Archive for the ‘Remember When’ Category


I imagine that at some point, those cavemen decided that their feet and frostbite and all that, needed some covering and they whipped up some feet buntings from the skins of some wooly animal that ventured into their caves. After butchering, skinning and eating the creatures, they made socks, scarves, and condoms from the skins.

If I were really really good, I would invent socks for kids that have no line. Are you a parent? If so, you remember “the line”. It never fails, you get the sock on the kid, put their shoes on, tie them, and they start walking and then perhaps a whine, a scream…”THE LINE! THE LINE!”

And the shoe comes off and more time is spent readjusting the line.

If seamless pantyhose were such a major thing for women, why hasn’t anyone made it mainstream to make seamless socks that I can find at Target, for my “ever-so-picky-about-how-socks-feel” kids.

One of my early memories of annoying socks was when we wore knee socks to school. It drove me nuts after I cranked them up above my knees with full force and eventually the elastic stretched and I was walking around at the end of the day with wrinkled elephant ankles and chilly legs. Even worse, when my mother bought us wool knickers, the kind that go down to mid-calf (nowadays we call these “capris”) the idea was to pull the socks up underneath the knickers and we looked like little page boys, in our wool knickers. The problem was, the knee socks would slide down to my ankles and I was left with the bottom of the wool knickers, rubbing and itching on my legs. 

Let me say it again.

“Wool Knickers”.

No good.

In my panty hose days (I seem to think, we all did have those at one point in our lives), I remember commuting on the train at the end of the day and feeling like my crotch was at my knees. I felt like I was wearing a diaper, waddling around, hoping they wouldn’t just split right then and there. Or hoping they wouldn’t fall to my ankles in the middle of South Station in Boston while I waited for my train to go home at the end of the night.

Back in those days, I was grateful when the dress in the corporate world changed to “business casual”. I haven’t worn pantyhose since.

You wondered if I would go back to the “condoms” mention that I slid in there at the beginning. I’ll never forget when I was a kid and read in a sex book (once I discovered how to use the card catalog at the library, I was looking up all sorts of stuff) that early on, condoms were made of cardboard lined with lambswool. I often wondered who got the lambswool side. Was it the guy or the girl? Was the wool on the outside or the inside of the condom? The thought of cavemen skinning animals and perhaps using hide as a condom, has struck into my imagination. I have no idea if they even tried not to get preggers back in those days, if they even knew what it was that made a woman get that darn baby inside.  But I imagine if they did, they used animal skins. I mean, why not? You cover your feet? Your body from the cold? Why not “down there”. Of course, I never read in any prehistoric books, mention of families  with millions of tots running around, so I tend to think that they had some secret to birth control.

And socks. Well, I am grateful J is not one of those kinds of guys to keep his socks on when we’re in bed. There is nothing dorkier and uncomfortable or non-sexy about wearing just socks when being intimate. 

Take note, people.

No socks.

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Dubbing Memories

I’ve had these vhs tapes in my entertainment center from my 9th grade graduation, college graduation, my grandfather’s memorial service, summer camp reunion, and two tapes of footage from old reels from when my grandfather was a baby, my mom and her siblings as a baby, and my sister and me. 

I made a comment to the piano man a few weeks ago about it, about my worry of the tapes eventually disintegrating so they wouldn’t be passed along much further than my own children.

He arrived in town the other night, a day early to hear the band play last night and called to come say hello. When he arrived, he had a big box and said “I have a surprise for you.”

He opened it up and revealed a “dubber”. From vhs to dvd. He had it at home and brought it down, complete with dvds and cases. And then he proceeded to set it up and get the tapes rolling, the dvds recording. Taught me to do it so I could continue while he was playing down at the piano bar tonight.

It was one of the greatest gifts, aside from anything my children have given me, I’ve ever received. 

When I go home to Southern California, I wonder sometimes where what I once knew, has gone. The people who have changed, what happened to them? What happened to me? Nothing is the same and I realize that our memories always differ from what is currently there. The houses are bigger or smaller. The land is drier or greener. The people are nicer or ruder. The roads are more crowded or empty. Regardless, there is very little that is the same.

In watching the videos of my extended family, many have passed away, some have moved out of state as I have, others have disconnected from the family for one reason or another. My 9th grade and college graduations as well as the summer camp videos, I was able to pick out masses of people I am connected with still, some due to something called “Facebook”, others due to email and alumni networks, and some just because we made the effort over the years.

Watching the videos are so small compared to the memories they spark. And I don’t see the videos for the time that they lack, but for what they bring back.

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So, say, you call things off with someone for the fifth time or so and you know it is IT. IT IS OVER. What, nearly two months ago?

And you make it clear. And the talking part is over and he’s no longer in your contact list on your cell phone.

And your last response to him told him you were no longer comfortable with the email banter back and forth every week and it was time to say goodbye.

Well, is it bad to hit “delete” when you get three more emails from him? How about two more after that? And not respond? I mean, WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT HERE?

Yes, we shared about 8 months together. Half of which was wonderful and adventurous and felt like a team and partners and well into love in many many levels.

The other half was abusive and spiteful and competitive and manipulative and was squashing my self esteem. And in return, I was causing him anxiety and causing him to drink and get angry and downright mean. And then turn the next day into a sweet loving caring apologetic man.

I also need to note that these emails are similar if not identical to about ten others I have gotten and not responded to.

Did I already ask the question: WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT in these emails? Is he selling himself?

  • Email 1 from Steam:
I hope that you had a great Fourth of July weekend and you were able to get out and about and have some fun. I went into Boston for the fireworks and the Pops. Oh, and Rascal Flats and had a great time. I then went up to Portsmouth with my sister Jen and met one of the Top Chefs, Andrew, and I also met Rae Dawn Chong…I don’t know if you know who she is, but she has been in a lot of movies and is the daughter of Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong fame. I recognized her right off and began talking with her. Evidently, she lives in Durham, NH as well as LA and Vancouver. It was really kind of wild because I really liked her in a couple of her movies when I was a kid.
I’ve also been going out fishing a lot and getting lots of lobsters; big ones, in my traps. I haven’t been out clamming since the flats opened last week, but I hope to on Saturday. I’ve been working out a lot so I hope that I not too sore afterwards, but you never know as I probably haven’t been working the same muscles. I’ll see I guess.
I have also been sticking with my Mom’s food program and I feel and look a whole lot better. Between it and exercising a lot, I’ve lost almost 30 lbs. and dropped 4″ off my waist. I’m really feeling good about it, not to mention the extra energy that I have. Also, by cutting out the flour and sugar and the alcohol, my mood has improved dramatically . I don’t feel anxious or tired anymore and never do I feel so angry that I can’t cope constructively with any situation. It really feels good. 🙂
I had BB (his 95 year old great aunt) at the Emergency room the other night. She was extra confused, kind of listless and she couldn’t stay awake. I was really worried. As it turns out, she was mildly dehydrated and had the start of a urinary tract infection. She now has an antibiotic and is starting to get back to her “old” self.
Everyone else is well. I have S (his son) the week after next for vacation and I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t know what we’ll do exactly, but we have many options. One thing that we’ll probably do for sure as long as the weather remains hot is go to Water Country again. It was so much fun yesterday, that I bought a season pass for the both of us. Now we have to go… 😉
Well, that’s about all I can write now and probably more than you care about so I’ll close for now.
Again, I hope all is well with you and your daughters and you’re having a great Summer thus far. Good luck with any new relationships you have formed. I hope that you eventually find what you’re looking for in one of them. It still saddens me that I wasn’t it enough for you to want to make it work.
Take care of yourself and be careful out there. Not everyone is as understanding about things as me.
Best regards and, dare I say, love,
  • Email number 2:

Please do not misinterpret my last e-mail. I know you’re probably eons away from the place you and I shared last year and life is much better for you without me in it. I can and have accepted that, but I wanted to say ‘Hi’ nonetheless. That’s all. Best of luck with with everything in front of you.

  • Email number 3:

I still love you, for what it’s worth, even if you don’t care, I need to tell you. Even after all this time.


the next day, I got these two emails:

  • Email number 1

Subject: Just so you know…I don’t think I’ve said it, but THANKS!

…for all of the wonderful things that you did for me and my family while we were together…thanks for all of your gifts…from the french press, to mending my shorts, washing the quilts, baking me pies, cooking me dinners, welcoming me into your family, the books, the paintings, the t-shirts, the notes, the lessons you taught me, the feelings we shared and the LOVE! Thank you for EVERYTHING!!
I didn’t realize it until now, but I am really thankful for what we shared, extremely saddened that it ended, but grateful to have known you…
No matter what happens between us going forward, I will never forget you or what we once shared…I wish that there was some way to regain it…oh well…
Thanks again, best regards, hopes, wishes and LOVE…
  • Email number 2
Subject: More random thoughts…hopefully the last…
I also apologize for challenging you so much. Now that I have a clearer head and with hindsight being 20/20, I have come to realize what I was doing to you, to us, very clearly and I have a lot of regret surrounding it all. I realize now that what we shared wasn’t a lie. I know it was genuine. However, my behavior, coupled to yours, really made it impossible for either one of us. I thank you for your patience as well as the passion that you put into making us work. I realize now that with the way we were acting as people, we couldn’t go on together. That is why I am trying to identify and resolve any issues that I have right now so that I don’t go through life repeating them. They stem mostly from me not really being in my right mind. It really is amazing to me how much better I feel, how much clearer I think and how much more energy I have without the sugar/flour/alcohol. I mean I am not tired and irritable anymore so it has really freed up my mind. Subsequently, the insight I’ve gained so far is tremendous. It’s almost my epiphany! 😉
Well, again, just random thoughts I’ve had since going through my process.
I hope you had a great day and were able to enjoy the weather to its fullest.
Best regards,

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True friend

I drove a route home the other day that is a bit out of the way but I go there on purpose to pass a church that posts on their board on the lawn, a thought for the week. When I found this church is when I started keeping a notebook in my car with a pen so I could write down things that came to me when I was driving and often, signs like this that inspire me. Or sometimes make me mad. Or sad. Or grateful.

Recently the sign said “A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”

Although I haven’t stepped foot in a church, any church, in years, nor have I ever figured out my way to pray, I feel a sort of spiritual comfort in reading these signs because they usually provoke some emotion or memory.

My mind went to Pieter, who died around 1989 or 90. And I promise you, I feel horror that I don’t remember the date. But I remember everything about him and the friend he was to me for those few years.

Back before email was everyday mainstream, Pieter and I wrote every week for three years after we met as “kids” during the school year. I say “kids” because he was in college when I was in high school but it didn’t keep us from looking at each other across the fire pit in the summers or lying on our backs on the island in the lake up at 12,000 feet.

The high rush in writing to him every week, checking the mailbox so ferociously every day, my mother made a rule that I was no longer able to get the mail because I was often in a near state of panic over it. When his fat letters came, usually with doodles on the envelope or a math problem, I’d slip it in my back pocket and wait for later. The temporary comfort of actually having it arrive led up to the high of actually reading it.

When my friend called me one day to tell me he had died, I will guiltily admit that I was relieved to finally know the real reason I hadn’t heard from him in the previous two months. Why he didn’t call or write back to tell me when he was arriving for a few days around Christmas. And then I shut myself down in my walk in closet with a headlamp and tore open the bundles of letters, sorted them by date and read them over and over again.

One day I came home from school and my mom had been in my room organizing and cleaning and immediately I noticed a pile of “junk” she had pulled from my closet and told me to either throw it away or find a way to get it out of her sight. My box of letters from Pieter was there and I grabbed it and disappeared into the closet again after sweeping everything else into the trash.

My parents never knew that I had lost my friend. I never told them and never talked about it. They never asked what happened to him. And that shows how disconnected they were from what was going on with their own children.

When my sister came home from college one weekend, I walked right into her room and bluntly stated “Pieter died.” And she just stopped and took me into my room and opened my drawers and pulled out the t-shirts and sweatshirts he’d sent or left with me when we saw each other each summer and set them on my bed. She pulled one out and handed it to me and I put it on and wore it for three days until my mom wrinkled her nose at me and made me put it in the laundry.

I wonder sometimes what happened to the letters I’d written him. If he kept them like I did? Or after he died, did someone find them and read them? Or if they still sit all these years later in boxes in the family’s attic. Or if they were burned in someone else’s rage, someone else who loved him and felt as mad as I did that he was gone.

I have few regrets in life, mainly because I know that the things that happen that fucking suck, make us stronger and help us with future negotiations with ourselves. I regret that years and years later, when I stood in fear of losing myself to a life of control and anger, manipulation and fighting, I sat in front of my mother’s fireplace one Christmas and burned every letter.

I hadn’t read them in a while and my anger built over time because I hadn’t had a friend like Pieter, someone who sorted things out for me just by writing every week and someone I could freely tell when I’d had the shit beat out of me by my first boyfriend. I never had the chance to write to him some years later about how I was with someone else who raised his hand to me. Over and over again. Pieter made where I was feel okay because he was knowing and loving me. And then he was gone.

I still think about him. For a few years he came into my thoughts daily. And then the times disintegrated as I grew further away from the solid assurance I once had from a friend. The lack of dependence I feel on others is sometimes a good thing and an ironic gift that my parents gave me, to feel I can’t depend on anyone but myself to survive… because I can walk away easily and take care of my own shit. I am learning that we all need “many someones”, to fill in the gaps of the needs we can’t fulfill for ourselves. And opening myself up to that, the possibility, is like receiving mail in my mailbox every day.

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The question of the night was “how on earth do you keep your house so neat and clean?”

My answer?

“Cause I have no kids around!”

It’s true. In the summer the girls go off for two one week vacations with Exhusband and this week has been it. It really ends up being close to ten days sometimes.

I spent the first day cleaning up the house, cleaning out some cupboards, doing laundry. And aside from my usual mess from painting and sewing, the house has stayed that way.

On the second day, I sent out an email to twenty ladies I know through the artisans cooperative and school. We are all moms and they all have husbands who can come home from work and take over with the kids so the moms can get out.

My email said this:

Subject: Ladies Drinking

Hey lady friends!
I’d like to have you over for some drinky on Tuesday, July 1st at my house at 6:30 pm. I’ll have a huge huge salad and bread and chocolate. Bring a bottle or six pack of something you like, I will have some “stuff” as well.
Infants welcome.
Where: My condo…(address inserted here)
Please let me know if you can come by the 30th!
Email or call my cell xxx-xxx-xxxx

So, last night, eighteen lady friends arrived by seven, with bottles and chocolate and two of them with their infants.

First, my British friend brought, in her purse, a huge bottle of tonic and a huge-er bottle of gin. So, we just all started with that.

An hour into it, my friend, Mel, walked up to me and said “I’d better start in on that dessert, because I think I might be a little drunk!” This was funny since we hadn’t had dinner yet. It was also funny because she was the most reserved of them all.

By 10:30, half of them had left. At midnight, the rest of us were saying goodnight. Those remaining nine, I realized ALL had three children under the age of 6. I also heard them saying how the last time they got out for a ladies night like that, was back in the nineties.

Sometimes it is nice to be a single mum and have every other weekend to myself. (or a week in this case, since the girls are on their summer vacation with their dad this week, they come back on Monday)

Sometimes it is lonely. But I realized last night that we make our own families by creating a network of friends and people we love around us.

As a side note, one of my friends who had known Steam when I was dating him, called me this afternoon and she said “How are you doing, being single? How are you feeling about it?”

And I said “actually, it is weird sometimes, but mostly, really really good.”

And her response was “Well, I have to say, for the first time in a year, I can see you “in there” again. He was sucking you dry, you know.”

I was near tears thinking how the last 8 months of being with Steam, the man I had hopes for in the beginning, were sucking me dry. And although I was going through it and seeing it, I didn’t really feel HOW bad it was until it lifted because I ended it.

I will end with the email I got today from Steam. I feel nothing about it. I feel sad, but I don’t feel wistful (and haven’t all this time) or even miss him. It just makes me feel a little sad.

His email said this:
Subject: The privet is in bloom…
“…as it was last summer at this time and it makes me think of you…it seems like last summer is a distant memory (no pun intended)…almost a dream…and that kind of saddens me…
I hope you are well and taking care of yourself…”

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Do I actually think he is an alcoholic? That he has a problem with drinking?

Yes, yes I do.

I didn’t transfer this over from my blogspot hosted blog, but I dated Chef before I dated Steam. And Chef was a recovering alcoholic. I never knew him when he was drinking. But the way he behaved was that of a person drinking sometimes. Selfish. Inconsiderate. Barely hanging on coping in life as he was. I don’t think he wanted to drink, but I think his coping mechanisms for life were out of the ordinary.

Now Steam, on the other hand…if I felt like drinking and I was with him, it was a blast until he got loud and annoying and wouldn’t stop nuzzling my neck and putting his head on my shoulder and getting all sappy and emotional and weird and uncomfortable.

I once had a friend who said “the minute a guy starts to nuzzle me, that’s it.”

And I discovered that there is nothing worse than a guy nuzzling, putting his head on my shoulder and looking up at my with adoration. Call me crazy. I suppose it is because it is a sign of weakness to me and I don’t want my man to be weaker than me. Sorry guys.

I think back to red flags when I was with Steam.

After just over a month of seeing each other, he bought a boat on ebay and drove to Buffalo to get it. I remember him saying “I got this for US, for our FAMILY!” Talk about pressure.

And then, Steam and I had only about three dates and then I had plans with “D” and Kat to go out to the piano bar one night last summer. Steam asked if I would call him when I was home and maybe we could get a drink since I would be done at a reasonable hour. Well, Kat and “D” and I made a change of plans and went to eat at the place next door to the piano bar. When it was time to walk him, I suddenly realized, across the street, walking fast, with a purpose, was Steam. And I saw his car parked. I put myself in between my two friends and pretended not to see him and I am not certain he saw me because I found out later how drunk he already was.

When I got home, I had to decide if I would call him or not. Having him arrive when I was clearly out with friends and we had plans to meet up later (which means, I am going out with my friends alone). The relationship hadn’t quite begun yet, well, I felt he was pushing some boundaries.

But I called him and found out he was down at the piano bar. And he lied to me and told me he had gotten to the area an hour earlier (when it had only been 15 min since i saw him arrive) and he’d eaten dinner there too while waiting for me. I know that was a lie.

So, stupidly, despite the weirdness of it all, I went back out down to the piano bar. And there he was sloshed out of his mind, singing LOUDLY along with the piano man and high-fiving people (or trying to) who were not on equal plane with him in the drink.

And when I sat down next to him, he started swaying with the music, singing loudly, and nuzzling me.

I cringe to think about it, to this day.

One older gentleman looked over at Steam and said tactfully “I think it’s time for you to go home, buddy!”

And that is when I feigned tiredness and got him to leave.

Red flag anyone?

In February, my car was in the shop in New Hampshire and so we drove up to get it, and his son, who lives there with his mother. On the way home, I followed them back in my car. When we got to their place, I noticed Steam carrying three empty beer bottles and he actually told me he drank them ON THE WAY HOME. Did mention it was IN A SNOW STORM. WITH HIS SON IN THE CAR?

So, I brought it up and he agreed that his judgment call on that was a bad one. (ya think?)

It hasn’t really been a problem since then until he invited us out on the boat to the beach with his son. With my children.

That being said, Steam and I haven’t talked since the day I left him the voice mail. In fact, our last conversation was the one that morning when I explained to him my lack of trust in him and his drinking.

I am grateful he didn’t call me and hasn’t called me. I do get emails and text messages on occasion but that I can handle because I can choose to read or respond or not.

Today, I got three emails from him.

I paste them in here:

1) Hi, I still think about you you, love you and miss you. Love, Steam
2) I still think about you all the time. It isn’t important that you reciprocate that sentiment so I hope that by me telling you this, you don’t feel pressure.
Secondly, I miss you. I miss your face, I miss your smile, I miss your laugh, I miss our talks, I miss holding your hand…I miss everything. Again, I am just explaining how I feel and in no way expect the same type of feelings in return so no pressure. I’ve done a lot of thinking and realize now that it was all just a game. A game and I lost for not being all that familiar with your rules or your outlook. I’m sorry for overestimating what you were seeking in a relationship. Lastly, I love you. I love who you are despite your feeling that I didn’t or that I disapproved of you. Also, despite the fact that you don’t want to be with me anymore, that feeling will never change. I’m sorry we didn’t communicate properly so you knew this…I mean really knew this…
Anyway, just some random thoughts that I needed to convey to you. Again, I hope that you are well and that you got a good report today. I hope that you’re happy and feeling like you’re in a good place.
Take care of yourself…
Love always, Steam
3) I have started an eating plan by cutting out flour and sugar and it really seems to have helped my overall mood(s) and sense of well being…it’s a pretty cool feeling…I’ve dropped a lot of weight as I have been exercising regularly and following this plan…The patches didn’t work. I developed a rash, but I still am not smoking or drinking…Just thought you’d like to know that stuff about me and what I’m doing to improve myself and my life…
Love, Steam

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Ending things with Steam was easy when doing it over voicemail.

Actually, no, that would have been heartless.

A while ago, I left him a voicemail while he was at his son’s Boy Scout thing, just saying “No, I am not coming tonight, let’s talk later.” And he took it as “Never gonna see you again.”

He assumed right. But I didn’t SAY that on the voicemail. I was going to say it in that phone conversation LATER.

What drew me to the point of feeling confident this time that I will stick to this?

Well, my children’s faces.

He’d invited us out on his boat for the day, go out, check the lobster traps, anchor at the beach and spend the day. The girls were so excited as was his 9 year old son. It was a gorgeous day.

And I am not sure what I was hoping for.

But he cracked the first beer at 2pm on the beach. And by the time 5pm rolled around, we were packing up and I opened the cooler and saw eight empty beer bottles. I also knew he didn’t eat anything since earlier that morning.

When we arrived back at his place, he cracked open another beer.

And then we all went to dinner (I walked directly to my car and got in and said “I’ll drive”) and there, he had more beer.

He can tolerate his alcohol pretty well. But watching someone drink it like water on a hot day at the beach, well, that is a little disconcerting. Especially since he was driving a boat. Especially since he had a woman and three children with him.

His behavior changes after a few so you can imagine what an extra few will do. He’s mostly a “happy drunk” but any sort of drunk around my children or in a situation that could be dangerous or illegal is not okay, happy or not.

Blue had a hard week that week and was throwing little fits here and there. On the beach, she was doing a few things that were instigating fights with her big sister and I had asked her to stop. But she didn’t. I picked her up and asked her to sit on her towel. She would not. I tried to gently push her down and Steam stood up and picked her up and sat her on the towel. She got up and ran away while he yelled (yes, yelled, only I yell at my kids) “You had better stop this behavior or you will NEVER come on my boat again, EVER!”

Now, that is something a thirteen year old would say to an annoying younger sibling. Not a forty year old man to the five year old daughter of the woman you presumably love.

The harshness in his tone and words was not okay. During the day there were little things like “Would you PLEASE move out of the way so I can get by?” (to the children loudly and in a frustrated and angry tone) and “Why don’t you just STOP it?” And then he would take another swig of beer.

When we were driving the boat home, I stood next to him, ready to take on the wheel if something were to happen. All the while, he is waving and yelling at passersby about the beautiful day, how many lobsters he brought up, and swearing at boats that were going to slow for his liking.

When we docked, I climbed out of the boat and stood there waiting for him to go get his trailer. The kids sat in the boat, waiting and he grabbed me and started to (try) to make out with me and pushed up against me and then pulled at my skirt (almost off) and looked at me as if he was going to take me right there in front of the kids and the dock master. He was not happy when I pushed him away.

In town, we walked into a pizza place for dinner and their air conditioning wasn’t working properly and he yells “How could you NOT have your air conditioning working? We’re leaving. SORRY!” and he stormed out. We went to another place that had ac and sat down to eat. The whole time, he was the loudest in the place (and it was a noisy place) and people were looking at us and looking at me and looking at him and the children and although I could care less what people think usually, I was completely embarrassed and afraid.

And then the real winner was when at the local Dairy Queen. We were in line with the rest of the townspeople and placed the order for the kids and I made a comment about how I don’t care for soft serve. And at the top of his voice he yells “yeah, you like it HARD!”

It was like a whip had cracked and there was complete silence. I turned around and walked over to the car and got in and sat and waited for him. We dropped he and his son off at home and I haven’t seen him since.

I don’t mind drinking. And in fact, going out to eat and drinking with him or heading to a bar for a while is really fun, but we walk there and moderate it with food and time and do not have the children with us in a situation that could be dangerous, even without the alcohol.

But months before, I had been following him home in my car from New Hampshire in my car, in a snowstorm. His son was in his car with him. When we arrived home a brutally long hour and a half later, he carried three empty bottles with him from his car and upon questioning him about it, he admitted to drinking them while driving home. In the car. In a snowstorm. With his son in the back seat.

He said it would never happen again.

When we talked after the boating incident, he promised, it would never happen again and I suddenly realized that he doesn’t get it.

He said he was anxious about us and the day and so he drank.

And then he said that all I needed to do was stop him after his second beer and “suggest” he has some water or a coke and some food. And my response is “I can’t be with someone who can’t make that decision himself.” And it was especially clear when I asked him “had I not been there, would you have drunk the same amount if it were just you and your son?” And he said “yeah, probably.”

What strikes me funny is that he was always talking about wanting to be a family and helping me with the kids, babysitting them if I need to work. And the truth of the matter is that I don’t trust him with my children. I spent an entire day wrapped up in trying to protect them from his behavior, from seeing him drink from the brown bottle, from reassuring them that the things he said to them, he was “just kidding”.

(note: As a rule, I never drink in front of my children or when they are in my care. With “D” after they are asleep, I may have a glass of wine with dinner, but that is it)

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Life’s actually been pretty good considering that my relationship has been rocky.

I mean, are we or aren’t we? I have an idea.

Nothing worse than being stuck in the middle.

Actually, I’m not stuck, but as long as I am home right now and not with him, I am kind of floating in between non-committal and wanting to be with him on occasion.

Don’t ask me why. YAH INSANE.

Am I that flippin’ afraid to be alone?

This winter has been WICKED long. (yes, I live just outside of Boston). I mean, it was LONG. We’re seeing signs of spring and with that, signs of resolution to some things that have been hanging in the air around.

In January, I started having back pain. Upper back. Shoulder. Neck. Head.

Being the smart woman I am, raised a Christian Scientist and damned for leaving the church and scorned by my devout Christian Scientist mother for many years, I still have the tendency to put off going to the doctor unless I need some of that hearty cough syrup with codeine in it that I hoard for emergencies.

“Do you have trouble sleeping because of that cough?” my doctor always asks and I nod ferociously because I can’t wait for him to write up that prescription that will help me sleep and stop coughing up my lungs each night.

So, two months ago, I had an appointment with my doctor. It was my annual, but I just happened to be two years past due.

I explained some issues I was having. I actually had a post-it note with a list on it.

You know you’re getting older when you actually have a list when you go into the doc’s office.

Along with the back pain, the circulation in my left arm was cutting off. My left hand would turn blue because of it. And get very very cold. And it hurt and became numb.

So, we thought “thoracic outlet syndrome”.

He ordered xrays and bloodwork.

Which took me about a month to get around to doing.

When I recently got my results I was happy to hear the bloodwork all came back normal. “Excellent” was actually his handwritten comment on the scientific diagnosis from the lab.

On my xrays, he notes “arthritis in upper back”, “Scoliosis” and “osteophytes along anterior disk space margins”.

So, um, no wonder.

But when I called him to talk to him about it, he said “you know, that alone is not going to be giving you the pain you are experiencing in your neck and shoulder. Are you under any stress at home?”

Hmmm. Let me think. Single mother to two children, age 5 and 7. Self employed. Works at night until midnight because it is the only time I can focus. Have boyfriend I don’t want to be with BUT AM STILL WITH.

Sore neck comes about progressively over the course of the weekend that I am with him.

Sore neck goes away when I go home and dont see him for a week.

No wondering here.


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God Steers

If you ask me why I have four boxes of Nilla Wafers in my cupboard, I will say “it’s for the girls”.

I mean, they love ’em.

If you ask how many the girls have eaten by the end of the week, I will say “oh, about a handful.”

And don’t ask how many I’ve eaten. And that was just this week.

This morning I woke at 5:30 to my 5 year old playing the harmonica in her room. I walked in, sleepy-eyed and both girls were fully dressed in their princess dressups and crowns and heels. My 7 year old was sitting on her bed drawing pictures with crayons that aren’t allowed in the bedroom.

It kind of hit me, when I walked downstairs after a late night of talking to Steam on the phone, that no matter what’s going on in my head, my heart, my work, I have two little girls that stay steady and true, with continuing needs and habits and they offer surprises every day.

And so, I stayed up late, as many conversations with Steam go…defending myself and how I feel. In return, he’s defending himself and how he feels. And I keep saying over and over and over again, out loud, to him, on the phone, “I’m not happy and this isn’t working for me anymore.”

Have you ever heard of someone not allowing you to break up with them?

It is very very strange that I keep hanging up the phone and we’re still the same.

It is very draining.

I hung up last night saying “I need to let this go, I have go to bed.”

He hung up saying “Okay, I can’t wait to see you again soon.”

And I’m like, “I just told you I wasn’t happy anymore and I didn’t want this anymore and you behave as if I never even said it. What don’t you get?”

Unfortunately, I didn’t say it aloud.

Because I am a wuss. Even though it is really what I want, I am a wuss about change. And a wuss about standing up for myself. A wuss about trusting what comes out of my mouth.

The day with the girls has been slow and steady. We’ve had breakfast, watched tv, played teaparty, made colored snowmen with playdough. We walked down to the small village shop and got a pint of icecream and sat with spoons on their front walk, eating from the same bucket, watching neighbors drive by and talking to friends who were there shopping.

And again, it hit me, that we all still plug along with everyday needs and wants, especially when it comes to our children. And the revelation (not for the first time) that my greatest fear is having my girls more involved with him than they already are, for fear of them seeing some of what I’ve been experiencing… And so, what’s the point? The unease of the casual hour long meal, a beach trip, a quick hello reminds me that we are far far far from resolution.

And they have never seen him angry at midnight or answered the phone at 3am to a drunken call.

And they never will.

These revelations come from somewhere and often I see it as my opening my eyes to their world and what I want not only for myself but for them as little girls and for them as the women they are going to become.

And although I am a total wuss and can’t seem to just walk away, I need to for my girls.

The revelations come…God steers but I have to row.

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I’m not quite sure what has driven me towards angry people. People who demand something and then if they don’t get their way, stomp around like a 3 year old until someone listens and appeases them and enables them and then they sigh relief and are happy again. Cycling over and over and over again.

In Steam’s case, he has seemingly be abandoned often. First by his dad. Then his mother in a sense. Then his wife. His siblings. He disapproves of how other people live their lives if it isn’t how he thinks they should be living. And he has always been afraid of losing me. So he nearly stifled me.

For a while, I was the only one who made him happy. He kept saying I was the one who fixed him, who made him feel okay.

And then, to hear someone say “I don’t feel right when I am not with you” well, you may say that is romantic. But in this way, it was a dependency and responsibility he put on me that I was ill prepared for.

I will never and never want to be responsible for someone’s happiness.

I love to add to it.

But I never want to be fully responsible for it.

If I was home working or with Red and Blue, he would mope around and tell me he was depressed on the phone. Call every hour to check with me and see what I was doing. He would call me drunk at 3am and tell me he missed me and didn’t know how he could cope until he saw me again.

And I’m thinking to myself “Dude, I’m not THAT fabulous.”

It took a life of it’s own where the things he was basing his love and care of me on was that he was trying to control my behavior towards him, control and manipulate what I was doing or how I was acting.

So yeah. Ick.

How can I not be in something normal? Is it me? Yes, I think it is me. Am I so skewed that I get myself into situations where either the guy is possessive and controlling or otherwise could care less about spending time with me? I have had both.

Both suck.

So, poor me.


Despite this, I have seen him again.

This Steam.

The Steam who woo’ed me and did all the great right things at first. The Steam who is now in weekly therapy because he is honest enough with himself to see the issues he has and the need and desire to heal from his past crap. We all need it. (which is why I am in therapy too…duh).

He’s been great in terms of his managing his anger. In fact, he has managed his anger consistently for the last month. I’ve felt less confined. I’ve felt less scared to talk about how I feel. But there is still discomfort and I wonder if I have lost my heart in it.

So where I am now is that I have lost my heart and trust in it and in him. I care about him and like being around him. I would like to not be in it and feel the best thing for me is to not be in it. But I am afraid of hurting him. Of knowing I will walk away and he will be hurting. Badly.

The last time I called things off and there was a 2 week silence, he shaved his head in the middle of the night with a bic razor. He also would call me over and over and over again. 12 times in an hour. 32 text messages in two days. 10 emails in one night when I was sleeping.

And I am still boggled at why I just spent yesterday and last night with him? Am I that afraid of being alone? Am I addicted to being in a place of wanting to subconsciously be the one to heal someone?

It’s like, now that I am spending time with him again, he is on his best behavior and I am loving it but also wondering if and when he will crack again. I have no trust in it.

I don’t want it and don’t like the feeling.

I should start going to church.

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