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

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.

Ramblings of a Crazy Woman

Yes, that’s me. At least that’s the way I feel sometimes. This post is going to be a hodgepodge of every little thing that happens to pop into my head.

Big announcement! Next month I am pledging to publish a post every day! Some days that might mean I post a meme or a video or a recipe. Other days you might actually get a real post. I’m not promising they will all be stellar but I am promising they’ll be there on a daily basis.

I almost fainted donating plasma last week. That was new. I’ve never had anything even remotely like that happen before.

I was almost finished. I was reading a post on my phone when all of a sudden I couldn’t concentrate on it. I felt almost nauseous, in fact. So I put the phone down and focused on breathing. Then I got very restless. Next came not being able to focus on opening and closing my hand to get the blood pumping faster. Then the alarm on the machine started beeping. Apparently I was low flow. Someone came over and attempted to move the needle around but then noticed my face.

“Are you feeling ok?” she asked me.

“Actually I think I feel a little bit dizzy.”

“Yeah, you’re really pale. We’re going to stop this right now.”

They broke out the ice packs. I got one for my chest and one to put behind my neck. That was awesome! The nurse came over and spent the rest of my time with me.

I guess almost fainting makes me chatty. I told her my life story. OK, I just told her how I was saving up all my donation money for Christmas presents and then talked all about the mobster. and how we’re a long distance couple who meets up on the weekends.

Long story short we’re like besties now. Next time I went in she told me to have a safe trip and this last time I went in she asked me how it went and told me she had been thinking about me. Ah, the perks of almost fainting at the plasma center. Everyone remembers you!

Now for something sane. I finally unfriended my former sister-in-law, the one married to Jerry Lee’s brother. I’ve written about her before. She’s reached out a few times throughout the years. She asked for our address so she could send a Christmas card and she’s sent birthday messages for Picasso through me.

I’ve had her on my restricted friend list so she can’t see anything aside from my profile and cover photos, unless I make a post public. After she asked for my address and I gave it to her I felt a little weird knowing that she was probably sending a Christmas card to Jerry Lee and Harley as well. I brushed it aside though which wasn’t that hard to do since she doesn’t show up in my feed and she’s on my restricted list.

After reading her “Love you!” message to Harley after their move I decided to unfriend her entirely. I don’t need that kind of crap in my life. If you are fine with what the two of those miscreants did to me and my kids then you have no place in my life. Period.

After a rocky start to his first two years in high school Picasso is finally bringing home decent grades. I think it’s probably because i threatened him with a fate worse than death. He’s a very smart kid. But he’s lazy. He’s also one of those kids that has decided if he doesn’t like something or doesn’t understand the point of something he just doesn’t need to do it.

Take French, for example. He decided he hated the class and that since he wasn’t going to college he didn’t need it. Why he didn’t simply drop the damn class is beyond me but he got an F in it. An F! In French. That’s an easy A!

When I finally saw his grades and how abysmal they were I hit the roof. His first year he had one or two bad grades, which he attributed to bad teachers. Not everyone learns the same way. A teacher that may be great for one kid may be terrible for another. OK, you get a bye. His second year I kept asking him how it was going and he kept telling me it was fine. I never saw a report card until the very end. I ended up telling him that the only reason he was going to that particular school instead of his neighborhood school was because this one supposedly provided a better education. I told him that if he wasn’t going to take his education seriously that there was no point in everyone in the family going out of their way to drive him to school, pick him up when the bus failed to show, drive him to yet another school for after school activities, etc. I let him know that if he had a single grade below a B at parent teacher conferences he wouldn’t be going to another single after school activity. If he had anything less than a B for his first report card I was going to yank him out of that school and enroll him in the neighborhood school because, hey, if he didn’t care about his education then I wasn’t going to waste my time going out of my way for him. I also reminded him about our conversation when he first told me he didn’t want to go to college. I told him I would support him in whatever he decided to do but to keep his grades up so that he didn’t close any doors if he later changed his mind.

I know some might argue that was way too extreme. Others might be horrified that I would take such draconian measures. I say, “Whatever works!” Right now the boy has one B (in orchestra of all things! Yet another freakin’ easy A!) and the rest are A’s. I don’t drop the hammer often but when I do it gets results.

Another pleasant side effect, if you will, of our little Come To Jesus meeting was his agreement that he should be medicated for his anxiety. One of the reasons his grades were so bad was because he couldn’t bring himself to ask for help. He can talk to you if you speak to him. He can be social with his friends, or people he knows. But he can’t start the conversation and he can’t approach others.

Sadly, the nurse practitioner wanted him to try talk therapy first, so no medication at our first visit. He just recently went back for a vaccination and my mom talked to her about therapy and medication again. This time he mentioned it was getting to the point where he would feel sick to his stomach whenever he had to present something in front of the class. So, we’re finally getting a referral to a psychologist. I’m hopeful it won’t take six months like it did when we tried to get therapy for Rock Star.

I’m left wondering how much is hereditary and how much is the aftermath of his father’s total destruction of our lives and subsequent abandonment? On the bright side (at least for me) that sonofabitch is going to end up having to pay for it- at least 71% of it anyway.

My head hurts thinking about this. Let’s lighten the mood and talk about something completely frivolous and unimportant.

Pokemon Go is going well. I just leveled up to Level 36 yesterday morning. I need 2,000,000 points to get to Level 37. I’m not real worried about it. I have several friends who will quickly be “best” friends and I will get at least 100,000 points for each of them. If I’m smart I’ll have a lucky egg on when our friendship level increases so I’ll get 200,000 points for each of them. That gets me to about a million points right there.

I was in Virginia this past weekend, visiting the mobster. We, of course, played Pokemon Go. Saturday was the big Community Event, which we almost missed. Sunday we went to Roanoke. We didn’t know what exactly we were going to do but we went anyway. We played some more Pokemon and had lunch at a great little restaurant. We ended the meal with the most amazing tiramisu I have ever had. It was delicious. So much cream and custard.  We almost ordered a second one but I realized that would not be good for either of us.

Later that night as we were getting ready to leave we encountered some other people playing Pokemon Go. We ended up going on two Level 5 raids with them and some other people. We won both raids and we made some new friends.

It was the coolest thing! Usually I play alone. I’m only able to take on a Level 1 or 2 raid if I want to actually win. I’ve tried a Level 3 and am so close to winning but I’m just not able. When the mobster and I are together we can easily defeat a Level 3 Raid Boss but we got our butts kicked when we tried to take on a Level 4. Level 5 is completely out of range without some help. This time we had a whole group taking it on! The first raid was 8 people and the second raid had 12. So. Much. Fun.

Tootsie rolls are the best candy out there. They’re just the right amount of chocolate and the fact that they are chewy lets you enjoy them longer than a traditional candy bar. Chocolatey and chewy- the best combination out there.

I think we’ll end with my traumatic day today. I went for a walk on my morning break as I do most mornings. There is a little military park about a five minute walk from my building and it’s loaded with Pokemon stops. I was looking super cute with my black tights and long flowing flowery top. For once I wore a different pair of shoes… and that’s where this story starts to go wrong.

I was walking along, minding my own business, opening gifts from friends on Pokemon and giving gifts back when all of a sudden my feet no longer worked. I don’t know if I tripped over my own feet or slipped off my shoes. They were a slightly higher heel, maybe an inch and a half. I’m able to almost twist my ankle wearing perfectly flat loafers so this was probably not a wise choice for a brisk walk. Anyway, before I could say, “Help me, Jesus!” I was laying sprawled out on the concrete sidewalk. Thankfully I saved my phone. My hand and knee, however, got pretty banged up. I limped the rest of the way to the park. Called the mobster to cry on his shoulder. I walked it off. Literally. Returned to work and got cleaned up and bandaged.

I went to the bathroom an hour or so later. While pulling up my pants my hand slipped and smacked against the bathroom stall. Naturally it was the hand that was already scraped up. Turns out I’m really good at stifling the urge to yell, “Fuck!” when I’m at work and I know there’s someone in the stall beside me.

Later that day it was time for the flu shot. Our employer highly encourages them and because we have a new insurance incentive which necessitates earning 500 points AND getting a flu shot could earn you 20 points I got one this year.

My left arm was already sore from God only knows what and we didn’t have an option of which arm we wanted to use. Plus, I completely forgot about the flu shot when I was getting dressed. The men were unbuttoning their button down shirts. I was left pulling the arm of my shirt down so he could stab me which resulted in me showing off my lovely purple bra.

Thankfully it didn’t hurt much at all. Then again, I was still recovering from my earlier injuries.

I ended the day at the plasma center where once again I had a needle stuck in me. No fainting this time! Hooray! And even bigger hooray I made $68 tonight. I knew I got an extra $10 tonight because this was my second donation of the week, but I had forgotten this was my sixth donation of the month. That was an extra $20!

They do incentives each month. The first month I donated the full 8 times they paid out $20 extra for the 6th donation and $40 extra for the 8th donation. In September and October they paid out $20 extra for the 6th donation, $15 for the 7th, and $20 for the 8th. This month, in addition to that, they are doing customer appreciation and paying an extra $10 for the second donation of the week.

With all the little incentives I should earn over $100 next week donating.

I think that’s plenty of ramblings by a crazy woman. Maybe later I’ll write about the ramblings of a real crazy woman!

Life Currently

How about some good news for once? I did get that raise I was talking about. It’s not life changing but it’s more money. I figure if nothing else it increases my pay at my next job.

Speaking of work I have been on a lucky streak. I may have to break down and buy a lottery ticket.

I took a half day on the 27th to head down to my niece’s wedding. While I was gone one of the supervisors sent out an email about a healthy challenge over the weekend with a list of potential things you could do. On Monday morning they had a drawing. She ended up putting everyone’s name in because, as she put it, “I figured everyone did one or two things on the list.” Long story short- I won! I ended up with a $25 Visa gift card. Still haven’t spent it.

Then about a week later we had our quarterly drawing for the “time challenge”. If we clock in and out on time with no mistakes, no unauthorized overtime, and no forgetting to clock in or out for lunch, our name is entered into a drawing for a half day off work. Again- I won! So now I’ve got $25 and a half day off of work!

Also, I was perusing the insurance website the other day. I wanted to calculate what I would have paid out of pocket if insurance hadn’t picked up anything versus my premiums. While doing so I discovered that they had rejected Picasso’s claim (you remember that big $1282 doctor visit) because they were waiting to hear whether or not he had secondary insurance. So… there’s a possibility that bill will be picked up by insurance after all.

That brings me back to Jerry Lee. Like the new nickname? I don’t know why it took me so long to come up with it. Anyway, he texted me on Friday asking me why insurance didn’t cover anything from that visit since well visits are usually covered. As luck would have it I discovered the reason it was rejected only the day prior so I was able to tell him exactly why it didn’t cover him.

Here’s my confession. It took me an entire day to finally reply. Why? Because I was.. scared?…worried?  I’m not sure how to phrase it. All I could think was that he was going to turn around and tell Harley and who knows who else that I was trying to rip him off by making him pay unnecessary medical bills. Yeah, like I could fake a medical bill. I have so much time in my day.

I hate that it can still affect me. It’s not that I worry about disappointing him so much. It’s not even that I deep down care if he thinks I’m ripping him off. I can’t really put my finger on it. I guess it boils down to the fact I don’t want to deal with him and his snarky remarks. I’m beyond tired of him acting like he is the victim in all of this and I’ve taken advantage of him. I guess I don’t want to give him any ammunition. I don’t want to even give him the slightest excuse to doubt me or accuse me of nefarious dealings. For whatever reason it’s important to me that he not be able to say I’m dishonest. I know it’s tilting at windmills; he’s convinced I’m dishonest and taking advantage. Yet I continue to try to walk that tightrope.

It’s stupid, I know. Liars are going to lie. Cheaters are going to cheat. He’ll always play the victim; I’ll always be the bad guy. He’ll never accept responsibility and I’ll always work overtime trying to fulfill mine.

The good news is I finally put on my big girl pants and told him I had only discovered on Thursday that they wanted to know if Picasso had other insurance and that I would let him know what happened.

Despite whatever he may be saying in private he simply replied, “OK,” and asked that I let him know what the final bill was.

Fair enough.

And thus concludes my good news.

Pokemon Fever

My name is Sam and I am a Pokemon Go addict.

I didn’t intend for this to happen. My beloved introduced me to this addiction. “You should download the app on your phone and we can play together. Won’t that be fun?”

Honestly? I had no intentions of downloading the app. He keeps trying to get me to play Pub G, too, and so far I have resisted. I was content to nod my head and encourage him in his pursuits.

Then came the weekend after the 4th of July. We were in Athens again. We had just finished eating breakfast at our “regular” breakfast place. As we were deciding what to do he broaches the topic with me again.

If I’m being honest (and I always am) I was going to download the app just to make him happy. “Yep. See? I did it. I downloaded the app.” I had no intentions of actually playing that day. If I did play that day I didn’t think I would ever play the game again after the weekend was over.

The only problem was I fell in love with the game! We were on a college campus and there were Pokemon stops and gyms and Pokemon everywhere! I caught that first Pokemon and spun that first Pokemon stop and I was hooked! I downloaded the app Saturday morning and by the time we left the following day I was already a level 16, I believe. I came home eager to see what kind of Pokemon lurked in my hometown. I even took a walk after work to see if there was a huge Pokemon population in our surrounding neighborhoods.

There are 40 levels. When I started the mobster was at Level 28. I’m at Level 32 right now. I caught up to him a couple of times and actually passed him briefly but he managed to get to Level 32 and is ahead of me in points right now.

That’s what I’ve been doing with a lot of my time now. Sometimes it works out for the best- like when I take a walk over to the Veteran’s Memorial Park on my breaks about 2 blocks from my building. I figure taking that brief walk is better for me than sitting in a room, reading. Other times it’s a huge time suck- like when I’m driving around and hitting up the known Pokemon stops so I can fill up my bag, or get gifts to give to my 103 “friends”.

I like it though. It’s something to do and it’s something the mobster and I do together. We’re meeting up again this weekend in a quaint little town with lots of Pokemon stops! We’re gonna catch ‘em all!

He’s Moved On, You Should, Too

I wrote about Jennifer Ball’s blog post, Haunted (By) Houses, a few months ago. One of the things that people have said to her apparently is the title phrase, “He’s moved on, Jenny. Why can’t you?”

That phrase has stuck in my head. I don’t always express myself concisely or as eloquently as I wish the first time around but after ruminating on this blasted phrase for a while I finally figured it out in the shower this morning.

They didn’t have the same experience! It’s not just that he had someone else, ready and waiting. It’s not just that life went on for him as normal. The entire experience was completely different for each of them. He firebombed her life! He cheated on her. He tricked her into getting sterilized. And then he left her and their four kids in poverty and went on to live a life of luxury with his ho-worker and their own two mulligans. He had nothing to get over.

They were not both in a car accident and horribly maimed; he didn’t get on with his life, learning to live this new reality while she continued limping around, hanging on to the memories of pre-accident Jenny. No, he was the one in the damn car running her over!

It would be like someone running over my dog, and then mutual friends saying to me, “Look, that person has moved on after running over your dog. He’s not living in the past. He’s gotten on with his life. In fact, he’s got an adorable dog now. Plus, he’s got a cat. And some chickens. I don’t understand why you can’t move on and forgive and forget.”

Oh really? Let me tell you why.  It’s not the same! I didn’t run over his dog. He ran over mine. We’re not on equal footing; we did not suffer the same loss. This person has done something to me; he’s taken something from me. I have done nothing to him; I have not taken anything from him.

Jenny, if you ever read this I have a suggestion. The next time someone makes that comment punch them in the nose ever so slightly. Just enough to make their eyes water. Or maybe poke them in the eye. And when they react with shock, or cry, or ask you why you did that just shrug your shoulders and reply, “I’m already over it. Why aren’t you?”

Time Flies When You Forget Stuff

Today is August 10th.

As I’ve said before I work at a bank. I have to know what day it is all the time. I’ve got holds to place. Forms to fill out. Service requests to fulfill. These all require dates.

So, I knew when August rolled around. “Oh wow! I can’t believe it’s August already!” I got a little hung up on the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Kept mixing them up. Never sure if I was a day behind or a day ahead. Not a good thing to admit. But I have a calendar- a huge calendar- on my desk so it worked out okay. Then today, the 10th, rolls around. I’m not at work; I’m home, checking out Facebook while I cook breakfast. More specifically I’m looking back at my memories on Facebook.

The most recent memory? This little ditty: Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. Oh crap! Today is D-Day #2, the D-Day that ended my marriage and completely changed the trajectory of my life. Our lives really, because that jackass deeply affected my children as well.

Another momentous occasion that I have forgotten. Had I not checked my memories on Facebook I doubt I would have made the connection.

It’s strange though because only six days ago I came across the memory of our pool finally being filled. There was a picture of Rock Star and Picasso shivering in the cold water, so happy our pool was finally finished. A few days later came the picture of the deck jets working. I’m quite familiar with that timeline and how my enjoyment was so short lived.

Yet, somehow this date completely slipped my mind. Sitting here typing this I feel nothing. I’m not happy. I’m not sad. I still feel like I haven’t made proper progress in four years but that has nothing to do with him.

Hey, come to think of it I forgot my three year anniversary of moving from Virginia to Indiana, as well. Wow- I’m losing it.

Or maybe the significance of all of those dates are simply losing their power over me. They don’t really mean anything anymore. I’d rather concentrate on dates like August 15th, which is the date my son begins his junior year. Or, August 13th which is the date Rock Star has to return for her sophomore year. Or May 23rd and 24th, which are the two anniversary days of the mobster coming into my life.

So fuck you, horrible anti-versary dates. You mean nothing to me anymore. I barely even recognize you. Four years ago today my life fell apart. I had no idea what was going to happen to me and to my children. Today, I am with the love of my life, my kids are doing well despite whatever hurdles are thrown our way, I have a job no matter how little it pays, and I no longer have to worry about a fuckwit and his whore. Tonight I am going out dancing with two of my friends from high school. We’re listening to a band that someone we know plays in. I’m going to have a few drinks, maybe enjoy some appetizers, and dance the night away. Even if I don’t dance I’ll be with friends. Maybe I’ll mention the date’s former significance to them. Maybe I won’t. It’s possible that between now and then I’ll have forgotten about it once again.