A Roller Coaster Journey

From professional to employed mother to stay at home mother, I'm facing the challenge now of being the wife he left behind. It's a roller coaster ride and I don't know how it will end. But when you're going through hell, you keep going. Thank you for visiting my blog and may it help you on whatever your journey is.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter Break

I survived finals. December has been a very long month, and my last final wasn't finished until about 7 PM on the 20th.

We successfully got and decorated a tree (a bit crooked) and I had at least two gifts for each child, plus a couple of stocking stuffers. They were slightly disappointed to not have piles of loot, but hid it reasonably well. Each child got one gift they really wanted (Minecraft foam sword, anyone?). Anyway, it was a nice, peaceful day.

I'm enjoying not having to study, cram everything in, rush rush rush, and most of all having the chance to take it easy in the morning rather than get everyone off to school.

Financial agreement one step closer to being done. Not fair to me, but not sure I want to pay a lawyer to make it fair and create ill will. Mr. Gone still doesn't understand why I went back to school instead of just returning to work (woo hoo, 60 hour work week, tiny benefits, every weekend, yeah, right) but not his business. He's doing the song and dance about his company folding, too. As long as he keeps paying me something.

Breathing deep, trying to stay focused on me and the kids. Chasing after #2 to get homework done; major projects that he's lost the directions for and is stalling on. SO tired of having to be bad cop.

Sometimes single parenting just sucks. Wish I could spend the weekends seeing movies with the kids, playing video games, sitting on my behind. But I have to be the grownup here.

Friday, November 30, 2012


A comment in a previous post got me thinking about giving and receiving. I've always tried to be on the giving, not the receiving end. Hard to know when to tough it out and when to ask for help. I am always grateful that the cushions and safety nets are there for me; it does help me to sleep at night. Still trying to be a giver, though. Hmm. Still worth some thought.

Right now I am in a 2 am state of bliss and privilege. Spent the evening playing music with friends, and being paid for it. One of the dancers commented that I sounded very confident. I played tonight like I had absolutely nothing to lose. Picked tunes that suited me. Didn't worry about whether all the notes would come out right. Didn't worry about the formerly resident critic that would compare me, pick apart, damn with faint praise. Or my inner critic -- do I sound as good as X? Am I worthy? I just played. Watched the dancers, and let the notes come out.

Now I'm unwinding with a glass of flat Prosecco (a birthday gift that took me five months to open and three weeks to drink) laced with bitter Aperol, and delaying falling asleep in my lonely bed.  I was part of something really lovely tonight, and it felt good. People danced to my music. I made beautiful harmonies with friends.

Moments like this are to live for, and to sustain us through the dark times.

Get busy living, or get busy dying. I feel like I lived tonight. I was free.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pity Party

Feeling wiped.

Not enough money, not enough time.
Too much to do, too many demands.

What can I let go?
Parenting, nope
School, could ease back on my schedule next semester but need the degree ASAP
Work? Writing online now as my other work hours were cut wayyyyy back. But we need money for food, clothing, shelter. And winter is coming and we have oil heat.

Have the urge to sleep for months.
To walk away from it all.
I know it's temporary and we'll get through but on a rainy day like this a cup of tea, novel and a nap have a lot more appeal than anything else I can think of.

I plan to take a day off for Thanksgiving and just veg with the kids. Eat breakfast in our jammies. Do some messy craft projects. Play board games. Watch a family movie. Mr. Gone decided he really DIDN'T want the kids for Thanksgiving. I suspect there's a girlfriend he has plans with. But, ya know, if you're still legally married, it's adultery. If you mentally checked out years ago, maybe it's not mental adultery. That's irking me too.

Move on.
Move on.
Move on.

Take care of myself. Take care of my kids. Snuggle with my pets.

Oh, and do the work that must be done so other people can snuggle with their kids and pets.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Getting By in Grad School


I had to write a paper for one of my classes; 25 % of my grade.

The paper was sociologically oriented. Behavioral models. What this "hard science" geek thinks of as psychobabble to explain why people do what they do. Necessary, but irritating. Not my strong suit; I'm used to following recipes. Mix agar A; add bacteria B and antibiotic C. Either it will grow or not. There are biochemical reasons why.

This is a little softer, squishier, and unsatisfying because it's trying to use hard science labels for something not hard. I loved English Lit; it was all squishy. Music is  "hard," but when you add squish, it becomes good. But categorizing something squishy in hard science terms, no, not for me. This blend is just really uncomfortable.

SO, I got a 95 on the paper! The "hard" professor in this team-taught course graded it.

The house is a mess, keeping all the balls in the air is really challenging, but I'm doing it, one paper, one exam at a time.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Good Year in Review

So what have I done this past year, that's good?

I have found out that I have a lot of true friends. I have people that will ask, "What can I do?" And then they will step up and do that thing. I LOVE my community. I also feel a small twinge of schadenfreude at the things other people are saying about Mr. Gone. I am trying to move beyond that to a better place, but still, it makes me feel loved, supported, and that I don't have some insane personal perspective, that what he did was WRONG.

I have started on my new career path. Balancing work/school/parenting is tricky, but I did the whole thing: GRE, essays, applications, financial aid. And I did it all myself. Not much help from anyone. I got into one of the most exclusive schools in the country! That's saying something. Of course, I'm going to the state school instead because exclusive = expensive.

I have cut my hair really short, let the coloring grow out, gotten new hip glasses. My hair is salt and pepper grey now, actually kind of cool looking. Ten years ago it was mousy brown. Now it's very dark with grey streaks. I look older, but I've always looked very young and am finally looking like a grownup.

I'm enjoying eating what I want to eat without catering to the whims of someone who was, looking back, really kind of picky. We can have mac n' cheese for dinner! The bizarre list of things he wouldn't eat included cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, salad, anything "vegetarian" or "healthy", egg things like quiche or souffle, melon of any sort . . . yeah, he was meat and potatoes all the way. Cooking has been simplified so much.

I'm watching my kids step up and grow up. Sometimes I've lost it with them, I'm short on patience. But they are really trying to do what they can to help, when I'm not here to start dinner, when things need to be cleaned up, laundry put away . . . and I'm also finding more fun times with them. Used to be I was the homework and chores parent and Mr. Gone was the fun parent. He now gets to be mostly disneyland dad due to the visitation schedule, but I'm trying to make sure that I get to do fun things with them too.

And I'm finding strength, ability, and resources to fix up things around here that need fixing up, and prioritize and get household repairs done without having to wait, go through a long conversation with another adult with different opinions about what's a priority (ya know, water in its many forms is always a priority!) and adjust expectations. I fixed two cracked windows (lots more to go), and am reglazing the whole darn house! I'm learning drywall! I can flux a pipe! I feel like Rosie the Riveter, only my guy is not coming home from the war.

Things are better than I thought they would be. I still wish for a time machine to go one, two, three years back and fix the cracks in the marriage. But honestly, they were not cracks I could have fixed; they were mostly defects in Mr. Gone's character and personality. I'm still not OK. But I'm going to be.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

One Year Ago This Weekend

One year ago I returned from a girl's weekend getaway, several hours earlier than expected.

Mr. Gone said, "Oh, you're back early" without looking at me and went back to his computer game while the kids played video games.

He ignored me the rest of the afternoon.

After the kids were in bed I pressed him to tell me what was wrong. He didn't want to, but finally said, "I like and respect you but I haven't been in love with you for a long time." My life fell apart.

Looking back, I think there was someone else. Several someone elses. There was one affair I suspected around the time #2 was born. Why else would a married man with two small kids go and spend precious weekend time with another woman? And I think he had a fling during his high school reunion. The weirdness and wrong feeling really started then. I think it was guilt.

How much responsibility do I have?

I could have pushed for counseling sooner.

I went through my own perimenopausal crisis, and a couple of SAHM years that sucked. Multiple small kids, grinding monotony, and continuous uncertainty about whether daddy was coming home that night or being shipped off on a two week overseas business trip. I was not happy. But I had come through that to the other side. Made peace with my partner's faults. He was never going to see the dirty dishes in the sink, or underwear and kleenex on the floor. But that was OK, because I loved him for his good and bad parts together.

I let him get away with putting me and the family very last behind his job. I resented his work. The late nights, the missed holidays, the phone calls during dinner where he would turn from daddy to a-hole in front of my eyes. The work paid for the dinner, and the roof over our heads. A choice I made, and that I let him make.

I dismissed his ideas. Rent out the house and live overseas for a year? No. The packing and prep would all fall to me, and I don't really want to live in the middle east.
Buy an investment property and become landlords? No. We SUCK at maintenance. We had no spare time. At least, HE had no spare time and it would have fallen to me, like so many other projects.
Move closer to his office? I found a couple of houses. He didn't like them. I told him to look. He found houses we couldn't afford. No, really, a mortgage that's 50 % of your gross income is a bad move. Really. Really. And then he told me I didn't understand money and real estate was a smart investment.

Mostly, I let him get away with being absent. Emotionally. Physically. When I tried to bring him back, I always backed off so he wouldn't accuse me of being clingy. I worked on myself but didn't urge him enough to work on himself.

But in the end, can we change other people? No. Only ourselves.

So that's how I got to where I was a year ago. Self justifying, maybe. The universal reaction, though, has been, "He's going through a midlife crisis." From my friends. Our mutual friends. Acquaintances. Neighbors.

Next time, the past year in review.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


First full week of classes is now under my belt. Starting to figure out where things are, who people are, getting in the groove. Also beginning to wonder what I've gotten myself into.

It's probably the most diverse group of people I've ever spent time with; mixed race, mixed background and experience from the fresh out of college student from Ghana to the pulmonologist who's getting another degree. Very rich environment. I'm having actual conversations with an active reserve military guy who is bright and reasonable, and breaking through a lot of my anti-military prejudices. Much less feeling of competitition than my previous grad school experience as we all want to "save the world" and all in very different fields. So this is all wonderful, empowering, cool, amazing stuff.

The kids survived my first day of long classes, got themselves home, most of homework done, and all ok.

My hours have been way cut back at work, and I'm missing the money there but enjoying the time. The orchestra conductor may try to send some strings students my way, which would be great-working from home, more flexible hours.

Bad news: the schedule that didn't look so bad on paper -- one class Tues, one Wed, three Thurs -- is going to be a bigger mouthful than I thought. Lots of homework, lots of very very dense reading.


But I can do this, I will do this, I want to do it. One step at a time. Women's health. Health disparities. Major issues that need addressing. I'm smart. I will beat my head against a wall in this field, but I can advocate for change, those things that NEED to be changed. Maybe someday someone will get the mammogram they need, will use the contraception or tell her boyfriend "no," or breastfeed a baby who then won't get allergies, or will leave the abusive partner and have a social safety net, because of some work that I did.

My life sucks a bit. But I'm SO lucky. Clean water, a palace to live in, enough to eat, able to make a living with my brain instead of my body, and having control over that body and brain.

Movie night at school last night was "The Princess Bride." Wesley says, "Life is pain. Anyone who says different is selling something." Well, maybe I can reduce someone's pain. Make life a little more fair for someone. Just have to balance that with my family.

Time for house cleaning.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

End of Summer

Had a quick trip with kiddos to see my family, who were wonderful and supportive, but no internet!

Now home and getting ready for school. Last few days have been a whirlwind of trying on uniforms, counting out composition books, a crazy trip to Target to get all the last odds and ends, and all the details that need to be dealt with to send three kids back to school.

Somewhere in there I also had my grad school orientation. Tiny tiny program, I hung out with the professors and staff for half of lunch now that I'm old and more self confident, and then went to get a parking pass and ID with one of my future classmates. Books ordered, email account set up, logged into blackboard, behind on homework already!, and wondering what the bleep I'm doing.

The visit to campus made me feel both young and insecure, and old and jaded. I've done this before, many times, done it well. It's been twenty years though and my b.s. tolerance is not what it was when I was a young adult. And so much is online now. We apparently will listen to pre-recorded lectures for one class, and then have discussion during class. Hmm. And I'm paying how much a year for this? We'll see how it works.

Old dog. New tricks. Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines; it's going to be a bumpy ride from here to Christmas.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Deferred Home Maintenance

Deferred maintenance. It was always, until we have the money. Until we have a chance to discuss it. Until we have a chance to prioritize. Don't make any decisions on your own.

Now I'm dealing on my own with ten years of built up problems. It's easier not having to discuss in depth with another adult. It's harder to manage on my own, though, calling contractors, making appointments, comparing estimates, with everything else on my plate.

I'm living in a broken home.

Also not impressed with the whole contractor business. Lots of recommendations from friends in the area, but so many of these guys are not showing up for appointments, or showing up late, or not returning phone calls. Guess they don't want my business, but it's still irritating.

Deep breath. Fix leaky roof. Get toppling trees trimmed. Then on to less urgent things.

One day at a time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Love Letters

Sorting through old photos and cards last night and today. I have a whole stack of pictures of big happy family, and no sign in his face that he was ready to bolt. The love letters are more interesting: gushing or thoughtful early on and through the first few years of marriage, then minimal or absent after baby #1 arrived, usually a storebought card with a few words scribbled.

I think he couldn't handle being a dad.

He's Disneyland Dad now but it spares him the burden of having conversations with them when they're mesmerized by electrons.

I pulled out a bunch of photos for him. Too many baby pictures of everyone anyway; I kept the best (hey, I'm the family photographer and I'm doing the scut work here) and gave him the ones with him and the duplicates.

I'm considering what to do with the love letters. Every other breakup I've given them back.

I could
1) Shred them and recycle
2) Give them back now
3) Give them back when papers are served or the divorce is final
4) Burn them (maybe a New Year's Eve bonfire?)

He told me he loved me. In writing. Repeatedly. And that he'd love me forever. That he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

Doing better, and moving on.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rubbing in my Face

Mr. Gone was in California "visiting his mom" this past week and "vacationing with the kids." So MIL took all the kids to stay with their cousins, a four hour drive away, for the bulk of the week. Mr. Gone had maybe two meals with his mom and the kids, and was on his own in his mom's house the rest of the week.

He posted a series of pictures on Facebook that are reminiscent of the Charlie Sheen partying with women hanging off of him paparazzi pictures that were making the rounds during the worst of his craziness. The kicker is that these were all high school classmates of his. He started to get weird right after he went to his high school reunion a year ago last April.

Do the dots connect?

I'm very sad that he blew up his family for this. Whether it's unresolved aging issues, unresolved adolescent issues, unresolved daddy issues, I really thought that I married a better man than that. He needs help. He's told me repeatedly that counseling is a crock.

I've spent the past couple of days very angry at him, and at the situation. I'm trying to move forward and focus on myself, and started to drag some of the attic office furniture down to clear the space so I can find a tenant and stay in the black. I've also set up appointments with a number of contractors for roof repair and all the other things this house needs done that Mr. Gone was "going to get around to."

Just deep breathing in the face of extreme stupidity.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Moonstruck: Why do Men Chase Women?

Because they fear death.


Olympia Dukakis has it all figured out. I don't think I'm going to get a "Ti amo" at the end of my movie, sorry to say.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Harry Potter vs Twilight Meme

Some fun.

I have always loved Hermione. The girl who finds all her answers in books, has bad hair and stuck-out teeth (but probably does grow up as pretty as Emma Watson) is my soul sister and a kindred spirit. I'd probably opt for Ravenclaw myself but honor her Gryffindor courage.

Just another reason to love Harry Potter's heroine.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jumping through Financial Aid Hoops

Just finished my online financial aid counseling. I remember my first counseling session, when we all came to this large room somewhere on the University campus and got a long, boring lecture. This time round at least I was in my home with a kitty to pet and a glass of wine to sip.

Found the sections on budgeting/living expenses hilarious! Yes, maybe if I was 20 I'd need to cut down on my cell phone expenses and eating out. At this point in my life though there's not a lot I don't know about living on a shoestring.

I am having brief second thoughts about going back to career #1. It would probably cost me about 6 months tuition to get enough Continuing Ed hours to get recertified. Then I'd have to find a job in the not-really-growth field. This job would have mediocre benefits and mean I'd be working most weekends.

New field means: university job with tuition benefits or fed/state/city job with other benefits. 9-5 Monday-Friday workweek. Growth field. Something I'm interested in and passionate about as opposed to burned out on. Is it worth 40K to do this? Yes, the benefits alone are worth 40K.

Deep breath. Borrowing a big chunk of money always makes me nervous.

Now, the question is, can I repay it before Thing 1 heads off to college? Probably not. He'll need to go to a need blind school, get a scholarship, but he has options. Maybe MIL will come through. I wouldn't count on that.

But given the alternatives, this seems like the best path.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Help for First Few Days Post Bomb Drop

Looking back at the first few days and weeks post Bomb Drop, here are some of the things that helped me.

First 48-72 Hours Post Bomb Drop
You've been dumped by the person you trusted and loved and vowed to. You're the walking dead. Pain pain pain pain pain. It. Hurts. So. Much. Someday it will hurt less, but you have to survive. Go into survival mode. Nest. Text your girlfriends.
Eat, whatever you can get into you, but something with calories. Drink water. Walk outside for a few minutes every day. Breathe. Get as much sleep as you can. Rescue Remedy, the economy sized bottle. BE CAREFUL not to hurt yourself falling down the stairs, in a car accident, with sharp objects. Your brain is so full that it's very easy to have an accident. Be gentle. Skip out on all responsibilities you can possibly avoid. Take a day off work, you are sick. Wallow. Order out pizza for the kids. Avoid alcohol and drugs.

72 Hours Post Bomb Drop
CYA. Cover Your Behind.
1) Mental Health: find a counselor.Friends are great, but a good counselor will help you to move forward.
2) Financial Health: get copies of EVERYTHING. Mortgage, bank statements, bills, credit card statements, retirement accounts, wills, Keep it with a friend, in a safe deposit box, somewhere other than your home.
If you have a joint account, move at least a month or two of living expenses into a savings account in your own name. This is an emergency fund. Don't spend it, but keep it for backup. Open up a checking account in your name only too, and move some money there. Keep copies of all the paperwork.
3) Find three family practice lawyers and consult with them. Organize your paperwork from step 2 before the consult. Find out what you are fairly entitled to. Lawyers are expensive, but you, especially if you have kids, are about to negotiate the biggest contract of your life. You need someone professional in your corner.
4) Disengage. No contact. You miss him and you want to see him. You want to make him change his mind. Don't do it. If he wants you he knows where to find you. You can't start healing until you let him go.

Your life has changed. It's not your fault. But you can choose how to respond, to make things better for yourself. Good luck to you.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Resources for Midlife Crisis Spouses

I'm now just shy of ten months past bomb drop, and here's a quick summary of what's been helpful to me in this journey I didn't plan.

Best Forum:
very active discussion and support. The stories are all eerily the same.

Another good website:
Discussion board not so active, but more of these scary similar sudden “it’s not you, it’s me” “I love you but I’m not in love with  you” and goodbye, or just total vanishing overnight stories.

Best Breaking Up Book:
Daphne Rose Kingma, Coming Apart: Why Relationships End and How to Live Through the Ending of Yours 
Short, sweet and helpful in recognizing and directing your reactions and feelings

Best Scholarly “Why” Books:
Susan Anderson, The Journey from Abandonment to Healing
Diane Vaughn, Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships
Seriously, there is no WHY. It doesn’t make sense. But this analyzes the nonsense.

Background Reading on Men’s Brains and Hormones:
Jed Diamond, Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from Irritable Male Syndrome
You can’t help a man who refuses to help himself, but you can avoid getting sucked in.

Putting Yourself Back Together
Brene Brown, I Thought it was Just Me and The Gifts of Imperfection
Lisa Bloom, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World

Least Helpful Book
Peter McWilliams, How to Survive the Loss of a Love
Just didn't work for me. The Hallmark-like poetry was a little irritating and the book just made me cry, and not in a cleansing way.

Having Fun as a Single Parent

Took the older two to an outdoor concert with fireworks last night, since I didn't have them for 4th of July and they haven't seen fireworks this summer at all. In some ways it's easier to not have to negotiate around someone else's schedule. I don't have to find a weekend that he's here, or a weekend that he's not working, or worry if I buy tickets and make plans that he'll suddenly be called away. And when I'd organize a family outing, I would always feel like I was being judged. I hadn't organized enough, or the concert/movie/restaurant wasn't that good, and somehow it was my fault for picking it out. Single parenting makes it a little easier. Only one schedule to deal with -- my own. And when the kids whine about an outing, I can tell them to suck it up. At this point money is tight enough that there are fewer outings and they're more grateful.

The man who left me really checked out mentally on family life a long time ago. He showed up occasionally as the cardboard cutout of Dad to stick in the back of the pictures. 

My oldest son was thrilled with the concert (movie music, including Harry Potter and Star Wars). He said it was like 4th of July only with music he LIKED. Middle son had a major bloody wipeout running around in the dark and slipping, and didn't have a meltdown. I introduced them to BLTs, which were an instant hit. They didn't whine when I told them no ice cream.  And they both said thanks for taking us to the concert, hugged me and told me I was a great mom. Not bad for edgy tweens.

I have great kids.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fresh Start Fridge

Still in the process of recovering from the derecho. An unexpected disaster of a storm, a week without power, several hundred dollars worth of freezer and fridge contents tossed, and a mini symbolic chronicle of last fall.
I couldn't save the spoiled food. I made the best of it with an all-the-kids-could-eat cookout with multiple hot dogs, and all the other yummy food that I usually dole out in small quantities.  Most of it I had to let go, though. I miss the supplies that I had and it will take months to rebuild and refill. But things are clean, deodorized, organized. And I've learned, no, we will not eat the edamame in pods at home even though we get them as takeout. The last of his bbq sauce went down the drain. And I bought a different brand of catsup from his favorite.
Symbol of yet another way to make a fresh start.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Money troubles

Started to discuss money with the mediator today.

On his budget he revealed that he has 18K in credit card debt. When he moved out six weeks ago he had no debt, and 10K from our joint bank account to "buy what he needed."

Guess he needed a lot.

And he's not worried; the "cash flow problems are temporary" because I'm expected to get a job soon.

Disneyland dad is going to have to stop going to first run movies and eating out so much.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cleaning House

Spent some time in the Scary Basement today. There are still boxes of his stuff, water-damaged and rodent-nibbled. I've started moving them all to a corner and piling them up, and will eventually give him an ultimatum to move it or lose it. Very sad that he has all these "precious things" that he threw down there when we bought the house and hasn't looked at in over a dozen years. I'm enjoying opening up the space down there, getting rid of the dust and a few mummified rodent corpses. Gross and disgusting but I'm getting rid of all that bad karma. Plus all the mildewy boxes for every electronic we've ever bought. Seriously, the Wii is now over two years old, out of warranty and we are not going to need that box again. And if we do, too bad. I'd rather have the open space; it's really therapeutic.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hardball with Lawyers?

Visited a cutthroat divorce lawyer who doesn't give free consults.

She recommended mediation with counsel. Wants to help me screw him in every possible way.

DO I really want to go after him? Do I want to go after him before he goes after me? Do I want to make nice? Do I want to hurt him as badly as he's hurt me? Or do I want to take the high road?

I generally aspire to be a high road kind of a person, just have so much anger right now.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Another Blessings Day

A little empty today without kids, but kid-free has allowed me to
1) Go aggressive yard saling including a giant secondhand sale at our local hospital. Found b-day gifts for S2, swim trunks for S1 and S2, girly pink and green coffee mugs for me, gorgeous blue glass vase and a huge bag of clothes that will jazz up my summer wardrobe.
2) Sit in quiet.
3) Catch up on me time
4) Garden without having to nag or entertain s1, 2 or 3.

I've run into two friends in the past few days who have told me I look great, and didn't know about being dumped. Having a little time to take care of myself is showing, I guess. Still tears at times but I'm moving on with my life.

Saw a lawyer yesterday, but that's another post.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Slowly getting used to this new normal. Part time working, aggressive home maintenance/improvement and decluttering in prep for roommate or sale, and having to be vigilantly organized. Definitely on a short fuse and not getting enough sleep. I know I have to take care of myself but there are just not enough hours in the day for sleep, housecleaning, chasing after kids, and all that needs to be done. I'm letting go of a lot; the bathroom does not have to be spotless and the meals do not have to be gourmet. I will not just survive, I will thrive and make things good for myself and my kids.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Living well?

H looks like crap. He spent the afternoon at #2's concert playing with his phone. I could see from where I was sitting. Didn't watch the concert, as far as I could tell; didn't wait around to congratulate, but called later to tell him good job. Yeah, that makes him father of the year. How much he misses by being so absorbed in his electronics. Love the dark circles under the eyes. And he tells me how hard it is, and that I should feel bad for him. Well, he created the situation.
Balanced the checkbook; not getting as much money as promised, which is the bare minimum we need to live on.
H and #1 picked out summer camp. $900 a week.
Not sure who is going to be paying for that one. I suppose he could go if we just give up eating for the summer.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Being Grateful

Had a bad night with anger insomnia. Why me? How could he do this to all of us? Going to try to stay positive and focused on the future for today. I have

1) three really fabulous kids
2) a nice place to live that I can find ways to afford
3) a huge network of friends and supporters who find H's behavior reprehensible
4) memories of many years of happy marriage
5) food in the pantry
6) multiple skills - writing, gardening, cooking, critical analysis, music . . .
7) enough talent to get me into one of the most competitive grad schools in the US, and sense enough to know that I can't mortgage my future to pay for it, and confirmed admission to my fallback cheap school
8) comfortable clothes, sewing skills and five boxes of fabric
9) reasonably good health
10) A spiritual practice that will help me to let my anger go and eventually replace it with detached compassion

OK, ten blessings. For today, exercise, financial aid stuff, call fix-it guy about needed home repairs, more job apps, counseling appointment.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Money, Trust, and Love

If I really loved and trusted him, I would have let him make all the financial decisions. That was an end-of-days accusation. Because he knew so much more about it than I did, and I had no right to question him.
This man put his student loans on credit cards. He consistently paid bills late, once so late that we lost utilities. He said he didn't have time to get to it. I ended up being the one responsible for making sure that bills were actually paid.
Yes, he understands options, trading, and the more esoteric higher yield stuff. But you need to put in time and effort to make that work. Looking for a balance of APR and effort, I tend to pick the highest APR with minimal continued effort required on my part. And I try to save money around the house by not eating out a lot, keeping the thermostat low, not doing recreational impulse buys . . . all wrong, wrong, wrong. I talked about renting out a room in our house for extra income, NO! We were supposed to have been bold with our money and invest aggressively. And I should just TRUST HIM.
He's so worried about retiring broke. What does he think dividing households is going to do to him financially?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Not me, is it?

The excuse I got two therapy sessions ago for "why" is that I have been depressed and negative throughout our marriage.
I have a family history of depression. I have the blues. I get grouchy and critical. I am very self-critical because I tend to hold myself to high standards. I have times when my self esteem sinks. Being a stay at home mom is not good for self esteem, and is a great job to beat yourself up over. But am I depressed, clinically depressed, to the point of needing medication? I don't think so.
A friend said it was unlikely I was depressed as I was one of the most productive people she knew, and productive people are not depressed.
There are a lot of things that make me happy. Small things, mostly. Disney World a couple of years ago was fun, but expensive, loud, and I felt like I should be having the best time of my life. I probably would have preferred a smaller trip, buying a weeping cherry for the back yard, and keeping some money in the bank.
I can be negative about things. He wanted to buy some rental property. I was negative about it because of the financial risk, and because we SUCK at maintenance. We don't keep up with our own house in terms of what needs to be done. We don't have time. I can't imagine owning another property, having to rent it out and take care of it. Yes, it was a great investment, but not for us.
This article really resonated with me.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Letting go

Weird thought popped into my head today, geek moment. The caring man who did so much for me and the children is gone. Not a single phone call or email this week. Thought of the scene in Star Wars where Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered his father. The man I loved is dead. There is a person walking around in his body, but I need to accept that the person I married is gone forever.
I celebrated my fifteenth wedding anniversary by making an appointment with a lawyer. There's been talk of mediation, but I want legal counsel in my back pocket. Not sure what will happen but the kids and I need protection from this evil stranger.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Making Lemonade

I'm trying to put together a list of the good things to come out of this. Here's some of the lemonade from lemons.
1) No more expecting someone else to do dishes/laundry/grocery shopping and being disappointed.
2) No more episodes of sudden rage triggered by little tiny unexpected things.
3) Better control over the family diet, fewer trips out for burgers, fries, and unhealthy crap.
The man I loved is lost to me, and a stranger has taken his place. I mourn the death of my husband and must exist with the reality of a person in his body, with his name, but not him.

Monday, April 16, 2012


So angry now at the mess left behind, at the new life he's putting together without me. Kids had their first weekend in the new house and he was not even there the first night to tuck them in, had my MIL there to do it all instead. They spent the weekend shopping, watching TV on "daddy's big new 3D tv with surround sound" and drinking soda, eating ice cream and "giant pastries." Didn't go outside much. Played video games. This man complained about not having enough money saved for retirement but obviously feels entitled to his toys. Still hasn't gotten all his crap out of here yet. Wants to remain civil, can't understand why I'm angry. You dumped me. You're dicking around with our kids setting a TERRIBLE example. That's why I'm angry.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Self Help book of the Day: Coming Apart

So I've been hitting the self-help section at the library.
Best book so far: Coming Apart: Why Relationships End and How to Live Through the Ending of Yours by Daphne Rose Kingma.

It's short and easy to read. The section on emotional stages of separation especially hit home as I am bouncing back and forth between so many of these feelings, from the "crying all the time" to "it's his fault" to "it's my fault" and back again.

There's a workbook chapter that I intend to work through and a ceremony for saying goodbye.

Going to tell the kids this weekend.

Right now I'm gluing together some fractured pottery for him. Symbolic: he breaks things and I get to put the pieces together afterwards. And he blamed this break on someone else.
Guess right now I'm in the blame him stage.

Breathing deep. O how I wish this didn't hurt so much. I know I have to feel the pain now, or later, but O it hurts.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fake Happy Face

Weekends are the hardest. He and the kids are around, and I have to maintain the facade that we're a happy family. I keep crying, and the kids keep asking, "Mommy, why are you crying." And I have to make up some bullshit reason that I'm sure they can see through.

Job hunting. Already rejected from one job I applied to, which adds to the rejection I'm already feeling on a personal level. And I lashed out at him, saying that with the immense gap in my resume the only thing I'm qualified for is changing diapers and cleaning up vomit at nine dollars an hour. He responded that it's perfectly respectable work, and that no job is beneath me. He also says once they see how qualified I am I'll rapidly advance.

But he doesn't get it. I'm fine with the most menial job, but it makes NO SENSE to work my butt off for close to minimum wage and at the same time hire child care that I will be paying, after taxes, twice what I'm bringing in, to spend time with MY children acting as their interim mother. The other thing is that he lives in MBA-land. I live in menial-land where you can advance to assistant manager, or manager, not vice-president or president.

It doesn't make financial sense.

It doesn't make personal sense.

By working I am giving up my most valuable thing, time with my children while they are still young. I don't want to PAY someone else at the same time for the privilege of working.

I'll keep looking. There's a businessman on Craig's List who needs a personal asssistant, two three-hour shifts per week, paying $500 per week. By the way, send a picture. Perfect for young college student, no experience required. Oh, yeah.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Brave face, cold heart

Started job applications this week. Hoping to get a job at the big U which would give a nice tuition waiver to everyone in the family. Unfortunately I currently have zero current qualifications for doing much more than babysitting or nannying -- and even then would need to update my CPR certificate.

And purging old papers which makes me feel a little cleaner and more in control.

Bills are all paid, house is mostly clean. I'm taking care of what I can take care of.

Reading self help books and crying, and trying not to cry in front of the kids.

Oh my.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

So Far Away

Started the split up discussions.

My body clock is totally shot. I'm falling asleep at 7 pm on the sofa and waking up at 3 AM.

So worried about money. This is going to take us from comfortably middle class towards the poverty line. This house is too big for me to take care of by myself, and needs so many repairs we now will not be able to afford. Not sure if going back to school is possible.
I'm losing not just financial support but the support of an adult who cares for me, who "has my back." I'm feeling so alone.

I'm grateful that I have a brain.

I'm grateful that I have a roof over my head.

I had food to eat today, and food in the pantry for at least a week.

I've been poor and frugal in the past, I can do it again. I feel whiny about losing my middle class privileges. Poor baby, she has to cancel her gym membership and netflix.

But I don't feel like I live that large. The luxuries I spend on really make life fun and worthwhile for me, and the kids. I don't own any Prada purses. I get to the spa maybe once a year. I wear LL Bean, and Coldwater Creek when it's on sale. The kids don't do that many activities; they just like pricey activities like pottery and gymnastics.

Thinking about options: renting out rooms, part time jobs (retail, music teacher, barista . . .) the head is whirling around. Not enough hours in the day to watch the kids, take care of the house, work AND go back to school.

This too shall pass. I don't know that I deserved it; I tried to be a good and loving partner and mom.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Go To Hell

Horrible therapy session today. He so clearly has daddy issues, but doesn't want to see that. He thinks he can find an affordable apartment for three kids and pay for a nanny in the capitol area. He's estranged from his dad. He thinks that separating will give him masses of free time to finish his book, hang out with his friends, be a more involved father, and fly to Arizona on short notice. He talked about doing stuff with the kids on the weekend. This is the same man who held down the sofa with his A$$ all last weekend. Playing his Civilization game on the computer while the kids play on the Wii in the same room is quality time. And he feels betrayed by me. I'm not the one talking about having an affair. He thinks our youngest has "issues." Well, he's a normal 7 year old and our older two were mature at that age. 7 year olds don't like to sit still, and they have problems with impulse control. No frickin' clue.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Unhappy Husband

So he says he's been unhappy for a long time. He says that when he expressed unhappiness, I worked to change things and then they went back to the way they were.


I've changed in so many ways in the past 15 years.

  • Careerwise through three jobs then switching to full time SAHM with multiple side jobs and volunteer work.

  • Physically through three pregnancies and menopause. I can see myself aging, see things slacken and wrinkle, and now have to fight tooth and nail to avoid gaining more weight.

  • Emotionally through the honeymoon period, day to day life, a period around the birth of #3 where I felt absolutely drained and deserted, to today where I feel like I'm taking responsibility for my own happiness whether or not he has to work late.

He's the primary breadwinner and I've allowed him accomodation for the responsibilities of work. I'm the primary caretaker and feel dismissed. The man has not scrubbed a toilet since 1995. Scrubbed toilets are necessary!

He tells me to go out, get involved, make adult friends. I go to the gym, play music, socialize, and have more friends than he does. I dropped out of choir because I was sick of the griping about having to come home "early" from work, as in being home by 7:20 PM.

He needs to take some responsibility for his own happiness in a way that's not destructive to the family, not make unilateral decisions to screw us all over.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Who is the Stranger in my Bed?

Close to 15 years of marriage. Three kids. He's "unhappy." Has "been unhappy." Wants to separate.

Things I do not want to forget right now

1) In the counselor's office yesterday when I said I was worried about emotional scars for the kids, he said they'd be scarred by something. The financial drawbacks of separating would be "good for them and help them to not take things for granted."

2) He's asked for counseling twice before. The first time, he told me to set it up. I was at home with three children 5 and under, no childcare. It meant finding a counselor and a babysitter. During the day. And finding the money in our family budget to pay for it. The second time, I told him if HE found the counselor I would set the childcare up. He didn't. As he looks back he says that maybe it wasn't important to him.

3) In a passing discussion of children, he suggested that he take them and hire a nanny to watch them. He also said they didn't all need to stay together.

Where is the man I loved, and who is this a-hole in my bed?