Monthly Archives: July 2012

An Open Letter To The Guy Who Spilled Ketchup On Me

I was sitting there, in the Dairy Queen, waiting for my daughter and her friend to come back from the bathroom.  I felt a cold wet sensation on my side, my back, my arm, my thigh.  I thought for sure that my daughter and her friend were playing pranks and throwing ice.

I turned to look at the offended locations on my body.  Instead of ice, I saw, ketchup.

Disbelieving, I looked up to see you looking my way just as dumbfounded.  As if you, in your wildest imagination, could not believe that you had dropped the ketchup, let alone that it landed all over me.

You were obviously embarrassed.

You fumbled.  Desperately seeking to right a wrong that somehow strangely couldn’t be righted.  You handed me all your napkins and there were many.  You went to get water for me to use to wipe the red stuff off my attire. You were worried that you had damaged my fine attire.  Never mind that I was wearing a discount skirt purchased from Ross Dress-For-Less and my bike shoes.  Okay, the bike shoes were somewhat expensive, but you wiped them clean.

I, in return, was so shocked that I did not, I’m afraid, respond well at all.

You see, when I felt the cold liquid on my body and through my clothing, I was really certain, the girls were playing games.  They’d been a bit silly all day and after a meal laden with carbs and chased by sugar in the form of soft serve ice cream cones, I was certain, they’d grabbed ice from the ice machine and were tossing it at me…for pranks.

My shock, Mr. Ketchup Guy, was not because I had ketchup on me, as much as it was because I did not have water or ice on me.  I was stunned…but not for the reasons you supposed.

You hurriedly helped me clean up, then disappeared to your table on the other side of the dining hall.  I walked by you on my way out, in shame, you didn’t even look up or glance my way.

Mr. Ketchup Guy, I owe you an apology.

You did not deserve my response today.  Never mind that my response was not what you thought.  I was not angry with you. I was not, though I’m certain I came off that way.  You did not deserve to leave that place thinking you had offended me or angered me or upset me.  You did not deserve to experience embarrassment.

I was just so completely stunned that my kids were not throwing ice at me, that it took me a bit to realize what was going on.  You handled everything so smoothly and so well and so quickly, I didn’t have the time to tell you.  Then, as I left the place, suspecting you still harbored some embarrassment about the entire episode, I failed to approach you and to thank you for the napkins and the water.

But it really wasn’t the napkins and the water that I’d have thanked you for.

It would have been for the courtesy, the chilvary, the emotion in the person that felt that spilling ketchup on a lady in a fast food restaurant was worth being addressed rather than ignored; that the incident was worthy of some embarrassment on your part.

Many would have acted like the incident never happened.

Thank you for not being one of the many.

Please accept my apologies for not letting you know how grateful I was for your response and for relieving any embarrassment you might have experienced as the result.  I was amiss to not assure you that I was fine and the clothing washable, yes, even the expensive bike shoes.

It was clear to me that you are a gentleman, while I did not behave like much of a lady.

Thank you for being part of an endangered species rarely seen these days.  I regret to think that I might have taken steps to hurry your kind closer to extinction.

Please forgive me.

Wide Awake and Nothing To Do

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Tonight I’m exhausted. I should be able to sleep; I’m certainly tired enough. I even took a sleeping pill. I’m so tired that just writing this takes effort. And my legs and feet hurt today. Every day it seems it’s something new. Aging sucks. The pain keeps me awake when I should be sleeping.

But here I am.

Wide awake and nothing to do.

Secrets and Reality

The evening started out mildly enough…errands, barbecue, beer…then, just as we are getting comfortable for the evening flick we’d decided on…I mean…right during the previews, he says, I have to call my kids.

Okay, no problem.  Call your kids.

So The Hesitant Boyfriend goes to call his his kids, but before doing so, he asks if I have something to do for an hour.  Sure, I reply. Then he proceeds to go upstairs, shut the door and hole himself up as though he’s calling someone other than his kids.

No, don’t get me wrong.  He really was calling his kids and I knew this.  I also did not suspect anything else.  I just wrote it that way to make a point.  He might not be calling another woman, but he’s definitely keeping secrets.

That didn’t go over well with me…as you can imagine.

Me, being me, trudged up the stairs and in through the very obviously and deliberately shut door and said something pointed and cryptic which communicated exactly how unimpressed I was with this arrangement…the same arrangement I’ve been unimpressed with since the beginning of time…or…at least since the beginning of our relationship.

The Hesitant Boyfriend is still dealing with his Evil Ex in ways that really make me wonder.  It’s clear he’s not ready to commit to another relationship, because he’s still so enmeshed with her…even if the enmeshment is the negative sort that comes with extricating oneself from a marriage of some length. She still has the power, with her words, to crush him…to actually bring him to tears.  (This evening is a great case in point.  I won’t go into it, but she says mean things and he still allows her to have the power over him to hurt.)  Then he goes to the bedroom to call his kids, and shuts the door up tight.

Really?

We’ve been together almost two years.  What part of this does he feel he still has to keep secret from me.  And, the fact that he still has to keep stuff secret…well…what does that signify? I just didn’t even want to go here tonight.

So…

I hopped on my bike, just as sun was setting and went for a ride. I went for a long ride.  To a hangout.  I had a couple of cocktails.  I was angry.  I needed to clear my mind.  I needed to get away from the stupid.

I know.

Crazy.

But not nearly as crazy as the stuff that says, “I love you, but I’m going to keep you away from the rest of my life; away from the rest of everything else that is important to me.  That part of me and you must never mix and because of this I cannot and will not ever be truly honest and transparent with you.  In fact, more often than not I will lie to you”

And really?  That’s exactly how it’s gone down and I can’t say The Hesitant Boyfriend is innocent here.  While he claims to protest, his behavior actually serves to further this situation.

It is like I’m having an affair with a married man.

He is living a double life and doesn’t want the two to meet.

He hasn’t left the old.

He can’t embrace the new.

It’s a stalemate of the worst kind.

Crazy.

I decided to leave tonight.  I just had to clear my mind and do something…else. It was well over half an hour before he even realized I was gone.  It was longer than that before he realized I hadn’t left on foot or by car, but by bike.  This tells me something.

Most of the time, this issue can be ignored.  After all, his kids live in a different town, and his Evil Ex has done everything in her power to limit his access to the children. And, after all that has transpired, I’m actually grateful I don’t have to deal with them…ever.  However, when it comes up…it really comes up.  Tonight the whole reality of the situation just vomited all over my life.

Seriously.

It’s trite, and cliche.  Worn.  Overused.  But I can’t deny the reality any longer.  I must face the truth.

I’m even having dreams/nightmares about this very thing.

I am not entirely sure where The Hesitant Boyfriend is regarding his feelings for his Evil Ex.  I believe he’s got some issues going on around the fact that she controls the kids and she’s in control, right now, of how the kids appear to view him. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s still in love with her…but I couldn’t confirm that he isn’t either.  I’m certain that I’m aware of the truth, but I’m not accepting it on some level.  I’m blocking it.

What I do know is this.

He’s Hesitant.  He’s not in relationship totally with me.  He’s not out with me either.

I hate to say it, but it’s so accurate.  He’s just not that into me.

If he were, he’d be in or he’d be out.  He’s neither.

And that just doesn’t work for me.

The Hearing, Basketball Camp and New Shoes

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Several months ago, The Evil Ex filed for a modification of child support. This resulted in me filling out over twenty pages of supporting documents, proving the expenses I carry for our child (which The EE does not assist with at all) and protesting the modification. The result: I’m losing my child support for my daughter at a time when costs to support her will be increasing. In addition to the expenses of her starting middle school, there will be increased uncovered medical expenses for her since she will need braces and since our deductibles are increasing. The EE is ordered to pay half of all uncovered medical expenses. In the five years since we’ve been divorced, he has not paid a dime.

Of course, when all this started going down, I consulted my attorney. At that time, the idea of losing the income was all very scary. Of course, that was at a time when things were ultra tough for me financially and I was worried about making it even with the child support. I received some good advice, filed my response, and learned that I am losing child support. So, of course, I requested a hearing.

This hearing occurred a couple of weeks ago and was the single greatest source of stress for me this year. It was a phone hearing with no attorneys present. My goal was to prove that out of pocket medical expenses were going to be increasing and that, in light of the fact that The Evil Ex hasn’t and doesn’t pay his half of the uncovered medical expenses, there should be some cash medical support awarded to me for our daughter’s expenses. I’m almost certain this hearing was an exercise in futility. I won’t know for sure until I get the judge’s decision in the mail, but I have a pretty good hunch that I need to begin planning on not planning on that child support.

Sigh. It would have been really nice for that change to have happened next year. That’s just how this year is going for me.

In spite of that very disappointing downturn, there are other things that are improving for me. My bankruptcy discharge has gone through. I am now working on rebuilding my credit. I have one credit card; a small one. I pay it off each month. I refuse to take on debt again. The Hesitant Boyfriend continues in his hesitation to either move things forward or move himself out, but he is now bringing in some steady income and helping to pay for groceries, gas and bills. This definitely helps. I’ve also been able to find additional work, which will help me get caught up on paying the medical bills. I was even able to afford to put my youngest daughter in a basketball camp this week, and buy her the necessary shoes and shorts.

It seems silly to use a basketball camp, shoes and shorts as an indicator of success, but it has been a long, hard, brutal haul since I left The Evil Ex. Being able to provide my youngest with some sort of childhood before she leaves childhood completely means the world to me. I simply haven’t had the resources to do anything like this for her in the last 5 years. Even if I did, her dad would have sabotaged it by not getting her to events if she was with him when they were scheduled. The timing and cost of this camp were perfect for us. In the big scheme of things, when the last few years have been so rough, this was a nice thing to have happened.

Tucson Summer in the Pacific Northwest

Well, you know how this goes, don’t you? We complain because the weather isn’t warm enough. It’s June, by God, and still raining! Many in the Pacific Northwest are ready to pack up and move elsewhere where they might be guaranteed more than three days of sun this summer. I am not one of those people, though, I do live in the Pacific Northwest…but…just barely.

I, on the other hand, complain (well, I hope not too much and not in a negative way) about staying up late at night because of the rain. I don’t mind the rain, really. I don’t even mind staying up late at night, really, except that I know that it is not really the best thing to go without sleep. Especially for one, such as I am, who is attempting to recover from a brief (yes, six months was brief, I have friends who have lived to tell of battles lasting 13 years) skirmish with cancer. Please ladies, don’t skip the mammo’s. Anyway, they tell me that sleep is important when you are healing, so I suppose, it frustrates me when I cannot sleep for that reason.

But otherwise, being awake late at night is really the best time to blog.

I have no interruptions. I have no guilt about which people in my life I am neglecting as the result of my writing. It just kind of works.

But, the rain is gone, and now I have yet another reason to be awake. You probably saw this coming. Yep.

It’s heating up here in the Pacific Northwest and in my particular area, the air conditioning kicked on at 8:00 this morning. My bedroom, being upstairs with fully half of the entire wall (or more) glass and being the only room on the south-facing end of our home, gets a tad bit warm.

I couldn’t sleep because I was hungry. I have no idea why I was so hungry. I just was. I’m not prone to midnight snacking at all so the fact that I actually got up out of bed to get a bowl of Life cereal and eat it was pretty unusual. After eating as quietly as I could (the entire upstairs opens up to our living/dining/kitchen area in the form of a balcony and I didn’t want to wake anyone), I drug myself up the stairs. The house was deliciously cool and I was tempted to grab my black velour blanket from my bed and curl up on the couch downstairs. I walked into my room and it was like I’d entered Tucson in the middle of the summer. Wow! Outside my door, deliciously cool. Inside my bedroom door, Tucson summer. Something is wrong here.

Then I remembered about the glass windows which I usually don’t pull the shade down on, and the sun which beats in my bedroom all day long, and the fact that I’m upstairs and heat rises. I should have seen this coming.

I can fix all that for tomorrow night…but for now? Well, for now, I can just add one more thing to the list of things that keep me up all night.

Tucson summers right here in the Pacific Northwest.

P.S. I actually spent a summer in Tucson. That’s it, just a summer. From April to September the year my oldest daughter was four and a half months old. She’s turning 22 this year, so that was a while ago, and, yes, I am old…but not infirm by any means. Back then, we lived in an apartment complex and our 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment rented for $250 a month. It was the only time during my then married life that I didn’t work and I stayed home with my child. Our complex was built around a swimming pool. It was the perfect arrangement. The worst part of the deal was packing the not-yet-walking child down the stairs with the laundry and the detergent to the laundry room to do the laundry. That was truly awkward. Since then, if/when I ever rented, I insisted on space for a washer/dryer in the unit. Other than that one little laundry thing, I truly loved Tucson in the summer.

Summer Rains and Insomnia

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Interesting weather we’re having here, isn’t it? While most of the country is burning up, my little corner of the world is experiencing a deluge that might become record-breaking. The water is pouring from the sky in monsoon-like torrents. The thing is, I live in a region not known to ever experience monsoons. We don’t have tornadoes either, so I’m hoping that’s not next on the weird weather agenda these days.

The rain is definitely good for us. Though my area is known to be a bit rainy at this time of the year, rains of this magnitude usually occur in January and are accompanied by colder weather and snow in the mountains. It’s raining like it is January, but it is 64 degrees out. And it’s the middle of the night.

I love summer rains. I love them even if they keep me up at night. I’m tempted to go brew a cup of coffee and sit out on my upper deck. Sitting in the rain soaked air with a cuppa joe at night, just listening to the rhythmic cadence of raindrops on roof, and on cedars sounds like a heavenly idea. Maybe if I took a blanket, I could fall asleep out there.

I won’t do it though. I’m certain to wake someone up. I don’t mind that I’m up at night. In fact, I’m becoming more and more accustomed to these late night rendezvous with my tiny iPhone screen, and the WordPress app. This does not mean others in my home would view wakefulness at this hour with the same charitable nature. So, out of consideration for them, and to save the neighbors from hearing the rest of the family yelling at me in the middle of the night, I’ll save the coffee-in-the-rain idea for a night when I am all alone.

The rain does sound so very nice…and far away…so does the rumbling thunder accompanying it.

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