It's the end of April and the temperatures in Chicago are starting to warm up. Finally!!! This winter has been brutal. At least I think it's been brutal. There have not been a lot of sunny days and even though the temperatures have not been bitter cold, the gloom has most definitely seeped into my system. And now that it's Spring, I'm feeling the need to clean and declutter - a shedding of the heaviness of winter, so to say.
March 31, 2018 marked 3 years since my divorce was finalized. In those 3 years, I accomplished the following:
- I was solvent. I was, and AM, gainfully employed.
- My sons’ lifestyle remained the same or was better. They stayed at the same private school; had more extracurricular activities; and traveled to NYC, AZ, and California.
- I was not bitter, or at least as bitter as I could be.
- I sold the marital home 3 years before I was scheduled to. The house sold quickly too and was only on the market without a contract for 4 weeks.
- I purchased a home in the expensive northern suburb where I went to high school. The deed is in my name alone.
- My sons are in a neighborhood where there are lots of children from them to hang out with and their school is the same junior high I attended when I lived in this suburb.
These accomplishments are nothing to sneeze at. They’re BIG accomplishments. Now, I’d like to spend the next 3 years accomplishing more – accomplishments that are for ME because I’ve put myself on the back burner. What is it I would like to accomplish? What’s the master plan?
ME: HEALTH – I’d like to have a clean blood test where my sugar is lower than it should be and where my cholesterol and other health markers are where they need to be.
ME: CAREER – I’d like a position in IT in a corporate environment where I am at least a director level and I am adding value and enjoy what I’m doing and compensated with a salary that provides for a very comfortable life.
ME: LOVE – I’d like my relationship with my love to be iron clad and one where I feel cherished and loved and I make the other person feel that way too.
ME: BOYS – I’d like the boys to be confident and independent and earning As on their report cards. They are content in their lives and have friends that they can count on and that they can be friends to. They are college bound and able to be more successful than me.
ME: LIFE – I’d like to have a terrific and strong photography hobby where I am compensated for the work that I do. I have friends that I can count on and friends that can count on me. I am able to travel to Paris and other places without worrying about cost.
ME: HOUSE – My house is sturdy and put together and one where I feel comfortable and safe.
So many accomplishments to strive for and I wonder how in the world I will accomplish them. I’ve learned not to worry about the hows because I never worried about the how when I first made the brave decision to file for divorce. I have a better life now; my boys have a better life, in many ways, now. Moving forward….executing the master plan.
Last night, the other adult in our home was on the phone with his ex-wife. They have a good relationship after the tumultuous one spent raising 2 twenty-something children. But, every so often, issues with the adult children come about. It's to be expected - it's life. But, one of the things that annoyed me to no end was the way the other adult's ex-wife spoke. It was flowery, flourishy language. It's difficult to describe and an example is in order.
EX: "I'm sharing my feelings of angst and distress with you and feel that I need to explain the reason for why I am behaving this way."
NORMAL PEOPLE: "I'm so stressed out"
We all know people like this. It's annoying to the average person. What I find so aggravating - and makes me hateful (Yes, HATEFUL) is that this person is a poser. I keep trying to figure out why this bothers me so much and all I can figure out is this:
It bothers me so much because I worked hard to get where I am today. I went to school, got great grades, got certifications, and worked at various jobs. I did not take any short cuts and if you looked at my resume, you would see that there are truths. It's frustrating when someone is a complete poser and faker. And, dare I say, I'm being a pompous ass by saying that I hate when people try to be something more than they're not. And, yeah, I get annoyed when people cut in front of me or other people in lines. I'm THAT kind of person.
I know I will get over it because it should not mean much to me - it really should not matter. And, I have to keep reminding myself that the reason that this person is insecure. This person's insecurity comes out in spades because in looking at her LinkedIn profile, this is the summary:
"Experienced in B2B solution selling, CRM, Complex strategic selling, Key portfolio management, and retention to CITY NAME'S largest employers. Managing and sustaining book of business in revenue $XXX,XXX monthly. Ability to lead a team with proven demonstrated motivation, and leadership. Determination to excel in performance with tactics, goals, organization, and laser focus to succeed as a team, and professionally. Experienced in niche markets of multi family residential, commercial real estate, mixed use residential, recycle and waste hauling for commercial, residential, and industrial."
The way its worded says it all. It gives the impression that this person is full of POOP! As I'm typing this, I'm telling myself, "LET. IT. GO." Insert eye roll here because it's not that serious and I'm being way too sensitive.
I'm usually pretty good at feeling change in the air. What do I mean by that? I mean, that I can usually tell that some big change is coming - like the day I had a feeling that I was going to become a parent in the next couple of years; or the time that I felt like I was really going to end my marriage; or the day, shortly after my divorce was final, that I was going to meet someone of significance. Even when I was a child, I could almost smell the first snow. It's odd, but I swear I can detect change in the air. This time, it's a subtle shift of something, not sure what. And, sometimes I think I'm making this up in my head. Maybe I so badly WANT change to happen that I'm just fooling myself. But, I swear it feels like there's some big change ahead. A good change.
At the end of this month, my divorce will have been final for 3 years. In that 3 year period, I've fallen in love; gotten engaged; merged 2 households; listed the house for sale and sold it; purchased a new house; moved back to the town where I went to high school; reconnected with people from high school; made new friends; my sons have gotten older; I've confronted my youngest son's bully; and I've confronted my own bully (the ex-husband, or Üsh Day - douche in Pig Latin). I've also changed jobs twice in all this madness. So much has changed - isn't all that change enough already? Apparently no.
I was hoping for a quiet 2018, but quiet for me is only having one big change in my life, and so far I am not planning on any. I am planning on getting myself ready for the next big changes My 30th high school reunion that I'm helping to plan is this year. And, Lobster and I plan to get married in the fall of 2019, so there is planning for that. But, the bigger changes that are on the horizon are finding a new job, getting in better physical and emotional shape, and enjoying my family. There will always be bumps in the road, but I'm hoping with more positive changes, that the bumps won't be too - well - bumpy.
What I've managed to do so far (22 days worth of so far) is all but eliminate any refined sugar, gluten, and diary in my diet. I haven't been perfect, but I have had only 2 days where I slipped and the slips weren't MAJOR. I've seen the number on the scale go down 10 pounds, but am hoping for even more. My blood test to retest my cholesterol, blood sugar, and other markers is in about 6 weeks and I'm hoping that the hard work will show some big improvements. I still haven't managed to set up a regular meditation practice, but I'm sure if I can cut out sugar, then I can set up a regular meditation practice.
So, maybe I don't feel the change in the air like now like I did when I knew I was going to meet my Lobster. But, perhaps making changes will cause me to feel that change. I can only hope.
I spent most of my evening trying to resurrect this blog - mostly with the design. It's been a difficult process. Back in the day, I used Notepad to write my entries and plain ole HTML with CSS to design my blog. And now, I can't find anything in Typepad and I cannot for the life of me remember how to even start a CSS. It's sad, but it seems that time and children and responsibilities have taken their toll on me. So...what to do?!?!
I'm just going to have to relearn and review everything. Sadly, it's not like riding a bike. It's true that one never seems to forget how to ride a bike because after almost a decade of not riding a bike, I can get back on and start pedaling. This is not the case with my CSS skills because I had to Google CSS and I still couldn't figure it out. It would help if I had an old CSS file that I created, but I cannot seem to find one in my Typepad library.
Why must everything seem so difficult?!? I fear that I may have become obsolete.
I was that quiet girl in high school. The one who loved math and science and school, in general. The one who had a few close friends, but didn't have a "posse" and the one who always had a boyfriend that did not go to the same high school. Truth be told, my high school boyfriend was 3 years older than me and was in college. I liked my high school life quiet. I liked that I just WENT to high school and that it was a precursor to going to college and moving away from home.
The years go by and there are the high school reunions - first the 5 year, then the 10 year, and then the 20 year. I didn't go to a single one. And, I would never remember that they were scheduled. They would just pass, until one of my ONE friend from high school would remind me that we had a reunion. It was usually then that I would think, "If I could go back to high school, knowing what I know now, what would I do differently."
When that scenario comes up, I think of a 40 something year old and wiser me in my 16 year old body, walking through the halls. I guess you really CAN'T go back. My life now consists of work and commuting; homework with the boys and the Lobster; cooking and cleaning a house; and hanging out with friends. What's odd is that today, I'm living in the town where I went to 8th grade and high school, where my friends are mostly friends that I actually WENT to high school with. It's odd, but strangely comforting.
I hate when people apologize for not updating, so I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'm going to tell you all the things that I have been busy doing since my last update almost 2 years ago. I've been busy - VERY busy:
FEBRUARY 2016 - AUGUST 2016
From October, 2015 through June, 2016, I traveled back and forth, once a month to visit the "boy" that I knew from 8th grade. We spent countless hours on the phone and exchanged a bazillion texts. The last I posted, he met my sons over Thanksgiving and Christmas and they grew to like him. I met his parents, his sons (ages 20 something and 17), his ex-wife (yep his EX wife), and spent time with is Aunt in Houston. It was a stressful but exciting and fun time. The Lobster, as I called him (Friends reference where Phoebe calls Ross, Rachel's lobster), came out to stay with me and the boys in July, 2016.
In July we hung out with friends - his friends from high school, who as it turns out, knew me but I didn't really know them. I reconnected with people I went to high school with, but never befriended because I was so intent on "getting through" high school and running away to college. One of those people I grew close (Jay) to was dating Lobster's friend from high school (S). Seriously, it was like a reunion of sorts or what I think taking part in high school social activities was like. So Lobster's high school friend broke up with Jay. It was a very bad break up and somehow Jay decided to tell me all the gory details from her point of view and S told me the gory details from his point of view. It was not fun.
And, in the middle of all this, Lobster moved in to live with me and my boys. He packed up all his belongings and moved up north - 4 states away from his home in a southern state. We have a picture of the moving van driving away. It was very surreal. The 2016-2017 school year started off with my boys returning to their private school where we would be dealing with bullies that the school would not protect my youngest from and a new cat and adult in our home. I also had left my job at XYZ company to go work for ABC company.
SEPTEMBER 2016 - ENGAGEMENT
Just as we were settling into the new school year, Lobster proposed. YEP - PROPOSED. And, I accepted. I will be Mrs. Lobster...one day. We set the date for 2019 (originally 2018), but life has a funny way of getting in the way.
We picked the date in 2018 and picked a venue and also put down a deposit, but Fall, 2018 at the time was very far away and the next few months brought about even more changes.
OCTOBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017
Between the Minion and Day of the Dead pumpkins that were painted in October and the inflatable turkey we displayed outside to the Christmas tree and Christmas decorations, Lobster and I decided that the house I owned with my ex needed to be decluttered and repaired. There were still parts of the house that needed to be repaired because the ex started projects prior to 2012 and never finished. Repairs like the bar in the basement he tore out as well as the ceiling in the basement that he was going to fix. Plus, the master bedroom closet that he swore he would renovate and started demolition, but never finished. I left my new job at ABC company to go back to XYZ company.
In January, Lobster and I started decluttering the basement and filled a very large dumpster. By February, the repairs were completed and the basement was fully decluttered and a second very large dumpster was filled. The garage was also decluttered and bathrooms and bedrooms were painted. And, just like * that *, I decided that it was time to put the house that I owned with my ex on the market.
MARCH 2017 - MAY 2017
The house was listed on the market after some arguing with the ex, who did not want me to sell it and who wanted things to stay exactly the same (i.e, I stay in the house and pay the mortgage and maintenance, the boys continue to go to a school that they did not like, and the ex lives with his parents - now just his dad because his mom died 2 weeks after the divorce was finalized). The ex does NOT like change. But, I appealed to the ex's need for money; there was money in the house that he would get if we could sell it.
Selling a house is interesting. It was on the market for a day and we got our first offer, which fell through because the buyers were asking for a $15K credit for no reason whatsoever. As a result, we lost the house that we put a contingent offer on and my sons were extremely sad. In a few days we had another, more reasonable offer, which we almost lost because my real estate agent, who was someone I knew from grade school and thought I'd give her an opportunity, would not answer.
We also replaced the roof on the house that I sold and drama ensued from that, as well. Things on the job front were stressful too and I regretted returning to XYZ company. The beginning of 2017 was not a good time for me.
In April, we put an offer on a house in the town where Lobster and I went to 8th grade and high school. I swore I would never come back to that town, but my sons needed a better school and a better life. We closed on the sale of the house on a beautiful spring morning in May and then closed on the purchase of our current home a few hours later.
JUNE 2017 - SEPTEMBER 2107
We spent most of June and July furnishing the house and in August, I was completely stressed out about paying the new, larger mortgage. The job issues did not settle down in June or July. But, the boys really enjoyed our new house and the new neighborhood. The ex was surly and resentful, but since I wasn't sharing ownership of my new house with him, I wasn't bothered. By August, the boys were excited to start at their new school - not so coincidentally is Lobster and my OLD school where we first met. The boys had made new friends in the neighborhood and enjoyed the freedom of being able to ride their bikes all over town.
In July, Lobster's mom had a stroke and we experienced our first truly stressful moment in our relationship. It wasn't fun, but we got through it. By August, the bumps were starting to smooth over. but it wasn't until a couple of months later where the bumps would not be noticeable. By August/September, the issues at work seemed to fix themselves. Although, I'm not totally thrilled with my job, I recognize and appreciate it for what it is.
I think that's pretty much it. Our wedding date is now pushed back to 2019 because when I started my journey, it was 2008 and I had a feeling that there would be a lot of change for me. In 2008 I was not happy; I was married to someone that I no longer loved and respected and I'm sure he felt the same way about me. I made some choices that were not the best choices, but were ones that brought me a lot of wisdom in the end. By 2012, I was in the fight of my life and it didn't end until 2015. From 2015 to 2016, there were relationship changes and job changes and in 2017 there were even more changes. 2018 would have marked a 10th straight year of very BIG change and I needed the time to enjoy my life. I want to enjoy the changes that I've made (and remember the mistakes) and sit back and revel in my new life.
I'm excited, SO EXCITED, for the adventures that await me in the future. My life is full and I appreciate everything - my sons, my family, the Lobster, my friends, my new house, and my job. My cup runneth over.
It's amazing how quickly time seems to pass when you're not quite paying attention. Actually, I am paying attention but not to this blog. I think that I'm just busy living my life post-divorce. Living my life post-divorce includes taking care of my sons, working a challenging IT job, taking care of my pets, and falling in love. WHAT!?! HUH!?! Yep, somewhere along the way - it's only been about 9 months since my divorce papers were finalized by one nice, Irish judge - I managed to acquire a boyfriend. BOYfriend - that just sounds so juvenile.
It was not on purpose and I suppose that it's true that when you least expect love, it comes. So, yeah - right about the end of August, I started talking to someone I went to school with a LONG time ago, 8th grade to be exact. It started with witty banter back and forth on Facebook of all places. Witty banter became private message and periodic private message exchanges eventually became a 5 1/2 hour conversation on messenger that started on Sunday night and lasted until early Monday morning. Messages quickly became phone calls and quickly became a visit the boy on a whim. The boy lives in a different state, far, far away. The visit was supposed to be very casual; think "Hi! I haven't seen you since high school and I am running away from my responsibilities for a week, but this is nothing serious."
I knew that I was in trouble when I got on the plane to go back home and realized that I missed him. So, I did what any normal recently divorced gal does, I brushed away the feelings and went back to my normal life. But, for some reason I still had that nagging "I miss the boy" feeling and during one of our nightly phone calls - cuz the didn't stop - I heard him say, "I miss you." I hemmed and hawed for a few minutes, but eventually admitted to him that I missed him too. And, a few weeks after that exchange I found him coming to the Chicagoland area to visit me and I introduced him to my sons.
Yeaaaaah.....it's pretty serious. My sons really like him and over Christmas during his second visit here, I introduced him to my sister in-law and my niece and nephew and THEY like him. For Pete's sake - even my dog, who hates everyone, likes him. The boy has not met the parents, but I told them that I had a "special friend." Surprisingly, my mom did not react the way I thought she would. Instead of the "auh, auh, Irene be carepul (Filipino pronunciation)," I got the "Auh, OK, you know best." For now I am happy and I am living my life and I am taking care of my sons. Who knows what the future will hold.
Read this article and it resonated with me. "I think for some us, following our truth is what leads us to ending our marriage." and "Eventually, as I was withdrawing more and more, going through the motions, keeping up the facade and sinking into depression, I did start to see divorce as an option and a reality."
So very well said.
Last night the boys and I went to see the fireworks with my friend, Bob. It was a fun night and the boys loved hanging out with their Uncle Bob. Early this morning in bed, I woke up with a sense of panic. I woke up with the thought of, " how I was ever going to pay for the boys' college education?"
And then this morning, I'm siting her with a sense of sadness and loneliness. For whatever reason , I am wanting a husband for myself, a father figure and someone who sets a great example for the boys. The loneliness is so awful hat I can't seem to breathe.
This isn't what I wanted for myself. I wanted a family and I wanted a good life for whatever children I had. I love my sons so much and wouldn't trade them for the world. I'm just sad that I had to be married to their dad to have them.
I don't think I've ever truly met someone so useless. After over 3 years post filing and almost 3 years after he moved out, he still lives with his dad. I'm sure he's waiting for my 401K money to be distributed to him and it kills me that I have to give it to him when he didn't take care of the boys. He would take them to school late. And, with Nick needing a schedule, all this did was make Nick anxious.
I'm angry ad sad. Angry that I chose the wrong person. Angry that I thought that someone like Dave could be an equal and life partner. Angry at myself that I didn't value myself - that I didn't listen to my mom when she said "not to forget myself."