My Dad Made Me A Superhero

Yeah, I know, Father’s Day is over.  But here’s a story about my Daddy.

When I was little my dad was a teacher, but at a residential school for delinquent youth.   This meant that in addition to his classes he had to work night shifts at the school.   When I was in kindergarten he worked from  1 to 9 pm.  My mom was teaching during the day while  my older sisters were in school.  So it was Just Me With  . . .  my Daddy  in the mornings before I went to afternoon kindergarten and he went to work.

Soup

One day my dad was fixing my lunch, which meant he was heating up a can of soup.   He’d put the soup on the stove and went outside.  My dad is not the kind of guy who sits still for very long.  I think he was working in the yard or something.

But he forgot about the soup.

My five-year-old self  saw the soup boiling over and ran outside,

Daddy!!!!

Of course he didn’t come right away.  But I persisted and screamed,

“Daddy, Daddy, come QUICK!”

I’d made him listen to me.  He ran  inside, turned the burner off and the crisis was averted.   The house did not burn down.  All was right with the world.  I had saved the day.

Superman

He was so proud of me for making him listen.  He was so pleased in fact that  he took me out to the toy store and let me pick out a Teddy Bear.

Now, we were not a wealthy family.   We got presents for Christmas and birthdays, I’m guessing picked out by my mom,  and our  parents provided us with what we needed,  but “just because” presents were few and far between.    Plus  . . . I’m just going to say it, my Dad is, well,  . . . frugal  (the voices in my head are screaming CHEAP!!!!!).   My Dad buying a gift for me when it was not a national holiday was a big deal.  Even at five I knew that.

Most importantly,   my Daddy made me feel like I saved the day.  He was impressed with his baby girl and let everyone know it. It might not sound like much, but it must have meant a lot to him.  He has retold this story countless times over the years.  And to hear my Dad tell this story,  mimicking my  little girl voice —  “Daddy, Daddy, Come Quick!!!” —  is just the sweetest thing ever!   Notably, he usually leaves out the part about buying me a Teddy Bear.

I had made him listen, and he made me feel important — and a little bit like a superhero.

That Teddy Bear was one of my most precious toys, she stayed with me for years to come.  I credit my Dad with instilling in me the feeling that I matter in this world and that I can make a difference.  It’s the little things.

And bonus, my older (evil) sisters were sooooo jealous that I got a present. Heh heh heh

Just Me With . . . a Dad who made me feel like I have the ability to save the world! [insert Superhero music]

THEY KNOW … What Have I Done? Part II

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Sooo when last we talked I suggested that my failure to acknowledge the fruit of my loins was going to be a problem. See, What Have I Done? The problem was that I had recently broken one of my rules — that is — I promised myself that I would never directly  deny that I had children. Well I kind of did that, and I did it in front of someone who knew better.

But I have to go back a year and a half to explain.

Although when I began this experiment and this job I was with a large group of lawyers, we were later broken up into small groups and sent to different places. I worked closely with the people in  my room, but rarely talked to people at other locations –until the holiday party.

MSDLOGU EC011

Remember Steve Martin in the classic “The Lonely Guy” ?

I went to the party alone because that’s what I do. Once there, the only people I recognized were a couple of women from my project who worked in different locations.

But it was a party. There was alcohol. Things happen. You understand.

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So I’m making small talk with virtual strangers. These were two younger child free women. They were nice. One was drunk. I’d had maybe a half a drink. My half a drink on meds is like three for a normal person.  So I felt suddenly close to these women. They were my new work party best friends.

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The Office, A Benihana Christmas

Twin talk began because one of the women brought her twin brother. I was way too talkative and knowlegable about twin stuff. And apparently alcohol is Goddamn truth serum delivered by the morality police, and I felt sooo bad for not revealing the source of my expertise. I confessed.

“I feel like I’m lying to you guys. I have to tell you. I have kids, twins. Two sets plus a singleton.”

And then the whole story came out. I begged my new work party best friends not to tell anyone about my —  experiment. They promised.

This was the Christmas before last. Almost a year and a half ago. Fun fact: The drunk one has since had a baby of her own. But God love ’em they kept my secret – easy, though, because we didn’t work in the same room.

Then we were all relocated. I found myself sharing space with a new set of attorneys, including Cheryl, the twin. The one who knew.

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From Friends. Joey’s entrance after he got a new brain on Days of Our Lives

That was fifteen months ago. People have come and gone since then. Currently in this space it’s me, Cheryl, another woman I’ll call Sophie, and two guys. One of the guys  has never mentioned a wife, girlfriend or children. Let’s call him Bill. The other  is married and has one daughter who is, reportedly —  repeatedly reportedly — a certified genius. Yeah, he’s that guy. We’ll call him Ross.

Ross explained to the room that he feels comfortable bragging about his daughter at work because NO ONE ELSE HERE HAS CHILDREN. Consequently, he reasoned, we can’t get jealous or feel bad because our kids do not and can not possibly measure up. Then he stood and asked the room,

“Wait, no one here has kids, right?”

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Sophie is a talker. We know all about her life. No kids.

The other guy, Bill, said nothing.

I opened my mouth briefly and closed it.

In that moment my silence felt dangerously close to denying my kids — and Cheryl knew it. She murmured, “Well, not little kids.”

Guilt showed up and took a seat.

My punishment?

I must endure Ross  brag brag bragging about his academic superstar daughter to us childless folks. Side note, child free folks don’t want to hear that shit either, not all the time. Well, except Cheryl. She  encourages him. She’s in that holy trinity  love bubble of just got engaged, planning a destination wedding and can’t wait to have babies!

Bless her heart.

But I have condemned myself to silence while Ross talks as if  he is the only person to ever have had a child, a golden child.

Listening to Ross actually confirmed my decision. It is possible to talk about kids too much. Parents of high achieving teens are much worse than parents of adorable babies in my opinion. There are awards involved.

It is important (to me) to note that my original observation that started all this, that the guys do not talk about their kids as much as the women, still holds true. Ross doesn’t talk about her in meetings. And when he leaves early because of her he only says, “Well that’s it for me today,” as opposed to “Oh I’m on carpool duty this week because soccer started and I have to pick up the snack etc.” You know, Facebook detail. Ross shares no day to day kid stuff, he merely announces her many, many awards.

Plus, what’s the harm in my nondisclosure? It’s not like I’m dating any of these people.  I have been enjoying being me without reference to kids or my ex-husband. I won’t ask Cheryl to lie, though. I figured I’d just continue to opt out of kid talk. I’ll just be cool.

But Sophie . . . Sophie was NOT at the Christmas party.

Today, Sophie was talking about some estate law issues and asked me if I had  siblings with young children. Then she casually added,

“Well, you have kids.”

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“Wait! What? How do you know that? Who told you that? WHO TOLD YOU????? GODDAMMIT WOMAN, WHO TOLD YOU???!!”

But I didn’t say that.

“Um, kids?”

But I didn’t say that either.

I didn’t say anything. Sophie went on to discuss something else. The guys weren’t around.

I tweeted about it because I was like what the F— ??

I never ever told Sophie about my kids. It must have been Cheryl.

Then when Cheryl left for the day, she said, “Happy Mother’s Day” to me, albeit a little under her breath.

Happy MOTHER’S Day???????

I’m not entirely sure I formed any actual words in response.

Happy MOTHER’S Day?

Twice in one day. Two different people acknowledged my motherhood. Out loud.

Soooo there ya go. Cheryl must have told Sophie, the talker, and Sophie let it slip. I’m sure Cheryl was just being nice by wishing me Happy Mother’s Day. It’s just that Ross was there and it freaked me out. Thank God for earbuds. He missed it.

I don’t think either of the guys know. That’s all I have to hang on to. But Sophie, as I said, is a talker. My days are numbered.

Just Me With . . . children. 

This is so silly, I know. But you must understand. First, the number of kids I have, coupled with the twin thing and my slender physique tends to be a big deal and dominate the discussion. And second, I married my high school sweetheart (and that, as you may have read, did not end well). I never got a chance to be single with no kids. Never. It’s certainly not the same now because I’m of a certain age (something else I never acknowledge) but it’s the closest I can get.

So when I leave my former hoarders house to go to work, I’m just a single girl on the train.

t-girl-on-the-train

Perhaps not the unemployed alcoholic depressive and obsessive Rachel from the book and movie, The Girl On The Train . . . though

See also:

Confessions of a Skinny Mom

The New Walk of Shame For The Single Woman — Going Out Alone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Have I Done?

 

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It started as an experiment.

And everybody experiments, right?

It was just a little thing, you know, so I can hang with the cool kids. But now I fear it’s gotten out of hand.

It was last year. You see, I’d started a new job, a new assignment, along with about 80 to 100 other people. We were in a huge conference room, seated randomly at round tables. Some people knew each other from other projects, but most, like me, were  amongst strangers.

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We were a room full of attorneys in professional attire. The women outnumbered the men, slightly, as I noted  when I conducted the unofficial scan of the room. This isn’t necessarily a function of progress. These assignments are, shall we say — upward mobility challenged? The ages in the room  spanned from about 25 to maybe 65 years old. There was a respectable sprinkling of  people of color, mostly women of color, but it was a predominately white crowd. None of this is particularly important, except I want you to experience the look and feel of the room, so maybe you can understand how I got all caught up.

I  uttered the normal hellos, introductions,  and Have you done this work before? –yadda yadda yadda– but then, as I often do –and I think it’s the writer in me — I shut up, watched, and listened.

Denzel lawyer

Philadelphia

Before and after our training sessions, and during every  break, many of my new colleagues talked about  about babies, toddlers, school aged kids, teens applying to colleges, school schedules, dance classes, sporting events, husbands, meal planning, diets, vacations, grown kids, daughters’ weddings, sons who just got engaged, etc.  You know, personal stuff, family talk.

baby boom

I reached way back for this one. 80s Diane Keaton. Baby Boom.

But most of this talk was by the women. Even the childfree women asked the other women about their kids.

My male brethren? Not so much.They were largely quiet, or spoke of the commute and past work experience.

Considering the age range of the group — these dudes were in prime dad years. All years are prime dad years for men, but I digress . . . . 

And, I couldn’t help but notice the golden glint of a fair share of wedding rings on these men.  Alas, in my single state the hunt for wedding rings (or lack thereof) is a commonplace activity for me, but I digress, again . . . . My point is, it stands to reason and probability and you know, math, that many of these men must have had wives and kids — that they just weren’t talking about.

Huh.

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And me? Having had all the kids  I could have jumped right into the mom talk. But I wondered, what would it be like to be one of the guys? I’d still love the fruit of my loins, I’d still be ridiculously proud of them, but I knew — or perhaps I wanted to prove — that I was capable of making small talk that’s not about them.

Just like the guys.

anybody's girl

West Side Story. Anybody’s. She wanted to be one of the guys.

Now, let the record reflect that I’m content with my gender, and I’m not one of those women who hate other women or moms, and I’m not trying to be a guy, I just wanted to be like them. Just for a minute.  And to be honest,  be like myself, the archived self I was before I had all the babies, two at a time, before the nasty divorce, crippling depression, and crushing debt, before the struggle to maintain normalcy for the kids while the mom was decidedly not all right. I wanted to conjure up the time where, in similar professional situations, I managed to talk the talk without all the baby talk.

Admittedly, having been through all the stuff I’ve been through  — peruse old posts if you are not familiar– I just wanted to get away from it. You know, for a minute. Because discussing the kids always leads to questions about the ex. Always. It also leads to comments about my shape (and weight), and to my tutorial on fertility and heredity.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with talking about family at work. Nothing at all.  But I couldn’t help but notice the gender divide and I thought . . . I’m gonna jump to the other side.

For a minute.

Victor Victoria

From Victor Victoria. A Woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman.

So, I opted out. I told myself that I would never deny the existence of my offspring, but I would make a conscious effort not to voluntarily talk about them, unless or until I felt like it.

For a minute.

But that was well OVER A YEAR AGO!

0 The Birdcage

The Birdcage

During this time I  have worked side by side with both men and women, gotten to know them, like (some of) them, bonded with many of them, laughed and bitched with most of them. But I haven’t mentioned  to them that I have almost half a dozen children, those young adult humans that I grew in my body, birthed and raised. And no ex-husband either. Nothing. Just me (ironically).

Like a fucking psychopath.

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Joe Goldberg from “You” a fictional psychopath. Hightly recommend it on Netlfix.

And now I’m in too deep.

What have I done? What kind of mother doesn’t talk about her children? —  for over a year?

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Young Frankenstein

Just Me With . . . no children — to speak of, anyway.  Are you kidding me? 

There were a couple of times when I kinda broke my rules, which I’ll talk about later, because now  —  it’s a problem.

And I guess at some point I should report on the results of my experiment — how it felt.

To be continued . . .

Full closure: My kids are, in fact, AWESOME. The younger ones are still in college, happy and healthy, my oldest kid graduated from college, got a full-time job in his field, an apartment, and a roommate.  They are crushing it. And by extension, so am I.

And, if I can be completely superficial for a moment, they are freaking gorgeous, objectively, like people stop and stare. I don’t post pictures of them. Just take my word for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Was Never A Nest

 

empty nest syndrome

Now. I accept the fact that I could be over sensitive. I admit that I can get hung up on semantics at times, and I understand people mean well. So I’m going to dial it back a bit and not correct people when they say the following to me:

How’s it feel to have an empty nest?

But right here and now I’m going to explain why that question makes my skin crawl.

You see, to me the concept of empty next is like this. A couple creates a home in order to raise their family there. And they do raise their family there, together. Nothing’s perfect. Everybody has issues and ups and downs but for the most part things went according to plan. The Empty Nest Syndrome is a term that describes a sadness and emptiness parents feel when their kids move out.

That is not my situation.

Empty-nest

These are the same people who think they need two sinks in the master bath. Um, not me.

This was never a nest.

 

Platoon-2-840x420If you’ve read some of my other posts you know that when I acquired this home it was basically a hoarders’ house. And I bought it because I could not afford to stay in my other nicer home in a friendlier neighborhood because of divorce.  From the get-go it wasn’t me happily building a nest for my baby chicks.

We were in survival mode. I built this home for the purpose of fleeing it.

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It was never a nest. What I have here is a foxhole. Yeah. Think about it. We left what would have been the nest and were set off to war conditions — divorce. We dug a hole and survived. Made do with whatever rations and provisions we could find. My little soldiers were sent out for small battles (various life functions) and came back to the foxhole. And now? They finally made it out long enough to have somewhere else to lay their heads (A dorm can be a lot like a barracks — also temporary housing — but safe).

During these past years in our foxhole I have lived one step ahead of bill collectors while my career took a big hit. The only thing about the foxhole that makes me sad is that I still owe money on it and have not built enough equity to flee. I weep because I need a new heater and a sump pump.

I feel like a sergeant screaming — Go Go Go Go! Whilst I hunker down and try to figure out which bill gets paid next.

I know we are blessed to have had a roof over our heads. We have had some happy memories here. Soldiers will tell you of good old war stories and lifelong friendships –But they don’t want to go back to the front lines!  The kids and I have funny stories. Remember when we didn’t have a toilet? Good times, good times.

The Burning Bed

Also, I’m a divorced, custodial parent. This is the kids’ only home and all their stuff has always been here, but they did visit their father. This ain’t my first time alone in my house surrounded by reminders of the children while they are somewhere else. I have already felt that pain and emptiness. Been there. Done that. Over it.

For the record, most people have it backwards. Back then people assumed I was happily enjoying a “break” from my kids when they visited their father. No, that separation was gut wrenching, because they were just kids, I missed them, they missed activities, and none of us had any choice in the matter.

Now people assume that because the kids aren’t home with me full-time, I must be sad. No, this separation means I did my job, and the kids are somewhere they chose to be.

Empty nest?  No. It’s completely different for me.

Now I just need to plan my escape.

shawshank rock

Andy Dufresne preparing to crawl through raw sewage to escape Shawshank.

Just Me With . . . a college graduate and four college students, a mortgage, a various other forms of growing mountainous debt, water in my basement, a heater and water heater on their last legs. And no one to combine income or share expenses with. 

P.S. I promise to dial it back when people ask about the empty nest, though. I really do. 

See also:

Weekends Off Fallacy

Going Away to School — and Staying There!

Piss, Puke, and Porn

Double Sinks in the Master Bath – Must We Have Them? Really? Part I

Double Sinks In The Master Bath, Part II

Purging and Cleaning and Finding Stuff

Matt Paxton Hoarders

Matt Paxton from Hoarders

I’ve been at it again. Cleaning out my house. My therapy. And also, kind of a strategic get out of jail plan. In the next year to 18 months I plan to move, and sell or rent out my home — the former hoarder’s house to which I fled upon the demise of my marital bliss — just one half step ahead of the hot flaming lava chasing me from my volcano of debt. Dramatic, I know.

So might as well start the pre-listing clean out now, right? Plus the kids are not here and I need to alter my surroundings. Again. And, it’s freee entertainment, which is a necessity right now, the free part.

I needed to seriously clean. Things are dirty. Even though I always felt like I was cleaning all the time, I wasn’t really cleaning. I was straightening up and clearing  and cleaning around things — and those people I made — and dogs — but I never had all the stuff out of the way long enough to get to the really deep cleaning.

Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction

We had downsized already when we moved here and got rid of around 2/3 of our possessions. Many other belongings were removed along the way as I realized I still didn’t  have room for them. My parents got my formal sofa and chairs (and I got rid of their outdated stuff) some other casual furniture purchased for the house just didn’t fit.  I get rid of things all the time. But as the kids grew in our modestly sized home, we have been stepping over each other. Literally. We’re all relatively and objectively tall and have large feet and long legs. We take up a lot of room. And the sprints to be the first one to get the only bathroom in the house were getting serious, and a bit dangerous. But now the kids are gone for a while — a college thing  — to be discussed in another post — it’s time for me to, as a good friend I recently reconnected with said, “reset.”

“Reset.”  I like that.

As part of my clean out, clean up, and just clean, I  went through an ottoman that doubles for “storage”  of our miscellaneous electronics. I’d throw any cord I couldn’t identify, or those I could identify but did not need at that moment, old phones, parts of video games, remote controls, etc. in there.  Some of these electronics were even in baggies to keep them from tangling around each other. I was proud of that and that at least most of the stuff in there was part of the same category. But I hadn’t taken out everything in years.

Until now.

And at the bottom of the cords, games, adapters, phones, remote controls, and extension cords, there was a cassette tape. (For those of you who are not familiar, cassettes were used to store audio information before CDs, and CDS were and are used when music cannot be accessed from phones, or there is an absence of wifi or available data.)

 

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This particular cassette was an audio recording of my wedding.

Huh.

The church where I married recorded everything that happened there. The good, the bad, and the ugly.  I assume this was to preserve sermons and music. In my case it preserved our voices stating our now defunct wedding vows, along with some really good music (I had a brass quartet at my wedding. It was beautiful . . . but I digress) and it recorded the reading of probably the saddest poem ever read at a wedding, “The People Who Never Say Goodbye.”  This was a cry for help. As I’ve said before, ladies, your job as bridesmaids is not limited to showers, bachelorette parties, and shopping for dresses. Your job is to read the room, the bride, and call the whole thing off if necessary.  Almost a Runaway Bride

My first thought was just to throw the cassette away, like my husband did with our vows. No fuss, no muss, no pomp, no circumstance. A Twitter friend suggested that I burn the tape. I’m no stranger to the burn. This ain’t my first rodeo. My Wedding Album. In response I joked that if I was a guy I’d whip “it” out and pee on it. The same Twitter friend reminded me — “You could squat.”  Smiling about that, I put it on the table while I finished going through the electronics. Maybe, I thought, I’ll just listen to the music.

My next find wasn’t really a find.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend finds a pill on the bathroom floor in front of the toilet.

I knew they were there. While cleaning out the medicine cabinet, I saw my old friends Mr. Xanax and Ms. Ambien – relics of my clinical major depression, anxiety, and insomnia following that pesky time when my husband of many years and father of our many children broke up with me. The pills were expired of course, but I kept them. Weird, because I never really liked them much and used them very sparingly. If I took a sleeping pill I couldn’t properly wake up in the morning. If I took a Xanax I was just a little bit off, out of it. But I tell ya, this  was very helpful in certain situations. Very helpful indeed. It was my pharmaceutical prophylactic in difficult, awkward, or painful situations. Sharing Celebrations  .

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend French Depression

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Still, having the pills in the house gave me comfort. I think I kept these old meds, you know,  just in case . . .

After the scrub down and disinfecting of the cabinet (you’d be amazed at the mess that old razors for four girls leave), I found that the added  space in my cabinet was far more calming than presence the old pills.

So — I chucked them. I brought them downstairs, opened the bottles, destroyed the labels and trashed the pills so no one could find them and sell them (it would  be wrong for someone else to profit from my misery). And then? I casually dropped the wedding cassette —  the audio proof of the “till death do us part” fallacy — in the same trash bin. I don’t want any of those particular reminders of the good, the bad, the ugly or the pharmaceutically numbed in my house.

And that was that.

There has been a slight shift in the universe. Did you feel it?

The Good Place - Season 1

The Good Place

Just Me With . . . space, and some peace. Oh, and I found the remote control to the actual TV!  Now I don’t have to get up to change the input from cable to Netflix. Not too shabby. Plus, I already own a CD of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and am blessed to have access to a classical music station, wifi, and a smartphone. There is no reason to listen to a cassette recording of my wedding music. Nope. No reason at all. 

Plus, one of the brass players was this asshole, I Don’t Go to Weddings.

 

IT WAS NOT A DATE!!

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I swear. I was not a date.

Let me set the scene.

Well even before the scene, a little background. Things are a little tight at home.  So I’ve been looking for some side work. Don’t worry, it’s legal.  I mean literally — legal side work. A little per diem. It’s a thing. And, it is necessary, because submitting applications into the great black hole of the Internet hasn’t been working out for me.

Internet job search, if you aren’t familiar — that’s when, in response to an advertised position for which you are qualified, you put the digital best version of yourself out there — you enter information about your past, your hopes and dreams, your goals, your abilities, your salary requirements and references — you put it all out there. Raw.

You click “Submit.”

And then?

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Nothing.

But if you listen carefully you can hear it, the whoosh as your qualifications are flushed down the Internet toilet . . . “because in space, no one can hear you scream . . .

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But I digress, and I turned to Craigslist and answered an ad.

Admittedly, I had reason to be skeptical. The ad was barebones. No details, at all, not even the crappy stock language about working in a fast paced  professional environment blah blah blah.  The ad was only clear about one thing: The pay was not high. (Huh, what does that mean?)  But as I said, things are as tight as a Kardashian dress so I replied anyway and attached my resume. (Accidental rhyme)

Lo and behold — a response!

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However, no information.The email said that “they” have “someone” in my area the next day and asked if I could be at a local diner at 1:30. You know how when anyone says “long story short” they have already gone on for far too long? Well, long story short, I said I would be there. After not getting a confirmation of the meeting, or any details at all — like the name of the business, who I’m meeting with, his or her contact information or even their gender, I finally received a weak apology via email, “Sorry, I was in a meeting”  and “Someone will be there a little after 2:00pm.” I replied, confirming I would be there at 2:05pm.

I went to the diner, dressed nicely and actually with some makeup on. It wasn’t a busy part of the day so as soon as I walked in the manager offered to seat me.  I replied, “Well I’m meeting someone,” and looked around like I was looking for him —or her. The manager asked, “Do you see them?”

“No.” (But how would I know?)

So I sat at a booth facing the door. The waitstaff must have been just really bored because the server pounced on me,

“Can I get you something?”

“Not yet, I’m waiting for someone.” So . . . she brought me two menus.

The second time she asked me if I wanted something  I ordered coffee.

The waitress brought the coffee and two glasses of water, because, well, I had said, repeatedly,

“I was meeting someone.” (Who? Who was I meeting? I didn’t know.)

Now, if you’ve read some of my other blog posts you know I often go out alone. Always have. Not a big deal. But the two water glasses — they threw me. Those glasses were evidence that I was not really eating alone. I was expecting someone. And that someone was not there.

sixth-sense-dinner-scene

Spoiler Alert! The sad lady is really dining alone . . . BECAUSE HE’S NOT THERE!                                                      The Sixth Sense (film)

 

Then — hope!  A professional looking man with a briefcase came in alone and sat in the booth next to me and opened his laptop.

I asked him, “Are you here to meet someone for an interview?”

“No, I’m not.” He looked at me and shook his head. I can’t be sure, but the threesome in the booth next to him looked fleetingly in my direction.

I crawled under the table and assumed the fetal position.  Well, I wanted to.

I had no computer. No reading material. Just my phone. But that was useless.You see I was never given a  phone number of the person I was to meet or of the business, for that matter. I had no one to call or text to say, “Um — are you still coming?”

I finished my coffee. I told myself I would wait a half hour, which was way too long. No one emailed me.

The attentive waitress asked, again, “Are you ready to order?” To which I replied, as I was fishing for cash to pay for my coffee,“No . . . I think I’m just going to go.” The waitress said, “Okay,” but  didn’t look particularly surprised. I left the money on the table, got up, and quickly walked out. I must have looked upset, because I was. I was murmuring inaudibly  . . .  Shady ass Craiglist lawyers wasting my time . . . I don’t have to stand for this shit, I’m out . . .

1-giphy-htgawm

How to Get Away With Murder

And then I realized– to the restaurant staff and patrons it would appear that I was some unfortunate woman on a date who just got stood up! Like I was rejected in my quest for love instead of just rejected in my search for some extra money.

1-the-bachelor-rose-ceremony

No rose for me.                                    — The Bachelor.

I wanted to go back in and scream . . .

1-on-a-break


IT WAS NOT A DATE!!!!!!!

But, that would invite more pity.

And that would be a shame.

And there was already enough shame going around.

Damn.

damn-damn-damn

From “Good Times”

Just Me With . . . . one coffee, two menus, two water glasses, no food, no money. 

Alone posts. Wait, why are there so many?

The New Walk of Shame for the Single Woman — Going Out Alone

You Don’t Have To Bring A Date, Come Alone! Come Alone! COME ALONE!

I Went to a Dinner Party Alone

Pissed: Parking and Dining Alone  Fun fact. This was the same diner.

My High School Self, My Vampire Boyfriend

I Went For Coffee and Took A Turn Into “The Twilight Zone”

The Twilight Zone — Again? Seriously?

 

I Don’t Need A Stinkin’ Gym for Cardio

0 Yang

Famous fictional cardiologist

I once had a music teacher, a professional concert musician, who told me that her doctor was concerned that she didn’t work out, that he thought she needed some kind of physical, aerobic, activity.

Her response was, “Have you seen me play?”

He hadn’t.

“You should. You should see me perform.”

1-pianist

Olga Kern

He did, and promptly retracted his statement that she was not active enough. After seeing the fervor with which she played the most complicated, extended, and beautiful music, witnessing the amount of control she exhibited to transition from flashy virtuosity causing her to angrily rise from her bench, to quiet, sweetly melodic passages Continue reading →

The Landscaper Guy, Again, Part V

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

Deja vu. I have written about this guy  four times before.  Four times. And I admit that to begin this post I copied and pasted part of my last writings about him, because he just keeps coming back and it’s all the same damn thing, over and over again . . .

I ran into him again.  But wait, please peruse the following to you can get the full picture. This has been going on for . . . years!   YEARS!

1.  The Landscaper  Guy — Not Digging Him  — I meet a man.

2.  The Landscaper Guy and the Female Chandler Bing — I give him a shot.  (I shouldn’t have.)

3.  The Landscaper Guy and A Phone Smarter Than Me — I shoot him down, and miss. I have to take better aim and shoot again.

4.  The Landscaper Guy, Freaking Part IV — I shoot him down, again.  He expresses concern about my single status.

Are we all caught up? If not, that’s okay because it’s always the same.

Fast forward to now.  It was very hot, and you know how they say to check in on older people in hot weather?  Well I had to get my Mom out of her sweltering house, so we went for ice cream  at an outdoor place.  As  I was looking at flavors, a man looked at me.

I smiled, because that’s what I do.

He said, “You look familiar.”

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

I replied, “Well, I’m from here, so you know . . .”  It’s a smallish suburban town. You can’t swing a dick with running into someone you know.  (I’m paraphrasing from Sex and the City because Anthony the Wedding Planner cracked me up with that line. I like funny.  Note to men:  Many women enjoy humor.)

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

 

And here’s where I can just cut and paste, because it’s all so familiar.

“You live on Maple Street, right?” He asked.

“Yes.” Oh geez. It was coming back to me, like a bad debt.

I should have known, the white t-shirt. He had on a white t-shirt . . . 

I walked away.  I was only there to check the flavors for my mom and report back to her. She was waiting in the car.  So that’s what I did.  I just walked away.

I hoped, I so hoped that he would be gone when I returned.

My hopes were dashed on the jagged rocks below.

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

Oh he had gotten his ice cream and was getting into his car —  but his car  was parked right next the the place. Just my luck.

“Still don’t want to go out with a brother?”  He asked me.

Incredibly, he had asked me out again. As I mentioned before, this has been going on for years.  Check the dates of my posts. Years.

And still the answer was, is, and will always be, “No.”

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

 

Though I clearly said “no” the man continued, just like he had many times before. As he sat in the driver’s seat he motioned to the empty space next to him, “I mean — ice cream.  You can sit right here. What’s wrong with getting some ice cream with me?  It doesn’t have to mean anything.”

(Except that it would mean that I wanted to get ice cream with him, which I did not.)

And again, I tell you, I tell him, “No.”  But like a call and response, I added, without conscious effort to do so, “But thanks anyway.”

(Why am I so polite?  Oh well. At least I didn’t attempt to give a reason this time.)

He shook his head as if to say, “What is wrong with this woman ( or bitch)?”  He seemed genuinely baffled that I declined to take him up on his offer.

I walked away, again, thinking, “Well, I guess I have another blog post to write.

Groundhog Day 1

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” Phil, Ground Hog Day

I was seconds from a clean get-away,  but the Landscaper Guy in the white T-shirt called after me,

“You’re still beautiful, though.”

Well shit.  I can’t argue with the brother.

The-Dark-Knight-The-Joker walking away

The Joker, in The Dark Knight

 

Just Me With . . . ice cream for two — Me and my Mom.

Debt and STDs, a Comparison

 

AHS

Because for some of us, nothing is scarier than paying bills.

Somehow, while paying my bills — which takes so much longer than it would if I had more money — but I digress . . .  I started thinking about debt and sexually transmitted diseases. Don’t ask me why.  So, here, without further ado, is a list of how debt is like an STD.

Perp Walk

1.  You’d rather people not know about it.

Really, no one starts a date with reaching under the table to scratch and saying, “Sorry, but I really itch down there. It’s supposed to stop in a few days.”

or

“Can you pay if my card gets declined? I think I have enough left on this card, but if I don’t, they might confiscate it.  But it’s probably cool.”

George Bailey Considers Suicide

It’s a Wonderful Life: George Bailey, faced with financial ruin, attempts suicide.

2. Both can, literally, drive you crazy.

Untreated Syphilis can lead to dementia.

Stress from debt can lead to depression, and even sometimes suicide.

Seriously, it’s not funny.

3.  Both could have easily been avoided by a little self-control and pre-planning:

Elaine

Elaine, from Seinfeld.

Don’t do it with anybody or everybody or buy anything or everything just because they are just sooo cute.

Use the available precautions, like stopping at the store to buy condoms before screwing, or checking your balance before swiping.

Ask a simple question, “How much is this?” or “What is that sore?”

4.  Treatment can sometimes take a while

STDs may require a course of antibiotics, then retesting, sometimes a change in medications, and retesting, etc. Rinse, repeat.

It can takes weeks, months, or years to climb out of debt, one payment at a time. Pay, Rinse, repeat.

5. Both conditions require a period of abstinence.

Keep your pants on (and mouth closed)  until further notice.

Keep your shopping cart empty and put your plastic away.  Step away from the mall.

In other words, keep your ass home and offline and enjoy simple pursuits — like pain-free peeing and going to mailbox without breaking into a cold sweat.

6.  You can get both from people you love.

Out of Africa

In Out of Africa, Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen, who just found out she got Syphilis from her husband.

You can make an informed decision to be intimate within a loving, monogamous, trusting  relationship and SURPRISE!  Your Bae has crabs!

You can, after careful consideration, co-sign on a loan with a trusted friend, lover, relative and SURPRISE your friend / lover relative never had the ability or intention to make the payments..

Bottom line: You can get screwed by your loved ones resulting in a rash or low credit score.

Friends VD

7.  You can inherit both an STD and Debt.

Sadly, a baby can be born with an STD if the mother had one.

Thanks, Mom.

Sadly, a spouse can die and leave you with his or her debt.

Thanks, Babe.

8.  STDs and Debt can  force you to have uncomfortable conversations.

dowisetrepla

Lily confesses her huge credit card debt in “How I Met Your Mother”

“Um, I tested positive for chlamydia and um, you should be tested too. Kthxbye.”

“Um, I didn’t make the payments and um, they took our car last night.  I am so so sorry.”

9.  I doesn’t matter how you got infected with an STD or fell  into crippling debt,you have to do something about it or things could get uncomfortable, or downright ugly.

 

Antibiotics don’t judge.  You might need them because you were a indiscriminate, stupid, dirty whore who decided that the open sores, puss, or  little bugs on your lover you met in line at the clinic were cute, or, you could be a faithful husband or wife who got screwed (literally and figuratively) by your healthy looking spouse who happens to be infected with — something.

Same with debt.  You might be in deep debt because you indulged a shoe fetish or like to hang out at the race track or casino, or, you could have gotten divorced, sick,  fired, ripped off by a stranger or family, either way you have to do something about it to clear your record. Now.

judge

I think that personal finance folks should back off the blame train and offer concrete ways to deal with a situation without too much talk about how you got there, because debt is like an STD, if you have it, you don’t like it, and you don’t want again.  People are more likely to seek help or advice for lifestyle changes faster for personal credit card debt — or gonorrhea — if they don’t risk being reprimanded, scolded, or ridiculed for suffering from a condition they already do not enjoy.  Sure, offer tips to avoid a repeat exposure, but do so with the assumption that the person doesn’t want to deal with this again.

Lesson has likely been learned once  you experience that first itch or open sore in a private place, or get that first red letter in the mail.

Ignoring either problem can get ugly, trust me.  Go ahead, Google Images for Syphillis, Gonorrhea, and Homelessness.  I dare ya.

Just Me With . . .   a debt comparison. 

 

 

 

A Snowy Night for a Breakup

misery stuck inside

From “Misery”

It’s winter again.

Yippee.

Where I live we get snow.  Not every day.  But we get it.  At times a lot of it. It’s a pain in the ass.  It’s the shoveling.  The not being able to hop in your car and go somewhere without first moving pounds of snow.  And then never knowing if your car will start or stop when you need it to or someone else’s car will slip and slide and crash into you. Snow means weather related cancellations which are inconvenient, and often cost me money. Snow means being stuck inside.

It’s snowing tonight.

But there are other reasons why snow is irksome to me. Snow brings back memories.

It was years ago, on a snowy night, back when I lived in a cool neighborhood with friendly social neighbors.  Back when I was still married.

I have never really talked about this night.  This is to be a shortened version, by emotional necessity.

My husband had been distant.  He was never gregarious and often not engaging, but for weeks he could not seem to make eye contact with me at all.

And though I had made this Sex on Demand pledge, I realized that it had been a long time since there had been any demand, request, or suggestion requiring me to honor my pledge and when I did it wasn’t, well, how does one say, romantic?  There was certainly no eye contact.  And there were other things. Just little things that I don’t want to talk about now. (How could I have been so clueless?)

I mentioned my growing discomfort to a girlfriend, who said, of course, that I needed to talk to him.  Duh.  Obvious response, and I knew that’s what I needed to do,  but I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it (or I knew I wasn’t).  It’s like when there’s a funny smell — before you do anything about it, first you ask around, “Does anybody else smell that?”

So I hadn’t said anything to him.  Not yet. I was going to, but I didn’t know how or when. And I wasn’t completely convinced of why — I mean everyone is entitled to be in a funk from time to time.  Maybe it was just that.  And winter.

snow movie

Then there was a snowstorm. This meant that until the morning sun could break through clear skies and shine on our faces, signaling that it was time to  begin the back straining process of digging out, we were housebound. No one could go anywhere.  So my very cool neighborhood decided to have a snow party. Everyone was invited to walk to one neighbor’s house, bring whatever we had on hand to share,  and just hang out. It was like college, where you didn’t need a car to go out and no one had to worry about being a designated driver and we could just walk home. Except it wasn’t like college, because I had all those kids and a brooding husband who could not look at me  . . .  but I digress.

My husband didn’t seem to want to go to the party.  This was not unusual. He never liked to go to parties.  Not with me, anyway.  See My High School Self, My Vampire Boyfriend. Still, we went, with our kids.

I thought it was fun. It gave us something to do, I could be around adults and consume free food and it was better than being cooped up in the house with little kids watching TV. My husband seemed okay once he got to the party, chatting with the neighbors about travel and hobbies (his travel, his hobbies). But he didn’t talk to or make eye contact with me.  I remember coming up to him while he was talking to someone and trying to join the conversation. He did not acknowledge my presence in any way. He’s tall.  He looked over me, literally.

When the party was over, we walked home in the snow and put the five children to bed. He sat on our bed, his back to me, saying nothing.

The Break Up

The Break-Up

Out of exasperation rather than anger or reason, I said — blurted out, really, “What is wrong?  You’re acting like something’s wrong.  What is it?”

Without looking at me,

he said, simply,

“I have to go.”

The Others

From “The Others”

Those four words changed my life, his life, our children’s lives and set me on a course which landed me here talking via the interwebs to you fine people.  (Channeling Jack from Titanic — oh wait, he died.  Oops.)

The Post It

At least he didn’t break up with me on a post-it.      Sex and the City.

Tragically,  my initial response to him was, “Go where?”

I didn’t know what he was talking about. I mean, we were snowed in and all.

Where did he have to go in all this snow? 

And that, as they say, was that.  Well, a lot of stuff happened, but he did eventually, go. He had to, you see.

So, now, on this snowy night years later, almost to the exact day of that fateful snowy night when my husband said those four stinging words,  I sit here, thinking .  .  . I really don’t like snow. It’s a lot of work. The shoveling and all.

Lucy snow

Just Me With . . . snow.

See also:

My Cheating Husband Was Packing Viagra — Packing my husband’s things.

When I Needed a Helping Hand — Moving my husband’s things out.

My Worst Superbowl, Remembered — When I realized it was a lost cause.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joys of Being Single During the Holidays

Fatal Attraction Opera Night

It’s that time of year when singles of all ages and backgrounds lament about being alone.  It’s holiday time, right?  People tend to couple up and cuddle or enjoy family traditions. For many folks one tradition is being asked, “Are you seeing anyone?”

(My family never asks this, by the way, as if such an idea is just crazy talk.)

But there are things that are really cool about not having a significant other during the holidays.

Here comes a list.

  1. No splitting holidays!

How many have done the — “Okay, we’ll spend Christmas Eve with your parents, Christmas Day at my Grandma’s and Christmas dinner at your sister’s.

Or this year we’ll go to your family and next year we’ll visit mine — as if your respective families have some sort of court ordered visitation schedule forced upon you. Children of divorce have been during this for years.  Once you are half of a grown up couple, you’ll find yourself doing it again.

Single?  You can sit at your own mom’s house — or your own damn house.

“I ain’t going nowhere.”

The Holiday

Cameron Diaz, home for the night in “The Holiday”

2.  Less Gifts To Buy

AKA save your money for something for yourself, charity, or pay off credit card debt you racked up when you had a honey to buy for, his/her family to buy for and back when you bought all the crap to make you look good 24/7.  It makes sound financial sense to be single, particularly from Black Friday until right after President’s Day.

The money blogs tend not to encourage break ups, but they should, and say:

Ways to build wealth:

First, cut up your credit cards,

Second, cut loose your BAE.

(Yes, I said BAE, I’ll show myself out.)

3.  Less Gifts to Receive

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

From What Ever Happened to Baby Jane

I’ve gotten some bad ones.  When I was only a mere 19 year old a future brother-in-law gave us a gift card — to a hotel!

A HOTEL GIFT CARD AS A CHRISTMAS GIFT TO BE OPENED IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE FAMILY!

(awkward)

And then there was a time when slim, young,and I thought pretty damn cute me was given a pink nylon track suit.

The kind you see worn in nursing homes.

Wait, what?   Have you seen me?  I mean I’ve never been a slave to fashion, but I’m not completely devoid of  .. of . . .giving a shit what I look like!  C’mon, now!  

And then I had to find a way never to wear it, or claim that it didn’t fit and return it.  (I believe I returned it, although it was clearly a one size fits all situation.)  And I still had to endure the disapproving looks from my husband.

humbug

Later on my my marriage we used to go to a white elephant Christmas party where everyone brought ugly, useless, yet nicely wrapped gifts to exchange for laughs.  I had a seemingly endless supply of tacky items that had actually been given to me — lighted moving flowers in plastic cases — that was a crowd favorite.

Anyway, when you’re single you get less —- crap.

4.  Your decor, or lack thereof,is your own

 

Christmas vacation

It doesn’t matter if somebody is allergic to real trees.  You can get one.  It doesn’t matter if you’d rather hang lights on your potted plant or toilet.  It doesn’t matter if you would prefer not to decorate anything at all.  It doesn’t matter if a lapsed Baptist girl wants a Menorah.  You don’t have to start or maintain anyone else’s traditions or preferences. It’s all you, baby.

5.  No work party discomfort

You don’t have to convince a significant other to go, and  you don’t have to explain why your significant other is not there with you (“He’s working tonight.” This was my favorite work party lie.)  But when you are single, you can show up on your schedule, make the rounds and leave whenever you damn well please. (All the big stars leave early.  Look at the talk shows.)

1 dustin_kramer1

Or, if you’re having fun you can stay until the bitter end without having your date do the raised eyebrow, tap the invisible watch, shoulder shrug combo which means,“You promised we wouldn’t have to stay long.  I want to go home and watch Die Hard.”

6. And the best one?   

You have no idea what things will be like next year.

1 boob graze 7509.0.570.359

Boob graze in The Holiday

Being uncoupled, you haven’t promised to honor the same — time-sharing, lame gift giving and receiving, fake tree, awkward party-duty, 24 hours of A Christmas Story — Christmas simply because that’s what you did with your partner last year, and every year.

Nope. You’re free.

Next year, you might try something different.

Next year, you might be someone different.

Next year, you might be with someone new, or not (remember to consider cleaning house mid-November, your bank account will thank you).

The possibilities are endless.

Just Me With . . . no one. And that’s alright with me.

See also Annual Holiday Christmas Party