Things are going well!  A bit of an overview:

I’m just over halfway done with “Back Class” at school, where it’s all book work and hand-on practice with a mannequin head and no working on paying customers.  So far we’ve learned everything except the actual cutting of hair, which the teacher said she will show us just before we get on the floor.

I made the decision to give up my nail booth at the salon I’ve been at because I just can’t afford it.  I’ve paid $800 for ten weeks of booth rent and have made less than half of it back.  The day I gave the salon owner my notice, planning to vacate the premises this week but she reminded me that I signed a contract requiring me to give two weeks notice so now I owe for two more weeks and I’m out of money…  I cried all morning – not only am I giving up something that is really important to me but now I owe for two more weeks and my only source of income currently is donating plasma.  Ugh.  Turns out that one of my instructors is opening her own salon in May and is willing to rent to me so that’s one option.  I’ve checked with another salon about only working on Saturdays and am waiting to hear back from them so that’s another option…  I’ve also applied at the local movie theater for a part-time, evening job because I love going to movies and I think the hours would be a good fit.  I have an interview Wednesday evening, yay!  And then on Monday I am planning to go to the home health agency my dad works at and apply there as well – I could easily be a personal care aid and do light housekeeping, meal prep, laundry and companionship.  I had a CNA license 15 years ago but I let it expire so I would only be able to do non-licensed care right now but that’s OK, I like helping people.

I did the online dating thing for a month but was over it and cancelled after the first two weeks – since I paid for a month it stayed on for the full month though and those last few days were filled with prayers that nobody would try and contact me, lol!  However, I feel like I made progress, I chatted online with 4 guys AND had one date, a vast improvement over last year when I tried online dating three separate times and only talked to one guy each time with no dates.  Baby steps.  What I find hilarious is the worship leader at church, and possibly the pastor as well, seem to think I’m being “impatient”, lol.  I don’t think they realize that my actual goal in online dating is not so much to get married tomorrow  (and it’s definitely not to get laid) as it is to get comfortable communicating with someone of the male species who just might possibly have an interest in taking me to dinner.  I know I’m damaged in this area and I also know that if I don’t actively work on getting better, the part of my life that deals with romance and intimacy will never ever improve.  At All.  And since I am the ONLY single person in my church and the two guys at school are both married – and one is gay – I don’t have any chance of meeting a single man at either place I spend most of my time, regardless of whether or not he would be interested in buying me food and staring deeply into my eyes… hence the online dating.  And the random, possibly desperate sounding jokes about needing a boyfriend that may be the reason my pastor and worship leader think I’m being impatient.  I’m just trying to get over being petrified but they don’t know me well enough to see beyond what those words would mean coming from an undamaged women’s mouth.

Men are so weird!  😉  Oh and the more Keanu Reeves movies I watch the more I fall in love with him… somehow it’s just easier for me to love men that I know will never love me back, lol, which probably means I’ll be single the rest of my life but now that I’ve survived a loveless marriage I know I’ll be fine, just occasionally whiny about it, ha, ha.

I bought my father a birthday present today, his birthday is in a couple of weeks and I always have the hardest time knowing what to get him because he’s so quiet about what he wants but I think I did pretty good this time!  He plays the guitar and has said a couple of times that he wishes he had a lighter case for his 12-string acoustical guitar – the one he has weighs more than the guitar does all by itself!  So I found the local music store, they had one in stock and I bought it!  Now I just have to find a place to keep it until Dad’s birthday…

Speaking of places to keep things – I am still living with my folks, sleeping on a couch in my Dad’s downstairs office, with just enough floor space next to the couch to keep my two suitcases, two totes and a small storage box.  On top of the totes is my CPAP machine and all the assorted bits of paraphernalia that goes along with everyday life – contact lens solution and cases, the small travel jewelry case that contains a few pieces I brought here with me, gum, cough drops, books, notebooks, pens, a bag I put all of my receipts into, charging cables and the like.  It’s virtually an open “junk drawer” and irritates me to look at it because, somewhat miraculously, I have become a neat and tidy person in my middle aged singleness.  Let me stress that I am soooooo very grateful that my folks let me stay here and haven’t asked for a dime.  I would have been living in my car without their graciousness in housing me and I try my hardest to leave a tiny footprint in their life.  I cart around a laundry basket of food in the trunk of my car to make my school lunches out of and try not leave a mess in the house at any time.  I can tell that it means a lot to my dad to have me here and I love finding bits of time to talk with him and just be around him, I feel like we’re really, finally, starting to connect with each other in a deeper way.  So I feel bad for missing my stuff and my own space… but I do.  I’m ready to find my own place to rent – except that I can’t afford it until I get a job.  <sigh>  My financial aid covers all of my bills like my car payment, insurance, phone, Netflix, etc, but there’s not enough extra to pay for housing so without the kindness of my folks letting me stay with them I would be a dirty, homeless bum right begging showers off the YMCA right now.  This is just another set of dominoes that need to fall in order and everything will be fine in God’s timing…

On a fun note, I’m working my way through Grey’s Anatomy I think that if someone would make a spoof on the show using cosmetologists instead of surgeons it would be super-funny!  But seriously, I think the show is so popular because Patrick Dempsey can do the Man In Romantic Agony face really well and I think deep down every girl wishes a guy would be in Romantic Agony at the thought of not being able to spend his life with her.  I’m only at the beginning of Season 3 and most of Season 2 was spent with Derick and Meredith struggling with their feelings for each other in spite of his decision to “do the right thing” and make it work with his wife.  So far the show has nearly as much sleeping around as Friends did but it addresses some more serious life choice issues as well as some fascinating medical cases.  I’m really enjoying it.

This part of Montana is finally warming up and the falling precipitation has all been rain instead of snow, something I am very thankful for.  The tires on my car were wearing down and I had a noticeable bald spot on the center column of tread on my front tires, something my brother said was an indicator of over-inflation even though they were inflated to what the tire said it should be.  Hmmm…  I had taken a trip to see my best friend from high school and buy nail supplies in her (bigger) city, that was where I had my date that I posted about, and on the trip I was able to see both of my brothers who lived within an hour of my friend and my next older brother and his wife actually bought me a set of four tires from Costco!  I was shocked, amazed and overwhelmed.  I didn’t ask them to do that, I didn’t even hint.  They just offered and I am so grateful!

God is always good and takes excellent care of me through many different people.

What else?  I think that’s about it.  Being on the worship team is going well, school is going well, dating is still non-existent but I’m thinking kinder thoughts about it. My car is running fine, my health is okay, my hair color is no longer the fun magenta that bled all over every piece of fabric it came in contact with and is now a responsible, adult reddish color albeit with some nice black fading on the tips that nobody notices.  The gay guy at school seems to try and find ways for me to touch him by getting pedicures and manicures from me and occasionally touching my shoulder in the hallway and he gives me broad smiles with mischievous winks here and there – and then he ignores me all together.  Did I say men are weird?  They are.  Oh, and I put acrylic on my toenails so I can finally start wearing sandals and not be embarrassed about my toes.  There, now you’re all caught up!

I probably should not have put the exclamation point on there, my first date since I became single was not that exciting but it was a pleasant experience and was a good way to break the dating “ice”.  😀  However, it is my first date in over 21 years so the exclamation mark stays!

Jamie was the fourth guy to message me on the dating app and even in our initial chatting I knew he was not my forever after but he was polite, thoughtful and easy to talk to.  Since my primary goal for joining the dating service was to practice talking with guys with the goal of possibly finding a boyfriend he was definitely perfect for that so I kept responding to his messages.

In an ironic twist of fate I was two states over shopping for nail supplies and visiting my best friend from high school and he was nearby for a job interview!  So he texted me and asked if I’d like to meet for lunch.  Of course I said yes and I even had a particular Italian restaurant in mind (but I didn’t mention it since it was farther away) and we settled on a different Italian restaurant and I met him there.  Except that it wasn’t open for lunch.  so we picked another, nearby Italian restaurant and got back into our separate cars to meet at the new place.  Here’s the thing though, I walk up to the door of the closed restaurant and he is standing there, facing the door with his back to me, looking at his phone (starting to text me and let me know it was closed).  I say “Jamie?” and he turns around, gives me a professional smile with no joy or excitement at meeting me for the first time, shakes my hand in a business-like fashion, explains the restaurant is closed and do I know where this other place is?  It’s been 10 years since I’ve lived in this town so I did know the place he was talking about but it took me a minute to remember exactly where it was and how to get there.  I missed my turn because of all the one-ways downtown but did manage to notice that this new place he selected was also closed.  But this time closed as in gone.  As in Not There Anymore.  Just as I’m pulling into the parking garage he texts me “I’m at the restaurant”.  I’m confused, thinking the restaurant must have relocated nearby so I responded that I had gotten turned around on the one-ways and was trying to find  a place to park as I’m pulling into the parking garage.  I pass him in the parking garage!  He’s walking towards the elevator while I’m driving, trying to find a spot to park – he’s not at the restaurant at all!

This tells me something significant – the fine details are not that important to him, and that generalities are okay.  Hmmm…

I roll down my window, wave, say hi, and he says he’ll meet me by the elevators.  Very businesslike, no real warmth or emotion in his voice.  The parking garage was so full I had to go up another three levels just to find a spot.  He texts again, “I’m guessing we’re not on the same floor, I’ll meet you at the ground level of the elevators”.  I hurry to an elevator, thinking we’ll just have to get back on the elevator together to go to the second floor where I’m guessing the restaurant relocated but I get out at the ground level and hear a voice behind me “I’m here” and he walks briskly towards me and then past me, clearly expecting me to follow him, which I did.  We walk outside back towards where our second eating destination was supposed to be located but I know it is not.  He pays no attention to the fact that all of the green awnings have had the restaurant name peeled off of them, leaving an un-faded spot of brighter green against the weathered, faded green of the rest of the awning and I chose not to say anything at this point because he is clearly In Charge and I’m interested in seeing how he handles this.  We walk around two sides of the building, filled with these logo-less green awnings over the many windows, to get to the main door and it is only then that he realizes that the restaurant is no more.

Well then.  Clearly, details are not his thing.  But he is jovial and remarks that it has been some time (although less than 10 years) since he had lived in that town as well.  I suggest another restaurant located right next door to our second choice and he says that’s fine, he hadn’t even noticed that it was an Italian restaurant too…  Yep, not a detail man.  Strange how much that bothers me, huh.  But here is something small that tells me God loves me and is always looking out for me – the third and final Italian restaurant that we wound up eating at was another branch of the one I had wanted to eat at in the first place!  I just didn’t know they had a downtown location or I would have suggested it.  God is so good!

We walk back to our final destination and I noticed that he did not take care to place himself between me and the road, something I believe marks a true gentleman, and another mark under the “Nope, this one is not for me” column appears.  He chooses to sit in the bar at a tall table, a little awkward for me but not terribly.  We each order food and I study him.  He is obviously confident in his own skin, good-looking but not quite handsome, built a lot like me, short and stout (although in his case I’m positive it’s mostly muscle), and he’s outgoing.  Friendly without being charming, brisk without being obnoxious.  His military career has definitely made a lasting impression on his life outlook and mannerisms, not so much in a bad way but more in a keep-your-distance-and-always-stay-professional kind of way.  Combined with some of the things he had told me about earlier I think that would be hard to break through and am not finding myself motivated to try and accomplish this. He mostly talks about himself and only asks me a few questions, easily and quickly rabbiting off onto tangents that pertain to him once I’ve given an answer.  A couple of times he mildly chastised me for forgetting information he had told me through texting in the days before we met but when he forgot things I had told him in those same conversations it was no big deal to him.  More marks under the “Not for me” column show up.

In the end, he didn’t offer to pay for my food or my parking, got up from our dinner to go to the sushi restaurant next door to get more food “to go” and reached out to shake my hand goodbye, once again, very businesslike.

I skipped the handshake and gave him a hug, which clearly surprised and pleased him, but only a little.  He gave me a decent hug back and we parted.  Just the experience of being able to identify that someone was not for me was worth a hug and I was grateful to him for it.  He texted me while I was driving to the nail supply store and we went back and forth for a half an hour or so, just pleasant conversation between friends.  He wound up getting the job he had interviewed for and moving out of Montana for it.  I’m glad.  He texted me one final time as he was leaving Montana to say goodbye and I wished him well.  I hope he finds a lady who is good for him someday soon.  But it isn’t me.

I just realized, I don’t fantasize about having sex with anybody, lol. When I daydream it’s about being held. 

What I long for, ever so wistfully, is to feel safe inside a strong pair of arms. To spoon and be warmed by a man who smells like a wilderness adventure, rugged and wild. I wish for a bottomless pair of eyes to stare into and find myself reflected in their depths just as he finds himself in mine. 

This is my fantasy. To be utterly and completely safe with someone who loves me just the way I am. 

Well then.  In the 14 days since I signed up I have had 169 men view my profile, 30 guys have said they want to “meet me” and 12 guys have sent me a message.  The messages sometimes don’t say anything, ,just “wink wink” but a couple of my favorites were “Well Hello Red” to “Your hot baby”, lol!  The only scary one was the guy who said, after my gracious brush-off, “You’ll like me and I’ll like you with your red hair”…  That’s a little creepy, I “will” like him.  No thanks!

The first few days made me feel really good about myself, I mean who wouldn’t get excited about getting lots of messages and want-to-meet-yous?  But reality set in when you actually start messaging people and talking to them on the phone.  Here are the top contenders:

Chris – the first day we started “talking” we messaged for 12 hours.  The next day it was 4 hours and then the day after that it was another 12 hours.  And then a few more days of 4 hour chats…  We are so very similar that sometimes I felt like I was talking to myself when I was messaging him, we are damaged in a lot of similar places, have a lot of similar likes and dislikes, it was really fascinating.  I felt like we really connected, I could totally see having a long-term relationship with this guy.  He lives 100 miles away and we exchanged phone numbers and started texting.  A day or two later we made arrangements to talk on the phone but when the time came he begged off, saying he didn’t feel good went to bed and then he didn’t seem interested in calling me after that either… We texted for another day or two and then I asked for his honest opinion of me and we ended up deciding to be friends.  The texting has completely stopped, he never responded to a text I sent him so I let him go.  If he ever manages to come to town and wants to meet me I’ll let him take me to dinner and we’ll see what happens but I suspect that he has written me off because my last text to him was a picture of me with my new I’m-in-beauty-school short haircut and fantasy color, knowing that he likes long hair…  Whatever, he won’t even call me on the phone, I’m not going to change a single thing about me for someone like that.

Mark – I responded to this gentleman’s message because it was more than “Hi” and he didn’t say I was hot, lol.  Mark is not much of a talker, has bad spelling and worse grammar but he had a kind face and was interested in coming into town (he also lived 100 miles away) to meet me right away.  But he also got sick, cancelled his trip and hasn’t messaged me since. He may message me again later and I’d go to lunch with him, we’ll see…

Jeff – This guy was fun and only lived 20 miles from time, we had snappy, witty messaging conversations and joked with each other and were getting along really, really well.  But he didn’t ask me any questions about my past and only a few questions about my present.  He answered my questions with brief replies and several times said we should meet but never even tried to set up a time.  When we finally spoke on the phone it was the most awkward 20 minute conversation I may have ever had, lol.  I think we are both more shy in person than we are in written words but he didn’t even give me anything to work with!  He spent the 20 minutes talking about himself, his job, his brother and his parents.  He didn’t ask me any questions and didn’t give me much of a chance to ask him any questions either.  When he was done talking he said goodnight and hung up.  I messaged him that it was nice to talk to him, he messaged back that he was going to bed but it would be nicer if he had someone to snuggle with…  I never responded.

And there it is, the top three contenders in the first two weeks of my latest online dating venture!  It’s not all I was hoping it will be and I have until the beginning of next month to decide if I want to pay another $30 for another month of this.  Maybe I’ll switch services, ha, ha.

In other news my ex-husband remarried last night.  I thought I would feel something, peaceful, happy, upset, sad… but instead I didn’t feel anything at all.  It’s like they’re two strangers who don’t affect my life at all, imagine that!  However, I am happy for both of them and hope that someday we can all be friends in one form or another.  I was worried about my younger daughter who had to attend the wedding even though she didn’t really want to AND her father put her in the center of the front row, causing her a great deal of anxiety on top of what she was already dealing with.  Both of my brothers drove down to attend the wedding and while I do have mixed feelings about that I am so grateful they were there because they ran interference for her.  She told me after she got home that they stood close by, if somebody started talking to her and she looked like she was getting overwhelmed they would come up, ask if they could borrow her for a minute, walk her away from the person, give her a hug and let her go.  I was so grateful and proud of them!  It means they listened to me and actually heard what I said when I talked about her.  It means they really do care about her and I take that as they really do care about me too.  Which, I knew they did before, but this feels like rare proof of it.  Thank you brothers.

 

Today was my first day on the worship team at my folks church in Montana. Well, I’m going to call it what it is. My church. This is my church now. 

Glad we got that settled…

Yesterday I practiced with the team and then again this morning before the service and I though they went well. Is always been hard for me to blend my piano playing with guitars but they were gracious and we worked the logistics of pretty good, I thought. I was a little nervous but not a lot, mostly about getting used to the sound system honestly. My playing isn’t amazing but it is sufficient for what they want me to do. 

Before the service starts every week they have prayer downstairs,  the elders gather around first the worship team and then the children’s workers and then the pastor and pray for them. While they were praying for us they kept saying things about how thankful they were that I was there and that they had been praying for someone to play the keyboard and that I was their answer to prayer… I don’t think anyone in church leadership has ever said I was an answer to their prayers. It blew me away. 
As we were walking upstairs to start the service the worship leader turns to me and says “I hope you stay here forever”.

Wow! These people really like me! I’ve never been accepted so warmly by any church leadership. 

I’m humbled. I’m honored. I’m flabbergasted and I’m a little concerned they’ll change their minds once they get to know me better… 

The actual service went as well as the practices. I hit a few wrong notes and sang at the wrong time once but overall it was good and I felt like I fit right in with the team. After the service several people shook my hand and thanked me for being on the team. I felt so loved today, by an entire church body that I barely know. 

God brought me here. That knowledge shines brighter every day. This is where I am supposed to be and I am home. 

So I’ve decided to brave the wide world of online dating once again and signed up for an app on my phone.  Talk about feeling on top of the world!  I probably had 10 messages and “so and so wants to meet you” notifications in the first 24 hours.  That’s an amazing self-esteem boost right there…  just sayin’.   So the first person to send me a message impressed me with his complete sentences in the initial “chat”.

All the other guys were just like “hi”, “hi”, “hello”, “hey babe, you’re hot”…  Really guys?  Come on, you can do better than that… And seriously men, why are you not smiling in your main profile picture?  I’m fun, you need to look like it’s at least possible for you to have fun too!  Ahem… but back to my story…

It took us about three days to finally get online at the same time but when we did we messaged each other for 12 hours.  Yes, that’s right. Allllll day!  He was funny and then he was serious and then back to funny again.  He asked good questions and gave me real answers in return.  When we finally called it a night I wasn’t all swept up in euphoria or even twitterpated, I felt almost like I had been to one of those all-day informational seminars and was overwhelmed with everything I learned… I actually needed some time to decompress before going to bed.  I had shared something really important – and personal – regarding what I need to feel safe in a relationship and he came back with an excellent answer.  He didn’t make me feel stupid for feeling the way I did and he agreed that what I described should never happen and if he had lived in circumstances like what I shared he would feel like a slave.

That made me sit up straight… When it comes right down to it I did feel like a slave many times…

Later he shared something equally personal about himself and it blew me away.  First that he would share something so big on our first day of getting to know each other and second that it was so important to him that I know about it right away and he said he would understand if I wanted to “run away now”.

Let’s just say that we are both very broken people and many of our breakings are in similar places emotionally.  With the few things he shared that he’s been through it is a near certainty that he is even more broken than I am in those areas…

While he was sharing about his broken places my heart recognized him as if I was looking at my own face in the mirror and my soul sang out exultantly “I found you”.  Which is totally weird and freaked me out a little bit because that’s never happened before.  I kind of looked sideways at my soul and said “Really?  Seriously?”  I’m definitely not “in love” with this person that I have only talked to for two days and I’m still so broken myself is really it a good idea to be in a relationship with another, really broken person?  The answer to that is no.  I know this, everybody knows this…

But everybody is broken some way, somehow.

My ex-husband was just as broken as I was when I married him although our breakings were mostly in very different places.  I knew some of his broken spots before I married him and I foolishly thought to myself that if I loved him through those broken places that he would become whole and would be forever grateful and therefore would never stop loving me.  So I allowed him to push me into having sex before we were married and then I married him out of a combination of being positive that nobody else in the entire world of “good Christian men” would ever want to marry me because I was no longer a virgin, and, I still wanted to help him.

I want to help everybody, what can I say?  That is one thing that even though it was smothered and squashed for years it never went away.  I love helping people and have an incessant desire to “fix” everybody’s problems.  This is probably why all of my younger daughter’s good friends call me “Mom”…

After we were married, whenever I tried to talk about our marriage and specifically our relationship my concerns were turned around and became my fault and all of a sudden he was the victim and I was the mean one – he never did anything wrong.  After 7 or so years of this I quit trying to fix our marriage and focused on surviving it instead, because that was the “right” thing to do.

I can’t be a part of another relationship like that again, I can’t!  I won’t!  I don’t have to be!  Whew… calm down girl, this is the New You.  You are confident and brave in measures that you never had before.  You can walk away any time you want.  This is, well, it’s not even dating, it’s before dating so stop holding your breath and relax.  Just. Breathe.

But I’ve never felt my soul claim anyone like that before.  So this is very strange to me and I’m not sure what to do.  I decided to write a letter, here, that maybe someday I will show to him but most likely I won’t.  I just need to say this for myself.

Dear Broken Man,

I like you very much.  Even though I know I barely know you I like you.  You’re funny, you’re easy to chat with and my gut tells me that you’re honest in what you’ve told me.  All of the things we like that are similar tickle me.  The fact that you so frequently mention helping other people and seem to enjoy helping others like I do astonishes me.  We have intelligent conversations, you use good grammar and punctuation – and I have no idea why that impresses me so much – you’re not afraid to ask me the deep questions or give me deep answers when I turn deep questions (yours or my own) back around to you.  And our answers to those deep questions are very similar even though sometimes you answer first and sometimes I answer first.  All these things make me like you very much.

The multitude of “coincidental” things astounds me and the sheer number of them makes me think that meeting you was much more a “God thing” than any whim of fate.  Just to name a few:  even though we both live in Montana we both have an out-of-state phone number – from the same state.  We both wear a CPAP – which honestly is a huge answer to prayer because I’m so self-conscious and insecure about having to wear mine, how could I ever possibly look sexy to a future partner while sleeping in a CPAP?  But you have to wear one too!  Our emotional issues are extremely similar despite having different causes and I have been through where you are at now.  I understand where you are now, I “get it” and I know how hard it was for me to get from there to where I am now – but I know that you can do it!

I am realizing that your personality, and how do I say this, is “softer” than mine?  And I wasn’t sure that was possible to do…  It is entirely likely that at this point in your life you are even more gentle than I am in relationships – and while I feel like that is in part due to some of your broken places it also has to be a big part of who you are or it wouldn’t be there to come out so strongly now.

Because of this gentleness combined with the brokenness I think I may have overwhelmed you in my excitement to have found you.  Perhaps for the first time in my life I get to play the part of the blossom and you will be the butterfly.  If you want a friendship with me I’d like that.  If you’d like to take me on a date I’d like that too.  If you’re not sure what type of relationship you want to have with me that is also OK.  We live 100 miles apart and while that’s not actually a lot it’s enough to be a good excuse not to meet if only one of us is super excited about it.  I think that whatever happens, right now I am enjoying being your friend and I know that we were supposed to meet.  You proved to me, right off the bat, that you are nothing like my ex-husband and therefore good, single men DO exist!  And once again God has confirmed that He will bring me the right one when it is time.  Maybe it’s you, maybe it is not you.  Maybe I’ll end up adopting you as another one of my big brothers – because everybody needs a little sister, don’tcha know?  <wink>  All I know is that talking with you is very nearly like talking with myself and I really like whatever this is we have right now.

I wish you peace, joy and healing for the road ahead and have hope that it might include me, even if it is just in a friendship.

Sincerely,

Me.

I have come to realize that I Am Home.

I lived here for several years in grade school and hated leaving Montana when my folks split.  When my mother left my dad we went to Spokane and would make the drive back to see my dad several times.  For years I claimed I could tell, by the sheer feeling alone, when we had crossed the boarder back into Montana.  The skies were bluer, the mountains were taller, the air was sweeter…  For years and years Montana was home and I longed to move back there.  Until I had been away so long I couldn’t feel the change as I crossed over that border and then that memory of “Home” faded into distant memory and I began to feel that home wasn’t anywhere.

I caught glimpses of Home here and there, mostly with people like my best friend from high school, but only in one other place – the Oregon Coast.  Sigh.  I still love it there…

In the month since I officially moved here I have made two trips back to the city I came from, once to get a few more things out of mini storage for my  nail business and once to attend my younger daughter’s high school graduation.  This last trip back I was shocked to find that my old town wasn’t “Home” but simply a place I knew my way around.  That both pleased and concerned me slightly.  I had spent just over 10 years there, my kids had spent almost half their lives there.  Heck, my kids still live there!  I have more friends, good friends, there than I can shake a stick at and enough people who have offered me a place to stay on future visits that I will never, ever need to get a hotel or sleep on my sister’s couch. I have a tiny church there that I hold dear to my heart… but it isn’t home and I’m not sure that I want to live there again like I thought I would before I left.

Huh.

What a fascinating revelation.  I will continue to think on this…

But first a quick review of the graduation.  I was smiling so broadly the term “grinning like an idiot” probably applied but I was sooooo proud of my younger daughter!  She did it!  She actually graduated high school with a diploma and not just a GED.  She got to walk across a stage in her cap and gown and get her picture taken with a school official and she is ready to start the rest of her life.  I am so happy for her!

What was less happy was seeing my former in-laws, ex-husband and his fiance.  Actually let me clarify, seeing the fiance and his father was great.  He and his mother were, still, obviously angry with me and while they were kinder to me than they had been in June at my twin nieces graduation they still rattled me bad enough that I skedaddled out of there as quick as I could after hugging my newly-graduated daughter and telling her I would see her the next day.

Yes, that’s right, somehow he still gets to me so much that I ran away from my own daughter’s graduation as soon as I politely could.

I was talking to my best friend from high school and think I may have figured out (part of) what goes on inside of me whenever I have contact with dear old ex-hubby.  My particular personality type is desperate for two things to be accomplished in the people around me, I want you to be happy and I want you to be comfortable.  If I can’t make you happy and/or comfortable then I have failed and this causes me distress.  A lot of distress.  Sometimes even panic-attack type stress.  I will never be able to make my ex happy OR comfortable, he still has too much anger towards me to allow himself to even smile in my presence.

It occurs to me that when you don’t believe you did anything wrong you can’t change anything about yourself that was – and continues to be – part of the problem and therefore you continue to have a problem where there may not actually be one anymore making (mostly) just yourself miserable.

How do I accept the fact that I will never succeed in my driving need to make this particular person happy and comfortable?  That’s hard and I’m working on it.  Maybe it’s less accepting that fact and more acknowledging that I can’t make it happen and That’s Okay.  It’s Okay.  I can’t make everybody in the whole entire world happy and comfortable and it’s okay.

Yeah.  That one’s still going to take some more work… but I’ll get it.

My older daughter was in Thailand on a missions trip and didn’t get home until midnight of the day that her younger sister graduated.  I texted her, welcoming her home and saying I wanted to meet with her in the next two days before I left town again.  She never responded.  I texted again, at 8:30 pm the night before I left saying sorry I didn’t get to meet with her and she finally responded – sorry I didn’t get back to you, have a nice trip home.

It’s disheartening to know she didn’t want to see me but I wasn’t terribly surprised.  Even though she had just come back from overseas after 3 weeks the whole, entire weekend was mostly about her sister and less about her for both her father and grandparents – and me.  It’s very difficult for a narcissist to deal with not being the center of attention when they think they should be and I get that.

In the end I came Home when I had planned to.  I drove the long hours and came home, listening to an audiobook of Eat. Pray. Love. and finally finishing it about an hour and a half away from Home.

I signed up for an online dating app within an hour of arriving at home, I’ve decided I need to stop hiding my head in the sand and pretending that every man out there is as bad as my ex-husband and at least talk to a few guys and see what happens.  I’m not in a hurry to hitch my star to just anyone’s wagon but it would be nice to be friendly with a guy I could  maybe, possibly see a potential future with.

School is going well, just started week three and we learned how to wrap hair for a perm today… I’m really hoping to get myself a perm here soon, either that or cut my hair short again, it’s driving me nuts, lol!

I’m off to bed, I’m not getting anywhere near enough sleep now that I’m a student again, ugh!  If you pray, pray for me for strength to get through long days of standing on my feet and never getting enough sleep because despite everything I’m still a night owl and can’t sleep when I go to bed early.

Hugs to all of you ❤

Life is flying by, dang!  Day 11 was January 13th, a Friday.  I will try to summarize…

I sat at my new nail shop allllllll day Friday the 13th with not a single customer.  I finally talked my (step) sister into coming in and letting me give her a full set and then she took me out to dinner and introduced me to a bunch of her friends.

Something I’m learning about (at least this area of) Montana is that going out to eat is more often than not in a bar and drinking is The Thing To Do around here.  We spent probably 5 hours at the bar that night and a few of my sister’s friends were already sauced when we got there… by the end of the night everyone but me was too drunk to drive – I had only consumed one rum and coke, most of one shot of something apple flavored, a sip of two other drinks and 3 Dr. Peppers, with a full meal towards the beginning of all that, lol.  I actually had a great time hanging out with my sister and her friends, even drunk they were great people, happy, friendly, lots of hugs and laughter.  I really enjoyed myself that night and left with a great fondness for each of them.

The next day, Saturday the 14th, I sat at  the nail shop all day again and again, no customers.  And I was out of family to call in and work on for free just for something to do.  Panic starts to set in.  I had just committed to paying for space at the nail salon and had paid the first two weeks up front in cash, leaving me with $100 for the next six weeks… but there wasn’t any walk-in traffic on what is normally the two busiest days of the week.  Granted, it was January (the slowest month) and the weather was below zero so nobody was out and about who didn’t absolutely have to be but I had no other source of income than that spot in the nail salon, my only other skills are secretarial and those jobs don’t happen quickly and require working during school hours. So unless I could find a spot as a Walmart greeter on short notice I had little to no hope of getting any other job at all.  My bills are covered through the end of January but February  is coming quick… what do I do?  Anxiety began to ride the heels of panic.

Sunday the 15th I went to church and hung out at the house, reading a book the rest of the day.  It was a nice, relaxing day and I was happy not to have to do anything…   One of Dad’s friends is the worship leader and he was interested in getting me on the team so he asked me to come to the next worship practice and meet the pastor.  I am so excited!  I have missed being a part of a worship team so much.

Monday the 16th – I have one income option left, Uber.  I had signed up to be an Uber driver for Montana way back in July and I was approved, ready to go, all I had to do was open up the app on my phone and accept rides… so I did.  It happened to be Martin Luther King day and the buses here don’t run on Sundays or holidays so I actually did 17 rides that day in a 12 hour period and made over $100!

Wow, wow, wow!  Monday through Saturday I went out every day, driving for Uber, between 12 – 14 hours a day and for the week I made $616. It was long and boring, I spent most of that time waiting for my next ride and several times there was 3 hours in between rides  – but most of the riders themselves were very nice people and the ones that didn’t make it to the “very nice” category were certainly not difficult at all, more along the lines of “indifferent” to my attempts at small talk.  There was an Irishman from Ireland who said he liked MY accent (I didn’t think I had one, lol) and lots of really nice people who welcomed me to town and answered my questions about the city.  My drunk riders were almost all happy drunks – except for the one attorney who was a sad drunk and told me that he didn’t know anything about being an attorney except what the television and movies showed before he made the choice to go into law and then got stuck in a very sad job where he specializes in divorce and child support.  I felt really bad for him, he was so sad…  But I was never in danger from any of my riders and really enjoyed (most of) their company.

I made enough money to go a long ways towards February’s bills.  Uber isn’t something I want to rely on for my full income but in this time period of waiting for the financial aid to kick in it is a perfect job and my stress level went waaaaay down.

Saturday morning the 21st I did go to worship practice, I slept in a wee bit and then went to  the second half of praise and worship practice – just to listen.  I met the pastor and we talked as a group a bit and then the pastor offered me access to the piano in the basement to practice whenever I wanted to, more or less.  I just have to contact him first so he can let me into the church.  After our talk I played the piano for an hour and a half and it felt so wonderful!  I’d been without a piano to play since probably July.  More stress gone…

Sunday the 22nd I went to church with my folks again and the pastor blew me away with his sermon.  The previous week I had thought the message typical and rather unremarkable but this week he talked about placing relationships first when reaching out to others.  His statement “We need to stop trying to clean the fish before we catch them.”  really resonated with me and put into Montana-style words something I have believed for a long, long time.  I can commit to this church wholeheartedly.  More stress gone…

Monday the 23rd school started and let me tell you, this first week has been crazy!  Trying to adjust to waking up at 6:30 in the morning as opposed to 8:30 is rough.  It didn’t help that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I went out and drove for Uber again for several hours trying to add to my pay-the-bills fund but because of it I have spent this first week of school being so tired that sometimes I’m afraid I will fall asleep while reading the textbook in class, ugh!  Fortunately it sounds like the financial aid might kick in sooner than I was told, I hope so…

The school has lots of students (maybe 30 girls and one married man, lol) and not very much space. Like, I can’t even bring my purse because there’s no place to store it while I’m in class… On top of the 30 or so existing students there are 9 girls in my class of newbies.  Everyone in the entire school is very nice, although some are a little crazy – but I suspect that goes with the territory, ha, ha!  The dress code is black shirts and black tops so all of my nice, professional wardrobe is of no use to me now, except on Fridays (like today) when we can wear jeans and other clothing.  There are two textbooks we learn out of and each student got a duffel bag/kit of supplies, including our very own mannequin head!  On Tuesday five of us newbies decided to carpool from the bigger town we live in to the smaller town the school is in an hour away.  Each of us will drive one week at a time and that brings my monthly gas bill down from almost $400 a month to about $75.  More stress gone…

On Tuesday a total stranger found my ad for nail services on Craigslist and scheduled an appointment online for a pedicure with gel polish tonight, Friday night, and she loved it and plans on telling her friends!  The four girls I carpool with are interested to coming to me to get their nails done and they will show their co-workers and refer me to them as well.  AND some of my Montana sister’s friends are interested in coming to me… my nail business could get started and take off big time this way!

God has been soooooo good to me in this move.  I feel like it was a true leap of faith, not having much of a plan, no immediate source of income, no housing arranged, no job arranged…  I have often looked back and thought, “What on earth did you do girl?  Why did you think this was a good idea?”  but God has met me every step of the way and proven to me every day that this was His idea and He is providing for me, just like He always has, just like He always will.

I am so grateful.

Well, well, well…  I actually did it, I moved to Montana!

Day 1:  Driving.  Lots of driving.  However this time I downloaded Spotify and signed up for the free month trial of their premium service that lets you download unlimited songs to play when you’re offline and it made a HUGE difference in the trip.  I somehow managed to get there a half hour before the map said I should.  Oops…  I got to my folks house, we visited for a bit and  then I go to sleep on the (very narrow) couch in the living room upstairs.

Day 2:  I drove the hour or so to the town with the school, talked to a teacher and confirmed that I am indeed signed up and ready to start on the 23rd.  The financial aid guy was out so they said he would call me.  They also told me about a ride-share program in the bigger city my folks live in which would make it feasible for me to live there instead of in the little town where the school is.  Thoughts start to bubble in my head…

I then stopped at 5 nail salons looking for a job.  Nothing.  Zip.  Nada.  This little tiny town was nearly dead as far as nails were concerned.  Huh.  So then I go to two employment agencies and make an appointment for an interview with one, take the application of the other and turn in a separate application at a restaurant.  I leave a message at the homeless shelter I had pegged as my last – and only – hope for housing close to the school and then hit up the local Salvation Army office to see if they have any resources available to me.  No job, no housing either.  Huh.  I look up homeless shelters in the bigger city and put one on my list of places to check out the next day.  I head back to my folks place knowing that it was unreasonable to expect to find housing and a job in one day but I am still a bit disappointed.  A sense of urgency sets in because it was 13 below that day and no matter how determined I am to make this work that’s just way too cold to live in my car…

I get to the house and my dad’s like “Sis, let  me show you my downstairs computer room”.  Ummm… OK, I’ve been there before, maybe he’s changed it or something?  We go downstairs, it’s him, my step-mom (who I call mom) and me.  He says “Would this work?” and points to the (wider) couch in his computer room.  I shoot a quick look at Mom because she has made it clear she really doesn’t want me to live there and she’s in agreement that I can stay “for temporary”  or until my student aid kicks in and I can get my own place.

Wow!  That was totally and completely unexpected and I am so blown away!  I say thank you over and over again and sleep on the downstairs couch that night.  (It was so much more comfortable than the upstairs one!)

Day 3:  Housing worries are gone for the immediate future, now I just need to find a job.  Craigslist only has two nail salon postings so I call the first one and set up an appointment with Mary to see her space.  It’s a booth rental, something I overlooked in the posting but was what I wanted to do originally when I thought about moving to Montana before I decided to go to school full-time.  (Booth rental means I pay a set amount every week and provide all of my own supplies but keep 100% of my earnings.  Commission means I get a percentage of my earnings but they provide all the supplies.)  Mary is very nice, I like her a lot.  She sounds like a good business woman and has excellent communication skills.  Her space is reasonable according to my research, it’s $80 a week for the first four weeks, $100 a week for the two weeks after that and then $125 every week thereafter.

I’m nervous.  That seems like a lot of money right now when my funds are so limited but I can totally set my own hours, work late into the night after school and take time off whenever I need to.  It’s the start of my own salon working out of someone else’s building.  There are so many positives here and the only negative is that I have no existing clientele here and with it so cold and snowy it will be hard to get walk-ins for a while.

I commit to renting her space.  God has provided for me so far, He will continue to do so.

Day 4:  I drive the 7 hours back to where I came from for my younger daughter’s 20th birthday.  I tried not to speed this trip and arrived right about when I should have.  I took my daughter to her favorite seafood restaurant for her birthday since her father had claimed dinner on her actual birthday. We had a good time and I realized that we have celebrated her birthday at that same restaurant for the last three years so that was pretty cool.  I went back to my friend’s house that I had stayed with since October to spend the night.

Day 5 and 6:  One of the biggest reasons I came back as early as I did was to go donate plasma and get my second donation in a week (which earns the most money).  The donation center was closed!  Well there goes $50 I was counting on…  Crap.  And then it snowed and snowed and snowed.  My car did just fine in the snow and I know how to drive in it so I thought I could drive for Uber (since I’m all signed up) and it should be busy with the bad weather but nooooo… I’m signed up for Uber in Montana and to switch between locations takes 2 – 3 weeks.  Another opportunity to make money lost.  In the end I took my friend to get her first tattoo and then we stayed home and watched a lot of movies.

Day 7:  My younger daughter’s actual birthday.  I went to the mini storage where they had a sign at the entry saying something about due to inclement weather they have plowed access to the units but if I cross the berm and get stuck they weren’t going to get me out.  Allrighty then, seems a little unfriendly but in I go.  And their version of “plowing access” to each unit shows they must have worked for the government at some point in time.  One of my two units was in an area that hadn’t been plowed at all and I followed the ruts left by someone else.  A worker was there and he said “Don’t get stuck”.  Gee thanks.  I get what I need from that unit and then go to the other.  For this one a plow had come one time and plowed a path down the center of a very large lane between two buildings.  It had snowed after the plow came so on top of where it had been cleared was another 2 inches or so of fresh snow.  I obediently stay on the path and wade through 3 – 4 inches of snow and water slush.  I had about an hour to sort through what I could and move things into my car.

I thought I made good time but with the weather I was still 10 minutes late to having lunch with my older daughter who said “That’s OK, I’ve come to expect it.  Seriously?  We’ve been having meals together for over a year now and frequently I’m there way before her, saving a seat and waiting for her to show up and she’s usually on time.  Maybe a quarter of the time I was late but apparently that’s all she remembers.

I thought we had a pretty good lunch, we talked about all the usual things we talk about.  I asked her if she had conveyed my offer of friendship to her future step-mother and she said yes but didn’t have an answer for me and the conversation moved on.  I ask questions about her life and she gives me short answers that don’t encourage follow-up questions.  She doesn’t ask me anything about my life so I tried to volunteer that I found a place to work and she says “I saw that.  I stalk your other Facebook page sometimes”.

Why won’t she just ask me what she wants to know?

I ask her if she’d like to be friends on my new page.  Some background here – I created the second page after I left her father so that I would have a safe place to express my feelings (hopefully) without hurting hers and her father’s.  Her father unfriended me from my original page right away when I did that (even though we were still officially trying to work things out and stay together at that time) but she didn’t unfriend me and while I stopped posting things on that page I use it to catch glimpses of what she’s doing, even though she doesn’t hardly post anything.  She didn’t say yes.  In fact she said she was thinking of quitting Facebook altogether because she never posts anything.

That doesn’t really answer my question…

While I puzzle over her non-answer we have more conversation and then I realize something.  I know she tells her father everything – or nearly everything – that we talk about.  If I give her access to my  new page will she show it to him?  Now to be fair, I try not to post things that are really detailed about my life.  I mostly do a bunch of memes that speak to me, Snapchat pictures and a few, general updates about my life.  But it’s my personal space that I feel comfortable in, knowing he can’t see the things I mark for “friends only” and I don’t see any reason to change that right now.  I tell her “If your father wants to be my friend on Facebook he can ask me, I just don’t want to be stalked”.  She looked at me quizzically and shrugged and the conversation moved on.  We said goodbye, she left to go shopping with her soon-to-be stepmother and I left to have birthday coffee with my younger daughter.

Birthday coffee was fun, she brought a few friends and we hung out for a bit and then they left and I went to buy nail supplies from my Vietnamese sister’s supply shop.  It was great to see her again and she said the next time I’m in town to let her know early and she and her other sister will take me out to eat.  Way cool!

Then it’s off to dinner with my sister, we went to a pizza place we had never been at and in the middle of it my ex called me.  Which was the subject of my last post.  ‘Nuff said.

Day 8:  I intend to go donate plasma one more time to get $20 because every little bit helps, right?  But it took me longer to load up my car than I expected, I’m not sure it ever did stop snowing so the roads were terrible and I just ran out of time.  So not a single one of the opportunities to make money panned out for me on this trip.  Not cool.  I stopped by my old salon and gave them a thumb drive with all the brochures and documents I had created for them on it, got lots of hugs and then said goodbye to the people in the neighboring businesses that I had become friends with.

I have a quick lunch with another friend and then leave town.  The snow had become so bad that two passes are closed, forcing me to take a road I’ve never gone on before.  I probably shouldn’t have left town at all but I couldn’t handle staying, especially after the conversation with my ex the night before.

Most of the way there was so much snow on the road that I could barely tell where the road was at all.  At one point I came across an older couple who had awkwardly “parked” their minivan in a snowbank on the side of the road.  The snow was so deep it came up to the hood of their car and they went so far into it that they were buried all the way to the driver’s door.

The good news is that they were fine.  The bad news is that when I stopped to check on them I drove my car to the side of the road.  The sloped side of the road.  Where my car slid into the giant snowbank and promptly got stuck.  No good deed goes unpunished, eh?

They said they had already called a tow truck and that a sheriff’s officer was on his way back.  I try to get my car out myself.  The (very nice) officer tries to help me, then he gets in my car and tries to drive it out.  Ultimately we just got it stuck deeper.  I overhear the officer say the tow truck is two hours out.  I’m really starting to panic because I can’t afford a tow truck and I really have to pee.  Yes, I have finally come to realize that I don’t actually have enough money to pull off this crazy plan to move to Montana as it is and now I have to pay for a tow truck?  Aye, yi, yi…

I sit and read until the tow truck arrives, trying to take my mind off the fact that I’m screwed and I still have to pee.

The tow truck shows up, the nice officer worked me a special deal of $50 because they’re already there for the other couple and it will be easy to pop me out of the snow bank.  I had a tangent memory that resulted in me realizing that my insurance should pay for the tow! I’ve never had to be towed before so I didn’t even think of it, thank you Jesus!  They got me out of the snow, took my info and I didn’t have to pay a dime so I go on my merry way, still having to pee.

I thought I could make it to the next town but in the end I found a nice pull-out that had been plowed for some historical signs and fortunately nobody drove by while I was parked…

When I finally made it to my folk’s house I had been on the road for 13 hours and 45 minutes.  The roads were beyond horrible and I should never have gone but it was such a good feeling to know I had overcome the road placed before me.  I got this.

Day 9:  I run some errands, pick up some more stuff for my new work place, go have a little meeting with Mary and come home and work on the computer until midnight creating business cards and setting up a free online scheduling app with all my services and prices, etc.

Day 10:  I take everything to my new salon and set it up.  Mom comes in and I give her a fill and suddenly it is 6:30 pm and I am tired!  I realize I am also sick, catching a head cold.  Too many late nights, lots of stress and skipped meals.  The stress increases as I realize I have $100 left to live on AND drive back and forth to school for the next 6 weeks.  Dear God, please bring me customers at my new salon!

I have a plan.  My work hours at the salon will be by appointment only 6 – 9 pm on weekdays and 10 am – 7 pm on Saturdays.  I have contacted the plasma center here to transfer my file so I can donate in Montana.  That will take 7 – 10 days but when it’s approved that’s another $70 a week.  If nothing else that’s gas money.  I also have just over one week until school starts and I’m good to drive for Uber here so I will be available as much as possible to drive and if someone calls for nails I will stop taking riders.  Once school starts I will drive for Uber after school and possibly on Sundays and hopefully that will be enough to get me through the next 6 weeks.

Sometimes life needs to change so drastically that it requires great courage and a leap of faith.  That’s exactly where I am.

I thought I was over that, dammit.

Tonight is my younger daughter’s birthday.  The ex had claimed her time tonight to have her birthday dinner with her on her actual birthday.  She didn’t want to go but I told her she had to.  He BBQ’d for her at his apartment, she send me pics of the ribs and personal sized pecan pie he served her which I thought was hilarious because she doesn’t like beef or pork.  She barely eats chicken and loves seafood.  But I digress…

Earlier today I had lunch with my older daughter and asked if she had told her future step-mother that I would like to be friends with her.  I don’t find this an unreasonable request since she is going to be a second mother to my children.  I’m not looking to be best friends with her but I don’t think we should be strangers either.  Both she and my ex have blocked me on Facebook so I didn’t feel comfortable communicating this request through him, that made the next logical person to ask was my older daughter. But we’ll come back to this…

At lunch today she happened to mention that she “stalked” my second Facebook page. (Her word.)  I created the new page about a month after I left her father so that I could still be friends with both of them and yet have a place to vent and share my feelings that they wouldn’t see because I knew that some of the things I would post were going to hurt their feelings if they saw them.  The ex noticed the second page right away, send me a friend request to the new page and then withdrew his request and unfriended me on the old page.  I guess I should have expected that but I didn’t and it hurt me.  My older daughter has not yet unfriended me on the original page but I’m frequently afraid she will and I’ll lose that last, tiny glimpse into her life – even though she doesn’t post much.  She also doesn’t ask me any questions about my life so I was surprised to hear she looked at my other page – she’s never given any indication of caring about what I do.  I asked her if she wanted to be my friend on my new page and then I hesitated and asked if she would show my new page to her father.  I said “If he wants to be my friend he can ask me but I don’t want to be stalked.”

I said that because my younger daughter continually tells me that her father is always asking her if I’m really moving to Montana “because I’m not known for keeping my promises”, where I’m living – and he pressures her for the exact address and when she said she didn’t know it he said “It’s OK, you can tell me” as if she was hiding it from him and most recently she told  me he asked what day I was leaving, what time of day I was leaving, how long it would take me to get there (he knows how long it is from here to Montana, we’ve done that trip lots of times) and when I would arrive.  She said she didn’t know exactly when I was leaving because I’ve been busy and we hadn’t had time to get together for a while.  His response was “How can she be busy?  She’s been out of work for a week!”  Which tells me that my older daughter tells him everything I’ve told her and he’s definitely keeping track of me.

My best friend asked me if I felt like he was being a creepy stalker yet…

After lunch with my older daughter I had birthday coffee with my younger daughter, went and bought nail supplies from my Vietnamese sister’s store and then went to dinner with my sister.  During dinner my ex calls me.  My cell is at 15% battery so I go sit on the floor next to an outlet to talk to him while my phone is plugged in.

He does not seem to realize that I can tell he is on speaker phone and since he never liked to use speaker phone I guess that his fiance is there, listening in but I don’t say anything because I don’t have anything to hide from her.

I can tell that he is upset, the entire conversation his voice was loud and raised in anger.

He starts off with why do I want to be friends with his fiance and why did I put my request (twice) through our daughter and not him.  I explain my reasoning (listed above) for asking our daughter to relay my request. He is baffled as to why I would even want to be friends with her because “it’s not like we have small children and need to co-parent”.  He says this about four times during our conversation…  I finally manage to get it across that I thought it was the right thing to do, the nice thing to do and he interrogates me about what do I want?  Her phone number, Facebook friends? What?  What?  Finally he says “Thank you for extending the olive branch” and that he will introduce us at our younger daughter’s graduation in February but I can tell he still doesn’t believe me, I’m now sorry I ever asked and realize that no good will come of it.

He said “What do you mean” when I told our older daughter I didn’t want him seeing my new Facebook page or “stalking me”.  This, I think, is the true reason for the call.  I’m sure that one little word pissed him off so much he couldn’t see straight.  I didn’t respond to that and he moved on quickly but I could tell he was very angry about it and possibly hadn’t even meant to say those words out loud.  We were married almost 21 years, after all, and knowing when he is angry is something I mastered early on.

He next addresses that we have very different ways of dealing with our younger daughter.  I agree but do not make any attempt to continue that conversation any further – I am smarter than that – so he moves on to say that he is upset with how I’m dealing with our older daughter.  I stop him right there and ask him what I should be doing.  I take her out to dinner once a month, text her every couple of weeks – in spite of her telling me she only wanted me to contact her once a month – and I have been doing her nails for free since the middle of October or so just to spend more time with her.  I ask her questions and she doesn’t answer them.  Just what exactly does he think I should be doing more, better or different?  He clearly has only heard her side of the story, which is that all of our meetings are superficial and I won’t talk about anything important, she thinks I’m just meeting her out of obligation and duty so this throws him for a second or two.  He acknowledges he doesn’t really know what to tell me except that my abandoning her has severely wounded her and damaged her ability to have friendships and relationships and that she is just a child.  He repeats several times “Her mother abandoned her” and continues to state how wounded she is.  I tell him I want to talk about it but she has flat out told me she didn’t want to talk.  He finally concedes that she may have to work on forgiving me…  which leads me to believe that she is not there listening along with his fiance or he would have never said that in front of her.

And for the record, my oldest “child” is 21.  She was 19 when I left him.  Him.  I left him, not her.  And she wouldn’t have anything to do with me in the last couple of years before I left anyway so I thought she would be happy I was gone.  Apparently I was wrong.

He tries to wrap up with “In the future we need to deal with each other in our business, not go through the girls”.  I ask him if that means he will stop asking our younger daughter about me.  A slight pause and he asks what I mean.  I say that our younger daughter is frequently upset after meeting with him because she says he is “always” asking about me, where I live, what I’m doing, etc.  He says he “doesn’t care” about my actions and then corrects that to “I have no interest in what you’re doing”.  He says he has asked about me from time to time but not every time they meet.  I say that she feels like it is all the time and it really bothers her, and told him about the “It’s OK, you can tell me” conversation she shared with me.  There was a noticeable pause, which I found significant – especially knowing his fiance is there listening – and then he tried to brush it off saying “I was interested in the general area they lived in because I knew they moved from the country to in town”.

That sneaky bastard IS stalking me and doesn’t want his fiance to know!  OMG!  He’s creeping me out a little bit now…  I wish now that I had told him the quote about how could I be busy because I hadn’t worked in a week because that might have opened his fiance’s eyes a bit but I didn’t think of it at the time.  I’m also really torn because I offered to friend my older daughter on my new Facebook page but I don’t trust her not to show it to her father.  What do I do, what do I do…

I managed to have the whole conversation without falling apart or bursting into tears but after I hung up I couldn’t help myself.  I cried in the restaurant and my sister tried to help me by asking me to identify why talking to him made me cry but I wish she just would have let me go for a little bit.  His anger still affects me so much and I don’t know how to free myself of it’s grip.  And he always seems angry with me so I avoid communicating with him because he still makes me cry