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.

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.