Monthly Archives: October 2009

Furniture shopping

A first: going into a furniture store alone

After a lovely happy hour with a friend yesterday, I decided to brave a new frontier – the furniture store. I only had one glass of wine so I figured it was safe.

Now, these can be pretty intimidating, even with a spouse. Not to mention overwhelming – the choices, the styles, the prices, the salespeople.

And, boy, there’s nothing that makes you feel quite so alone as the realization that the choice of couch color and style is completely up to you.

I circled the entire showroom twice, maybe three times. I pictured myself sitting on the couches, the dogs lying on the couches. I envisioned vacuuming behind them, moving them. I took down measurements. I bought nothing. Of course, I didn’t expect to really buy anything. This is a major purchase, and I refuse to make it standing on one foot. I felt no pressure. I took photos of stuff I liked, but that’s all I walked out with.

I looked at the only other customers in the store: a young couple with a new baby. I remember those days. It seems like it was both yesterday and a lifetime ago. They were excited to be making a purchase, heads together, whispering, no doubt, about how they could afford the purchase, would it survive their children (answer: no), would it fit in the living room… It’s almost hard to believe that they and I are in the same universe sometimes. If this was a movie, the scene would flip from the young couple to Mr. Ex and me 30 years ago. That scene would be faded-looking, clearly the 70’s (elephant bell bottoms, anyone?), but we would be just as hopeful, just as clearly children playing at being grownups. The first furniture purchase – the upgrade from hand-me-downs, college-era, potchkeyed-together stuff.

The following scenes, of course, would show the transitions – sitting on the couch as we held the first baby, cleaning up the spit-up, discovering the cushion that oldest had flipped over after spilling milk on it, waking Mr. Ex at 2:00 am after he would fall asleep watching TV. Arguing after he told me he wanted a divorce.

Wow. You can go through a lot while shopping for furniture. Today I’m looking at what I have to see if any of it will work – maybe I don’t have to buy something else after all.

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Filed under Haven for one, Transition

I survived…

Famous Jewish joke…

Question: How do you explain Jewish holidays?

Answer: They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat.

So, does one have a divorce party? Marriage tried to kill me (not really, but I’m going with a metaphor here, people), I survived, let’s eat.

Do you give favors? Play pin-the-tail (or substitute some part of a man’s anatomy) on-the-ex? Eat cupcakes? Open presents?

Do you make it more meaningful? Institute some kind of ritual where your guests make wishes for you? That sounds kind of, um, mushy.

I dunno. At one time I felt like having one, but now I’m not so sure. It feels kind of anti-climatic.

I like the eating part, though.

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Filed under Creating a new life

Snobbery, and a trip to the grocery store

Snobbery

I really never considered myself a snob. Well, much.

Hard reality: yesterday I had coffee with a really nice, highly intelligent man (we met on Brainiacdating.com – seriously). I was enjoying the conversation, even though I suspected that there is no possibility of more than coffee. He has an adult son with autism, and is pretty upfront about being committed to taking care of him.

All was well. Until he mentioned the new Pergo throughout the double-wide.

Done.

The grocery store
– I’m taking myself on a field trip to a grocery store later today. I realize that to you, the general, food-eating public, this is not momentous. People go to grocery stores all the time. Even single people. Even newly-divorced, “I don’t know how to cook for one after cooking for four” people.

I have gone grocery shopping since Mr. Ex moved out. But it’s been more of the “run in, buy yogurt, run out” shopping, unless I was entertaining (which, frankly, I didn’t do much in the last year). What have I been eating? For the most part, particularly since youngest moved out, it’s been quickie meals; roast chicken; take out; eat at oldest’s; happy hour (okay, quite a few of THOSE). Eggs. Bagels. You get my drift, I’m sure.

I realized this week that taking care of myself must include indulging in something that I’ve always enjoyed, which is cooking and baking. The whole onion roll adventure was part of that, and last week’s beef bourguignon and chicken enchilada soup day was another. So, today, I’m taking myself to a NEW grocery store (well, new to me), Perusing without a list. Gasp – buying on impulse. Because I want it.

The problem, of course, is that if I cook it’s too much for one. Perhaps having ComEd come out last week to take away my old full-size freezer was not the best timing. But I may have a solution to that. I found out yesterday that our school secretary and his live-in girlfriend are a little low on cash (how shocking – a colleague of mine not making enough money to live . . . she says with a touch of irony). He already works a second job, but I guess things are still tight. I’m guessing that they may be willing to help me out with the leftovers . . .

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Filed under Cooking for one, Dating, Online dating, Transition

Anger management: update

I responded to Mr. Lives-in-the-city-and-doesn’t-drive that I didn’t see how my saying that I don’t drive into the city during the week judgmental, and wished him well in his search. That’s pretty much online-dating-speak for ‘get lost.’

He sent me an email saying, “Whatever. You have my email address. The ball’s in your court.”

How true. And that’s where it’s staying.

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Filed under Online dating

Anger management

So I’ve been trading emails with someone from JDate. I’m not extending my paid membership beyond the end of this month, so it’s a last ditch effort.

He’s nice on email, seems interesting, educated… the good stuff.

Unfortunately he lives 30 miles away – about 5 blocks from my late mother’s condo. I know that drive well. Very well.

And the bad news is he doesn’t drive.

So… if I’m going to see him, it means that I’m driving into the city to do it.

I sent him an email explaining that the hour drive is too much for me to do during the week. I work until 4 or 5, and to then get in the car and drive an hour is too much. And, of course, there are the dogs… I wasn’t nasty, just honest. I also said that we could see how the weekend would work out.

I got a pretty strongly worded response that he was angry by my judgmental & accusatory email. Seriously. I’m not sure how my response was judgmental and accusatory.

Oh well.

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Baking for one

p_1600_1200_46BDE6A3-765F-414F-9F33-FB6ED8961B89.jpegFor some time I’ve had a taste for these onion rolls. I used to make them all the time, and they were a particular favorite of Mr. Ex’s. The cookbook in which they can be found is an old copy of Ratner’s Meatless Cooking. So old that the cover price is $1.50.

So old that the book itself is a reminder of my beginnings with Mr. Ex. When he and I got engaged (at the ripe old age of, um, twenty), this book was a gift from a sorority sister. At that time there weren’t a lot of vegetarian cookbooks, especially Jewish ones. Named for the once-famed dairy deli in NY, Ratner’s cookbook provided me with many meal ideas early in our marriage. But the best was the onion roll recipe.

I used to make them all the time. Warm from the oven, dotted on top and filled with a tasty mixture of chopped onions, breadcrumbs and spices, Mr. Ex and I would make meal of them with a bowl of soup. Just tasting them brings back years of memories.

Which is probably why I haven’t made them for quite some time. The memories, and the fact that the recipe makes 24 of the delicious – but hardly low calorie – suckers.

But I’ve wanted them.

So, today, with plans for making a hearty soup over the weekend in the works, I braved the kitchen ghosts and mixed, chopped, kneaded and folded the dough. I waited for the dough to rise and contemplated what to do with 24 (okay, maybe 21) rolls at the end of the evening.

Then I saw the note on the recipe, right before the part about letting them rise before baking: rolls can be frozen at this point.

Frozen?

Frozen and ready-to-bake on demand?

Hot damn.

Better yet, hot rolls.

So there are now 18 frozen rolls just waiting to thaw, rise, bake and be eaten. And, lest you think I ate six tonight, three in the fridge for dinner Saturday night.

Kitchen ghosts be gone.

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Filed under Cooking for one

Half or whole?

638491_applesI ran into an old acquaintance yesterday. As we caught up on the news of our families I braced myself for the inevitable, “and how’s your other half?”

Sure enough, standing among the new tires, sunroom salesmen and fresh baked goods at Sam’s Club, the question arose.

I replied that there was no other half any more – that we were divorced. I gave my stock two-minute explanation: “Last September, Mr. Ex informed me that he was done. We separated in September and were divorced this past August. We had a rough past few years and I’m fine, really. I’m grateful that I can afford to stay in the house and take care of the dogs.” The dog comment was more because of the bigger-than-my-car bag of dog biscuits in my shopping cart.

Clearly this acquaintance doesn’t need the whole story. At this point, anybody who doesn’t know about the divorce doesn’t need to hear that. The conversation pretty much took a dive at that point. People don’t know whether to say “mazel tov!” or “I’m sorry,” and awkwardness ensues. And I hate the pitying kind of look that inevitably comes along with it. My meatballs were defrosting and I was running late for my happy hour date with two women from my divorce support group anyway, so I kind of cut it short.

Driving away, I thought a lot about the ‘other half’ comment. If I no longer have an other half, does that mean I’m a whole now? Is it better to be half than whole? Is half of crappy better than all of less crappy? Of course. Do I feel whole? Is whole the opposite of being without one’s half? Do you feel whole right away or is there a transition to whole like the images on a calendar as we go from a new moon to a full moon?

This is where my black or white thinking gets in the way. I tend to forget that nothing is all-the-time. Sometimes I feel whole and sometimes I don’t. But I do know that it’s better to live alone and occasionally be lonely – occasionally feel like something is missing – than it is to live with someone and feel like something is missing.

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Filed under Transition