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.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Getting Things Done – Part 2 of 2

Why don’t I blog more often than I used to? Well, there are a few reasons. One is that I’m busy Gettings Things Done.

You might not think it to see my life from afar, but I do more than it seems. My ever-evolving To Do list waxes and wanes and never seems to go away, but I realized not very long ago that I do get a lot of things done. The three girls (or two girls, when Amélie is at college) create all kinds of mess and time-draining crises. All. The. Time.

Today, for example, useless #3, or Charlotte as she is known here, forgot to take her pill last night and again this morning. Is this a big deal? Yes, because she faints/collapses when she doesn’t. That means I get called back from work to take her home. Or to the hospital if she has collapsed and smacked her head hard enough. Does her mom help? Sometimes, but often not. So today, I had to stop by the high school, have her brought to the clinic, and feed her the pills. As I was driving to work from there (** OK, I was going somewhere else first — see below), my sweet #2 daughter, Brigitte, texted to say she was feeling sick. Hmm. Brigitte doesn’t waste my time with this. So I stopped by the side of the road to see what’s going on. After a little back and forth, I elicited that she was going to throw up soon, had a mild fever, and generally needed to be brought home. *sigh* I asked her to try her mom first, but her mom said that she was busy and had a meeting. As if I had planned to be at work after 10am and miss my daily 10am meeting. Right. So, off I went, back to the high school again, back to the clinic, to pick up Brigitte and bring her home. I hung around for a little while to be sure she was going to be OK alone. And headed off to work, arriving at 10:30am. Yay me.

** I was going to see my girlfriend, Lillian, to drop off the kittens. As the boy kitten is now quite adept at knocking over glasses to get to the water inside, it’s a recent Family Rule that no one can leave glasses of water lying around. As Charlotte tried to set a world record for this RIGHT AFTER I MADE HER GO AROUND PICKING UP ALL OF THE GLASSES FROM THE PREVIOUS DAY, I had enough and handed over the kittens to Lillian. But this was on my way to work anyway, so it doesn’t count. Right?

Getting back to the achievements rather than problems, I realized that (a) I don’t sit around doing nothing at home almost any time now, and (b) even though I’ve been going out with Lillian for 10 months now and can count on her support for many things, I am still a ‘single dad’ in some respects and spend a lot of time working on basic house things that I never to do before. A month ago, I was cleaning up the kitchen and thought to myself that I was going to yell at the girls and say, “Hey, I’m not your mom, clean your own mess up!” Reflecting on that, I caught myself in two ways. First, why was I assuming that only a *mom* should have to clean a kitchen? Just because I had once had a wife who was a stay-at-home mom and happened to clean up way more than I did doesn’t make it a gender-specific task. Second, I realized there was no one else, “mom” or not, to clean up the kitchen. That is, I am both a mom and dad to them most of the time. That second thought took me by surprise. Having done the single dad thing for over 18 months now, I forget that it’s not a given for the kids to have only me to turn to most of the time. To counter what I’ve just said, the girls’ mom has been somewhat more involved over the past few months. More importantly, Lillian has been a mother figure for them. She has counseled, laughed with, helped, and loved the girls since getting to know them. But she’s not around all the time because she has her own house and daughter (who she too sometimes tries to sell on eBay when no one is looking, as nurturing a teen is a little like nursing a sick cow with a flatulence problem — there are lots of explosions, and you never know when the next one will occur).

Moving past my efforts to keep the kitchen clean and tidy, there is …. wait a moment, why should I stop there? Hey, I demand a Hero badge of some kind! Those girls are…PIGS! They leave crap everywhere in the kitchen AND the dining room AND the living room and elsewhere! Their idea of “doing the dishes” is to pile dishes in both sinks so neither can be used. Hello? When I remind them of that distant time when I had to help wash and dry and put away every dish, plate, pot, and pan before leaving the kitchen, they look at me as if I’m some old icon recalling days of yore. Well, I am, but that’s not the point. If I had to do all that shit, it seems reasonable to expect them to do ‘complex’ things like empty and load the dishwasher. Back me up here folks.

Ahem, moving on…

Contradicting myself all over again, I don’t live a “single” life:

– I have the girls and all of their limo trips (“Jeeves, I need to be at Regina’s at 2pm, so cancel all your plans and make it so”), medical appointments (for apparently healthy kids, you would not believe how many there are), their emergencies (“Dad, I need additional hair color stuff NOW! I can’t go to school like this!”), real emergencies (“Dad, you know how I told you to get more ‘feminine products’ last week? How about you drop what you’re doing and go get some right now?”), and their musical support (Marching Band is almost every day in August, music lessons are at least once a week per child with catch-ups for missed lessons, rehearsals for performances are all over the place before a performance, etc.).

– I have Lillian and the time I eke out to be with her. This year we have completed all kinds of things. Laid down a kitchen floor, painted, worked on a basement, assembled Ikea furniture (*after* she swore never to buy more again because it requires assembly), bought and sold sundry furniture via Craigslist (which has involved minivans, roof racks, and the huffing and puffing of moving unwieldy heavy items around), assembled a table tennis table (with instructions that didn’t match the table itself — uggh!), emptied a garage-size storage locker and moved it elsewhere, visited multiple kids in hospital for multiple reasons, and so on. And that’s just the ‘working’ stuff as opposed to going out together shopping, walking the dogs, and other companionable activities.

– I have other friends that I get to see from time to time.

But I don’t live a ‘complete’ life either. I have too many things backed up at home. I have filed for divorce, but not finalized the legalities yet. Because Lillian and I are very close, I have a ‘half-life’ at both homes sometimes. I have to deal with one teen daughter whose opinion so closely reflect the misguided beliefs of my ex that there is no doubt I am being disparaged behind my back with various resentments and tension being created as a result.

Despite my super-busy life, I wouldn’t give it up. I wouldn’t give up the girls. I wouldn’t give up my time with Lillian. I don’t like that the house isn’t as I want it, or that I don’t have any time at all for TV anymore, or that I read but not as much as I used to (although I have become used to reading books on my iPhone 5 — how about that, TPG?!). Overall, my life is not what I expected it to be, but it’s turning out nicely. I’m on a journey and I can see there a few paths ahead of me, branching off in different directions. I don’t know which one I will be on yet, but I’m not in a hurry to find out. I’m alive, I’m healthy, I have nice people around me (yes, even my kids are nice…*grump*). Live life. Love it!

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

Getting Things Done – Part 1 of 2

1. This is a busy post with a thrilling range of topics for you to digest
2. I never fib, not even a little

Only one of the above statements is wholly true. You decide which.

The snippets that follow each have a loose segue from one to the other. Really.

I admit it, I was… w… wr… wr… WRONG. Some time ago, I suggested that you must be a total bozo if you didn’t e-mail out a complete post rather than a summary via your WordPress settings. Well, maybe “total bozo” is too strong. As was pointed out to me at the time, and verified via the WordPress support folks, they don’t count posts that are read only via e-mail in their Stats. (I didn’t get a coherent reason for why they don’t as it’s relatively simple to get some statistics in this way.) For now, I’ve changed my Settings to just send a summary of this and future posts. I know, it means I’m…mean. You have to go this web-site to see the full (and thrilling) content. If you don’t like this, please feel to complain to me directly via a face slap, phone call, IM, e-mail, or comments here, depending on how well you know me.

Recently I met in person another of our bloggers for the first time (who didn’t face slap me). We had a late dinner out West. He’s fascinating. Not at all what you expect from his blog title, nor from his posts. He’s much more grounded and fun than I expected. The dinner was supposed to include Lillian, but she was too busy packing pods to move her belongings to North Virginia. Packing up and moving always take longer and is more stressful than you ever think it will. I liken it to childbirth. Stop by any hospital where a women has just given birth and ask her if she’d like to have another baby soon and the answer you’ll get is, “FUCK OFF! Who the fuck are you anyway?!” because you’re really not supposed to just stop by maternity wards like that, and because women who have just given birth can be a teensy bit grumpy. But my most recent point is that most women who’ve just experienced the Thrill and Excitement of childbirth tend to be a little…reticient…to have another baby. Over time, the memories of the experience fade and — voilà! — another baby is happily on the way. Getting back to my earlier point, anyone who is moving or has just moved will swear off ever moving again. Realtors I know say new owners often plan to leave feet first when they die (which is, in itself, odd as coffins are usually moved head-first). Then they move anyway some years later. Getting back to my main point, Lillian had to explore her house — now her ex-husband’s house — and identify, document, and pack everything she wanted. At the same time as agreeing on the list of items and values with her ex. Not an easy task. Which is why she missed dinner, and the chance to meet our searching friend.

On a recent trip out West, my girlfriend Lillian and I had a side trip to southern California (Laguna Beach) for the wedding of one of her many siblings. We stayed with another of her siblings, her brother. He is someone I like very much — he’s clever, funny, and engaging. His wife is equally wonderful. She’s charming and a strong competitor with my Brigitte for one of the nicest people on the planet. His rented house, however, worries me. The master bedroom and the next smallest bedroom have no coverings at all. As this is a multi-million dollar home, the views all overlook the Pacific Ocean. But still. The bedroom doors are next; they’re all smoked glass. This glass is opaque if you have the light on inside and outside the room. It’s not so opaque if it’s night and the light is only on in the bedroom…or bathroom. Which leads to a second…issue. The house had a Jack-and-Jill bathroom. (For non-American readers, this is a bathroom shared between two bedrooms.) The smoked glass doors meant that the teenage boy in the other bedroom would presumably have had excellent views of anyone in the bathroom when his light was off at night. Naturally, this means that there are things that Lillian and I didn’t feel comfortable doing in this environment, despite the completely welcoming hospitality.

The things I have been doing and the priorities I have been assigning to the duties and tasks in my life will be discussed in the equally thrilling Part 2 post. Have you decided yet which of my statements above are true?

Posted in Dating, Divorce, Family Life, Humor, Miscellaneous, Separation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments