Category Archives: The D Word — Divorce

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.

13q5KUH0UpiDg4

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 . . .

20190710_122556

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.

QRPx31XOyvCpO

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.

2cc5af8a-2b4c-4a1c-b5df-1dce955c24c7_text

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.

xUA7aWjcHYWR62gkr6

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.

Hlr2brXKNOwmI

Third, I remained standing.

Fourth, I repeated the Tina Fey eye roll.

BB8Gx0CaEASHu

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.

Gn1HN1yf8sYq4

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…

tumblr_luivmn2hUA1qzcuvq

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Was Never A Nest

 

empty nest syndrome

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

How’s it feel to have an empty nest?

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

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

That is not my situation.

Empty-nest

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

This was never a nest.

 

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

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

103_dugout

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

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

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

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

The Burning Bed

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

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

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

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

Now I just need to plan my escape.

shawshank rock

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

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

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

See also:

Weekends Off Fallacy

Going Away to School — and Staying There!

Piss, Puke, and Porn

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

Double Sinks In The Master Bath, Part II

Purging and Cleaning and Finding Stuff

Matt Paxton Hoarders

Matt Paxton from Hoarders

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

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

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

Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction

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

“Reset.”  I like that.

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

Until now.

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

 

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.

 

A Snowy Night for a Breakup

misery stuck inside

From “Misery”

It’s winter again.

Yippee.

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

It’s snowing tonight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

snow movie

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

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

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

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

The Break Up

The Break-Up

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

Without looking at me,

he said, simply,

“I have to go.”

The Others

From “The Others”

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

The Post It

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

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

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

Where did he have to go in all this snow? 

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

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

Lucy snow

Just Me With . . . snow.

See also:

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Breakup — The Musical Revival

The Kind and I

The sign is about to go up.  The sign for the this year’s high school musical.  This is significant to me, because, as I’ve written before — I remember things, so many things.  It’s a gift — and a curse.

The local high school here has a very well-respected music and theater department. Going to see a play at the high school isn’t something that only a parent of a performer would put oneself through. It isn’t a painful two hours required by some familial connection to some pimply faced kid. No, it’s kind of like going to a “real” show. It is actually enjoyable, yet since it is still just a school production, the tickets are cheap. When my kids were little, I would take them to these shows and to other local high schools if they had a decent theater department. It’s a night out, and a way to introduce live theater to children without having to take out a second mortgage.

My kids’ high school usually alternates between a classic musical or one of the lesser known newer ones and they “recycle” ones they’ve done before when enough time has passed.

This brings me to the personal significance of the sign going up.  Apparently, enough time has passed that the school has decided to  repeat its production of the musical they did when my marriage ended. Let’s say it was The King and I  — it wasn’t — but that’s the one I’m going with for purposes of this post.

Over the years I’ve only danced around the actual happenings surrounding my husband’s departure, dealing more with the fallout after he left than the painful process of his leaving. I tell myself I’m saving it for my memoir, but really — I’m extremely uncomfortable talking about it — still.  For me, I guess, not enough time has passed for a revival.

Sometimes, though,  you just have to raise the curtain — a little.

So here it is.  It was about three weeks after he’d told me, “I have to go.”  Those three weeks consisted largely of me begging him not to leave me,  until one Friday night I finally said to him — “I guess I can’t force you to stay.”

Boing

That’s all he needed to hear.

By  the next day, Saturday, he had booked a hotel room, and planned to sleep there that night. (Say what now?)  That joker wasted no time. The plan was to tell the children on Sunday (aka the worst day of my life).  After, he would officially move out.

So Saturday night?  Separation Eve?

We went to see a play.

Bizarre.

The King and I with children

Our family was too big to get seats in one row.  Musicals are a hot ticket in town.  So I sat behind my husband, we each were flanked with  kids. I remember thinking it was a mistake to sit behind him, because I’d have to see him, the back of his head,  if I looked up at the play. And I didn’t want to cry.  I remember  trying very hard not to cry during the show, though there was comfort when the lights went down that my tears wouldn’t be noticed.  Too bad it wasn’t really The King and I, I always cry at the end of The King and I.  No matter, I had tissues to cover any escaping signs of my emotional turmoil.  I always carried tissues with me from that time on. Trying not to cry or be seen crying in public became almost my vocation in the next year.

I remember during the play reaching out in front of me and caressing my husband’s shoulder.  I just needed to touch him.  I needed him to know I was there.  Still. There. Hurting. I remember him acknowledging my touch without looking at me, as if he were saying, “Oh bless her heart.”  I remember the awkward Intermission, when small talk with my soon to be ex-everything seemed so wrong and eye contact deemed so dangerous, as it might trigger the tears.   I talked with someone I knew in the pit orchestra instead, I recall.

And I remember the play, “The King and I.”  I remember thinking this would really be good, except for, you know, my life falling apart.

I was in a fog, a fog of shock, denial and accommodation. I’ve since had some clarity on the subject.  And I don’t love him anymore.  Haven’t for years. Still, I remember things.

The kids were oblivious.  They enjoyed the play, having no idea that their world was going to be completely turned upside down — in a matter of hours.

When the show was over,  we all went home and put the kids to bed.

Then my husband left our home to stay at a hotel.  I knew that when he returned the next day it would be so that we could tell the kids he’d be moving out and he would, indeed, move out.

But that was then . . .

Days of Our Lives

And enough time has passed (apparently) that it’s okay for the high school to put on the same musical.  My kids aren’t little anymore.  One is in college.  The rest now go to this same high school, which means that I will see that sign every day, multiple times a day, until the show is over.

I used to hope that my kids would get involved in theater at the high school.  None did. But, I think, this might be a blessing.

Because I don’t have to go to this show.  Because if I did go to this particular production, I couldn’t help but relive that night, the beginning of the hardest days of my life and the long journey since.

If I had a kid performing in the 2015 production of  The King and I ?

I don’t think I would handle that well.  I remember things.  It’s a gift and — oh hell — it’s a curse.

So, the sign will go up soon.  Enough time has passed for a revival.

But no one asked me.

It will take all the restraint I have left in my being not to run the damn sign over.

Just Me With  . . . a night at the theater.   Too bad it isn’t Chicago, about famous murderesses . . . and their men — who had it comin.’

Cell Block Tango from Chicago -- He had it comin'

Cell Block Tango from Chicago

And I’m glad it wasn’t really The King and I, because that is a beautiful show and I would hate for it to be ruined.

Postscript:   The damn sign is up now.

Related:

My Daddy Moved Out — What one kid said about it at school.

Happy Birthday to My Ex-Husband’s Ex-Girlfriend — Because I remember everything.

Worst Super Bowl, Remembered — Again, because I remember everything

My Cheating Husband was Packing Viagra — I helped him pack.

Six Days of Separation — I was a mess the next week.

I Don’t Love Him — self-explanatory.

When I Needed A Helping Hand —  To move his stuff.

 

My Old Wedding Dress

The Party's Over

The Party’s Over

My son’s graduation is over. It was the first big celebration that I had to share with my Ex-Husband. See The Unspoken Pain of Sharing Celebrations. I made it through. And by that I mean I stayed off the six o’clock news. In the weeks before the graduation, during the graduation and after the graduation some bad things happened, and some very good things happened. I’m too close to it right now to write about it. But in the midst of all the brouhaha, of the visiting relatives, of the planning and anxiety, the tears (some mine, some not), something quite unexpected happened . . .

I got rid of my wedding gown.

My sister was staying at our parents’ home. When she left she cleaned the old bedroom — her old bedroom. She dusted, organized, threw things out, removed bedding and vacuumed — even under the bed. To clean under the bed, she pulled out everything stored there, including an airline cardboard garment box. The box had the logo of the airline, along with my maiden name handwritten on it in black marker.

It was my wedding dress.

I couldn't find a picture of a box like the one my dress was in so here's a cardboard coffin.  Draw your own conclusions.

I couldn’t find a picture of a box like the one my dress was in so here’s a cardboard coffin. Draw your own conclusions.

Now, I’ve written before about how I have dealt with the mementos of my lengthy but ultimately failed marriage. Wedding Leftovers — What To Do With The Dress and The Wedding Album — Time to Reduce it, Perhaps by Fire. And the gist was that I sold my rings, reduced the number and manner of presentation of my wedding photos, but I kept the wedding gown in a box under a bed at my parents’ house — untouched.

And I’ve also written before about how I moved into a hoarders home and had to clean it, see That Hoarders Smell, and that I’m also trying to clean out my parents’ home, which is too full of stuff. See Goodbye Hoarders. I’m a big believer in getting rid of things. It’s my free therapy. See Craigslist Angel’s. It truly is contrary to my belief system to store something I would never use. So when my sister pulled out my wedding gown to clean under the bed, it suddenly felt kind of stupid to put it back.

I’m supposed to be cleaning out my parents’ house. I shouldn’t be keeping any of my stuff there, I thought.

Rule One of de-cluttering is to get rid of stuff that doesn’t belong to you. My parents shouldn’t be keeping a big box of white dress for me, taking up valuable real estate under the bed.

When I first married I really wanted to keep my dress. My parents, who are still married, had a big church wedding back in the day. My mother looked beautiful.

Classic Grace Kelly, though I submit that my mother was more beautiful.

Classic Grace Kelly, though I submit that my mother was more beautiful.

I like tradition, antiques, old houses, etc. and I totally would have worn my mother’s wedding gown when I got married. But my mother didn’t properly preserve it, it yellowed and she eventually just threw it away. My young self chastised her for this over the years and I swore I would always keep my wedding gown just in case future daughters unknown to me at the time might want to wear it. So after my wedding, I carefully packed away my gown, according to the instructions from a professional. And I left it at my parent’s house. I’ve moved many times over the years but the dress stayed at my parents’ house.

I did have daughters. See Fertile Myrtle. Technically this meant that there was a possibility that one of them might want to wear my dress. But the dress is woefully out of style. I got married when women were still allowed to have straps and sleeves. Still, any dress can be altered, and there is plenty of material to work with. But none of my daughters have any interest right now in vintage clothing, except for Halloween or dress up days at school. Even if they did, call me silly, call me superstitious, but it seems like bad Mojo to marry in a used wedding gown, even heavily altered, from a wedding where the marriage did not last. I’d gotten a lot of suggestions from my earlier post on possible other uses for the gown — dye it black and use it for Halloween, donate it to particular groups that collect gowns, theater groups, etc. But as I looked at the big box with my birth name on it, I was sure of two things:

(1) I need to get it out of my parents’ house; and

(2) I sure as hell didn’t want it in my house.

I also didn’t want to take the time to find a proper home for the dress. I didn’t much care whether or how it was used again. And I was also quite sure that I didn’t want to touch it. I was almost afraid of the damn thing.

 Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, wearing her tattered wedding dress. (Source: blogs.indiewire.com)

Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, in her wedding dress. (Source: blogs.indiewire.com)

It was freaking me out.

So I put it in my car — my beloved car, where I spend way too much time. It is my refuge. See My Very Own Personal Olympic Games. But since my car is my refuge, I didn’t want to leave the gown in there either. Bad Mojo. I didn’t want it to infect the only space I have for me. Then I started to have visions that I would get into a car accident and they would find my bloodied wedding gown in the wreckage — and think I had some connection to it — that I had kept it for sentimental reasons –that I was purposely driving around with my wedding gown because I must still be in love with my Ex-husband and — and NO!

I’ll say it again. The gown was freaking me out.

I’d been doing some Spring cleaning in my own house (free therapy after an emotional time) and had a couple of things I wanted to drop by Goodwill. Goodwill, if you don’t know, is a charitable organization benefiting the disabled which is funded largely by Thrift Stores. (Yeah, I looked it up.) During my move from the marital home I spent a lot of time at Goodwill, giving away many of my possessions. I’ve shopped there, too, finding good buys, especially with furniture and wall decor. So I stopped by my house and grabbed the few other items that I planned to donate and took myself to Goodwill, making a special trip. Had it not been for the gown I would have waited until I had more stuff to drop off, but this had suddenly become quite urgent.

Still, I had some doubts. Consequently, I had a little conversation with myself on the ten minute ride:

Should I take the dress out of the wrapping?

(Why should I? I don’t want to see it.)

But what if I’d hidden money or something valuable or embarrassing in the box?

(But I didn’t. Those pesky photos of my husband and a stripper were never stored there. My boudoir photos I made for my husband during happier times have long since been destroyed.)

What if the wedding dress had yellowed or gotten otherwise ruined?

(Well, then the kind folks at Goodwill will dispose of it for me.)

Shouldn’t I let my daughters see it one time? Maybe try it on?

No. They’ll want to keep it, because they are hoarders-in-training. I can’t even let them know that it was in the car, because they’d have what I would deem as a morbid interest in it. And, it’s my dress, my memories. My kids did not exist when I got married. They have no right to keepsakes of my memories that predate them. I still have some of the wedding photos, that’s enough. If I abided by the reasoning that I must not destroy things related to my relationship with my kids’ father, then it follows that I should have kept the boudoir photos for my kids too, right? Wrong — and ick. Plus, if I saw any of my girls try the gown on, even just for fun, I think I’d have a panic attack and start screaming to the visual representation of my younger self standing in front of me — Run! Run! RUN! See Almost a Runaway Bride. No, I could not handle it. No, no. Did I say no? No.

Just, no.

Plus, when you think about it, my husband wore a rented tuxedo when he married me. He didn’t even keep his wedding attire for more than a day. Why do I have to keep this — thing — forever?

So, without any ceremony or further ado, I pulled around to the back of the Goodwill thrift store and left the box that contained my wedding gown on the concrete slab.

And that, as they say, was that.

And you know? I feel really good about it.

One less thing in my parents’ house, one less item from my marriage that I have to think about or make room for.

I have lightened my load. The dress wasn’t even my house yet it still haunted me. Just being in close proximity to the box that contained it led to irrational thoughts. It needed to go. I’m sure at one point one of my kids will ask where my gown is. I’ll simply say that I got rid of it, just like my mother had. If my girls marry, they can choose their own dresses, without resurrecting my vintage error in judgment.

As my oldest child is moving on to his next stage in life, preparing to leave the nest, it seemed like a good time clean up some of my old stuff. It was time to grow up and stop storing items I can’t even look at under a twin bed at my parents’ house.

So I’m good with it. So good.

Just Me With . . . no wedding gown, not anymore.

I can’t help but wonder how much it’ll go for in the store, it sure cost me plenty, in more ways than one.

The Unspoken Pain of Sharing Celebrations

2013 Pasadena Rock n Roll Half Marathon

 

*This is a long metaphor or twisted analogy. It may not work, bear with me. You’ve been warned.*

Imagine you were in a horrible car wreck, broadsided by a drunk driver.   You were seriously injured.  You lost mobility, time, and a sense of hope. You gained scars, fears, and pity.

Imagine you rally, survive, and for some reason, want to punch fate in the throat by training for a marathon, something you had never considering doing before, having usually enjoyed team sports, or the arts.

Imagine you train, battling old injuries from the car wreck,  acquiring new injuries from the training,.  You run to the soundtrack of self-doubt announced from the voices in your head and repeated on loud speaker when you get home by the real people closest to you:

You don’t have to do this.  You can’t do this.  It’s too much.  Just being able to  walk is good enough.  Why run?

Imagine you also battle financially because of lost time, work, and pain and limitations from the injuries, and a lawsuit that finally settles for minimal damages, because your pain and suffering are not visible or quantifiable.  You have, reportedly, recovered from your injuries.    The drunk driver was not injured.  He was not prosecuted and retained his license to drive and does so without restrictions.

Imagine you sign up for the marathon anyway.   It’s the big kind of marathon,  similar to the  Olympics where runners start and end in a stadium full of people.  Most of the real work takes place on a journey through lonely, winding roads, though, with very few spectators.

And imagine running, without a partner, not part of a pack, and certainly without an endorsement deal.  No one really gets why you’re doing it at all.  You do get encouragement, however,  from unlikely sources – complete strangers you pass on the road.  They clap, they call out to you,

You can do it. Way to go.  Looking good!”

The kindness of strangers.

The kindness of strangers.

Imagine thinking that they are wrong, you can’t make it, that no one really expects you to make it, that it is ridiculous to even try and that your time would be better spent on more traditional endeavors for people like you.

Imagine wondering  if stopping halfway might be good enough.  Imagine knowing that no one would blame you for simply walking it, “It’s the finishing that counts, you don’t have to finish like the real runners,”  the voices say.    Imagine a cramp, then another, imagine feet on fire, imagine pain in joints that had never been there before.

Imagine continuing to run, regardless.

Imagine entering the stadium after over 26 miles and starting the last lap around the track to reach the finish line.

Imagine feeling suddenly and surprisingly overcome with emotions as the crowd cheers, because some people there know that in the recent past you couldn’t get out of bed — let alone run or race.  You also know that some of the cheers are coming from people who don’t know a thing about you, but they recognize a woman fighting not only to finish, but finish in objectively solid time regardless of any personal struggles.

Imagine the emotions taking hold so suddenly and with such intensity that it causes you to stumble as you take your last steps.   You stop dead for a moment and put your hands on your knees, trying to catch your breath and blink away sweat and tears.

Imagine seeing out of the corner of your eye,  a flash of color? Another runner trying to pass?  Is your mind playing tricks on you?  Are the cheers for the other runner?  You raise your head, wipe your eyes and try to sprint, hoping that your pumping arms will convince your legs to rise from the dead,  but you have so little left.  Still, you begin to run, the end is in sight and the crowd, pardon the overuse – is going wild.

Imagine right before you cross the finish line being wrapped in a blanket — covered by the flash of color that had come alongside of you.  The flash of color from the driver, the same drunk driver who had broadsided you and put you in the hospital.

Imagine looking up to see his fist raised in the air and his smile as you are reluctantly led across the finish line by him, being robbed of the opportunity to cross on your own — which you would have done, which you could have done, had you been permitted.  Had you not been intercepted.  Had you not been broadsided, again.

Imagine seeing your unwanted escort in running clothes, but without a bead of sweat.  He did not run 26.2 miles. He was just one of the thousands in the crowd, and, from the smell of it, he had recently eaten a hot dog.

Imagine the crowd on its feet, those who know the story —  cheering you not for finishing the race despite the odds, but for your obvious show of public forgiveness by allowing the embrace of the drunk driver who had taken so much from you and caused you so much pain.

Imagine the front page newspaper story, showing a photograph of you in visual defeat, being assisted across the finish line by the man who inflicted the injuries you fought so hard to  overcome.   Imagine looking at yourself as you’ve now been memorialized to others, as a woman lost without his assistance, a woman who could not have finished on her own.  Your mouth is open, seemingly in a cry of gratitude, but you know that is was a cry of despair that no one heard above the roar of the crowd,

No!  Let me finish.  I can do it.  He didn’t run.  He wasn’t there.  I did this.  I did this!

Imagine the newspaper headline:

They did it!  They did it!   They did it together!

Iconic photo of father helping his son over the finish line.  But I always wondered whether the runner had wanted to limp over himself, or whether the father's actions disqualified him from being recorded as a finisher.

Iconic photo  from 1992 Olympics of a father helping his injured  son finish the race. But I always wondered whether the runner had wanted to do it himself, be remembered for finishing on his own.

*                                      *                                      *

Imagine my son’s graduation from high school, with honors, and six college acceptances later, headed to a very selective college — accepted there because of his grades, test scores, challenging course load, essay, and leadership in many extra-curricular activities in both the arts and athletics.  His accomplishments, not mine.  But such accomplishments were not achieved in a vacuum, or even from a partnership,  but achieved in a home atmosphere of encouragement, physical, psychological, emotional, and visual support created by me (and my supporters), coupled with a belief  that we are just as good as everybody else.  No excuses.   I wore myself out making it possible for him to have opportunity and yes, the expectation, to achieve.

But now that it’s time to celebrate, imagine being hijacked at the finish line by the guy who, on one snowy night long, long ago said to me, his long time wife and mother of his five children, simply, “I have to go.”

Imagine sharing the podium with a runner who didn’t run — and who, previously, had broken both your legs.

It’s sickening.

It’s not uncommon for distance runners to vomit after a big race.

Just saying . . .

Just Me With . . . graduation festivities around the corner. 

Could somebody get me a bucket?

Related:  Misplaced Praise of a Father

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.

Pissed: Parking and Dining Alone

Wall Street

Wall Street

My Ex-Husband had pissed me off again, with a modified Nanny text that illustrated the fact that the  inconvenient visitation schedule is my obligation to uphold and his option to ignore.

I’m sick of it.

To the inevitable comment that “at least he seems them, ” I refer to   Misplaced Praise of a Father is Not Good Manners.

The whole thing sucks.  No other word for it.  Well, there are other words but that’s the one I’m going to use.

I was pissed.  Actually,  I don’t even want to talk about it.  There are so many things wrong right now and I have so very few acceptable or advisable or helpful responses or resources.  I’m exhausted and overwhelmed.  Five kids ain’t no joke.    Yes, sometimes things get to me, despite my blessings.   I’m human, and often treated like much less.

Holly Hunter plays a divorcee in Living Out Loud.  Excellent film.

Holly Hunter plays a divorcee in Living Out Loud. Excellent film.

To cool down I went for a drive.  Well, I drove and parked.   First I parked at the kids’ school, then the grocery store parking lot, then the bank lot, then on the street outside of a pizza joint.  When I remembered that I hadn’t eaten in almost twelve hours I figured food would help my mood.  Since I was alone I figured I could treat myself to  dinner at a diner.   The diner would be open for another hour and a half or so and there were some people still there so I went on in.

I took a booth for comfort.  No reason to perch on a stool when there were so many empty tables available.   I was thankful no one I knew was there.  I was not feeling like small talk.   Overhearing one waitress complaining that she was so tired and that her shift was just too long and another waitress  complaining that she’d only made $9 the whole day, I made a mental note to leave a decent tip.

I enjoyed the quiet, the children can be, let’s say, over-stimulating.  (That sounds so much better than saying my offspring can be a pain in the ass, don’t you think?  Don’t worry, I’ve withdrawn my application for Mother-Of-The-Year.)

I ordered and resumed my texting and tweeting.

When I looked up all the other patrons had gone.   I was the only one left.    Basically, the restaurant was staying open just for me.

I took dining alone to a whole new level.

Typical.

Just typical.

I ate quickly and gave a fifty percent tip on a cheap meal.  I was calmer by the time I got home.

Just  me with . . . NO ONE!!!!!!  I mean it.  Nobody at all.   Whatever.

See also I AM Here!  I Am Here!  I Am Here!  Said the Nanny

Happy Birthday to My Ex-Husband’s Ex-Girlfriend

Monk, the Obsessive Compulsive detective

Monk, the Obsessive Compulsive Detective

I remember dates. It’s a gift, and a curse. It used to drive my ex-husband crazy. This, from a dude who forgot my birthday — twice — when we were still together. But me? I remember numbers for some reason, always have. I can rattle off his land line phone number from high school. I know the birthdays of people I haven’t had any contact with in years.

Recently, it was my best friend’s birthday. I’d never forget that, of course. But it also reminded me of the Other Woman (well, the original other woman was his teenaged lover before her, . . . but I digress . . .). Let’s call this Other Woman . . . Penelope Homewrecker, shall we?   (I don’t really blame Penelope for wrecking my home, though.  Though she certainly made choices I would not, my ex-husband did not have to honor her — requests?)   Anyway, Penelope’s birthday is two days after my best friend’s. I know this because years ago, when I first discovered their affair, I did my fair share of research, as did my work colleagues at the time. I was working in a law office — enough said. Before long I had her full name, her address, her real estate records, current and prior addresses, etc. , and — her birthday.

I remember sharing the information with my best friend. She responded with one of those completely irrational comments only a true friend would say. She almost growled, “How dare she have a birthday near mine.”  My friend was right, by the way:

How dare Penelope have a birthday close to my very best friend’s special day?

How dare Penelope have a birthday?

How dare Penelope even exist?

It reminds me of a scene from Sex And The City when Carrie realizes that her on and off boyfriend Big has chosen a woman named Natasha over her — and he is actually happy. Carrie tells her friends she’s ready to accept it. For a beat the women were silent, but then they gave, an irrational, nonsensical, yet incredibly supportive response.

Natasha. What a bullshit name.

Totally.

Stupid.

Complete bullshit.

Sex and The City

Sex and The City

I just love that — showing support in such an subtly obvious way, via a frivolous statement.

So thanks to my best friend for expressing outrage that my husband’s mistress dared to have birthday near hers.

How dare she? Indeed.

When Carrie found out about Big's new girlfriend, Miranda offered support.

When Carrie found out about Big’s new girlfriend, Miranda offered support.

By the way, Penelope and my Ex didn’t last. (Long story, well not so long, but it’s a good one.  I may blog about it at some point, maybe.)

Much later, after Penelope and the Ex broke up,  my Ex announced he had a new serious girlfriend.   I did the required Facebook check on her, and I noticed that Penelope and the Ex’s new girlfriend were Facebook friends. When I checked again a little later, the two women were no longer Facebook friends.

Huh.

There was some kind of unfriending situation between Penelope and the new girlfriend.

Huh.

Perhaps Penelope Homewrecker didn’t want to see posts by her replacement.

Huh.

Heh heh heh

I wonder if later, Penelope, who had likely thought she’d become the coveted Mrs. Ex, was treated to posts about my Ex’s wedding and subsequent procreation?  I’m guessing that Penelope and the new girlfriend must have had some mutual friends. Yes?

Please, yes?

Heh heh heh

My investigation days are over. They’ve been over for a long time. Years. I never look at my Ex’s or his wife’s Facebook pages or his family’s pages. I really have no interest now. But those damn numbers stay in my head. As I said, it’s a gift, and a curse.

So, Happy Birthday Penelope Homewrecker!  I literally can’t help but remember the date.

Of course, Evil Me wants to ask: What’s your Relationship Status now?

Though, Regular Me acknowledges that Penelope Homewrecker dodged a bullet and may indeed be the luckiest woman in the world.

Celebrity Analysis

For those who follow celebrity gossip, think of it like this:  My Ex-Husband’s mistress  pulled a Penelope Cruz.  Let me explain.  For a long time (by Hollywood standards) Tom Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman were a golden couple.

The Golden Couple

The Golden Couple

It didn’t last.    It was rumored that Tom  left Nicole Kidman because of his affair with another actress, Penelope Cruz.

 

When Tom and Nicole divorced, Tom and Penelope went public with their relationship.

 

Tom Cruise and one-time girlfriend, Penelope Cruz.

Tom Cruise and one-time girlfriend, Penelope Cruz.

 

But then they broke up.

Penelope  escaped becoming the  wife of  Tom Cruise, known to control and overshadow his wives.   And at some point, Tom Cruise went a little crazy.

Crazy Tom Cruise during his infamous Oprah appearance.

Crazy Tom Cruise during his infamous Oprah appearance.

Crazy Tom Cruise went on to marry once perky, but later suffering Katie Holmes, while Penelope Cruz ran free!  (Katie Holmes is now Ex Mrs. Tom Cruise, by the way, but they had a child together so she still has to deal with him.  She’ll never be completely free.).

 

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes when they were still together. She doesn’t look happy, does she?

 

And Penelope Cruz?  I picture her frolicking in a field somewhere.

Of course, in this scenario this would make me Tom’s jilted wife, Nicole Kidman, mother of the first kids.   And I’m okay with that.

Tom Cruise's Ex-Wife, Nicole Kidman

Tom Cruise’s Ex-Wife, Nicole Kidman

And I’d be okay with this, too:

Nicole Kidman and her current husband, Keith Urban

Nicole Kidman and her current husband, Country Music Star Keith Urban. She upgraded. By all reports, Keith Urban is supposed to be a nice guy, and Nicole’s career has soared once she was free of Cruise.

Just Me With . . . numbers in my head.    And a song in my heart, a country song, “Little Bit of Everything

See: Facebook Mutual Friend with the The Ex’s Girlfriend — Part One

and

To My Best Friend on Mother’s Day