Dad, screw you

(Note: I drafted this about four or five years ago. It still seems relevant and interesting, although you get to be the judge of that…)

Really, screw you.

Let me explain. This isn’t the normal me.

In August 2011, I took two weeks off work because I was exhausted. I was a newly-minted single dad, and life was very busy.

A few weeks later, my dad had a massive heart attack and died.

I flew to Australia for his funeral. It was a disorienting affair because door-to-door travel time between Washington DC and my family near Melbourne is about 36 hours, and I stayed only three days. I wrote about the sequence of events in a numbers of posts. Here are a selection:

Sitting in business class and first class made the travel itself more comfortable. The time zone changes were still brutal. With less than three days in Australia, and many events to attend and people to meet, I was dizzy by the time I got on the first of three planes back to the USA, and spaced out by the time I returned home.

Good, so you’re all caught up. But there’s more.

Some time after my return to the USA I realized my dad had lied to me over a period of years. Maybe, *gasp*, he disliked me.

Wow.

Some of you might say, “Duh, why would he like you? My dad hates/hated me.” I get that, but he never projected that, so this is NOT the time to found out.

This is a guy who was not dissimilar to me…except for a key difference that I have human emotions and he didn’t. (If he’s an alien from Men In Black, then his disguise is pretty good).

His mother died shortly after he was born. His dad fought in World War II, then abandoned him and his brother and sisters for a new family. He was denied the chance to ‘feel’ as other people do. Still, we got on very well. We never argued and I thought we had a good if geographically distant relationship.

Apparently not?

The curious and defining hiccup that includes a revealing background: He cut me out of his will completely.

This isn’t money he decided to give to charity. He didn’t cut my brother out of the Will. It was a share of hundreds of thousands of dollars and I mention the amount because if it were a small amount, it wouldn’t be indicative of anything. And it’s not me being money-hungry; it’s about the why he did it, not the money that I never had anyway.

If this was simply because my brother needed the money more than me, that would be quite understandable. My brother is not healthy and not wealthy. But the Last Will and Testament was made years before my brother’s health went downhill, years before he became disabled and poor.

Dad had a 50% share in a house with his long-term partner, someone he was with from a few years after he divorced my mother. After he had this house built, he told me on the phone a few years ago that he planned to leave the 50% share to my brother and I, with a stipulation that his partner would have the right to live in the house until she died. At that time he made that statement, his Will said something completely different. It’s odd that he would lie to me about that.

His Will left everything except for the house to my brother. Except there wasn’t any “everything”. My brother got a $200 payout, then a bill for the funeral for more than $7000 from Dad’s wife. At the funeral, I asked if she needed help covering the costs and told me that she would personally pay for the funeral, so I surprised to hear that she later sent the bill to my brother. This is where the Theft tag is derived from — his ‘other family’ decided his money was theirs and moved it out sight after he died.

(I was also surprised to find out that she was his wife. He hadn’t mentioned that they had married.)

None of this explains why he cut me out of his Will. With him gone, no one can now know for sure. Did I upset him? Did he just not like me?

One theory: My dad visited me in North Virginia in 2003 and was staggered at the size of the houses and the wealth in the area I lived. It’s not that I’m wealthy compared with most neighbors, but that I got lucky with the house I bought in 2001. Maybe he left for Australia with the idea that I must be wealthy if I live here? Has he forgotten that people take out mortgages and the banks are quite keen on getting their money back? He rewrote his Will in 2006, and it was the first version to exclude me. My brother and I were given the old versions of the Will, where everything was split 50/50 between us, with an allowance for his partner. Something caused him to change his Will in 2006, and not update it again.

Another theory: Dad was humiliated when he visited me in 2003. He broke up his trip by going on to England to visit his home town of Liverpool and our family in the Derbyshire Peak District. One day he was driving round and got lost. He stopped at a bus stop and left his keys in the car while asking for directions from a helpful bystander. In the meantime, someone else climbed into the car behind him and drove it off, taking all his possessions. He was shocked and embarrassed that something like that could happen to him. He was proud of being über-clever and in control of his life, and the fact he did something like this ‘broke’ him. He came back to the USA a week early without any explanation, and wanted to leave for Australia right away. After I winkled the story out of him, I argued that his grand-daughters, who he was seeing for the first time in their lives, shouldn’t be ‘punished’ because of his misadventure in England. It wasn’t the end of the world to have to buy some new clothes and have my spare suitcase. He stayed a week more instead of three, changed his flight one day, and just left. Maybe he was mad that I ‘made’ him stay longer and didn’t just let him run home immediately with his tail between his legs?

Before I continue, remember that my theories are just that. There’s no evidence of anything. This is partly because his new family cleared out most of his things before inviting my brother and I to inspect his room. (He didn’t share a room with his partner, but he married her??). If the ‘other family’ are to be believed, he died with no cash, no wallet, no driver license, and no bank accounts. A rather unlikely scenario. As a party with no standing, I pressured my brother to discuss this with the police. After all, he stood to gain a half-million based on some good luck my dad had with buying/selling properties in a rising housing market.

A third theory: When my father left my mother, he did so with a mean flourish. I was about 21 at the time. He had an argument with her shortly after their 25th wedding anniversary, packed his bags, quit his job, and vanished. I didn’t hear from him for almost two years. He had traveled around Australia for nine months and returned to Melbourne. My cousin was in contact with him for months before my father bothered to call me to say hello on my birthday. This didn’t impress me at all. The subsequent divorce negotiations didn’t go well. He wanted half of all the martial assets, ignoring the obvious reality that his ex-wife, my mum, earned a tiny fraction of his income. She was a low-level clerical assistant and he was an engineer with General Motors. I got involved on my mum’s behalf and convinced him to avoid paying attorney fees for a trial by giving her a larger than 50% share from the sale of their house. (For some reason, alimony wasn’t an option, but I don’t recall why.) In his memoirs, he made explicit mention of being annoyed at my intervention. Maybe he held a grudge? If so, it’s an odd one. He and I worked on the memoirs on behalf of my kids for a few years, off and on. He put a lot of effort into them. That doesn’t feel like someone with a deeply-held grudge; he could have written them without my input and reviews.

Whatever the background, it was a deliberate act on his part to cut me out of his Will in 2006. Why did he keep talking to me openly? It’s a mystery.

He told me about his desire not to have a funeral after he died. I pointed out the funeral wasn’t for him, it was for those left behind, and he relented.

He told me about his desire to leave his body to science. He checked. Science said, “No thanks.” Oops. That has to be a little embarrassing, right?

I discussed my plans for a Living Will. He asked me to do the same for him. He asked me to make decisions on his behalf if he was on life support. I had to sign official forms, and it was me that authorized the hospital to shut off the machines after his final heart attack. He had my paperwork and would have done the same for me. It seems like a fairly intimate transaction.

There’s no room for obvious medical loopholes that make sense to me. He was alert and capable until he died. There was no secret Will; his solicitor and executor had copies of all versions of the Will. If there’s an easy explanation I’d like to hear it.

Did he secretly dislike me for some reason? Why lie to me? Why be so friendly and jovial on the phone and initiate contact? Why work with me on his own memoirs?

If your own dad can’t like you, it’s not much of an inspiration for relationships.

For my girls, There is a folder on my PC called “Death” and it includes letters I’ve written to each of them. Every couple of years, I spend a depressing night writing additions to be read from beyond the grave, taking into account new things that have happened. Nothing will be enough if I depart before my time, but it’s better than nothing from me at all. Maybe I will step up my game one day and sit down to be interviewed by them about my life.

For my dad, he decided to tell me nothing, actively present himself to me to chat, and leave me with a mystery I can’t solve. He left me with lies that he volunteered. For this, and not because I didn’t get money that was yours to give to whomever you wanted, fuck you, Dad.

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Posted in Family Life | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Time to write, time to catch up

I miss writing. I miss blogging. I resent that other kinds of social media detract from a style that gives you time to think before putting fingers to (virtual or physical) keyboard, or even a frustrated voice to my Apple devices (no Siri, “as soon as”, not “asses at noon-ish”).

Obviously, there’s no good reason for that in the sense that I can theoretically sit down and blog anytime. I could even blog standing up. Maybe not while walking, on account of the whole getting-hit-by-a-car thing. Or the walking-into-a-cactus thing.

It’s three years since I wrote a post, and that one was hardly clear on where Life was taking me. Correction, it’s three years since I *published* a post. I write lots of things, but don’t publish.

So many of us have moved on, moved into a different phase of life, or moved on and back again. I’m not sure how many followers from the past will receive this. New email addresses, automated software dumping me in the Spam folder (how dare they!), new lives and people in those lives.

I sometimes blogged in ‘real time’ in the past. Occasionally it would be right up there and current. Often, though, if it was something interesting or amusing, I took the time to craft my story a little. More for me than an obligation to present a particular standard. But that doesn’t really justify a multi-year gap that maybe I feel obliged to present in some kind of sequence. Let the exposition roll!

For a sneak preview of what I plan to post about in the near future, see the Tags on this post. Separation and Moving On — always big topics in our lives. The reference to Vacation and the locales — Australia, Europe, Canada — hint at trips I’ve taken. Extra hint: one trip was more than two months long. A game-changer in so many ways. Government refers to my new job. Pets refers to transitions, appearances, and losses. Acceptance and Joy are in different positions of the continuum that represent the upper and lower limits of our relationship happiness. Theft is a tag that refers to an event that is written up here a few years ago but moved into very unexpected territory.

OK, so any more of this foreshadowing and I’ll switch from vague but intriguing to one of those U.S. reality shows (like Master Chef) where before each ad break they say what happened, what will happen, and then come back with wasting-time previews, only to discover that, no, the thing that you thought might be interesting isn’t in this part of the show, it’s right at the end. Where was I? Oh yes, note to me, shut up now and start preparing better posts.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Taking Out The Trash

For my non-American friends, I could refer to taking out the rubbish. But, let’s be honest. In the war of the English language, somehow or other, “Americans” stole the world-wide rights. Even while many Americans deploy slightly annoying English (the difference between “less” and “fewer” is not complicated, folks), and use a self-referencing term that refers to two continents for just one country. Worse for actual English people, there is no actual name for the American variation of “English”, just to color (hee-hee) the context and add to the general confusion.

I shall retire my inner wordsmith and teasing for now. In a month or so, I might explain why I referenced all this.

Ever get told to “move on”? (I tried to find out if this is an American or English expression, but it’s harder to find the etymology or derivation of a phrase versus a single word). It applies in both the physical and mental/emotional sense.

I’m doing both.

Since the middle of 2013, I have had this apartment as a base. As the owner of a house for years, I swore I would never live in an apartment again, but getting divorced tends to make one’s wallet lighter.

In my case, I decided to settle for an all-in-one settlement rather than pay varying amounts of spousal support for a long period of time. This meant that I emptied my wallet, piggy bank, stash, safe deposit box, funds, and everything else with money in. I might look like a beggar on the street when you wander by, but that’s only temporary. I have a good income and fewer financial demands now, so I will recover. But feel free to buy me a coffee until then…

As I was saying, my apartment. I’ve had it for almost two years. It’s time to move on. My lease is up in a week and I am surrounded by empty space and boxes, and my nearby storage unit is bulging. This is no longer the bustling “SD” space that it was. (Have you noticed that I am no longer Separated Dad?) This room even has an echo now.

To use what I am sure is an American term, down-sizing was a difficult thing to do when I moved out of a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house into a two-bedroom apartment. Just my garden tools would’ve been a challenge to store. As part of moving into the apartment, I left behind a lot of possessions. As well as treasured memories. I worked hard on that house. I lived and loved in there, and had to let it go. An income only stretches so far. In the real sense of it, I grieved the loss of the house and my life in it. In that respect, I had my “family life” there and I had “my life” there, and as I moved on from the first one, I still had to let go of the second one. Stress is such a strange thing — it can hit in odd ways and for unexpected reasons.

Now I have down-sized again. Maybe half of the things I brought to this apartment have been thrown out, given away, given to charity, or sold off (Side note: Craigslist might be an easy place to offer something for sale, but getting buyers to minimize the haggling is difficult).

In other words, for the second time, I have taken out the trash.

Again, it’s been both a draining and liberating experience. My girls had the chance to take what they wanted before they moved out. They left behind, for disposal, things that mean nothing to them anymore. But to me, they often represented memories of the little girl that was passionate about giraffes, or being a fireman, or music. Letting go of those things doesn’t destroy the memories, but it does remind of how they’ve grown up and moved on. We expect to teach our kids how to live and plan to herd them out the door when they’re ready, but forget that doesn’t mean we’re always ready at the same time.

Equally, I found that my visits to the County Dump (or Waste Transfer Station, as they prefer to call it, so that no one can find it in the County directory) were liberating. As I came back, brushing dirt of me and out of the minivan (yes, I still have that, as well as my normal car), I felt an odd sense of release. I’d not just dumped boxes or an old bed, but also cleared my mind a little.

I can’t speak for you, but by the time I was 20, my parents had somehow managed to throw out most of the things from my childhood. I wasn’t looking for them at the time, so I didn’t realize it then. It was only years later that I thought about the drawing that won an Art prize in first grade, or the poster of some rock star, or the certificate for doing something that deserved…a certificate. For my kids, they will one day have much the same experience. They will get to 40 and wonder if maybe they should’ve held on to more. Or, they will be glad to turn a page (is that an American or an English expression?) on a chapter in their life that has as many bad memories as good.

Speaking for me, I can’t hold on to everything. I have to move forward. I have to let go and forge my own path now. The girls will never be gone from my life, regardless of geography. They will no doubt still need Dad. Maybe they will be able to afford to buy me a coffee? 🙂

Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

And…sunk

I posted here a few days ago something I’d started writing a week earlier. The descent.

On my table, next to my desktop PC that I use when I telework, sat my documents for my tax return. They stayed there as the deadline loomed.

For me, life isn’t a bleak and unrewarding path through Time. I am generally upbeat and energetic. Life is an opportunity to laugh or make someone laugh. It doesn’t matter whether it’s having brunch with a friend, doing some DIY, or reading a book on a mobile device, there are always things to enjoy.

Not so much recently.

First, work had to go. More specifically, I stopped going. I stayed home. I did nothing. Not the kind of nothing you sometimes choose to do on vacation. Not a relaxing nothing, but a tiring weary nothing. I didn’t even check my e-mail.

Second, kids…what kids? Fortunately, the two youngest girls living with me at the moment are teenagers. Parental interaction can be interesting, but it’s not always necessary. Having a little space from dad is OK. They didn’t get worried that I was out of their way and letting them get on with homework on their own. Honestly, I’m not even sure they noticed I was doing nothing at all. Is that a bad thing?

Third, sleep didn’t come. I went to bed early or late, but couldn’t get to sleep. Or I woke early, feeling exhausted, but couldn’t get back to sleep. Dizzy with tiredness, I lay there, wondering what I’d not be doing today.

One of the days off work was a telework day. I didn’t have to clean up and drive downtown, so I tried to do some work. Normally these are my most fun working days ever. No shaving! Or shower! Clothing is optional! I did four hours and gave up. And lay down for the rest of the day.

It took me some time to write my last post, which is why it was broken into two parts. I was so ‘busy’ lying around. Or looking in the kitchen and not seeing anything interesting to eat. Or putting off a shower because it seemed a lot of effort. Or watching some TV on the iPad and then realizing I’d missed minutes because I’d spaced out.

After some days of feeling down, I accepted the counsel of a friend, who you know as That Precarious Gait. I rested my mind. I didn’t fight back. I looked for a mental ‘fluffy blanket’ in the familiar things that are comfortable. Her list included: watching favorite feel-good movies, reading favorite books, getting enough sleep, long walks, drinking plenty of water and tea, and many other useful ideas.

My experience with dark times is limited. Had I started my own list, I’d have included some of these ideas, but I found more than I’d have come up with alone. I guess we all have our own kinds of comfort that take the edge off the dark days. There was one other item that should have been obvious: Checking in with friends. Reaching out to friends, even when the instinct is to withdraw further, provides support that makes a tangible difference.

— ooOoo —

(My ’emoticon’ for “some days have passed” appears again.)

I started to get better.

The sun no longer glared at me; it shone yellow. The kids appeared curiously ‘interesting’; not just there eating my food. I could concentrate; I wanted to get up and get dressed and be outside. I had an itch that couldn’t be scratched by doing nothing at all.

For me, my nature is not somber. I can be felled, but I don’t stay down for very long. I am wired like that. It’s not some inner strength. It’s not courage. It’s not something that I knowingly control. For you, it might be very different. I think my kind of depression is tied to pressures and life’s turmoil. Not just the daily kind, but the extraordinary kind of confluence of events that happens rarely. Your kind of depression may be partly contingent on Life, but it may have a hormonal or biochemical element as well. Had I stayed depressed, I’d have asked my doctor for pills.

I feel deeply for those whom Life has dealt poor cards. In the most general terms, I’ve led a very lucky life. From the great people I’ve met in so many places to the opportunities to work anywhere I wanted for so long. I’ve got wonderful kids who will one day grow from being teenagers (*sigh*) into adults that I am proud of (exactly how long can be they be “teens”??). I’ve been blessed with a quirky mind that’s not too slow and a sense of humor that slices and dices Life to expose the funny underbelly (if my analogy isn’t getting too messy). So many people — most people — don’t get the same chances, or have them and more but are crippled by addiction or emotional issues.

I end this diversion off normal programming with the thought that we should all pass on a little support to those that need it. We owe it.

Posted in Family Life, Mental Health, Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Sinking?

I am a short way through the Pilot for the TV show, House M.D.

It doesn’t give anything away to tell you that there is a lady lying in a hospital bed, and she is sick and unresponsive, although she doesn’t appear to be in any pain.

For you, your instinctive first reaction might be sympathy. Or possibly empathy for her family. Or even plain curiosity about what is wrong with her.

It is telling that my first reaction was different. The patient isn’t in pain and I saw that she was (a) resting in bed; (b) being cared for by other people; and (c) in no hurry to be anywhere else. My first reaction was a surprise to me: envy.

Therefore I can deduce I may need some time off. But why?

My kids are with me every second week these days. Their mom has them the other weeks. She’s back in their lives (without a fair accounting of the cost to me and those around me for the time she was not). The girls aren’t the direct stressors in my life that they were two years ago.

When the girls are not with me, my To Do list is still so long that I don’t do it all. Sometimes I watch a movie or a TV show for a little downtime before going to sleep. Still, I have less time pressure than I had a couple of years ago.

My current consulting position isn’t particularly stressful at the moment. I remember when I had challenging problems to solve. I remember when I bounced into the building and headed for my office, full of enthusiasm and energy. I remember the excitement of being on a mission to get something before the day was over. Not anymore. It’s fair to apportion some blame on my Government boss. He is more apt to say no than yes, more apt to avoid change than embrace it, more apt to say he is building a plan than to actually build a plan. He’s not a horrible guy, he is just a drag on forward progress.

My relationship with Lillian hasn’t gone well this year. It’s been on and off. We have different ideas about why. She’s not able to defend herself in this forum, so I won’t criticize her. For all I know, we’re both right. This is definitely one cause of stress in my life, but it’s not enough to explain how I feel right now.

When I wake in the morning, it takes all my effort to get up and get moving. Not that staying in bed helps. I just can’t sleep properly anymore.

— ooOoo —

As I don’t know how to do an emoticon for “four days have passed”, the above will have to do.

I’ve finished watching the pilot episode of House. Again, it won’t really be a surprise when I tell you Doc House and his team figured out what was wrong with his very comfortable patient. She left the hospital with an alacrity that may be reserved for avoiding more sarcastic remarks from Doc House.

I don’t think there’s anything challenging about my diagnosis at the moment. I went to my doctor because I’ve been too tired to go to work. I showed him a short list of my symptoms on my iPad. Wait, my iPad, you ask? Don’t judge me; I sometimes make a list while I’m waiting to see the doctor. This means I don’t walk out and smack my forehead because I forgot to tell him something important. (For example, that I also have a headache as a symptom. One that’s much worse for having smacked my forehead.) He drew some blood to eliminate other possibilities, but his first guess is the obvious: I may be depressed.

Maybe the damage on my life, my reserves, and my relationships is cumulative…

The past few years have had some significant ups and down. The girls didn’t try to create problems for me, but their problems haven’t been easy to watch or solve. Lillian was incredibly supportive when other people would have walked. Other friends have been very supportive too. But sometimes it just all gets too much. And it’s time to lie down for a while.

Posted in Family Life, Mental Health, Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

So, you want to spam me? But you can’t write!

I usually skim through the Spam section on the WordPress dashboard. Only once has it made an error that has resulted in me missing a comment that should have been allowed.

Most of the Spam comments are so ridiculous that WordPress has little difficulty identifying that they’re not real comments on the blog. Sometimes it has to try a little harder. Here is one example from today:

Wonderful beat! I wish to apprentice whilst you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me a appropriate deal. I have been a little bit familiar of this your broadcast provided bright transparent idea

My first and second thoughts were: WTF? In both meaning and why on earth anyone would think a comment like this would be accepted by a blogger even if it wasn’t intended to be spam.

A very clear downside to the Internet is its upside: that most things can be read from anywhere in the world and interaction can be global. In this particular case, it means that someone with incredibly poor English skills can attempt to scam people (the link appears to be that of a phishing site but I can’t be sure).

If the source URL wasn’t a spam site, this might be acceptable to some:

There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

The banal:

If you are going for best contents like I do, just pay a quick visit this web site all the time since it offers feature contents, thanks

The less-than-useful:

kredit trotz schufa… Oben auf dem halbdunklen Flur des oberen Stockwerkes standen ein paar alte grosse Schraenke

(You get brownie points if you can translate the second part of the text, which reads like it might have been taken from the book that starts with “It was a dark and stormy night…”)

Our battle for artistic freedom competes with the lively entrepreneurial spirit of some, although this latter term is actually a short-hand for the cheating scumbags that would like to have something from the ‘haves’. Sorry, I’m not giving today…

Posted in Humor, Miscellaneous | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Parenting Woes – Take #4092

I wrote this in June 2012, but never posted it. Life was frenetic then, as you will see.

Please take yourself back in time as I cover some of the events that shaped 2012 for my girls, events that will color their futures for many years to come.

I made reference in a post a while ago to teenage depression.

I had a lot of very nice comments and I didn’t reply to any of them. As you know, this is unusual for me.

That post was back in mid-February 2012. It’s been much busier in the four months since then.

Two of my girls have been in one hospital or another more than a half-dozen times in total since my last post. There have been many ER (Emergency Room or Casualty, for overseas readers) visits, some of which have involved grueling all-night stays. There have been extended stays in units. There has also been out-patient treatment for both of the girls. One now has a temporary Disability order.

A month ago my sweet Brigitte was ready to remove herself from this life. She had multiple plans for making this happen. She had been cutting herself. I didn’t know because of the clothes she wore. I’m not sure if these scars will ever heal completely. She was falling apart and didn’t tell anyone until after she had downed many pills. She’s lucky she picked Ibuprofen and not Tylenol (Panadol) or she would have died. In pain. And leaving behind unimaginable pain for her family and friends. Her depression pushed her to it. After weeks away (for the second time), she was returned to me a while ago, ‘fixed up’ by some clever doctors. Medication has solved this problem for her and she’s as cheerful now as she has ever been. It’s so very strange how a chemical imbalance in the brain can have such specific and dangerous effects.

Do you ever look at or hear about *those* parents that this happens to, and think that they should have seen it? That they should have known it was going to happen and done something to stop it? Or thought to yourself that they’re just not very good parents? I know I thought some of these things.

Living life on the other side of that equation is challenging. If you don’t know something is happening, how exactly do you know to go looking for it. What signs do teens show that are different from normal grumpiness or reluctance to do anything that doesn’t involve sleeping and friends and homework? Maybe better parents are quicker to see the signs…

As of today, one of my girls, my Charlotte, is still in hospital, for the fourth time. For me, the reasons are unclear. It hasn’t helped that she was assaulted while in hospital and police had to get involved — the Major Crimes unit — to consider what charges might be filed against another girl.

A few weeks earlier, Charlotte was causing problems for herself in a different way. She’d taken to exchanging what we will call “sensational” messages with a boy. His dad and I are friends. So, it was awkward to have *that* conversation with him. “Hey, did you know that your son is a senior and my daughter is four years younger? Any idea what they’ve been discussing together recently? No? Well, let’s go for a walk…”

To sum up, child-wise, challenges abound at my residence. Beds are or have been empty. Police, paramedics, and social workers have all stopped by regularly. Reports have been written (with a “no further action required” result each time). I’m a familiar face to the doctors and nurses at the local ER and get sympathetic greetings when they see me yet again. Alone or with my girlfriend. But never with my Runaway Wife. She refuses to participate, telling me that she needs to go to sleep, or she ignores my phone calls completely.

It will probably surprise you to learn that I’m relatively unruffled by all the commotion.

2011 was such a difficult year that dealing with these issues is easier. I’m mentally sturdy now.

Most recently, it has mostly been a case of one step at a time, responding to each crisis as it arises, and pondering what crisis might be around the corner if I don’t pay attention. It has been a deliberate process, even as I have watched the inevitable impact on my job prospects. There are times for fretting and times for simply responding.

It has helped enormously to have a girlfriend, especially one with such understanding of these issues, and one that has provided so much support. Together, we’ve not just weathered my own storms, but been able to work through some of hers too. There’s an entire post that I could write about the two of us. Our story is still unfolding and it would be hard to top the fun I had writing about our early beginnings.

Posted in Divorce, Family Life, Separation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Peek-a-boo! Can anyone find me? (Yet again…again)

Inspired by a fellow blogger, I have (yet again…again) checked out the recent search terms that landed someone on my blog. Here are some:

“thomas murray virgin islands”
“thomas murray virgin islandd” … (7 with this spelling. WTF?)
“thomas murray puerto rico”
(and many variations on this theme)
*** Glad to continue to help you discover that this person is not who he claimed to be.

“thomas murray murder sociopath”
*** So, you’re very concerned apparently. No comment.
(This is not my search, but that of someone else who found my blog.)

“reply to regret email”
*** I thought this was an accident, except that it was used a bunch of times. There were also searches like this:
“responses of regret”
“response of regret”
…and, most poignantly…
“how to reply to a regret email”
*** If you’ve received this last one, I’m sorry. It hurts by whatever medium the message is received.

“can separated people use match.com”
“match thanks but no thanks button”
“wink or email man on match.com”
“why do guys not email me on match.com”
“how to respond to a wink by a woman”
(and many variations on similar themes)
*** Even though, I haven’t used Match.com at all this year, I’m glad to see there is a lot of interest in (a) being separated and using Match.com responsibly before a final legal settlement with your ex, (b) what seems to be a reasonable way to use “winks”, (c) whether or not to initiate or respond to messages [e-mails] via Match.com and (d) why it’s reasonable to use the “Thanks But No Thanks” button [or whatever it’s called] rather than ignoring someone who is being politely interested. I don’t care what anyone else tells you, I vote for being polite and respectful, and hoping for nothing less in return while accepting that not everyone agrees with this approach [so be gentle to those who do not].
…and this…
“match.com how long people wait to email you”
*** That depends on how articulate you are. In your case, as the next ice age approaches, potential partners might be less fussy. Especially if you live somewhere hot.
…and this…
“how to replay to a wink on match.com”
*** Use better Englishes. Duh.
…and this…
“win or loose in seperation”
*** In your case, loose. I will be really embarrassed if my blog has a misspelling like this I haven’t noticed.
…and this…
“ho long does it take on match.com”
*** I don’t think I’m being called a ‘ho’?
…and this…
“match.com she winked at me now what”
How about sending her a message/e-mail? After all, if you simply wink back, does that achieve anything other than show her you are a teensy bit lazy?

“why did i fail at speed dating”
*** Whomever you are, you didn’t. You didn’t succeed perhaps. But that’s not the same thing. If you meet 16 people at an event like this, you don’t have a high chance of success, you just have a chance of success. Not winning a date could mean you’re picky and didn’t select someone who was interested in you, or you didn’t seem a good match to people at the event. Better luck next time, and “luck” is the operative word when it comes to chance meetings. Oh, and be sure to clean your teeth next time. Just in case. And shave. If you’re a guy. If you are a gal and need to shave (your moustache), then do a really good job of it.

“dad fuck his young daughter”
*** This is horrible. Hopefully, you found this is mostly an adult-oriented blog but not an ‘adult’ blog, and definitely not a peverted one. I hope you’re not looking for like-minded individuals because you’re definitely in the wrong blog. Why don’t you do society a favor and try a search like that on this link, where you’ll find helpful people who want to chat to you.

“is instant chemistry indicator relationship”
*** Setting aside the poor English, this is interesting. Does instant chemistry provide any guide at all to the potential for a relationship? I’ve argued that chemistry doesn’t have to be instant; latent chemistry is equally powerful. Others have argued against me and said that if they don’t feel ‘it’ right away, a relationship has no chance. Is the converse true at all?

“increasing”
*** Okie dokie then. It’s easier to find my blog than I expected. I wonder who has the rights to the word “decreasing”. It seems I have the more optimistic word. Yay me!

“parenting woes funny”
“parenting woes”
*** You definitely found the right blog.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

There is more to life than increasing its speed

The frenetic life continues.

The whirlwind of Thanksgiving is over and rush to the Christmas festivities is on.

The pretty lights go up, the prices go down, the parcels roll in, the money goes out.

The special lady is still the dominating zest to my life she became in January.

The children grow taller and grow emotionally…and drop back to childhood sometimes. The ‘new normal’ is more settled than earlier in the year. Phew.

The kittens settle in their routines as they grow so big, so fast. They still turn into cute dervishes when they chase their tails.

The job has changed, trading more flexibility for less money and less prestige. A work-life balance. A sacrifice the kids will probably never appreciate.

The divorce is filed with the court system and the negotiations continue.

The plans for trips to Oregon, California, Australia, England, and France are in various stages of development. Not sure which will make the cut…

The support network of friends far and wide is still alive and well, even as our lives shift like tectonic plates past and around each other.

The house is dry. Heavy rains have tested it. The basement flooding is gone. The relief is palpable.

The blogger companions are various. Some are stable, on a journey. Some are threading their way through new adventures. Some have gone, their raison d’être settled? Some continue to explore their passions and proclivities. An amazing group.

The country voted. The pundits discovered that quants are accurate fortune tellers. Elections will become exercises in data mining and sampling-based optimization. Will the underlying messages be lost in the frenzy for victory?

The leaves wrinkle and dry and drift to the ground. The cold settles. The wind picks up and blows away the remnants of Fall.

The future is as uncertain as the weather. Sometimes the path I’m on is joyful, sometimes it’s very stressful. But I made the choices that put me on it. I look forward to discovering the big “What’s Next?” as it unfolds. Stay with me…

Posted in Dating, Divorce, Family Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments