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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.

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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 ❤

My time has been consumed with painting and working – the week before Mother’s Day was wonderfully, crazy busy!

I’ve painted the entire living room and the hallway a nice cream color called Whispering Wandering Beige – they’re completely done, yay!  I found a couch and overstuffed chair with two matching tables at a nearby thrift store and they look fabulous in my new living room.  I think that all I need in that room now is a TV and lots of plants 🙂

The office walls are now a nice, light blue but I still have to paint the ceiling a crisp, white and then it will be finished.  

The kitchen ceiling has it’s first coat of the WWB but I still have to do the second one to finish it off.  Then the walls between the cupboards and counter will get a sagey green color to be a nice background for my strawberry decor and the cupboards themselves are cheap but dark and look fairly decent so I don’t have to try and make them look pretty until later, much later.  I’m running into a minor delimma because I really want to get blue dishes but I’m not sure if that will go with the strawberry theme and I’ve been collecting strawberry stuff for at least 15 years now… I don’t want to give up either one of them so we’ll see how I can work blue in with green and red, lol.

My friend gave me a washer and dryer and her family brought them over, her husband installed them and made sure they were working which was sooooo nice!  It seems weird how happy having my own washer and dryer makes me and I am so grateful for my friend and her husband!

The bathroom and the master bedroom are untouched by fresh paint as of yet and while I’ve asked my church for help moving my stuff out of the mini storage I haven’t been anywhere near as on top of them to pin down a time and date as I usually am.  I’m even considering not going to church tomorrow if I wake up tired, which will eliminate my touching bases with the pastor’s wife about getting help for moving…

I. Am. Procrastinating.  Yes I am.  Usually I like painting and can just whip out one painted wall after another but this time around it seems to be much more difficult for me.  I think I’m not trying very hard to move because I’ve never lived alone in my entire life and the closer I get to it the more nervous I’m becoming.

I know, intelletually, that being alone and being lonely are two different things.  My counselor has made sure to point it out to me as well.  But aside from one month or so before I got married, in 41 years I’ve NEVER lived alone, how weird is that?  And what on earth am I going to do with myself every night after work?

Sometimes I worry that I am not as brave as I need to be in order to see this whole “single” thing through but moving forward is my only option.  Therefore, I’m going to have to finish my painting next week on my days off so I can move in no later than the end of the month.  I still need a bed though. ugh!

I should probably get a cat.  Actually make that two cats because I’m gone about 11 hours a day when I work and it would probably be better if they could play with each other instead of being bored while I’m gone and shredding everything I own. 

Then again, maybe I should just get a fish…

So, miracle of miracles, my soon-to-be-ex-husband actually initiated contact with me last week to go to the courthouse and file our divorce paperwork.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor I agreed to meet him on Friday, May 1st for what turned out to be an excruciatingly awkward and uncomfortable morning but at least when it was over, it was over.  He signed the divorce paperwork in front of a notary, we turned it in and they said the judge should sign it and make it official in 4 – 6 weeks.  Then we went to the title company where I signed a quit claim, turning the deed of the house over to him completely and in exchange he gave me one final guilt trip… and a check.

With that check I am moving into a 60 x 14, two bedroom, one bath trailer in a “bad” part of town, lol.  Ironically it is at the other end of a short street from the first trailer home we lived in when we first moved to this town 8 1/2 years ago.

I tried to use the housing voucher but the requirements are so strict I was unable to find housing in the price range and guidelines they set.  If I had one other person with me (like my youngest daughter), we could have easily found housing within the guidelines but as a single person there just wasn’t anything out there.

But in the end I think it’s OK.  I have 840 sq feet all to myself and can paint the walls any color I want, a second bedroom to make into an office/nail room and a little bit of yard that I can fill with plants and flowers to my heart’s content.  There’s new carpet in the living room and the master bedroom and there’s new linoleum in the kitchen.  The fridge is much newer and nicer than I expected and there’s a nice, big space to put a washer and dryer. There’s even a good-sized storage shed that’s included next to the trailer.  The neighborhood seems quiet, it’s on a dead-end street that ends against a steep hill but is only a block from a busy street so it’s easy to get everywhere.  The neighbors I’ve met seem nice and friendly and the landlord was a pleasure to work with.  I think I will do well there!

The down side is that the door to my new home has obviously been kicked in at some point because the deadbolt doesn’t have to be unlocked in order for the door to open and close.  The lock on the doorknob works just fine but I need to find a way to fix the deadbolt and I’m wondering if it would be worth it to change all the locks.  The windows are, well, old trailer home windows and not much better than plastic wrap at keeping the weather in or out.  Every single wall needs to be painted and there are several spots in the floors that will need stabilizing at some point in the near future.

There is so much more to setting up a new home than I expected, wow!  It’s entirely different than just moving with all your stuff.  I have to buy a broom, a mop, cleaning supplies, a thermostat for the furnace, window coverings, a shower curtain, towels, dishes, silverware… the list goes on and on.  But that’s just the little stuff!  I found a living room set at a nearby thrift store so I now have a couch, chair, a coffee table and an end table to go with my piano, bookshelves and computer desk.  The things I don’t have?  Kitchen table/chairs, bed, TV, DVD/BlueRay, tools (hammer, screwdriver, scissors, nails, etc.), plants – I miss my plants – they let them all die after I moved out in January…  Maybe I should start a GoFundMe account for all the little odds and ends of starting a new life, ha, ha!  Nope, I’m a big girl now and am exactly where I want to be so I’ll take whatever people offer me and slowly pick up whatever else I need. But I’m happy with my new home and wanting to hurry up and finish painting so I can move in, hopefully in the next couple of weeks. 🙂

Today I went and saw my case manager and my counselor at the women’s shelter and I found out that I qualify to be part of a housing program!  I’ll find out more at my next appointment a week from now but from what I understand this program will pay all of the deposits required to get into an apartment/home AND my first six months of rent!  It’s a program designed to help women like me get back on their feet and get established in housing they can maintain on their own after the first six months.  I’m so excited!  Now I can look for housing near my new salon and have a place of my very own, yay!

Once that happens I’m going to need furniture, but I’ll cross that bridge when it gets here, lol!

OK, so maybe it started in August and ran over a bit into October…  Here’s the rundown, and my apologies for not having blogged for so long but I think you’ll understand:

August 27th – I turn 40.  (Not entirely bad news, it’s just a number, right?)

August 30th – Our washer and dryer died.

September 1st – Our hot water heater caught on fire and needed replacing.

September 4th – I lost my job and signed up for unemployment.

September 9th – We are not eligible for food stamps.

September 13th – GOOD NEWS!   I signed up to attend a beauty school’s Nail Technician program with my husband’s somewhat skeptical blessing.  I’m tired of the office life!  I have wanted to be a Nail Technician since I was in my early 20’s but the money and the time to go to beauty school never made it to my house at the same time so to make money I did what I was best at, answering phones and office work… for 20 years…  and now the opportunity of a lifetime, a miracle has come my way!

 September 16th – MORE ABOUT THE SAME GOOD NEWS!  My first day “back to school” and it was soooo weird after over 20 years.  I brought my paper, pen and pencil and I was so excited that my girls made fun of me and I didn’t care a bit!   I should graduate sometime in January of 2014 so it’s roughly four-and-a-half months and almost every day so far has flown by – I go home feeling like I had FUN at school, I really love what I’m learning!

 September 20th – My unemployment claim was denied.  (I am appealing it.)

September 21st – Our oldest daughter turned 18 and we had this HUGE party planned for over 3 months with 10 people invited… guess who spent money, lots and lots of money, that we didn’t have?

September 24th – I lost my phone.

October 2nd – My car died.  Dead.  Seized engine dead.  Over-sized paper-weight dead.  Tacky Red Neck Lawn Art Dead.  Walk to school and be late and then wonder how I’m going to get home dead.  Dead dead.

You know, sometimes so many bad things happen in such a short amount of time that all you can do is sit back and giggle hysterically.  That’s pretty much where I’ve been.  To tell the truth I’m kind of sitting back wondering what else could go wrong and thinking I might want to grab a soda and popcorn to watch the next disaster go down…

But in spite of all that something really good that has happened through all this.  I’m actually  very happy right now, strangely happy right now given all the above circumstances.  I don’t think I need my depression pills any more kind of happy, weird huh?  Somehow, for the first time since I was a child I 100% believe that God is fully in control and everything is going to be OK.  Not Never-Going-To-Have-Another-Problem-For-The-Rest-Of-My-Life-OK but All-My-Needs-Will-Be-Met-And-Taken-Care-Of-OK.  I actually have more peace and trust in God more now than I did when I had my job and was making good money!  Have you ever heard “Blessings” by Laura Story?  I feel like I’m living it…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CSVqHcdhXQ  I KNOW everything is going to be OK and I haven’t felt that way for a long time.  I guess if this is what it took to get me to this amazing, emotionally stable place then I wish it would have happened earlier!

What my life looks like now:
I’m looking for a job I can do after school and on weekends.
I’m trying to get my Pampered Chef business to make us some money.  (I had two shows last month, whoo hoo!)
I’m wondering how I’m going to make up the two house payments and numerous utility bills that we’re behind on.
I’m driving the car my nearby best friend is selling me on payments.
I found a cheaper phone plan and my entire family has new phone numbers <aggravating> so now I don’t have to find my other phone, lol!
We replaced the washer and dryer with used ones but unfortunately had to buy a new hot water heater.
Starting next week I’ll be ready to give manicures and pedicures to paying customers at school now so hopefully I will start getting tips!

Life is life.  God is God.  God is bigger than Life.  Life is going to be OK.   🙂

I think deep down inside every woman wants a magazine-perfect home – Picture this:  You walk in the front door and smell a light fragrance that reminds you of spring and burning candles at the same time. Soft light floods each room, revealing the sparkling clean that is everywhere.  In the bedrooms, sheets match the comforters, pillows, bed-skirts, curtains and the area rug.  Bathrooms are painted in soft aqua tones with shells and ocean accents with fluffy towels folded neatly into baskets and smelling as nice as the day you pulled them out of the dryer.  In the Kitchen there are never any dishes in the sink and the refrigerator is full of good, wholesome food that looks  amazing and tastes fabulous. The counter tops are covered in glorious mounds of baked goods that are sinfully calorie laden, created with the express purpose of soliciting complements about what a clever cook you must be to make such exquisite pastries.  Throughout the house are lush carpets with no traffic wear patterns and never need vacuuming, hard-wood floors that never need sweeping yet they are waxed and polished to the point of reflecting your face like a mirror.  All you have to do is float from room to room enjoying the picturesque perfectness and never cast a care to how it actually stays that way because you’re in a magazine home.  This is the modern woman’s fairy tale, eh?

<pause and reflect on what a life might be like if you lived in a magazine-perfect home…okay, that’s enough, now come back to reality>

Real Life is full of my spouse, children and pets making messes everywhere.  Especially messes that smell bad, really bad.  Real Life means the sink – and counter tops – are covered in dirty dishes, the inside of the microwave has spots from things exploding and the bottom of the oven is full of burnt offerings to the gods.  The ‘fridge may be full but everything is sticky from a frozen can of orange juice that leaked all over the shelves and no one ever bothered to wipe up. Also, something has gone horribly wrong in the bottom ‘fridge drawer, aka, the cool box,  and you’ve resigned yourself to waiting for the government to come and clean up the toxic waste.  Until then, nobody in the house is going to touch it for lack of proper gloves and radiation suits.

Real Life means that there is dog hair everywhere and if you are lucky(?) enough to have a large, prone-to-drool dog like we do, there is dog drool everywhere as well.  Dog drool on the walls from when he shakes his head, dog drool on your shoes because he likes to carry them around and dog drool on just about any soft, fluffy thing he can carry around the house with him… and he’s a big dog, there’s not much he can’t wrap his mouth around and cart all over, ugh!

Real Life means that the kitchen table is not used for eating at but for the storage of things like magazines, the mail, a citrus juicer, body lotion, reading books, your daughter’s latest sewing project, a motorcycle helmet, TV remote controls, an old rotary-dial telephone that’s missing its handset, electrical power cords, scissors, a wireless mouse and a set of super-old Tupperware popsicle makers.

Real Life means that there is a huge dog crate in the middle of my kitchen area for a week because we dog-sat for a friend who went on vacation.

Real Life means that we are renting our guest room to a nice, single young woman from church who has her own dog and we find out that neither her dog nor our own recently acquired, super-large dog are entirely house trained.  <rolling my eyes as I wipe up dog pee with one hand and hold my nose with the other>

Real Life means that my home normally operates in Disaster Mode but that it’s always open to others, just as it is.  Those courageous few that dare venture into our home usually leave saying they felt relaxed and at ease with us and they look forward to coming back.

Real Life means that we live with the disaster, the dog hair, the junk food and the cluttered table but we LIVE.  We laugh and play games, watch movies and just enjoy each other company.  We make terrible messes in the kitchen trying out various recipes, most of them completely delicious and therefore bad for us, and when we finally feel like it, we clean the mess up – unless we have company coming over and then we do the famous “Company Clean” dance all around the house, it’s both good exercise and good for our housekeeping!

Real Life means that we’re not perfect and our home will never grace the pages of a magazine but it’s our home and we don’t encourage any OCD behavior by making (housekeeping) perfection a low, low priority.  Our goals are to live and be a happy family together.  There are some people who can do that AND have amazing housekeeping skills but we are not those people.  We are ourselves.  You be yourself too.  Be Real!

I have been looking for something positive to write about for the last week because  I’m tired of moaning and groaning about my life when I know so many other people have far worse circumstances than I.  However, I’ve been completely exhausted and unable to do much more than go to work, come home and go to bed.  In spite of my exhaustion here are some of the silver linings I have found recently:

1.  People at work like me.  Granted, I bring a lot of candy to give away but I think that just catches their attention and helps them notice how quick I am to help them out with special requests, etc.  I smile and they smile back.  Some days it’s a lot more gratifying to be at work, than at home, let me tell you!
2.  Because the Mean Girl at work quit I got a seat by the window (a somewhat exclusive and prestigious position… no extra pay, unfortunately)
3.  Because the Mean Girl at work left a really Nice Girl is joining our team.  She’s a very happy person and I’m looking forward to the positive impact she should have on the atmosphere of our little group.
4.  My husband really is trying to be amazingly nice.  It frequently turns into him being nice to me to get nice things for himself but I’m choosing to give him grace and  continue chalking it up to his addiction – at least for a while longer – and see if that change comes to that are of his life as much as the rest of him has changed.
5.  Tomorrow (technically today) is Easter – I have baskets all ready for the girls and my husband and they’re just going to have to share with me.  I even have eggs to hide but we’ll see if I have the strength to do that or if I just  make the girls hide them for each other – that could be fun too!
6.  I work the morning shift this coming Monday and when I get home I should be able to just jump into bed – my bed is warm, soft and fluffy.  I LOVE, love, love having the bed all to myself for naps.
7.  My roses are beginning to bud and I need to trim them soon.  I adore sweet smelling roses that are bi-colored and can’t wait to add to my collection in front of the house this year.
8.  We went to my favorite restaurant for lunch today.  It was far, far out of the budget but I didn’t care.  I was fighting a panic attack, felt like I could die at any moment (no, I didn’t tell them that) and wanted my favorite food so the whole family went and we had all the meat we could eat of all different cuts, marinade’s and styles, rotisseried pineapple with a brown sugar glaze, a little bit of salad (why on earth did I pick the salad? I should have just stuck with the meats) and creme brulee(sp?).  It was fantastic and I could have died a happy woman the moment we walked (rolled) out of the front doors.   If I ever become a bad girl, go to prison and  get executed I know exactly what I want for my last meal.  In the meantime, however, I’ll remain a good girl and continue to eat there whenever possible.
9.  My husband was very concerned that I did not feel well today.  He kept asking if he could help and was there anything he could do, I think I scared him more than usual, either that or he’s paying more attention than usual to how I’m actually feeling.  It was very nice and helped me feel better, at least a little bit anyway.
10.  My husband is not (totally) the horrible guy you may think he is from all my previous posts.  He’s trying very hard to be a nice guy, a better guy and he is noticeably more supportive to me now than ever before in our marriage.  The Two Month period ends on Friday so we’ll just see what happens.  I have more hope now than I did when we started this adventure, ha, ha, on Feb 6th.  God knows if this will work out in the end or not and I’m learning to trust Him with everything, just like I did as a child.  At the moment, all I want to do is sleep forever…

Everybody’s life sucks at one point or another – what are the silver linings in your life?

So I’m normally a very non-confrontational person but after writing my blog yesterday I was so upset that I confronted him on a few of the topics that bothered me the most.

Number one was me feeling like I did not have the right to say no to his sexual affection and what on earth happened to all the non-sexual affection we agreed on for this two month period that ends in a couple of weeks?

Number two was that if he wasn’t getting advice from anyone on how to treat me right why the <bad, bad words> did he wait until I said I was leaving his bed to pull out the manual on “How to be a Good Husband”, dust it off and put it into practice?  That, I think, is what upsets me the most – the fact that as far as I can tell he didn’t think that I was worth being nice to until I tried to move out of the bedroom.  And I never said divorce, I didn’t even say that he had to move out or leave the house, I just said I was going to move into the guest room and he was going to have to work on his sexual addiction and prove to me there was major progress in his life before I would sleep with him again.  But apparently that’s all it took for Prince Charming to come out of wherever he had buried him for the last 20 years – the thought that he would be cut off from his daily dose of sex.  Ugh.

Number three was the way he kept phrasing that whole “I’m letting you have more control in our relationship right now but…”

My husband has a silver tongue and while answering my questions last night he was very convincing that he was trying hard to change his ways and we’re both still getting used to the big, new changes in our relationship, and he didn’t mean the “control” statement the way I took it… blah, blah, blah…

I still don’t see that his heart has really changed – but to be fair he is putting quite a bit of effort into changing his words and actions towards me so Kudos to him for that.  His efforts do touch my heart but in more of a sad way because I know the outward changes will never last without inward changes and he has to want his heart to change regardless of whether our relationship survives this year or not.  I’d like him a whole lot more if he was pursuing living a holy lifestyle for his own sake instead of pursuing me for a sex “fix” (and so that he doesn’t have to be the first person in his family to get a divorce, now there’s a stigma that his immediate family would never let him live down.)

I left him tonight.  That feels really good to say, actually, but it’s not a permanent thing and yes, I did get his permission.  I am spending the night at a friend’s house tonight (Saturday) and am not going to church with my family tomorrow (Sunday).  He wants me back home at noon… why you ask?  Because I did, I asked why.  Especially since he and the girls won’t be home from church until closer to 1 pm.  Do you sense an ulterior motive here?  I did because yes indeedy, the reason he wants me home at noon is so I can have lunch ready for them when they walk in the door from church.  I feel like he’s trying to punish me for not going to church with him or maybe it’s that he couldn’t contain the control freak any longer – or possibly it’s a bit of both…  So yes Master, I will do my best to have lunch on the table when you get home tomorrow.

I’d like to buy a bucket of KFC and just leave it on the counter for when they get home and be out shopping myself because I really don’t want to be there spending time with him.  Why else do you think I asked for a schedule at work that keeps me out of the house until almost 7 pm Tues – Friday?  That particular schedule means that I don’t have to be home with my disapproving husband and ungrateful children for any longer than necessary before bedtime.

Me, me, me, me.  I realize that everything I write makes him look like a terrible, horrible guy and I’m the total victim with no faults of my own and that’s not entirely accurate.  (I know, shocking, isn’t it!)  I have areas where I’m not a great wife/mother/friend/person either.  Yes, sad but true.  And to be completely fair you’re only getting one side of the story so it obviously can’t be 100% his fault.  (But honestly, you keep choosing to come back and read about my life – so maybe you or someone you know deals with this stuff too???)

I’ve felt like a victim my entire life and now that I’m finally acknowledging and dealing with that particular issue – and trying to STOP being a victim – I’m realizing that I married a male version of my paranoid, control-freak mother.  I’m now terrified that my girls will marry a man like their father and then I’ll get to watch them re-live my lonely, heart-breaking life, and I’ll watch their children re-live it… it’s the saddest story ever told and it’s played out in thousands of people’s lives in America every day… but the thought of my girls, My Girls, living through what I’ve survived, well, that just destroys me.  Even though my girls are ungrateful as all get-out and extremely self-centered I don’t want them to have to live through a marriage like mine.  I don’t even want you – whoever you are – to have to live through a marriage like mine.  It’s not worth it.

And that is why my constant prayer is “Save me, save me, save me…”  Because in saving me I know God will save my daughters as well.

Am I the only one who loves the smell of fresh-ground coffee beans but can’t stand the taste of coffee?  OK, so don’t laugh but that is exactly my relationship with Organization.  I can enter an office supply store and the tension will start to drip away from me as soon as I cross the welcome mat.  I find my way to the aisle with all the different writing instruments and my shoulders unwind.  I could browse for hours in the calendars and personal organizer section because peace washes over me like I’m laying on a beach in Hawaii (although I still haven’t been there yet, I’m just imagining what it would be like).  Yes, I’ve always been a little strange…deal with it!

Like fresh-ground coffee beans I love, love, love, love the “aroma” of organization and if you show me a new gizmo or gadget that could possibly help organizes my life, well, I Want It.  And if it’s tiny, cute, navy blue and/or has butterflies on it then I Must Have It!  Basically I drool over just about anything with packaging that promises to put a framework around my crazy life and gives me and my possessions structure.  I want more shelves, bins, totes, notebooks, calendars, gidgets and gazmos… it can turn into an obsession, just like those people who bid waaaaay more than something is worth on Ebay just because they have to win.  Hmmm.  I guess there are worse fixations to have than being organized…

To be fair my office space at work is very organized to the point of impressing my managers… but of course it is, I have no children or husband at work to come behind me and mess things up just after I’ve cleaned them, eh?

However, just as I can’t stand the actual taste of coffee, having a plethora of Organizational things doesn’t mean the house – or my life outside of work – actually gets organized.  What it really means is that I now have a spare bedroom full of the cutest, tiny navy blue plastic crates imaginable; green totes I bought on clearance after Christmas; bookshelves that are full of spiral notebooks, 3 ring binders, assorted software; the closet is full of boxes, gift bags & wrapping paper, and oh yes, and I can’t forget the tote full of gifts to give for last-minute occasions…  <sigh>

Although I gave up on making “Being Organized” a New Year’s resolution quite some time ago I have several books on being organized that I read a couple times a year.  Emily Barnes and Elizabeth George are two of my favorite authors that write about organization of your time and possessions – and how to fit devotional time with God into your busy life as well.  I think it is Emily Barnes that inspired me with the quote “Something is better than nothing.  But always aim for more.”  Last year my dear little sister even bought and mailed me a book – the title is something like “Clutter’s Last Stand”. I think it’s on one of my bookshelves and I’m pretty sure I even read it.  I might have to go back and re-read that one again, hmmm.

Another excellent organizational program is The Fly Lady, an online program for people who need to learn how to clean their homes – and keep them clean.  The Fly Lady quote that has stuck with me is this:  “You can do anything for 15 minutes.”  (You have no idea how many situations I’ve applied that quote to that have nothing whatsoever to do with housework…)

But regardless of the condition of my house my heart is 100% in love with organization and someday I may get my act together enough to use all of the fabulous tools and skills I’ve gathered over my lifetime and actually have a neat and tidy home… but don’t hold your breath!

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