A Long Time Coming

Things have been very quiet here on the blog for the last several months. It’s been a conscious choice on my part. There were things I wanted to write about but it just wasn’t the right time to share them. Events are finally pushing forward now and the time has come for me to be able to share them.

Scot and I are divorcing.

This has been building for many years and it has finally come to a head. We are broken. We cannot continue on this course; we cannot continue to be married. For the sake of our children, we must divorce.

I never thought I would have to say the words, “I want a divorce.” I never thought we would be a statistic. I never thought that we would be That Couple in our circle of friends that didn’t last. Everyone who knew us when we got married said we would be the kind of couple that would last.

And yet, here we are.

We still have a lot of details to work out. For the moment, we are still all living in the same house; a circumstance that is not very comfortable for anyone involved but it’s what it has to be at this point. We are working with the appropriate parties to figure out how to separate our lives after 15 years of them being entwined. We are trying to do this very difficult thing as peaceably as possible for the sake of the children we both love so much. I don’t know exactly what the future holds for the kids and I, but I know that it HAS to be better than where we are now.

I only hope that I can manage to walk this path with dignity and grace. I know there are times when I’m so angry it’s awfully hard to find any grace much less dignity. But I continue to pick myself up and put one foot in front of the other because I don’t know what else to do. I try to remind myself that the definition of grace is not that we never stumble and fall but that we get back up, we keep trying, we work to make each day a little better than the last. Breakdowns will come but I can’t let that mean that I give up.

A new life will rise from the disaster of this year and I can only hope that when I get there, it’s better than where I am now.

And so all of this is why I haven’t been blogging. There was too much to say and too much chance I’d say the wrong thing. I still won’t be sharing too much about the details of all this in this space (I’m sure you understand why) but I hope to not be such a stranger.

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Just Another Day In Paradise

Today, 14 people died in San Bernadino, CA.

Today, 1 person died in Savannah, GA.

Today, 1 person died in Houston, TX.

Five days ago, 3 people died in Colorado Springs, CO.

This is our country and this is what happens here. We kill each other for stupid reasons. Everyone everywhere kills each other for stupid reasons so why do we seem to be so good at it?

Guns. We’re good at it because of guns. Because the Second Amendment grants us the right to bear arms. Because every time we’ve attempted to hem in the rights granted by that amendment, it has resulted in ever more complicated laws that do no good.

Today I had to text not one but two friends in two different locations to be sure they were ok after reports of a mass shooting.

This is our country and this is what happens here. We live in fear that those we love will die in a place that was supposed to be safe because of a nutjob with a gun.

I am sick of it. I am tired of making allowances for good, responsible gun owners. I don’t care that they exist and I don’t care that they’re following the rules. The point is that rules that make life easier for them ALSO make it easier for criminals and nutjobs and domestic terrorists. And I’m done.

The Second Amendment is wrong. It is wrong. We don’t need it anymore. It is more harmful than it is helpful. I don’t care if that offends people. I don’t care if that makes me un-American. I don’t care if you personally find that statement offensive. I don’t care.

I care that 20 first graders died in their classroom. I care that people who work at Planned Parenthood live with the constant threat of violence toward them. I care that nowhere is safe anymore.

Guns are unnecessary in the context that the Second Amendment has allowed them to exist in this country. Guns outnumber PEOPLE in this country. I am done pretending I understand responsible gun owners. I am done pretending that their responsibility negates the necessity of changing the laws.

I am done.

The Second Amendment is reckless. It is stupid. It needs to be changed. Because one day, I’d like to be done being scared that a day at the movies with my family will turn into a day of terror and grief.

Foreboding

T.S. Eliot famously said, “April is the cruellest month.” It’s only March 10th but April is sneaking up on me and my sense of doom is growing.

The last three years April has been terrible. Three years ago Scot lost his job. Two years ago, he lost his job AGAIN. Last year he had 2 surgeries. I used to love April – spring usually really sets in during April. The weather turns sunnier and the world smells of growing things. My birthday is also in the end of April

But now I’m coming to dread the whole damn month. I keep wondering what will happen this year. Will he keep his job? Need another surgery? Will a child break a bone? Will a dog die? Will something happen that finally breaks me and I lose my mind?

I have happy things planned for April this year. My parents are coming to visit. I’m going to Texas for a long weekend to visit with my best friend whom I haven’t seen in a couple of years. I’m going to see Indigo Girls with The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with a group of Twitter ladies. I’m excited by all of these things.

But I’m worried, too. I can’t shake the feeling that April is going to slap me in the face, punch me in the stomach, and kick me in the crotch again.

Say What, Now?!

I feel like I’m living in an episode of Vetrinarian’s Hosptial – “the ongoing tale of a quack who’s gone to the dogs.”

(If you don’t understand that reference, get off my lawn.)

Scot finally went back to work AT work yesterday – the first time since his gall bladder surgery. He’s been working since the surgery but it’s all been at home because of various complications and issues he’s had during recovery. With him finally going to work, I thought we were out of the woods.

I was apparently being cocky by thinking this and the universe decided we needed a beat down.

When Scot came home from work yesterday I could tell he was in a lot of pain. He said he thought he’d hurt himself the day before while hauling laundry or taking out the trash. He’d even called his surgeon’s office and spoken with them just to be sure he wasn’t screwing up his recovery. Everyone thought it was a muscular thing.

As the evening wore on, however, he wasn’t getting any better and any movement made it much worse. He vacillated about whether or not he should go to the ER and be checked out or if he should tough it out until morning and call his doctor. Ultimately, he decided to head into the ER.

So, off he toddled. They gave him pain meds, drew some blood work, and sent him for a CT scan. I was home with the kids and I was starting to drift off to sleep when my phone rang.

“You’re never going to believe this,” Scot said.

“What?”

“I have APPENDICITIS.”

Yes, indeed he did. Just four short weeks after his cholecystectomy, he was now going to need an appendectomy.

The ER called his surgeon to discuss the course of action and Dr. Garrett decided to come in and check Scot and then decide. It was 11:15 pm. I got out of bed and got myself dressed and presentable while Scot called his Dad and asked him to watch the kids for us.

When my father-in-law got to the house, I headed into the hospital having no idea whether he was going to have surgery that night or in the morning. When I got there, Dr. Garrett had arrived, examined him, said “Yup, appendicitis,” and was planning to get him up to surgery pronto.

Scot was in a fair bit of pain at this point even through all the pain meds they had given him. Both he and I were glad he decided to be seen because we were both worried he might have ruptured his appendix if he’d waited.

So, around 2 am this morning, Scot said goodbye to that most vestigial of organs, his appendix. He did fine in surgery, I spent time with him in recovery, and then he got settled in a room. I finally got to go home around 5 this morning. I had been up for 22 straight hours and I had time for a quick 2 hour nap before the boys would be awake.

This morning was not pleasant.

Anyway, in trying to piece together the progression of events, his surgeon went back to a CT scan that Scot had about 2 weeks ago. On that scan, his appendix was A-OK. By last night it was clearly infected and unhappy. Basically, his appendix said, “Fuck it. I’m outta here. I miss my good buddy Greg Gall Bladder.” (Yeah, I just named his gall bladder. What of it? I’ve had four hours sleep.)

Scot will probably be in the hospital through tonight and be released tomorrow. They want to keep an eye on him for at least 24 hours. Then it’s back home for round two of Abdominal Surgery Recovery.

Thus ends the tale of his 5th surgery since we’ve been married. He’s running out of superfluous organs to remove. About all he has left is T&A – tonsils and adenoids.

Willful

Sometimes I wonder about the sagacity of giving Jamie the power of speech. Lately he’s been coming out with some doozies. Other times, he’s just hilarious.

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Jamie thinks that discipline is funny. This presents all manner of problems, of course.  One evening, I scolded him for something (I don’t remember what) and he started to laugh at me.

“You’re not funny, Jamie,” I said sternly.

“Oh, I funny, Mommy,” he replied.

Yeah. You’re a riot, Alice.

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This morning we were on our way home from the grocery store and Jamie was in the backseat repeating “Hai-ya! Hai-ya! Hai-ya ya ya!” over and over again.

So I said it right back to him.

“Stop that, Mommy, that’s annoying,” he said.

O RLY!?

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I took Jamie to lunch at Eat n Park (a perennial favorite of my children) and when his milk came to the table he grabbed a straw to put in it.  As he was tearing off the wrapper…

*gasp* “A bendy straw?!” he said.

“Yes, a bendy straw,” I replied.

“For me?!”

“For you.”

“Yesssssss!”

Who knew bendy straws were that exciting?

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When he’s not being a smart ass he’s being stubborn. I hear “no” and “I don’t want to” an awful lot around here. He’s got an opinion on just about everything and he’s not afraid to voice it. I love this child to distraction and he can be sweet and adorable and loving. I try to remind myself that there will come a day when stubborn self-confidence will serve him well and in the meantime, I just have to civilize his savage side.

As my mother said on the phone today, “You can’t strip to a loincloth, paint yourself blue, and attack the neighbors, kid.”

Indeed.

A Letter To Spring

Dear Spring,

I miss you.  I miss your sunny days, your warming temperatures, your soft breezes, and the delightful way you smell.

You came to visit for a few days.  It lasted almost a week.  Then, you left us and now it’s cold again.  Oh, the sun may be out but don’t let that fool you.  Step outside and you’ll freeze something off.

Spring, you loveliest of seasons, it is now the last week of March.  You have taunted and teased us with hints of your arrival long enough.  Please come to stay.  My children want to play outside, ride bikes, play with sidewalk chalk, and chase the dog.

I want to throw open the windows of my house to let in those wonderful breezes.  I want children who aren’t crazy and cranky from being cooped up inside.  I want to clean my garage and try to tame the leaves left over from last fall.

Come back to us, Spring, and when you do, please whack that stupid groundhog upside the head as hard as you can.