Archive | May, 2012

Opinions People… Please!

31 May

I want to do something new and fun.  I’m thinking pink highlights.  I have very dark brown hair that is straight and semi-long (somewhere between shoulder length and way too long).  Here are a few pictures that are kinda like what I’m thinking about…

I love this minus the curls and the blue color. The base is pretty close to the color of my natural hair.

Again, minus the curls, but I like this amount of pink

Pink Highlights

Pink Highlights (Photo credit: coffeebooksbeer)

I have to admit…  I’m already starting to second guess myself.  Damn it – I like this, though!  I might have to get some clip-in extensions to play with a little bit before I’m ready to commit to this.  I’ve played everything safe in my life so far…  Sometimes I just want to do something crazy just because I want to.  I’m not sure how my boss will feel, though…

Thoughts anyone?

Being Normal

31 May

I recently read a post on SI from a fellow Year-2-of-Recovery warrior.  She put into words something that I have been feeling in the back of my mind.  She said, “I am so scared of just being normal.  Our marriage was OK pre-affair.  We had a few issues, nothing major but we have done a lot of work and things are great now but I just can’t relax.  I am just so scared that if we relax into our marriage it will go wrong again.”  That is true for me as well. 

Just like the author I thought our marriage/ relationship was going pretty good before my last porn discovery.  The rockiest time in our relationship was at the end of 2008/ beginning of 2009.  That was when the affair discovery happened (see Gaslighting for more info).  After that we had a few ups and downs revolving around lies, strip clubs, and pornography.  The last incident like that was around August of 2009.  In April of 2010 he proposed.  Just a few short months later in September we were married.

That time of our lives was really great (I thought).  We were connected, we were enjoying the wedding planning, not taking things too seriously, and we had our financial situation pretty well set.  He was probably more involved in the wedding planning than I was.  He picked out the food, the cake, helped with deciding the decorations, and was really enthusiastic about everything.  The photographer and music were really the two main areas of importance to me.  I was never one of those “bridezillas,” so the entire process went smoothly with very minimal stress.

I have never been a girl who dreamed about her wedding day – in fact I would have preferred something small with no fuss.  A courthouse or backyard wedding would have been just fine with me.  But my mother and future husband were more set on something with a lot of family and friends, a white dress, tuxedos, and the whole 9 yards.  Don’t get me wrong, I ended up loving our wedding.  I’m glad now that we did things the way we did – even though it was expensive (I consider myself a very frugal person).  One of my most cherished memories is the look on his face and tears in his eyes when I came down the aisle.

Our honeymoon was wonderful.  We had so much fun together – in and outside of the bedroom.  We picked a place that had amazing food, great music, culture, adventure, and energy.  Our room was spectacular, and we spent a lot of time bonding with each other and just enjoying ourselves.  The pictures from our honeymoon are full of laughter, joking, and obvious love.  Even after we got back to reality that connection and euphoria stuck around.  At least I thought it did.

Then about 6 months in I started getting that old familiar feeling that something was off.  I followed my gut, picked up his phone, and opened his browser history.  There were pages and pages of porn.  Even though he had promised he wasn’t doing that anymore.  Even though we had tons of conversations about how hurtful it was.  Even though it was over the line of the clear boundaries we had set in our relationship.  Even though our sex life was great.  The frequency, concealment, and lying weren’t the only issues, though.  The content of that porn was quite disturbing to me.  It still is.

That’s what is so hard about being married to a sex addict.  They can compartmentalized so well that everything can seem completely normal, superb even, while they are acting out in secret.  I know that my husband would take that the wrong way if he read it today.  It is not that I don’t have confidence in him.  It is not that I don’t believe he is staying sexually “sober.”  It’s not even that I have any kind of “bad feeling” about what he is doing.  That is not where the fear is coming from.

I think most of my fear is coming from the fact that it is so hard to really gauge what is going on in the mind of a sex addict.  The fact that my husband is generally so closed off to his emotions, especially any seemingly “negative” ones, makes it incredibly difficult for me to feel completely secure.  He can so easily lie to me and just go on living his life normally as if that lie doesn’t affect him or isn’t weighing on his conscience at all.  Part of that is what happens with an addicted brain.  They are great at denial, justification, and keeping things separate. 

One of the most difficult things for me still is how he could text her, send her messages and pictures, and call her in-between calls and texts with me or after just leaving and giving me a big kiss and “I love you.”  How is that possible?  How can you lie to someone that you love right to their face with no emotion or guilt?  How can you be loving, funny, caring, and completely engaged one minute and just turn it off the next for a sexual fantasy with another person, pornography, or a strip club?  How can you promise one thing and do a completely different thing effortlessly?  It is terrifying.

Even though my husband is no longer that person it is difficult to just turn off the part of my brain that lives in constant fear and uncertainty.  He makes it better every time he opens up and tells me things.  He makes it better every time he goes to a meeting.  Every time he goes to a therapy appointment.  Every time he answers a question honestly or lets me see his vulnerability.  Every time he reads a book or does an exercise with me.  Every time he shares his day, calls me “just because,” holds my hand in the car, and all the other little things that mean so much when they are added together.

Those things are my new “normal.”  I think to a certain extent they will have to continue to be our new normal for quite a while if not indefinitely.  That’s not because I think I will never trust him fully.  It’s quite the opposite.  I want to keep the same level of richness, honesty, trust, love, and connection that we have now forever.  I don’t want to “relax” if that means falling back into a rut where we aren’t being real with each other.  I want to be able to feel completely safe and know that I can trust him because we talk, I know what’s going on with him, and we are each other’s best friend, confidant, and unconditional support.

Being a Zombie

30 May

This title is a little bit misleading.  I’m not becoming a zombie – don’t worry.  Sure, there have been moments in this ordeal where I have felt a bit like a zombie…  I admit that there have been days where hours passed while I was lost in my head.  I had a few months there where I was just “going through the motions.”  Everything was on auto-pilot.  Looking back I’m not sure how I was able to pull it together enough that people at work didn’t notice.

That’s not what this post is about, though.  This post is about actual zombies.  That’s right.  I have briefly mentioned a few times that I consider myself a bit of a geek.  I have to admit that one of the biggest areas where that comes out is the topic of zombies.  I love them.  One of my all-time favorite movies is 28 Days Later.  I think one of the best shows currently on television is The Walking Dead.  I have read the World War Z book and the Zombie Survival Guide.  I (probably irrationally) believe that it is possible for zombies to one day exist.

You are most likely asking yourself, “What?”  Even my husband, who is a lifelong Dungeons and Dragons fantasy game player, laughed at me last night.  I know, I know.  I’m generally a pretty grounded girl.  I don’t believe in vampires, ghosts, God, aliens, werewolves, the Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot, or any of those other silly things.  However, there are some very, very weird viruses out there and they are always evolving.  On top of that, we have all sorts of strange chemicals available now that people ingest both intentionally and without really knowing about it.  Could there one day be some strange virus, airborne illness, or chemical that causes a Zombie Apocalypse?  I don’t know, but it definitely seems much more possible than any of the things I mentioned earlier in this paragraph.

If you’re looking for proof of raging cannibalism that looks very, very much like a zombie attack, check out this article:  Freaky, right?  I have no idea why they were both naked – I’m kinda stumped by that – however, it has all the other earmarks of being a zombie attack.  1 – The guy was eating the other man’s face off.  Literally.  2 – He growled at the police officer who tried to stop him.  I’ll say that again – he growled.  Like some crazed zombie or a rabid dog.  3 – He didn’t stop when the officer yelled at him to cease or when he was shot the first time. He just kept eating the other man’s face.  Gross.  4 – Only a “fatal” headshot finally took him down.  Hello!  It’s sounding pretty zombie-ish to me.  Just saying…

I’ve heard since that they think the man was high on bath salts.  I’ve watched Intervention like everyone else on this planet, so I actually know that bath salts are a cheap drug-store high if you use them for something other than taking a bath.  I have also heard (and seen – again on Intervention) that they can really fuck with your brain (excuse the French).  The guy I saw who was addicted to them was climbing the walls (literally), was super-paranoid, and thought the government (or aliens, I can’t remember) were out to get him.  I didn’t see any face eating, though.

Even if it is bath salts causing this action, I read another article that says they may also be behind “other similar attacks” across the country.  Gotta say it again – zombies!  Okay, maybe they aren’t technically “undead,” but if there are now a whole string of people attacking and eating other humans across the country because of some crazy drug I still think that’s a pretty serious issue.  I’m gonna re-read the Zombie Survival Guide so I can be ready for any such attacks in my area!  Hopefully you won’t find yourself subject to a zombie attack any time soon.  Be safe out there!

Being Connected

29 May

This weekend was an extended, holiday weekend for both of us.  It was really nice to have that extra day to relax and connect.  We were able to have some fun together and experience a few new things.  It reminded me of how great it is to just hang out with my husband.

On Saturday morning we had our couple’s therapy appointment.  It was the first one after our big blow-out fight.  It was a little uncomfortable going through all of those details again and seeing all of the ways we went wrong.  We were able to turn it into a positive like I was hoping, though.  All in all by the end we both felt more understood.

The best part of Saturday happened after that, though.  We had tickets to see Bodies The Exhibition.  On our way there we stopped at Friendly’s to have lunch and some ice cream.  It was fun picking out our toppings and enjoying a carefree, junk-food type meal.  Once we got to where the exhibit was we looked around in the gift shop a bit before it was time to head on in.  Although we only spent about 15 minutes or so browsing around, we did open up some neat anatomy books.  It was really great to talk about something non- sex-addiction or relationship related.  We laughed at ourselves and our less-than-fantastic knowledge of where all of the organs are located.  Let’s just say neither one of us could be doctors.  It’s a good thing we have never, ever had the urge.

The actual exhibit itself was wonderful.  I had seen it once about 7 years ago or so.  This one had a lot of the same stuff, but some news things as well.  Plus, I could see that exhibit 100 more times before I could retain all of the information.  There were cases and cases of bones, plasticized organs, joints, and various body parts.  They also had full human skeletons arranged in different positions – like ice skating, playing baseball, dancing, etc. – with various degrees of muscles, skin, bones, and nerves showing.  They had an entire display on brains, memory, and nerve-endings.  It was amazing.

They also had a very interesting part of the exhibit showing the amount of food and average weekly cost for families around the world.  It was thought-provoking to see what the average family in various countries eats in one week.  The photos had the entire spread laid out across their kitchen or dining room with the cost in U.S. dollars.  We weren’t the worst of the bunch, surprisingly, but we were terrible gluttons compared to families in some African countries whose entire weekly meal consisted of a few bags of rice, corn, and some other dried substances totaling only $1.93 in cost.  Obviously, there were extremes on either side of the spectrum.  The most intriguing were countries whose weekly meals consisted mostly of fruits, vegetables, small amounts of meat, and no processed junk food.  It is cheaper and more nutritious to eat that way.  I just wish it was easier.  It definitely made me think about ways to change our diet to make it healthier.

We spent almost 2 hours in the exhibit looking at everything together.  We talked about some of the stuff, especially the several completely blackened and cancerous smoker’s lungs.  I am so incredibly glad that Mr. Mess stopped smoking 2 years ago.  I know it is not the only danger out there, but it certainly is at the very top of the list of destructive things that people do to themselves.  The whole experience is something that I highly recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to visit one of those exhibits.  It was a great way to lose ourselves in one another and learn new and stimulating things.  When else will you get such an opportunity to see real human anatomy inside and out, up close, in detail, with explanations and comprehensive descriptions?  Nowhere outside of medical school.

After that we headed home for some relaxation.  During one of our couple’s exercises in the book we do together every week the topic of favorite movies came up.  We have talked about movies and television a lot.  Our tastes are very similar, however, there are a few places where we definitely divert.  One reason is the age difference.  He was watching movies for years that were made before I was even born.  A few of them are favorites of his that I have never seen.  One example is Alien.  I admit that I have never seen any of the movies – not even the more recent ones.

So we decided to make this weekend a movie weekend.  We went out shopping, picked up a few of his favorites, and I raided my movie collection for favorites of mine that he hadn’t seen.  We made sure to get Alien and Aliens (the first and second movies).  We also bought Highlander.  I re-arranged all of my DVDs and Blu-rays after getting rid of my really old VHSs – since I don’t even have a VCR anymore.  We then picked out a few movies and watched away.

I have to admit that the Alien movie was really great, especially for something made so long ago.  He warned me that the special effects wouldn’t really be that great, but I didn’t see a problem with them at all.  I love horror movies that make you jump, and boy did this one!  I do consider myself a nerd, and even a little bit of a geek, especially after I met my husband (and yes, there is a difference).  I previously would have just flat-out refused to watch anything set in outer space…  I was not interested at all.  Since meeting Mr. Mess I have opened myself up quite a bit to different movie genres.  This is one movie that I’m glad I saw.  I think the whole thing was really well done.

I absolutely cannot say the same thing about Highlander.  I really don’t understand how him (or anyone for that matter) could find that movie good in any sense of the word.  It blows me away that he likes it and has watched it a lot.  Like over 10 times.  Are you kidding me?  It was awful.  Truly.  Excruciatingly so.  I get the whole sword-fighting appeal (but in a high-rise building in the 20th century?), and I know that he is into the whole fantasy genre (immortals, and the whole 9 yards).  But wow…  This movie had a plot that made absolutely no sense, horrible acting, worse “special effects,” no real premise that was interesting in the least, and to top it all off it was horribly predictable and treated the audience like they are morons (you do not have to spell out every single little thing).  And don’t get me started on the horrible 80s music and outfits…

Still, I watched it.  I do know that I complained more than I should have.  More than I told myself I would.  I had committed in my brain that I wouldn’t say anything negative at all.  That I would do my absolute best to understand the movie and why my husband liked it.  I failed miserably at that.  I even tried asking him what he liked about it, but he couldn’t really tell me.  Probably because I had already approached things in a damaging manner.  I will have to do better next time.  I just really wasn’t expecting anything that bad.

Mr. Mess watched Spanglish and The Terminal with me, mostly because it seemed too depressing to watch House of Sand and Fog or Schindler’s List (I realized that I tend to like things on the serious side).  I remember both of those as really good movies the first time I watched them, with just a touch of comedy in a realistic storyline.  It had been several years since I watched either one, and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed.  I still think the actors and stories were great, but I hadn’t remembered that BOTH of them deal with infidelity to some degree.  Talk about a bummer.  Spanglish was tough, especially when Tea Leoni’s character revealed her affair…  The whole thing was a little too real.  They were easier to watch than I thought they would be, though.  I think it’s because we are in such a better place.

We also had a Criminal Minds marathon – we went through a few discs of the second season and are almost into the third.  The best part was all the lying around eating yummy food, though.  We had dinner from my favorite Thai restaurant, takeout from Mexico (really their cheese dip is perhaps the best thing in the world), donuts, a hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s, and steaks on the grill with baked potatoes and lima beans.  That thing about healthy eating that I mentioned earlier?  That didn’t start this weekend.

We also did some (minimal) house work, and took all 3 of our dogs to the groomers.  Add in a new dog bed, some treats, and a few extras and that was a painful bill.  Having all of the dogs freshly washed, smelling good, and devoid of hair to shed everywhere was worth it, though.  We let them all in with us and had a puppy pile while we were watching Criminal Minds.  It had such a happy, normal feel to it.  I wish every day could be that relaxing.

I enjoyed our low-key holiday weekend, especially because I barely had to get dressed.  😉  It was really nice to just spend time together connecting and enjoying one another’s company.  We were able to find our great chemistry again and just laugh, lounge, and love each other.  I think it was my favorite Memorial Day weekend ever.  I look forward to more time like that in the future.

Being Random

29 May

Here is my normal weekly meme from Sunday Stealing.  Thanks for the questions!

1. Have you felt that life is like being on a roller coaster?
Wow… That has definitely been true, especially in the last few years. See my previous post Rollercoaster for proof.

2. Favorite year so far?
2003. That is the year I traveled all over Europe. It was the most amazing experience.

3. Do you consider yourself religious?
Absolutely positively not. To the 1000th power.

4. How do you dress to impress?
It depends on who I’m trying to impress. To impress my husband for a night out at a fancy restaurant it is a perfect little black dress, heels, pearls, and hair that has taken me an hour. To impress him just any old day it would be a t-shirt and nothing else… or nothing at all. To impress at work I have a few sharp pants suits.

5. Have you ever been to Connecticut?
I don’t really think I have. We did drive from Virginia to Main when I was a kid (6th grade), but I don’t remember what states we passed through. I have never taken a trip exclusively to Connecticut.

6. Do you eat sushi?
Yes, occasionally. It isn’t a regular staple of my diet, but I have found a few types that I really like.

7. Would you smoke pot providing there was no risk or driving involved?
No. I’m not even sure what “no risk” involved means. It is an illegal substance, so there is an inherent risk. My job doesn’t do random drug tests, but I still would not want to jeopardize my career or lifestyle. I am also really not interested in mind-altering drugs – even alcohol – since I am on antidepressants. I’m not sure what the combination would do.

8. What do you think of Idol Winner Phillip Phillips?
I don’t want American Idol, so I couldn’t tell you. I think that Clay Aiken should have won his season. Since then I haven’t watched any complete episodes.

9. Do you believe that animals have souls?
I don’t really believe in souls in the religious sense – even for people. I do believe in personalities and a special “something” that makes each of us unique. Even animals have that.

10. Who did you last talk to? Share, if you dare.
A potential new hire. I just finished up a phone interview.

11. What is one thing that always annoys you?
People who are late.

12. Do you believe in a higher being?
No – What is with all of these religion questions??

13. Have you ever fallen in love with a neighbor?
Weird questions – no.

14. Any plans for this weekend?
I might go see some Legends car racing. I may also visit a food festival that will be happening on Sunday. Or I could decide to do absolutely nothing and lounge around in my underwear all day. You never know…

15. Would you like to rule your country, if you could?
“Rule your country”… That is a weird way to put it. We don’t really have a “ruler” here. I don’t think I would want the job of President, though. I like my privacy and down-time too much for that. If you mean some hypothetical “ruler” who just makes up rules that others have to follow… maybe. There are plenty of things that I wish I could change.

16. Do you like watching films about the nature of animals?
I like watching the Discovery channel sometimes, and I love the Planet Earth series.

17. What’s the difference between lust and/or lust?
I copied this question exactly, so this typo is not on me. There is no difference between lust and/or lust because that is the same word twice… What I believe this should be asking is what is the difference between love and lust. In that case, I think there is a huge difference.  Lust is physical attraction to someone – an intense desire.  It can be powerful and has to do with the brain chemical dopamine.  Love is a much deeper emotion.  It is built up with time, trust, and real knowledge of someone else.  The love hormone is oxytocin.

18. Do you have a soul?
Wow… again with the religious/soul question. No. I don’t believe we have “souls” that are separate from our bodies. I believe we have personalities. I believe we have a brain that is made up of many indefinable things which combined form who we are. I believe we are made up of energy, thoughts, and other invisible things. But I believe that when we die, we die. I don’t believe that there is some separate “soul” that floats away into the great beyond.

19. One best friend or many good friends?
One best friend.

20. Do you believe in spontaneous combustion?
I’m not really sure. I haven’t done any research into it at all. I do believe that there are strange chemicals and substances that can start a fire with no heat involved. I think some of those things might be responsible for the “spontaneous combustion” cases. I think science can provide an answer, but I am not a scientist so I will leave it at that.

Being Complete Opposites

26 May

A while ago I briefly posted about my husband and I taking the Myers-Briggs Personality Test.  Two weeks ago we got our results and a sheet that breaks down the joys and struggles of a couple with those two personality types.  What we discovered is that we are actually polar opposites.  We literally do not have one type in common.  I am an ISTJ (Introvert, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) and he is an ENFP (Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving).

If you aren’t familiar with the test or the concept, it uses 4 different scales to identify personality traits.  There are 16 different combinations of these 4 traits which form the basis for your overall personality.  The four different scales are (as broken down by Psychology at

  1. Extraversion (E) – Introversion (I): The extraversion-introversion dichotomy was first explored by Jung in his theory of personality types as a way to describe how people respond and interact with the world around them. While these terms are familiar to most people, the way in which they are used here differs somewhat from their popular usage.  Extroverts are “outward-turning” and tend to be action-oriented, enjoy more frequent social interaction and feel energized after spending time with other people. Introverts are “inward-turning” and tend to be thought-oriented, enjoy deep and meaningful social interactions and feel recharged after spending time alone. We all exhibit extraversion and introversion to some degree, but most of us tend have an overall preference for one or the other.
  2. Sensing (S) – Intuition (N): This scale involves looking at how people gather information from the world around them. Just like with extraversion and introversion, all people spend some time sensing and intuiting depending on the situation. According to the MBTI, people tend be dominant in one area or the other. People who prefer sensing tend to pay a great deal of attention to reality, particularly to what they can learn from their own senses. They tend to focus on facts and details and enjoy getting hands-on experience. Those who prefer intuition pay more attention to things like patterns and impressions. They enjoy thinking about possibilities, imagining the future and abstract theories.
  3. Thinking (T) – Feeling (F): This scale focuses on how people make decisions based on the information that they gathered from their sensing or intuition functions. People who prefer thinking place a greater emphasis on facts and objective data. They tend to be consistent, logical and impersonal when weighing a decision. Those to prefer feeling are more likely to consider people and emotions when arriving at a conclusion.
  4. Judging (J) – Perceiving (P): The final scale involves how people tend to deal with the outside world. Those who lean toward judging prefer structure and firm decisions. People who lean toward perceiving are more open, flexible and adaptable. These two tendencies interact with the other scales. Remember, all people at least spend some time extraverting. The judging-perceiving scale helps describe whether you extrovert when you are taking in new information  (sensing and intuition) or when you are making decisions (thinking and feeling).

Every person has some combination of those 4 scales.  Each combination has inherent value and its own set of positive attributes and challenges.  Here’s a quick summary of the our two personality types:

  • ISTJ (me) – People with an ISTJ personality type tend to be reserved, practical and quiet.  They enjoy order and organization in all areas of their lives including their home, work, family and projects.  Because of this need for order, they tend to do better in learning and work environments that have clearly defined schedules, clear-cut assignments and a strong focus on the task at hand.  ISTJs value loyalty in themselves and others, and place an emphasis on traditions.  ISTJs are both responsible and realistic.  They are able to ignore distractions in order to focus on the task at hand and are often described as dependable and trustworthy.  Some of the main characteristics of the ISTJ personality include:
    • Focused on details and facts
    • Realistic
    • Interested in the present more than the future
    • Observant, but slightly subjective
    • Interested in the internal world
    • Logical and practical
    • Orderly and organized
  • ENFP (him) – People with this type of personality are often described as enthusiastic, charismatic, and creative.  ENFPs are flexible and like to keep their options open.  They can be spontaneous and are highly adaptable to change. They also dislike routine and may have problems with disorganization and procrastination.  When making decisions, ENFPs place a greater value on feelings and values rather than on logic and objective criteria.  People with this personality type strongly dislike routine and prefer to focus on the future. While they are great at generating new ideas, they sometimes put off important tasks until the last minute. Dreaming up ideas but not seeing them through to completion is a common problem. ENFPs can also become easily distracted, particularly when they are working on something that seems boring or uninspiring.Some common ENFP characteristics include:
    • Warm and enthusiastic
    • Empathetic and caring
    • Strong people skills; relates well to others
    • Able to think abstractly and understand difficult, complex concepts
    • Needs approval from others
    • Disorganized
    • Strong communication skills
    • Fun and spontaneous
    • Highly creative

You can probably tell already just how completely different we are.  Now imagine making that work in a marriage.  It is hard work.  But it is also very rewarding.  We literally have the traits that the other lacks.  Here is a portion of what our marriage counselor gave us regarding a marriage between an ISTJ and an ENFP:

The Joys

Since ISTJs and ENFPs have no type preference in common, they often seem like polar opposites.  But many couples experience a strong attraction, as each has what the other lacks.  ISTJs are often attracted to ENFPs’ high energy, enthusiasm, optimism, and creativity.  ENFPs bring a fun and adventurous element to everyday living, often saying and doing things that are irreverent, clever, and original (very true).  ENFPs are often drawn to ISTJs’ steadiness, responsibility, and calm.  ISTJs have a focus and maturity that ENFPs long to have themselves, and ISTJs are generally down-to-earth, unflappable, and superdependable (also very true).

Because of these differences, ENFPs and ISTJs have a great opportunity to help each other grow and develop in important ways.  ISTJs help their partners focus more carefully on the facts, details, and individual steps of their projects so they make fewer mistakes.  ENFPs often credit their partners with helping them be more direct, assertive, and willing to confront conflicts head-on.  ENFPs also say that their ISTJ partners help them become more organized, accountable, and realistic (true again).  For their part, ENFPs often help their serious and hardworking partners relax, have fun, and take occasional risks (so incredibly dead-on).  ISTJs credit their partners with cultivating their gentler and more patient sides and with helping them be more flexible and open to new ideas.

The Frustrations

Their many differences give most ISTJ and ENFP couples sizable hurdles to clear on a daily basis, especially in the area of communication (okay, have these people been spying on us?!).  ISTJs crave structure and predictability in their daily lives and are more traditional than the nonconforming and lveral-minded ENFPs.  Whereas ISTJs are not bothered by, and are perhaps even stimulated by, the tug of a good argument, ENFPs generally avoid anything too contentious or confrontational (spot-on).  Otherwise, ENFPs typically like lots of stimulation and are always eager to meet new people and explore new areas of work and play.  Meanwhile, ISTJs are often exhausted by the high level of interaction their partners stir up and prefer to stick with established routines or to spend quiet time with their partners pursuing an interest they share (that is so me).

Generally, one of the most difficult challenges for this couple stems from their views of change.  ENFPs like and need to talk about limitless possibilities, and they love to think creatively.  Because most ISTJs find constant change unsettling and stressful, their natural reaction is to resist it.  ENFPs often feel that their enthusiasm for possibilities is being squelched by the realism of their ISTJ partners.  For their part, ISTJs find the endless chatter about things that might never actually happen and the repeated leaps in logic frustrating and even threatening to the calm they prefer (AMEN!).

During conflicts, ISTJs tend to withdraw into silence so they can carefully think through their positions, opinions, and feelings before sharing them.  By contrast, most ENFPs want to work things out spontaneously in an effort to reestablish harmony immediately (actually, these two sentences happen but in the exact reverse.  He is the one who withdraws into silence and needs time to think things out while I want to immediately talk through our various feelings).  The end result is that both partners feel misunderstood and unappreciated.  Rather than talking through issues with respect and compromise, couples tend to fall into a pattern of arguing and blaming, followed by periods of silence and distance (this part is the same).  To maintain trust and connection, it is imperative that ENFPs stay calm and focused and ISTJs commit to sharing their emotions while remaining open and supportive (again, we need to do that but in reverse).

So, now we know a little bit more about each other.  I feel like every day we are taking steps in the right direction to strengthen our marriage.  Each little step brings us closer to being able to live in peace and harmony together.  I know there will always be differences, and that’s one thing I really like about us.  We are able to force each other to grow and make changes.  Hopefully they can be positive ones.  My desire is that we will find ways to balance each other out, smooth away the rough edges, and still maintain our individuality and unique perspectives on life.  As just a little step in that direction, I asked my husband to help me pick out a good picture to add at the end of this blog.  Below is his choice.

‘The Demise of Guys’: How video games and porn are ruining a generation

24 May

Interesting article… The more I read about this kinda stuff the more disturbing it is. Why does mainstream society not seem to understand the problem?


23 May

A few days ago I changed the look of my blog to make it perkier and give it a lighter ambience.  One thing I made sure was consistent, though, is the color: pink.  I have had a love-hate-love relationship with pink throughout my life.  I thought today I would give you a little glimpse into me using the color pink as a framework.

When I was very young my parents were members of an Apostolic Pentecostal church because my uncle was a pastor there.  One foundation of that faith is that women (and girls) are required to only wear dresses and to keep their hair long.  There are all sorts of other strict rules, but the basic idea is that femininity is required – even for babies.  That means that I actually learned to “crawl” in a dress.  I put crawl in quotes because I couldn’t really use my knees like most children do since the dresses made it virtually impossible.  Picture this:  me in a frilly pink dress, hair that had never been cut, “crawling” around on my hands and feet in this weird hunched/ crouching position so that I could maneuver around without tripping myself.  I think I have a photo of that somewhere, actually.  I will have to try and find it.

It wasn’t quite like this, but you get the general idea…

In my early childhood pink was a staple.  Even after we changed churches and parted ways with the stringent guidelines I owned tons of cute outfits, hair clips, and chunky plastic jewelry that was pink.  When I was about 6 years old my parents bought 10 acres of land in the country, and my Mom started designing a new house for us.  We got to pick everything, which was very exciting for me.  I picked out pink carpet, pink paint for my walls, pink wallpaper border, and a pink bedspread.  We moved in when I was about 7 years old, and I loved my new room.

In the next few years I got more active in sports (softball and horse-back riding mostly), started exploring those 10 acres, and became a tree-climbing, tough, tomboy who loved getting dirty, didn’t mind a few cuts and scrapes, and spent more time with my horses and dogs than playing dress-up.  I started hating the color pink with a passion.  I decided orange was my new favorite color, I think mostly because it isn’t “girly” at all.  I named all of my stuffed animals “orangey,” even the ones that had absolutely no orange in them.  I also spent some time ripping the heads off of my sister’s Barbie dolls just to prove how not interested I was in being frilly and delicate.

As I changed from a pre-teen into a full-blow teenager orange was no longer my favorite color, but pink was still at the very bottom of my list.  I gravitated to blue, gray, black, and anything that made me feel tough.  I think part of that had to do with the fact that I was very picked on in school.  I was home-schooled by my Mom until 6th grade, which I thought was wonderful.  I was super-fast with my school-work, which allowed me to skip a grade and have more time to play outside.  I could finish my lessons for the day in just a few hours at home.

Then I changed to private school for 2 years.  Not only were the lessons excruciatingly, unnecessarily long (it took 3 or 4 times what I had been spending to go over things that I found incredibly simple), but the kids were mean.  Private schools sound good in theory, especially to religious parents who think their children will get the benefit of Christian teachings, prayer, and smaller class sizes.  Let me tell you something – the reality is much different.  Private schools are full of kids who have been rejected from public schools because of their bad attitudes, problems focusing, and in some cases drug habits.  Sure, there are only 15-20 students in an entire grade.  That just means you can’t get away from the bullies.  Ever.

I was very glad to switch to public school for 8th grade through graduation.  At least there I could blend in, fade into the background a bit, and hopefully find a niche for myself.  Still, I was the “new kid.”  Everyone had been together, known one another, and formed their social circles since elementary school.  I wasn’t especially popular, outgoing, or interested in the “normal” teenage drama.  I came to despise the color pink even more because it was associated with the narcissistic, cruel, and shallow group of “mean girls.”

I did end up finding my own comfort zone in show choir, academics, and a few musicals and plays (even though I never fit in with the drama crowd).  I had a few close friends, I was relatively well-liked and respected, although not popular by anyone’s standards, and I was able to avoid being ridiculed for the most part.  I graduated at the top of my class, and couldn’t have been happier to leave it all behind.

I will skip most of the stuff in between then and now because it really doesn’t relate to my journey with the color pink.  Once I became a more self-assured adult something slowly changed about my opinion of pink.  It started with just a few nice pops of pink in a pretty shirt.  I realized I was okay with being feminine – in fact, it was something that made me feel good about myself.  I bought a bright pink shirt for the summer and noticed how much it flattered my dark hair and fair skin.

Slowly pink started making its way back into my life.  Now it represented confidence.  I could own pink for myself, not as something forced onto me by religion, culture, my parents, or the “in crowd.”  I also found that since I was more confident in myself I was okay with the vulnerability and softness that pink sometimes implies.  I didn’t have to be tough all the time.  I didn’t have to be strong, invincible, and shielded from the world.  I could just be me.  And I discovered that “me” likes pink.

I have been shaped by my life experiences and have grown because of them.  I still like black and gray, but I also enjoy silver and pink.  In fact, black and pink were the colors of my wedding.  I wanted this blog to have a pink theme because it reminds me of the journey I have taken to be okay with pink.  It reminds me that I can be vulnerable.  It reminds me that I am fluid – changing and becoming a different person every day.  That is why pink is important to me.

Being Positive

22 May

This is something that I am really struggling with right now.  It’s not because I can’t be positive.  It’s not because I don’t have hope.  It’s mostly because of the crazy ups and downs that I briefly posted about late last night (Rollercoaster).

I think out of everything it’s the inconsistency that is the most difficult thing for me.  We really have so many positive things going on.  If you don’t believe me, read back through Being Thankful.  I only listed a few things in that post… there are so many more.

For example, we have been working through some exercises from The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.  We are doing at least one every Saturday, and sometimes more.  We have been discovering that our marriage has a much stronger foundation than we thought.  We do well at connecting, romance, affection, and a ton of other stuff.  The things that we need to work on we were already aware of for the most part – like flooding and avoiding harsh start-ups.

I could keep going with my list of positive things, big steps forward, and continued progress.  There are tons of comparisons I could make between where we came from and where we are today.  I generally don’t have a problem looking on the bright side of things.

But when we have a bad day, boy do we have a bad day!  I am the first to admit that my triggers can take control of my emotions and leave me a much different person than the rational, compassionate, positive woman who I normally am.  I can become a downright nightmare.  I have gotten better at recognizing my triggers and handling them in a calm way, but some things really send me over the edge.  Lying is a huge one.

That is why I was surprised last week when my immediate response to finding out lies wasn’t outright anger.  As I admitted, that did come later.  Even the fact that I have a delayed anger reaction I think of as a positive thing.  It means that I am working through those triggers and emotions a little better, even if it is just at the very beginning or the very end.

Last night was not one of those days.  I uncovered a few more lies about his school which I took in stride (for the most part).  But then he really ticked me off about something that is relatively small, especially in the grand scheme of things.  Long story short – we had a huge blow up fight over dinner.  I mean that exactly.  It was over dinner and it was about dinner.  It had more to do with my triggers, his forgetfulness, and my primary love language (Quality Time) than with the actual dinner, but that’s what set it off.

Here’s where the runaway rollercoaster takes over.  Mr. Mess really doesn’t do well handling his anger.  It takes over and turns him into this raging, sarcastic, yelling ball of spite.  He says everything he can think of to make me angry and hurt my feelings, and then he yells over top of anything I try to say in response.  It doesn’t always happen.  In fact, it really hasn’t happened like that in a while.  For the most part our disagreements have been more in the way of conversations.  When I trigger he has been willing to talk to me about it and not get defensive.

Again, that was not last night.  Things got so carried away and out of control that he was threatening divorce.  Well, not really threatening – just saying that he was done, it was over, and he had no desire to keep trying.  It wasn’t a threat, it was reality and it was happening now.  He packed his things and left.  That’s where the whole, “He says everything he can think of to hurt my feelings…” part comes in.  I said some pretty bad stuff, too.  I called him names.  I said he was a liar and a coward who runs away when things get tough.  I’m not going to recount everything, but it was a dirty fight.  He ended up coming home a few hours later and we were able to talk a little bit more sensibly.

I’m not thrilled that things got out of control.  I’m not proud of those moments.  But it doesn’t change everything for me.  The positive things are still positive things.  That was just a really bad night, a really unfortunate fight, and big dip in the rollercoaster.  On the other hand, we can learn from that.  We can figure out what set us off.  How we can react better.  We can renew our promise not to throw divorce around in an argument.  We can take the opportunity to talk about those things that led to all that anger boiling over – unfulfilled promises, realizing each other’s love languages, figuring out how to deal with triggers better, not keeping secrets, and improving communication.

I see this as just another tool to improve our marriage.  Albeit, it’s a crummy, unpleasant tool that could have been avoided.  The only way to know how to do that, though, is to learn from it.  I can be realistic in saying that arguments will happen.  We will have more fights.  It’s just a fact of life, especially the part of life that we are going through.

My husband, though, has such a black-and-white, all-or-nothing mentality that it throws me off.  It is a struggle to be positive for me AND positive for him.  He honestly would have told you things were going great on Saturday.  We had worked through the lying issue, he had a plan of attack, we connected really well over the exercises, and we worked together to clean up the house a bit.  He was on top of the world.

Then after our argument last night he was at the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  An argument meant we couldn’t understand each other well, which in turn meant that everything was falling apart, which in turn meant that we may as well divorce.  Saturday the world was sunny and wonderful.  Last night it was dark, gloomy, and despondent.  Saturday the marriage was strong.  Last night it was crumbling.  There is no in between.

I don’t know how to combat that.  Even my positive doesn’t seem to be positive enough for him.  I talk about hope.  He says that means I don’t have faith in him, that I may as well have ended in a big “BUT…”  I tell him I see faith as something religious and irrational.  In fact, the very definition of faith according to the Encarta Dictionary is “belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof.”

I can’t have that anymore.  Hope is what I have.  I’m proud that I have gotten to this point because several months ago even the sight of the “HOPE” sign above our therapist’s door made me want to scream, tear it off the wall, and stomp on it.  Hope for me means that I can see a brighter future.  The Encarta Dictionary’s definition of hope is “to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely.”  That is much more positive in my eyes!  I would much rather be looking hopefully towards something that is possible than having faith in something without logical proof.

So I’m going to keep the dialog open.  I’m going to keep sharing my thoughts, feelings, and yes – my hope.  I’m going to keep seeing shades of gray instead of just black and white because that’s what allows me to keep going on the bad days.  I’m going to hold on tight and do my best to slow down this rollercoaster and get us back on solid ground.  That’s how I’m going to stay positive.


22 May

The picture says it all…  That crazy up and down has been my life recently.  Here’s to a smoother ride.

New Look

21 May

I’ve decided to try something a little lighter and fresher for my blog theme. What do you think? Is this format easier to read?

Silly Monday

21 May

Once again it is time for my silly Monday list of random questions to answer.  I got this one from the archives of Sunday Stealing.  Without further ado, here it is:

1. Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work?
I don’t even know what this means, and have no intention of finding out.  No.

2. What’s the largest age difference between yourself and someone you’ve dated?
20 years.  With my husband.

3. Ever been in a car wreck?
Yes, when I was in high school.  My friend was driving and rear-ended someone.  I was very, very glad that I had my seat belt on.  It is one of the reasons that I always wear it.

4. Were you popular in high school?
Not in the least.  Unless you count my chorus friends.  I had a lot of those, and they came from all sorts of “clicks.”  Overall, though, I was made fun of and not very accepted.  That’s what happens when you are new(ish) to the school, introverted, have a sarcastic sense of humor that no one gets, and are super devoted to your studies (I graduated with a 4.3 GPA).  I’m just fine with that, though, because I like who I am and I think they are the ones who missed out!

5. Have you ever been on a blind date?
Absolutely not.  I would never go for anything like that.

6. Are looks important?
Not in the traditional sense.  I don’t really care if someone could be a super model or not.  In the looks department what matters the most is being well-groomed.  Besides that personality really is key!

7. Do you have any friends that you’ve known for 10 years or more?
Not really, unless you count family.  See previous question re: popularity.  I have a few people that I still keep in contact with via Facebook, but I don’t really think that counts.

8. By what age would you like to be married?
I’m already married, so I don’t think this question really applies.  However, I will say that I never had a “taget age” for marriage.  I’m not really someone who cares about that type of thing.  I have always marched to the beat of my own drummer.

9. Does the number of people a person’s slept with affect your view of them?
I would like to say no because I don’t like to think of myself as a judgemental person, but in reality it absolutely does.  I was raised in a very conservative home, and I still have some deeply ingrained traditional values.  I can’t reconcile sleeping around with my view of the world and the importance of committment and monogamy.  I do think of both men and women who have a lot of sexual partners as sluts.  If that offends you, I apologize, but I firmly believe that sex is something that is important, special, and that should not be given away lightly.

10. Have you ever made a mistake?
What kind of question is that?  Everyone has made a mistake of some sort.  I have made many mistakes in my life, and I’m sure I will make many more before I am gone.

11. Are you a good tipper?
If I have a good server.  I don’t believe in free rides just because you are a warm body, though.  There is some standard of service that I expect, and I tip on a sliding scale according to how well those standards are met.

12. What’s the most you have spent for a haircut?
Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $60, including a (generous) tip.  A good hair style (and stylist) is important.  I also only really indulge about once per year, so I don’t mind paying a little more than the Great Clips $12 discount price.  I usually take care of trims myself, or get my Mom to tackle bigger shape-ups.

13. Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?
Yes, I think so.  Although keep in mind that my rather naïve version of a crush generally just meant that I was attracted to his incredible knowledge.  The idea of actually making out with or going any further than that with a teacher always grossed me out.

14. Have you ever peed in public?
I’m not sure what this question is really asking.  Are you asking if I have used a public restroom?  The answer to that is of course.

15. What song do you want played at your funeral?
I’m not really sure.  I haven’t thought about that.  I sing at funerals pretty regularly, though.  I do like the version of Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin.  Here’s the video.  It still gives me chills every time I watch it.

16. Would you tell your parents if you were gay?
Funny that would be one of the questions…  I have already told my parents that I am bisexual.  In fact, I lived with a partner of the same sex for several years before I met and married my husband.  Honestly, I believe it is incredibly important to be who you are.  It wasn’t easy telling my parents, especially since we are in the south and they are incredibly religious.  I couldn’t live a lie, though.

17. What would your last meal be before getting executed?
I would hope that I will never have to deal with that.  I don’t plan to murder anyone.  However, I’ll entertain this for the heck of it…  I would want my last meal to be home-made macaroni and cheese, a filet mignon, crabs, and a giant piece of double chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.

18. Beatles or Stones?
Neither…  I was not alive during the time that either of those bands were big.  My understanding is that their time was in the 60s and 70s.  I wasn’t even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes at that point (as the saying goes).

19. If you had to pick one person on earth to die, who would it be?
That’s a really weird question.  I don’t know everyone on earth, so I don’t know how to answer it.  I guess one of the active serial killers who are operating in the country.

20. Beer, wine or hard liquor?
White wine or flavored rum, please!  I have had to swear all alcohol off due to my antidepressant medication, though.

21. Do you have any phobias?
I don’t really think so.  I am terrified of dying in a fire, though.  I think that would be the worst death I can imagine…  Other than torture.  I really can’t handle torture, even in movies and TV shows.  It’s just awful.  I don’t think that is necessarily a phobia, though.

22. What are your plans for the future?
Keep growing and changing to be the best version of me that I can be.

Two Questions on My Mind

20 May

This blog post expresses some of the same exact things that go through my mind every day. The biggest question that someone who has been cheated on asks themselves is how do I know he won’t do this again… My husband gives some of the same answers that her husband has given. I do think that he believes them with all his heart. But I also know that there are more opportunities to stray than I ever realized before this happened. So I will continue to trust but verify. I will continue to work on our marriage. But I do know now that I could never go through this again.

Well, I found it…

18 May

The anger that is. I just told him that the first time he actually admits to a lie before I force it out of him I am going to hire an airplane to fly over our house with a banner that says “He finally told me the fucking truth on his own!!”  I will also throw him a party.  Really…  I think I will.  Although I’m not really going to start party planning right now because it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon.

Lessons from Judge Judy

18 May

Of course right after such a positive post yesterday I came home last night and discovered my husband has been lying to me again.  Not about sex stuff, but about money.  It wasn’t just a one-time lie.  It has been a continual lie over the last 2 weeks.  It took all of the wind out of my sails, and I really couldn’t handle it emotionally.  Let’s just say Mr. Mess slept on the couch last night…

I have to thank Judge Judy, though, for giving me some hard lessons about how to tell what is the truth and what isn’t.  Here are some of my favorites:Judge Judy

“If it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true.”

“You don’t have to have a good memory if you’re telling the truth.”

“If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.  Your story, sir, is not a duck!”

I actually used the second one on my husband last night.  As his story changed for the 3rd or 4th time I told him that you don’t have to have a good memory if what you’re telling me is the truth.  The truth just is…  You need to use your memory when you’re trying to remember a made-up story.  When it’s the truth it doesn’t change so all you have to do is say what happened…  Plus, what he was saying just didn’t make sense.  So it couldn’t be true!  Sure enough… after several MORE denials (“I wish I could find that invoice that shows what they charged me for”) he finally fessed up that he had been lying to me.  If you can even call it “fessing up” when I busted him and wouldn’t let him squirm his way out of it…

So after what has been a very good few weeks of moving forward, we have once again started taking steps back.  I don’t really know what I expected.  After all, yesterday I even said, “Sure, there have been a few low points and some disappointments – there are always bound to be some of those.”  I just didn’t expect one of those “low points” to be the very same day…  There’s irony for you!

It’s like I’m being tested to see if I really meant it when I said, “When we have setbacks, I need to remind myself of everything we have made it past and how much farther along the road we are now.”  I still think that’s true.  To my credit, I think I handled this a lot better than I would have in the past.  There was no yelling, no waving about of the arms, no crying.  I just couldn’t brush it off and snuggle up for a nice night’s sleep, though.  I read in a book this morning that when someone hurts you and that person doesn’t fully change their behavior every fresh wound brings back all of the pain from each past injury as well.  That is really what is happening to me right now.  In the grand scheme of things this is not the worse thing he has done, but it hurts pretty bad just the same.

That’s where my quandary lies.  I want to be positive.  I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.  I want our trust to be repaired.  I want to let my walls down.  But he’s a liar, and liars lie – about everything – small lies, big lies, sex lies, random lies, money lies… you name it.  I want to believe him, I want to move forward, but I don’t know how to find the right balance.

I feel like the kid at the top who is just waiting for the other person to drop him.
Photo Credit

My “gut” knew there was something fishy when he his story changed slightly the first time (about a week ago).  My head knew there was something off, too.  So why did I just let it go?  Especially knowing what I know about his history of lying…

Was it because I somehow wanted to fool myself and keep my good feelings?

Because I was afraid to be negative?

Because I just wanted so badly to believe him?

Now I’m also wondering what my reaction should be.  That’s one of the main reasons I asked him to spend the night away from me.  I needed space to sort through my thoughts because this whole thing has really gotten into my head big time.  I’m so turned around and upside down that I’m at the point where I don’t even trust myself.  I don’t know how I should feel or sometimes even fully what I feel.  Let me just give you a little glimpse of what I mean.

Feelings.  I’m feeling pretty betrayed.  I’m feeling stupid and naïve for dismissing my initial doubt to take his word.  More than anything I’m feeling shut out by him.  When he lies to me because he “gets caught up” or “is afraid of my reaction” what he’s really saying is that he doesn’t trust me.  What I get from his actions is that he wants to keep stuff from me, exclude me from things (like finances) that I should be included in, and that he doesn’t feel like I’m worthy of the full truth.  It doesn’t really matter if he’s thinking all of those things when he lies to me because that is the effect of his lies.  He is robbing me of the chance to participate, to really know him, and to have a say in my own life.

What I’m not feeling that I think I should feel is anger.  I’m not really that angry at all.  I’m mostly just deflated.  Disappointed.  Resigned to the fact that this is my life.  I want to have righteous indignation.  I’ve had that before, and it really takes all of this complicated stuff off of the table when you can just rage a little bit.  I have found it isn’t productive, though…  Once the raging is done you still have to deal with all of this mess in the aftermath.  It just makes it harder to connect.  That I’m not angry makes me feel like I’m somehow “letting him off the hook,” though.  That leads to…

Reaction and Resolution.  What is an appropriate response to this?  He is waiting for me to come home so we can talk about this, but I still don’t know what I really want to say.  I don’t want to blow this up into something huge, but I don’t want it to seem like it’s not important either.  What I really want to know is why he keeps lying to me.  We’ve had that conversation a thousand times before (at least it seems that way).  Actually, I kind of know why – he’s a liar.  I don’t mean that in the incredibly negative and judgemental way that it sounds.  It’s just the truth.  He has a very long pattern of lying as a means of avoiding repercussions, making himself feel better about himself (by hiding the things he does wrong), “protecting” other people’s feelings, and taking the easy way out.  It’s something he has done since he was a kid.  It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to lie and cover up “bad news” or a mistake.  It’s good that he recognizes the pattern, but that doesn’t really help me feel any better about it.

Scratch what I said before – what I REALLY want to know is why he didn’t catch himself somewhere along the way.  That is something we have talked about a lot.  It is a promise that he has made to me – if he feels like he is about to lie he will try to catch himself, if he doesn’t catch himself and he lies he will come clean, and if he doesn’t do either one of those things he will at the very least admit the lie when I confront him.  He didn’t do any of those things.  In fact, he did the exact opposite.  He lied to me.  Then he lied to me again about the same thing…  And again the next time it came up…  And when I questioned him as his story kept changing he still kept lying and denying.  If I hadn’t had the power of Judge Judy’s logic on my side he would have just kept on gaslighting me forever.

So what’s a girl to do?  I’m not really sure (and I’m heading home in less than 5 minutes).  I guess I will figure it out as I go.  It’s just another Frustrating Friday…

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