Breakdown

[[ I have disabled comments for this single post. On any other post for any of us, often the comments are insightful, supportive, funny, etc. Right now, I know there is virtual support out there and feel comforted by it. I try hard to respond to most comments and just don’t have the strength to do that right now, so please forgive me. ]]

It’s finally happened. I have fallen.

You’ve all said I’ve been doing so well and been so organized and how did I do it and other nice things. I didn’t really have good answers to the “how” because I was just so busy with running the house, supporting my wonderful girls, working, and interacting with friends that I didn’t see any other path.

Apparently, I made it work partly by suppressing (which means deferring) more than I realized, and partly from the support of key people in my life. I was only just keeping my head above water but that was enough and I thought I was doing very well. I even thought I was well on the way to being strong again. I was looking forward not backward.

I looked forward to my vacation in England because it was going to be an adventure. I have enough family there that accommodation was almost entirely free. Costs were limited to flights, one cheap rental car, feeding myself and the kids, and a few touristy things. Buckingham Palace was one destination where, by good fortune for the girls, they had Princess Whatshername’s wedding dress on display, reportedly to the annoyance of the Queen who seems to have forgotten the British taxpayers bought it and might like to see it.

On my last 3 trips to England, I had to work remotely, and renew visas while worrying whether or not the useless U.S. Government would let me back into the USA again. This time, I was hoping for a stress-free break.

The time leading up to leaving for England was so very busy. Last minute plan changes chewed up spare time. As one example, a few days before leaving, I was given use of an iPad for the vacation and needed to figure out how to get full-length movies on it to keep the girls occupied on the flights there and back. (Note: It has excellent battery life and unless you plan to travel on a 12-hour flight, you can watch all the movies you have time for between the take-off, landing, bad food, bathroom breaks, and so on. Go buy one; it will help the value of my Apple shares.)

The reality is that in England I was much busier than I thought I would be, I drove further than I expected, and not every plan worked out. Perhaps a crucial factor is that I missed as much sleep as I have missed at home thanks to adjusting to the time zone, needing to meet the early timetables of others most days, and always getting the crappy sofa bed while the two girls traveling with me got comfy queen-size beds to share.

Over the last few days, there’s been a steady slide downhill. For me, being upset about anything for more than a day is very unusual. This year, being upset for a day has been more common than before, but that’s OK; it’s been a tough year. But now it’s different; I’m not quite above water anymore. I slipped and fell.

So, here am I now…

Mozart’s 40th symphony strums its uplifting rhythm. But I’m not moved.
Perhaps Twisted Sister can tell me that “We’re Not Gonna Take It” but I think I will.
The Beatles want me to “Come Together” but I think I need a partner for that.
Going with Tracy Chapman for a slow drive in her “Fast Car” is just going further in the wrong direction.
Letting Aerosmith tell me to “Walk This Way” is OK and bouncy, except I get the impression Tyler is a little creepy.
Should I just let Bruno Mars throw a “Grenade” at me?
Should Do Re Mi point out, with their brilliant singer, that there is a “Man Overboard”?

Sitting at my drum-kit and running through some triplets and trying accented double paradiddles is more than I have the energy for and I give up.

Perhaps someone years before my time, Nancy Sinatra, can remind me of a funny scene in a diner with my runaway wife. I had flipped some channels on the TV before we left for lunch and saw her (Nancy) sing the very last part of “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”. I told my runaway wife about it when we got to the diner and spent a quarter to play the song just for her. For the record, here are the words that I didn’t hear before I left:

You keep saying you’ve got something for me.
something you call love, but confess.
You’ve been messin’ where you shouldn’t have been a messin’
and now someone else is gettin’ all your best.

These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

You keep lying, when you oughta be truthin’
and you keep losin’ when you oughta not bet.
You keep samin’ when you oughta be changin’.
Now what’s right is right, but you ain’t been right yet.

These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

You keep playin’ where you shouldn’t be playin
and you keep thinkin’ that you´ll never get burnt.
Ha! I just found me a brand new box of matches yeah
and what he know you ain’t HAD time to learn.

Are you ready boots? Start walkin’!

Yes, I had some explaining to do after that little fiasco.

But I’ve made worse mistakes than that.

I am overcome. I need the break I have craved for months.

I won’t go to work.

I called the Big Cheese at work and explained how bad I felt. When my friend that I stayed with in England last week kept asking why Danielle (my runaway wife) left, I eventually broke down in front of him because I didn’t have answers, and because I was near her home town where he knew her as well as I did, dealing with her mother and brother. The same basic thing happened on the phone today. It turns out that it’s a very good way of getting time some additional time off without any prior notice even if it’s humiliating.

So, here I am now…

I plan to have some quiet days, get some sleep, watch the grass grow (almost possible around here when it’s very warm and drizzling with rain), and let the kids provide their excellent specialized support. Some years ago, when things were bleak here, I had some problems with stress for a while. So each of the girls have their unique ‘solutions’ for this for me. Charlotte offers her ‘anti-stress’ cuddle, and so on. Awwww…they’re so nice.

My mother arrived last night, which I should mention is another catalyst for all this, although she didn’t mean it. She has pestered me senseless about why Danielle left, what I plan to do next, how are the finances arranged, how often she has seen the girls, have any stayed over with her, how are the girls coping, how am I coping, why do I look so drawn, and on and on and on. She means well. I’ll still be surprised if I haven’t throttled her before the week is out though.

OK, I’ve got it out. Most of it anyway.

This is almost 1400 words, so most of you have fallen asleep and hurt your foreheads on your keyboards by now and I can just talk about coconuts, civil rights in the Middle East, health insurance processing, accents in the Tri-State region, and anything else, and it won’t matter because you’re all snoring. But, just in case one of you had caffeine recently, I’ll finish with this…

I needed a stress-free break and time for my heart to heal and, with my mum to help, I’m sure to get one over the next few days. I’ll be back to my normal chirpy, cheeky, slightly chagrined self in no time.

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About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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