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Being a Mom

13 Oct

My gorgeous baby boy was born on June 21st, about two and a half weeks early.  We went in for an induction because I developed gestational hypertension at 36 weeks, and my blood pressure kept spiking.  After more than 24 hours of labor, I ended up having a c-section because he just wouldn’t drop and he was facing the wrong direction.

I am very thankful for modern medicine because when they went in the cord was wrapped around his neck and body several times, so a natural delivery would have been extremely dangerous for him.  The goal was to have a happy, healthy baby, and that’s exactly what happened.  He weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and measured 20.5 inches long.  He had a full head of hair and the most beautiful blue-gray eyes.

Being a mom is an amazing experience.  I used to wonder if I had what it took because I have never been someone who’s only desire was to raise children.  I wasn’t sure that I ever wanted a kid until I met my husband.  Making the decision to get pregnant was easier than I thought it would be, but also very scary because of all of the unknown.  It’s funny how much motherhood has changed everything and nothing at the same time.

How can that be?  Obviously, my entire routine is different.  Caring for another human dictates so much of my life.  My body is providing the only nutrition for a little person. That’s an awesome responsibility and a great bonding experience.  Now that I have to pump all of the time at work it has lost some of the “magic,” but it’s still really cool that I am helping him grow and develop.  Seeing him change every day and watching him experience new things has brought wonder and joy into every day.

The first few weeks were really tough, of course, but not as difficult as people would have me believe.  Learning to breastfeed was a challenge, feeding every 2-3 hours through the night was exhausting, and there were definitely moments when I wondered how anyone does this with more than one.  Baby snuggles are priceless, though, and seeing his little face made it worth it.  Even running on barely any sleep, one look at him would give me the strength and energy I needed to push through.  We’ve got an exceptionally good baby, too…  Seriously, he’s amazing.  Not only is he the cutest thing in the entire world (despite my obvious bias, I still maintain that this fellow is ridiculously handsome), but he barely ever cries unless it is clear what he needs and he’s been sleeping for 6-8 hour stretches at night for months.

I am definitely a different person now.  I take a million pictures and only ever post about him on social media.  I am an expert in things like baby wearing and what different color poop means and how to sanitize bottles.  I track exactly how much he eats and sleeps, and I have become extremely organized (at least in his room).  I have learned that cute outfits are overrated, footie pajamas are fantastic, and it is possible for a baby to projectile poop over 2 feet.  Speaking of poop, I have been pooped on, peed on, puked on, drooled on, and been bit, poked, scratched, and even punched.  Motherhood is so glamorous…  Still, I feel like a piece of me is left behind every time I walk out of the door to go to work.

At the same time, I am still me.  I haven’t lost myself in a new identity of “mom” like I was afraid I might.  Now that I’m back at work, I still have that identity as a boss and employee.  I get to have at least one meal a day where I can take my time and not eat around a baby’s head.  I still enjoy the things I enjoyed before and listen to and watch the same things I did.  I’m sure I’ll have to listen to annoying kids music and watch Sesame Street a million times later, but for now my son watches Game of Thrones and Grey’s Anatomy with me and seems to love rap (he’s wearing a Wu-Tang onesie today).

My relationship with my husband didn’t suffer. If anything, it has gotten stronger.  He held our son while I was shaking and puking from low blood pressure for three hours after the delivery.  He swaddled and changed him more in the first few weeks than I did.  He was awake and helping during those long nights, bringing him to me to nurse and handling everything else.  Seeing him being nurturing and loving and a wonderful Dad only deepened the love I have for him.  I am grateful every day to have such an amazing, supportive, handsome, caring husband.

Being a good parent is sexy, so having a baby hasn’t negatively impacted our sex life too much, either.  If something is important, you prioritize it, and my relationship with him is the foundation of our family.  I refuse to let that get ignored or pushed to the side.  Certainly, if the baby is crying and needs something immediately, we take care of it, but babies sleep.  It helps that even when I’m exhausted I find my husband irresistible, and being in his arms recharges me.

That first cuddle on the hard hospital bench after days of pain and stress is one of my favorite moments.  I could feel everything else melt away -it didn’t matter that my c-section site hurt, we hadn’t eaten a decent meal or slept more than an hour and a half at a stretch in days, my nipples ached, or that we had to spend an extra day in the hospital because the baby was jaundiced and my blood pressure was still too high…  Everything was perfect and right in the world because he was there with me, and we were getting through it all together.  Just thinking about that makes me relax and tear up a little.

So, I’m a different version of the same person.  I have a stronger appreciation for my husband.  I have a new perspective on life.  I have the cutest, sweetest, happiest son.  I also have a pile of laundry to do, a house that needs to be cleaned, and a permanent case of sleep deprivation.  But it’s all okay.  More than okay…  Wonderful.  I wouldn’t trade this version of me or my life for anything.

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Living in the Now

6 Jun

It seems like I blinked and this year is already halfway over.  I suppose that’s a good sign, though, because when things aren’t going well time seems to drag on endlessly.  I’ve been keeping busy with school and work and living life in general.  I’m just a few classes away from getting my MBA, which will be so great to have done.  I’m happy to report that I’ve kept up my 4.0 GPA while maintaining a sometimes hectic work schedule.  I’m also moving forward into the final stages of getting my house sold.  That will be a nice weight off of my shoulders.

Buddy has also moved in with us.  He’s been there almost a week, and he’s adjusting fine.  I did have to get the procedure done on his other eye, so he is now completely blind.  The good part about that is that he can’t have any more painful pressure spikes.  All of his vets say he’s in great shape and health, and he doesn’t seem distressed at all.  His eye specialist told me that dogs transition into being blind much better than humans because dogs live in the moment.  They don’t think about the past or the future.  They just accept the reality they are in and learn to adapt to it.

That is a really beautiful sentiment that has popped into my mind more than once since then.  When I think of all the time I spend thinking about the past or worrying about the future, it makes me stop and consider how much effort I’m giving to the now.  How often am I completely present in the moment?  Sadly, not very often.  The amount of time I spend thinking about things that have already happened or things that I need to do is staggering.  It’s also mostly pointless.

So I’ve started trying to notice more of the things that are great about right now.  When I’m in the car, I roll the windows down to feel the wind in my hair and turn the music up.  I think about the words and the listen to the rhythm and instruments.  At work it’s harder, but I’m trying to focus on one thing at a time.  At home I know Tony has caught me just looking at him and smiling more than once.  I want to memorize his facial expressions and notice the things that make him break out in a big grin.  Those little moments are some of the best parts of life, and I don’t want to miss out on them.

Other than that, there’s not a lot to report.  Most days I’m so ridiculously happy it’s sickening.  When I’m not, it’s because I’ve gotten lost in my head.  I’ve got a new therapist who is wonderful, and I feel like I’m actually working toward something again instead of just chatting with a friend.  All in all, life is fantastic.  I can’t think of a time when I’ve felt more content and fulfilled and loved.

Good, Bad, and Ugly

29 Jul

I know… what a cliché of a title, right?  I should do better!  It just seemed to fit, though.  There’s been a lot going on in my life.  Some of it is great, some of it is horrible, and some is funny and a little painful.  I was sick last weekend with a high fever, then last Monday I was out in the field doing a setup.  The week took off from there. Today I figured that I should give a little update.  I’ll just go in chronological order for now.


So first… the ugly.  Last Tuesday I got off work over an hour late due to some meetings.  I decided to treat myself to a little Mexican, and I got it to go because I really wanted to just sit on my couch and vegetate.  I got home to a mailbox full of junk mail.

I was in a pretty awesome mood, singing the tune off of the radio, loud and smiling.  I unlocked the door to find my wiggly Buddy there to greet me.  He was so cute hopping around, and he obviously wanted to go out to the front yard and pee on a few bushes.  I let him slip by me and kept the door propped open with my foot, thinking he would come right back in like normal.

Only he didn’t.  He decided to go running down to the neighbors house.  He’s usually pretty good about coming back when I call him.  But this time he just slowed down a little and kept wandering closer and closer to the edge of the road.  I kept calling, and he kept ignoring.

Since I’ve already had one animal (a cat) killed by a car in this neighborhood, Buddy is literally half blind, and it was so close to quitting and getting home time, I decided to go after him.  That’s when my heel slipped, my ankle went out from under me and I fell down the steps onto the concrete sidewalk.  I hit my ass on the stairs on my fall, scraped up my right knee, and managed to dump half of my dinner out on top of me.  Fun.  I’m actually laughing right now, but it was more of stunned silence that followed my spill.

I checked myself for major harm, and found none.  Of course Buddy trotted right over to help himself to my chips and salsa.  I sat there, legs splayed, grateful I was wearing a skort, not a skirt.  I pulled my heels off, managed to salvage the dinner, even though the aluminum container was smushed, and carried that into the kitchen.  I came back for my purse and keys in another trip, then picked up the mail that was now on the lawn.

Finally finished pigging out, Buddy came inside behind me.  I then stripped down and hopped in the shower to wash off the grass and dirt and blood and salsa that was covering me.  I poured peroxide on the scrapes and cuts on my knee, then bandaged it.  My knee is still all scraped up, I have scratches down my leg, up my thigh, and on my arm.  The pièce de résistance,  though is the massive hell of a bruise on my ass.  It’s the size of a fist and a deep purplish red color.  I’ll spare you the pictures.

Note to self: chasing after a dog while juggling take out, mail, my purse and keys, and wearing high heels… not a good idea.


Next was the good.  The following day, last Wednesday, my boss took all of us “executives” out on his boat.  Correction: his yacht. It’s something that he does once a year to show his appreciation.  It was so wonderful.  The weather was beautiful.  The ride took us past Mount Vernon and Fort Washington.  We walked around National Harbor.  Ate amazing seafood.  Had Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  Then we stopped and went swimming.  I found a big shark tooth.  It was a nearly perfect day.  I didn’t get home until late again, but this time there was no fall down the steps.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, the week had more in store for me.  I woke up Thursday morning and felt like shit.  Beat up. Between repeatedly lifting 50+ pound rotors on Monday, falling down the stairs on Tuesday, and riding for hours in a boat on Wednesday, I was exhausted and sore.  I just wanted to crawl back under the covers and stay there. I should have.

Ever have a premonition that a day is just going to suck?  I had one of those, and I was right.

I got a call from my gynecologist office.  That’s never a good thing.  I had my annual last week.  If everything had been fine I would have gotten a letter in the mail.  Instead, I got a call.  Abnormal results.

The woman on the phone was very reassuring.  She explained that abnormal results happen for a variety of reasons and it does not mean that I have cancer.  However, I get to go back to the gyno next week.  My doctor is out on vacation until August 19th.  I said fuck that.  I’m not waiting over a month until they could get me in (August 27th).  So I asked for whoever they could get me in with as soon as possible.  Apparently some women are weird about male doctors, so two of them had openings.  It doesn’t bother me one bit.  It’s not like he’s gonna rape me or something, and I’m not really shy.  Plus, I just want some answers.

They will be doing a procedure called a colposcopy.  They will be looking at my cervix with a microscope after putting a solution on there to make the abnormal cells stand out.  They will do a scraping and take some biopsies.  It will probably be painful.  I’ve been advised to take Motrin before I go.  Yeah, like that’s gonna do a whole lot to help.  Whatever.  I’m tough.  Pain has never scared me.

It is what it is.  Hopefully it will be nothing and everything will turn out okay.


So there’s my (not so) mini update.  I had more good yesterday.  I got to go to a Kix Brooks, Dierks Bentley, and Miranda Lambert concert.  I had VIP parking and VIP seats and access to the VIP area.  My Mom and sister and grandma went with me.  We had a fantastic time.  Three generations of lovely ladies enjoying amazing music.  I’m just going to keep moving forward, keep living my life, and keep finding happiness as best as I can.  I’ll do all of that with a smile on my face.

From last night

Solo Vacation

15 Jul

I don’t have a lot of time tonight because I have a long day tomorrow.  However, I wanted to briefly (very briefly) post about my vacation last week.

I just want to say… taking a vacation on my own was wonderful. It was so great to just do what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted.  I have always had someone else to cater to, someone else’s idea of a “good time” to consider, and/or some worry that what I wanted to do or eat or whatever wasn’t going to make the other person happy.  Only focusing on making myself happy was almost life-changing it was so peaceful and relaxing and empowering.

Some of what I did for me, in no particular order: Visited Harry Potter World, twice.  🙂  Took a trolley around America’s oldest city.  Read by the pool.  Walked almost everywhere I could.  Hit the outlet mall and went shopping.  Watched a movie, The Heat, and laughed my ass off.  Rode amazing coasters using the single riders line, which was awesome and even landed me in the front row once.  Strolled around EPCOT and visited all of the countries and their shops, taverns, and shows.  Listened to an Irish duo play music that put a huge smile on my face… for hours.  Tried new beer.  Went on a winery tour.  Ate fantastic food.  Sang along at an outstanding concert for a country star who I admire, against a beautiful backdrop.  Watched fireworks.  Bought candy.  Grinned and giggled like a little kid.

And so much more.  I didn’t have a single argument, didn’t worry once what someone else thought of my plans, and felt deep contentment.  I checked in with friends and family, but enjoyed my own company and my personal time more than I can express.

I have only had one other vacation as peaceful and restful – and that was the cruise with my Mom, my step dad (the one where they got engaged, actually), and his family.  That was another trip I took where I just owned what made me happy, even if it was reading 5 books in one week.  I guess there’s really something to this taking care of yourself thing.  😉

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Future of this Blog?

24 May

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The original purpose of this blog, which was to deal with my marital issues and my husband’s infidelity and sex addiction, is something that no longer really exists in my life.  I know that a lot of my followers came here because I addressed those issues and others, like codependency, separation, and recently divorce.  Now that those things are wrapping up I wonder if continuing to update this blog is helpful to anyone.  I feel like I have less and less to say that is “on topic.”

I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing, personally, because it means that I am moving on and healing.  However, I wonder if my followers are getting anything out of this blog anymore.  I’ve been contemplating what I should do moving forward.  Not blog?  Start a new one?  Stay here and change the general theme?  I thought I would reach out and ask you guys what you would like.  Do you even care about the general updates about my life and other things I’ve been posting recently?

The good news is that I’m still a mess, just a little different type of mess.  But does anyone really care about that?  I worry that this has started to devolve into the type of blog I never wanted to be where I just post random shit about my life with no real value to anyone else.  Are there topics you would like me to write about?  Things that would be more relevant to you as readers than what I’ve been posting lately?

My Adventures at the Hospital

21 May

It has been quite a stressful few days.   My father is only 51 and has been in excellent health (at least from what anyone could tell).  He’s active and fit, so it was completely unexpected when he ended up in the ER Friday with problems breathing, high blood pressure, and irregular EKGs.   I posted a little blurb when I was on my way there, and have hardly had time to breathe much less think in the meantime.

My Dad was admitted to the hospital on Saturday after spending the night in the ER.  He was pumped full of all kinds of medication and scheduled for a cardiac catheterization first thing this morning.  It was quite taxing trying to understand the process and terminology while serving as the disseminator of information across family members, translator of “doctor speak,” and general calming force (I am the oldest and most level-headed of his children, and my step-mom was a nervous wreck).  Trying to tackle my masters program on top of all of that was simply brain-numbing.  I spent all day yesterday reading the book, researching for a paper that is due today, and sometimes just staring into space trying to get my brain to function.

As if that wasn’t enough, my grandma (my Dad’s mother) ended up in the ER this morning for something totally unrelated at literally the same time my Dad was going in for his procedure.  I spent today running from the ER to the ICU to my grandma’s house to get her things together back to the hospital and between the two rooms my Dad and grandma were in.  My father ended up having a 90% blockage in his main artery, which required surgery.  It was a bit of a mess.  Thankfully everyone is doing well for now.

We still don’t know if my grandma will need surgery or not.  They found infected abscesses around her duodenum, and admitted her to the hospital.  She is on strong antibiotics and restricted to no food or water until some undefined point in the future when they determine how well the current treatment is working.  The doctor said that she will most likely be in the hospital for the rest of the week.  The good news is that my Dad should hopefully be released soon, provided the tests they give him tomorrow look good and his recovery is according to schedule.

I could really use a deep sleep and a break from everything right now.  Instead, I have a paper to finish before midnight Arizona time and tomorrow I get to oversee the transition of my company from one server to another.  I just keep reminding myself to breathe.

Hospital Visit

17 May

So… I’m on my way yo the hospital with my step-mom.  My Dad is in the ER.  He was having trouble breathing so he went to the doctor.  They took one look at him and sent him to the emergency room.

Apparently his blood pressure was 220/100 & something.  I headed over to visit, talk to the doctor, and pick up his car.  You read that right.  My Dad, being the stubborn guy he is, drove himself to the ER with a skyrocketed blood pressure when he could barely catch his breath.  With me less than 5 minutes away.

If I wasn’t so worried I might fuss at him.  I probably still will once I find out he’s okay.  I’ve gotta be the rock in this because everyone else is freaking out.

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Got the Ball Rolling

10 May

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Wow, it’s May!  I know it’s been a little while since I was on here.  I have been biding my time and filtering myself here since my STBX is now following my blog through Facebook.  I am hoping to make this divorce process as smooth as possible because I just want to be rid of him.  Today I found the “ban” feature on FB, so I have him banned from my page.  Not that he can’t still come here and read…  But oh well.

The exciting news that I have to share with you all is that the divorce process has started and is on it’s way to its final destination.  Unfortunately, there are still some additional steps along the way.  Yesterday my Mom and I did our depositions at the lawyer’s office.  That is Step 3 in this process.  Step 1 was filing papers with the court announcing my decision to sue Chris for divorce.  He got a copy of the papers mailed to him the middle of last month.  Step 2 was having him acknowledge receipt and waive his right to 120 days to have his lawyer (which we all know doesn’t exist) review and possible rebut.  Since this is a no fault divorce, there really is no need for him not to agree unless he wants to be an ass.

The day that I posted my last blog entry, April 29th, Chris has texted me that he was going to go by the lawyer’s office and sign the acknowledgment and waiver.  The papers were filed with the court on April 15th, so that was already two weeks from when he could have.  With that promise from him secured, I set up a deposition with my lawyer on the first available day that worked with my Mom’s school and work schedule (because I needed another witness who knew how long we were separated).  Yesterday was that deposition date.

Wednesday afternoon when I was blissfully enjoying my lunch, I got a call from my lawyer.  Chris had never come in to sign the papers.  Oh, and we couldn’t move forward to the next stage (depositions) until he did.  So, unless he got in there within the next 24 hours or so everything would be delayed that much longer…  Geesh!

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I asked if they would call him, thinking that maybe if someone else was involved besides me he might actually comply.  So, they attempted to call him.  Several times.  He never answered, and his voicemail was apparently “full.”  What a jackass.  My lawyer said he just doesn’t understand why he is being so difficult about this because this whole process is “basically nothing,” especially compared to some of the other cases he deals with.  I told him that I know, believe me, and this is just one more reason I’m divorcing him.

After I got that lovely notification from my lawyer I realized it was up to me.  Guess I have to contact him after all.  Yuck.  I tried calling, too, and experienced the same bullshit as my lawyer.  So I sent him the following text: “I have a deposition scheduled for 4pm tomorrow so that this divorce can happen, but nothing can move forward until you sign the paperwork.  You said you were going to do that April 29th, but they just called and said that you haven’t.”

His response was, “I told you i would try and get by there.  I have arranged to have Friday off so i will get by there around noon and have everything signed.  I will even text you when its done.”  Oh, how magnanimous of him! (dripping sarcasm, of course)  For the record, his text to me about signing the papers was this: “Just so you know i will be going by your lawyers Monday afternoon to take care of what’s left.”  There was no “try to” in there.  It was an “I will be.”  Why was I idiotic enough to take him at his word after everything?  No idea.

Of course, his gracious offer of going by on Friday, after the time we had the deposition scheduled, requiring me to cancel and reschedule, didn’t make me jump for joy.  Oh, you can do me the huge favor of taking care of signing your fucking name on a waiver 11 days after you promised to do it and 25 days after the first time you could have?  I’m sure he was expecting me to praise him for his selflessness.  Gag!

I choked down my vitriol and urge to scream, and sent him this text:  “That throw everything off because it was planned for you to do it weeks ago so this deposition has been scheduled, I’ve taken off work, and my mom has rearranged her schedule as well since I need a witness to how long we were separated.  My lawyer even tried to call you and leave you messages but your mailbox is full and won’t accept them.”  I made sure to throw in information about my Mom and my lawyer so he’d know that his irresponsibility wasn’t just inconveniencing me (since that wouldn’t matter at all to him).

Two minutes later he responded by saying, “I will do everything I can to get there before four tomorrow.  Let me call and see what I can do.”  I just said, “Thank you,” and held my breath.  I wanted to say so much more, but I held my tongue and played the role of grateful, groveling wife that he wanted me to.  A few minutes late he said, “I will have them signed tomorrow by 1:30.  Call your lawyer and let him know.”

I let out a sign of relief, although I didn’t get my hopes up too much considering what happened before.  There was always the possibility that his narcissist self would decide something else was a higher priority or that he would say “something came up” or just not do it.  However, I was banking on the fact that he didn’t want to look like even more of an ass to my Mom.  I tried to play off of that imagine conscious thing (hahaha, such a joke) that narcissistic sociopaths have.

It worked!

He actually went by and signed (and was sure to send me a text).  I called the lawyer’s office to confirm.  I’m sure he felt high and mighty.  In his version of this story I bet he would extol his virtues as a wonderful person for dropping everything to do this “for me.”  He would most likely say he texted me out of the goodness of his heart to ease my mind.  Ha!  Others may believe that, but I’m certain it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with stroking his twisted ego.   I believe that he intentionally waited to the last second to fuck with me.  Maybe not.  Maybe he’s just an irresponsible, self-centered piece of shit who doesn’t really care how quickly this divorce is over, even though he’s married to a “nut job.”  He’s certainly not suddenly so busy and so important that he hasn’t had the ability in almost a month to take care of this.

one-fingerThe thing that kills me is that he literally has only ONE responsibility in this divorce.  Sign the required papers.  That’s it.  I have paid all of the fees.  I wrote up the separation agreement.  I do all of the depositions.  I line up the witnesses.  I have all of the meetings with the lawyer.  I am footing the entire cost of divorce.  Now I even have to make calls and texts to remind him to sign his name!?!  Holy shit!

But I digress…  My lawyer explained that the rest of the process will go like this:  They will type up the deposition that my Mom and I gave.  They will attach that and all of the required paperwork and exhibits along with an official request for divorce judgment.  These papers will be mailed to me and to Chris.  At that point he will have to sign that he agrees to a divorce.  Once he does that (however long it takes), the final paperwork will be submitted to the court.  They will also mail me a copy.  Once the paperwork is in the hands of the court it could take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month for the judge to sign them.  My lawyer knows all of the clerks (and my Mom has one as a client), so hopefully my case will be presented as soon as possible.  However, my county only has one judge and he only deals with divorce matters on Fridays.

He said that IF Chris goes by and signs everything he needs to by the end of this month, the worst-case scenario is that I’ll be divorced by July 1st.  That’s just in time for my big trip down to Amelia Island, Florida for work, which is just a week or so later.  I was already planning to make it an extended vacation, and now it can be a celebration, too!  All in all, that’s great.  I can’t wait for this whole thing to be done, but I’ll be patient.

Yesterday I also made sure to take time for a mini-celebration.  I treated myself to a haircut and gel manicure.  I went out to dinner with my Mom and step-Dad to a really nice, trendy new restaurant.  I ate delicious food and spent time with two of the people I love most in the world.  It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and I drove around with happy songs blaring from my radio.  The car windows were down, and of course I was singing along.  I also wore my favorite pink flyaway cardigan that looks amazing with my skin and hair.  I’ll leave you with a few snapshots of me from yesterday.

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Enjoying My Single Weekend

29 Apr

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This weekend was fun, interesting, and not as productive as I would have liked. Still, I enjoyed myself and my single status quite a bit. I was able to relax, do the things that I wanted to do, and have a fulfilling weekend.

Friday night I went to the NASCAR race with my Dad, a co-worker, and a former co-worker.  We scored amazing seats in the very tip-top tower section with a perfect overview of the entire track. I don’t get to spend as much time with my Dad as I would like, even though he’s my neighbor.  He’s just the kind of man who gets things done and moves on. We do dinner every now and then and talk for a few minutes when he is cutting my grass or if we happen to be getting mail at the same time.  He is a NASCAR fan, though, so when I was offered the tickets I knew he would like going.

I don’t follow NASCAR or watch it on TV (how boring), but there is something really exciting about feeling and hearing the roar of the engines.  The pre-race show is always fun, too.  There are people who parachute down with the raceway flag and the American flag.  Being up so high and having them come down almost literally right in front of me was really neat.  They also have the fighter jets that roar overhead at the end of the Star Spangled Banner.  If that doesn’t give you chills, nothing will.

Saturday I mostly stayed home and tried to write my papers for school.  I only finished one because the group paper ended up being more on my shoulders than I had anticipated.  I had hoped to finish both that paper and my individual paper as well as get started on the papers due beginning tomorrow (because it is my last week in this class and there is a LOT to do).  Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to it.  That means tonight I will be finishing up that paper and doing my team evaluation (which always takes more time than I anticipate).  I can handle it, though.

Sunday was the most fun day of all.  I joined a site called Meetup.com.  One of my blogging friends is an organizer of a group on there.  I had never heard of it before then, but basically there are groups for people who share the same interests.  Some of them are book clubs or dinner clubs, Mom groups, exercise groups, or just anything you can think of.  My friend runs one not too far away and suggested that I join and maybe go on one of their outings. I got on the website and started looking around.  In no time flat I found a few groups for Richmond.  After joining, I discovered that there was one group meeting for brunch at one of the top restaurants in the city on Sunday. There was a wait list because it was full, but I joined hoping to get the chance to go.  Sure enough, someone cancelled, so I got a spot

I woke up early, hoping to get around to my paper.  My dog wanted to play and go for a walk.  Then I got distracted with blogging and emails, and before I knew it I had to leave immediately or risk missing the event altogether.  When I got there I was pleasantly surprised.  There were about 14 of us that showed up.  The majority were women of all ages and occupations. There was one married couple and one single guy.   At least two other people were also “first-timers,” so it wasn’t awkward or cliquish.  It was cool to eat good food and meet new people and have interesting conversations.

I  also found out that it was Richmond Restaurant Week last week.  Twice a year some of the top restaurants come up with a 3-course price fixed menu – appetizer, entrée and dessert – for $25 per person.  I usually make the rounds to several restaurants on the list, but this year it totally snuck up on me.  One of my favorite restaurants specialize in seafood.  They have really wonderful dishes, many of which are on the Restaurant Week menu.  Because I found out about Restaurant Week on Saturday, and it was over the next day I made myself a reservation for that restaurant for last night.  It was delicious, as I anticipated, and I had a really nice time.

I hope the rest of you are enjoying your lives, whether you are single, married, looking, or in limbo.  There’s no time like today to grab life by the horns and have fun!

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Feeling Very… Pink Today

10 Apr

Today is another sunny, gorgeous day here.  It’s like we skipped Spring altogether, which makes me a little sad.  I can’t stay that way for long once I go outside and feel the sunshine on my face.  Last night I turned my fan on and left my windows open.  It blows my mind still because last week I had frost on my car every morning.  Today it was 66 degrees at 6:30 am.  By this afternoon it was 89.

So this morning when I woke up to birds chirping and a light breeze coming through the window I decided to go pink!  I picked a pink and orange summery dress out of my closet, paired it with pink shoes, a pink purse, my pink gel manicure (which I’ve had now for 2 weeks), and my new white ceramic watch with pink, green, and blue numbers.  I slipped on a little white shrug to bring it all together, and popped on my “passion fruit” cat eye glasses.  With my hair pulled back in an inverse ponytail, I was ready for the summery weather.

Here are some pictures of the completed ensemble (as best as I could do through self-portraits on my smart phone).

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How Things Change in a Year

9 Apr

A year ago today, on April 9th, 2012, I wrote my first blog post.  It wasn’t especially great. However, it was the first step in a life-altering process.

This last year has brought more change and growth than I ever could have anticipated.  In the past 365 days I have shared my hopes, fears, and dreams on my blog.  I have gone through low lows and high highs. I have cried and laughed. I have felt trapped and freer than ever before.

A year ago today I was confused, hurting, and feeling very betrayed. I decided to start a blog with the intent of getting the words out of my head. I never thought anyone would read it. I certainly had no idea of the community I would find and the friends I would make.

When I started this blog I was one year past DDay. I was still feeling lost and angry. I was discovering lies and struggling with his mood swings and lack of motivation. He said what I wanted to hear, then did the exact opposite. He would rage and then “love bomb” me (another term I learned from Paula). I felt crazy.

Today I am less than a week from starting the divorce process. I feel strong and confident. I’m halfway through my first MBA class, and I currently have a 100% average. I drove around today in my car with the windows open, my arm out the window and the radio blaring. I had nowhere to go and nothing to do besides sing at the top of my lungs and enjoy the 92(!) degree weather.

This last year has been hard and wonderful and full of insights. Thanks for your part in that! Here’s hoping the next year is even better. Cheers!

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Mischief in the Neighborhood

30 Mar

Today when I wandered out to check my mail I discovered that my mailbox had been vandalized.  The metal flag was bent and wrapped around inside the mailbox itself.  The door was almost broken off, the metal warped.  I bent it back to the proper place, looked into my empty mailbox, and went back inside.  The mailbox next to mine looked okay, so I thought maybe mine had been targeted by some kids.  I didn’t feel like dealing with it, so I just went inside and carried on about my day – giving my dog a haircut, taking a shower, doing some laundry.

A few hours later my sister and her boyfriend came by.  She told me something was being sent here.  That jogged my memory about the mailbox, so I let her know.  Of course, she told me that I should call the police.  I hadn’t seen anything, and the only thing I knew was that it happened sometime between 6 or 7 pm last night and 1 pm today when I checked my mailbox.  What specific time frame – NOT!

Fifteen minutes later my sister called and said that I wasn’t the only one.  My Dad’s mailbox had been vandalized and so had his next-door neighbor’s.  She said that several mailboxes all the way down our side of the street were damaged.  Apparently one of the men at the end of the street was able to video his gas being siphoned out of his car around 1:30 am.  The police had been out earlier in that morning and taken a few statements.  The neighbor suggested calling to be added to the police report so that when the perpetrators were apprehended they could be charged correctly.

My sister of course wanted to dial 911.  I told her that we really shouldn’t waste their time with that, so I found the non-emergency number.  I called and about 15 minutes later or so an officer showed up.  Oh my gosh…  Officer Hotness!  He took some details down, told us he would add it to the report that was taken this morning, and headed out.  I have to say, though, I wouldn’t mind him patrolling around here more often.

That wasn’t the last time I saw him today, either.  I could make up something and say that he came back here just to talk to me, but that would be a lie.  I just saw him five minutes ago when he came back to take some pictures.  He got to meet Buddy, who would definitely not make a good guard dog.  We were outside talking to my step-mom, and he didn’t even bark.  Maybe he could tell he was one of the good guys, though.  We laughed and talked a little, then I bid him a goodnight and headed back inside.  There is absolutely no chance anything will develop, but it was nice to talk to such a cutie.

I think this little encounter was a good reminder that there is a lot out there for me.  It also leads very well into the next post I have been working on about what I’m looking for in my next relationship.  Handsome didn’t make the list, but I think a mutual attraction is a given.

Exciting News: Continuing My Education

20 Mar

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I am so excited to let you guys know that I’m starting a MBA program next week!  I’ve been waiting to officially announce this until after all of the details were completely worked out, and now they are.  🙂

I think I have mentioned before that I love learning.  I would be a professional student if it paid well enough.  I wanted to start a Master’s program after I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, but life got in the way.  Mr. Mess and I were starting to get serious.  I had a full scholarship for undergrad, but those really aren’t available for graduate programs.  Not without working 30 or so hours at an internship or as a teacher’s assistant.  That really wasn’t feasible since I had to have a full-time job to pay my mortgage.  Damn responsibility.  And damn useless boyfriends who are living with you, but not contributing half of all of the bills.

So I put it off.  Then I was laid off.  Finding a job and getting back to my previous salary became a priority.  After a couple months of unemployment and a temp job, I found my current company.  They’re a great company.  It was a great opportunity.  I threw myself into it.  I advanced.  Now 3 years later I’m getting bored again.  There’s still more to learn here – there always is.  However, I don’t feel energized and motivated the way I would like to be.

Then there was the matter of all of the drama going on in my personal life.  Mr. Mess was very demanding emotionally and financially.  I spent time and energy supporting him, encouraging him to grow and change fields, and trying to help him get his credit straight.  I was the responsible one.  I always am responsible, but I also had to be extra responsible to counteract all of the irresponsible he was throwing my way.  There was no way that I would have been able to manage his mess and the sex addiction drama and therapy and my demanding job and his lies…

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Now that he’s been gone for several months and I’m focusing on myself, that urge to go back to learning has increased.  I also have someone very close to me who has been teasing me about my lack of a Master’s for a while.  I’ve been getting more and more motivated and interested.

Then last month my job started a management training series with the corporate lawyer.  The first few sessions were aimed at knowing yourself, discovering your potential, identifying talent in yourself and others, and focusing on your strengths.  They purchased us the StrengthsFinder 2.0 books and had us take the online test.  If you aren’t familiar, it identifies your top 5 strengths out of a potential list of 34.  I got mine back, and all 5 of them relate to academics.  At least in my brain they do.

Here are my top 5 strengths in order with a description of each.  See if you agree with me that at least 3 of them basically sound like the same thing:

  1. Input – You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information — words, facts, books, and quotations — or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Why are they worth storing? At the time of storing it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable.
  2. Context – You look back. You look back because that is where the answers lie. You look back to understand the present. From your vantage point the present is unstable, a confusing clamor of competing voices. It is only by casting your mind back to an earlier time, a time when the plans were being drawn up, that the present regains its stability. The earlier time was a simpler time. It was a time of blueprints. As you look back, you begin to see these blueprints emerge. You realize what the initial intentions were. These blueprints or intentions have since become so embellished that they are almost unrecognizable, but now this Context theme reveals them again. This understanding brings you confidence. No longer disoriented, you make better decisions because you sense the underlying structure. You become a better partner because you understand how your colleagues came to be who they are. And counterintuitively you become wiser about the future because you saw its seeds being sown in the past. Faced with new people and new situations, it will take you a little time to orient yourself, but you must give yourself this time. You must discipline yourself to ask the questions and allow the blueprints to emerge because no matter what the situation, if you haven’t seen the blueprints, you will have less confidence in your decisions.
  3. Learner – You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered — this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences — yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”
  4. Competition – Competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors, you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win. And when you win, there is no feeling quite like it. You like measurement because it facilitates comparisons. You like other competitors because they invigorate you. You like contests because they must produce a winner. You particularly like contests where you know you have the inside track to be the winner. Although you are gracious to your fellow competitors and even stoic in defeat, you don’t compete for the fun of competing. You compete to win. Over time you will come to avoid contests where winning seems unlikely.
  5. Intellection – You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the “muscles” of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions. This need for mental activity may be focused; for example, you may be trying to solve a problem or develop an idea or understand another person’s feelings. The exact focus will depend on your other strengths. On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus. The theme of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think. You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. You are introspective. In a sense you are your own best companion, as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound. This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that your mind conceives. Or this introspection may tend toward more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later. Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.

There it is.  I like words.  I like knowledge.  I love learning and challenging myself mentally.  I’m a hoarder of information.  I need to be growing and keeping my mind occupied or I become unhappy.

So, I finally bit the bullet and started seriously inquiring about graduate school.  I checked out two Master’s programs close to me, and learned quite a bit about them.  I then researched a few online programs.  Once I found the perfect one I didn’t delay.  My first class starts next Tuesday.  I’m registered, everything has been processed, and all that’s left is for me to actually start the first class next week.  It is an 18 month program to earn my Masters in Business Administration.  Then I can tack on another 5 or so classes to get a concentration.  I’m still debating between HR, Marketing, and Project Management.  There’s time to decide on that.

Right now, I have to say that three little letters have never gotten me so excited about the future.

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Possibly the Last Time I Have to See Him?

14 Mar

Tonight just might have been the last time I had to see Mr. Mess.  He came to pick up the small amount of the tax return that I kindly offered.  I gave him the last few odds and ends I found that belong to him.  He was here less than 5 minutes.  And that should be it!

Hopefully when I file for divorce next month I won’t even have to see him.  My lawyer will just take care of everything.  He can sign the papers when he gets them.  I won’t have to be there or see him.  I’m pretty sure that we won’t even have to go to court together – I think the judge will just sign the order.  Here’s hoping!

Taxes Finally Done

5 Mar

So, our taxes have officially been filed and accepted by the Federal and State Departments of Taxation.  This is the latest in my entire life I’ve ever waited to file.  To make a long story short, I filed them myself.  That decision was made after we visited Mr. Mess’s choice of a tax preparer and realized not only was the man about 120 years old, but he also wasn’t do anything special for the $280 he wanted.  When he put all of the documents we had brought and put them in a folder, I made sure said folder was placed into my hands.  Yay!

A few short days later, I have filed our taxes, gotten a confirmation that they were accepted, and all I need to do now is wait for the direct deposit.  Into my savings account.  He made his case for getting a portion of the return, even though it wasn’t nearly as much as he anticipated it would be.  I still haven’t decided how much, if anything, I will give him.

Once I saw the $3K plus that I had to pay taxes and penalties on that he took from the retirement account, it effectively reduced the portion of the refund that I was thinking of giving him.  Suddenly his pity party sob story about living paycheck to paycheck meant nothing.  He had over three thousand dollars and a job.  If he has already blown through it in not even 3 months (maybe that New Year’s trip wasn’t the best idea?), then that’s his problem.

Hope everyone out there in blog land is doing well!!!

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