Thursday, April 29, 2010

Slowly catching up after our vacation...

<-- Wish I were still here.


Even if you're an overeducated housewife, going on vacation can put you behind in some things.  I've spent the last couple of days trying to get caught up on my writing and housework.  I still have a ways to go on the housework.  Luckily, my dear husband isn't a stickler about such things... not that that would make a difference, anyway.

The funny thing about travel is that after a trip, my mind always goes back to it.  We had a nice time in the Caribbean, although it doesn't measure up to Europe in my eyes.  To be honest, I find the Caribbean kind of boring except for the beautiful blue water and wildlife.  On the other hand, I am having a wonderful time seeing the world with my husband.

I swore I wouldn't bring up this topic too much in my blog... but I figure it's on my mind, so I will.  Ten years ago, my husband was getting a divorce.  I was in school.  His ex wife supposedly was just trying to teach my dear man a lesson and change him into the ideal man she thought he should be.  Of course, no one ever bothered to tell this woman that her idea of what's ideal is pretty skewed.  And apparently, she has yet to find it in anyone, since she's now on her third husband.  She turned him loose, and now he's mine.

His life is very different now.  He doesn't see his kids because she doesn't let him.  Oh-- she claimed he could see them whenever he wanted to, but always on her terms.  At the beginning of our marriage, we were broke.  So flying out to the faraway state where the kids live wasn't an option.  But even if it had been an option, she made having a relationship with them untenable.  I feel pretty certain that she's told the kids lies about their father and he's not around to defend himself.  So now they're really brainwashed and alienated and missing out on their wonderful dad.

He misses them, I know... and because of an action he took when he was married before, it's unlikely that we'll have kids of our own.  I don't have any desire to undergo medical procedures to get pregnant.  Now that I'm getting older and realizing what shits kids can turn into, I'm thinking that maybe it's better that we don't have them. 

One thing I have noticed in our seven years of marriage is that my dear husband is enjoying his life, despite missing his kids.  He's now allowed to try and enjoy new things.  He can now afford to try new things as well... our financial situation has improved drastically over the past few years.  It's rewarding to watch all of this, but sad too.  If my husband's kids only knew the truth.  I doubt they'll give him the chance to tell his side of the story, though, so for now, we'll just keep trying to enjoy life.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Back from our trip...

 And I have a lot to write about, but not tonight.  Been busy doing catch up stuff all day today and not quite done yet.  It's amazing how going on vacation creates so much work for when you come home!

Oh... and in case anyone is wondering, SeaDream Yacht Club is an awesome cruise line and totally worth the money!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Watching the clock...

In a few hours, dear husband and I will be on a plane headed to the Caribbean.  I can hardly wait.  When we lived in Germany, we traveled all the time.  Being back in the States has sort of cramped my style. 

We were going to fly tomorrow, but plane tickets were significantly cheaper for today's late afternoon flight.  I figured we'd have all day tomorrow to enjoy Puerto Rico as well as the two following days.  Then Tuesday, we hop on our cruise for five nights of debauchery and five star cuisine.  Should be a lot of fun!

So now I'm just waiting for the old man to come home from work so we can take the dogs to the vet for boarding.  It's times like these that I'm glad I'm childless.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Who knew that spanking was such a contentious issue?

Actually, I did know... I grew up with corporal punishment.  I don't agree with it under most circumstances, mainly because I remember how it made me feel.  But I brought up this issue with some female friends of mine and they all pretty much told me how wrong I am about spanking.  One of them even implied that my opinion is wrong because I experienced "beatings" as opposed to spankings.  Yeah... but when I was growing up, the "beatings" I had were called spankings.  And no doubt, they were delivered to me based on what my parents experienced when they were kids. 

Some people can be calm and measured when they deliver corporal punishment and they can do it in such a way that they won't harm their child.  Other people spank when they're angry and frustrated and they do end up harming their child.  Everybody has their own ideas about what constitutes a proper spanking.  It's not a skill one learns in school. 

Based on my experiences, spanking is a risky thing to do.  Other people may feel differently, and that's their right.  All I ask is mutual respect for my opinions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Is it the end of the world as we know it?

Every time I turn around, it seems like another natural disaster has struck.  Last night, it was another earthquake, this time in China.  A few days ago, Poland lost a good portion of its government to a plane crash.  Then there were earthquakes in Haiti and Argentina... flooding in the northeastern United States... pirates off the east coast of Africa... seems like the world is self destructing right in front of our eyes.  And, of course, with each passing day there's more pessimistic news about the sorry state of our economy.

But never mind all the natural disasters...  Glee's back on TV.  And my husband actually asked me when we could watch it.  We don't have cable in our house because we live out in the woods and cable doesn't come out here.  We didn't subscribe to satellite service because the local provider wanted a five year contract and a huge deposit.  We will almost certainly not be living here in five years, sad as I am to say it.  So we have to get our TV fix on the Internet.  Luckily, this is ridiculously easy.  Makes me wonder why anyone bothers to subscribe to cable anymore.

In other news, I'm feeling mostly better.  In a couple of days, I'll be in the Caribbean, sipping rum and champagne.  Hopefully, there won't be any natural disasters to interrupt our good time, but with the way the world seems to be going these days, I'm beginning to wonder.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weird Wilbur...

Some time ago, I was messing around on YouTube and found a channel made by a guy who called himself wiiiilbur.  Having been a Mr. Ed fan back in the day, I got a kick out of the name.  I also got a kick out of  Wilbur's videos, a lot of which were really funny.  I especially enjoyed wiiiilbur's music, so much so that I actually downloaded his album Weird Wilbur Rides Again

Not long ago, I sent Wilbur a note on Facebook, telling him that I liked his stuff.  He friended me and now I play Farmville with him. 

The Internet is a hell of a place...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A bitter pill for children of divorce...

Today I want to address a topic that I don't intend to address often on this blog.  It has to do with my husband's children from his first marriage.  In seven years of marriage, I have only met my husband's kids once.  Their mother was apparently too selfish or too intimidated to allow her kids to continue their relationship with their father.  My husband has had his reasons for not pursuing the matter...  While I don't necessarily agree with the way my husband has handled this, it's not my place to tell him how to relate to his kids.  I know he loves them very much and what's happened has hurt him tremendously.

Anyway... this subject has been on my mind a lot recently, because my husband's kids are now pretty much grown up.  And now that they're grown up, they're about to run into some very cruel truths.  I think children of divorce often end up swallowing a bitter pill when they grow up the pawns of parents in battle.  When one parent works so hard to "win over" the kids and covets their affections so jealously... or when that same parent uses the child's affections and favor to control the way other adults behave... it puts the child in a powerful position that they are not prepared to handle.  In other words, it's very cruel to make a child's opinions about an adult so very important.  Because eventually, the child grows up and becomes an adult and other people will expect him or her to act like an adult.  

Take my husband's former stepson, for example.  When the lad was very young, his mother cut her first husband (the boy's biological father) out of his life.  She had the boy's name changed to my husband's last name.  She encouraged my husband and this boy to bond as father and son.  Then, when my husband and his ex wife split up, she encouraged the boy to bond with husband #3 and cut my husband out of his daughters' lives.  Now, my husband still loved this young man as a son, and even paid child support for him until he was over 21 and gave him a car...  Then last year, we discovered that the young man had decided to take back his original surname.  That was all well and good, but the man never told my husband about his plans.  He hashed out his plans in "secret", not realizing that a name change is a procedure that becomes public information. 

We found out about the name change on a government run Web site... didn't have to pay a dime for the information and didn't have to do anything illegal to access it.  Meanwhile, as this young man is changing his name, he's collecting child support from my husband... not his "real dad", not even his stepdad... just someone who loved and cared about him as if he were his son and someone whose "son" didn't think enough about him to tell him about an event as major as changing his last name. 

When my husband confronted his former stepson about this turn of events, former stepson was pissed off.  The first words out of his mouth did not consist of a shame-filled apology, but an indignant "How did you find out about that?!"

And then, when the young man realized what he'd said, his tone quickly changed to one of extremely fake remorse.  "Ohh... I felt so guilty about what I was doing and I knew it would make you angry, so I kept it to myself... I didn't want you to be mad at me..."  And a silently but clearly expressed... please don't cut me off yet... I very much depend on that money you send me every month, even though I'm 21 years old...

But my husband did decide to cut him off.  He was even kind enough to give him a deadline so that the young man would have a chance to get his ducks in a row.  All he asked was that the young man have enough consideration for him to tell him when the name change was final.  Young man didn't do that, so my husband cut him off sooner than expected.

When that occurred, young man wrote an angry email, chastising my husband for cutting him off because he depended on his "timely" payments.  He even made a thinly veiled accusation that I was the one behind the money getting turned off.  Once he realized that the money wasn't coming back, he angrily cut off his communications with my husband and we haven't heard from his since.  However, we did find out that the lad had been pulled over for a stop sign violation and the cop found marijuana in his car... probably the very same car that my husband gifted to him three years ago. 

Now... if that boy were still talking to my dear husband, he no doubt would have felt free to call him up after the arrest and ask him for help paying the fines or hiring a lawyer.  And if my husband still bought into the bullshit that he'd been buying into for most of that kid's life, he no doubt would have "helped" that kid with extra money, afraid that not helping him would mean the boy wouldn't speak to him again or would even--gasp--hate him

The young man has obviously been taught that his favor really matters a lot and that certain people will do whatever they can to make him happy so that he won't hate them.  But the reality is that at some point in every person's life, people start expecting them to take responsibility for themselves.  Sooner or later, everybody grows up and junior's opinion starts mattering a lot less, because junior is not a kid anymore and it's time for him to face reality.

What I've seen time and again, not just in our situation, but also in other divorce situations, is that these kids whose parents use them as weapons and force others to walk on eggshells around them never learn to take responsibility for themselves.  As children, they never learn that compromise is important, and that relationships and respect are both two way avenues.  When they are children, everybody is working very hard not to piss them off or disappoint them because there's this pervasive guilt that comes from getting a divorce, especially when you're a non-custodial parent.  The parent who isn't there on a daily basis feels like shit for not being there and the parent who is there every day, feels free to exploit the guilt.  And she drags anyone and everyone who will jump on the guilt bandwagon along for the ride.  Meanwhile, the child of divorce is not learning the important life lessons that he or she will need when adulthood finally strikes.  He or she is not learning how to handle disappointment or how to be resilient.  All the kid knows is that people used to jump at his beck and call and bend over backwards to make her happy and assuage their own guilt.

And so, these kids go on to their own relationships completely unprepared.  They're not ready for careers, for meaningful friendships, or good marriages, because they've not fully matured.  They have to swallow that bitter pill until they learn the lessons--as adults-- that they really should have learned as adolescents.  It's unfair to them and everyone who has to deal with them.

Anyway... my husband's kids are likely just now starting to figure all of this out, or they have at least started to run into the after effects of being used as pawns.  I know my husband's former stepson is discovering it, though he's probably not insightful enough to understand it.  And yeah, he does have his real dad's last name, which he should have had all along, and perhaps he's developing a relationship with the man who walked away from him and never so much as paid child support beyond his son's sixth year.  But the young man may very well have forever lost the man who cared enough about him to help him out even though he wasn't the boy's father.  And because of the young man's actions, my husband's daughters and their potential motives for reconnecting with their real dad will now be viewed with suspicion.  

Indeed... it's a very bitter pill they will eventually have to swallow, no matter what.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I thought it was allergies, but it's a cold...

I spent most of yesterday in bed.  I thought I was dealing with allergies the other day, but it turns out I have a cold.  Last week it was Aunt Flow.  This week, it's a nasty old bitch of a cold.  I feel pretty rotten, though it's maybe not as bad today as it was yesterday.

I felt so crappy yesterday that I actually watched several episodes of The Love Boat.  It's just the kind of mindless television I need when my brain is overrun with pollen and cold viruses. It also reminds me of next week, when I will be eagerly anticipating boarding the Sea Dream I and drinking enough champagne to float home. 

I can't believe I resisted getting sick all winter, only to come down with this nasty bug right before it's time to fly away on my trip.  Thankfully, my dear man knows how to make a hell of a hot toddy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Enchanted Forest...

My husband and I live in the woods right now.  Our house is at the end of a very long driveway surrounded by trees.  As spring progresses, it turns the whole place green with new foliage and flowers.  Right now, everything's been dusted with the luminescent powder we call pollen.  Makes it hard to breathe, of course, but it sure does give our home an enchanted look. 

This morning, I took the dogs outside for their usual potty break.  I looked up and saw a lone doe eyeing us curiously.  We're used to seeing deer around here.  There's a family of them that live in the woods around our house.  They're often out in the morning or early evening, eating some of the foliage or just hanging out.  Anyway, these deer are fairly tame.  They don't run at the sight of us.  In fact, they don't even seem to care about our dogs, who often bark at them when they see them.  For some reason, neither canine noticed the doe, whose eyes were on me and ears were pricked up on alert.

I try not to bother the deer.  They've been here much longer than I have and will remain here long after I leave.  But there's something kind of magical about living in harmony with wild animals who aren't really that wild.  And there's something really cool about the glow of pollen, even though it's making me sick.

That being said... I do hope for rain today!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"This place is Yelp proof!"

Just heard that line chirped by Ella on the reincarnated version of Melrose Place.  Too funny.  Actually, though I've read my share of Yelp reviews, I haven't written any myself.  But hey, if Yelp is being hawked on Melrose Place, it must have arrived!

I spent yesterday feeling like warmed over crap.  After surviving the whole winter without getting sick once, I got something yesterday, probably courtesy of my dear husband, who was sick over the weekend.  So while I was lying in bed with a fever and a nasty cough, I watched some movies I'd been planning to see for awhile.  One of the films I watched was called Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate.  This film, which was made in the mid 1980s, is a documentary about a woman named Maureen Sullivan who worked as a sex surrogate.  That is, guys with sexual or intimacy problems came to her for therapy...

Though the film was dated and very clinical, I found it fascinating.  It was very clear that Maureen was a therapist, first and foremost.  Though these guys were seeing her naked and actually having sex with her, the goal was therapy, not personal gratification.  It also occurred to me that it must take a special kind of person to be a sex surrogate...  you're dealing with fragile egos along with fragile cojones. 

So today, everything is covered in nasty green and yellow pollen.  I'm still coughing and feeling kind of yucky... but at least I'll be getting all of this over with before next Friday when it's vacation time at last! 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Just read an interesting article about antidepressants...

I was very interested in the article, "My Depressing Antidepressant", which appeared on Salon.com recently, mainly because I have experience with antidepressants.  If you read my welcome, you may already know that I've been through depression myself.  In 1998, I started seeing a therapist because I felt paralyzed by depression and stuck in a horrible life situation.

Okay... so now that I've lived a bit more, I know that my situation back then was not nearly as bleak as it seemed.  Back then, I had a place to live, a job, family, my youth, my health, a few friends and an education.  But I still felt like complete shit, so I went to a therapist and he sent me to see a psychiatrist, who put me on Prozac.  Prozac was a colossal failure for me.  I took it for three months and eventually got up to three capsules a day.  I didn't feel any better.  In fact, I probably felt worse because I couldn't achieve an orgasm without focusing on it for a long, long time... not that I had a love life, anyway.  When I started having suicidal feelings, the doctor put me on Wellbutrin.

Wellbutrin was a lifesaver for me.  Within just a few days, I felt so much better.  I was able to make plans for the future.  It was like a heavy black cloud lifted and I was finally able to take action and change my life for the positive.  I took a heavy dose of Wellbutrin, too... three pills a day at a total of 450mg.  That was a massive dose, and I often got shit from pharmacists about it.  No matter.  It worked, even though I thought my psychiatrist was a bit of a jackass.

I went to graduate school, thinking that maybe I could get involved with helping people who suffer from depression.  But you know how things change even when you have the best of intentions... I got swept up into another area or two and by the time I graduated, I was not only engaged to my husband-- on the cusp of becoming the overeducated housewife-- but I had also pretty much forgotten depression.  I was still taking those purple pills, though.  The last time I got a prescription for them filled, back in 2004, I was forced to get it re-written for the generic pills.  They worked just as well, but cost a lot less.

Anyway, in 2004, I thought that perhaps I might want to have a baby at some point.  My husband, who had a vasectomy when he was with his first wife, managed to get the surgery reversed for free, courtesy of the Army.  I was still in my early 30s and figured that if I was going to be a mother, that was the time to try to do it.  I got off the drugs and my husband and I tried for that baby in earnest.  So far, we haven't been "blessed".

Once again, my plans got swept up in real life.  Some things happened that made the idea of motherhood much less appealing to me.  My husband got deployed.  His kids with his first wife disowned/betrayed him.  Our income started to rise as we recovered from financial hell and I started to realize that I enjoy being comfortable.  I got older and fatter, in part because I had gotten off the drugs... I started to realize that being a mother wasn't as important to me as I thought it was.

And so, here I am... approaching my late 30s, not a mom, not a career woman, and not on antidepressants.  On the other hand, I have a pretty damn good life... at least for now.  And it all started because I took antidepressants for awhile.  Maybe someday I'll use them again, but for now, I'm feeling somewhat content.  Of course, I do sometimes wonder what my purpose is, other than to give my husband pep talks, moral support, and clean underwear. 

For those who are interested in the article I'm commenting on...  http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2010/04/05/is_my_lexapro_working/index.html

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Listening to the Alan Parson's Project while high on European beer...

There's something surreal about being slightly drunk (or dwrnk as I used to put it when I was a college student) while listening to the Alan Parson's Project... I'm listening to "Time" right now and it's definitely feeling more languid and majestic than it ever did before...

Sad to see the weekend go, though I was pretty productive this weekend.  I washed the car, the sheets, the laundry, and transplanted some stuff into our garden, which may or may not actually yield some vegetables in a couple of months.  The peas are doing well, at least.

Anyway, sometimes I really enjoy music that was made when being a musician depended more on talent than good looks.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Booze run...

So today, my dearest husband had the day off work.  I spent the morning writing an article while he went out back and fixed up a couple of garden plots.  I vacuumed and steam cleaned the carpet in our great room once again, in a vain attempt to slay the canine urinal stench in there.  Then we went out to Five Guys for lunch and a booze run.

Lunch at Five Guys was interesting.  As I was sitting at our table, waiting for dearest to bring us burgers, fries, and sodas, I noticed the person at the next table.  At first, I thought it was a man... then I started to notice the man had some rather feminine features.  I sat at the table having an "It's Pat" moment, wondering what gender the person next to us was... then lunch was served.

After lunch, we were on our way to Katie's Wine and Liquor.  I love going in that store, mainly because they have big German bottles of beer.  We picked up some gin, tequila, and a six of some fine German suds.  I must say, I enjoy privately owned liquor stores.  Then we went to the grocery store and I picked up some feminie hygiene products.  There was a young guy standing in the aisle and I had to scootch past him to pick up my big package of maxi pads.  All the while, we were driving around in my green MINI convertible with the top down... 

Now here I sit, drinking a gin and tonic and thinking about going outside to plant some nice yummy hot peppers.  Sometimes it's not so bad being an overeducated housewife.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Yesterday was one of 'dem days...

Auntie Flow came to visit yesterday.  I wasn't really expecting my period, but after counting the days, I guess it was right on time.  Sometime in the afternoon, I started getting the tell-tale crampy feelings.  Whenever I feel like that, I want to drink wine.  It helps me relax.  So, around 4 o'clock, I headed to the kitchen and got out a bottle of cheap shiraz. 

I fed the dogs and just as I was about to pour the wine, I noticed that MacGregor didn't eat.  He's a beagle, so that's definitely out of the ordinary behavior.  I saw him lying on the rug in the foyer, looking kind of peaked.  He didn't want to sit and seemed uncomfortable.  I had just read an article about bloat in dogs... I didn't think he had it, but the person who had written the article had just lost her dog to bloat and said it was better to be safe than sorry.  So I took him to the vet, after wrestling an uncooperative Zane into the crate.

The vet came in, checked MacGregor over, and said that his anal glands were really full.  Then, while an intern and a vet tech stood by, he squeezed MacGregor's glands and this nasty looking brown stuff squirted all over the table.  It was really gross!  The vet seemed surprised when I asked him how he did that.  I don't really want to express MacGregor's anal glands myself, but it is helpful to know how to do it.  If I could have done that at home, it would have saved us $76.

We came home and not much later, my husband walked in with some groceries... including red wine and chocolate.  He's so good to me.  Not many guys are that thoughtful. 

Today, I'm in early period hell... but at least this nasty business will be over before we're on our cruise.