My mother made me cry today

My mother made me cry today

From: My mother

To: Me

Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 12:24 PM

Subject: Today


Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Shelby, happy birthday to you!!


—–Original Message—–
From: Me

To: My mother

Sent: Thu, Feb 2, 2012 5:00 pm

Subject: Re: Today


What? No pepper on my steak story?

Thank you



—–Original Message—–
From: My mother

To:  Me

Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 3:33 PM

Subject: Re: Today


It was just 48 years ago this morning. You were so beautiful. Dad had said he wanted a boy, and then he saw you and cried. Before I left the hospital he went shopping…picked up pink curtains with cute little bunny rabbits, pink pillow (had to explain that a baby could not sleep on a pillow), and even pink waterproof pants (yes they had waterproof that long ago). It only took me 45 minutes to produce a perfect baby! Dad sends love and still thinks you are 30 and I just let him. Love to our most beautiful baby- –

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for steak with lots of pepper.


—–Original Message—–
From: Me

To: Your mother

Sent: Thu, Feb 2, 2012 5:36 pm

Subject: Re: Today


This is my Jane entry for today. You’ll be famous.


—–Original Message—–
From: Your mother

To: Me

Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 5:38 PM

Subject: Re: Today


I am famous — I’m your mom.


The good, the bad, the narcissist

The good, the bad, the narcissist

When you are married to a narcissist you accept the good and the bad.  Yes, there is good.  My ex had tremendous leadership skills, he leveraged his arrogance and unshakeable confidence which came from his self-admiration.  He was incredible with sales and charmed the pants off any number of people including the wives of his investors.  However, it’s generally tempered with the sense of entitlement and the exploitativeness that comes with the package.

I’ve actually studied narcissism since our split.  It’s helped me predict his behavior and understand him without getting sucked into an argument.  It’s funny in a sick way, but when we were married I placated the beast.  I knew how to manipulate it so he thought things were his idea and so he never felt challenged.  I didn’t realize it at the time, I just knew I couldn’t let him get angry.  I was pretty good at it.  We were married without any significant belligerence for 17 years.  Now, however, I find it exhausting to play the game.  He’s frankly shocked by my lack of acquiescence and right on cue, reacts badly with that completely predictable aforementioned arrogance and sense of entitlement.

I highly recommend a study of narcissism.  According to an article in Medical News Today, narcissism is on the rise in America and mostly with men.  Think about your husband, boyfriend, boss, co-worker or son.  This is a good thing to know.


These are some fabulous example of narcissism from my past:

Him:     I want to take the kids to the mountains for New Year’s.

Me:       Did you want me to go too or are you suggesting a boy’s day out?

Him:     No, I want you to go so you can take pictures of me.

Classic.  Oh, I went and every picture I took was of the back of his head.


Or this wonderful piece of inadvertent comedy unloaded ten minutes after he casually tells me he wants a divorce:

Him:     So we’ll get divorced and I’ll just stay in the guest room.  I may stay here up to five years.  We’ve been good roommates, right?

Me:       You may have been a roommate, but I was your wife.

Him:     Right, well my point is we’re good friends, we’ll always be good friends.  You’d take care of me if I got hurt or needed help.  I know I can count on you.


Oh those silly narcissists.  The reason I’m thinking of this now is because he sent me an email and told me that our problems today were a result of letting my ego get in the way.

Another bit of inadvertent humor.

Delusions of Insignificance

Delusions of Insignificance

The Boyfriend Candidate is really cute but he so exhausts me.  We got into a rift.  In truth he got into the rift by himself while I painted my toenails.

As I’ve mentioned before, my guy is a problem solver.  I don’t mean with the admirable skill of analytically attacking a challenge.  I mean he cannot function without a problem.  And when there isn’t a problem, he can always make one up.

The problem he was making up was not original:  job dissatisfaction.  this is one of those unsolvable problems that keeps him invigorated and me drained.  On cue, he asks for my advice.  I always say the same thing:  fix it, live with it, or get out.  If you can’t change the company from within, then you must accept one of two things; learn to live with it by appreciating a less than perfect situation OR look for another job.  I mean just look around because often times by looking you realize what you have ain’t so bad.  But wait, my advice might actually solve his problem leaving him problem-less, so it’s ignored.

He went off on me for being dismissive.  I rolled my eyes; I’m so bored with this.  He likes being the underdog, the disenfranchised.  Having the odds against him helps create focus.  So, in fact, he is exactly where he needs to be in order to excel.  I told him that too.  I’ impressed with his creativity an his ability to manipulate a situation to his advantage (jeez, I even managed a compliment).  But I wasn’t getting sucked into some made up drama that he had no real intention of relinquishing.  I continued painting my nails and tuned him out.

He looked completely rejected — probably because he was.  Only a sick woman would indulge his delusion of insignificance.  I’m not that woman.

And he was disappointed.  That’s kinda sad.

The irk and flow of mornings

The irk and flow of mornings

When I hired my morning sitter to manage the boys before school, I lost touch with my children.   The full impact of that really hit home this morning when my sitter had to cancel.  She called me at 6am.  Her car wouldn’t start.  I said ok, no problem, I got it from here.

I hung up and suddenly realized I had no clue.  What time should I wake them up?  When does school start?  Oh jeez, does Calvin have his reading class this morning?  What do they eat?  What about lunches?  Do they take their tennis racquets to school?  Is today the tutor?

And I quickly became an anxious wreck.  I was convinced at 6:05am I was running late when I was almost certain school didn’t start until some time after 8, or maybe 8:30.  The next two hours were hell.

I did everything wrong.  I woke them up too early.  It was too cold for cold breakfast.  They no longer eat oatmeal.  They were suppose to have hot chocolate waiting for them on the table.  “Elizabeth doesn’t fix it this way.  Where’s my marshmallow?”

Jack insisted on waffles.  “Mom, I eat three, not two, I’m not a little kid any more.”  He grabbed the plate from me and lifted it just high enough to dunk my just washed hair in the syrup.  They fought over toothpaste and who got to walk out the front door first.

Finally we load up and hit the road.  I turn the first corner and Sam knocked my coffee over, the whole cup into the driver seat where I was sitting in my go to work clothes. Of course there is no towel in the car.  That would make too much sense.  “Mom, you shouldn’t have put your coffee there.  Elizabeth doesn’t drink coffee. Why do you drink coffee?”

It’s a bittersweet thing, losing control.  I mean I feel like it should be a bittersweet thing.  It’s anything but.  I blew kisses to them as they walked away like I did when I was a stay at home mom.  Then I sped away as fast as the school zone allowed.

From my Calvin

From my Calvin

Calvin and I are walking down the street.  We are headed toward his speech therapist’s office.  It was about 5 o’clock and there was a lot of traffic.  I instinctively moved Calvin to the inside of the sidewalk so I would walk closest to the passing cars.

Calvin:  “Why did you push me over Mommy?”

Me: “Well, if a car jumps the curb, I want it to hit me, not you.”

Calvin:  “No! You might die!”

Me:  “That’s right, which is why you need to be over there and I need to be over here.”

Calvin:  “But if you die, who will take care of my brothers?  I need to die.  My brothers need a mommy.”

Where does that come from?  Calvin and his beautiful brain.

The price of peace

The price of peace

Target, the parking lot.  Me and my troops.

“OK,” I say generously, evenly, not betraying my entire lack of confidence in what I’m about to say.  “We are going inside Target.  We are going to do this fast.  I have a headache.  We are late.  You have been awful for the last hour and it ends now or no movie, no pizza, no fun.  We will leave.  Understand?”

Three heads bob in affirmation from the backseat.

“OK, hit it.”

We are out of the car and walking with purpose.  First stop:  Alleve.  I really do have a headache.  While I am calculating cost per pill for the economy size, they start in.  Sam has decided to push over all the pill boxes.  Calvin decided to discipline him.  I grab the largest box imaginable and escape to the pizze aisle.  Cost to keep Calvin from corporally punishing Sam:  $15.75.

Here things got weird.  All three boys want a different four cheese pizza.  Like the difference is nuanced and discernible to a boy who picks his nose.  A small skirmish breaks out and Calvin says if we don’t get his pizza he’s not going to eat – ever.  Jack says he must have rising crust because the other is flat like cardboard.  Sam says he must have the thin smear of tomato sauce between the cheese topping and the crust just like in the picture or he’ll throw up.  I can’t take it.  All three pizzas go in.  Cost to avert vomit:  $18.00.

Off to dvds in spite of my threats.  This is only because we are going to the Boyfriend Candidate’s house and if the kids don’t have something kid-like to do they will act like themselves and I can’t have that.  All the moveis stink and we already have every other G/PG film out there.  We end up with two B level movies.  Why? Because they are fighting about it, playing two against one games.  “We want the owl movie, and two against one.  We win.”  The older boys taunting the baby.  I got both movies.  Cost to avoid years of therapy for Sam: $45.

At this point, I want out.  I need to get these belligerent, ill-behaved, disrespectful, spiteful angels over to the BC’s house where he’s likely to take one look at all of the chaos and reconsider his relationship with me.  The evening has taken a turn for the crazy and it hasn’t started yet.

Going into Target I thought we’d do a quick driveby.  $30 and done.  Nope.  Keeping the peace cost right under $100.  A babysitter would have been a helluva lot cheaper.  And I might have maintained my sanity.

The problem solver with no problems

The problem solver with no problems

The Boyfriend Candidate is starting to unnerve me.  And it boils down to this: he is a problem solver and I really don’t have problems for him to solve.  Of course, there is a touch of control freak in there too – but that’s for another day.  His solutions end up being the only solutions.

There was a time when I was a walking problem factory.  Those days are gone and what’s left is your garden variety, typical functioning single mom.  There are all the typical things, but nothing extraordinary and nothing I can’t handle  Alone.  By myself.  With absolute confidence.

A few days ago I had a rough morning with the boys.  I gingerly, with some apprehension, mention this to the BC.  I want to talk about my feelings, frustrations.  And he says to me, with sincerely earnestness, “Well, it’s not surprising.  Your life is shit.  You are alone.  And those boys know they outnumber you.  You have no power.  Of course you feel that way.”

Uh… wtf?

Then he tried to solve my problem.  The problem he made up, defined and identified.

“What you need are better parenting techniques.”  Then this man with zero children expounded upon the many techniques I could endeavor to apply.  “Have you heard of something called ‘time out’?”  Oh jeez.  Or this one, “I’ve read that positive reinforcement can provide a road map to better behavior.  A child told what not to do may not know what to do.”  For crying out loud.

And my feelings were never discussed.  I realized then that I almost never get what I need from this man.  He’s a wonderful man, but he hands me a chainsaw when I need a Band-aid.  It’s interesting, the rush to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, all the while an opportunity for intimacy is waiting.  Let’s talk about my vulnerability and disappointment… in my own children.  That’s big.

The ideal response from the BC would have been something like “You’re feeling under-appreciated.  I appreciate you and one day your kids will too.” I probably would have cried and believed that he saw into my soul.

Nope, the moment passed him right by.  But he managed to walk away self-satisfied.

Star Wars and Martin Luther King

Star Wars and Martin Luther King

I never did figure out how to celebrate this holiday.  So I’m making the regular activities of the day fit a theme.  It’s backwards, but dammit, I have a New Year’s Resolution to keep!

So I’m sorting Legos.  I’m sure I’ll write more about Legos at some point.  I love them.  Obsess about them.  They teach me and inspire me.  I’m serious.

But the sorting is a chore.  I have a system: small Legos, large Legos, flat Legos, and then obscure and large sized ones.  Most colors have four boxes each which are divided in this way.  About the size of a shoe box so you can tell right off I have thousands of Legos.

Unfortunately this is a bit backwards for the holiday because I am segregating the Legos.  Right now I have three bowls of integrated Legos and I can’t have that.  They must be separated – then further separated by size.  So since I’m backwards on this holiday any way, I guess it’s ok to not let the red and gray Legos mingle.  We will have none of that!  Separate but equal in the Land of Legos.

My goal with this particular sort is to get through the whites and reds because I want to make two Star Wars X-Wing ships.  I’ve been going through my favorite projects.  I’m particularly interested to know whether or not I still have all the pieces.

Once the kids get their hands on my Legos there is no telling where the pieces go.  They actually play with them.  It drives me crazy.

My happily ever after is right around the corner

My happily ever after is right around the corner

In 2009 my husband of 16 years, boyfriend for the six years before that, told me he was done.  He wanted a divorce.  He actually said he wanted a divorce for the last ten years but put up with it all because, well he didn’t like confrontation.  He thought we’d been such good “roommates” for the last few years that he would simply move into the guest room and we would continue that arrangement for, oh, say another five years.  By then he would be ready to leave. 

A lot more was said, but I was in such shock that I don’t remember a lot of it.  As you might imagine, while he was being a good roommate, I was being a good wife.  I put up with a lot, supported him and protected him while we were waist deep in his crap. I believed I was making an investment and the payoff was just around the corner.  At some point we would be happy again; we would look back and laugh at these hard times.

So my investment went bust.  Well, I couldn’t wait for him to be ready to move out, who wants a bad investment lingering around sapping resources?  So a few weeks after he dropped his bomb, I found myself tossing his things into his car and watching him drive away.   You see, that afternoon he left with the kids for lunch and the park.  He came back at 8pm.  It seems he had a glass of wine with lunch, never made it to the park, and drank straight through to dinner.  Then he drove home.  With the kids.  I was angry and rather than suppress as usual, I called him on being irresponsible. He became enraged at my lack of gratitude for taking the kids out for the afternoon. 

There was a time when I would stand there and take it, back before we were roommates.  I never would have confronted him.  I would have apologized for appearing ungrateful and told him he misunderstood.  But you know, that November, I’d had enough.  So when he told me I was ungrateful I took a deep breath and defended myself.  That’s when he threatened to leave.  And I started to laugh.  Like divorcing me wasn’t enough, wait, there’s more!  He might actually leave!  It was ludicrous.  He was ludicrous. 

I remember it was scary and exhilarating.  This man who I couldn’t imagine spending my life without… in a matter of days I suddenly couldn’t imagine spending another second anywhere around him.

Well, because he doesn’t like confrontation, and he doesn’t like to be wrong, and he doesn’t like paying his debts, we still aren’t divorced.  My attorney told me last week we have a mandatory settlement hearing first week in February. We must agree to the dissolution that day or the judge will end it under his own terms.  So I’ve been reflecting a lot these last few days.

I’ll finally be divorced first week in February.  For the right things, I am very grateful.

I love you; you disgust me

I love you; you disgust me

I consider my Boyfriend Candidate one of the funniest guys I know.  And intelligent.  It’s a hard combo to find.  There are some notable exceptions, but most of the time I find the funny guys are hiding their stupid behind their funny.

Nevertheless, my guy crosses the line a lot into vulgar and disgusting.  Lately I’ve noticed it crossing over into really gross and embarrassing.  I went to his house last night.  He bumped into a neighbor who had been sailing that afternoon.  Basically, my guy said, “How was it?  You got any women with you on that boat?  Serving you drinks or anything else?”  I audibly groaned.  I don’t know that guy.  That was just awkward.  Later, I said something about a hair’s breadth away from something.  He then chimed in with a story about units of measurements in aerospace engineering.  He heard these presumably competent engineers, say something was as narrow as a gnat’s eyebrow or a c**t hair.  He thought that was hysterical.  I had no need for that to be in my brain.  And I’m sorry I just put it in yours. I was disgusted.  Am I a guy in a locker room?  Do men in locker rooms really even talk like that?  I suspect not.  Somewhere in there I told him that humor like that only served to reduce my opinion of him.

This hints at a larger issue.  He should feel free to say whatever, to disclose and dream.  I want him to share his unspoken ambitions and dark sexual fantasies.  But I don’t want him to cross that line into grossing me out or being perversely, publicly rude.  And where is that line?  I can’t say I just know it’s there.  So we talked about it.  He thought it was an interesting dilemma.  He definitely didn’t want me to be disgusted by him so he would try to self sensor a little more.

Two hours later.  We’re at a bar chatting it up with the cute young bartender who is going to cosmetology school and is a hair stylist.  She said there was a lot of money in simple blow outs and in Brazilian blow outs.  I bristled.  I knew it was coming.  She said “blow out” and she said “Brazilian”.  Double whammy, it was too much for my guy.  “Hey, I didn’t think there was any hair in a Brazilian!” and a couple minutes later “And how is that Brazilian blow job different from the regular kind?!”  Our girl looked like she was going to throw up.  I put my head down on the bar.  No one was laughing.  “Hey, what’d I say? I thought it was funny.”

He’s working on it.  We’ve got a ways to go.