there wasn’t enough left. The part that Mississippi took is floating around out there somewhere. No one seems to know where.

I got her assistant who told me she was on her way to court but she could call me after 2 pm. I waited until after 3 before leaving for lunch.

Today I went down to the Child Support Enforcement agency on my lunch hour. I took my current order and I spoke with a very nice receptionist who seemed to know what she was talking about. Unfortunately, my case had her stymied.

She said there was no record of any payment to my state. She also said that the last correspondence between my caseworker and the state of Mississippi was when MS asked her if they could close the case, and her reply on Aug. 21st, giving them permission. Why on earth they garnished him when they clearly told her he was no longer living in the state is a mystery. She took my name and put me on something called a walk in sheet. I’m not sure I’ll get an email or a phone call any sooner because of this but I at least did something.

I also learned it could take up to two months to get this resolved. Why? Because it’s an interstate case. They have 60 days to respond to anything. Supposedly Indiana can’t be calling them up and asking them for a response any time sooner if they haven’t gone over their allotted time. So, she sent them approval to close this case on Aug. 21st. They technically have until October 21st to do anything. Two full months without a dime in child or spousal support. Potentially.

Right now I feel like I’m beating my head against a brick wall. I can’t get anyone to respond and when someone does share information it’s even more disheartening.

I know I won’t be destitute. My mom has already told me she would loan me money. She feels I’m a safe bet because she knows where I live. The mobster has offered up money as well, if needed.

I’m thankful, but I’m also so frustrated. This. Was. Supposed. To. Be. Over. I’m not supposed to be borrowing money to make it through until I finally get payment. I’m supposed to be socking money away. And what happens if it takes them even longer?

I walked into her office on September 10 for my interstate meeting. She told me to give it 60-90 days. Eleven and a half months later they finally garnish him, despite the fact that he’s no longer living in that state and hasn’t been for more than 8 months. She called and left a message with the customer service rep in February, asking the caseworker to give her a call back. She sent them another email in June, asking for a status update because she had never heard back. They finally reply in August, and tell her he’s moved and they would like permission to close out the case. These are not people that are in a hurry.

You are probably wondering why I didn’t just keep the money and let Jerry Lee sweat it out. Well, as I wrote earlier my lawyer told me I needed to return the money. She’s not answering me once again so I wasn’t sure if she would tell me to keep what little money was deposited and let him worry about how to pay bills, or if she would tell me to return it in order to honor our Virginia court order.

I could keep it, I suppose. However, he’s just going to have his lawyer ask for an emergency hearing to have the direct deposit stopped until this mess is sorted out. Then I have to go through this all over again. I’m trying to avoid that.

There’s also the possibility that his lawyer could seek to have our order voided since Mississippi garnished him. I don’t think that’s as much of a possibility as I did in the beginning, but what do I know?

I think the biggest thing is I’m so tired of being called a bitch, a cunt, a whore, a selfish, money hungry gold digger. I’m tired of the obscene emojis and the hateful comments and the nasty stamps on the envelopes. This was supposed to be the end of that. I didn’t have to communicate with him. I didn’t have to deal with him. It was over. The money was being directly deposited and we never had to speak to one another again.

If I had kept the money I would be dealing with all of that shit all over again. It may come to that.

Strangely, he’s been suspiciously nice. He offered to pay me his share of Picasso’s therapy bill to help me out until this was sorted. He thanked me. I really figured he’d be cussing at me. He called Mississippi once again and was told Indiana has to stop the garnishment. He even told me that Mississippi either wouldn’t or couldn’t tell him where the money is. And, when I asked him if he would help Rock Star out if he could, he agreed to send her the money she needed for the third access code she had to buy for this semester.

Right now I’m simply overwhelmed. Rock Star has started a new semester and there are all sorts of expenses associated with that. I told her I would pay her rent this year and it hasn’t even been a full month back at school and I’m already in financial distress once again. Every time I turn around she has to buy a new fucking access code for one of her classes. They’re over $200 a pop. She’s bought 3 so far. Her sorority dues are coming in. They’d better all be $25 because they’re sure as hell not doing anything these days.

My co-worker was supposed to be on vacation next week. She works from home and her internet is out so took this week off instead. Charged off accounts are crazy this week. Normally I’ll have maybe 10-15 on a busy day. I had 21 yesterday and I’m scheduled to have 29 on Thursday. That doesn’t count any of the requests by people in the branches, or the business close outs, or those that are on mail return. And for some reason I had over 100 cards to close out as well yesterday. I did have help from the staff assistants in closing them, but I still folded all the letters and stuffed most of them. In addition to that I had 40 service fee closures. On a normal day I might have 4-5. A busy day might be 8-10. It’s been an overwhelming amount of work, just with the things that I would normally do; then I add in completing the NSF report every morning and trying to get the fee reversals done and logged for the student accounts.

I’m trying to squeeze in getting this garnishment mess cleared up in between doing my co-worker’s workload and my substantially bigger workload this week. I think I’ve finally caught up somewhat (until I’m stuck with 29 charge offs tomorrow). I’ll shoot off another email to my lawyer and ask her what I do until this mess is sorted out. And I suppose I’ll wait for my caseworker to email or call me back.

I’m so tired.

August and Anti-versaries

Holy moly! I can’t believe it’s August already. This year has been such a shit year. It seems like all we do is tick days, then weeks, then months off of the calendar, hoping against hope that our lives might return to something resembling normal. I’m not sure there’s anybody out there actually enjoying this year. Most are enduring. I know I am. Between checking off the weeks that I’ve been downtown and away from our regular spot, and weighing in on Fridays, hoping to see the scale go down, it’s been an entire year of getting from week to week.

Summer is always a little tricky for me. I do my best to not let Jerry Lee and his past behavior influence how I see an entire season but it can sometimes be difficult. I found out about his first affair Mother’s Day weekend in 2013. I spent the entire summer pick me dancing and holding my breath, not knowing whether or not our marriage would survive. All that culminated in me getting a message from The Saint the day of Rock Star’s birthday party.

It was August 14th, 2013. My stepfather had just died. I was in the middle of buying drinks and ice, picking up the big 6 foot sub from Walmart, grabbing cupcakes, picking up chips and cookies and candy, and getting things set up down at the reservoir for her party after gymnastics practice. It appeared out of nowhere: Did you get a good lawyer yet? That was the way I found out Jerry Lee was a bald faced liar and had been in communication with Harley the entire summer, despite swearing up and down he would end it with her.

Two years later the kids and I took off for Queen Bee’s graduation and then headed out to Utah for 2 weeks. Not long after we got back we took off to Florida. Jerry Lee couldn’t come with us because of a work obligation. While in Florida I saw a purchase made in Whore Town. That was also the summer of him wiring his “mom” money for groceries and buying “her” and his “stepdad” phones and paying their cell phone bill. Needless to say there was no work obligation and he wasn’t sending shit to his mom. It was all Harley.

August 10th, 2015 I got another message from The Saint: I thought you should know Jerry Lee has been spending his weekends in Whore Town with Harley. Just like that my entire life crumbled.

This summer has been interesting. It marks five years since my life as I knew it ended. I’m pretty okay with it this year. I forgot June 10th this year. That’s the day, four years ago, he informed me with a brief text message that he had lost his job and wouldn’t be sending me anymore money. Period. Nothing else to be said. Completely forgot the date this year.

I also didn’t notice the day, six years ago, that we moved into our new house in Virginia. Oh sure, I saw Facebook memories. There were pictures of us going to some of our favorite places one last time before we left. Pictures of us going out to lunch and dinner with friends. Pictures of me with people who were saying goodbye. Pictures of the moving truck the day they came to load everything up. But I forgot the day we moved in. Ironically, it was pretty much a year to the day that Jerry Lee was fucking Harley instead of going on vacation with his family. Good times, good times.

Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll even make the connection this year. I was in the shower this morning after my four mile run and I suddenly thought, “Oh shit! It’s August. Some serious bullshit went down this month in 2013 and 2015. I almost forgot about that.” That was the extent of my thoughts.

Earlier this year I was trying to remember a date. I was thinking to myself, “Was it the 10th or the 14th?” Then I suddenly realized it was neither of those two dates. Those were my D-Days! This thing I was thinking about was a good memory and it happened about a week later. Those dates were stuck in my head but I no longer associated them with trauma. Maybe this is what getting to Meh feels like. Maybe it’s a way to see that I’m healing. Whatever it is those dates don’t hold much significance anymore.

Wanna know something really funny? We’ll see if Jerry Lee is going to follow the court order this month. He gets paid on the 15th and the last day of the month. This month though the 15th falls on a Saturday. So I should be getting my first direct deposit from his company on August 14th- 7 years to the exact day since my first D-Day. That’s even better than all the times he ended up paying spousal support on our anniversary. Maybe another celebration cake will be in order.

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.

Back In the Saddle Again

It’s now almost a full week since I’ve been back. I had my first weigh in since vacation on Friday.  I am pleased to announce I actually lost .4 pounds since my last weigh in on May 22nd.

Oh, I definitely gained some between May 22nd and June 5th, but I managed to take it off. My whole plan was to indulge on Monday when the wedding took place- have a piece of cake, eat whatever they decided to have for dinner. Instead I played footloose and fancy free pretty much the entire week.

I had a donut every day Saturday-Tuesday. I would make some really good choices, but I would also indulge, like when I had an omelet for breakfast, lobster for lunch, and then had a pretzel stick dipped in nacho cheese later that evening. I tried to put a stop to it once we got back but I never made it to the grocery store. I had eggs in the morning and some pork skins and cheese doodles. Honestly, I don’t remember what they were called but they only had 2 grams of carbs in them for 9 of them! My new favorite. We’d go out to dinner and I’d pick something healthy and then have a drink and maybe a dessert. So, I wasn’t horrible but I wasn’t strict either. I flew home Monday morning, was ravenous when I got off the plane (lines were very long and there really isn’t much I could eat) and had my mom pull into Wendy’s so I could get something to eat. I did not care if it was low carb or not. I was starving. I ended up getting a spicy chicken sandwich, fries, and a diet Coke. I ate the entire sandwich, one fourth to one half of the fries, and one fourth to one half of the diet Coke. Small size, by the way. That was my last day of debauchery.

Wednesday I got on the scale just to prepare myself; I was sure I was going to weigh in at a higher weight for the first time since I started this. I was higher- 1.2 pounds. I was pretty happy with that because after my week of no carb counting and eating a lot of things I shouldn’t have I thought I might actually have a 10 pound weight gain! But, seems returning to eating low carb and running 3-4 days a week helped me shed the vacation weight and then some. I was pleasantly surprised when I stepped on that scale Friday morning. Not much of a loss in two weeks but it was a loss instead of a gain!

I’ve got four more weeks until the weight loss challenge is over. Last I heard I was still in the lead. We’ll see if she updates the leader board on Monday. I’m a little less than 1.4 pounds away from losing 15% of my weight. I have no doubt I will reach that unless I start to plateau horribly, so I’m set to win a lot of money. Not millions, or even thousands, of course. But probably two hundred or so.

I don’t know if I’ve actually gone over the weight loss challenge here. Each person who is participating paid $25 to join. Then, we pay $10 each month for April, May, and June. So, $55. I believe there were 18 people to start, although there are maybe 3 who haven’t paid anything since or aren’t fully paid up.

When the challenge is over the money in the pot is split in two. The first half of the pot is split between the top 3 losers (or winners, however you would like to put it). I always got the feeling that the pot was split evenly between the top 3, but maybe they do a percentage. I don’t know. The second half of the pot is paid out to people who reached the milestones- 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%. No one has reached 20% and I don’t believe anyone will. There are two of us who have reached the 10% milestone and will make 15% more than likely. There are maybe five people who have made the 5% goal, and another 1 or 2 who probably will. They take the number of milestones to pay out and divide the money by that number, so if it ends up each milestone nets $25, I’ll get paid $75 because I reached three of them (assuming I take off that last 1.4 pounds). If it’s $30 I’ll get $90 and so on.

Yesterday I went through all my old summer clothes- the ones I had put away because I could no longer wear them. There was a pair of denim short overalls, a pair of low rise capri pants and maybe another pair of shorts that didn’t fit but everything else did. It felt great. I now have way more summer clothes than I need, especially because most of what I bought last summer still fits me and doesn’t look awful on me. I can wear almost all of my dresses and they no longer make me look like a stuffed sausage. It was a good day.

I’m not planning on buying anymore clothes, regardless of how cute they may be, until I’m able to buy something in a smaller size. I’m so looking forward to that day! It’s a long process but I’m in it for the long haul.

Death and Taxes

I finally did it. I broke down and did my taxes last night. I’ve been in a bad mood ever since. Like, “What am I doing with my life?” bad mood. So really we’re not going to talk so much about death; we will mostly focus on taxes and why they’re so stupid and I hate them.

Last year, or rather 2018, I “earned” approximately $25,000 more than I did this year. I put earned in quotation marks because more than half of my income came from spousal support. Jerry Lee paid in full each month and in addition to that he paid a hefty amount in back support from 2017. Yet somehow I got a small refund of approximately $600 back last year and this year I owe the federal government. It’s not a lot- $280, maybe? But still! How do I count $25,000 less in income and owe them money?

More importantly my actual earned income went up slightly (very slightly- less than $2000) while my non-taxed income went down significantly. I note that only because it means I was paying the same as or more in payroll taxes as I did last year, while receiving a lot less non-taxed income.

I don’t get the child tax credit for my son anymore because he turned 17 last year but that’s only $2500. Hmmm…. $2500 less in deductions/credits versus $25,000 less in income? I would think I should still be ahead.

I did withdraw $3800 from my IRA so that brings the difference in income down to around $20,000. I did, however, pay taxes on that money. I did not receive the full $3800. My finance guy withdrew the $3800 so I could get the money I needed and the rest went to pay the taxes. I did have to pay an additional $380 penalty but again… versus $20,000 in lost income?

I suppose the good news is that I only owe the state a little over $800 this year as opposed to the $2200 I had to pay last year.

I try to be thankful. I try to be rational. I see TurboTax do that initial refund. Every year after I put in my information from my W-2 they tell me it’s going to be my biggest year ever. Every year that tax refund shows up as over $6000. Then I put my alimony in and it drops like a rock. Apparently even more so this year than last year when he paid me $25,000 less.

I’ve been trying to tell myself that even if I’m not one of those single moms out there getting a hefty tax refund like everyone seems to think we get I should be thankful I get spousal support. A lot of people don’t. I tell myself that if I do a comparison analysis I’m still coming out ahead. I can take the $6400 or $6700 tax refund once a year and stretch it, or I can take a monthly payment which will surpass that amount in a matter of months, and put some aside for taxes. What’s $1000 in exchange for what I’m getting each month?

Then I look into the future. A future where I’m only claiming single because both of my kids are no longer dependents. And I panic. If I’m paying this much in taxes already when I still have two dependents how much am I going to have to come up with when it’s just me? I’m envisioning having to pay $5,000-$6,000 to the federal government. God only knows how much I’ll have to pay the state! At that point it becomes almost ridiculous to even receive spousal support. I’ll be paying 30-40% of it back to the damn government.

It’s so frustrating. Back when I was married and we were living on six figures we got a tax refund every year. He upped the exemptions because he was tired of getting a $5000 refund each year; he didn’t want to give the government a free loan. We still got around $1500 back. Now I live on a fraction of that and I PAY every year. I may not always pay the federal government but I definitely pay the state.

Realistically I know that he paid a shit ton of taxes. His bonus check was taxed at 39%. That was a huge part of it. He paid enough into Medicare, I believe it was, that he got a mini “raise” mid-year because they didn’t take any more out.

It all makes me hate him even more. He couldn’t have pulled this shit when the kids were younger. Oh no! Had to wait until they were 15 and 13 to pull this crap. That way when I finally had to start filing taxes on my own I could have an adventure every year! It’s never the same thing twice. One year I get both kids as a tax credit. The next year I only get one. Then I get none!

The first year I had no job until October 31st but everyone had their hand out, wanting to get paid on the massive $23,000 I received in spousal support the first 5 months of the year. I went through that and every penny I had in savings trying to stay afloat after he lost his job and declined to send any money to help support his kids for the next ten months.

The second year I finally had a full time job AND a part time job through August, but he wasn’t paying regular support. And then he paid a large amount of back support.

The third year he paid support regularly and again paid back support, while the fourth year he shorted me almost $11,000. Years three and four I only had the one full time job.

Next year my son graduates. He has no plans to go on to college so I’m expecting he’ll get a full time job and probably want to start claiming himself. A year after that my daughter will graduate from college. I’ll be filing single and getting fucked every year when it comes to taxes. Hooray!

It enrages me, too, because not only did he wait until my life was practically over to pull this shit but also he gets a nice big tax refund every year because he gets to deduct all of that spousal support. So while he and Harley bring home over $200,000 a year at this point they get a substantial refund every year. Meanwhile, little ol’ me, with my huge $60,000, will be paying as much as they’re receiving. What utter bullshit.

For the first time in my life I’m actually saving money. My mother would be so proud. I have frequently said I know what to do with money; I just don’t do it. As I’ve said before I am currently saving all of the child support I receive so that when he stops paying it next June I’m not suddenly floundering, trying to figure out how to live on $900 less per month. When I began I wasn’t saving the full child support amount because he wasn’t paying full spousal support. I saved enough that I was still only using my salary plus the full amount of spousal support. Honestly, I was feeling pretty good about that. He’s been paying full spousal support for a couple of months so I’ve been able to save even more.

Today as I was driving to work I decided I needed to open yet another account to set aside money for taxes. If I have to pay the kind of money I think I’m going to have to pay I may as well start setting aside even more money and not allowing myself to think that I can use all of the spousal support. I mean, I don’t let myself get down to a few pennies in my checking account. Hell, it’s been a while since I’ve even been down to a few hundred dollars; I like to keep a cushion. But nonetheless, instead of thinking, “Okay, I’ve got this much left over!” I’m trying to think, “i’ve got to put this aside and this aside and this.” Because let’s face it, once child support ends the biggest part of my savings is going to evaporate. I’m already going to have to put a big chunk (well, 20% or so) of spousal support aside for taxes. I probably should also set aside some more for car repairs, Christmas gifts, vacations, etc.

See? I’m not just whining. I’m being proactive. I think my next proactive step is going to be looking for another job. I can’t keep doing this. I need a job where I make more than I receive in spousal support. That’s the only way I’m going to keep my tax bill down. I’m already paying as much in taxes as I can. I take zero exemptions and it’s still not enough.

Furthermore, I found out the other day that my company has put a freeze on raises. My boss was planning on making me a higher grade in May, which is Friday. At this point it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I don’t know how long this raise freeze will last. I do know our profits are down by about 25% and if this shelter in place crap keeps going on much longer I’m sure we’ll suffer even bigger losses and once we’re finally all allowed to come out they still won’t allow raises because they didn’t make as much money as they wanted.

My co-worker who was also supposed to get this raise told me she had heard the raise is rather substantial, but I’m not going to wait another year for it, especially if that means I won’t be made a Rep II until my next review. I’ll end up getting that as my raise instead of getting a raise and then getting a promotion. No thank you. If I can find something that will pay me what I would be making with the raise I’ll leave in a heartbeat. I’m tired of not making enough money to support myself and my kids. I’ve got a goddamn college education, which my company constantly pushes. They are always urging people to go back to school and they even offer tuition reimbursement if it’s for a degree you could use working for them. I have a work history including the years before I made the mistake of staying at home. And I’m a fucking fantastic worker. I deserve to make enough to live on.

End of rant.

4.5

That’s how far I’m running now. 4.5 miles. Last time I discussed this I was running a full hour. Surprisingly my time has not changed much. It took me an hour and 5 minutes the first time I did it, an hour and 3 minutes the next time, and today it took an hour and 1 minute.

Today was my first day strapping on my Hoka One One brand running shoes. The mobster swears by them. I’ve been making due with my Skechers and Filas up until today. I did cut about a minute and a half off of my time so maybe they’re working.

I think I’m going to stay at this 4.5 mile mark for a while. I am seriously dying after about 50 minutes. Today as I ran the last half mile I was saying out loud, “OMG! I think I’m going to die!” Thankfully no one was outside. That would have been embarrassing. 45-50 minutes is probably my sweet spot. I feel like I can run that amount of time fairly effortlessly. I suppose it’s good that I’m challenging myself. Push just a little further. But I’m pushed about as far as I can go right now. I’m sticking with 4.5 miles for a little while longer and then maybe in another week or so I’ll add on a half mile.

Honestly though? I don’t want to spend hours 3 days a week running. By the time I warm up, run an hour, and then walk back home I can easily be out for 90 minutes. On top of a full workday? Does not leave a lot of time.

Thankfully I do feel like I’m recovering more quickly after these runs. Right after running I would be so exhausted; I could barely climb the stairs. Once I sat down I was down for the count and found it difficult to move. I used to feel it the next day; I was so sore and stiff. Today I was climbing stairs pretty easily and I’ve had plenty of energy. We’ll see what tomorrow brings and if I’m stiff as a board after a good night’s sleep.

I dropped to second place at work on the Weight Loss challenge last week. I’m still in the top three though, and the top three “losers” split half the pot so I’m fine with being #3. I prefer #1, of course. I keep hoping the others will lose their drive and I’ll emerge victoriously.

Normally results are posted Friday afternoon; unfortunately that wasn’t done this past week so I have no idea what the results are. I’ll probably find out on Monday whether or not I’ve reclaimed my #1 spot or if I’m still in the top 3.

I do know that I have lost approximately 23 pounds since I stepped on the mobster’s scales back in February. I wasn’t doing anything back then; since I began the weight loss challenge it’s more like 22 pounds.

I’m still finding food to be an issue. This was so much easier when I was staying at home and could eat when I wanted and what I wanted. I’m sticking with it so that’s good, but I’m finding it a pain in the ass.

We got Chili’s to go tonight and my mom got the chips and salsa. Oh my God! I love their chips and salsa. I could make a meal out of their chips and salsa. Alas, I cannot have chips and salsa.

Oh, I know; I know. I’m supposed to phrase it as, “I don’t eat chips and salsa.” That’s supposed to be empowering. It’s not that I can’t eat it; I choose not to. Which is a bunch of bullshit because if I could eat it and still lose weight I would!

Anyway, I did not indulge. I stayed away from them although I did give them several longing glances before she took them downstairs out of my sight. Instead I made do with my side salad that somehow had 6 grams of carbohydrates even without the damn croutons and the shrimp fajitas, minus the tortillas and with way too many peppers and onions. Now I’m sitting here full but not fully satisfied either.

Here’s my other dilemma, and it’s probably the biggest one. Rationally, I know I did not put on the weight overnight, and therefore I will not take it off overnight. Rationally, I know I am doing an incredible job. Seriously, I see everyone posting memes reminding each other to try on your jeans every now and then to make sure they still fit after weeks of lounging around inside the house and wearing pajamas all day; I’m wearing a pair of jeans today that were too tight a few months ago. My fat pants are almost too big for me and the other two pair of pants I broke down and bought are both loose on me. Rationally, I know you have to start somewhere and you keep building on that success (or loss, as it may be in this case). No matter how much you want to lose you have to start with that first pound. I get all of that.

Yet, right after I’m done patting myself on the back for continuing to lose and celebrating 23 freaking pounds gone, I’m sighing heavily and telling myself, “I don’t know why you’re so happy; you’re still fat.”

I still have a double chin. I still can’t wear cute, form fitting clothes. I’m still not going to be dressing up in lingerie any time soon. I’m pretty sure I still can’t wear my original work clothes. I’m still not down to the weight I was when I was on the divorce diet. I still haven’t achieved my first big goal. And I still weigh more than the mobster.

Don’t worry. I keep going and I do applaud my efforts. Most of the time I try to ignore that critical voice. As I said above I do know that you’ve got to take it one step at a time. I can’t lose 50 pounds without first losing 10, and then 20. I’ve broken it down into little pieces. I mark my achievements at each level. I have lots of little goals along the way.

The mobster keeps asking me what my ultimate goal is and I’m still not sure. Right now I think it’s somewhere between 130 and 140 pounds. Some days though I think to myself, “That’s not enough! You’re not even 5’4. You should be down around 120 pounds.” Then I think, “Are you fucking crazy? I haven’t been 120 pounds since college! Maybe since high school. You’re insane!” Other days I think, “150 sounds good. I could be good with that.” Really, I’m just winging it. I may get to 150 pounds and think, “Wow- you’re still a fat ass. You need to lose another 20 or 30 pounds.” Then again, I may get to 150 pounds and say, “Yep, this is as good as it’s gonna get.” Or, I could get to 150, 160 and decide I’m not going to lose anymore; I’ll just maintain for a little while. After a month or so I’ll take it up again and attempt to lose the last however many pounds.

Right now I’m trying to focus on the positives. I’m running 4.5 freaking miles! I can run an entire hour without stopping. It’s not taking me as long to recover. I’ve lost 23 pounds. I can wear jeans I haven’t been able to wear in a while. My fat pants are almost too big. I’m doing this.

P.S. I call one pair of my new pants my fat pants because of this. When I could no longer comfortably wear my old work clothes I went out and bought 3 new pairs of pants. With the brand I normally buy I can wear a size smaller than what I normally take but with the weight gain I was wearing the size I normally take! I found 2 pairs of pants that were that size. I wanted a third pair but the only other ones they had were the next size up. Those are my fat pants. At one point, my fat pants were tight! Now, there are times I have to keep pulling them up because they’re falling off of me.

One Hour

I ran a full hour on Sunday. 4.23 miles. I’ve been doing 45 minutes. I don’t know why I decided to up it. Something to do, I suppose. It really puts a damper on your night though when you run on a work day.

I got home around 5:30, changed my clothes, and I was outside walking to warm up around a little after 6. I ran for an hour and then walked the rest of the way home, which took me about 20 minutes. By the time I got home, showered, and put the shrimp in the toaster oven it was almost 8:00!

Tuesday was unseasonably warm for us. I think it was in the 70s when I went running. I did another hour, which I probably shouldn’t have seeing as how this was my first time running in warmer weather. I think this one was only 4.21 miles. I didn’t care. I was exhausted. Those last five minutes took forever! LOL

Here’s a funny thing: I’m actually kind of enjoying it and looking forward to it. I mean, on one hand, it eats up a huge chunk of my evening. And I’m always worried that I’m not going to make it the full time. It’s like this weight that hangs over me. Will I be able to do it again? Will I wuss out? On the other hand when I’m out there running, especially when I’ve gone 30 or 35 minutes, I keep telling myself, “Just think… 2 months ago you couldn’t even run 20 minutes at a time. Now you’re up to 45 minutes (or an hour)!”

It’s a lot like the first time when my running partner and I had finally conquered the 3 miles and we would talk about how running for 90 seconds used to be a challenge.

I’m out there. I’m doing it. I mostly like it. It’s leading to good things… I think…

Mini rant: People, for the love of God, research which side of the street you’re supposed to be on! I have so many people walking towards me because they’re on the wrong damn side. You walk/run into traffic. Or against it. However you’d like to phrase it. In other words, you should see the cars coming towards you! I even Googled it because I couldn’t believe so many people were doing it wrong. I thought maybe I had it wrong. I didn’t.

I think I almost prefer running on crappy weather days. Not as many people. On those nice days you’ve got everyone out since no one is allowed outside except for exercise. Families. Strollers. Dog walkers. Kids on bikes. It’s a zoo sometimes. But you run when it’s 40 degrees out or there’s the slightest bit of rain? Pretty dead.

I’m still doing the low carb thing. I have not yet found my sweet spot. Some days I have a hard boiled egg. Other days I take an Atkins bar. Before that if I didn’t have time for breakfast I would eat my carefully counted out 24 almonds. If I get up early enough I can do frozen sausage patties and fried or scrambled eggs. I really like to sleep as much as possible though. Plus, I end up with 8 grams of carbs for breakfast so if I add on those almonds as a mid-morning snack I’m up to 12 carbs before lunch.

It’s really hard with all the precautions they’re taking to bring any kind of salad that I would bring from home. I prefer to bring everything individually and put it together as one giant salad at work. For now, lunch varies. A lot of string cheese. I’ve been doing deli meat rollups. I’ll throw a pickle in. Some sugar free Jell-O. Sometimes I have tuna fish salad. Sometimes I have cottage cheese.

Dinner is typically a meat and a vegetable. I’ve been eating a lot of asparagus. I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s out of season.

It seems like it was a lot easier when I did this the first time around. I was a stay at home mom. I could pull out my George Foreman grill and grill up a thin ribeye or sauté some shrimp in garlic butter. I remember making cheese quesadillas quite often. I also seem to remember being full and satisfied a lot more back then as well.

Don’t get me wrong. When I’m done eating I feel full. It’s just that I generally am not thinking, “Wow! That was really good!” I’m one of those people who needs to enjoy my food, not merely tolerate it. Plus, there are times I will feel full, stuffed even, and then 2 or 3 hours later I’m hungry again. It’s a challenge for sure, especially being downtown and around tempting food all the time.

I am actually at the top of the leaderboard for our weight loss challenge. I’ve lost 7+% of my body weight. My total still stands at 16.8 pounds. Unfortunately, I have not budged from that since Friday.

It is so hard to focus on the here and now instead of looking towards the future and how far I still have to go. I know many “experts” say it shouldn’t matter how long it takes. I myself know I didn’t put it all on overnight so it’s not going to come off overnight. Yet it’s disheartening when I realize even with what I’ve lost I’m still not back down to where I was after the divorce diet. I’m not sure I’m even down to where I was before the divorce diet. Maybe.

Oh well. I’ve just gotta keep going. I have small goals all along the way. Still haven’t settled on an ultimate goal. The stupid BMI says I should weigh no more than 130 pounds. Aside from the fact that it will take me over a year to get there I haven’t been under 130 since college. I don’t see that ever happening again.

Thanks for listening to me ramble.