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It began a week before I was scheduled to leave – my younger daughter announced “I’m moving with you!”

Sadly, my first response was panic rather than joy…

In May I had asked her repeatedly to make a final decision on whether or not she was going to move up to Montana with me and she decided no, she was not.  So I decided to rent a room with my teacher closer to my school instead of pursuing an entire apartment or house on my own.  Now, at the end of June she decides she’s moving up with me after all and I have nowhere for her to live.

Panic.

She decides she’ll camp in her pickup truck with her dog until she can find a place to live.

Less panic but still panic.

I’m not going to say no.  Getting away from her current situation is probably the best thing for her as far as I can see… So she starts packing up her stuff and condensing so that it all fits into her pickup truck and the back of my car.  All of one mini storage unit manages to fit into the biggest UHaul trailer they had and she and I trade cars because she’s never pulled a trailer before.

The day comes to leave and we spend probably an hour trying to figure out how to reattach the trailer to the pickup truck… lol.  I had left it at a good friend’s house so that I wasn’t driving all around town with this heavy trailer for the few days between when I loaded it up and we left, my daughter called her boyfriend over and none of the four of us could figure it out so my friend called her husband and he had it hooked up in 10 minutes flat!  He looks like Duane Johnson’s younger brother, great guy 🙂

Anyway, we air up the tires, fill up with gas and head out of town.  We maybe got 30 miles from my friend’s house and I noticed a funny smell… I had been keeping an eye on the heat gauge but it smelled like the truck was overheating.  Oh, but wait, I was actually looking at the oil pressure gauge and NOT the heat one…  The heat gauge was actually alllll the way up to the “H” for HOT and steam was starting to come out from under the hood…

I actually swore…

I turned the heater on full blast, pulled off at the next exit and desperately prayed to find some shade in the 100 degree weather before the engine blew up.  God is faithful and there was a gas station with an overhang above the pumps so we pulled in there, popped the hood and waited for an hour for it to cool down so we could put some water into the radiator.

This scenario was repeated about 6 times, turning what was normally a 7 hour trip into a two day, 17 hour trip.  Curiously, it wasn’t until our last stop, right after we had crossed the Montana border that a single person pulled over to see if we were OK or needed any help.

First things first, I’m fine now, it was just one bad day and I got over it, yay!  All my bad days are usually exactly one day long, I just don’t get around to blogging the positive turn-around the next day, sorry… Thanks for caring…  😀

I’m not sure that I posted about what I’m actually doing for the month of June – I am back in the town I came from and working for my Vietnamese family/bosses AND living with them, which has been a riot!  Let me see if I can draw a picture for you…

The house is very nice, newer construction, four bedrooms upstairs, one full bathroom upstairs and a half bath downstairs.  The den/office downstairs is also being used as a bedroom.  There are 6 adults living here right now.  The oldest brother, his two sisters, one of them has a boyfriend, a completely unrelated Vietnamese guy and me – the only white girl\person they’ve ever adopted as far as I know.  The master bedroom has it’s own bathroom but only the sisters get to use it.  That means the other 4 adults in the house (myself included) get to share the upstairs bathroom when we need to shower.  My mornings go like this:

At 7:35 am my first alarm goes off and I swipe my phone screen to turn it off.  At 7:45 my second alarm goes off and I have to decide – am I going to turn it off or hit the snooze button for 5 more minutes?  This is largely determined by A) how tired I am and B) if I have heard anybody take a shower yet…  Did I forget to mention that my room is right next to the bathroom?  Why yes, yes it is.  I can hear EVERYTHING a person does in the bathroom, at any hour of the day, unless you turn then fan on and then I can only hear MOSTLY everything, lol.  So I wait to hear the door shut, the shower turn on, then off, then the door open again and feet pattering down the carpeted stairs.  That would be the oldest brother.  I’ve called him Hank here before so I’m going to stick with that.  I wait a few minutes just in case someone else needs to dash into the bathroom now that Hank’s out.  No?  Ok, my turn.  I am in my nightie, clutching my clothes for the day, my towel and my little makeup bag and I slip out of my room into the bathroom.

Just as an FYI, even though I’m (always) a little self-conscious I’m totally safe here.  I could probably run around naked and these sweet boys would turn around and stare at the ceiling while they try to hand me the shirt off their back to cover up with… I’m absolutely not going to do that, it’s just an example but when I am with them I know I am perfectly, completely safe, they’re wonderful people!

Anyway, back to my morning routine.  I do the whole shower, makeup, hair thing and am in and out of there in roughly 15 minutes.  I am seriously the best roommate ever, I have practically mastered the art of invisible living…  I fiddle around in my room until it’s about 8:30 am and then I wander downstairs to see if one of the sisters wants to ride with me.  A couple of times we’ve ridden together but most of the time we drive separately and I’ve found I enjoy the alone time.

That’s a snapshot of my normal morning here.  Three of us from the house work together all day with a few others at the nail shop.  After work sometimes we all go out to eat and other times I go visit my girls, sister or friends and don’t get back to the house until around midnight.  I am never the last one to bed – I don’t know how they do it!  These people work 6 – 7 days a week, 10 hour days M – Sat and 6 hour days on Sundays with very little food or sleep as far as I can tell.  They’re amazing with a little dash of crazy…

When we go out to eat, that’s always fun too.  This trip we’ve gone to two different Chinese buffets and one steak house.  I am never allowed to pay, trust me, I’ve tried.  I can’t pay for myself and I can’t pay for everyone, it is Not Allowed.  As far as I can tell their reasoning seems to be from a mixture of things – they love me, they have adopted me and therefore view me as someone to provide for AND I don’t have a man in my life to look after me and pay for things so they seem to have a double sense of urgency to make sure I’m taken care of, especially when it comes to eating out.

But they do more for me too, before I moved to Montana this family bought me a MK purse with matching wallet, 2 Pandora bracelets with a bunch of charms, a watch, rings, necklaces, earrings, business supplies, clothing, more lunches while working than I can count, a microwave, an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas… they are such givers!   I estimate that in the two years that I have known them and worked for them the dollar amount of the gifts they have given and money they have spent on me exceeds the amount my ex-husband spent on me in the almost 21 years we were married.  Huh.  And I’m not sleeping with a single one of them.  I’m not even having to fight them off or tell them no, it’s never even been a question.  They have simply adopted me without any strings attached.  The four siblings (the youngest brother lives elsewhere) call me their sister, love me like their sister, take care of me like their sister and tease me like their sister.  We are truly family and they have brought so much healing to my life since I became single, I am very grateful for them!  (And just so you know, I don’t only take and take, I help them as much as I can with everything under the sun.  English, Dr appointments, phone calls, computer work, shopping, communicating with customers and business people/vendors… I do everything I can to make their business and personal lives successful and show them I love them too.)

I am extremely blessed to have so many people who love me, especially this family group.  Honestly, I should never have a single sad, lonely day, I really shouldn’t.  After they’re over I feel bad that I do because I truly have a multitude of people who love me, provide for me and take very good care of me.  I don’t deserve any of them (but I’m not going to send any of them away either…) and will remain forever grateful for each and every one of them.

Now it’s your turn.  Go adopt somebody.  Make a difference in some pale and pasty white girl’s life – the one who has blue and purple hair because she’s going to beauty school… oh wait, that’s me… just go make a difference in somebody – anybody’s – life.  Go do it!  Do it now.  Are you feeling purposeless?  Unloved yourself?  Get your butt off the couch and go care about someone else.  You’ll find love and a purpose all wrapped up together.  Maybe you just need to start small?  So go start complementing people.  Say “You look nice today.”  It’s quick, it’s easy and you’ll be shocked at the smiles you get in return.  It will be like the sun broke through the clouds into your gloomy little heart.  Oh wait, me again… Seriously though, go be nice to other people.  Just do it.  Do it now.

The End.

I took a quick look back over my posts so far this year and realized that I haven’t said much, if anything about Beauty School and it’s become such an important part of my life!  So here’s an overview from the beginning:

I walked into school for the very first time right after I moved to Montana.  A man was at the front desk, (later I learn his name is Rayalf), and he called one of the teachers up (who turned out to be Kammi).  While I’m waiting for Kammi I notice a tall man with blue hair – that was Kyle, who turns out to be my Cwtch…

Kammi takes me back to her office and tells me a little bit about the school, introduces me to the owner, Misty, as “the girl with the nail hours”, assures me I am all set to start with the next class.

The school is much smaller than I expected it to be, in the bigger city I left I used to go to beauty schools all the time to get my hair done and this school is barely a quarter of the size of any of those and yet there’s between 30 and 40 students and three instructors, hmm, this could be interesting…

Fast forward about 3 weeks, I show up to the school and meet my 8 other classmates.  All nice girls and we range in age from 18 to me at 43.  The girl who was in her 30’s dropped out after a couple of months so now it’s just me and the younger ones, lol.  We spent roughly 8 weeks in the back room doing book work and practicing on mannequin heads before we were allowed to move to the front and work on the public.

Just writing this out I realize that none of this is the important part.  The people there, the other students and the instructors are what has made this experience so life-changing for me.

There’s lots of swearing, even from the instructors.  Anything that can be turned into a sexual innuendo is done so with a vengeance and everybody laughs like it’s the funniest thing in the world.  Rayalf, in particular, loves practical jokes and almost everyone affectionately calls each other Bitch or Dude, depending on the mood they’re in.  It’s a circus of chaos and craziness.  But here’s the thing – these people are a family.  They’re real.  In spite of the bickering and the arguing they get along most of the time.  They share their supplies and food with each other.  They listen to each other’s stories,  empathize and hug.  And aside from their moral standards being vastly different than my own they have a much healthier outlook on sex and sexuality than I do.  Granted, probably 99% of all people out there have a healthier view of sex than I do but these people are open and honest about it while at the same time being accepting of me and my beliefs, encouraging me to heal but not pushing me to go outside my moral boundaries.

Some days are hard because I can get overwhelmed with all of the emotions that go on in a building of 30 women and 2 men ranging from 17 – 60.  Even though everyone is always nice to me I can still be affected by the people around me being negative and petty to each other.  I have gone outside and cried many times.  I’ve even gone back on the happy pills because school can be so stressful.  I don’t like being on the happy pills again, I was very proud of myself for having gotten off them but I’m realizing that my body doesn’t handle stress yet the way it should.  It handles stress better than it did when I was married, way better, but it’s still not back to completely healthy… so happy pills it is.  I even stayed home one day as a “mental health” day and it was totally worth it.  I plan to take three days off a month to help preserve my sanity even though it will lengthen my time at school and cost me about $1400 in overages at the end.  Ugh.

In the end though, it is a crazy, insane kind of world and ultimately I love it.  My hair is blue with purple roots and for the first time in my life I have shaped eyebrows and fake eyelashes.  At school I have friends who love me and hug me and care about me and tell me I’m beautiful and that they’re glad I’m there.  I’ve been able to share my past with some of them and they empathize with me and are very supportive.  My favorite teacher, Kammi, just offered to rent me her spare room and be a part of her family, which I think will be lots of fun.

This group of people – this group of unchurched, largely immoral, profanity professionals loves, respects and accepts me more than any other group I’ve ever been a part of and none of them require me to become like them before being willing to give me their love and affection.

Being around these people both destroys me and builds me back up, but they build me up far more often than they make me cry.

I know I am who and where I am supposed to be.  I know I am doing what I am supposed to do.  Sometimes the being and the doing is hard but the knowing, the knowing makes it all worth it.

 

 

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 ❤

Most of August was lovely…

Life at work was good, my Vietnamese family were all fairly happy with me, work was not busy but steady, making the paychecks good enough that I managed to save up all the money I needed to pay for putting new carpet in my trailer bringing me one major step closer to moving to Montana.  My Vietnamese family took me to the fair for my birthday this year like they did last year and then I went again with my sister a few days later.  Overall it really was a nice month.

On my birthday I arrived at work to find balloons, an orchid, cheesecake and a card with money on my desk!  I was on cloud nine…  A short time later there was a scheduling glitch that the older brother boss was sure was my fault and the day went from wonderful to tense and ruined.

I realized that these episodes are happening more and more frequently.  The oldest brother and youngest sister are the ones in charge of the salon I work at.  She actually has the majority invested and is the real boss but her English isn’t very good so he runs the shop.

For a long time I was “in love” with him because he was kind and sweet and funny and to some small degree, presumably as much as he can, he does love me, he has even told me so.  To his credit he never took advantage of my healing heart, he consistently said that I was Very Good Friend and treated me very nearly as another one of his sisters.

After he became the big boss at work, however, he changed and all of the nice went away. I suspect it’s a cultural thing and he’s only emulating other Asian bosses that he’s had, believing that there is only one way to Be The Boss and that is to be large and in charge while being suspicious of everything you don’t understand.  And since English is hard there is quite a bit he doesn’t understand.  When he’s in a good mood he will recognize his own mistakes and apologize for them quickly and sincerely but when he is in a bad mood nothing is ever his fault and even just trying to explain what happened is viewed as disrespecting him because you’re arguing.

I still adore him but I don’t love him anymore and I’m tired of the whiplash from his mood swings as he struggles to decide how he’s feeling and how a boss should be acting at any given moment…  I’m done with all of it and he makes me want to move to Montana tomorrow.

His sister, in fact both of his sisters, on the other hand, truly love me.  The majority owner sister with the poor English keeps buying me things – expensive things.  I think that giving gifts is her love language and I wish I could reciprocate in kind but all I can do is say thank you, give her big hugs and tell her I love her.  A lot.

The carpet gets installed in 5 days and was hoping to list my trailer for sale immediately afterwards but I still have to replace the shower walls and I have no idea how to do that, much less the time to get it done – and now I have a toothache and don’t feel like doing anything, lol.  But I know it will all work out…  When it’s supposed to…  God save me…

It’s been 560 days since I left my ex husband and changed my world.  In that time I’ve grown and become different in so many ways and I think most all of them are good…

I’ve learned how to “mow” the lawn with my weed wacker, lol!  I never had to do yard work before and I’m still not quite sure this qualifies but there it is.  I move the sprinkler around my little patch of trailer park lawn and swing the weed wacker around  – I can count that as exercise too, right?

I’ve lived within my means and yet been able to spend money on myself.  At first it was very difficult – two months after I left him I spent $120 on four new bras.  For our entire married life I had only been able to purchase one or two bras at a time and it felt scandalous, extravagant, vain and almost sinful to spend that much money on a basic necessity for myself.  (And they were practical, not even pretty!)  I did get over it and have been enjoying finding clothes, outer and under, that are both comfortable and good for the level of professionalism required at my job.  (I work at a classier salon than most Asian nail shops I’ve ever been in, I wear clothes there that I would have previously worn to church on Sunday mornings!)

Speaking of church, I stopped going to church right about a year ago.  Yes, this is one of the not-so-good things and really needs to be the subject of it’s own blog post.  I have reasons, I promise, and I fully intend to attend church faithfully with my father and step-mother when I move up there with them but for now I’m not attending church anywhere.

I’ve come to realize that money spent on fun is not wasted and as long as I am staying within my budget it is not wrong to buy myself things I enjoy, try new foods that I may or may not like and do activities that will do little more than make good memories.

I’ve also been able to spend money on others and I enjoy that very much.  I’ve been able to bless others with gifts, meals, clothing, rides, a vehicle and even a place to sleep.

I’ve gone places and seen people!  I used to do a lot of road trips, I would pack up my girls and we would go places to see people and experience things, for some reason our adventures quit happening about 8 years ago, I’m not sure why.  But in these last 560 days I’ve taken 7 road trips and 1 trip by airplane!  I’ve seen my dad, brothers and best friend more since I left my ex-husband than I had in years and I also got to go to the ocean and Las Vegas – so much fun!  I’d forgotten how much I like to drive and take trips…

I feel safe.  All the time.  My Vietnamese family has played a large part in this because they all take such good care of me and none of the guys are even a little bit romantically interested in me.  Especially, bless his heart, my flirting buddy (who has been the more than occasional subject of my post-divorce junior-high-like infatuation) is a man of such high standards that while he could have easily taken advantage of my damaged heart he has never even come close to crossing that line.  I am as much a genuine part of their family as a chubby white girl could possibly be and thanks to that treatment I am no longer worried that a male touch or look is going to end in a request (or a demand) for sex.  It’s so hard to explain but being adopted by them has been so freeing – and very healing – for me.  God knew what He was doing to put me with them and I am so grateful.

I’m sure there are more ways that I’ve changed and grown but these are the big ones for now.  Sweet dreams!

Three days ago my best friend from high school’s mom died very unexpectedly. That was Friday and today, Monday, my BFF was scheduled to have a surgery that she could not postpone so I drove the 8 hours to come stay with her children while her husband was with her in the hospital for the surgery, which went great and she is recovering nicely.

It was outpatient so she came home and went straight to bed.  I decided to go visit one of my brothers who lived about an hour away because he was really wanting to get together since I was in the area – and that’s a bit unusual for him, honestly.

It was a good visit, it really was.  We talked about lots of stuff, work, kids, dogs, horses, the usual…  I asked them if they knew my ex was engaged and not only did they know but they had met her.  He brought her all the way up to have dinner with my two brothers and their wives on the same trip he took her home to introduce her to his parents.

Why in God’s name did that make me cry the entire hour I drove back to my friend’s house?

I had to really think about it.

Before I go any further I should explain my position on my ex-husband’s new relational status. I left him at the end of January, 2015, we were still trying to “work things out” up until April of 2015 and our divorce was finalized in mid-May 2015.  That means he has been legally single for fourteen and a half months and I was absolutely expecting him to be dating by now because he has never done well on his own and with his sexual addiction a celibate life just won’t work for him.  But to be engaged right now, that blew me away.  Huh.  Although it does tell me that he was over me a long time before I left him in order to meet, date and propose to someone else this quickly.  So I totally did the right thing in leaving because his heart hadn’t been in trying to make our marriage work for years but he was continuing to do so out of duty and obligation, as was I.  That’s a recipe for hell on earth right there in my humble opinion…

So aside from being a wee bit bitter that I had to be the one to leave in spite of his wanting to move on as much or more than I did I think it’s funny that physically she’s shaped a lot like me and looks similar enough to me that I’m sure people will mistake her as the natural mother of our firstborn daughter – or worse – her sister because she looks closer in age to our oldest daughter than to him, lol!

But honest-to-God, the primary feeling I have about his engagement is overwhelming relief.  Over. Whelming.  Relief.  Hopefully he will stop being mad at me now that he has someone else in his life.  And believe it or not, I’m happy for him.  I wish them well and I hope that she will stand up to him and make him a better man, that she won’t put up with the things that make him a bully and that she’ll improve his relationship with his children, especially our youngest, whom I keep telling to give her future step-mom an honest chance and try to be her friend because she could be the best thing that ever happened to him and hopefully she is exactly who he needs.  I know I wasn’t.

I said as much to my brothers (not the bitter or funny part, just the happy for him and told my daughter to give her a chance part) and I could tell they were startled by my words but why, dear God, why won’t they actually ask me the questions they want to know the answers to?  They just won’t ask any questions at all about how I’m feeling or what I think about situations.  Ugh, brothers!

But back to why I cried all the way home, I was trying to pinpoint the source of my soul-hurt and this is what I realized:

My brothers like him more than me.  Truth accepted.

My brothers are more on his side than mine in all things, the divorce, our beliefs in God, parenting, etc.  Truth accepted.

Introducing her to MY brothers and not just his relatives on their we-just-got-engaged trip makes me feel cut out of my own family.  Absolute truth although probably not done intentionally but still very hurtful.

It’s not enough that his family hates me but he wants mine to completely dislike me as well because he’s the righteous one and I’m the evil sinner so he’s trying to get my own brothers to replace me with her.  99.9% probability that this is not truth but I could definitely see him thinking that way.  Extremely hurtful.

My brothers value their friendship with him over their relationship with me and have a stronger sense of loyalty to him than to me because they participated in an event that could only make me feel excluded AND they made a big outing of it at a fancy and very expensive restaurant.  They didn’t tell him that meeting her would be like saying he was their brother more than I was their sister and so they must regretfully decline.  They didn’t say it was not a good idea because they are his ex-wife’s family, not  his family and it would be awkward, for them and for his fiancé, to spend a dinner together.  They didn’t stand up for me, even the tiniest bit.

Aaahhh… there it is, that is why I cried for an hour.  I feel betrayed by my brothers in favor of him.

Life is hard sometimes and then it gets better.  And then worse and then better again.  This is one of those worse days but soon life will be good more than it’s hard… I’m looking forward to that!

 

Forgive me friends, for I have been busy, it’s been 8 months since my last blog…

Since November, in mostly chronological order, all of this stuff has happened:

In early December I had a hysterectomy – it went well, I recovered quickly and my life-long anemia is gone, yay!  Sadly, my need to chew ice is also gone which means I’m not drinking enough water anymore <sigh>.  Overall it was a super good trade though, especially since there is an entire row in the grocery store I can avoid now, whoo hoo!

I went to visit my dad twice, once in December and again in April.  Both trips were good and made me realize that moving to be near him is definitely the right thing to do.

Christmas was a little disappointing, mostly because my household of kiddos left me for their parents homes so it wound up just being me and my sister for most of the day, binge watching Netflix and missing the bounty of a holiday table prepared for lots of people.  It made me realize that being able – or not being able – to give isn’t what lost the Christmas “magic” for me, it was being with people I love and who love me back and that honestly hasn’t happened for years and years… and years.

Online dating, yes, that happened too.  I tried three different sites – I started with Christian Mingle, figuring that I would be most comfortable there and found Tom.  We were chatting up a storm using their online messenger service and I was really enjoying his writing style, I felt like we were clicking and had been messaging each other for a good hour when all of a sudden he blocked me.  It was so weird, I hit send to post my latest response to our conversation and the website informed me that he had blocked me.  Rude!  Beyond that there just didn’t seem to be very many guys on Christian Mingle so I kept my membership there and started a second one with eHarmony.  They are soooo expensive!  Dang!  It was the day before my hysterectomy that I found Mike.  He was a Russian man living in Oregon (the Oregon coast is my happy place) he was nice and kind and sweet and gave all the right answers… until he started to ask me questions about sex.  Now I know that I have a hang up in this area because of my ex – I’m starting to realize that most of the sex I had in my almost 21 year marriage could probably qualify as date rape and I should probably go see a counselor – so when Mike started by asking basic questions about sex I went along with the conversation with the thought that it would help free me from some of the chains I had been carrying.  But once the conversation turned physical Mike didn’t want to talk about anything else and I became more and more uncomfortable until I finally let him know.  He admitted that his plan for our first face-to-face encounter was picking me up at the airport, dinner and then a hotel.  Nope, nope, nope.  I ended it right there, cancelled both my eHarmony and Christian Mingle subscriptions and took a break from online dating for a few months.  Then a customer told me she was engaged to someone she met on Zoosk and said that she had a great experience with that dating site so I figured I would give it a shot and I  narrowed my search to the town my father lives in, thinking that it would be nice to get to know someone online really well before meeting in person (because it worked so well with Mike, right?  I’m not quite sure what I was thinking…)  On Zoosk I met Tony.  Nice guy, gave lengthy, real answers to my questions and we seemed to have a lot in common.  On day four of our online chatting I asked if he had any pets, he said that he lost his cat recently.  I said that must have been hard for his young daughter and he said – all in one chat bubble – that it was harder on him than his daughter and he bet I was a good kisser.  Really?  He seriously went from dead cat to kissing.  It fizzled out with Tony shortly after that and I ended my search on Zoosk.  At this point I am so close to moving that I’m just going to wait until I am in Montana before I attempt to meet any more potential boyfriends, ugh!

In April I took 10 glorious days off of work and went to the Oregon Coast with my best friend from high school for 5 days and then went to visit my father for 3 days, it was a great vacation, very relaxing and reestablished my desire to live in either Newport or Lincoln City someday!

Just before Mother’s Day I ran into my ex husband at the movie theater and my, oh my, wasn’t that exciting!  My bosses took me to see the new Captain America movie that he and my older daughter just happened to attend as well.  He marched up to me and said in a very grumpy voice “I just want to say Happy Mother’s Day” and also told me that he had given a piece of paper to our younger daughter earlier to give to me.  I asked if he wanted to meet my bosses and he curled his lip as though he had just eaten something extremely distasteful, said no and then turned around and marched away.  My older daughter never once turned to look at me, say hi or even wave.  Huh.  They were with a group of people from their church and a few of them were friendly to me and said hi, which was nice but the very best part of the entire evening was when my Vietnamese bosses – who are from San Jose, CA – asked if my ex was a gang member.  They have a lot of experience with gangs (and have been victims of gang activities) and based on their experience and what they saw at the movie theater – the way he approached me, stood and spoke to me and marched away – they thought he was in a gang!  I nearly laughed my head off!  So much for the love of Christ shining through him, they saw him for what he was, a very angry man with no love or compassion in his heart towards those he doesn’t believe deserve it.  That frankly, was the highlight of my month!

My twin nieces graduated high school at the beginning of June and I took a few more days off work to attend their ceremony and party afterwards, which my ex also attended.  I knew he would be there so I was a little more prepared to see him but he did his best to avoid me at both the graduation and the party.  The graduation was busy but it was obvious that he refused to look at me and wouldn’t even come stand with the entire family once I joined then.  Then at the party my brother held at his home my ex and older daughter arrived after I did and it didn’t seem right to just jump up and greet him warmly when he got there but I tried to catch his eye here and there so that I could smile and say hi but he still refused to look at me.  I did, however, go and stand next to my older daughter as she spoke with her cousins for about two minutes and she never did turn around to say hi or acknowledge that I was there in any way.  I finally gave up and went to sit down at a table on the outer edge of the party area.  Then his parents showed up, which I thought was odd because it was my brother’s children’s graduation party… but I went over to say hi to his father knowing my ex was standing nearby and figuring I could greet him then – except that he moved away as I approached his dad.  His father was very kind and gracious, he gave me several warm hugs and we had a nice conversation for probably 15 – 20 minutes.  Which was, by the way, the only time at the entire graduation weekend that my older daughter spoke to me at all or even looked my way was when she and I were both speaking to her grandfather.  My ex’s mother was a different story entirely, I said hello and she said my name in a way that made me feel icicles stabbing my heart.  When dinner was ready my ex was serving the meat to everyone in line.  I debated whether or not I should get in line because it seemed obvious to me that he didn’t want to speak to me but then I decided to be the adult, get in the food line and say hi to him once my turn was up because then at least he couldn’t run away from me.  My sister was ahead of me and she said “Hi” and “Thank you” when it was her turn to get the meat but he did not look at her or speak to her.  I thought he was very rude to her.  I also said “Hi” and “Thank you” and he stopped what he was doing, looked at me and said with anger in his voice “I’m surprised you’re speaking to me”.  I’m sure my jaw hit the floor, from everything I could tell he was the one avoiding me and yet he was obviously angry that I was avoiding him.  The only thing I managed to stutter was “I wasn’t trying not to”.  I think I said that twice and then after opening and closing my  mouth like a guppy several times I turned and walked away from the food line because I was so shocked.  I left the party shortly after that, it was just to awkward to stay.  At my own brother’s house.  It’s actually rather irritating that he made me so uncomfortable that I left and he and his parents stayed to visit with my family.   Just one more testament to the fact that my brothers don’t really care that much about me I guess.  I made sure to tell him goodbye and that I was sorry he thought I was avoiding him.  Seriously?  I saw a meme on Facebook that said “You destroyed me and I apologized”.  Yep, I just did it again.  Crap.  His father gave me another big hug and his mother gave me a slightly less icy glare.  My father walked me to my car and said “I’m sorry to say this but I think maybe your marriage should have ended 10 years ago”.  Damn right!  But I wasn’t the person I needed to be in order to leave 10 years ago… but I am where God wants me to be right now.  My biggest hope is that since my father saw it maybe my brothers also saw how my ex treated me that weekend and that maybe their eyes opened a wee bit as to why I left him.  Although in the end that is not super important either, I know I did the right thing.

The week after we get back from the graduation my younger daughter had coffee with her father like she does every month and I took my older daughter out to dinner like I do every month.  He doesn’t even pay for my younger daughter’s coffee when they meet, he’s such a tightwad, lol.  My dinner with the older was was actually one of the nicest visits we’ve ever had, which I thought was very strange given the fact that she tried to have as little to do with me as possible just three days before…  My younger daughter’s coffee was much more exciting because her father introduced her to his girlfriend!  The girlfriend wants to be friends with our younger daughter and she’s not sure if she wants that but I told her to at least try it out – this gal might be the best thing that ever happened to her father and hopefully this girl will make him a better person.  It was curious to me that my very first emotion after hearing he has a girlfriend was relief.  I actually felt like a large stone had rolled off of my shoulders!  Maybe now he’ll stop being so angry with me – although judging by the fact that he had been dating this girl for some time before the graduation and he was still so angry with me at the graduation… that might not be a realistic hope.  I looked her up on Facebook and my second reaction was to laugh hard – she looks so young, I’ll bet she’s going to want kids!  The thought of him getting his vasectomy reversed for her and going through the whole infant and child-rearing thing again (knowing how “helpful” he was the first time around) really struck my funny bone and I just roared with laughter.  But ultimately I truly hope he finds someone that he genuinely loves and respects.  Maybe then he will become a decent human being and stop being so angry about everything all the time.  I wish him a good life with someone who loves him, I truly do.  I wish it for myself as well.

And now we’re up to the present.  Work is going well and I’ve had some amazing paychecks now that the weather is getting so hot.  I’m almost ready to list my trailer for sale and as soon as it sells I will be moving to Montana to be near my father and his wife – oh, and I started calling her Mom at Christmas.  I’m embarrassed it’s taken me this long to do it, she’s such a nice, kind lady who has always loved us kids as her own and I’m really looking forward to getting to know both her and my father better.  My bosses are still wonderful and thank God I’m not in love with either of the boys anymore, it was on-again-off-again for a while but I’m in a good place now and their entire family had a lot to do with getting me there.  They treat me like I’m a born sister to them, in fact they’re taking me with them to Las Vegas for the Fourth of July!  It’s me and six of their family members going and they’ve paid for everything – my plane ticket, hotel room, food, everything, they’re just amazing people and it will be sooo hard to leave them and not just because they buy me so much stuff but because I truly love them as my own family.

I know that I write all of this out for me, it’s how I process my life and sort things out in my head, but thank you for following me and for taking the time to read all of this.  I’m just an ordinary girl, trying to do the right thing every day.  Most of the time I feel like I succeed but some days I don’t.  I’m healthier now than I ever have been both emotionally and physically.  The one-year anniversary of the divorce came and went and I didn’t even notice it until a few days later.  I feel healed from my marriage and from my life before.  I wish you healing from your damage as well and blessings to you.

Well, I had my birthday last month and I have to say that I actually feel younger!  Since January when I left my old life I’ve lost 30 pounds, I’ve been sleeping better, I’ve gotten a wonderful job, have my own place to live and am making a new life with my younger daughter – we are healing together.  My customers at work frequently say that I don’t look old enough to have an 18 year old and it makes me so happy, just one more confirmation that I am flourishing where I’m at.

The high school near my work denied our request to let Tina restart her senior year there so she will be finishing her high school education online and getting her diploma that way.  Now we’re looking for a local orchestra she can join.  I’m pleased that she will get an actual diploma rather than a GED but I’ve been told there really isn’t any difference anymore.  She’s gotten a job at a local business where people can bring their dogs to wash them and absolutely loves it, I’m just super happy that she can bring her puppy to work with her.  We’ve gone back and forth about re-homing her puppy because we just don’t have the time to take care of him and he gets left at home, locked in the laundry room all the time but with this job she can take him to work with her so he gets more socialization, a little bit of training and free dog washes, yay!  At home we are figuring out how to keep everything neat and tidy together and how to balance the fact that I’m still the Mom but she is 18.  At the moment my big rule is that she needs to be home by midnight but she can have friends here to watch movies or whatever.  We’re planning on having parties with lots of teenagers and food, I’m so excited!

Her father, my ex, has been reaching out to her and I’ve been encouraging her to reach back – so far it seems to be better than she expected although he keeps asking her what her opinion is on the last letter I sent him and what she thinks of the divorce… she’s a smart girl and keeps telling him she doesn’t want to get involved and that our divorce is between us.  I’m so proud of her!  He also told her that he doesn’t want anything to do with the person I’ve become which both of us thought was interesting – he doesn’t want to have anything to do with me now that I refuse to be his doormat anymore?  Now that I’m able to stand up for myself and expect to be treated with kindness and dignity?  Too funny!  I wish him a long and happy life as long as he has it somewhere away from me.

My job is going well, I still love working there and adore my bosses – in the most amazing fashion we have established that we are all Very Good Friends and while we haven’t said it in so many words I think it’s understood that nobody is going to be dating each other.  It fascinates me how we can come to those kind of arrangements and it doesn’t get weird or awkward at work.  For my birthday they got me an Apple TV box and took Tina and me to the fair!  We had sooooo much fun at the fair, it was unreal.  They bought gyros and lemonade for everyone and we all played a game or two.  Then we had gigantic smoked turkey legs and made some of those art pictures where they spin the paper and you drizzle paint on it.  I had a blast and loved every minute of it – they are Very Good Friends indeed.

I had a colonoscopy the day before my birthday and let me say that “Jug Of Fun” was NOT FUN AT ALL.  That was the Worst Stuff Ever and I will do whatever it takes to never have another colonoscopy again.  Seriously.  Not sure what I was thinking with that kind of scheduling but it turned out OK and now I’m just waiting for my next doctor’s appointment to find out the results.

Sunday Tina and I leave for a road trip to see my brothers and my best friend from high school.  I’m a little nervous about seeing my brothers because it feels like they are still upset with my decision to leave my ex and want to “fix” me.  But whatever, I need them to see my face and hopefully realize that I’m healthy and I made the right choice and I need to see their faces and decide if I’m going to pursue a relationship with either of them.  I’m very excited to see my best friend from high school though, it’s been at least a year since I’ve seen her and I can’t wait!

Life is good and I am blessed 🙂

A whole month has flown by since my last post and I feel like I’ve been living an entirely different life now that my daughter’s home.  A really good life but completely different than the six months before that had been.

My younger daughter, whom I’m going to start calling Tina here, has decided to stay living with me and not go back to her abusive husband.  She is keeping her married last name and starting to go by her middle name instead of her first name in effort to have a fresh start.  She is applying to enroll in a different school district than she went to before she dropped out and she was hired last week at a local restaurant.  Tina has started to reconnect with some of her old friends and seems to be much healthier emotionally than when I first picked her up.  She really enjoyed working at the nail salon with me and is considering becoming a nail tech after she graduates from high school.  The only friction we’ve had is over her puppy, who needs obedience classes almost as much as she needs to know how to train him.  She is also doing a terrible job of cleaning up after him and if she can’t get on top of it I told her we aren’t going to be able to keep him so we’ll see how that turns out.

Something that started out fun and then went sad – I had a son for most of a month. A sweet 18 year old young man moved in with his aunt and uncle next door to me and I’m not sure I’ve ever met a teenage boy that was so helpful, so well mannered and kind.  He was also one of the most wounded, damaged souls I’ve met in a long time too.  Sent here by his family in California to get away from gang members that wanted to hurt him and drug use he had no sense of self worth whatsoever and didn’t feel like anyone loved him or believed in him.  He cried almost every time he told me more of his background.  I took him to church with us and he sang, he raised his hands and he gave me a hug and then just clung to me, sobbing.  My heart went out to this boy and I wanted to help him, to make a difference in his life so I started including him in meals and activities with Tina and me and I told him I was adopting him.  I thought things were improving for him and then one day he was gone.  He went back to California and didn’t even say goodbye, I hope he stays safe and doesn’t go back to his old life.

Work has been busy and my work relationships have been going just fine, yay!  Because of several little things he’s said and done I’m pretty sure that my boss, Todd, does like me more than “just friends” but I’ve decided that I only like him as a good friend or a brother and could never be comfortable dating him, which has made my life a lot easier.  On the other hand I absolutely adore his brother, Hank, and while I don’t see me ever dating him or liking him romantically I definitely love him a lot.  And yes, it feels really weird to love a guy so much but neither of us be at all interested in kissing, holding hands or anything intimate that I’ve always associated with boy-girl love.   Hank makes me smile and just being around him brings me so much joy, it’s like he’s a little radiator but instead of heat I receive joy and happiness when I’m around him.  He makes me want to be that kind of person for everyone around me.

My ex contacted me a week or so ago and wanted me to pay something that had gone to collections.  And then he wanted to know why Tina hadn’t returned any of his text messages and where was she on getting her divorce and what was going on in her life and why wasn’t I telling him anything about her.  Then he asked, again, why I left and divorced him… and if there was any chance for us to get back together.  Good grief that man is dense!  I paid the bill and then wrote him a letter and told him that I would keep him in the loop if Tina went to the ER or anything urgent like that but from now on he needed to build a relationship with her and get her to trust him enough to tell him about her life herself.  I gave him three reasons why I left and divorced him, the main one being that he is still emotionally abusive, and I told him that no, there is no chance of us getting back together again so he should feel free to move on with his life and find himself a nice little wife to share it with.

Health-wise I’ve been having some minor issues so I had some labs done and an ultrasound of my gall bladder.  Turns out the gall bladder is fine but I have a mild fatty liver and an under active thyroid… and I’m anemic.  I have an appointment next month to talk to the doctor about it but in the meantime I’m on a synthetic thyroid medicine and iron pills along with my anti depressant and sleep medicine.  I feel like I’m taking a lot of pills now, ugh!

I get one day off a week and it’s not quite enough to be fully rested but until winter comes that’s how it is, lol.  I try to visit with one friend each week and get all my bills and errands taken care of on my day off.  Today I met with two friends for a late lunch and then we wandered around an outdoor mall and did some shopping, It was fun!

And that has been my life for the last month.  I’ve gone from being a single woman living alone to being a busy single mom and I feel like God brought everything together perfectly – my bosses have a lot going on at home and stopped inviting me to hang out with them as much as they used to while at the exact same time I would have had to start saying no to a lot of their invitations so that I could spend more time with Tina.  Life is good!  I am well provided for with my job, my relationship with Tina is better than it’s ever been, I have good friends, God is faithful and I am blessed.