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Archive for the ‘Exhusband’ Category

Affirmations with the ex

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So, the girls’ dad called a month or so ago to go over some dates for holidays and vacation weeks and when he thanked me for agreeing to his taking the girls for some extra time in April (April Vacation) I joked, “Aren’t you glad you have such a great ex-wife who is reasonable about your time with the girls?” And he goes, “Absolutely, and aren’t you glad I am a good ex-husband who hasn’t abandoned their children and show up for visits and vacations?” And my answer? “That doesn’t make you a good ex-husband, that makes you a good father.”

It has annoyed me to no end that since we separated and went through the divorce, that he tends to present to me that he is doing me a favor and doing good things for me by spending time with the kids. He isn’t doing me any favors. I mean, sure, when he has the kids, I rest, get things done, work, go out with friends, have a one on one relationship with J. But it isn’t about me, it’s about the kids and he tends to forget that, unfortunately.

Then, I did let him know that I am grateful that, for the most part, we are amicable co-parents and that I think he is a great father to the girls.

And his response? “Well, aren’t you glad you married and divorced a man wealthy enough so you don’t have to work?”

And true, I get decent child support and alimony. I got my half from OUR investments and OUR real estate.

I was pissed when he said that. He even had the gall to quote a number that he gave me in the end that should have me set for life. The actual number, was half of what he quoted. I know. I am the one that bought my condo and does my finances. I am also the one that paid her own lawyer.  In his head he has inflated it which is sad. At first, I thought maybe I was crazy, but then, I went back and looked at out divorce agreement and financial settlement, and affirmed that I wasn’t the crazy one.

Interestingly, this conversation, where he brought up money, is one that showed me that he will carry on resentment about money and child support, for a long long time .

I basically break even. Even with the fortunate events of some family things happening (on my side of the family) that enabled me to pay off my mortgage last year, I am still breaking even. Things are still mega tight. I put $3500.00 into my car last year. Bought a new water heater. My computer died so I bought a new laptop for my business. 

His comment about my “not working” is a testament to his attitude when we were married. When we were married, I busted my ass with two babies, in the midst of postpartum after the second, doing it all alone while he worked and went on trips with buddies, worked out at the gym, and rarely was home for family time. When the kids were sleeping, I was in my studio attempting to paint and create a business for myself that I wanted badly, a business that is growing still, one that I can focus on and believe in.

I look back at the time when we were married and he walked into my studio and looked down at my painting and said, “I don’t get it. I don’t get the meaning of art. What the point of it is.” 

If he had said that to me before we were married, I wonder if I would have married him.

I love the fact that he thinks I sit at home and eat bon bons and let the kids run free and wild and that I don’t “work”.

And after that comment, I interrupted him and said, “OH I WORK ALRIGHT! And aren’t you glad your kids are with their mother after school and before school instead of before school care and after school babysitting? Aren’t you glad they are living in a comfortable home and are well adjusted and bright and feel love from both of us because we are both there for them?”

He was quiet a minute and then started in…I interrupted him again. 

“Okay, we started out with compliments, how about if we go back to there and say goodbye.”

(in my head, I ended with “DUMB ASS!”)

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I cringed every time someone asked me “Oh, are you cooking for Thanksgiving?” 

My answer has been “yes, for myself!”

And then folks didn’t know what to say when they realized that J will be gone, my mom is out of town and my kids were with their dad for the four day holiday weekend.

When I say “I am cooking for myself”, this is no ordinary Thanksgiving. I woke up and started the coffee pot and brewed a big pot of my favorite Blue Bottle coffee. I fried some eggs and toasted the bread I made on Wednesday and got out the blackberry jam. And then I took it back to bed to watch movies while eating breakfast.

Just a month or so ago, on a Saturday morning that was chilly and gross, J and I did the same thing together, in my bed. And a few weeks ago, he made us egg sandwiches and coffee and brought it to his bathroom where we took a Jacuzzi tub and ate breakfast. (yes, IN the bathtub…there are scary things like this that explain why we are together)

I am doing some work sewing for a friend. So after breakfast and a movie, I got to work. Making $20 an hour doing something that comes as naturally to me as painting, in my pajamas with twelve Project Runways (I thought it was fitting) lined up in the Tivo, is a good working life.

D came home from Manhattan for the weekend and we’ve walked every day and caught up on each other’s news. Unfortunately, he is not coming home for Christmas and I will miss our usual Christmas eve visiting. 

I promised the girls we’d get our tree on Monday after school. But I had an art show down in Rhode Island on Saturday and on the way home, 40 minutes from my house, on a busy highway, my car dead stopped and I rolled into the breakdown lane.

I can thank the girls’ dad for recommending Triple A (AAA) last year when I had work done on my car. Because at 7:30 at night on a Saturday, on a thin shoulder on a highway where folks were cruising past at 75 miles an hour, I was not happy to be alone, broken down. The lady asked if I was alone and when I told her I was, she said she would send the highway patrol to stay with me until the tow truck came. I already knew at this point, due to the lights that came on on the dash, before the car died, (I called my dad in California who GOOGLED it and told me it was the alternator) that my car didn’t just need a jump. This baby was going all the way back up north to my car guy and I was going to shell out some bucks.

Anyway, five minutes after hanging up the phone with AAA, I was waiting for the cops and I was shaking. It kind of freaked me out, that it happened. And then my phone rang and it was the tow truck guy, telling me he was going to be there in about five minutes.

Sure enough, this greasy rugged angel of a tow truck driver appeared at my door and helped me to his truck. Ten minutes later, we were driving north towards my car place. It was a half hour drive and although I was alone with this guy, I felt strangely safe. He told me about his kids and how when he was young, his dad brought him up to our coastal town for a week’s vacation at the beach. And how it was his best memory with his dad, who had recently passed away.

During the ride, I made a comment about how I appreciated how quickly he got to me on the highway and he said they tend to expedite highway breakdowns (some people may wait a few hours) and because I was alone (AAA asked if I was alone when I called them), they got him there asap. He said that for a woman to be on the side of the highway alone is not good because creeps pull over to help and then rob people or attack them, so if the truck can’t get there, they call cops to go sit with the person.

GAH!!!!

In the end, he went over and above the call of duty. We couldn’t get the key out of my ignition, which mean I couldn’t lock my car, which had all of my artwork (my life) from the art show in it. At first he said he’d load it in his truck and take it to my house for me. But there was no way it would all fit in the cab of his truck. Then, he pulled his truck around, and we sat for about five minutes while he charged my battery enough to get the ignition to turn on so I could turn the key and release it. THEN I was able to lock  the car before dropping he key in the drop box for my car guys for Monday morning.

To top it off, I couldn’t get a hold of any of my friends that are local to pick me up a mile away at the car place, so the tow truck guy goes, “Well, I’ll just drop you home, I don’t mind!” I thought a minute and then decided to let him, I felt safe enough, but it didn’t stop me from having him drop me on a different corner and walked the other way until he disappeared. 

The weekend was crazy. My kids and J left on the same day (Wednesday) and I can’t shake the sad feeling, kind of lonely (THANK GOD FOR SKYPE and his satellite connection!). I had Thanksgiving alone, as well as Friday, where I was productive and carefree and relaxed. Saturday was quite the hell due to the aforementioned event. Sunday, I felt resolved and settled, even though the car is going to cost a bundle and I am currently at home without transportation. At least for a day or so.

All in all, I am grateful for the experience that was as smooth and safe as can be. I am glad my kids are home with me tonight (their dad drove them home for me since I was car-less). And the week will start on a somewhat normal note. In four weeks I will be sitting with J at the place where he is playing piano, at the beginning of my week with him. Until then, I will continue to enjoy my children, Christmas, getting and staying healthy after my bad bout with the cold, and continue to be creative and sell and relax and be grateful.

 

 

 


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The girls loved staying in their pajamas today, since there was no school on “voting day”. Although it was 65 degrees, they wanted to go see High School Musical 3, something I promised a long time ago. In the end, I was able to run errands for my two upcoming art shows and I feel more organized. I also changed the sheets and opened the windows and did 4 loads of laundry and put the candle lamps in the windows and got the humidifier from basement set up in the girls’ room for the winter.

I’m glad that today I stopped pmsing because if I kept eating the way I was eating LAST week, I’d outgrow all my pants and NOT go into the holidays and winter on a good note.

Today was all about fruit and water and yogurt and whole grain bread and well, I couldn’t avoid the cheese, but cheese is better than two ice cream cones, Halloween candy and frozen cheesecake.

High School Musical 3 was as expected. Packed with kids. My girls were so excited. I had stashed our own water and a bag of gummy worms in my bag for the movie (despite the huge signs on the doors of the theatre saying “no outside food or drink”) because otherwise, we get raped when we pay for food at the concession. 

At the end, if you’ve seen it, remember when he tells the girl he’s going to go to college just 32 minutes away from her because he loves her? (sorry, I spoiled it) Well, I heard on my right, a little “aaaaaaaaahmmmmmmmm!” from Red.

And then my mind started going, because Red’s been mentioning this other 7 year old boy in her class, Joshua. She says his name about twice a day. Every day. Since school started.

Oh my, in ten years, she’ll be almost 18 and probably already had a bunch of crushes (and no dates, since she won’t be allowed until she’s a legal adult, if I can help it, that is).

It occurred to me too, when I went up the street to vote, with the girls in tow, that in ten years, she’ll be able to vote.

I wonder if I’ll be calling her like my dad called me today. When I answered he asked, “So, did you vote for the good president or the bad president?”

My ex-husband, their dad, called at the end of the night tonight and I heard Blue ask him who he voted for. And she came running in to me and yelled, “Mommy! Daddy voted for McCain to cancel out YOUR vote!.”

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Oh Lordy Lordy Lordy…thank GOODNESS I’m not FORTY. (I say that just because it rhymed)

Lordy, please let me get through the next ten days without getting my head unscrewed. Let me finish the last few paintings on time and be happy with them. Let me varnish them without killing myself  or at least passing out and let me hang with delicacy so nothing falls and breaks.

Let me have a decent turnout and sell lots.

I know that what I do is more about DOING it than making a buck. I am a fortunate single mum who gets to be home with the kids when they are home and paint in all her spare time, whenever she wants, and make money at it.

But this year. Please, LORDY, let this stuff sell so I can pay off my new(ish) Mac. It’s a need, not a want.

Give me the courage to plow through the three other arts events between now and Christmas, so that I don’t meltdown or screw something up.

Now, speaking of “wants”…I want to go out of country to see Piano Man for a week in December. And again in February.

So, dammit, Lordy, make people want to buy art and make them want to buy it now.

Lordy, I am not wishing life away, but I dream of January once in a while, so I can get caught up on my Oprahs.

I hope exhusband…I mean, the girls’ father, gets off my back and stays off my back.

And a light winter so I can keep walking and have sun and not shovel snow.

Let me have the patience and strength when Piano Man is away, to go with the flow and feel okay. And sell lots of work so I can pay for the ridiculously expensive flight to go see him. Even though he says he wants to fly me there. On his bill. That’s amazing. But not okay with me.

Please bring him back.

Lordy, please let this excema on my arms go away. I hate it. Steroid cream is not only expensive but doesn’t seem to be working. Excema is JUST-NOT-SEXY.

Lordy, please keep my sis safe. It’s taken her years to get preggers and now she is and she has only told me and her husband and her doctor, it’s very early. May it stick and be healthy and good for her. Give me the strength to know what to say when she calls me in the middle of the night with a screaming nursing baby and cracked nipples.

May I get through the winter without anxiety, depression, gaining weight or acne.

May my girls continue to talk to me every day after school, during breakfast, at bedtime, on the weekends, on the phone when they are with their dad, so I know what they are thinking, wanting and needing. May they continue to get along and be respectful to each other, me and everyone else around them. And be creative and make stuff and explore and express.

Let them know how to be happy, no matter what.

Let us all stay safe, feel safe and continue to live each day through love.

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I’ve upped and blocked him

I’ve just gone and blocked my exhusband, I mean, the girls’ father, in Facebook.

It never occurred to me to look for him there. But I had Facebook up today and Red looked over and said “Oh, Daddy has a Facebook too!”

Apparently, we have four mutual friends. I have a hundred and sixty something “friends”. He has 47.

40 of them are people we knew when we were married. People who stayed with him.

It’s fine. because those who stayed with me, are the best for me. Obviously. Makes sense.

He’s been a challenge lately. A bully. Annoying. Frustrating. A total asshole.

At least he is a good dad to the girls.

If he weren’t, I’d be madder.

When I was just starting out in the divorce a few years ago, he pounded me with threats and intimidation and tried to manipulate things so I would walk away what I was entitled to, including my children. In the end, it worked out the way it was supposed to work out. Somewhat fair and somewhat equal, based on the circumstances.  

During the time where I was stressed beyond belief, going in and out of court, worrying that his threats were real, wondering what judges and lawyers would say, my dad said something very important to me one day on the phone. He said “If he does something great for you, turn him into a zero. Because when he has done something good for you, it is to manipulate or negotiate, not because he feels he is doing the right thing. When he does something that hurts you, turn him into a zero.”

In my head, he has been and is a zero. I put the kids first. If I feel it is good for the kids, I say “yes”. Even if it inconveniences me or makes him gloat at seeming to be the “winner” in any situation, big or small.

Fortunately for me, I also take him into consideration. I suppose that turns him into something more than a zero in my book. But he is the girls’ father. No matter the jerk he can be, they love him and love being with him and he takes good care of them when they are with him.

I’m wondering sometimes what gets into him when he turns bully-ish and mean. Lately, he’s been more-so and it frustrates the hell out of me. Still, I think “zero” and that subsides some of the concern and frustration and upset he brings to the table, unnecessarily.

But still. Regardless, I document stuff. I save nasty voice mails. I do. I do because despite him being a zero, which is an attempt to force him out of my head and worry, I constantly feel the need to protect things, myself, from him. I’ve been through 7 years of marriage with him. I went through a year long divorce. I’ve been divorced from him for almost four years and co-parent with him. I am the primary residence for the girls and he has every other weekend visits and a mid week dinner visit. 

Every night he calls to talk to the girls for the most part.  I have no problem with it, but I asked him to call anytime by 6:30. 6:30 is when the girls brush their teeth, choose stories, we read on my bed for half and hour and then sing for fifteen minutes and cuddle and talk and then say goodnight. If he calls during that time, it disrupts the flow of what we are doing because they get excited and distracted and we lose the bedtime routine. For a long time, before we started reading stories, I would call him if we hadn’t heard from him. It sucked. Because it was like my marriage to him. I was his secretary. I was his Stepford Wife, in a way. He never had to think about anything. My calling made it easy for him. I decided to stop and set boundaries, boundaries which he can’t seem to respect or follow.

So, what does he do? He calls AT 6:30. Despite my reminding him to please call before 6:30 and not AT 6:30, he still does it.

I’ll add that when I call for the girls when they are with him, I get them about 30 percent of the time. About eight percent of the time, he’ll actually call me back if I’ve left a message.

Tonight we were out and got home late. There was a nasty message on my cell and my house line, saying that he is trying to get in touch to talk to the girls. But he didn’t say it so nicely.

I called him back, just fifteen minutes after he left his message (which he left at 6:32). After the girls brushed their teeth, I tried him again. No answer. As they got in bed, I called him again. No answer.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow when I get the lecture.

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I go back and forth between calling Ex husband, “the ex husband” and “the girls’ dad”. Recently I was in a group at the beach and said something like “my ex husband will be with the girls for Fourth of July.” Red piped up from behind and said “DON’T CALL DADDY YOUR EX HUSBAND!”

I was reminded in my first discussion with Ohio, that it may ease things to address him as “the girls’ father” or “their dad”.

In thinking about it, I realized that it was better for the girls to hear it coming from my mouth. And that is priority number one. It is better for others to hear “the girls’ dad” instead of “my ex husband” because it insinuates a more pleasant feeling in our home, between the children, with their dad, with me. And for the most part now, it is. Even if things aren’t always pleasant, there is a good cause to at least pretend.

I also realize that I feel better omitting “ex husband” from my language unless absolutely pertinent, say, when relaying to the health insurance company that the subscriber is my ex husband. And so on.

So this is the part where I thank the girls’ father for sending home their leftover pizza from their Wednesday night dinner with him.

Around ten thirty last night, I opened the fridge to see if pickles and olives, and perhaps an english muffin, would satisfy…and saw the small box of leftover pizza sitting there.

Two pieces.

And two crusts with pint sized bite marks leading up to it. (if you have children, YOU know)

It did the trick. (per previous post)

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Today was the day to make guacamole.

I’m not sure why, but it was time to scoop tortilla chips through the guac in the food processor.

Swipe the side at the end of my meal with my finger.

And I ate it all.

Two avacados and a tomato’s worth.

I eat standing over the kitchen sink most nights. Sometimes it is off the kids’ plates and sometimes it’s something I snagged from the fridge. Other times I actually make a meal…but still, unless American Idol is on, I eat standing up, leaning over the kitchen sink.

Technically, we eat family dinners, the three of us. My kitchen has an island and the kids sit on one side of it and I am on the other side at the sink. We are facing each other. I can get to the fridge. I can see them and smile and talk to them. I can cook on the stove and get them the things they need.

And I can eat with them from my prime spot in the kitchen.

I don’t miss the 6:30 dinners with my “then-husband”…whether he showed up or not. On most nights he was late and that was when I started eating my meals, standing in the kitchen, alone, listening to the clock tick, the kids playing in the other room, waiting to hear his car drive in the garage.

I don’t miss it at all.

I was walking with a friend recently and we were discussing our eating habits.

Just because I can and like to cook, he thinks my habits are really really good.

And so then, I admitted that the previous three nights’ dinner, I’d had cereal and a mango, while sitting ON the kitchen counter.

Because I live “alone”, I feel I can (and do) eat icecream for dinner if I feel like it, brownies with my coffee in the mornings, and finish it all off with a run along the back shore of the island to balance things off. (does it really work that way for some people?)

And then there are the days when I find myself crouching in the doorway of the laundry room, because this is where I hang (on the back of the door) my young children’s candy that they collect from holidays and grandparents. I’ll sneak six month old candy bars and count the rolls of Smarties to see how many I can get away with eating, without them noticing.

There’s no reason for writing all of this other than the fact that I can admit to both a) what we all do at one point or another or b) what we all really really want to do.

So there you go. What kinds of things are you willing to admit?

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