Category Archives: Random Posts

I Went to a Dinner Party Alone, Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts. I did not read this book. Perhaps I should.

A good six years ago I wrote about being invited to a party with a plus one but being strongly encouraged to come alone. See You Don’t Have To Bring A Date, Come Alone! Come Alone! COME ALONE! The party has become an almost annual thing and I have gone a few times. Always invited with a plus one, always attending alone. See I Went To A Dinner Party Alone

This year was no expection.

The Plus One by Sarah Archer. I didn’t read this either, but clearly the whole plus one thing is a thing…

I fleetingly considered asking a male acquaintance to come with me, but that may have meant more than I wanted it to and I figured, this is what I do and it is what I have been encouraged — emboldened to do.

I boldly go where no man has gone before — meaning to a public event with me.

These are the voyages of the single Roxanne. Her six-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!” — Me, taking liberties with the Star Trek intro.

So I went. Did my thing, walked in unaccompanied and alone. I confidently approached strangers standing in clumps and joined their conversations. Like a boss. Well, like a politician, more accurately.

The hostess greeted me, the same woman who repeatedly lauded my decision to go alone back in the day. “Come alone!” She’d exclaimed. “No pressure to bring a date I would have to entertain,” she’d reasoned. “I used to do it all the time when I was single,” she’d shared.

But not this time.

This time she hit me with,

“One of these days you are gonna have a date!”

Followed by:

“I want you to come with somebody next time!”

To which I awkwardly, jokingly, painfully responded,

“Oh yes, next year for sure.”

You get the drift.

Apparently coming alone was brave and practical and cool back then. But now? Six years later? Now it’s just getting ridiculous.

Enough is enough.

Apparently.

Adding awkwardness to awkward, when it came time to take our seats for dinner, the hostess loudly pointed out the three tables that had seating for nine, rather than eight or ten like the others. “You can sit here, or there, or, let me see, there.” You know, the ODD numbered tables, for the odd men (or ladies) out. There must have been two other singles there, though I never found them.

Sooo ….

I settled at a nine top table, with four other couples I did not know.

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RIP Valerie Harper. Here as Rhoda Morganstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary and Rhoda decided to invite dates over to spruce up their lovelife. Surprise! Rhoda’s date brought his wife.

Four couples, and me. But this ain’t my first rodeo; I’ve gone to a wedding alone.

Also, I was the only other person of color there, except for the housekeeper who was Hispanic and anyway, she brought her husband. Come to think of it, there was a slightly accented slightly brownish man in one of the clumps of people I invaded. But he blended, and, you know, he had a wife.

Hello, Sore Thumb? You’re sticking out again.

I felt as though I did not blend quite as well, though I may have been a touch paranoid.

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Also, knowing the family and talking with some of the guests, their net worth was likely substantial. I’d guess that during cocktails they probably earned more in interest than I make all year.

Soooooo.

Conspicuous as I felt, everyone was friendly and it was a pleasant evening. I have known the hostess for years and I truly admire her. Though she doesn’t have to think about money (or lack thereof) and is happily married, she has weathered personal challenges that others have literally not survived. To see her smiling and laughing is a gift. I’m happy to have been included in the event, and appreciative of the option to bring a Plus One.

But dang it even if I have to rent one, I will bring a man next year. I will be conspicuously coupled, if only for the night. I will casually drift to a table with even numbered place settings. I will introduce my date by name (if I can remember it) and gently caress his arm. I will ask him to fetch me a drink. I will allow our photo to be taken together and — wait for it — posted on Facebook.

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Scarlett O’Hara: “As God as my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

As God as my witness, I’ll never be dateless again. Not to this party.

Just Me With … out a Plus One for this particular event since 2013.

I have written a lot of posts about going out alone. Huh. There are more coming, because I have some thoughts about it . . .

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

I Went To A Wedding Alone

Pissed: Parking and Dining Alone

The Night I Became Cinderella — A College Story

We Only Have One Bathroom

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American Horror Story: Freak Show

Do I have two heads? Well some people look at me like I do. It happens often.

After the gasps, they usually follow with this comment:

“I don’t know how you did it.”

Which actually means:

“Wow. That sucks. Your life sucks and I am so happy I don’t have to deal with your horrid living situation because I know I couldn’t survive that.”

I’m usually polite but in my head I’m rolling my eyes.

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The Tina Fey eye roll. Works everytime.

Well, for those lacking the ability to comprehend how a family can possibly live with only one bathroom, THIS is how we do it:

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In Living Color, the show where Jim Carrey was just the white guy and JLo was one of the back up dancers. 

  1. Before taking a shower, ask if anyone needs to use the bathroom.
  2. Modified shotgun rules apply. You don’t have to be within site of the toilet to call it, but you should be in site of the house. For example, when returning home and pulling into the parking spot, that is when calling it is permitted. But not an hour before. C’mon now.
  3. In cases of urgent need, give up your legally obtained, valid place in line. That’s just the right thing to do.
  4. Understand that washing and elimination are the two main activites that must be done in the bathroom. Other activities — drying, brushing or combing out, flat ironing, curling, or braiding one’s hair and also applying makeup can, should, and will be done elsewhere.

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    The Waterboy and his Mama

  5. If you are engaging in non-bathroom essential activities see Rule Number 3 above, and step aside (um, Get Out!).
  6. Again, in case of urgent need, be willing to share. There have been times when one girl is in the shower and the other is on the “pot.” (That’s what my mother calls it.)        tenor-2
  7. Become a nighttime shower person. That whole — bath time before bed — doesn’t have to stop at puberty.  In fact, it can quite relaxing.
  8.   Improvise.

Prince

My son has always been a resourceful young chap, and he is, you know, a boy. His anatomy is conducive to certain alternative elimination arrangements. Much more so than me and his sisters.

I only found out about this recently. I promise. Like in the last couple of years. The girls were fussing over some bathroom violation and the boy just laughed, shrugged, turned to me and said,

“I don’t have this problem. I have my own bathroom.”

“Say what?” I asked.

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  “My window.” 

When I began to breathe again and my head stopped spinning it was confirmed that years ago my boy child had, at times, peed out his window.

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From The Waterboy. Mama was having the brain pain.

I can’t imagine this was truly necessary. Or that it happened often. In fact I can’t imagine it at all. It must be a boy thing, given, again, the anatomy. Talk about male privilege . . . heh heh heh 

I did not condone this activity. I didn’t even know about it.

To be fair, you should know that the adjacent house on his window side was an abandoned foreclosure. So he didn’t pee at anyone’s home.  Notably, that house has since been flipped and though it’s a twin and smaller than our’s it is now worth much more. Likely because they added a BATHROOM! . . . but I digress . . .

Anyway, my point is that, yes, a family can live with only one bathroom. It is not the end of the world. It does not make them freaks. Ask New Yorkers, San Franciscans, people outside of the United States, your parents or grandparents, or those tiny house folks. It builds character, patience, law and order, teaches people to be considerate of others and yes, at times, requires resourcefulness.

Do you hear me HGTV?  We haven’t bravely “survived” living with one bathroom, as if it were akin to living under a bridge or in a circus tent.

It’s really not that big a deal.

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Just Me With . . . just one bathroom in my house.  And one boy — with one window in his room.

What is it with this house and urine placement?

Piss, Puke, and Porn

Toilet or Kitchen Sink — Who Can Tell?

My Love Affair with Dunkin’ Donuts’ Bathroom

I’ve blamed HGTV before . . .

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

My Refrigerator Broke. Do I Really Need a Fancy, Stainless Steel, New One?

An Argument Against the Open Floor Plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Streak Is Over: A Text From My Ex

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was having a bad week anyway. My dad wasn’t doing well but refused to go to the hospital. My uncle, who was in decline, was in his last hours and I sat with him, his wife, and my mother on what proved to be his last night on this earth. All in all, the week sucked already. Big time.

But then it got worse. There it was, a text:

“Hello, Roxanne. How have you been? Can you call me?”

My stomach plummeted.

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It was a text from my ex, or maybe I’ll call him My Former Husband. It sounds classier, don’t you think? And maybe my “Ex” is too familiar and universal. I mean people use “Ex” to describe a relationship that lasted mere weeks. I put in decades with that man . . . But I digress . . .

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Anywho, this much must be understood. I had not laid eyes on spoken to My Former Husband in almost 13 months. Over a year. Nor had I even exchanged texts with him. It was a glorious streak.

And for those of you who may wonder about the children, know this: The children have seen and spoken to him. The children are big ass young women and one big ass young man – with a job and an apartment and a roommate. We’re not entirely sure what he does. Something with numbers and computers . . . For folks who know Friends, he’s Chandler Bing.

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The younger ones are still very much dependent on me, but not in order to see him. They are on their own with that — with my car. The last time I saw my former husband was at a graduation. Before that, a funeral. You see, absent a major event, we have no contact. As I said, it was glorious.

But it was over.

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Seinfeld

There it was, the drive-by sniper text. The kids are home on break, living with me. I know they are okay. So, I was annoyed that I had to deal with him and break my very important streak. And as I said, I was dealing with health and death issues already. I was not in the mood for his shenanigans.

When I initially saw the text, after I offered some expletives to my screen, I did the mature thing and DM-ed my Twitter friend. Who, by the way, felt my pain. We go way back.

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We came up with what I thought was a brilliant response, “Is everything all right?” It forced him to give me a hint as to the reason for his call without my being confrontational. Usually he prefers to keep me in the dark, catch me off guard, it’s classic. Shout out to anybody who has someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in their lives. It’s a bitch.

Turns out it was a kid issue that wasn’t really an issue. But I had to talk to him in order to confirm that. I had to endure his faux Father Of The Year concern. Some troubled families have Disney Dad’s, dudes that come around for a good time. My kids have a Disaster Dad, he shows up when he smells (or manufactures) trouble so that he can swoop in, play the devoted, attentive father and save the day. And let everybody know it. The daily grind, hustle and taking care of business? Then he’s Ghost Dad. Which I prefer, actually.

But it’s a new world. I know the drill, his behaviors, and I have strategies, coping mechanisms, if you will, that allow all (well, most of) his bullshit to roll off me.

First, I invoked the power stance I learned from a very popular Ted Talk. He couldn’t see me, but I was Wonder Woman.

Next, I allowed myself a Tina Fey eye roll.

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Third, I remained standing.

Fourth, I repeated the Tina Fey eye roll.

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Fifth, I summoned, nay, I transformed myself into a woman who gave a shit about what he was talking about and who was not repulsed by the sound of his voice and his new found corporate speak. It was a Meryl Streep level acting performance. I may have missed my calling, folks.

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On The Waterfront

And when it was over, I let it go. In years past it would have pissed the hell out of me for days that he made a point of telling me anecdotes about the kids he thought I didn’t know, that this sudden urgent concern never seems to appear when the kids need financial assistance — amounts as small as gas or toll money, and certainly not tuition payments. And I packed away my ire about his very recent and partially successful efforts at engineering the unavailability of the children to attend both my best friend’s family barbecue and my father’s bedside birthday celebration.

That guy . . .

But I listened. I danced with the devil on my Android phone. I engaged (or pretended to). And though half the voices in my head were calling bullshit and the other half were sobbing, bemoaning the end of my 13 month ex-free streak, I remained calm. I was an active participant in his performance art.

By the way, his “concern” was triggered by seeing one of those “This Is Not A Bill” statements which revealed the facility visited by one of the kids.

Where, pray tell, are all the privacy measures when an policy holder gets to see the type of treatment a covered adult receives? Talking to you, HIPAA.

The urgent “problem” was something I already knew and nothing for him to be concerned about. And perhaps something she had not wanted him to know. (No, it was not female problems.)

His performance as caring dad was a worthy effort. To those not familiar he would have sounded sincere. But when I told him she needed help with the co-pays his fatherly concern evaporated like a vape cloud in a teenager’s bedroom.

Anyway, I promised to let him know if I sensed any problem.

And the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role goes to …

That’s right, goddammit, ME!

Although sadly, the talk and text streak was back to day one.

Still, the not seeing him up close live and in person streak remains uninterrupted and continues…

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How I Met Your Mother

I much prefer receiving the random text from my admirer, the last being:

Hot in the summer. Warm in the winter. Sounds a lot like you. No matter what the season is…..I’ll always think fondly of you. 🌹Have a great day.

And as I was writing this post I received this:

You are truly beautiful. Both inside and out. I just had to let you know so there could be no doubt.❤ Stay well my friend. I’m just a text away.

It’s going on 10 years that I have received texts like this from him. Not that I keep track of such things . . .

Just Me With . . . texts

See:

I Have An Admirer

Another Text From My Admirer

To My Best Friend on Mother’s Day

I Don’t Love Him

How I Found Out That My Ex-Husband Was Getting Married

My Very Own Personal Olympic Games

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.

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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, let’s call her Cheryl,  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 play it cool boy, real cool …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.)

raiders gifs

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.

crazy-ex-medication

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!!

1-htgawm-testify

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?

1-black-hole

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 . . .

1-alien-scream

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!

1-the-craigslist-killer-2011-253x300

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.

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No rose for me.                                    — The Bachelor.

I wanted to go back in and scream . . .

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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.