Now is Good.

Just because life hands you lemons doesn't mean you have to suck.

Venting. August 31, 2011

Over dinner last weekend, a girlfriend asked me how things were going, how I was, how the kids were.  I told her we were all fine.  Life seems normal.  We’re in the groove.  I offhandedly said something along the lines of, “of course there are always bumps in the road that come up from time to time” and in answering her subsequent “Like what?” question, I realized I have been sucking up an awful lot of annoyingly bad behavior from The Ex lately.  There’s nothing that rises to the level of enabling any legal recourse, and I’ve learned (or at least, I’ve mostly learned) that there’s nothing I can say to The Ex that causes any change in his behavior, so I’ve just been sucking it up.

But the problem with just sucking it up is that after I do so, it just sits inside me festering.  I don’t really think that does anyone any good because I keep carrying it around.  I need to get it out.  There has to be a purge somehow.  It’s pointless to talk to The Ex about it.  I don’t want to (and shouldn’t) talk to the kids about it.   And I try pretty hard not to be the type of friend (or sister or daughter or whatever) who does nothing but bitch about her ex husband all the time.  So.  Right.  What to do?  And then I remembered that I have a place and a way to process all that junk (hi, blog!).  It’s why I started this spot in the first place—to sort through and process and figure out and see the big picture somewhere removed from the inside of my head, laid out on paper where it tends to make a whole lot more sense.  As I always tell my kids, “better out than in.”

So today I’m venting.

  • I’m venting about how, as The Ex and The Girlfriend walked with the kids back to the resort after their beach wedding, The Girlfriend told The Ex that he looked “sexy” in the pants he was wearing.  I’m venting about how, when my 6-year-old then asked his father what “sexy” meant, his father replied: “It means someone wants to have sex with you.”  Really?
  • I’m venting about how, when their post-wedding return flight was canceled and they all ended up spending the night in a hotel room together, and The Girlfriend announced she was going to take a shower, The Ex asked: “Do you want me to take one with you?”  INAPPROPRIATE.
  • I’m venting about the excessive PDA that goes on in front of my children, despite the kids telling their father it makes them uncomfortable.  Butt grabbing, making out, lying entwined on the sofa, long delays behind locked bedroom doors when little ones knock and need their daddy at night … INAPPROPRIATE.  For one night a week and every other weekend, is it just not possible to put it on ice temporarily?
  • I’m venting about how, when Owen recently lost his front tooth at his dad’s house, The Ex forgot to leave out Tooth Fairy money that night.  And when Owen asked the next morning why the Tooth Fairy didn’t come, The Ex told him there really wasn’t one.  Oh, yeah, he decided to reveal there was no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny, either.  The kid wasn’t ready to know that.  He’s six.  He’s sad he knows it now.  And he’s not mature enough to keep the news from his 3-year-old sister, either.  That degree of parenting laziness on The Ex’s part pisses me off.  Royally.
  • I’m venting about how The Ex signed Amelia up for dance lessons on his one night a week, so that The Girlfriend* could play mommy.  I’m venting about how because The Ex is coaching Owen’s football team this fall, The Girlfriend created the position of “Assistant Team Mom” for herself, even though another mom had already volunteered for Team Mom and even though there has never before been an Assistant to that title.  I’m venting about how she changed her last name when they got married, so it now matches the surname of my children, and how that enhances her outward appearance as their mom.  I know (as someone wise pointed out to me) that the kids clearly know who their mother is and she’s not fooling them even if she’s fooling others, but I still don’t like it.  And I’m venting about that, too, because I know that sounds territorial and unenlightened (according to some) and because I wish I didn’t feel that way, but I do.
  • I’m venting that the football season, which would have been the perfect opportunity for The Ex and Owen to have good father-son one-on-one time is now father-stepmom-son time, and I’m venting that our children never, ever have alone time with their dad without The Girlfriend being present.  I’m venting about it because THEY vent about it, and because it clearly states to them that they do not come first with their father.  And in my view on parenting, that sucks.
  • I’m venting that The Ex, for some unknown reason, has begun telling the kids that if anything ever happens to Mommy and Daddy, The Girlfriend will raise them so that they can live with The-Ex-Junior or The-Girlfriend-Junior whenever the little blessings come along.  Um … NO.  On so many fronts, on each and every front, on whether that’s going to happen or whether it’s appropriate to be telling them that, on whether it’s just a batshit crazy thing to assume without discussing it with me first, just … NO.

For those of you reading (and I know who you are) who are tempted to comment and tell me I shouldn’t be venting this way about The Ex, that I shouldn’t be threatened by the fake mommying going on, that I should welcome The Girlfriend into my happy circle of life, and that there’s nothing wrong with any of the parenting choices or situational goings-on described above … please don’t.  Don’t.  You may even be right on some of that, but I don’t want to hear it from you today.

I’m still supporting my kids’ relationship with their father.  I’m still cooperating with him on schedules and practices and school functions and everything else.  I’m still cordial and communicative when we do swap-offs.  I’m still keeping my mouth closed when confronted with The Girlfriend’s oversteps.  I’m putting her name on emergency school forms and permission slips because the reality is, she’ll be picking my kids up and taking as large (or larger) a role in my kids’ parenting as their father does.  I’m still making it work.  I’m still putting the kids first.  But here, today, in my little corner, I’m realizing that this co-parenting gig, especially with someone you like very, very little and respect even less … this gig is tough.  And I’m not sure it ever gets simple.  It’s easier to swallow the anger and frustration when it arises, but it still arises.  It may now take months of (IMO) The Ex’s poor parenting choices before I feel like blowing a gasket instead of feeling like I’m on a hair trigger with every little thing he does, but eventually his decisions concerning and surrounding our children are still going to annoy me to the nth degree.   It’s easier, but it’s not easy.

So I’m just hitting that release valve a bit today. I’m just venting, because that’s all I can do.

*Technically, The Girlfriend is now The 2nd Wife, but for the sake of continuity and because really—neither The Ex nor The Girlfriend has displayed any respect for marriage anyway—she will remain “The Girlfriend” here.  Which, I believe, is still the nicest of the many things I *could* call her.

 

Oh, Canada! August 29, 2011

Filed under: Balance,Divorce Perk,Free time,Recharging batteries,vacation — nowisgoodblog @ 9:22 am
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I’m late with this post, I know.  Apologies to those who’ve been asking for it.  But look—two new posts in as many days!

A couple of weeks ago I traveled to Nova Scotia for the fun-packed sailboat regatta that is Chester Race Week.  I went last year and I went the year before that (the first year pre-dated this blog, but in reviewing that year’s photos today, I’m debating whether a retroactive My First Chester Race Week post might be in order).  These few days of escaping the unending Texas heat, of traveling far away from the familiar, of having days full of ocean and sky and nights full of laughter and fun … these have become the beacon at the end of my summer.

This trip is different every year.  Who is there, where I stay, how the days unfold … it’s never quite predictable.  And yet in all the ways that matter, the trip is always the same.  It is summer camp.  It is putting the real world on hold for awhile.  It is letting loose.  It is going with the flow.

It is taking the grey with the glorious.

It is friendly faces.  It is seeing people you like more and more every year.

It is sailing (or trying to help sail without messing the real sailors up too badly).

It is crisp white sails and deep blue waters.  It is beauty.

It is wine.  It is beer.  It is chicken on a boat.  It is lobster.

It is a morning run along a quiet lane.

It is the perfect waterfront cottage.

It is a boat whose name has taken me two years to remember.  It is Terpsichore.

It is light.  It is laughter.  It is salt and sand and air and ocean.  It is life (the water teemed with porpoises and whales and seals and sharks this year).

It  is Canada.  It is Nova Scotia.  It is Chester.

It is a trip that makes me happy every year.

 

Weekend Wrap-Up (and a Promise). August 28, 2011

Filed under: Divorce Perk,Free time,Girlfriends,promises — nowisgoodblog @ 1:56 pm
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What a great weekend!  The kids were with The Ex and nobody’s 8:00 a.m. Saturday game schedules have kicked in yet … which meant a weekend of alternating fun and laziness for me.

Friday night I spent with a group of my high school girlfriends.  We celebrated one’s 40th birthday, and we ALL had dessert.

And then went to see The GoGo’s in concert.  (Who, incidentally, were absolutely amazing.  Thirty years after hitting it big, the GoGo’s still looked and sounded great, and I got the most satisfying and hopeful high from watching women more than a decade older than I am singing and dancing and completely rocking out.  Girl power!)

As I’ve written before (here and here and here), these women are the kind of women you lean on in a crisis.  They’re circle-the-wagons women.  They’re prop-you-up women.  They’re also a whole lot of fun to go dancing with.

Saturday was a lazy poolside, nap-in-a-hammock kind of day.  It’s been way too long since I had one of those, and it was GOOOOOOOD.  Saturday night I met some college girlfriends for drinks, and once again was reminded how grateful I am for long-lasting friendships.  I love these women … even those I see all too infrequently.

Saturday night was date night.  Another concert:  Charlie Robison, who (I think you’ll agree if you know anything about Texas music) may very well have been the inspiration for the phrase, “Good Time Charlie.”   I love me some Robison brothers’ songs, the poetic as well as the party.  Here’s a lighter one that never fails to make me laugh and sing along:

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I know, I know.  Welcome to the redneck portion of my world, y’all.*

I’m signing off now, because my pool is calling once again and I’m determined to eke out every last bit of lazy I can from this weekend.  But before I go, the promised promise.

I haven’t written much this summer.  Life has been very life-y, routines have been non-existent, and I just haven’t squeezed out the time to write much.  BUT.  My kids start back to school full-time tomorrow (last week was only half days … which really was pretty much more trouble than it was worth) and we are back on a schedule.  I’m going to get back into the groove of writing and you’ll see more frequent posts from me here.

Promise.

*At one time I knew how to post videos without having the garbly embeded-text stuff show up, but I seem to have forgotten.  And today, I just don’t feel like messing with it.  :-)

 

First Day. August 22, 2011

Filed under: 3 kids,Change,New start — nowisgoodblog @ 3:31 pm
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2011

2011

First day of school here today.  Despite our move into a different elementary school zone, I secured transfers for the kids back to their old elementary school.  It means no bus service—I’ll have to drop off and pick up every day.  Not super-convenient.  But worth it, IMO, because it also means that Avery can finish up her last elementary school year in the same building she started in four years ago, it means that Owen gets the same fantastic first grade teacher that Avery had and dearly loved, and it means that Amelia gets to attend a blended preschool program on the same campus as her big brother and big sister.  This is the one and only year all three of my kids will ever be at the same school, and because of the way our district is organized, the last year that Avery and Owen will be on the same campus together.  I get all mushy inside thinking about them seeing each other in the hallways, waving to each other in the cafeteria, experiencing the same teachers and staff together.  I love the melding of their little lives and for now—so do they.

We’ve always taken “first day” photographs with our home’s front door as the backdrop.  This year marked the first year in front of our new front door.  There was the obligatory nice ones (above) for mom and the obligatory crazy ones (below) for the kids.  (Sidenote: How happy was I that the entwined arms and the holding hands above happened without any prompting from me?)

2011

2011

I can’t believe how much they’ve changed in just a year.  I can’t believe how big Owen’s feet are.  I can’t believe Avery has braces and pierced ears and is starting to look way more like a middle-schooler than a grade-schooler.  I can’t believe Amelia will attend preschool five days a week.  I can’t believe how good this new beginning felt.  I can’t believe we actually made it to school on time.

And for my sisters, who always request the prior years’ photos whenever I post first-day-of-school pics …

2010

2009

2008 (No idea where Owen was.)

2007

Have a great year, everyone.

 

Home. August 7, 2011

Filed under: Change,Divorce Perk,Girlfriends,Help,New start — nowisgoodblog @ 8:05 pm
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On June 30th, I moved.  I packed up and left the marital home that was supposed to be where we’d raise our kids and grow old together.  The home with ghosts and memories.  The home where the children remembered us being a whole family.  The home where we buried pets in the backyard.  The home where we celebrated Christmases and Thanksgivings and Anniversaries.  The home where our last child was conceived.  The home where our marriage disintegrated.  That home.

When we divorced, I had absolutely no desire to leave. I was determined to stay.  Over time, though, it came to feel less like my home and more like the home of someone I used to be.  There was a sizable financial motivator for deciding to leave a too-big house in an affluent suburb, but in time, there was a pretty recognizable emotional push as well.  I’m glad I stayed for the transitional time.  It made life easier for my kids and easier for me.  And then one day, it was just time to go.

I had already made arrangements for moving day—called the movers, scheduled situations for the kids, taken off of work—when I realized that I was moving on the two-year anniversary of my divorce.  Go figure.  I didn’t plan it that way on purpose, but once I realized the date significance, I adored the symmetry of it.  I felt it was an auspicious sign.  June 30, 1999 was an ending.   June 30, 2011, a beginning.

The move was long and tiring and stressful and draining.  My parents and my sister Caroline worked long, hard hours for many days to help get me packed and moved and unpacked and arranged.  My friend Mindy drove 8 hours with 3 kids to spend several days helping me pack box after box and drive carload after carload over to the new house.  I’m fairly certain I’ve never been that good a relative or that good a friend to anyone.  My gratitude to them is immeasurable.

My Girls’ Night Out girlfriends came over this week for an official housewarming party.  I’ve written of them before, and of how finding their friendship has been one of the blessings of my divorce.   (Interestingly, when I went back and looked up the post I wrote after one of my first nights out with them, I described the feeling of spending time with them as the feeling of being home. Hmm.  Symmetry.)  They brought wine and food and the gift of a chiminea, which I absolutely cannot wait to use once my skin doesn’t melt the moment I walk outside.

And my new house?  I LOVE my new house.  I am stunned by how well my furniture and my family fit into it.  It seems tailor-made for us.  (Granted, I have 1500 square feet of excess belongings that fit in the larger home but not in the smaller that are currently residing in my garage and awaiting cooler weather for a yard sale, and I’m a bit tired of parking outside in the 110 F heat, but c’est la vie.  Minor details.)  People keep expressing their amazement at what a good fit this new house is for us, at how they like it better than my old house, at how it’s just … just right.  And it is.  Want to see?

My entryway.

My Dining Room.

My Kitchen.

My Living Room

My Bedroom

My Office, IN My Bedroom

Avery's Room

Owen's Room

Amelia's Room

Kids' Living Room

Ok, that’s enough…. Actually, YES, there *are* more photos of my new house, thank you for asking!  But really, I feel I’ve shared enough.  I wouldn’t want to seem presumptuous by shoving too many photos of my new digs down your throat.  No, definitely wouldn’t want to do that!

EDITED:  OMG, I can’t believe I forgot to include this.  Behold, my wine closet:

MY. WINE. CLOSET.

Whew.  That’s better.

Anyway …

Everything about this place calms me the moment I walk in the door.  If feels like me.  It smells like me.  It looks like me.  It has no memories but mine.  My name is the only one on the title.  There are no concessions here, in style or in substance.  It is all what I think is best for me and mine.  It is MY house, for me and my beloved children.  There is nothing but our future here.

I am home.

 

Hot. August 1, 2011

Filed under: Realizations,Uncategorized — nowisgoodblog @ 3:31 pm
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It’s hot.  And by “hot” I mean Dante hot.  Not just the normal Summer in Texas Hot (I’ve lived here plenty long enough to understand that Summer Hot is the devil’s price paid for the occasional 70-degree January day).

This … this is something else entirely.

We are on Day 32 of 100+ temperatures.  No rain for so long that I can barely remember what rain looks or feels or tastes or smells like, and not a drop on the horizon, either.  Everything is brown and crisp. Lawns are dead.  Plants are surrendered.  Soil is cracked.  Swimming pools are bathtub-warm.  Water supplies are threatened.  Fire departments are anxious.  Those with the sweet, sweet blessing of freon are worried about those without.

This heat is tangible.  Forceful.  It’s a wall you slam into as soon as you open the front door. It burns your lungs when you inhale.  In the car, with the A/C blowing full force and the dashboard controls set on 50-something, my kids whine: “It’s hooooooooooot.”  And it is.  Even driving by myself and hogging all the vents keeps my arms and face cool but does nothing for my shorts-clad legs, the backs of which get so sweaty that the seat leather slicks.  It’s gross hot.

This heat has a life of its own and the mercury keeps rising.  I wouldn’t have thought there was much difference between last month’s 100 and today’s 109, but there is.  A substantial, noticeable difference.  A make-you-want-to-cry difference.  A might-as-well-lie-down-and-wait-(hope)-til-it-passes difference.

Tomorrow is supposed to be 110.

 

 
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