Tag Archives: marriage

When I Needed a Helping Hand

Leslie Knope, Parks and Rec

I don’t always blog about things in order. And many things I don’t blog about at all. Right now I’m dropping right into mid break-up time, it’s kind of like clicking channels and landing on a Lifetime Movie which is halfway over — and watching it anyway.

 

 

 

 

It was the dead of Winter. My then husband of many years had moved out just days prior. He took only one suitcase, although he had secured an apartment, a fact I discovered later. There is a very long a painful story here that is beyond the scope of this post (I say that often, I know). Anyway, I guess his plan was to come and go at his leisure to get the rest of his belongings. I realized that I couldn’t take that; having him leave the first time had been horrific, I couldn’t handle a repeat. Consequently, I told him I would get his things together so that he could pick them up in one trip. I packed and consolidated his stuff (again, the packing may be a subject of another post, it involved two of my bridesmaids, wine and Fatal Attraction). See My Cheating Husband Was Packing Viagra. Next, I planned to put his belongings outside on the porch for him to retrieve without me or the kids being involved at all.

I lived in a great neighborhood, people were always willing to help each other out. We (when the Ex and I were still a “we”) had made friends with another couple our age. We didn’t do the dinner party thing much (they were child-free, we were not, and my husband wasn’t really the socializing type — then) but we talked periodically and the neighbor husband was always helpful when we needed a another man to help move furniture or something. He was our Go-To Guy. So when everything was packed (behind closed doors so the kids wouldn’t have to see) and when the stuff was ready to be relocated to the porch, I called the Go-To Guy to help. His wife answered. When I asked if her husband was around to help me move something she told me he was out of town on business. But, she added, “If it’s not too heavy, I can help you. ”

“Uh, okay, thanks.” I replied, but didn’t tell her what I was moving. I hadn’t figured out how to tell that part yet. This was all so new, a fresh, deep, bleeding wound.

A few minutes later, she arrived, ready to help me.

“Okay, so what are we moving?” she asked, cheerfully. She is a very positive person.

“[Ex] has moved out we’re moving his stuff to the porch.”

This much must be understood. Neither this woman nor her husband had any idea there was trouble in paradise; I had been married for a long time and had “multiple” kids. See Fertile Myrtle. They had known us both for years. This was HUGE news. Huge.

But it’s her response to my major announcement that still makes me smile to this day, and it’s what I will always remember and love her for. She said, in a matter-of-fact, almost casual, way:

“Okay, maybe one day when you feel like it, you can tell me what happened.”

That’s it. That’s all she said. Then together we proceeded to move all of his packed belongings to the large covered porch. We didn’t discuss it at all. When we were done, she went home. As scheduled, my husband picked up his things early the next day while the kids and I slept.

Not that night, not the next day, but a little while later, I told her the whole story. But the fact that she did not ask or need to know or even need to ask that night shows what a good friend and person she was, and is.

People often wonder what to say in response to an announcement of a break-up or divorce.

Sometimes the response is, simply, “So where are the boxes?”

Just Me With . . . yet another good friend.

My Cheating Husband Was Packing Viagra

To My Best Friend on Mother’s Day

Six Days of Separation

A Good Neighbor, An Accidental Friend, and a Christmas Surprise

Riding With My Boss

Another Kind Heart

If I’d Married My Stalker

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings. They are everywhere this time of year.  But don’t feel sorry for me because I am without an intended.  I could be married now if I wanted. Really, I could.  I could have married the man I now refer to as my stalker.   Of course, he hadn’t completely evolved into  a true stalker when we were hanging out.   The true stalker nature of a person is only realized after the relationship has ended.   But I’ll just say that based on the events that transpired since we stopped seeing each other, well, I have reason, good reason,  to call him my stalker.

Still,  had things gone differently, had I been desperate for matrimony,  had I lost my mind,  I could be calling him my husband.   We talked about it.  Well, actually,  he talked to me about it.  He also talked  to a priest about it, and he talked to his invisible  friends about it, friends I never met.  To be fair, I admit that he didn’t formally get down on one knee and ask me,  because I was, at the time, still legally married (little issue), had not expressed any interest in remarrying anyone (bigger issue),  and had not professed love for him (the  biggest issue of all),   but these little complications did not deter  him from making plans for our life together, in holy matrimony.

So, since the wedding season is in full swing,  the following is a fanciful fictionalized account of what could have been if I had said ” I do” and become . . . Mrs. Stalker.   

If I’d married my stalker:

  • My house would be clean. Really clean. He had OCD (I believe) and liked to clean. Yes, things would be clean. Really. Clean.
  • My dogs would be well-groomed also. What am I saying ?  My dogs would be gone.  He couldn’t handle such four-legged walking germ festivals.
  • I would have sex, often and for prolonged periods of time. Then I’d have to talk about it.
  • I’d be clean, hands washed as if for surgery, often and for prolonged periods of time. We wouldn’t have to talk about that — so long as he saw me doing it.

 

  • I would have savings and new clothes. He liked me to look nice.  He’d buy me pretty dresses.
  • I would have an escort for everything.  He’d never let me go anywhere alone.
  • I’d be Episcopalian, because I’d have to be. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
  • I’d have a storage unit, possibly more than one, because he was incapable of throwing anything out. And we would visit our things stored there, often and for prolonged periods of time.
  • I would know I’m loved because he’d tell me, often and for prolonged periods of time.  And then I’d have to talk about it.
  • I’d be having surgery and/or looking into surrogacy and/or freezing eggs to see if someone could bear a child he could call his own.

  • I’d have someone to shop with, since he loved to shop. And no, my would-be-stalker-husband is not gay, but I’d spend a fair amount of time attempting to convince others of that— knowing in my heart of hearts that I could  not be successful.
  • I’d be on time, because he’d never allow tardiness.  To that end,  would call me  in 15 minute increments to make sure I was ready for whatever we had planned.
  • My computer would have the most up-to-date, state of the art, anti-virus software, because, you can never be too careful.
  • I may or may not have mother-in-law issues, because I’m not sure whether “mother” is still with us. Don’t ask, it may have been a Norman  Bates situation.

Norman’s mother in the Hitchcock’s classic, Psycho

  • To make him happy, I would  have to answer these questions, often and for prolonged periods of time:

“Are you happy”
“Are you thinking of me?”
“Do you love me?”

And,  the ever popular question that every girl wants to hear,

Do you think that’s wise?

   

 

Well,  it was wise to end that relationship. Even though it took quite a while and an exchange of letters from lawyers for that ending to take effect.   Actually,  I only just recently received a post-Rapture text.   Sigh.

In conclusion, while weddings are nice, and it’s good to feel loved and partner up,  I didn’t want a husband that badly (or not at all, really).   I don’t care that Mr. Stalker was good on paper, well endowed with stamina to back it up, wanted to be a provider for me and my brood,  and that he really, really, really, really, really . . .  loved  . . . me.   None of that matters, because if I’d married him for the sake of being married,   and allowed myself to be swept away  (swept, being the operative word), well,

. . . that would have been  bad —- clean,  but very bad.

And, if you’ve found my blog, Mr. Stalker,  and are  reading this, I  want  you  to know:

No, I do not love you.

No, I don’t want to be friends.

No, I do not want to know if you are thinking of me.

No, my lack of love for you cannot be explained by alleging  that I  have  lingering feelings for my Ex-Husband.  I don’t love him either.

No, I will not be paying you back for any money you spent on me.

and . . .

Are you sure I’m really talking about you?

And, by the by, I just played with my dog and I haven’t washed my hands in like an hour.

Just Me With . . . no rings on my only moderately clean left hand. 

Related, sadly, “He Lives With His Mother?”

The Rage Inside Me

I am angry.  That is how my depression manifests itself these days.  I’m off the floor.  I don’t cry.  But  I have no patience for anyone and I’m pushing people away.  That’s my M.O.    I’m blinded by rage and can’t see anything but thankless obligation.  Suppressing myself for the common good.  That is what I do, that is what mothers must do.    Therein lies my rage.  It’s not pretty.  It’s not good.  Since I can’t let it out, it gets turned inward.  And it waits.  Customer service people and drivers beware.

No, I don’t bash my Ex in front of my kids, yes, I show support for his choices.  Because I have no choice.    blah blah blah     And, I count my blessings for having healthy kids, living parents, a roof over my head, and an Ex who pays court-ordered child support.   Yes, I know the drill.  Those will tell me to put on my big girl panties, pray, etc.   Yes, I know the drill.  I’m not an idiot.   I’m not a Stepford Ex-Wife either —   though I play one in real life during every waking hour.  I don’t drink.  I never utter a profanity in front of my kids.  I’m a good girl.

But just under the surface, is my rage, this  is where my poor choices, failed career, and misspent youth doing the right things  fester, while I watch, drive, stand in the rain,  in support of everyone else or dry the tears and say the “right” things when someone comes to me crying because of something someone else did, or accept being ignored when it is not “my day.”   I listen to crap to keep the peace and I bite my tongue while people pity me for not meeting my or their expectations.   I say thank you when my mothering gets praised when I’ve never felt so alone.  Yet I know that children are fickle creatures and will gravitate toward those who fulfill their needs and cling to those who fail them.   I’m honored to have certain people in my life, yet curse myself for having needed them so badly.  And I know that there are people suffering horribly from unspeakable disease, trauma and disaster, so how dare I be angry about anything?   Yes,  yes, I know,  I know the drill.  So again, thou shall not have feelings . . .

So I’m angry.  And the perfect empowered, pump wearing, summer house, happily c0-parenting with one child, dinner party, career-minded, alumni event and conference attending, people can shake their heads and waggle their tongues, all because I have feelings and dare to get pissed.   And, that’s why I’m pissed.  I have feelings.   I do the “right” things for my family —  my broken home, but it is not and never has been enough for me and . . .  I’m . . .  pissed.   I’m doing for my children, and I hope they do well and  I hope to assist them to gain the tools necessary to do whatever they want to do — live their life, achieve what they want . . . happiness.  But this  —-   this,  is my life now and it  . . . makes . . .  me  . . . mad.    And I do not like it.

I realize I may get negative nastiness from this.  Get in line,  and take a number — Bash Me in Aisle Two, Use Me in Aisle One.   These are, apparently, what I am here for,  my true calling.

And this, my friend, is the voice of depression.

Just Me With . .  . rage

Almost a Runaway Bride

Charlotte and Trey, Sex and The City

Weddings are everywhere now.  Movies, royals, my ex-husband, . . . everywhere.   So I thought I’d write about my own bride story, hopefully not in a “I should have known” way, but just the facts, ma’am.

I was having an evening church wedding.  My bridesmaids were my sister, my best friend, and two  close friends.   The rehearsal dinner was meant to be casual, pizza and soda/wine at my parents’ house.  The rehearsal itself had gone pretty well, I’d done the “get someone to stand in for the bride” thing  . . . so I watched.

Probably not the best idea.

On the five minute ride from the church to my parents’ house, I was driven by my college best friend, discussed in the I Don’t Go To Weddings  and Always a Bridesmaid posts.

I got in the car and said to her, simply.

“I’m not going to do it, you know.”

My Bridesmaid  was very calm, and, after she’d gotten me to clarify and  repeat my confession that I was not going to get married, she replied,

“It’s nerves, it’ll be okay.”

My response,

“Oh, I’m not nervous.  I’m just not doing it.” As if I was talking about getting on a ride at an amusement park.

What could she say?  I think she just said okay. She must have felt horrible.   I was so matter-of-fact about this huge statement.  I went through  our rehearsal dinner, and it was, as I’d wanted it, informal.   My husband-to-be  looked so  veryhappy, I remember.  Still,  I didn’t say or do anything that revealed my discomfort.  I did love him. Something was pissing me off, though.  For a fleeting second  I felt like he’d won, he “gotten” me, clipped my wings.

The next day, I  did the whole wedding day prep thing, got my makeup and hair done, put on the big white dress.   I guess I thought I was over it.  But I wasn’t excited.

Once we were at the church, we realized that someone forgot to bring  the flowers for the flower girls.  Silly to have little girls with nothing in their hands.  Someone had to run back to the house to get the flowers.

This gave me time.  Maybe too much time.

As we all waited in the vestibule at the back of the church,  I walked myself and the big white dress into a corner . . .  way into the corner . . .  facing the corner.

Later, my bridesmaids told me that at first they thought I was praying.   But I wasn’t a praying kind of girl, not in a room full of people, anyway.  Maybe praying is what I should have been doing.  What I was doing was seriously considering making a run for it, big white dress and all.   I pictured myself running out of the church, across the busy street,  and through town, like in a movie.

A Runaway Bride

Awkward.  I heard the bustling around me, wondering if anyone noticed that I had put myself in time-out and that I wasn’t speaking to anyone.   Ironically, the big white dress — with a train–  created a physical barrier from everyone.  I was hard to get to. My body was in the corner, my face was down, the dress fanned out around me.  Still, I think I was waiting for somebody to do . . .  something.

It started to get uncomfortably quiet.

Finally, my best friend slid herself between the wall and my dress to get close enough to me to say,

“Are you all right?’

“Yes,”  I replied, curtly, but  I was not a happy bride.  I think I might have told her  or even  waved her to go away.   I didn’t speak much.

I was thinking, though.  I was thinking that if I did this, got married, I mean,  it was for life.  I didn’t believe in divorce, not a religious thing, just not an option for me (at the time).   I was thinking I didn’t want to hurt or embarrass anyone.  I was thinking that if I ran, well,  that would be bad.

Someone came back with the flowers for the flower girls.

At the last minute me and my big white dress turned around and got married.   And, by the way,  he was so nervous, he did not even  look at me while we took our vows.  I joked later that he really married the minister, not me.

Does anyone remember Charlotte’s first wedding on Sex and the City?   Charlotte  expressed second thoughts to Carrie at the back of the church (because Trey couldn’t perform).  Though Carrie at first responded that it was just nerves,  she eventually told Charlotte that she doesn’t have to get married,

We can go get a cab and everybody will just have to get over it

Sex and The City,   Season Three, Episode 12, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

I have wondered over the years — what if someone had said to me, “You don’t have to do this.”   I’m not sure if it would have changed anything.   Like Charlotte, even the most ambivalent of brides would probably go through with it anyway.

Still . . . it makes a girl think.

This is in no way a criticism to my bridesmaids for not uttering the Carrie words.  We we all so young.  None of us knew what we were doing.   I was the first of our age group to get married.  It takes a very mature person to  actively assist a runaway bride.  So I know why they didn’t say it.

But what if someone had?

The institution of marriage should not, as the preacher says, be entered into lightly.  So for all you bridesmaids out there, who have promised to wear the  coordinating dresses and walk ahead of  the bride down the aisle — don’t forget to look back to make sure she’s there.  Well, actually before that,  let her know that, if need be,  you will run out to the street and hail a cab for her . . . big white dress and all.

Just Me With . . . a bride story.

Funny, when my now ex-husband got re-married, I was just The Nanny.   But I did have dinner with one of my former bridesmaids that day.  Perhaps she didn’t know what to say when I got married, but she knew what to say when my divorce was final.  My relationship with her has stood the test of time, hopefully, until death do us part. See To My Best Friend On Mother’s Day

He’ll Be Married, I’ll Be Free

The Evil Grinch Smile, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I am the most bitter of bitter, clinically depressed and all around down in the dumps – – most of the time.     But something  strange happened, something occurred to me that made me  . . . . smile.  I think I just heard a collective gasp from my readers, it’s shocking I know, really shocking.   But I smiled  . . . I smiled . . .  regarding the impending nuptials of my ex-husband, a man I had been with since the tender age of 16,  a man with whom I share the only children I’ll ever have,  a man who, after many years of marriage,  suddenly told me, simply,  “I  have to go,”  on one snowy  night after we had put our children to bed.

Now, a mere four months after our prolonged and contentious divorce  became final,  he has announced plans to remarry (well, he left me a voice mail).  Though I do think it sets a better example for our tween and teen children,  I have many concerns,  many scowls and curses about the whole idea of it and the manner in which it has unfolded.   All fodder for another post  for another day . . . maybe,  . . .  or maybe not.

But the story today is not so vile

The story today is about my Grinch-like smile,

which started out small and then started to  grow . . .

it started, of course, when I realized and thought . . .

I thought and I realized  that them tying the knot

means  a knot will be tied and . . .  he’s all knotted up!

In other words, minus the bad Seuss inspired prose.   

He’ll be married while  I– am–  free!

My ex-everything will be  on lock down, committed, his relationship and his ownership of property will be  governed by our state’s laws, he will be  bound in matrimony.   His dating and new relationship days are over.  Even now, he’s running around getting stuff  for the wedding and  speaking in the royal “we” while I am, in a word   —   free.

The Shawshank Redemption

This is all new for me. I was married young and for many years. For most of my life, I was  someone’s girlfriend, someone’s wife; hell,  I was his girlfriend, his wife.    Now, I’m not.    Did you hear it?  Did you feel it?  There has been a small shift somewhere in the universe and everything has changed .  Next month,  he’ll be somebody’s husband and I’ll be NOBODY’S wife.  (smile)  In a strange way, this has set me free in a way that separation and divorce  and even other men did not.   This  is a statement to the world that our  epic romance, and crippling break-up —   is —  over.   And the fact that I’m okay with that part of it, even though I was royally dumped,  will be so much more obvious when he makes his vows to another woman and . . .

I . . .DON’T . .  . LAY . . . DOWN . . .  AND . . . DIE.    

Oh, I’m still pissed about a lot of things, don’t get me wrong.   Sure  there will be more announcements, more crap to deal with;  it’s another chapter in a book I didn’t want to read.   And I’m not even  addressing here my larger concerns about difficulty dealing with them both where the kids are concerned,  his lingering hostility toward, pity and disrespect of  me,  the fact that I never got a chance to be  single while younger and without children,  the opportunities I may have missed because I married young, and that he is getting a do-over in a way, as a woman and mother, I cannot.    But . . . still . . . I’m free.

Soon,  we will no longer just be  living separately.  He’ll be living married and I’ll be living single.  If you’ve read my other posts, you know I haven’t jumped into the dating waters with both feet.  I stick my toes in, maybe up to my knees, then get out where it’s warm, apply my sun (man) screen and enjoy the fresh air.   However, whenever I do get in  — whether I jump, inch in slowly,  get pushed or perhaps pulled in, it’ll be my thing.   I’ll make stories to tell, stories that for once, don’t include him.

“Oh the places [I’ll] go . . .”

Oh The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss

And you know what?  I don’t have to settle for the random landscaper dude.  I can do better.  I deserve better.

Just Me With . . . a smile.  heh heh heh

Related Posts:  How Do I Feel About My Ex-Husband Getting Married?

I Was The Nanny When My Ex-Husband Got Married.

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

We started dating in the tenth grade. See My High School Self, My Vampire Boyfriend. We married after I finished college (he didn’t finish). We eventually had five children, two at a time. We separated years ago, suddenly; it was not mutual, nor my choice.  A nasty and prolonged divorce became final in February. So, after more years than I care to mention, my high school sweetheart and I were finally, legally, broken up.

So, it’s Just Me With . . . my five kids in our little fixer (Ex-Hoarders) home. See Piss, Puke, and Porn. I keep a land line there because I have children, not all of whom have cell phones, and it is important to me to have another number, not affected by minutes or power outages or charging status, that I know will work. Like many people, though, my cell phone is the best way to contact me. Just in the last week or so I had told my ex-husband to please call my cell, rather than the house phone, because I don’t always get the messages right away or get up to answer it.

Two nights ago, I got a voicemail on my house phone from my ex-husband asking me to give him a call about dresses for the girls for his “marriage” in June.

Huh, what?

Let’s review, shall we?

My ex-husband had had the kids for an overnight over Mother’s Day weekend. We arranged for him to bring them back early Sunday so that I could spend Mother’s Day with my children. By my standards, Mother’s Day Sunday was a successful day. The kids did not fight much. They even played together outside and took videos of each other spinning on a swing. No tears, no drama.

Monday evening my ex-husband took the kids for his scheduled dinner time visit. Afterward, he dropped them off as usual. We settled in for watching a little Dancing With the Stars.

The landline rang. We let it ring. My cell phone did not ring. 

I remembered hours later that I had gotten a call and checked messages. I’d received a message from the diving coach. Oops need to return that call, I thought. Next, I heard the message from my Ex-husband, which bears repeating:

“Could you give me a call when you get a chance so we can talk about dresses for the girls for my marriage [in June ]?”

huh (Weird that he didn’t say “wedding” . . . but I digress . . . )

This was Monday night after their Saturday night visit and the redundant Monday dinner.   Since the kids had said nothing, I assumed that they did not know, and this was his way of telling me.

I was wrong.

When I returned his call the next day, he told me that he and his girlfriend told the kids on Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day. He added that he was surprised that THEY didn’t tell me when they got home.  Let the record reflect that the kids got home — on Mother’s Day.

hmm

So, to recap, summarize and conclude:

My ex-husband dropped the kids home on Mother’s Day assuming that they would inform me that he was getting married.  He thought that they would tell me this — ON MOTHER’S DAY!  This was his plan.   And when that plan failed, he left me a voicemail on a landline I don’t answer and that he had been requested not to use.

Happy Mother’s Day to me!

My wedding? (I don’t even remember how much that cost);

My divorce (oh around $35,000 and counting);

Announcement of the Ex’s Engagement? (PRICELESS!)

There’s really no good way to hear this news, but there are really bad ways to announce it, and this was one of them, well actually two: one failed attempt at getting the kids to tell me on Mother’s Day, and another stealth voice mail message about dresses on a phone I don’t answer.

But kudos to my kids who had enough sense not to rush in with this information on Mother’s Day. None of them said anything (and they don’t usually work well together) yet they must have sensed that Mother’s Day was not the day to tell me —  or perhaps they sensed correctly it was not their place to tell me.

Or maybe they thought I already knew?

Regardless, and putting my feelings about the marriage aside, I gotta give props to my kids. And hugs.

Just Me With . . . the best kids ever and a voice mail from my Ex — everything.

Oh, and by the way, he’ll be getting the dresses for the girls.

Postscript: Months later it was one of the kids who told me that the happy couple was expecting.

You know what they say about payback — see “Father’s Day Announcements To My Ex

For an earlier insensitive Mother’s Day celebration, see “Worst Mother’s Day Card Ever”

For a more uplifting Mother’s Day tribute, see “To My Best Friend On Mother’s Day

For a discussion on how I felt about the news, see “How Do I Feel About My Ex-Husband Getting Married”

To My Best Friend on Mother’s Day

Best Friends from “Something Borrowed”

My best friend, my saviour, in many ways.  She’s my girl.  I really only see her a few times a year though we live close by. But she has my back.  We’ve known each other since we were kids.  We went to proms together, we were in each other’s weddings.   She’s still married, happily.  Her husband is a good guy, a physician, so is she.  As an OB/GYN, she assists women bringing babies into the world every day.  Sadly, she could never get pregnant.  Over the years she’s  regretted putting her career first  and wondered whether if she’d started trying sooner maybe something could have been done.  She has  felt intense guilt about  causing her husband to miss out of being a dad (tests showed it was her, and not him, who caused the infertility).  She’s watched her brother marry and have four kids (two by birth, two by adoption), she’s watched her husband’s sisters marry and have children with the assistance of infertility treatments.  She’s watched me pop out kids two at a time.  But despite medical intervention and years of trying, she never  got pregnant, not even once.  They decided not to adopt.   After years of suffering horribly from fibroids, she finally had a hysterectomy.    But damn if this woman isn’t a mother.  I’m not talking about how she’s the cool aunt to her nieces and nephews.  That’s true, but I’m talking about her being a mother — to me.

When my marriage fell apart,

this woman came to my house at 4am to pick me up off the floor,

this woman had me and my five kids over her house so we would not have to watch my husband move out and served us cookies and pizza while we cried,

this woman recruited her brother so they could both drive to pick me up  and  bring me and my car back home when I found myself on a hotel room floor, dangerously alone,

this woman never forgets to give me a gift — like a gift card to Victoria’s Secret or Home Depot — so that I can pamper myself when no one else will,

And, to this day, this woman has picked up the tab for the co-pays for my many therapy sessions, which have kept me out of the morgue.

And this woman, knew exactly what to say when my divorce became final.

This woman, who delivers babies all day long, but has no children of her own  —  is mothering me, someone  who is few months older than her (yeah — I’ll give her that, it’s the least I can do — ha ha!).

So Happy Mother’s Day to my Best Friend, who, by the way, is gorgeous!

Just Me With . . .  The Best Friend Ever!

See also:

How  I Found Out that My Ex-Husband Was Getting Married, a Mother’s Day Thing.

Worst Mother’s Day Card Ever

A Rat In My House

It was like a horror movie.

I was in law school. Or, actually I was done with law school and studying for the bar exam. In my infinite wisdom and with a splash of arrogance I decided I did not need the assistance of the bar exam prep courses everyone else took. No, I put myself on a home private study regimen. My husband and I had no children at the time, we were living in our little starter home with our adorable Labrador Retriever.

I would study most of the day, take a break in the evening when my husband got home, and then do a night shift of studying after he went to bed. My mini-split level had a pseudo downstairs den and a small damp room which I used as a study. There were sliding glass doors from the den opening to a small yard and beyond that, a wooded area. We hadn’t been in the house long. The previous owners used to leave the sliding doors cracked a bit so that their small dog could come and go, which, of course, allowed other critters to become accustomed to coming into the house. We, of course, discontinued that practice, kept the sliding doors closed, had the place exterminated, and didn’t have any problems with pests — or so I thought.

One night, during my late night study session downstairs, long after my husband had gone to bed, something ran across the room. It was NOT my adorable lab. No, this was smaller than a lab, bigger than a mouse, too fast to be a possum and had a long hairless tail.

A freaking rat. A huge gray rat!

A RAT!

I gasped so hard, I almost swallowed my tongue. But, I’m a tough girl. Bugs don’t bother me. I’ll get dirty outside, I have a strange interest in serial killers and I seriously considered becoming a mortician at one point in my life — but vermin? — not my thing.

I sat completely still waiting for it to come back. Afraid that if I moved it would come after me. I heard scratching; it was still in the house. So I did the responsible thing and ran up the half flight of stairs, through the kitchen, rounded the corner to the next flight of stairs, turned into my bedroom, closed the door and jumped in bed. May have done it all in four steps.

Studying done for the night.

I woke up my husband, told him we had a rat. He didn’t get up, said he’d look for it in the morning. I had nothing more to do but wait for the sweet release of sleep, behind my closed bedroom door.

Rambo

Rambo

My husband went to work very early. As usual, he got up before me. Before leaving, however, he woke me to exclaim that he’d killed the rat with an arrow — he had hunted it down and stabbed it. He asked me if I heard it screaming. I had not. He was so proud. But, he added, it had gotten away and he’d have to find it when he got home because he couldn’t be late for work. Huh? I was half asleep, murmured, “Okay. Thanks.”

I woke later. Looking down the stairs, I saw my dog’s butt. She was on her haunches staring into the kitchen.

This can’t be good, I thought.

I was right.

I slowly descended the stairs and peeked into the kitchen. My dog looked up at me as if to say, “Um, we have a situation here.”

Rosemary’s Baby

There, on my kitchen floor, was a quite large, dead rat. It had apparently been wounded and emerged from its hiding place and did a death crawl to the middle of my small kitchen. Entrails hanging, a train of blood and guts behind it. It finally succumbed to its wounds equidistant from the kitchen sink and refrigerator, blocking the steps to the downstairs den and study where my books were.

My study regimen for the day did not include disposing of a dead rat. My knight in shining armor did not complete the job.

I freaked. Of course I did the mature thing and went back to bed.

That didn’t last. I was afraid my dog would play with it. Really, though, the dog was like, “I’m not getting near that thing.” Plus, it was summer and we did not have central air. The only thing worse than a dead rat in my kitchen would be a rittingbdead rat in my kitchen.

My husband was unreachable, this was before cell phones and he worked on the road. I hadn’t made friends with any neighbors yet. I was on my own . . . and I needed to study. I considered grabbing my books and heading out to the library, my parents’ house, anywhere, to study for the day. But my books were downstairs, through the kitchen. My husband wouldn’t be home for hours.

I cursed him. I cursed him like I’d never cursed him before (of course events in later years have elevated my cursing him to an art form, but I digress . . . ).

How could he go all Rambo like that on the rat and not finish the job — leaving his wife to dispose of the body?

What kind of man was he to leave me with this mess?

Oh, he must have been so proud running around stabbing this rat and then walking off into the sunrise, leaving the corpse to me, a sleeping student suffering through the stress of the impending bar exam.

Damn, him. Damn. Damn. Damn.

Cursing him to myself did not help.

The dead rat was still in the kitchen.

I’d taken my dog out the front door and around to the fenced back yard.

The dead rat was still in the kitchen.

I cursed my husband again.

The dead rat was still in the kitchen.

I’d have to get rid of it, without looking at it, without feeling its weight, without dropping it. I still shudder.

Damn him (husband), damn the rat.

The whole disposal operation took me about two hours. I had to rest between tasks. My study schedule was ruined for the day. Once the carcass was removed, I disinfected the floor to a level beyond operating room clean. Many trees lost their lives to make the mound of paper towels I used. Lysol was my soul mate.

But I don’t think I ever went barefoot in that kitchen again.

When my husband came home I was a raving lunatic. He laughed. He thought it was hilarious. At some point much later I was able to laugh about it, too. But I still cursed him. I still do.

Clean up after your kill, man. Clean up after your kill.

Just Me With . . . a dead rat, paper towels, a shovel, Lysol, and trash bags.

See also, Tales from The Bar Exam

I Don’t Go To Weddings, But I’ll Watch the Royals

William and Kate

Weddings.  Ahh weddings.  It’s that time of year.  Starting off with a bang this year with the Royals William and Kate, but for regular folk  some people will be getting invitations to sibling’s, cousin’s, aunt’s and uncle’s,  best friend’s and acquaintance’s.   Me? I haven’t attended a wedding since my marriage ended.   And actually, I’m kind of in between life stages for weddings, anyway.  My friends are either already married or simply not going to do that (or if they do, it’ll be somewhere in Vegas).   For the most part, second marriages are not in full swing yet.   The younger members of my family aren’t old enough or ready.   Despite my marrying young, the rest of my family and close friends don’t  generally do that.  We’re slow that way.  So, I’m probably off the hook this year.

Still,  I’ve been invited to a few weddings over the years, but I politely decline.

At first I thought it would make me too sad to watch a marriage ceremony when mine didn’t take, but really I’m afraid I’d be one of those drunken hecklers you usually find at comedy clubs.

The Graduate

Officiator:  “Do you promise to Love, Honor, and Cherish . . . .?”

Me:   Yeah, they say that NOW . . . Everybody SAYS that . . .

Officiator:   “Forsaking all others . . .”

Me:    HA!!!!     Until a juicy young piece of a** asks for a ride home after work  . . .  Forsaking all others . . .  for a while . . .

Yeah, perhaps I am right to politely decline live attendance at weddings.

Still, I struggled with my last decline.   A very good friend of mine, who had been my bridesmaid and I, hers, at her first wedding, was remarrying.   She was and is deliriously happy.  Her first husband turned out to be a complete schmuck.  I’d known him from college too, actually longer than I’d known her.  I did not expect his bad behavior.   Neither did she.   He cheated on her.   Got  some other woman pregnant —  twice.  First, abortion.  Second, well she was six months pregnant when he finally had to come clean.   He first complained of depression and suicidal thoughts (to soften her up, I think), then hit her with, oh and by the by, I have a girlfriend and she’s pregnant and  having the baby (unlike the first pregnancy) — WHAAAAT?!!!!!!!!.   Despite this, my friend tried to save her marriage, something I couldn’t fully comprehend at the time, but I understand now.   She got him into counseling, on antidepressants, and did not kick him out.  They tried to work out a plan for this child, who was coming, no matter what.

It didn’t work;  he left their marital bed to go to this woman’s hospital bedside and watch their child’s birth, giving the baby the same name he and my friend had discussed if they ever had a child.   Cruel.   You see, the schmuck  didn’t want children at all when he and my friend first married but then softened and consented to one, just one.   Sadly, my friend could not get pregnant.   So his impregnating another woman and giving that baby the name they had decided on . . . well that’s whip worthy.

I remember talking to her  over the phone  — while her husband was at the hospital shortly after the baby was born.  It was unspeakable.   That is a pain no one should have to endure.   There’s a special place . . . for that man.   After the baby was born, he never really came back home, except to change clothes.   A couple of days later as she worked from home and  thought he was at work —  and he thought she was out — he came by and left a note, saying his place was with the baby and the baby’s mother.  After 12 years of marriage,  she got a break up note.  (She found out later it was all preplanned as he had already applied for and was given “parental” leave from work. Ugh.)

The Post It

From “Sex and The City” Carrie’s boyfriend broke up with her via a Post-It note.

My friend talked her way through this with her girlfriends;  all we could do was listen.  (A favor she returned to me later).

But, my friend met another man, by chance, at an event.  He, too, was suffering from the effects of a cheating and also spiteful spouse.  They clicked immediately.  They fell in love.   Some of us girlfriends (original bridesmaids) were worried that it was too soon, that it was a rebound situation, that this guy was also hurting too much – that it was like meeting someone in rehab — you have a lot in common, but is it really a basis for a positive new start?   My friend explained, “You know, bad things happen all the time, suddenly — car wrecks, cancer, hurricanes, and we accept that and adjust.  Why can’t we accept it when good things happen, suddenly, seemingly ill-timed?”  Okay, she’s a genius.  And she is a brilliant, talented, quite no-nonsense, kind of  woman with a dry sense of humor.   She’s not even religious, so it’s not a “God sent him to me” type of thing.   They just found each other.    After dating for a couple of  years,  last year, they  married at the beach.     You see, except for the horrible ordeal with the schmuck,  good things tend to  happen to this woman.  She even sold her old house in this horrible market in a matter of weeks.

She’d found her true love.   She won’t have children, and his are almost grown, but they have each other and have been happy, really happy.

I did not attend her wedding.   It was a semi-destination wedding small affair and although she would have been thrilled if I’d come, she kind of expected I wouldn’t make it, and was really cool about it.  I was in a bad way and couldn’t handle long drives, plus I wasn’t sure what I would do with my kids.   Plus, it’s not really good for me to be around for these things.   I might have cried — too much.    I was in her first wedding, and she in mine and neither one ended well —  I dunno – –  was I being superstitious?  It certainly wasn’t jealousy.   I have never been happier for anyone getting married.  She deserves happiness, just because she’s cool, let alone all the crap that schmuck put her through.   I definitely would not have heckled her.

Sometimes, it’s okay to stay away.  I have her back, though, and she mine.  We both know that.   I may attend William and Kate’s special day, though.  And I’ll call/text/email my friend to see what she thinks of it .   She loves royal weddings.   After all it is thousands of miles away and on television and on delay (I’m not getting up at 4:00am) and I don’t actually know William and Kate.   So I think it’s pretty safe for me to be in TV attendance.

I haven’t lost all capacity for romance, damn it.

The one with all the wedding dresses

Just Me With . . .  a remote control and well wishes to all the brides . . . from afar.  

I did go to a wedding, eventually.  See  “I Went To A Wedding Alone”

Wedding Leftovers — What To Do With The Dress?

A  married woman tends to keep three major things from her wedding:  The Rings, The Dress, The Photo Album.   Well, I’m not married anymore.    Since there are kids I suppose I have to keep the wedding album.   The Rings?  Well, I recently sold them.  Didn’t get much.  Told myself I would buy something for myself — not for the house, not for the family or kids –with whatever I could get for them.  It felt empowering.  Bought  myself an  iPod.   Now the dress.  When I moved to a much smaller home, I didn’t feel like making room for the box that holds my dress.  Right now it is at my parents’ house.   I couldn’t get a local consignment shop to take the veil so it went to Goodwill.   The shoes finally got thrown out.  They were stained satin, unwearable.  I was only keeping them for sentimental reasons.  I’m devoid of sentiment these days, so they are gone.   But that danged dress!   It’s a little harder to get rid of.  I looked good in that dress.   I was wed long enough ago that the dress is completely out of style, but it’s not old enough that it  could be worn as vintage.   Even if it was wearable,  I guess I’m just superstitious enough that I wouldn’t want someone I know wearing my wedding dress since the marriage ended in divorce.   So what to do with it?   Halloween?  Perhaps.  I keep thinking I’ll have one of those parties for women when you wear a wedding or bridesmaid dress just for fun.  Yeah, that’ll  happen — not!  My daughters want to play with it.  Maybe I’ll let them — before I get rid of it.   But I think I kinda don’t want to see it, ever again.  Donating it to a theatre company?  Possible.  Burn it in the fire pit I built with my own bare hands in the yard of the  house I now own  by myself (well, with the bank)?  hmmmm.  I just don’t know.   Seems so wasteful,  maybe like the wedding, maybe like the marriage.   (yeah yeah I know, I got the kids out of the marriage — but for the kids, though, what a freakin waste) .    I looked damn good in that dress— a lifetime ago . . .

Divorced Ladies:   What have you done with  your wedding gown?

Just Me With . . . a big old white dress.
See Also: Wedding Album, Time to Reduce it, Perhaps by Fire