I Thought The Cursing Made Me A Sailor

Me:  Were you nervous about meeting me?

Tom: No.

Me:  But you knew I had some pretty high standards.

Tom:  I figured that was all in your head.  Nothing I could do about it.

Me: You didn’t worry at all?

Tom:  I work with truckers.  Truckers are a lot of drama.

Me:  But you didn’t want to marry a trucker!

Tom:  AND YET.

Older And Wiser

Happy birthday to me!

Tom has been and gone (as evidenced by the photo of his pant leg) although he did remember to call me and extend appropriate best wishes so there’s that.

For those not bothering to keep track on the In Progress calender, Wednesdays are my usual days to visit/help my Gma.  Didn’t see any point on canceling on her just because I got a little bit older.  Plus, I’m about to leave her to fend for herself for a month.  Might as well show up while I’m able.

The biggest excitement I have going on other than our dinner plans is looking backwards.  9 years or so backwards, as I edit and proof and privatize a few things on the blog so I feel comfortable handing out the URL to all in my contacts list who wish to keep tabs on me during the big hike.

It’s been exhausting.  (9 years!  And I was a verbose bitch in the beginning.  I now hate my first year of blogging based on amount of posts alone.)  But it’s also been nice.  I got to me and TG dating yesterday and spent a lot of time laughing.  Damn that was a fun relationship while it lasted.

It’s also been confusing.    There is still one post about a date that I have no recollection of.  Don’t even remember dating anyone at the time.  Maybe it was fiction?  But I think it’s more likely I just had a really unmemorable date.  Probably a good thing I settled down.

And poor Tom.  He’s had to suffer through my prattling on and on about this project.

But I can’t wait to get to when he and I started dating.  I bet he can’t either.

Yeah, Baby

For Valentine’s day (or really, the Sunday before since Tom flew out Monday AM), I requested we watch Casablanca.  Tom always vetos any movie choice I make in black and white, so it’s been forever since I saw it.  I forgot how awesome it is, and Tom admitted it was much better than he was antiscipating. 

We had the following conversation afterwards:

Me:  Baby, I’d totally sleep with a cafe owner for your letter of transit.

Him:  Yeah?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  Baby, you’d sleep with a cafe owner for my bar tab.

Me:  Yeah?

Him: Yeah.

Me:  Yeah.

The 3 Gs (Or how to impress Tom without doing much)

So, for those not in the know, I work a non conventional part-time job driving up to my grandmother’s once a week to help her with chores, take her out to eat, and bring her a movie to watch.  Yes, I’m expensing my netflix account on my taxes. 

About a year ago, her cataracts were very bad and I started this gig with the idea that I might transition her to a true assisted-living facility.  Instead, I saw her through surgery and correct eye wear purchases and while she is not as independent as she was before (girl’s gonna be 90 in June, she’s allowed to slow down), she has adapted her life such that for the near future she’ll stay in her apartment.  (The apartment is in a retirement community that provides certain amenities to facilitate this.)

ANYWAY, that was a long-ass paragraph to sum up two points:  1) pretty obvious why I’m looking for full-time employment elsewhere and 2) while I do draw a salary from this endevour, Tom makes twice as much as I do. 

Tom also travels almost 100% for work.  So you add all that together, and it’s pretty clear who should be pulling most of the domestic duties around here.

Where is that pool boy, anyhow?

After months of slaving away where I spot cleaned the walls, mopped the floors, and dusted the ceiling fans – EVERY WEEK – Tom not only did not notice my efforts, he admitted he felt we weren’t equal partners.

I threw my hands up and sulked for a month or so.  I call that period, “The Bones month”, because I probably spent a good portion of my non work/volunteer time watching seasons 1 – 5.  I suppose we could also categorize it as “The dust bunny month” and “The month you should not walk barefoot in my house”.

But even I can get skeeved out at a mess and feel slothful.  So I set about to work smarter, not harder.  It didn’t take much observation to realize Tom only had a few domestic ideals I needed to adhere to in order for there to be (perceived) equality and harmony in our situation.

And herein lies the rule of the 3 Gs.  As long as these 3 things have been accomplished by the time Tom’s bags hit the kitchen floor, he believes I am doing my fair share.  I hope in passing on this wisdom I can bring peace to other domestic squabbles and allow people more time to watch TV.

1)  Garbage.  The man cannot stand to take out the garbage.  The morning before he comes back, I take it out or at the very least check that it is not too full or too smelly to see us through the weekend.  When the odd chance pops up that the garbage needs attending while he’s home, I do it or at the very least be the one to remember and handle it when we’re heading out somewhere.

2)  Gas.  I am the type of person who knows how many miles I can really get from my car when the gas light comes on.  My trip thingy even includes a DTE guesstimate, but I have long since realized I can push it at least twice as far as the original warning.  28.5 miles my ass.  For Tom, 1/4 tank means PANIC DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON GET TO STATION NOW.  And my car is the nicer, more luxury car so it is the one we use over the weekends, and the one Tom will use if given a choice.  If I want him to think I am a responsible, sane person who is dutifully taking care of hearth and home while he’s away, it will have at least a 1/2 tank Friday afternoon.

3)  Groceries.  This one, I will admit, I don’t think is an absolute must.  There are times when Tom doesn’t mind, even enjoys, a trip out for provisions.  But for the most part, he prefers these outings to not be a neccessity.  He cannot come home to no toilet paper, low on peanut butter, or the statement, “Let’s eat out for the next 72 hours!”.  And woe on to me if there is no diet soda in the house.

Granted, there is a tad bit more I achieve every week – some Friday rituals for a spic-n-span house (at a squinty, far away glance.  Which is the eyesight setting through which I believe most men observe their domain).  But really he’ll only notice if I get frustrated with him making a mess of things.

Just don’t check my ceiling fans.

Written last June and probably not shared for good reason

I just finished watching “It’s Complicated” with grandma.  First time I’ve thought about W (my ex-husband) in a wistful time-goes-by kind of way.

I know it must be different for him.  He doesn’t drive by our old house every week, hang out with the same friend, etc.  He must not think about me as often as I think about him. 

In pondering that sentence, I think it’s kind of a miracle that I think about him as little as I do!  But it still must be more than he thinks about me.

Probably at least once a month, I tell our story to someone. That he is married, has two sons, and that I am very happy for him.

I know it’s a line, perhaps the divorce company line, but it’s true.  I believe he is happier now than he was with me and it gives me great relief to think this.   But tonight, after seeing that movie, I have a strong desire to not just think it.  I wish I could know. I wish he and I were in contact and civil and I could see him happy with his wife and family.

(I almost wrote new wife, but erased it.  She has been married to him longer than I was, and has made more of a life with him.  At this point, I would never presume to call myself first anything in his life.)

The sons were almost enough to rid me of guilt over the divorce. I, and in turn he, were adamant about no children.  For him to do a complete 180 on the subject proves I was not the woman for him.

But, knowing another woman pushed his children into this world is still not quite the spiritual cleansing I am looking for. 

I no longer look back and wonder what happened.  I’ve come to the conclusion I won’t ever know.  For better or worses, I view the marriage like any other break up.  Worse because of the commitment and time spent together for sure.  But like so many men I look back fondly on, I chalk it up to timing, miscommunication, and different needs.

(That I view my marriage in the same manner as a 5-month fling was a huge clue to me that I was not exactly cut out for I dos)

The miscommunication was astounndly brilliant between us.  Another reason I stopped seeking answers of our demise.  I already know that there will be my side, his side, and the truth.  It was painful for both of us in the very end to realize we could not get on the same book, let alone the same page.

I would like to look upon his life, not as an ex, and not exactly as a friend because even I am aware that is awkward and boundary crossing, but as an acquaintance.  I wish we had had reason to stay in touch.

I wish I could see him smile at her.

Exes & Ohs

More than once I’ve been questioned why I’m friends with exes.  Sometimes it’s from a well-meaning friend who sees romantic encounters as so separate from friendships.  (Which, by the way, I believe is a philosophy that dooms you.)

But a few times it was from current beaus.  And looking back, I think even at the time I knew they were asking because they were concerned about holding up the inevitable friendship end of the bargain I felt they had struck with me from the first inappropriate groping in a piano bar or bookstore.

I stand by my decision.  I don’t date losers.  Or marry them for that matter.  Or spend time with them on a voluntary basis.  I find myself way too entertaining to bother with the messy social stuff with those I deem unworthy.

And it’s also the loyal nature of my personality.  Once I let you in, you’re in.

Not to say it’s always been easy.  An ex can hurt you just by their very existence.  As I believe almost the last single one of mine is slipping from bachelorhood to something less solo (I knew the days were numbered when he committed to a rescue dog), there is ALWAYS the question of why her and not me.  I don’t think any of my exes are even half as suited for me as Tom, but every time one of them finds someone special, it still hurts my pride that I did indeed not rock their world to the core.

Save Skip.  My first ex to do an 180 on me.  On a road trip back from visiting my family unannounced because he still pined for me (Dad: “We gave him pie.  We weren’t sure what else to do.”), he stopped to visit a friend who became his wife and mother of his child.  While it was my first shock of how transient even the most visceral feeling can be, it was also a sweet relief that he found someone else.

So why do it?  Why keep someone in your life who’s presence reminds you of something you lost or were missing or messed up or threw away?

For my 35th birthday, I received an email from the gentleman who took me to my senior prom.  We had a fun run of a relationship, although it was deeply marred by his attraction to one of my school classmates.  An attraction that blossomed in fact at said prom.  For years we ran hot and cold with each other, but for the most part remained civil.  When he moved away, he quickly found “the one”, and our friendship has strengthened despite the distance.

The email was a continuation of a thread started with some of the other changes going on in my life.  And in this particular email, in discussing my strength of taking chances in life in order to be happy, he said, “You’re a hero to me in this regard and I won’t have you wearing out.”

Oh.

I understand some exes are not worthy of another thought.  And in all this worship of past loves, I have a few who have escaped unfriended.  But just as an ex can hurt by having been a person close to your heart, they can heal.  They can revel in your triumphs, understand your wounds, and remind you why you put up with them in the first place.

I also don’t do windows

I don’t iron.

I mean, I don’t iron.  Not a bit.

I have, for most of my adult life, owned an iron.  The last time I remember using it was 2004.  Linen pants for first date.  On said date, I mentioned I had a confession.  And more important than pointing out I was still a court date, a truck title, and few signatures away from being not-married, I needed this man to know that I did not iron and it was the last time he’d see those pants unwrinkled.

Unsurprisingly, since he was more interested in getting the pants off me than whether I could compete with his mother (and indeed, I could not.  Damn that is a tough awesome woman), he did not care.

You might think that I just dry clean or send out, but I don’t.  I just basically run around wrinkled and don’t care.  I guess that more of my fancier work clothes did end up dry cleaned (or at least dryeled).  But even when I worked in an office, I was a software engineer working in an office.  The greatest work outfit I had included the “only 10 types of people” binary T-shirt.

Tom knew that I didn’t iron right off the bat.  He swore it didn’t bother him.  And true to his word, the few times we’ve had emergency ironing situations (the latest being chair covers), he’s stepped up.

But he doesn’t iron his work shirts.  And he recently received a promotion to the point that dress code is important.  So today I asked him if it ever comes up and he said he makes a point to slip it into conversation early.

“Then when I come in wrinkled they can just shake their heads and say, ‘well…it’s kinda like being a bachelor.'”

Which sums up our marriage nicely.

So…Yeah.

That’s pretty much my answer to everything these days.

I started to login to write and then thought, “Does anyone even read here anymore?”  Then I remembered that handy sitemeter thingy I so dearly loved three years ago.  And yes.  Four people do still read here.  Assuming two of you are not exes who can get facebook updates on my current mental and Mafia Wars status, I figured I’d stop by.

I also figured with several posts about my grandparents, I’d pop back in here before that one really sad post.  Grandma’s health is deteriorating.  She could live a few more years and I’m not trying to shovel any dirt on her, but my grandparents were so active.  Two or three foreign trips a year.  Dinner out at least twice a week.  Houses in three different states for different seasons and connections.  Now if my grandmother gets “off campus” (the hip way to refer to leaving the retirement home grounds), it’s a major occassion.

I know she thinks life is pale and stupid without my grandfather.  That’s just not the kind of person who is looking to stretch her minutes here.  I don’t blame her, and I know she finds joy where and when she can.  I hope to be a help in this final journey of her life, as she was such a help in mine.

Tom and I are inching along.  In a few months, I will have been married to him longer than my first husband.  I still feel that tug.  I am not cut out for this marriage crap.  But he is still the king of awesome and inappropriateness and putting up with my sorry ass.  So I guess I’ll keep him around.

The sanctuary…has been through many changes.  And is continuing to change.  Something I love telling guests is how we never feel we’ve got it perfect – we’ll always searching for ways to make the lives of the animals better.  So, when you say shit like that you kinda have to shut your mouth when change occurs.  They are for the best, but damn do the growing pains hurt.

For me specifically, I feel comfortable enough to say that the IT portion of my position has grown and pushed every limit of my knowledge.  It’s difficult to balance it with animal care, volunteer coordinating, and the other more mundane aspects of my paycheck.  Some days I feel like nothing more than a gopher.  Some days I feel like a queen.  And some days I feel like a failure.

Today, I felt like a failure.  So I’m shooting for at least gopher tomorrow.  Sometimes, it’s all you can do.

The invetiable X factor

In the past few weeks I have been contacted/visited by/seen randomly about five or so exes.

Some of these exes are well aware of this blog…Hell, it played a role in a few of those romances and is the way at least one of these guys still keeps tabs on me.

I am sure at some point curiosity and the cat will get together and at least a few of them will stop by here to see what, if anything, I might have mentioned.  I could certainly wax poetic over the past, or describe the ironic/strange/awkward situations.  But I seem to have drifted away from that voice.

So….in general, to all men I might have dated/slept with/been married to….

1)  At some point, for some amount of time, you rocked my world and I thank you for it.  I don’t date losers (minus one horrible meal at Carrabba’s), so I still think of you highly no matter what the outcome of us.

2)  I hope you are enjoying life.  It seems like most of you are.

Pogress date July 7, 2005

“Are you still up for tomorrow night?”

“Kinda.”

“Uh oh.”

“Yeah.”

Turns out, he was only kinda up for it as well.

I like him, I really do. As well as you can like anyone whom you’ve seen three times in the past five months.

It hit me the week of the AC breakdown/New Jersey trip. He’d had spotty internet access and was emailing about once a week. As I sat down to respond to his latest, I had to sit back and close my eyes against all the shit that had happened. How did I sum that up?

That’s when I realized that it really wasn’t going to work. Casual or serious, I wasn’t going to get what I wanted from a relationship – support and distraction. Someone to either battle my fears with me or take me out for drinks and make me feel pretty so I can forget about them for a while.

2009 Progress Update

I got to this point in the document without figuring out to whom I was referring.