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Happy or Less Stressed?

My mom mentioned today that I seem much happier than a year ago…and asked me if I’m happier overall…I don’t really know…I know I’m adjusting to my new life…I know that I’m a less stressed…not because the stress has gone away…I think I’m just handling it better…

I noticed today that I’m a little less intense about things, especially relationships…normally, I’m the type of girl who thinks if you like me, you should be in constant contact with me…I came across this quote in a blog that I adore reading (you know who you are!):

“If he’s not calling you, it’s because you are not on his mind. If he creates expectations for you, and then doesn’t follow through on little things, he will do same for big things. Be aware of this and realize that he’s okay with disappointing you. Don’t be with someone who doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do.  If he’s choosing not to make a simple effort that would put you at ease and bring harmony to a recurring fight, then he doesn’t respect your feelings and needs. “Busy” is another word for “asshole.” “Asshole” is another word for the guy you’re dating. You deserve a fucking phone call.”    ―      Greg Behrendt

And I agree with about 90% of it…the part that I don’t think I agree with anymore is the very first line…there’s someone on my mind a lot…but I can’t always call him…I’ve got a busy life, he’s got a busy life…not calling isn’t a sign that I don’t care or that he doesn’t care…

But feeling this way is new for me…Music Man didn’t call me for 2 weeks, and I was fine…BBFF calls when he can, I call when I can…it’s ok…a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t feel that way…a couple of weeks ago, a serious lack of contact sent me into turmoil…I wonder what’s changed?

Which brings me back to my mother’s observation today…I don’t necessarily feel happy…I still feel like there are too many obstacles in my path…too many things that I want to be doing that I can’t yet…but I’m not unhappy either…

And that leads me to something else…do I seem different?  Different than the beginning of this blog (for those brave souls who have stuck with me since the beginning)? Different over the past year?  Past several years? Have I changed at all?  It’s hard to see change in yourself sometimes, but outsiders looking in often see something we never see in ourselves…so I guess I’m just curious…what changes does anyone see in me?  Do I seem to be happy, less stressed, or just the same as always?

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I’m Home…

I’m home…such a simple concept, right?  But that thought hit me tonight like a ton of bricks…

I’m 100% unpacked…99.9% of our stuff is exactly where I want it to be…that other 0.1% is still a work in progress…my house is clean – once I finished unpacking, that was the next must-do on the list…and I didn’t mind (too much)…

People were shocked that I unpacked so quickly…I don’t do well in chaos and a house full of boxes is nothing BUT chaos…part of it is an effort to not live in chaos, part of it is that I want to spend the rest of my vacation playing a little…but part of it is that I’m excited to set up my own home…before this weekend, it had never been mine, it had always been ours – The Ex and I – and because I always had to rush off to work each time we moved, he decided where every thing went…who knew that putting things where I want them to go would be so important?

The reason this idea of being home is so big (and warrants an entire post) is that tonight I realized that for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of where I live, of the home I’ve created, and I want people to come visit me…that’s huge in my mind…

For years, I have offered to go to someone else’s home, meet them somewhere, anything to keep them from my house…was it because it always smelled like cigarette smoke (how in the hell did I marry a smoker?!)? Was it because something was always broken down, busted, or falling apart? Was it because it was never clean enough (in my mind) because I depended on The Ex to take care of it and that never happened?  Is it simply because it’s mine?  I don’t know…

But I’m home…and I’m happy to be home…and I will take care of this place so that when I move out one day in the future, someone else can be proud to live here, too…

I’m ready to create new memories…I’m ready to live in this home…live, not just survive, not just exist…but really live.

It’s My Birthday

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s my birthday today…I don’t feel 32 (no clue whether I look 32 or not)…and it definitely doesn’t feel like my birthday…

I have run my ass off today…but that’s the way of things when you move…I didn’t unpack the first box today until 9pm…but I’m pretty sure I never sat down all day…

The only major low moment of the day was when I went back to the old house to clean it…I literally felt like I was carrying around an extra 20 lbs…I hated every second of the drive…I started grinding my teeth…I slouched and slumped…what a horrible feeling!  Have I been feeling this way since February?

I have so much still to do, but I feel light and airy in our new home…I love my bedroom…I love my kitchen…when I get it organized, I’m sure I’ll love my living room…is it new and bright and shiny? Hell no…but is it something fresh with unlimited possibilities for new memories? Hell yeah…

The sad part about today is if I hadn’t moved this weekend, I’d probably feel very depressed…every year I have this image of how my birthday should be, and it never happens…I don’t want parties or expensive gifts (ok, everyone wants expensive gifts…I mean that I don’t ask for or think about them)…I just want the day to be special…

I was spoiled as a kid – I was an only child, grandchild, great-grandchild, niece…when my birthday rolled around, it was a big deal – I was the only damn kid in the family…there was never anything lavish, but it was my special day…and to me, that’s normal…on your birthday, it’s supposed to be all about you…because I feel so strongly about that, I do that for my boys, too…

I promise you, there was little about today that was about me…breakfast was Waffle House, lunch was in the Play Place at McDonald’s, dinner was cold pizza (free, though) at a Fall Festival/Trunk or Treat event with the boys…in between, there was grocery shopping, cleaning, organizing, and running around like a crazy person…basically, today was a typical day…and I’m okay with that…

Today is the start of a new year in my life…31 was a rough, ROUGH year for me…32 can only get better…and this weekend has been a step in the right direction…

Today I Grieved…

It had to happen at some point, and today was the day…today, I finally grieved the end of my marriage…not all day, not for a long period of time, but it did happen…

Today, I moved…I moved from the first house I ever bought…a house that was filled with so much promise three years ago when we bought  it…we had a picnic in our empty living room the day we closed on it…we were filled with plans for it…

Three years, 6 months, and 21 days later, that chapter in my life closed…when I look around the house, I can barely remember the hopes and dreams we had for our home…I remember the fights…I remember the broken door frames…I remember the punched walls…I remember April 12, the day he lost it completely – and lost my trust in the process…

When I did the last walk through to make sure nothing needed to go into the moving van, it hurt to look at the empty rooms…I cried as I drove down the road…I sobbed…I couldn’t see the road (thank God the boys were in the other car with their grandmother)…my heart ached because it was never supposed to end like this…12 years ago when I met The Ex and 9 years ago when I married him – that was supposed to last forever…

We came back tonight for a moment (to pick up one last thing), and I felt so sad…I told the boys to say good bye to the “old house” – they aren’t going to see it again anytime soon…I immediately started referring to this new house as home…it’s not really home yet, but it will be…it’s filled with promise…it’s waiting for new memories…right now, tonight, it feels like I’m visiting someone’s house…I’m still a stranger here – but not for long…

There’s a little fear, too…it’s all on me now…everything I did before was the continuation of routines and plans from an old life…now, whatever we do here, however we do it, it’s on me to figure out the best way, find a routine that works, and help the boys adjust…but it’s a new beginning…

I’m glad I grieved for the old today…I wondered if I had any feeling left for Michaela Benjamin…Michaela Mitchell is a new girl in a new day…but Michaela Benjamin deserved to be mourned a little..I’m not a heartless person – my emotions run very deep – but I had been uncaring, unfeeling, numb through a lot of the divorce (not all, but a lot)…today it hurt…

Tomorrow will be better.

Stuff…Random Stuff…

Do you know I hit 100 posts the other day and didn’t even realize it?  I’ve been blogging since April 30 – that’s a LOT of talking…I wonder if I’ve changed at all…hmm, that’s something to contemplate later…I haven’t posted anything for a couple of days…at first I didn’t have anything to say…and then when I did, I couldn’t get my internet to work…now I’m just filled with random stuff…

*****

I found a place to live!!!!!!!!  It’s quiet and safe and the right size and has a balcony off the master bedroom…a spot that, if I do it right, will be MINE…I have no intention of sharing it with the boys…mostly because I’m that mom who would be a nervous wreck that they would fall – even though they wouldn’t…

When Mom #2, who doubts EVERYTHING, knew I would take it in the first 5 minutes, I knew my instincts were right…there will be some adjustments, and probably some whining – from all three of us – but it’s going to be our new place…closer to work, closer to friends, and hopefully a little less wear and tear on me…

*****

The Ex was caught in a pack of lies over the weekend by his girlfriend…and myself…because for the first time in 6 months, we talked…I don’t know if she called just to get info to use on him…I don’t know if she called to stir up trouble (I don’t think so)…but I discovered I’ve been lied to for several months…about things that don’t matter…things that didn’t have to turn in to lies…

And somehow, as it has been since February 13, 2011, it was my fault that they fought…wow.

*****

My children love my Separated-At-Birth Sister…adore her…and her children adore mine…and she cooks so well it makes her house smell divine…damn, I miss home-cooking…makes me so tired of living out of paper bags and drive thru…yes, I recognize it’s my own fault…and thanks to her, I had a couple extra hours to myself this weekend – that, my friends, is priceless…

*****

I’m back to being completely worn down again…it’s lack of exercise, lack of good, healthy food, and the addition of new stress…I find myself grinding my teeth while I’m driving or just sitting quietly anywhere…once I get lost in thought, there I go, grinding my teeth…

Some of the stress will alleviate itself once the move is done…and I’m finally taking a vacation, too…I’m not going anywhere, but I’ll have my days free from children and work…

*****

I realized that I miss intimacy…I’m not talking sex (that’s definitely a conversation for another day)…I’m talking about pure intimacy…simple, small stuff that we all take for granted when there’s someone with us…quick hugs, pecks on the cheek, curling up on the couch…leaning on someone, wrapping your arms around each other for no other reason than just because…

I don’t want it with The Ex…but I do miss it…

The Difference A Day Makes…

I always feel kind of bad when I unload in my blog…because people who genuinely care about me read it and then worry more…and usually within hours, I feel better…

Yesterday, I had a very dark cloud over my head…it followed me, rained on me, and generally just brought me down…

This morning, I woke up feeling pretty crappy…I wasn’t overly pleasant with the boys…I felt horribly guilty when Sean ran, fell, hit his head, and then started crying – even though there’s no way I could have prevented it…

It’s amazing the difference a day can make in life…

I had a business meeting over lunch today – which is always fun, but I genuinely like this chick, so it was even better…and while we’re chatting, she mentions she has a condo that she rents out…I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure she could sense my excitement…I’m not that person who should go to the car lot alone, because I have NO poker face…

The more we talked about her condo, the better it sounded…she showed me pictures on her phone…she told me, honestly, about the damage that had been created by her last tenant and what she’s done to fix it…and Saturday, I will view it and find out if it’s going to work for me…

And, as someone who listens very carefully to her intuition, I was amazed at how excited I am…maybe because she used the two best words to describe it – safe and quiet…

Without even viewing it (and knowing intellectually it could be all wrong for me – even though my gut tells me it won’t be), I immediately felt a weight lift off my shoulders…to everyone who said to be patient and that it would happen when it was supposed to happen (advice I have often given to others), you’re right…as I was sitting there, talking to her, I sort of stepped away from myself and saw from the outside how perfectly this was working out – with no real effort on my part…when something is meant to happen, it’s easy…when something is supposed to happen, doors seem to open out of no where…

I still have plenty to do and to worry about and to stress over…but…by Saturday afternoon, the biggest hurdle will probably have been crossed…

My faith has been restored in the decisions that I’m making…I needed a sign that I was on the right path, and I would have had to be deaf, dumb, and blind to have missed this one…

 

Frustrated

There are times when I feel like I spend my life frustrated…sometimes it’s because my expectations are either too high or not fully thought out…sometimes its because I’m looking for easy – and that almost never happens…

On the one hand, I’m that person who believes that anything in life worth having is worth working hard for – meaning that very little comes easy, and I wouldn’t trust it if it did…on the other hand, I have been told, and want to believe, that if you’re on the path you should be, doors will often open that you don’t expect…

All I want to do is move…I want to get out of this house (it goes on the market in the next day or so…know anyone who just can’t wait to live in a little town called Crestview, FL?)…I want to move closer to work…I want to pay a little less each month – because I’m freaking drowning over here, and something’s got to give…but silly me, I also want to feel safe wherever I live and have enough space for 2 rowdy little boys to be, well, rowdy little boys…apparently, I’m asking for a miracle…

I’m filled with doubts – can this space hold most of our stuff? I don’t have a lot of stuff but I think the beds, couch, and kitchen table are essential items, and dammit, wherever I live should be able to hold at least that…Is this area safe?  Would we ever actually leave during the day, and how would I feel if I brought them home to this late at night??

Is this the right place for us?  I’m a big believer that you know when something feels right – and when it doesn’t…and I should wait for it to feel right…but I’m feeling pressured from my own deadline – November 1.  Why November 1? Because 8 days later, I’ll be in Anaheim, CA for 5 days…and right after that it’s balls to the wall until February at work…this is the perfect time…except the perfect place isn’t materializing…and I’m filled with self-doubt…

I’m making a major decision which affects my children…and I need to get it right…this isn’t something I can half-ass or just make work…the safety of the boys (and my perception of their safety) is too important…which is why I found myself driving around town this afternoon after looking at yet another really crappy option, lost in thought, mentally panicking…I was almost back at work when I realized I hadn’t returned the key to the rental company…

I’ve made plenty of decisions for our family in the past few months, but none like this…I’m uprooting Aidan from his school, I’m taking Sean away from a daycare that adores him, to do what? Put them in some crap hole-in-the-wall just so I can get away from my own personal demons?  Am I being selfish?  Couldn’t I just toughen up a little, tighten the belt a little more, and deal with it?

Intellectually, I know the answers…but if I screw up this decision, what does that say about everything else that comes after?  I’m responsible for this family, for two little boys who are looking to me to keep everything right in their world…I just want a safe, decent, affordable home…how can that be so damn hard?

My Mom Calls It Purging

That probably sounds pretty bad…let me explain…

Every six months or so, my mom used to go through her house, and if she hadn’t touched it, thought about it, or used it in the past 6 months, she got rid of it…whatever “it” was…I never had that luxury…I was married to a pack rat…a serious, serious pack rat…I often teased The Ex that if I died first, he’d end up on that show Hoarders

Well, he’s gone and I need to move…let the purging begin…

I want a clean slate…I want to start our new life fresh…this is a small step in the right direction…I made two separate trips to the Goodwill store to drop off donations today…the curb in front of my house looks like a rummage sale with all the stuff waiting to be picked up tomorrow…and my house feels a little bit bigger with less stuff in it…

I’m not that person who needs or wants a lot of stuff…I always look at it as that much more that I have to dust, clean, or otherwise keep up with…I’m also not a very sentimental person…I don’t keep cards for years (well, apparently I did because I still had all the cards The Ex had and didn’t take with him – gone now)…I don’t need cheap crap from souvenir shops when I travel…actually, pictures are more important to me than anything…which is strange because I don’t take a lot of them…

But, since I’m purging there are other things that will soon depart from my life…my grandmother’s china and antique hutch…when my grandfather gave it to me as a wedding gift, I wanted it because I thought that married people should have china…and to have something that had been so important to my grandmother seemed significant…now I look at it and think about how I never needed it…never used it…and it represents something to me that I don’t want to be reminded of…both the china and the hutch will go back to either my mom or my aunt – whichever is able to physically claim it…but it will stay in the family, because it should…just not with me…please don’t make me look at it anymore…it doesn’t represent happiness or family or anything like that to me…it’s empty promises…

My next big project – and it needs to happen this month, I’ve decided – is to finally scatter my dad’s ashes…I don’t want to move him again…and I don’t want him to live in my bedroom anymore (talk about an awkward conversation with some one some day in the future…”um, yeah, that’s my dad in the corner…don’t worry, he won’t bother you…” No thanks) He’s been with me through almost my entire marriage…not quite, but almost…once my mom met The Step it seemed a little strange for her to keep him…so he came to me…but now, I need a fresh start…and some things need to be laid to rest…my dad is one of them…

My mom doesn’t want me to go by myself…but I want it done before I move to the next place…but I’m not sure how to ask someone to go with me…”Yeah, would you like to go with me to the cemetery where my great-grandmother was buried?  I’m going to scatter my dad’s ashes there because he loved her like a grandmother (or mom, considering his age in relation to hers).”  Not exactly a fun-filled trip…well, knowing me, I’ll be making inappropriate jokes in an effort not to cry…but I don’t see many people jumping at the chance for that particular road trip…

But I know it’s the right thing to do…it’s not like I can ever forget him…and quite frankly, he gets forgotten in my room anyway…you don’t even want to know how infrequently I dust the little hutch where he lives…

With everything that is removed from this house, I feel a little lighter…with every thing I do that keeps me moving forward, I feel a little freer (more free?)…I think purging is the perfect word for it.

 

Separated at Birth or Serial Killer?

So I think I met a sister I never knew I had today…all I wanted to do was find child care for Sean so that when we move, I know where he’s going to be…when all the traditional options for daycare didn’t pan out – if it’s going to cost me DOUBLE to put the boys in daycare and after-school care, then there’s no savings to moving closer to work – I started looking at less traditional methods.

After a lot of long talks with myself about intuition and trusting my gut, I went to Craigslist…and yes, I know, EVERYONE knows a horror story about Craigslist…but if it didn’t work for the majority of people, it would never have lasted this long, right?  And I’m a pretty good judge of people (The Ex, notwithstanding) and I know when my instinct tells me something isn’t right…

So I combed the childcare posts, literally letting my gut guide me on which one’s to even respond to for more information…I bypassed a LOT of them…surprisingly, the ones that sounded the most professional were the people who either never got back to me or took forever….really?!  I came across two that gave a cell phone number and an offer to text or call – since I don’t like talking to people I don’t know, I was more than willing to text them…both responded, but only one was friendly…

Ok, don’t get me wrong, I know the crazy psycho-killers pretend to be really nice before they chop your head off…I get it…but even through text, I got a good vibe…we chatted about all sorts of things for more than an hour…that was last week…this week, I made a point to find out where she lives and go meet her…

And I think we were separated at birth (but don’t tell our mothers)…she’s a year older than me, we’re both Scorpios (read: stereotypical Scorpios), and we have way too much in common…and it wasn’t one of those freaky, scary movie scenes, where I say everything about myself, and she just responds with, “Me too!”  I was the one saying, “Me too!!” the whole time.  I even liked her dogs!

Same favorite color, same favorite stores, same philosophies on parenting (not all – but only because we didn’t have time to discuss them all), same laugh – that’s terrifying, same personality (to a certain extent)…we started talking about school – I went to college, she didn’t get the chance because she got pregnant – but we both love to learn…we both love to write…we’re both addicted to Facebook…we’re both tech geeks (her’s is more with equipment, mine is more on what that equipment can do)…we talked about shopping…we remembered, eventually, to talk about our children…

I told her that I considered asking her if she was a serial killer…she even gets my humor…oh yeah, and we’re both sarcastic as hell…

So now I have to decide – is liking her a good enough reason to leave a small child in her care?

Finally…A Little Relief

Not to brag on the industry I work in, but Realtors are pretty freaking amazing.  Ok, so I don’t typically discuss work in my space here, but since there is a time and place for everything, I guess this is the time and the place…

For the two people who read this and don’t know me personally, I work in the Realtor Association world…I’m not a Realtor, and I don’t help people buy or sell real estate…I help Realtors…that’s what I do, and I do it fairly well.  And, weirdly, I enjoy it…

And while I support all of the Realtors in my world, I have a favorite…she would be my Realtor…and she is providing me with the first real relief I’ve felt in ages…hence the let’s-talk-work blog…

I have no good memories left in my house…the crap I went through pre-divorce pretty much erased the good…and I feel defeated everyday that I walk inside…I have a long commute (originally by necessity and then later by choice) that doesn’t work for a single mom…I have home repairs and maintenance that suck for a lot of people – sucks even more when you have no inclination for things like that (isn’t that why there are handymen?)…and I have no connection to this place now, it’s just a house…the boys do – this is their home..for Sean, it’s the only home he’s ever known…

And I am so ready to get out of here…here’s the thing – I have a teeny, tiny, itty-bitty little eensie weensie bit of knowledge about real estate…which means I don’t know crap, so I called my Realtor …whom I adore, LOVE, and am so freaking grateful for…I was concerned about the house…I know I need to sell it…I need to get away from it…the karma, ju-ju, whatever here is not good…and she’s going to help make that happen for me…she reassured me…she put all of my fears to rest because the little bit I do know about the market scared the crap out of me…and she did the same thing she did when I bought the house through her, she told me not worry, it was going to be ok…

Owning your own home is absolutely part of the American Dream…and I worked damn hard to get here…but owning a home can also be a crushing weight when you’re drowning in everything else…and right now, it’s not my time…I have to get to a different, better place first…and knowing that my housing issue is half over (only half because I still have to find a new place to live) is a relief I didn’t know I was waiting to feel until I realized I could breathe again…

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