Category Archives: Random Posts

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

Double Sinks in the Master Bath

Double Sinks in the Master Bath

Two Sinks: Now standard in new construction for Master Baths.   It’s another “must have” shown on the real estate shows.  Having previously written about the “Open Floor Plan” a commenter suggested I  discuss other popular real estate “must have” amenities.   There are  many, from walk-in closets,  stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops.    But here I’ll address Two Sinks in the Master Bath.   People just have to have these, according to many of the House Hunters couples on HGTV.   Some of these HGTV couples are so disappointed when the master bath doesn’t have two sinks, it’s a deal-breaker.  By the way, HGTV does a good job of showing same-sex couples on their shows, but the two sink thing seems to be proffered has a heterosexual couple “must have.”  I’ll address it in kind.

From what I understand, these are the reasons why this is so popular:

1.  We can get ready together in the morning! 

2.  I don’t have to deal with his/her mess in the sink, I’ll have my very own sink!  

3.  His and her sinks in the Master Bath means “I’ve Arrived!”     

Yeah, okay.  I get it.  I really do, but I’m not sure that requiring two sinks in the master bath  is the best use of construction dollars or should be a deal-breaker.

1.  We can get ready together in the morning! 

Oh, that’s cute, but think about it.  In this world when everybody has personal devices for everything, when people don’t share cars or phones or computers or even closets, why are high-end houses still designed so that a couple can share a bathroom in the morning?   The whole point, from what I understand, is that couples can both be brushing their teeth or whatever at the same time.  Really?   In a large home, especially a home that is new construction, or one that carries a price tag that starting at over a half a million dollars, or one  where each child, nanny, and guest has his/her own bathroom, why are the husband and wife supposed to brush, rinse, spit, and floss together?  Not to mention pluck, shave, or otherwise groom.  I don’t care what you say, HGTV, but most husbands and wives are not going to openly share their nasal maintenance.    And though I’m not completely sure what men do in the bathroom, I’m reasonably sure I don’t need to see it.

Let’s face it:  regardless of the existence of two sinks, some things will be done behind the closed bathroom door while the spouse is elsewhere — anywhere — but standing at the adjacent sink.

And for those couples who are completely comfortable sharing bathroom activities with each other?  They don’t need two sinks.

2.  I don’t have to deal with his/her mess in the sink.  I’ll have my very own sink!  

Even when couples won’t use the bathroom as the same time, they want their own space.   As I’ve heard repeatedly on HGTV, this breaks down to two concerns:

a.  Women want/need space for all their skin, hair, make-up products.

Carrie's bathroom in Sex and The City

Carrie’s bathroom in Sex and The City

b.  Men leave shaving stubble in the sink, and women don’t like to see it, clean it or use a sink with said shaving stubble.

Dude shaving.  I honestly don't see a problem with seeing this in my bathroom, but I digress . . .

Dude shaving. I honestly don’t see a problem with seeing this in my bathroom, but I digress . . .

Alrighty then.   Having two sinks will create two separate areas for two different kinds of messes, right next to each other. His and her sinks?  His and her mess.

Ew.  (Doesn’t anybody clean?)

I think we can safely say that both a man and a woman have the potential for leaving a mess in the bathroom.  Given  blow drying and flat-ironing of long hair, the skin and make-up products, it seems like the women would be more likely to be the slobs in the bathroom sink area, though on HGTV they are usually the ones to complain.    The complaint about the man’s mess seems to be mostly about shaving stubble.  It appears HGTV women are very put out about seeing shaving stubble in the sink.   Does having two sinks make it better?  Not really.   I doubt that the woman who is really bothered by the sight of beard stubble will be able to enjoy her adjacent sink  within view of said beard stubble.  Again, isn’t somebody going to clean the bathroom?

Anybody?

Having two sinks will only ensure that one is always surrounded by woman’s  mess/stuff and the other will be surrounded by a man’s mess/stuff.

Still, somebody will have to see and wash up next to the other person’s mess — and now there are two sinks to clean — or not.  It’s kind of like the Hoarder who, instead of throwing stuff out, simply rents a storage unit.

But I get it.  It’s a perk.

3.  His and her sinks in the Master Bath means “I’ve Arrived!”   (I really think this is the true reason why couples crave the two sinks.)  

But . . .  

a.  Not everyone is in a couple.

Yes, you’ve arrived, but uh  —  not all adults are coupled up.  Sometimes you arrive all by yourself (pun not intended — well, maybe a little).  It’s not always a his/her, his/his or her/her situation.  Sometimes it’s Just Me . . . heh heh heh.  I remember a scene from the movie “It’s Complicated” where the main character, a divorced woman, was redoing her bathroom and wanted to get rid of the second sink. It was just a daily reminder that she had no partner, which she was okay with, but the sinks apparently were not.    My single sister has a two sink master bathroom that came with her newer construction home.  She uses one sink, and the other holds her curling iron.  Seems a waste.

Two sinks in the Master Bath are just kind of stupid for single people, and a bit insulting.  I can almost see the existence of two sinks being a deal-breaker for a single person.    And if  person becomes single after having insisted on the double sinks?   Might as well tile “Failed Relationship” on the back splash.

b.  Not everyone aspires to be in a couple.

Having a second sink when single might invite a relationship where one is not welcome.   Remember vintage Barney in “How I Met Your Mother”?   When giving Lily the tour of his Fortress of Barnitude, he explained,  “I make it crystal clear to every girl who walks in here that this is not the place to leave a toothbrush, this is not the place to leave a contact lens case, this is a place — to leave.”   I mean, the guy has a king size bed with only a full size blanket and just one pillow.   As to the bathroom, Barney added,  “What? Only one towel?  What? No hair dryer?  You know where I keep that stuff?  Your place.  Beat it.”   Clearly, the Master (or Lady) of the house does not always have or welcome a guest planning to stay long enough to warrant a second sink.   Nope.  As Barney said, sometimes a person wants his or her home to say,  “Our work here is done.”

Barney's Bedroom in

Barney’s Bedroom in “How I Met Your Mother” Season 2. Barney would never stand for two sinks. Never.

The Solution? 

I know I can be a rebel, but I think that what I think people really want is  — wait for it —— their very own bathroom!

Why stop at the sinks?   I mean, if you’re loading down a house with all the must have stuff let’s go all the way —  I’m talking his and her separate, private bathrooms!   In the old days, many of the very wealthy couples had his and her bathrooms.  Let’s extend the royal treatment to suburban McMansions.

New Construction

You hear that, new construction designers?   You wouldn’t necessarily need that much more room, depending on the design and a bit of creativity.  Some of these high end master bedrooms have a separate seating area and his or her walk-in closets.  If there is space for all that, they could design his and her bathrooms, especially in those palatial homes and possibly even in more moderate homes.   It’s funny in these houses with every amenity imaginable and  the cars get their own room and guests have their own suites, can’t the Lady and Lord of the house brush their teeth alone?     And I’d bet it would be a huge selling point.  Huge.

Sunny Von Bulow's private bath, as depicted in the film,

Sunny Von Bulow’s private bath, as depicted in the film, “Reversal of Fortune.” Mr. Von Bulow described it as her sanctuary. She’d spend hours in there, especially after being drugged with insulin . . . but I digress.

Even for singles, we can keep that second bathroom on lock down and not within view, and only a privileged few could earn a key to this “executive washroom.”  It would be a “special guest” bath.  As an added bonus, it would serve a dual function of keeping  our guests the heck out of our stuff.   “No, I’m sorry, honey, you use that bathroom.”  heh heh heh

But I get it.  For most of us regular folk there might not be space for two completely separate baths connected to the master bedroom.

I’ll offer  another, less radical, suggestion.  When remodeling or buying new construction or house shopping, consider having only one sink in the Master Bath,  make the assumption that a couple will not actually be in the bathroom together, or if they are, they are not both using the sink at the same time.   Instead, use the money saved to install a larger, easy to clean counter space, creating an area that can accommodate all the products with great lighting and plenty of mirrors.   Or, better yet,  design personalized storage for all of those products and hair appliances so they can be used and put away (or left out)  while still hot.   And that one sink?  Make it and the  counter easy to wipe clean of the shaving stubble,  you could or even install a sprayer.    (Or get a maid.)

Let’s put a second (or third) sink where it belongs —  in the hall (children’s) bath.  It always amazes me when this is missing in a space that would allow it, especially in homes that are meant to accommodate more than one child.   It’s kids that  brush their teeth together while another small child is sitting on the toilet.   Kids aren’t concerned about modesty, have less products and consequently less need for counter space.   But trust me, you want them washing those grubby hands.  Any preschool teacher or parent will tell you kids tend to wash better and brush teeth longer with a buddy.   So let the kids live dorm style.  Just teach them to clean the sinks, all of them!

Aw, let the kids wash up together!

Aw, let the kids wash up together!

Just Me With . . . no master bath at all, so I’m talking, excuse my expression,  — out of my ass.   We are a family of six sharing one bathroom.  I would love to have another sink — anywhere!

Many thanks to the commenter David Travers, who inspired this post, and to HGTV, a channel that I watch, enjoy, and criticize frequently.

Maybe I’m just jealous.

See also:

Double Sinks in the Master Bath, Part II

An Argument Against the Open Floor Plan

and How to Unclog a Toilet While Under Sedation

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Many thanks to  Annie, at Simple. I Just Do.  for nominating me for a Liebster Award!   The Liebster Award is meant to recognize and promote bloggers who don’t have a ton of followers (under 200, to be exact).   I’ve said it before, but I tend to break most blogging rules.   I didn’t mean to take so long to respond to this though, truly I didn’t.    With apologies for my tardiness, here it goes.

First , some random facts about myself:

1.  I could go the rest of my life without eating ice cream or chocolate and be okay.

2.  I have never seen Pocahontas or Finding Nemo.

3.  I have a hard time thinking of facts about myself.

4.  I once received a kiss on the cheek from a member of The Rat Pack.

Now, I’ll answer Annie’s questions:  

Questions:

1.  Mac or PC?

PC.  One day I’ll get a Mac, but no can do on the budget right now.

2.  Best book series you’ve ever read?

I haven’t read a book series since I was a kid.  I guess I’m not one for the series.  One and done.

3.  Favorite section of the art museum to visit?

          I haven’t been to one in an embarrassingly  long time.  But I like paintings more than sculptures.

4.  Most annoying thing (that bothers you)?

I honestly can’t break that down.  There are too many.  Lately, well consistently,  it pisses me off when people say “Oh, that poor boy,” when they find out that my son has four sisters.  Don’t get me started . . .

5.  Night Owl or Early Riser?

Both, which is not good.  Not good at all.

6.  What would your friends say is your best quality?

I don’t know, funny?

7.  At what temperature do you turn on the AC?

Hmmm.  It depends on who is home.  I often turn it off and open the windows.

8.  Beaches or Mountains?

Beaches, the sound of the ocean is comforting.

9.  If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Food, meh.  No answer here.

10.  Worst chore?

Cleaning the toilet, or more accurately, the floor around the toilet.

11.  Current guilty pleasure?

Honestly, sometimes I feel really guilty about, yet derive great pleasure from, blogging.  Weird.

Now I’ll nominate my own people and ask them questions!  I will massage the rules and nominate only 3, and ask only a few questions, easy ones.

And the award goes to . . .

And the award goes to . . .

I hereby nominate the following blogs for the Liebster Award:

WriterMom 

Women Without Limits

Southern Jezebelle

Please take a bow.  I invite my followers to drop by the above blogs, as I have found them enjoyable.   Click on, baby, click on.

Now, here are my questions for these freshly minted Nominees, answer as many or as few as you’d like:

1.  How do you like your eggs, if you eat them?

2.  How many TVs are in your home?

3.  Did you go to your senior prom, if there was one?

4.  Do you use more than two fingers to type?

5.  Do you have other writing projects, apart from your blog?

6.  Do you have a smart phone, if so, what kind?

7.  How do you like your coffee, if you drink it?

Here are the Liebster Award “rules” :

1.Thank the Liebster-winning Blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.

2. Post 11 interesting facts about yourself.

3. Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.

4. Create 11 questions for your nominees. 

5. Nominate 11 blogs of 200 followers or less which you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

6.  Display the Liebster Award

I’m honored to have received the award (again — yay!).  Soon, I hope, I will be technically ineligible for this award, as I’m almost at 200 followers!   Thanks to my readers and followers for finding and sticking with me!    And thanks again, Annie at  Simple. I Just Do.  for nominating me!

Just Me With . . . a Liebster Award. 

Going Away to School — and Staying There!

the common app

My oldest is going through the college application process.  It’s stressful.   I’m not sure whether he’ll get his first choice, I’m not sure how it will all work out with financial aid/scholarships, etc., but that is my stress.  I want him to concentrate only on getting in somewhere, somehow we’ll figure out the rest.   He and I agree on one thing.  The goal is for him to go to a residential college and live on campus, preferably hours or even a plane ride away.   I know there are many different ways to get a college education, from living on campus to strictly online.  And I know it’s a personal and family and financial decision.   But I want my son, and then later my daughters, to go away.  It’s largely because of the divorce.

For years the children have had to navigate a visitation schedule on top of all of their many activities.   I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  The cute little visitation schedule that divorced families create when the kids are little turns to a burden when those same kids hit middle school and beyond, especially if the kids are involved in sports or other school activities.  You can divide time all you want, put at some point there are many other demands on those same hours.  You think you can’t split the baby?   Try splitting a teen.  When kids get older, parents are no longer in control of their time, other people and institutions set your kids’ schedule, and let me tell you, they don’t care about the custody order.  But for us, when something pops up on the calendar, our first thought for years has been, “Wait, is that a Daddy day?”   The schedule has given the children an added stress that’s frankly getting really old.

Also, though I was able to keep the kids in the same schools, we had to move to a neighborhood that carries a bit of a stigma (understatement).   It’s safe;  it’s just not very nice.   The kids had no choice in this.  I barely had a choice, except  as a compromise to keep them in the same school.   It was an obvious compromise, just like so many things in our daily lives, occasioned by the divorce.  My Ex-Husband has remarried, and I’m assuming happily remarried, but for the kids that carries with it an obligation to meet and mingle with an entirely new extended family.   It’s not that there is anything wrong with the new people, it’s just yet another community that the kids are unfamiliar with, did not choose to join, and to which they have no connection.  It’s an addition to already divided time.

Wait, where are we going now?”  is something my kids have to deal with a lot.

Animal House

So yes, fly, fly away, little bird.  Go and study and stay in one place.

I support my son trying to get into a school where he would have to live on campus, one that is not close to home, where he will not have the ability or expectation to come home on weekends.  I want him, for the first time in his life since childhood, to live and STAY in a community of his choosing and not commute between two or more worlds.   I want him to make friends and have the ability to hang out with them whenever he wants, without regard to his parents’ schedules.

Right now, my kids are  living in a very artificial world.   Usually, for two parent families or single parent families when the other parent is not in the picture,  a teen is not required to spend Saturday night with his or her parents and siblings.   Normally, a kid is not required to travel to another house for a three-hour dinner on a school night unless they have a valid, acceptable excuse not to go.   In our house there are days that my kids leave the house at 7:00 am and do not return until after 8:30 pm on a school night and then start their homework.   Don’t get me wrong,  family time is great. Having dinner together is important, but as kids get older on which days that happens and how much time it takes should naturally change, without getting lawyers involved.  The way it is now?  Not natural.

And as my son ages out of the required visitation schedule, I do not want him to be anywhere nearby where he’ll either feel pressure to continue to honor the visitations or guilt when he doesn’t.   Imagine if he was living at home while his younger siblings still went on the visits.  His not going would be a statement.  His choosing to go would be a statement.   I don’t want him to have to make statements anymore.  I just want him to study and grow as an adult and connect with family because he wants to, not because he’s required to, or is afraid of the fallout if he doesn’t.   I want him to be able to make plans for consecutive weekends.  (Gasp!)  And I don’t want him to need a ride or a car or permission or explanation.   I want him to manage his own schedule without regard to the custody order entered into when he was elementary school.  And I don’t want him to have to adapt to new people, extended families,  and sketchy neighborhoods that were the choices of his parents– not him.    It’ll be the first time he’ll be on an even playing field with fellow students of similar abilities.  He’ll actually live where he fits in and won’t have to commute elsewhere to put time in different communities.   I  want him free from being defined by his neighborhood, his parents’ marital status, or an old court visitation order.

I want him to be somewhere where no one is expected (or required) to spend time with either parent.

My son is troubled.  He’s a complicated, quiet young man.  He’s anxious to go away.   He understands the difficulties of the home situation more than he talks about and he plays the game.  He picks and chooses when to approach his dad about a change in the schedule, knowing that asking too often will make his dad angry and might draw a “no” when he really needs a “yes.”     My ex-husband is sometimes less open to the kids choosing to spend time elsewhere unless it is a sanctioned school activity.  He takes it personally.   In response to the boy’s request to go to an end of the season sports party (they’d won states — yay!) on a “Dad Day” my ex-husband texted me, and said,

 “He’s going to have to miss things to spend time with me.  The kids need to know that.”  

Well, no more.    I want the boy to  live in a community of his choosing, day and night, a community  that reflects his interests, his abilities and his personality.   And one that values his time.     Of course I’ll miss him and  I’ll look forward to him coming home on holidays and some breaks, but I think it would be a breath of fresh air if, for the first time, when Mom or Dad want to see him, we will have to carry our behinds to him, on his schedule, that is,  if he’s available.

Just Me With . . . a little birdie planning to leave the nest —   or should I say “nests.”

 All of this reminds me of when I went away to college many moons ago, and  my ex-husband, then boyfriend, still scheduled my time with him.   See, The Night I Became Cinderella.

Goodbye Hoarders

A&E's Hoarders

A&E’s Hoarders

It was with a heavy heart that I heard confirmation that the A&E reality show “Hoarders” would not be filming new shows. Hoarders has been cancelled.

Having purchased a partially hoarded house I found some comfort in Hoarders, which profiled one or two homes an episode and “cleaned house” with the help of Psychologists, professional cleaning crews and the hoarder him or herself.

I know that some folks complained that the home owners were being exploited and objectified for entertainment, since audiences seemed simultaneously to enjoy and be disgusted by seeing the filth and mountains of mess (and sometimes poop). It seemed to me that the hoarders were getting help that they would not have otherwise received and were the better for it. The crew never laughed at or belittled the hoarders, instead they just tried to convince the hoarders that something had to change. Getting rid of the hoard was always a safety and mental health issue, and usually a financial necessity. Yes, it was a television show, but it wasn’t just about entertainment.

As for me, I found some brethren. I was not aware of the show while I was cleaning the worst of the worst out of my new house, a friend told me about it and said I should watch. When I did, I found that the shows gave me comfort.

Comfort you ask? Among the piles of wet papers and rotten food?

Yes, comfort. Because until I saw Hoarders I didn’t know that I was not alone in stumbling upon a collection of bottles of urine. Hoarders showed me that people other than the former inhabitants of my house have found themselves at a point in life where the kitchen is as likely a place to dispose of human waste as the bathroom. In Hoarders I saw how, like with my house, a home’s smell can make visitors gag while the inhabitants remain completely unaware of the stench. And at the end of each episode of Hoarders, I was amazed at how the hoarded houses looked after they were cleaned out, and it reminded me of how far my house had come.

So yes, comfort.

Now, as I help my parents clear out some of the decades of accumulated clutter in their house, I find myself using the techniques I viewed on Hoarders. I’ve learned to understand how so many things can simply be piled up — unused or incorrectly stored. My parents are not clinical Hoarders, and their house is still functional and the front rooms pristine. However, the private areas and attic and basement are full, and unsafe. My parents are like a lot of true hoarders in that they are old and grew up with next to nothing. Though my parents went to college, married, had children and bought a home, they were never wealthy. And they never moved. As a result, decades of stuff has never been relocated or inventoried.

My parents, and their parents before them, lived through some of the most economically and socially challenging times in United States history — the Wars, the Depression, the time both before and after the civil rights movement. I think they grew up with an underlying persistent worry that they could lose what they have at any given moment, or that someone would try to steal it from them. So, like some of the clients on Hoarders, they ascribe value to things that no one would buy, and by piling up mountains of stuff, they endanger the most valuable possession they have — their house.

The show Hoarders helped me to know that even the most unlikely item has a story, that sometimes the story needs to be told before the item can be discarded, and that when the smallest treasure is exhumed from its grave of stuff, it triggers a memory — of a different time, a different place, a different person.

As I help my parents clean out I have specifically utilized a few Hoarders tricks:

1. Lay out a tarp to place items on outside, they look different in the light of day.

2. When cleaning out a closet, dresser, or any area, I don’t stand there and pull out items one at a time. Instead, I take everything out at once and set it all out, assuring my parents that we’ll return the items they choose to keep, but we need to get everything out first.

I’ve learned it’s easier for most people to justify keeping an unused item in a closet– it’s not hurting anybody — but it’s a lot harder to justify putting useless things back in once they’re out.

3. Try to do as much in one day or sitting as possible. It’s never a good idea to allow extra time to think about items.

This was the genius of Hoarders. It wasn’t just for filming that the task had to be accomplished in two days. It’s better for the hoarder to have to make quick decisions.

4. Remove discarded items immediately.

Even when possessions are marked for trash, there can be a “declutter remorse” if there is a bag or piece of furniture or appliances or tools left in view. It’s just too tempting for someone with hoarding tendencies to revisit the trash, go through it and bring stuff back in, promising to fix it, or find a use for it, or sell it — later. I’ve been known to load my parents’ trash in my car and take it home to put out in my own trash, just to avoid the temptation to “trash pick.”

A&E’s Hoarders may be cancelled, but it has and will continue to help me. Now, as I watch my Dad go through piles of once expensive clothing piece by piece, stuff that’s over forty years old, suits that he has never worn and he probably inherited, clothes that have mice dirt on them and moth holes in them, I think,

What would Matt Paxton do?

and I feel better.

And as I clear an area, making it easier for my parents to get around and find the things they actually need, I know that no matter how hard the fight was, the process is important, especially when it helps them locate and display — or even sell — the things that do have real value. Plus, I feel better making the home safer. But it ain’t easy. No, it’s not.

Matt Paxton from Hoarders

Matt Paxton from Hoarders

So thanks Matt and the whole Hoarders crew. You helped. You really did.

Just Me With . . . among many other things, a collection of vintage Ebony and Look magazines, a couple of flat mice (but not cats!), a tractor, bowling shoes, and more patience than I thought I could ever conjure up.

Related Posts:

Piss, Puke, and Porn — The discoveries I made inside my new old house.

That Hoarders Smell — How to get rid of that awful smell.

Toilet or Kitchen Sink —- Who Can Tell? — I saw some nasty stuff in the old kitchen.

Exhumation by Accident — I dug up something in my yard.

Craigslist Angels — One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure — Giving Away Christmas Decorations Can Be A Very Good Thing.

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

A Dinner Party Invitation

A Dinner Party Invitation

I’ve been invited to a dinner party. A fancy sit down dinner party with a cocktail hour preceding it. It’s a happy occasion, celebrating the wife’s successful battle against cancer. I still remember her tearful message on my voice-mail, canceling her son’s lesson because she had found out she had cancer, “I just want to see my boys grow up,” she’d said.

But after multiple surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, she’s been cancer-free for ten years, hence the party. I’m not usually invited anywhere, let alone a society-like dinner party. And even though I often avoid social settings, I decided that I would go.

The pink invitation was addressed to me, “and Guest.

Huh.

I immediately started to think of who I might bring, though no good choices came to mind. It was a bit of a stressor, still, I fantasized about what it would be like to bring a smart, well-spoken man who knows his way around a dining room table. My old college friend (with seldom used benefits)? No, too complicated. As I was pondering my situation, I eventually checked my voice-mail. Cheryl had called to make sure I’d gotten the invitation. She was afraid I’d gone away on vacation and would miss it. She added that she didn’t know whether I was seeing someone or had someone I take to events like this but she wanted me to know that she’d be happy to see me come alone. She said I should feel totally comfortable coming alone and that would be just great. They’d just be thrilled to see me, and I could come alone.

That was nice.

She wanted to make me feel comfortable about COMING ALOOOOONE.

Remember Steve Martin in the classic

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

I delayed in responding. I’d recently attended her son’s graduation party alone and though it was nice, I was a bit uncomfortable and felt very conspicuous. See I Almost Crossed One Off of My Bucket List of Men to Do.

As I continued pondering, a possible potential date came to mind — a man I’d met through group therapy. He’d recently quit group so it was completely appropriate (if freaking weird) to see him outside of the therapeutic context. I was going over in my mind how I’d introduce him. “We used to work together,” sounded plausible. (Yes, we worked out our tortured psyches, but no one need know that part.) It would be weird, maybe too weird, since he knows much more about me than a casual friendly date would need to know. But he’s a smart guy who, I have no doubt, would be able to talk to the people at this dinner. I tweeted a random query about it to my friends who live in my phone about whether that would just be too weird. I received a response that I should just go alone because being single is awesome.

There it was again, “Go alone.

Suddenly I felt that it was some sign of weakness that I even considered bringing a companion.

In the end, I left a message for Cheryl saying that yes, I would love to attend, but that, “As it looks now, I’ll be coming alone.” I guess I just wanted to leave the door open, even just in my mind.

Shortly after, I happened to be outside when Cheryl drove by my house (in her very nice Jaguar convertible). She stopped and exclaimed how thrilled she and her husband were that I would be coming. Then she elaborated. She said she thinks it’s just great for me to come alone, that she was single for a long time and she became so tired of bringing someone she’d have to entertain. She started going places alone, she explained. “I can’t tell you how many weddings I went to alone. I’m just like you. It’s better not to bring just anybody. If it was somebody special, sure, but there’s no need to have to entertain somebody else. Plus, there will be plenty of people you know. Some of the folks from the graduation and The Martin’s and . . .

She proceeded to name only couples.

The one couple I did, in fact, know, but I’ve ever had any meaningful conversations with them. At the graduation party they extended a warm hello and then walked around the pool hand in hand. I can’t fault them for that, I mean, it’s not their job to entertain me.

Then Cheryl said — again, “I’m just thrilled you’re coming and I think it’s great that you’re coming alone.

Crap.

I know she meant well. I do not fault her at all. But it had an effect on me — I abandoned any thoughts of bringing an escort.

But why wasn’t I encouraged to bring a date? This is a dinner party! It’s not a wedding, Baptism or Bar/Bat-Mitvah. For family religious ceremonies it doesn’t really make sense to bring a rent-a-date. Those occasions are sacred and there will be pictures that the family will look at forever — and I don’t want them looking my random date and think — “Who the hell was that?”

But a dinner party? Why not bring a companion, even if he’s not someone special?

I know why. It’s the new black. It’s the new black for women to go alone. It’s a sign of strength.

Well, it’s not so new for me. I’ve done it for years, both before and after my divorce. See, ” The Night I Became Cinderella” and “The New Walk of Shame for the Single Woman, Going Out Alone.” My ex-husband hated going anywhere. I could get him to go to my work formal once a year and that was about it for those kind of events. Other than that I went places solo and told people my husband had to work. After we had children, a.k.a. the built in excuses I’d birthed, I would just say my husband was home with the kids. So for me, I’ve done the new black. In fact, I’ve always been black. (Pun intended) For me, it would be the new free indeed the new ME to go somewhere with a man.

I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’ll talk to people. As usual, I’ll be my own designated driver and won’t drink. See, “My Kids Think I’m an Alcoholic.” I’ll be prepared to be seated with all couples. See, “I Went To A Wedding Alone.”

Yes, as Cheryl pointed out, I would have had to entertain a date, but he’d also have to entertain me. If the couples are uncomfortable or just not gregarious I’d know I’d have someone to sit with. Let’s face it, this isn’t a get together with old college chums or a girls night out. It’s a sit down dinner party in the wealthy suburbs, and all that that implies.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but being single means I can have a date if I want, right? Isn’t that the bonus of being single? Choices? Options? — Even if the options put me outside of my comfort zone? But according to Cheryl, my only logical and fiercely independent option seems to be to go, bravely, alone.

Damn it. I’ve been out of the game for so long now I’m not even expected or allowed to have a companion — for anything!

Humph.

In the end, even though the invitation originally said I could bring a date, the multiple encouraging and congratulatory comments persuaded me to RSVP for one. (In other words, I chickened out.)

After so many years of marriage and experience going places alone, I probably needed Cheryl to say, or for me to say to myself, “You can bring somebody, anybody, if you want.” Oh the sweet freedom — to bring a male friend, or gay male friend, or hell, a paid male friend (not that I could afford that — heh heh heh).

But because of the new black, in my warped mind it has been made abundantly clear to me that I should– I must — go alone.

So I will.

Humph.

Oh well. Maybe I’ll get lucky. Or maybe Cheryl is planning to fix me up with one of the older men of means who is similarly unattached.

Just Me With . . . no date, boldly going where no man has gone before . . . or with . . . at least, not as my date, anyway.

Star Trek

Star Trek

And this is what it was like:

I Went To A Dinner Party Alone

My Kids Think I’m An Alcoholic

Drunk Bree on Desperate Housewives

Drunk Bree on Desperate Housewives

Yes, my children think that I’m an alcoholic. It came up one night when my girls were in my bedroom. I try to keep my bedroom nice, as a retreat for me. I didn’t realize that it would attract my female offspring. They keep their rooms like hoarders-in-training but come to my room to relax. It’s just not fair . . . but I digress . . .

One night when they were lounging in my room one daughter told me she thinks I’m an alcoholic.

“What? Why?” I asked, completely shocked.

“Well, a recovering alcoholic,” she clarified, and further explained, “I’ve never seen you drink.'” She pointed out that she’d seen my sisters and my best friend drink but, “You never do, Mommy.”

“Even Daddy drinks,” she added. I must have made a face of some sort because she quickly said, “But not too much.”

She went on, “But Mommy you never drink so I figured — you can’t. And you never have alcohol in the house. What grown up never has alcohol in the house?”

Well damn. The kid has it all figured out. Her sisters chimed in and agreed. “Oh yeah, I thought that, too,” said one. “Me too,” said another. The one I call “The Quirky One” just smiled.

But I’m not an alcoholic!” I protested.

Recovering alcoholic, mom,” she corrected me.

Crap.

Sooo. My kids think I’m an alcoholic because I don’t drink. Yup, It’s very difficult to prove that you are not a recovering alcoholic if someone thinks you are.

Am I going to have to throw a few back at the dinner table just to show my kids I’m not a drunk? Bring a six-pack to the high school football game maybe? Down a Bloody Mary at breakfast?

Damn kids don’t know my life.

The truth is, except for the college years I’ve never been much of a drinker. My ex-husband was absolutely and totally against drinking, see My High School Self and The Night I Became Cinderella. I didn’t make my own decisions about it, Instead, I followed his lead since he had very strong opinions that theoretically made sense. He had come from a family that had been plagued by substance abuse. Most of his siblings have had issues, serious issues. Even his mother, her first and second husbands, and his estranged father reportedly had bouts with addiction. He’d seen some bad things caused by alcohol or drugs and feared the propensity for addiction might be hereditary. I’d seen the effects on his family and vowed never to expose my own children to that lifestyle.

So he and I were going to be different.

I didn’t drink, except at college where I drank behind his back with my college friends whom he never really liked. After we were married we only kept alcohol in the house for holidays. Bottles of hard alcohol collected dust on top of the cabinets until they were wiped clean and set out at Christmas. We were definitely not a “wine with dinner” family. My husband and I shared a few drinks over the years, but by and large I completely missed the typical partying or bar hopping of youth and the happy hours of the young professionals. Then came the pregnancy and breastfeeding years where I had to abstain anyway — so it’s been years since I’ve been any kind of drinker.

No matter, after double-digit years of marriage and five children my husband left me. I could do whatever I damn well pleased.

Unfortunately, at the time that meant taking anti-depressants.

Fact: You’re not supposed to drink when taking anti-depressants. So, I didn’t. I follow directions, you see. I’m obedient like that. No drinks for me while I was on the meds.

No matter, after a very difficult “discontinuation period” (aka “withdrawal”), I’m off the anti-depressants. Technically, or should I say, medically, I can drink now. Hooray, hooray!

But I still don’t drink.

First, I’m a complete lightweight. After not drinking for years, I can’t hold my liquor. Half a drink and I’m tipsy, and not in a good way.

Second, since I roll solo most of the time, I’m always my own designated driver so . . . can’t drink.

Third, now is not the time to start having alcohol at home, not with a house full of teenagers.

And fourth, I’m the custodial parent of five children. I’ve got responsibilities, I can’t sit at the local bar with friends every night. That ship has sailed. I missed it. Damn it.

The gang hanging out at Mclaren's on

The gang hanging out at Mclaren’s on “How I Met Your Mother”

So yeah, I’m free to do what I want now — except that I’m not, not exactly, not really. Story of my life . . . but I digress . . .

But this is what kills me — my formerly anti-social, teetotaler, judgmental ex-husband is now the life of the party. After years of telling me that drinking was wrong, that he was afraid of addiction, that he didn’t think kids should be exposed to alcohol — now he drinks and to our kids, he’s the normal one . . . but me? Me?

Hello, I’m Mommy and I’m an alcoholic.

Just Me With . . . a drink in my hand. It’s coffee.

It begs the question: If my girls think that because they’ve never seen me drink I must be an alcoholic, what do they think about the fact that they’ve never seen me date? I mean, their Dad has found love and remarried. I, on the other hand, have not. I abstain, or so it may seem. The girls probably think I don’t occasionally enjoy the company of a man (or keep one in the house) because I’m either: (1) still heartbroken about their Dad, or (2) have herpes.

Humph. Offensive, either way.

Related: Getting Off The Meds

My Cheating Husband Was Packing Viagra

The Viagra Bathtubs on the Beach

The Viagra Bathtubs on the Beach

Although my husband and I were regularly engaging in “the physical act of love” (channeling Ross from Friends), whenever he wanted, and I mean, I really mean — whenever he wanted, see Sex On Demand,  let’s  just say that such activities did not require a huge time commitment.

I had suggested that my husband talk to his doctor about it, but he declined.  No, he would not.  No.

Fast forward to after my husband “broke up with me”  and moved out, taking surprisingly few possessions, saying he’d come back for the rest.   As I discussed in  When I Needed A Helping Hand,  I didn’t want him to keep coming back to get his stuff so I decided I’d pack it up for him–not to help him, but to help me.  Like mothers often say to children — “in or out,”  he had chosen “out,” despite my begging, and I mean, I really mean — begging him to reconsider.  So, I thought I’d help the process along if for no other reason than to keep him from prolonging it.

One night, after the kids were in bed, behind my closed bedroom door, my sister, a friend, and I packed up his shit.   At one point I pulled out one of his suitcases he’d used for his last trip, an island vacation which I’d recently discovered he’d taken with a lady friend.  See My Worst Super Bowl, Remembered.   I intended to use the suitcase to pack some of his things.

The suitcase, I noticed,  still sported the airport  tags.

Lovely.

It also contained some papers,  which I read.

The papers turned out to be  receipts for my husband’s prescription for Viagra,  well actually Levitra, a “sister” (or should I say bro)  erectile dysfunction drug .  The prescription had been filled  in the week prior to my husband’s  romantic island vacation with his sweetie.

What the  . . . hell? 

I read it, showed it to my sister and friend.   They both said, if I recall correctly, “Ew.

There it was, in my hand, evidence that my husband had pursued the best that  modern western medicine had to offer in order to  enhance  his sexual relationship with another woman, the woman he was not leaving me for, or so he said,  though they had secured an apartment together and that’s where all his things were no doubt going.

Lucky girl . . .   she got his stuff, and his stuff on steroids . . .

Looking back, I  remembered I’d previously discovered (and suppressed) facts in support of this information — facts that suddenly made sense.

His doctor had called the house to confirm an appointment.

I had wondered:  Why?  Why? When we were going through this god-awful thing, was my husband making doctor’s appointments?   I was the one who was sick, wasn’t eating or wasn’t sleeping and was constantly crying — why was he going to the doctor?

The pharmacy had called to tell him his prescription was ready.

I had wondered:  What is he taking?  He’s not sick!  He’s a mean son-of-a-bitch, certainly —  but he’s not sick!

Later, after his stuff was packed and gone, at some point in my post-separation cleaning frenzy –I’m the polar opposite of a hoarder, when I’m upset I throw everything out — I’d  found a letter from the insurance company, dated right after the romantic trip time, stating that yes, based on his doctor’s recommendation, the  unnamed medication in question would indeed be covered by insurance.

I had wondered: What?   Had he paid the full price for the Viagra in order to get it before the trip because insurance hadn’t kicked in yet?   

According to the dates and bank receipts which showed a $200 plus expenditure at the pharmacy on the eve of the island trip, yes, yes, he had.

Ouch.  But it all made sense now.

 

I wanted to scream, “Did he tell his doctor that he needed this medication for use with his girlfriend and NOT his wife?  DID THE DOCTOR KNOW THAT LITTLE FACT?????” 

Not that it mattered.

I tried not to think of his chemically enhanced love-making to this woman.  She brought him newness and adoration, he brought  . . .  drugs.

Inserting this again because my husband and his sweetie literally had  Viagra on the Beach.

Inserting this again because my husband and his sweetie literally had Viagra on the Beach.

I packed his crap a little faster after this  discovery, as I recall.   Just a little bit faster.

And I think I washed my hands.

Just Me With . . . a medical discovery.   

After everything was packed I called a friend  When I Needed A Helping Hand.

See also:

A Snowy Night for a Breakup

Our Breakup — The Musical Revival

My Worst Super Bowl, Remembered

“I Am Here! I Am Here! I Am Here!” said the Nanny

Wall Street

Wall Street

A couple of weeks ago, I was in receipt of what I now refer to as “Nanny Texts” — when my ex-husband gives me instructions on the preparation of the kids for an event he’s taking them to.

— Have the kids wear clothes, shoes.

— Make sure they shower.

— No t-shirts or shorts.

— Have them ready by 3pm, this should give you plenty of time.

By the by, all of the kids are teens, and pick-up time is technically at 10am, though often the kids have activities that prohibit early pick up. On this day, however, they did not and the Ex had been informed of this.

As to the directive, “Have the kids wear clothes,” obviously  he’d forgotten the word “nice”  — he wanted them to wear “nice” clothes.   But still it was funny.   Sometimes I just read or show or forward the Nanny Texts to the kids to minimize my work as  the middle man, so there is no mistake as to what he  is requiring, and that it’s coming from him, not me.   This time I simply showed the text to the kids, missing word and all.

One girl quipped,  “Well, I always manage to wear clothes.”

Another girl said, “Yeah, I was planning to go naked.”

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld

My Ex-husband was taking them to a graduation party of his oldest friend, let’s call him Jerry.  Jerry  is much older than we are and was actually my ex’s teacher in Middle School at one point.  They became friends later as adults.   Jerry had been a man approaching middle-age, single, and impossibly neat.  People who did not know him well  thought he was gay — “not that there’s anything wrong with that” —   but folks in the inner circle knew that Jerry was very much like the Jerry Seinfeld character  — not quite marriage material, string of women, classic commitment issues.

Jerry had been the Best Man at our wedding  and years later when Jerry, a long-time bachelor,  suddenly married a woman he’d met on a blind date, my then husband gave the toast.    My husband was even (temporarily) named as Godfather to their first-born, and we both visited and held the hours-old baby in the hospital.  Jerry’s second child is only seven weeks younger than our first and we have the cutest pictures of the two baby boys together.   We were always at all of Jerry’s big family gatherings– kid’s birthdays, baptisms, Super Bowl parties, and when my husband and I started having kids and birthday parties and such, Jerry and his wife and kids were always in attendance.  Jerry only came around  on special occasions, though, my husband didn’t want him at our house to just hang out because he didn’t think our house was nice enough.

Back when my husband announced his plans to leave me, I suggested that he talk to Jerry about it because maybe he needed to talk to someone other than the two women who had his ear:   me and his girlfriend.   I thought that the opposing dueling arguments from the two women who have a huge stake in the matter were just canceling  each other out.

Well, actually, no, the girlfriend clearly won those rounds, but I digress . . . .   My husband refused to confide in Jerry, though,  saying that he knew Jerry  would just try to talk him out of it and tell him it was wrong.

Alrighty then.  Anyhoo . . . 

Apart from his club activities, my husband had few friends,  Jerry was the only one, really.   So it was expected and appropriate that when the marriage ended Jerry and his family would remain friends with him, and not me.   I’ve not seen or heard from Jerry or his wife since my husband moved out many years ago.

I actually don’t know whether they socialize regularly now.  My Ex-Husband has reinvented himself in many ways.

However, my now Ex-husband was going to attend the Jerry’ s first-born’s graduation party.   He  would attend with his new wife, their children  and our children, who had been directed to wear . . . clothes.

After the teen drama at home about finding the proper clothes, the  complaints about why they had to go to this thing, that they don’t really know these people, blah blah blah . . . they managed to get themselves (with my prompting) ready only slightly after the 3pm deadline.  But  no matter,  the Ex didn’t show up until 4:15pm.  While they waited, one girl said,  “I hate it when he does this,” and her twin, who didn’t even start to get ready until 2:50pm, said, “I told you I’d have plenty of time.”  In true Ninja Ex fashion I escaped before he arrived, going to a different graduation party alone.  See I Almost Crossed One Of “My Bucket List of Men To Do” 

And off they went.

The Nanny Texts piss me off, but I’m used to it now and I know how ridiculous they sound.  But later I realized something that did feel weird, though —  that my ex-husband and our kids  were attending this party with his new family, among  people who knew us when our kids were babies and when I was visually present.

Now I certainly didn’t want to go to the party.  God no, I didn’t want to go.   Nor did I expect to be invited, of course.   It just felt a little strange that my (appropriately dressed) children were going to be there  (paraded)  with the Ex-husband and his new family celebrating with people with whom my ex-husband and I  had shared many major life events.    It was hard to believe that that hours old baby I had held (and I think it was the first time I’d ever held an “hours old” baby) was graduating high school.

I don’t know, it felt kind of like I’d been photo-shopped out and new people photo-shopped in and that no one would or could acknowledge it, despite all that we shared in the early years.

Just kind of weird.

When the kids returned, though, one of them said,

“Mom, some lady told me to tell you hello.”

I’m not sure who it was. It didn’t matter.  It made me smile.

At least someone remembered that I am here . . . or was here  . . . or had, at one time, been there . . . or . . . whatever.

"Horton Hears A Who" by Dr. Seuss

“Horton Hears A Who” by Dr. Seuss

Just Me With . . .  The Nanny Texts

If anyone is wondering why I did not simply curse my Ex out for the Nanny Texts, my failure to engage with him can be explained in blogs like:

I Won’t Take It

Divorcing a Narcissist,

and Perils of Divorced Pauline.

The short answer  is that it wouldn’t help. I pick and choose my battles.

See also, I Was The Nanny When My Ex-Husband Got Married  and My Very Own Personal Olympic Games

Can’t Concentrate Enough to Meditate

I generally don’t do well with meditation.  I’ve had my problems with medication.

Wow, that sounds like a song.   Don’t steal it, okay? . . .  but I digress . . .

I just can’t seem to quiet my mind.  It’s an ongoing problem.  I’m better at researching issues and attempting suggested solutions from a list.  Those have been my biggest breakthroughs in dealing with my crap.    But lately I’ve been feeling almost new-age-like — until the books talk about meditation, intoning aspirations and such.   I believe it does work for some people but I  have trouble.  I know it takes practice.   The books say so.

It reminds me of the time my sister was  on a girl scout  camping trip.  All of the girls were looking into the  night sky at the stars and trying to identify the constellations.  My sister and her friend were not impressed and a little bored.  They realized that since everyone was focused and looking up to the sky they could just walk away  —  unnoticed.  And they did.

That’s what my mind does.   It just walks away.   I almost actually walked away at a group therapy meditation session, but the therapist gave me a dirty look.   I just closed my eyes. Whatever.

Anywho . . .

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, meditation.

I’ve tried it and fallen asleep, I’ve tried it and gotten very angry that THESE PEOPLE ARE MAKING ME SIT HERE!!!!  And, truth be told, I haven’t tried it very diligently.    I did try  massage once.   I could not relax.   Waste of money.

So it’s really weird that I’m walking around with my Feng Shui books and compass looking for my creativity and wealth corner.

Whatever.

Just Me With . . . random thoughts.

I’m tempted to preempt the trolls who will tell me to shut the f**k up and stop whining and go out and do something productive.   Tell ya what, I’ll meditate on that, m’kay?

But seriously, I may write a song.  Maybe that’s more of my meditation style.

Somewhat related:   Getting Off The Meds

 

Mood Altering Paint Colors — Well, At Least That’s The Plan

Painting101_Lady-and-Paint_s4x3_al

I haven’t blogged in a while.  I’ve been painting.  Obsessively painting.  I wouldn’t quite call it manic on a clinical level, but yes, it had to be done.

Had to.

Be done.

Looking back, this has happened to me before.  I paint when something isn’t quite right.  The day after I had a miscarriage, I painted all of the hallway paneling in the old house.  I should have been resting.  I should have been crying.  Instead, I painted.

Then there was when my then husband went away on vacation with his club when we had many young children at home.  This, to me, was the perfect time to paint — everything– bold colors.  He came home to a purple kitchen, a hunter green eat in area and a bright sky blue play area.  I think I was jealous of his freedom, so, stuck at home, I changed my surroundings.  All while caring for multiple toddlers with open cans of paint around.  Perhaps not well-advised, but it had to be done.

Had to.

My Color Cry For Help!

My Color Cry For Help!

Later, after my husband left for good (or so I thought . . . but I digress . . . See Surveillance with My Mother and the When My Husband Moved Back Home — The Tale of Three Carries ) I  slapped beige paint over all of those colors in order to make my kaleidoscope house neutral for potential buyers.  My children didn’t help me at all.  They resented the change, hated  the beige.

We’re colorful people,” they said.

They were right.  We are colorful people,  but the HGTV gods told me I had to hide my crazy (Oops, I mean color).

Miranda Lambert, "Run and hide your crazy"  from the song Mama's Broken Hear

Miranda Lambert, “Run and hide your crazy” from the song Mama’s Broken Heart

Accordingly, all  the evidence of my color rebellion against my husband’s hobbies and freedom was –  neutralized.

Ready for Sale

Ready for Sale

I promised the children, however,  that when we moved to our new  house, we would bring color back.  As that little hoarders house smelled so badly, I painted right away, see That Hoarder’s Smell,  and I went bold: I had red living room, and the TV (family room) was a dark slate blue.

Not my house, but was my red.

Not my house, but was my red.

At one point I had an orange accent wall in my bedroom.

From the HP 033

The orange didn’t stay long, but it was there.

But lately, my little house had been pissing me off.  Well, everything has been pissing me off. The red was making me angry, I think. I’m already bitter, I don’t need to see red, literally. The dark blue was making me feel sad and closed in, like I was living in an elevator.

My home’s  overall darkness screamed despair and denial and hinted at failure, or maybe that was me . . .

Cell Block Tango, from Chicago

Cell Block Tango, from Chicago

I moved to this little hoarders’ house so that my kids could stay in the same schools.  I had to move, and it was all I could afford.  I was lucky to find it.   I’m fine with living small, but  I hate the neighborhood — which is on the lower end of the socio-economic scale — and it shows. Also, we are six tall people, and do our fair share of stepping over each other and our stuff.  But  I can’t move until they graduate, not even to a nearby neighborhood, unless there’s a big chunk of change in my near future. I’m still dealing with divorce debt.  Freedom ain’t free.

If I wanted to pull them out of school and move across country — well, I can’t do that either.  I’m divorced;  I’m not allowed to move without my ex-husband’s permission.  I’m stuck.

Parole Rejected, The Shawshank Redemption

Parole Rejected, The Shawshank Redemption

Until my youngest kids turn 18, my options are severely limited. Yes, I’m blessed to have a roof over my head, but sometimes it feels more incarceration than protection from the elements.

However, HGTV, the teachings of Feng Shui, and countless blogs suggest that if I change my surroundings I’ll change my life.

Meditation

I took a shot.

Had to.

So I’ve been painting, lightening up the color, lightening up my life.  It goes along with my constant search for non-medicinal treatments for anxiety and depression.

I have to say, the rooms do appear bigger, brighter, calmer.

Painting small rooms

Not my house, but similar room.

Still, I need color, so the plan is to get the color back through art and accessories.  That’s the plan anyway.

It’s a good plan.

Well, it was a good plan.

Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. An open floor plan with bright white and neutral decor couldn’t hide her crazy.

Now I’m on the other side of not quite clinically manic, back to the depressed side of things.  Suddenly I’m too tired.  I don’t feel like hanging my old pictures or scouring yard sales for something colorful, because, at the end of the day, I’ll still be here.  And whatever I do, someone  in my house will hate it and loudly voice his or her displeasure.    So why bother, right?

Shawshank Poster

It’s like hanging posters in a jail cell.  Sure, it helps, but the most important thing on the wall is the calendar, marking off the days until release.

Just Me With . . . a bright new look, but not complete.  Methinks the angry red and the crying blues are bleeding through a bit.   But, hell, I’m giving it a shot.

 Release date?  Sometime in 2017.

The Shawshank Redemption. Paroled.

The Shawshank Redemption. Paroled.