I would love to claim to be a spontaneous person but I just am not.  I love to make lists, plan, organize and I just can’t help it sometimes.  This is something I have been working on though.  I don’t want someone to throw out an idea and my answer is always “no” just because my brain isn’t ready to mentally handle the fly by the seat of your pants idea.

This past weekend we finally saw Spring in a big way.  In the way that meant warm nights, 80 degree days and a sun that lasted later in the evening.  I had a weekend with no plans for once and a kid ready to fully enjoy the warmth upon us.  Instead of breakfast and coffee in front of the TV, that has become customary this cold Winter, we woke early to hang out on the back deck.  It was bliss, the whole day ahead of us.  Rebecca threw out an idea to go catch a Spring football game and I couldn’t think of a reason to say no.  Spring cleaning could wait and why not really?

Normally a trip like this would have made me need to plan well in advance.  Instead we called a friend to join us, made quick work of getting dressed, packed to-go lunches and jumped in the truck.  An hour later we were on our way, windows down, kids laughing in the backseat and a full day ahead of us in the sun.

The day went by with no problems and it didn’t matter that nothing was planned.  It just all flowed.  There was a random stop for ice cream that we didn’t eat on the go but sat and enjoyed in the fresh air.  We played late into the evening in the backyard, we dyed Easter eggs, we went out for dinner and lingered outside the restaurant talking to friends we ran into. I let go of my Type A and let the whole day and evening just happen.

Part of being able to let go.  Part of just living in the moment.  You know what I saw?  I saw the day from my daughter’s eyes.  The pure perfection of what kids can teach you if you just stop and listen to them more often.  They really do have some of the answers to the world.  Here is to being able to say yes more often than no.

Falling More in Love with Your Spouse

There was the beautiful bride in a princess dress, her groom standing next to her while candles lit the fireplace in front of them.  Behind them sat 250 people and in front of them the minister began to speak the words that would start them in their marriage.  There were some funny stories, a prayer or two and then the minister started to get a bit heavy into what he thought marriage was.  This part, was where many people in the room began to shift a lot in their chairs, while catching their spouses eye, wondering where this guy was going with this speech. We were all with him till he said the following words to the couple:

“How much you love one another, right now, in this moment, is it.  You will never fall more in love with one another because marriage is hard.”

He continued for another, very long, 20 minutes about how hard marriage is and how tough things are going to get and on and on and on.  Hey, I know, it is tough and you don’t have to sugar coat everything but woah.  Just woah.  I can tell you what people were talking about after the ceremony was over and it wasn’t about how pretty the bride was.  It was about how apparently none of us will fall more in love with our spouse but we sure as hell will start hating them more. I don’t know where this man got his license to marry anyone or what his marriage is like (he was fairly young) but I don’t think he could have been more wrong.

I can tell you I fall more and more in love with my husband.  Some days more than others but I can honestly say that I love him now more than the day we were married.  I can’t imagine standing there on our wedding day and someone saying what that minister said.  It was more than rude, it was appalling to those who were married in the room.  Your wedding day should be the one day that you and your new spouse can look with rose-colored glasses into your future and dream of perfection instead of hell.

How would you feel if that was your wedding day speech from the minister?  Or do you agree with him?

The Vacation That Just Wasn’t

Apparently there is such a thing as a bad vacation.  There is such a thing as regretting the thousands of dollars you spent to travel to another country.  There is such a thing as wishing you would have booked your tickets for another place, perhaps with a beach.  There is such a thing as sitting across from your best friend wondering what the hell has happened to her.  There is also such a thing as watching too many Friends episodes.  That last one really shocked me, but it all happened.

Our trip to England was set up to be a great time.  How could it not be?  Aren’t all vacations great because you are not at home or work?  It fails when your friend doesn’t take time off of work and owns a home day care.  It fails when you spend time changing diapers and the wail of a child outside your door wakes you.  It falls apart when you feel as though you are inconveniencing your friend by being in her home.  Then there were the nights where you were left on your own in the living room to be quiet as the household wanted to go to bed by 9pm. There I sat, with my sister, watching show after show of Friends and staying up till the wee hours because we weren’t tired after doing absolutely nothing all day.  It just went from there.

I tried to not be negative, I tried to relax and enjoy the down time but my sister finally spoke up and I knew I wasn’t the only one.  I texted my husband, feeling horrible for feeling this way but he agreed, it wasn’t really fair.  The last time we went to visit was quite the opposite.  If your friend is coming to visit, shouldn’t you take the time to spend time with them?  And that was just the thing, I don’t expect to be entertained but I would like to spend quality time with the person I flew a lot of miles to  visit.

We managed to get out a few days and see some sites but it felt forced and there was a gray cloud hanging over us.  I felt defeated and promised my sister another trip somewhere else one day soon.  Maybe a safari in Africa?  I was reading Chelsea Handler’s Uganda Be Kidding Me (Highlight of my whole trip) and quickly considered purchasing more wine and a new plane ticket.

I speculated about my dear friend, where she is at in her life and just what she might be thinking.  Her mind was elsewhere the whole time and while I saw glimpses of the person I know, it was few and far between.  We Skype every week, we talk on the phone all the time, text daily and yet here sat a person I didn’t know, treating me like someone she didn’t know.  I was lost…..and quite frankly a bit hurt, which is probably what it all comes down to.

My sister and I did what any normal person would do, we drank a lot of wine.  I got hammered the night before we left, as it was my sister’s birthday, and was still a bit drunk when we got to the airport the next day.  I’ve done this every time I have  left that country and figured I didn’t want to change things this time around.  We sipped mimosas at the airport and kept our buzz going with Delta’s free boxed wine on the flight while we Frozen like the real adults that we are.  We tried to keep with the motto “Hey, we are going to make the best of this vaca!” but we were really happy to touch down in the good ole US of A and call that vacation done.

Distance, timing and well, I’m on my own

Last week my husband enjoyed four days and three nights, away from me, in the warmth that is Vegas.  A place that involved above freezing temps, shorts, flip flops and he even managed a bit of a sunburn one day.  I was jealous to say the least but since I’m leaving for England soon, I won’t whine.

While he was gone I enjoyed our king size bed, salad only dinners and perhaps a few extra glass of wine, all by myself. While he was gone someone made a comment to me along the lines of “Don’t you realize how much your husband actually does for you once he isn’t around to do it?”  My answer-no.  They looked a bit taken aback.

Here’s the deal.  My husband works insanely long hours and when he is done with work he goes and works until late at night on the flipping of our rental home. All this fun spills into the weekends as well.  We really don’t see one another much and yes, this wears on me but I know there is somewhat of an end in sight when he is done with that bloody house.  In the meantime, I’m on my own.  I take out the trash, I do the laundry, I find the screw driver and fix shit on my own.  I go check out the scary noise or chase the grill cover down the road when the wind takes it.  I’m picking up his end of the household chores and trying to hold out eating dinner until he can fall in the door.  And to be honest, he is useless when he does come home late at night.

So how did I really feel with him gone?  I needed the break just as much as he did.  I didn’t have to worry about where he was, or a dinner time, or trying to stay up late so we could have a face to face conversation for a few minutes.  We have been spread thin on time together and I didn’t realize just how much until he took that trip because life didn’t really change a whole lot. It is sad really but these are those times you just have to get through.  It forces us to make sure we get out for a date night, or we try to grab lunch together (even if sitting at his job site.)  It forces us to communicate so we don’t spin out of control on schedules or who needs to be where and when.  It forces us to pay full attention to our marriage because this is a time where it could be so easy to just let it go on cruise control.

I’m fully appreciating the fact that we are able to do this right now and handle it.  My first marriage never could handle this.  At this point the only thing I’m truly worried about is if the trash will ever make it out when I’m in England and if the Husband will eat anything besides cookies.

It is now a thing. A group effort, thing.

It is official.  Making a baby just turned into a group effort.  As in my sweet OB/GYN, her sweet nurse, a lady who drew my blood like a vampire and oh, yea, my Husband and I.

Last Friday was the first big sit down on how 16 months after pulling the goalie no one is knocked up.  Namely, me.  I love my doc to death and I think we would have a lot of wine chats if she didn’t spend so much time up in my woman business.  She quickly started listing off what we can do and laid out a battle plan as I nodded my head and adjusted the gown that kept falling off my shoulders.  (Not everyone is a 6XL, could we make those fit a bit better?)

We decided to not start on fertility pills quite yet as we don’t want a December baby and my Husband and I will not see each other whatsoever in March to be doing the deed on a regular basis.  Also, since I’m heading to England I don’t want to go all jacked up on hormones.  My friend and I already sob enough in Heathrow airport when we see one another, no need to add more to it.  The month of March will just be to rule out all the basics and then I will start fertility drugs in April.  Ready or not.  I walked out the door of the hospital with tons of paper describing procedures and possibilities along with the cost of everything that is not covered by insurance.  (Holy cost. Once more-Holy Cost!)

I kept myself in check most of the day, going to work after my appointment and sticking to a normal routine.  I ran things through my head as very black and white.  I came home to sit with the Husband and discuss everything with him as he didn’t go to the appointment with me.  It was then that the gray area came out, the emotions snuck up on me.  We are heading down a road that can quickly spiral out of control if you don’t keep ahold of the reins.  The options, the money, the time, the emotions and much more that we have to take into account.  I was suddenly very overwhelmed and the calm mannerism I have had regarding all of this for the past 16 months went out the window.  I cried.  I ugly cried.  I wanted to stomp my feet and ask why the fuck we can’t just have something go smoothly?  Why can’t one thing just be easy?  I wanted to yell at my family and friends for their shitty support.  I wanted to just throw in the white flag and say forget it.  I climbed in bed and went to sleep instead.

The big problem is that all of this takes me back to fighting for custody of Rebecca.  A story I will share one day.  I feel like I’m back in the same spot fighting for my kid.  Fighting an uphill battle that people don’t want to talk about with you.  Can’t I just go through the process of bringing one kid in my house the old fashioned way?  I decided I have to cope how I coped back then.  One day at a time.

My Sister.

There are those people who go on and on about their sisters and how they grew up being best friends, telling one another everything.  Then there is the story of me and my sister.  We did not grow up being best friends nor did we tell each other secrets late into the night.  I had other friends for that.  We shared a room in which we drew literal lines down the middle of the floor and often beat the crap out of each other.  Ok, she beat the crap out of me because I was really little but I tried to swing my fists when I could.  In fact we didn’t even start working on any type of a friendship until I was divorced. Who says good things can’t come out of a divorce?  Take that another step when my sister started on her own divorce journey and here we sit today.  While we aren’t sharing every deep dark secret, we do have a strong relationship now.

I remember going on a couple of trips after/during my divorce that were life changing for me.  The kind that open your eyes, change your perspective and restore your faith in the human race.  Just what my sister needs on the heels of learning she is officially divorced.  Time to move on and forward.  Which brings us to today and my quest for living better in the year 2014.  Through a series of events, that proves everything happens for a reason, I found myself booking a ticket to England without my husband but then realizing I could take my sister.  She deserved a break.

I broke it to her carefully.

Text to my sister: Is your passport valid?

Sister: Do we need bail money?  I can get an alibi.

This is how we have built a friendship that most are born with as siblings.

So in less than a month I’m “dragging” my sister with me to England to visit my best friend.  The best friend who has been my “sister” all these years.

This isn’t just any trip over the pond.  This is a trip that will change our relationship even more.  There is something about becoming older, realizing how precious these memories can be and being so grateful for the opportunity to spend this time together.  I’m happy to give my sister a chance that friends, bloggers, and strangers gave to me after/during my divorce.  The chance to get away and see the world again.  The chance to have that relationship that we weren’t born with.  We are even going to share a room and I don’t think we’ll need to draw a line down it.

Life doesn’t always stay tucked away

I’ve moved on in my life in such a way that my past is happily tucked away where it belongs.  In the past.  I didn’t shove it there and ignore it.  No, I dealt with it and moved on to not just the next chapter but the next book.  I tucked the other book nicely on the shelf and went in a forward motion.

The funny thing about this new job of mine, with old friends, is they have all these memories and old stories that mingle with my old memories that have been tucked away in that book.  There really aren’t a whole lot of other people in my current life that know much about the old life.  The old life that had other friends, a different husband, a different job and a different me for the most part. I’m not ashamed of that old and different part of me, it is just the fact that I’m not used to an old story being mentioned about that one night out at the bar that I had left tucked away.  And that day at the office we gave up on work and spent the afternoon drinking martinis.  Do you remember that meeting where we all just about gave up?  Suddenly a past that never runs into the present is no longer black and white.  There are grey areas.

I’m slowly getting used to this grey area that they give me.  I always knew the past with its stories, memories and even people were going to sneak out of that book and accidentally be standing in my present whether in my office or elsewhere.  They are good memories that, shockingly, I can look at now and smile and see the good in them without my brain going to all the pain that eventually came.  The good parts outweigh the bad parts.  I can say that when those pieces fall out of the book I am reminded of just how far I’ve come and it makes me want to kiss my husband one more time before I tell him goodnight because I am one lucky woman.

30 Hours with my Dad

My Mom needed a break and her best friend called me to help.  She needed me to stay with my Dad so my Mom could go to a lodge in the middle of no where and learn to quilt with her.  I called upon my sister and she couldn’t come with me so I was on my own.  Sure, my brother would be 15 minutes away at his house if I needed help but he was always helping.  He already took time out of his day that he didn’t always have because Dad listens to him.  And Dad knows him.

I rearranged my schedule, I packed up, I drove two hours through a snow storm and walked in the door.  I sat and talked with my brother for a while before he headed to his own home.  That left me standing in my parents living room with my Dad.  This was only for 30 hours.  We could handle this, right?  He attempted to tell me to change the channel to a certain show.  He couldn’t remember what it was called and was struggling to find the name.  “Pawn Stars?”  I asked him.  “Yes!” I know this because this is literally the only show he will watch.  My Mom has 132 shows saved on the DVR.

I settle in knowing this is all we will do for the next 30 hours.  He asks me if I have ever watched the show before.  I tell him yes.  He ends up asking me this 14 times in the course of those 30 hours.

I glance over at him and see what has changed.  There is always a change and I just saw him 3 weeks ago.  He is just shy of 54 but looks 70.  Three years of Alzheimer’s is taking its toll.  He looks like an old man and smells like one too.  He hardly lets Mom bathe him but once a week.  He refuses to eat anything but M&M’s and ham balls.  The ham balls he picks apart, declares they taste like shit and dumps them in the trash.  The M&M’s he carries in his pockets and then asks if someone stole them.  There are trails all over the house of the colored candy.  Trails around the kitchen, blue ones kicked under the cabinets, yellow and orange ones on the bathroom floor leading to the toilet, one of every color around his chair in the living room and on the side table.

I notice he eyes me funny out of the corner of his eyes every now and then.  “How did you get picked to come sit with me?”  He asks.  He has two normal care providers during the week, he knows I am not one of them.  “I wanted to come hang out with you Dad.”  He has no idea who I am.  I can see it on his face.  They are selling a mini bike on Pawn Stars and he begins to tell me, in great detail, about a mini bike he had as a kid.  He later asks me if I want a tour of the house.

He spends his day chasing M&M’s.  I keep the fire going.  He gets up, wanders in a circle, sits back down like he has worked a 15 hour shift.  Pawn Stars ends and the DVR asks if we would like to delete the show.  If I’m in the other room he yells “Oh, Shit!  The TV broke.  The show wasn’t over!  It is asking to delete the TV.”  I go out and tell him I can fix it and I start the next episode on the long list.  Lord, please don’t let Direct TV go out on me.

I have a friend, that lives in town, come over that night with a bottle of wine.  I’m beginning to feel like I have been cut off from civilization and need some company.  So many hours of Pawn Stars and Pinterest and I’m losing it.  My Dad eyes her suspiciously when she walks in the door.  He used to love seeing her.  Her and I met when we were 10 and lived two houses apart.  For the first time you can tell he has no idea who she is.  He takes a sip of my wine, declares it shit and goes back to Pawn Stars. Her kids are not phased by his current state and seem to be entertaining him while we catch up in the other room.

Later that night I go through the bedtime routine my Mom instructed me to do.  His bed is located on one side of the living room and my Mom has been sleeping on the couch for months because he refuses to go to their bedroom.  He sees too many dead people in there.  After a lot of haggling and up and down I get him settled into bed and I settle myself on the couch.  I turn off the lights and tell him goodnight.  He answers back with a goodnight.  I’m exhausted but I know I won’t sleep much.

10 seconds later….goodnight.

Me: Goodnight.

Him: Goodnight.

Me: Goodnight (I feel like John Boy should chime in now.)

30 seconds go by. Maybe he is asleep.

Him: Goodnight.

Me: Dad, close your eyes and go to sleep.

Him: Ok…..Goodnight.

Three minutes more of goodnight and I hear him snoring.  I wonder where his mind goes.  It isn’t even here during the days as it is.  I try and recall the last time my Dad even told me goodnight in my life.  We just haven’t gotten along in so many years.  I hardly sleep all night.

The morning comes and he eyes me funny again.  He is in a shit mood and demands that show be turned on.  We sit and I begin the countdown in my head for my Mom to come back.  I have no idea how she does it.  The cats kick around the M&M’s that are littering the floor and I realize the huge bag of them is almost empty.  That could be a disaster.  I bring in more firewood, clean up the kitchen and walk around collecting lost M&M’s.  I put my stuff next to the door like it will make Mom come home sooner.  I text my brother and sister that we are still alive.

12 episodes of Pawn Stars later my Mom happily comes back in the door looking a bit more refreshed.  I was never so relieved to see her in my life.  We made it.  30 hours together and I can now go back to my own world.  He looks at my Mom like he thinks he might now who she is and she gives him a hug and kiss.  She goes about the kitchen like normal and starts showing me what she bought and the pictures she took.  This is her life now.  A husband with Alzheimer’s who knows who she is at times but most of the times these days he doesn’t.

Later that night the two will get ready for bed and she tells me they have a Notebook moment.  He grabs her face and says “Oh, there you are.  I’ve been looking for you.”  He calls her by name which happens few and far between now.  She said that look comes over his face where for a few minutes he is fully there and she tells him goodnight.