Tag Archives: divorce

Snowbound

For those of you who have been without TV, telephone, Internet, Twitter or Facebook access the last few days, Chicago just experienced its worst snowstorm in forty years. It does not make me happy that I remember the ones that were worse; that just makes me old.

At any rate – here we are, on the day after the blizzard.

This was the first storm like that that I’ve experienced on my own. I felt like I was okay. I stocked up on important things like Diet Coke and knew that I would be grateful for my seasonal snow plow contract. I’ve been home for a few days with a bad back anyway, so I looked forward to the opportunity to continue to nurse my aching back and get another day or two off from school.

Wednesday I kept getting phone calls from people wanting to make sure I was okay. It kind of made me feel like I was in a Cormac McCarthy novel… single woman, two dogs, trapped in a house waiting for the snowplow…

My aging border collie has been sick, too, so, alone in my bed hearing the wind whip I started to obsess about that a little. Interesting word – aging. Why do we use it to talk about those getting old? Aren’t we all aging starting at day one? You never hear anyone say “the aging three-year old struggled with toilet training…” Sorry – I digress.

Back to obsessing over the dog. What if she passed during the storm? What would I do if I couldn’t get to the vet with the body? Would I put it in cold storage of some kind? That just made me feel like I was in a novel by Stephen King.

In the morning, in the aftermath of the storm, I watched my neighbors outside digging out. Families, husband and wives, moms and dads, kids. Shoveling, clearing paths to mailboxes, playing with the dogs. It definitely fell into one of the moments of feeling alone.

Snowbound makes you feel alone. Alone like vulnerable, alone like “I wish I had someone here to drink a hot cocoa with,” alone like “there’s nobody here who cares that we’re stuck in the house.”

Some days feel more divorced than others. Like when I had to put Ben Gay on my own aching back. Or when the vet says “I think her liver is more enlarged.” And when the weatherman says “it’s going to be one for the history books, folks.”

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Are you kidding?

Just received in an email on a dating site: mmm greatest gift to my eyesight is having my eyes set on you hugs and kiss

Are you kidding? Does that work?

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We’re divorced already!!

Last week was my week to work on saving some money. Not that every week isn’t a week to save some money, but I dedicated time last week to calling my suppliers – AT&T, ADT, etc., and negotiating lower bills.

AT&T had a little bundle they pitched, which involved switching from Dish Network to DirecTV. That’s cool. I’ve had Dish for a long time and I knew that by switching I’d be saving some serious cash for the next year.

So, DirecTV was all installed yesterday and I called Dish to cancel. Or, at least, I tried to call Dish to cancel.

Sorry, Mr. Ex needs to call. The account is in his name.

I replied, “Well, it’s been billed through AT&T for years, and the AT&T account is in my name…”

Dish: We’re sorry, Mr. Ex will have to add you as an authorized user.

Of course, the easiest thing to do is to email Mr. Ex to ask him to do it, which I’ve done, and I’m sure he will, but this is very frustrating. We never ordered the service through Dish, we’ve never paid for the service through Dish, and it shouldn’t be my problem that AT&T didn’t change the account when we changed the AT&T account to my name.

I hate bureaucrats.

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There are times

When you feel more divorced than others. Today, as I sat in the emergency vet’s office for 3+ hours waiting for them to do X-rays on my 13-year old border collie, was one of them.

And then, when the vet went over the results with me, recommending an ultrasound to see if what looks like an abdominal mass is on the liver or spleen, was one of them.

And then, coming home and sitting looking at these sweet dog who’s been with us – and now, me – for almost 13 years is one of them.

I have wonderful children and friends who are only a phone call away, but, in the end, the decision is mine.

And I’m not loving making it by myself.

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Filed under Reflections, Singleness

Lonely at Ikea

Ikea is not for the faint-of-heart in any instance. The lines; the cart-only escalator; the miles and miles of lamps, bowls, desks, linens and things-you-didn’t-know-you-needed can make anyone turn on her heels and head for the nearest mom-and-pop furniture store (are there any of those left?). And you really want to make Ikea a miserable shopping experience? Go by yourself.

Yesterday I was in the Ikea neighborhood and headed there for a desk. A simple desk. No drawer, no keyboard drop, no hutch. Essentially a tabletop with legs. Nothing too deep, nothing too long. Ikea had just the thing, I discovered via the Internet, and the price was right. I also wanted a small nightstand lamp, and we all know that Ikea can’t be beaten for cheap lighting.

So I went there. Alone. I think I was the only single person there.

First, it’s the choosing. To be honest, going to a grocery store post divorce was kind of weird too. I looked with sadness at the old people strolling the produce aisles holding hands. I couldn’t get used to buying food just because I wanted it. No reading labels to make sure it was suitable for Mr. Ex the vegetarian to eat. No thinking about what the kids would eat for lunch or what the family would share for dinner. Nope, just me. But I got over it. And, to be honest, there are always lots of alone people at the grocery store.

At the grocery story, though, it’s not like you see a bunch of people standing around discussing the relative merits of Gala apples over Honeycrisp.

Not Ikea. Everything at Ikea is a discussion. White table legs or silver? Red bowls or blue? And everywhere you look there are couples and families trying to figure out if it will fit, get home in the car and if it’s really that easy to put together.

And then there’s the pulling off the shelves and getting the item into the cart with nobody else to hold it steady. I bet you never appreciated that extra person before, right? Go ahead and do it yourself without looking like your cart was taken hostage by Candid Camera. Whoops – there it goes down the aisle while the divorced lady chases after it with a tabletop in her arms.

Then it’s the buying. They don’t bag at Ikea (they don’t even give you bags – you have to buy them now). They just take your money. And since most people use plastic in some way, they really just scan and give you a slip of paper with numbers on it. So you’re stuck bagging after you’ve paid, if you’re alone. While the people behind you stand tapping their feet because you’re now in their space.

Then there’s the dreaded holding area. The pickup zone (I don’t mean that in a good way). The leave-your-cart, get-your-car zone.

I may be overly suspicious, but I’m not happy about spending a lot of money for stuff and then leaving it alone so I can run and get the car. And I didn’t do it yesterday. Luckily I know I’m suspicious, so I planned ahead (I do that occasionally) and chose a parking space that was fairly convenient to the pickup zone. And my purchases weren’t that heavy (and, of course, I had my new, 59 cent Ikea bag), so I grabbed them out of the cart and carried them to the car myself. And even got the 48-inch tabletop in the trunk first try.

All-in-all, it was a pretty miserable shopping experience. The exciting news is that I got the purchases home and managed to put everything together from the no-words, goofy pictures instructions.

But I’m not excited to do it again any time soon.

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“Good enough”

This post was inspired by an article by my friend Deborah Reigel – who is, without question – the greatest life coach, motivational speaker, Jewish mamma eva.

Now that I’m mowing my own lawn, I’ve developed the mantra “it’s not a golf course.” In other words, so what if there are a few stray blades that didn’t make it under the mower this time? So what if I don’t trim the edges? If there are weeds? My favorite sister-in-law, by the way, tells me weeds are necessary for a healthy lawn. And she’s an environmentalist, so I trust her.

Since having 100% responsibility for the house, the car, the dogs, I’ve had to learn to silence my inner perfectionist and let some things go. It’s been hard. For much of my life, good enough was never less than 100% perfect.

Not too long ago, I had a lot of work done in my house. I had ceilings replaced, the entire house painted – expensive stuff. As soon as it got warm and humid, I noticed some nail pops in the newly-done ceiling in the living room. I was devastated. Okay, I was devastated as soon as I got over being worried that the house was going to come down around my ears. But I was devastated – here I had just spent all this money on the work, and it wasn’t perfect any more.

Unperfection happens.

And I’m gettin’ okay with it.

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Filed under Creating a new life, Singleness, Things I never did before

Get out the pom pons

At dinner the other night with my newest friend-from-divorce-support we talked about how we had spent our lives being our now-ex spouse’s and children’s cheerleaders.

And that now it was time to be our own.

We don’t really know how to do that, but we decided that we would start by finding other women who were in the same position. Kind of start with cheerleading one another, and that maybe we’d get good at cheering ourselves. Just a few, to start.

Recently I tripped across the organizational development process known as Appreciative Inquiry.

When I was in corporate America we occasionally would go through these improvement initiatives – no doubt the brainchild of some middle manager who needed to prove his worth – that required us to get together in groups, find problems, document them and then figure out how to solve them. They came and went; we’d have the meetings, we’d make the charts, we’d create the PowerPoint presentations, and then we’d come up with ways to solve the problems we didn’t know we had until we started the process… Anyway, Appreciate Inquiry is one of those improvement processes that starts out a little differently. You start by figuring out what’s good – where the strengths are, and where the successes lie.

So I spent some time at the AI Commons website, and it occurred to me that this could be a nice way to start… not with what’s wrong but with what’s right.

You see, when you go through a divorce, you start to see (well, at least I did) your life through a rather dim lens. Something failed. You were part of something that broke. To use the corporate America metaphor, your organization went bankrupt and the management was responsible. And there was no government bailout. And we got fired.

Here’s the plan: find a small group of women (and, yes, that may be arbitrary, but I’m in charge so I get to pick and I only want women in this) who would like to figure out what’s right, would like to help one another move forward and participate in something where they can get unconditional support.

And I’m sure we’ll have cookies, too.

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Filed under Moving on, Support, Uncategorized