It's not for the faint of heart.

Welcome to my slightly silly, often odd, and mostly messy life.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I put on my big girl panties...

I did it. I put on my big girl panties, and made the call I have been dreading for months.

It would be far to simple to say that it was uncomfortable. To start with I'm on day three of a terrible stomach flu. In between bouts of violently throwing up I worked up the courage and made the call.

It was not well received. There were tears, there were inappropriate questions that I refused to answer.

I'm proud of myself. I stood up for myself and the girls and made sure that they knew the ONLY reason I even bothered to tell them was that I didn't want the girls to have to lie / mislead / avoid questions etc.

The first question they had was, "Is he a cop or something?" That struck me as odd, but I simply said no he wasn't. Then his mother asked; "So is he older than you... or your age?" I told her that BLT is younger than me by a few years. LOL, her reply was classic; "oh...REALLY?? Um well good for you then I guess."

About ten minutes after we hung up they called back and asked if this new significant other is, "that guy from California" apparently this information was necessary for them to determine how they were going to inform the X. One part of me wanted to tell them it was none of their business, but I figured I was already letting them know about the living situation, and they would find out soon enough so I told them that yes, my live in boyfriend is in fact "that guy from California".

This was what really tossed them over the edge. I don't think we'll be talking again any time soon. They both feel this is just too soon. They're hurt. WTF? How can two people totally outside of the situation be hurt by me moving on with my life? Get a grip... this has nothing to do with you two. Trust me, when I'm snuggled in bed at night in BLT's arms I'm certainly not thinking about my former in-laws!

So it's done. I have no idea what kind of fall-out we're going to have. X may just haul me into court. He may file false claims with child protection services to cause trouble. He may decide to have me followed by private investigators...again... His mother was going to pay for Monkey Pants to go to full time Kindy this next year. I fully expect that to be cut off, I'm just hoping I can figure out a way to pay for it since she's already registered.

So once again, life is up in the air and I'm feeling on edge. I hate just waiting for the other shoe to drop. However I did what I felt was right, so I'm not going to second guess my decision or beat myself up for it. I'm glad they finally know and the kids no longer have to be secretive.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I've made a big decision.

I'm going to call my former in laws and tell them about BLT. I've been putting it off for a lot of reasons. Mostly it's none of their business. My private life should be none of their concern. Also I know that everything gets passed onto my X in prison. Will he start trying to make my life difficult? More lawyers? False claims filed with social services about abuse or neglect? His mother and step-father punishing my children emotionally? There are a lot of possibly unpleasant outcomes.

However, you would have to understand the nature of our former relationship to truly appreciate how hard this is going to be for me. My former father in law was once my uncle. Sounds incestuous right? It isn't, but it is complicated.

The Uncle was once married to my father's Sister. Well Auntie and Uncle divorced when I was a young child and he had been single ever since. After I was out of high school the former Uncle met X's mother - recently divorced - at my graduation party. They clicked, and ended up getting married a few years later.

I can look back now and see how unhealthy our relationship was. Not only X and I, but our willingness to let his mother and step-father/uncle be so overly involved in every single aspect of our lives. Daily calls, input on where we live, how we raise the kids, our marriage. They felt free to express an opinion on anything and everything. They had their fingers in nearly every pie - and they liked that control.

Now that X is in jail, and I'm keeping as much of my life separate from them as possible, there is tension that wasn't there before. Of course they blame me for everything that happened. He might have brought a gun... but I drove him to it. Like that's some kind of excuse... God that makes me insane.

Well for many months now neither the kids nor I have told them about BLT. I've mislead, avoided the subject, and down right lied. I felt an intense need to keep them out of this area of my life. I needed BLT and I to be something they have no knowledge or input on. I don't care what they think, and I certainly have no desire for their opinion on the matter.

The thing is, I don't want my kids to have to lie to their Grandparents. It's getting harder and harder for them to avoid the subject, and it's unfair to ask them to keep my secret. I'm not doing anything wrong, and I have nothing to be ashamed of. It's ridiculous to keep hiding our relationship.

Will they like it? No. Will there be drama, blame, and contempt? I'm sure of it. But I'm going to make it very clear that they don't get to grill my kids about my personal life. If they have questions they can come to me, and I'll decide what - if anything I share with them.

I'm hoping the conversation goes something like this; "I just wanted to let you guys know that not only have I been seeing someone for quite awhile, he's moved in with the girls and I. The only reason I'm telling you is that I don't want my children to be in a position where they have to lie to you. That being said, I want it made very clear that I don't want you discussing my personal life with the kids. I'm not asking for your permission and I'm not interested in sharing any details."

The X's mother is a typical narcissistic, drama queen martyr. When I said once "I can't stay, I have a date" I got chewed out because she's not ready for me to be dating, it's too soon and just plain cruel for me to "throw it in her face like that" WTF? What the hell does that even mean? Somehow things always get turned around so that it's all about her. And people wonder how X turned out the way he did!!

So I'm going to be an adult. I'm going to tell them. Then I'm going to stand up for myself and refuse to be bullied, or questioned. I'll deal with the fall out once X knows in the same manner I've dealt with everything else. One pain in my ass at a time.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Am I responsible for YOUR happiness?

I don't mean you, as in the reader... It's more a general question I struggle with now and again. Am I responsible for my children's happiness? BLT? My parents? Friends? Do I do what makes me happy even if other people don't enjoy/appreciate/participate/accept my choices?

I stayed married to my X for at least five years when I was REALLY, dreadfully unhappy. I stayed because I wasn't sure if my personal happiness was more important than that of my kids and my X. My children had a very comfortable life, we lived in an affluent neighborhood. I was home with them all day, and financially we were very well off. The X was also perfectly satisfied...why wouldn't he be? He traveled all over the country for work and I stayed home taking care of the kids, the house, the pets, the cars, the bills, the yard, all our personal responsibilities like shopping for holiday gifts and visiting ill family members. As far as he was concerned all he had to do was bring home a paycheck and his marital and parental duties were performed.

But I guess that's neither here nor there. At this point it's already a done deal - the ink is dry on the divorce papers. He lost his mind and is now, and forever more, a felon. The kids and I have started a new life, a happy life. We no longer have the financial stability we once did. They no longer have their father in their lives - but I'm involved with a man I love, and we're all making this new, better life for ourselves one day at a time.

So... how much more am I responsible for? I worry about how much I have asked BLT to give up. Having him here makes me ridiculously happy. I'm madly and truly in love with him...but is it fair to expect him to build this life with me while the rest of his family and friends are several states away? Is it even my responsibility to worry about that - or do I say, "well, you're a big boy. You know what you want and you'll make the choice that's right for you." While that makes sense, I love him, and I all I really want is for him to be happy.

And how about the kids? I still have guilt about how things played out during the divorce. While I did not love the X, I never had any intention of hurting him. I certainly never wanted him to go nuts and end up in prison. My kids are now without their father.... and as shitty of a father as he was, he was still the only father they've ever known.

My parents... what is my responsibility to them and to their happiness? I work with them on a daily basis and I feel an extreme amount of responsibility towards the business and towards them. I need to do my best, I need to help grow our business so that one day in the not too distant future they can retire. They are not in great health, and while they are fairly young - they've spent 16 years sacrificing and putting every penny back into the business. What if I fail? What if my best isn't enough?

There are things I want for myself, and those things make me feel guilty on occasion. I am having a hard time reconciling what makes me happy and whether or not I have a right to go after the things I want, even if it's opposite of what my loved ones need/want. How do you balance that?

Maybe it's maternal guilt. Maybe it's personal responsibility. Maybe that's what love is really about, giving up what you really want for the sake of your loved ones. It's all so complicated, and yet so simple at the same time.

Why aren't there any clear cut answers in life?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Being content with what is...

I would not describe myself as malcontent, but I will be honest and say that I need to practice being content with the life I have built. I need to focus on the positives and stop using phrases like, "except for" and "other than" when I'm describing my life.

I tend to focus on the negative, to get wrapped up in the minutia of day to day life and loose sight of all the fun, amazing, and beautiful things around me. While my blessings are many - so are my stresses, and frequently those things that stress me out seem to over shadow the good things. I don't know why I'm like this. I want to be a positive, happy, self actualized and fulfilled person, and I know that it starts with being aware of all the blessings in my life.

So in no particular order, here are the things that are currently making me happy:

I was able to pay all my bills this month and have a little left over for the savings account.
I have a man who loves me, and some day I might just be brave enough to marry him. If I'm not brave enough, then we'll have a hell of a time living in sin!
I have a great job with tons of personal freedom.
I have a beautiful home to live in. I might even be able to purchase this home in the future if I do things just right.
I have four happy, healthy, headstrong children.
I haven't lost a lick of weight, and even though I'm struggling my man tells me every single day that I'm beautiful and sexy and desirable.
I have true friends who accept me just as I am.
I have six months before the X is out of jail.

One of the things that causes me the most stress are my former in-laws. I'm going to have to draw a line in the sand and stand firm. I let them walk all over me, say things that upset me, and pressure me with money/withholding money for my children. I need to just learn to be firmer with them and stand up for myself. I need to remember those blessings I listed above and keep my in-laws at arms length.

I think that alone will go a long way to helping me feel more content and less stressed out on a daily basis.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Exhaustion and Pulling Out the Big Guns

I got back from three days at the Great Wolf Lodge with my four children and my niece. Five kids and me... and one giant headache. The kids were great actually, it's just the normal stress that goes along with keeping track of, feeding, entertaining, and transporting five kids under the age of 13 several hours from home to a water park hotel.

I love my kids. I love spending time with my kids... but damn... I was so ready to come home after 24 hours, much less three full days.

After coming home, what do I decide to do? I spend all day Saturday doing errands and today I help Ethel move! LOL, I'm obviously crazy, hehe. Actually I feel good about that part. It's a big job, and I'm her best friend. I would do anything for her. We kicked butt too! Big Motha Truckers rollin' in the Chevy - sexy! :)

Speaking of errands. I did something Saturday I never thought I would do. I purchased a hand gun and filled out my registration for a concealed carry permit. My X gets out in a little over six months, and I'm honestly afraid for my safety and for the safety of my kids. My no contact order will only go so far. He pulled a gun on me. It's been over a year and he's still sitting his crazy ass in jail taking no responsibility for what he's done. So... I won't be unprotected if he decides to violate the restraining order and he tries to hurt me.

I contact my instructor tomorrow to set up my private lessons and take my basic gun safety course. This is an empowering and still terrifying and horrifying prospect all at the same time. Up until this moment I've always been against hand guns. I am not a violent person, and I don't think you can solve violence with violence. However, he caught me unaware once, and I honestly believe he would have killed me if I hadn't gotten away. That will not happen again.

It's been an exhausting week. Emotionally and physically. Going back to work on Monday will actual be more relaxing I think!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

God I was a bitch today

I have to admit that I was feeling so put out and bitchy today, I know I wasn't pleasant to be around.

I can blame the heat. Or the fact that my kids called me six times at work screaming and fighting on the phone expecting me to play referee. I can blame my former in-laws for continuing to piss me off. Or the bank for making it impossible for me to get my X off my automobile title without jumping through the most ridiculous steps. (Honestly, why do they need proof of the weight of my car to print a new title with just my name on it? Why the hell does how much it weighs affect anything?)

I suppose I have plenty of fairly legitimate reasons to feel pissed off at the world, and I think in some ways it was a combination of all those things. But it wasn't any one thing that triggered this enormous melt down.

I saw myself in one of those bank camera / tv things today and I look fat. Like REALLY fat. I've gained back 20 pounds of the 60 I lost several years ago. I can't believe I'm letting myself go... I'm slipping back to that hideous mess I was. And you know what? I was pissed at myself.

Then add in the phone calls, the heat, the bullshit with the bank and POW... mega bitch mode kicks in.

I have had a headache since two o'clock this afternoon. I need to just take a cool shower and go to bed. Maybe I'll be nicer to myself and everyone else in the morning light.

Dear Former In-laws...

Dear former in-laws,

Please do us all a favor and butt out of my life.

You have to accept the fact that you are no longer involved in certain aspects of my life. When I divorced your son, hell BEFORE that, when he brought a gun to my house and your answer was to lay blame at my door you lost a right to have a say in how I live my life.

When you paid for the divorce lawyer whose only job was to screw my kids out of the resources they deserve to feed and clothe them then you made a choice. You chose your gun toting, narcissistic son over your grandchildren and you lost the right to have input on how I raise them.

Do not ask me about my personal life. Do not ask me about my finances. Do not share your opinion on either of these subjects either. Do not make judgements about me, do not discuss my private affairs behind my back with other family members. Keep your unwanted opinions to yourself.

Do not call me at work, and get me so upset by butting into things that have nothing to do with you that I start to have chest pains and feel the need to hide in a closet and scream at the top of my lungs in frustration.

What I once accepted as "involvement" out of parental love I have now come to realize is simply nothing more than an unhealthy control issue. You need to control what I do, what I say, whom I socialize with, how I raise my children and any other aspect of my life that you feel is your business because your bat shit crazy son is sitting in jail and you desperately need someone to blame.

I am not your scape goat for all the crap you're dealing with. I'm not the cause of your grief, your own personal marital problems, your emotional pain, your financial woes, or your ire. I did not raise a selfish, self obsessed, anti-social man, and then make excuses for his erratic and downright destructive behavior...that one is all on you. Deal with it.

I will not be made to feel guilty because I do not love your son. If you are sitting around hoping I'll take him back when he gets out of jail then you're just as crazy and demented as he is.

I will not let you control me with money - or the withholding of it. You can not bride me, or my children into behaving in the way you feel is most "appropriate". I will say what I want, I will tell my side of this story without shame. I will take responsibility for the mistakes I made, however I will not make any apologies to YOU for the decisions I made. BECAUSE I WAS NOT MARRIED TO YOU!! I will not hide my feeling or my intentions. I will not let you shame me into feeling like I'm somehow in the wrong for finding happiness and love because YOU aren't ready yet.

I am moving on with my life. Accept it, or leave me the hell alone.

Yours Truly,
Little Ol' Me

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A girl has to meet her own needs on occasion.

For those of you whose mind resides in the gutter, no, I don't mean getting myself off. Although, let's be honest, sometimes it's just what you need. No fuss, and no egos to stroke. I'm not opposed to pleasuring myself, but if BLT is around I readily admit that I'm a fan of the manly bits and LOVE LOVE LOVE me some good old fashioned man lovin'.

What I mean are my other needs in life. Exercise, a well deserved pat on the back, a delicious meal. I gave myself all three today. I went for a two + mile run, did a weight circuit and walked home. I did a little happy dance and bought myself a new book online as a "yay me" gift. I made a delish Mexican feast and enjoyed every bite! Then I gave myself the gift of not being such a control freak. I walked away and let the kids clean the kitchen.

Will it be perfect? No. Will they forget to do something? Likely. Will I survive? Certainly. I'm trying to give myself a break. I'm trying to accept that with four kids my house doesn't have to be picture perfect.

I've worked hard, exercised hard, ate a great meal, rewarded myself with something I love and left my able children to deal with one of my least favorite responsibilities. It's been a good day. Maybe my need to run, mentioned in yesterday's post, is just me needing to let go of some of my perceived responsibilities?

Maybe I just need to take care of a few of my own basic needs, and let the kids and BLT meet a few more of their own? As much as I want to be Super Woman sometimes, I would much rather be more relaxed, more fun... more the true self I remember being when I was younger and less burdened by the weight of my world.

I'm not sure how successful I'll be, but I'll keep trying. Sometimes I think it's just a part of my nature to be a little controlling. But I'll be honest, I would much rather be happy than in control all the time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There are days I want to run away from home...

It's not even that anything is particularly wrong. I'm just feeling this amazing pull to RUN. Run away, avoid reality and responsibility. Skip work, pack a bag and just disappear.

I don't want to tell anyone where I'm going, and I don't know where I would go anyway. Just fill up my gas tank and drive until I find someplace with no phone, no television.

No dishes, no sick kids, no dogs to feed, no bills to pay, no laundry, no bill collectors, no X, no ringing telephones.

Someplace warm. Someplace quiet. Someplace I can peel off all my dried up layers and lay raw and exposed to the warm air. Someplace I can just THINK or better yet, STOP THINKING. Stop worrying about money, the kids, the X, BLT, work, my parents, my BFF, my pathetic bank account, my uncolored roots and unmanicured nails.

Someplace I can just cry and not worry that it will upset the kids, or make BLT think there is something wrong. There isn't anything wrong between us.

I won't run... because I'm not a runner. I stuck it out 15 years with a man I didn't love because that's what I do. I stick... I make do. I cope and I tough it out.

And I love my kids. I love my job. I love BLT and my parents and even my semi-retarded dogs. I love the town I live in and the friends whom I'm blessed to have in my life.

But I'll dream, and I wonder, and I'll close my eyes and fight against that need to run. Because as good as running would feel - I know, deep down, that it doesn't hold a candle to making love to BLT late at night. To cooking dinner together and eating as a family outside on the patio with the kids. While it might feel good in the moment, in the long run I would hate myself and I would miss out on so many beautiful moments.

So instead of running away from home I'm running towards it. I know, in time this feeling will pass.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Support... I has it...

In several ways I'm feeling quite supported these days;

1. My parents are going to help me make ends meet since DHSH cut off all my benefits. This is financial support they really can't afford to give, but they're going to tighten their own budget up and between us we'll make it work.

2. My Weight Watchers meeting got canceled as of tonight. Our tiny town doesn't have enough members to make it worth it, so they gave us some bullshit line about needing more support and merging meeting places. The closest meeting to me is now an hour drive each way. My mother didn't blink. She said we will figure it out and that it's more time to spend together! She knows this is important to me so she's willing to make that sacrifice with me.

3. BLT stuck up for my kids big time tonight. Someone from a local church came by the house while we were gone. They hit my kids up for a "donation" and my 2 oldest children, feeling pressured and not knowing what else to do gave them the money they had. The group left a video for the kids to watch about their mission / religion and all that. BLT used the information on the video to contact the church and inform them in no uncertain terms that it is completely inappropriate to take money from 11 and 13 year olds. He told them that they were not welcome near our home again, and if they come back we'll call the police. I mean honestly ... What kind of grown adult takes money from a child?

4. I had a good boob day. I'm normally a "barely B" cup. For one week a month I go up one full cup size and I actually have cleavage! I strap these little apples into one of my A cup bras and BOOM BABY - where's my v-neck sweater?

5. My oldest made dinner for all of us tonight. She did laundry, cleaned up, and ended up making some amazing roasted pork and rice pilaf. She's such a blessing!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kareoke, Kids, and Crackers...

My week in review:

WW weigh in, down 1.2 lbs - Bitchy in laws playing the blame game - School supply shopping (when did pencils and paper get so expensive?) - Fight with DSHS, leave defeated by the system - Discover 401K money being garnished by government - Bikini Wax - Drunk kareoke in front of strangers - Garage sale goodness - Sleep Over ending in child sneaking home in middle of the night and me waking up and having a heart attack when I discover her missing.

I'm pretty much looking for a redo of this week. If that's not possible then how about alchohol, chocolate cake and dirty sex?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Just when you get a handle on things...(warning this is NOT a p.c. feel good post)

the rug is pulled out from under you. I guess that's kind of universal for a lot of us single parents, but that sure doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I'm going to vent, and I feel no need to kiss any one's ass or be politically correct. I'm going to say exactly what's on my mind. If this offends you then I'm sorry.

DSHS has decided that I should be capable of meeting all my children's needs on my own without their assistance. The system I helped pay into for years with our exorbitant taxes is no longer available to me when I find myself in need of it. For craps sake, I make 15.00 per hour, who the hell can raise four kids on their own - w/o child support - on that? Are these bureaucratic nimrods on crack?

I sat there last week, feeling defeated and pathetic, with my pay stubs, my utility bills, and my ridiculous excel spreadsheet showing how much I'm short each month. I plead my case and laid out exactly why I need help with things like childcare and medical insurance for my children. It doesn't matter. They don't care. It has to be a hard job being a social worker - but the total apathy these people have towards other humans in need makes me want to spit in their holier than thou faces.

I was actually told that if I was "unemployed" i.e. "If you quit your job" then there would be plenty of services available. WTF? You're encouraging someone to quit their job and go on welfare? Really? This is your idea of "help"? When I was making $13.00 per hour they told me I was too poor for low income housing. Yes you read that right... TOO POOR. I wasn't going to be able to afford my utilities so they wouldn't even put me on the waiting list. All they would do was give me a list of shelters to try (none of which would take a family of five, I would have had to separate my kids up and send the older two alone to a youth shelter and keep the younger two with me.) So I get a better job and whoa Nelly now on two bucks more an hour I should be able to meet all our needs, no problem. Does anyone else see a problem here? Am I the only one with a look on confusion on their face?

I know it sounds horrible, and I try not to make this a race issue but the teenage girl with the THREE children under the age of five, the neck tattoo, and the interpreter sure didn't leave with a frown on her face. I have the impression from her smile that they didn't cut HER services... so EXCUSE THE FUCK OUT OF ME for being born in this country and having a JOB. Excuse me for finding myself in a situation - not by my own making - where I'm a single mother. They actually said, "well you went to college, you have a degree. Why can't you make more money?" In this economy? What the hell? The system is broken. Backwards, demented, retarded, and just plain broke as hell.

So I put in my paperwork to start a formal appeal. I'm hoping that at the very least they'll put me on the sliding scale for reduced cost medical and childcare. They took away my free birth control so I will have to figure out what to do about that. I can't afford to pay for my Depo shots - and I certainly can't afford to have another baby. Maybe that's the trick... I just keep pumpin' out babies until I pass the threshold and qualify for help again. What a fantastic idea!! (insert dramatic eye roll here)

They also took away my food stamps - which was a pathetic meager amount to begin with that was only 1/4 what it actually costs me to feed my family. I'll tighten my belt and make my food budget stretch. The kids will learn to live without snack foods and we can certainly cut out some of the more expensive cuts of meat we enjoy. Like my dad said, "hey kiddo - we lived on ham, rice and beans when I was growing up - there are ways to feed a family on the cheap. You'll be okay!"

It's infuriating that services are available if you come here from another country, if you just pump out one kid after the other from the time you hit puberty, or if you choose not to work even though you're able to - but someone who needs temporary help until they can get on their feet, someone whose taxes have paid into the system for years, someone who is willing to work; well that person is just shit outta luck.

I guess what really frustrates me is that I had gotten myself to a place where I was able to pay my bills on my own with a small amount of assistance from the state. Now I HAVE to depend on BLT to help pay the bills - and I promised myself I wouldn't be financially dependant on anyone ever again. If a year from now he decides he doesn't love me anymore, or if this life isn't what he really wants... I could lose everything. I feel insecure and the lack of control makes me feel like a failure. Others manage to do this on their own. I'm the kids' only parent. I should be able to put food on the table and pay for their basic needs and I can't. There isn't a way to make those dollars stretch enough. I've looked at it every which way possible. I've had another set of eyes on's impossible on my own with my bills.

I feel beat up. I know it will pass...but tonight I feel like someone ran me over and left me for dead.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The art of small talk

I've come to the conclusion that I have to re-learn how to make small talk. All of my stories involve HIM. When BLT and I are sharing stories I have this uncomfortable awareness that after spending 18 years with my X I don't have anything to talk about that does not, in some way include him. Italic

All of my vacations were with him. All of my friends are his former friends. All of my holidays involved him. All of my traditions. All of my successes and failures in some way involved the one person I would rather never see again. I've spent far too much time in the past year crying, and stressing, and talking about him, and about what he did to me. I don't want to give him that kind of influence in my life any longer.

I need to figure out how to share parts of myself without focusing on my X. I don't want to talk about him, I don't even want to think about him. This is just one more of those weird things about divorce that nobody talks about. I mean, how do you do it? How do you figure out what to share, what to keep to yourself, and what do you do with the uncomfortable silence when you realize you've got nothing to add to a conversation that doesn't start with, "when X and I went to ____" or "during the holidays X and I used to do such and such."?

And good lord, what do you do when your children want to talk about their father? Talk about uncomfortable. The other night at dinner the kids were asking who OJ Simpson was. We explained that he was a sports star who turned pseudo actor, who many people think killed his ex wife. At that point TNT said "oh like how my daddy tried to kill my mommy" It was absolutely silent. I had no idea what to say. I mean how does one recover and make polite chit chat after THAT?