zign zee papers!

Got “served” with my divorce papers on Saturday. Sounds worse than it is. With an amicable divorce you don’t actually get served. Some guy doesn’t sneak up on and just say your name and then shove an envelope in your hands. In an amicable divorce the papers are mailed to you.

And you know that there coming, which is hard enough, the anticipation of their impending arrival. Dunt dunt da! I can’t imagine just suddenly getting slapped with them. That would suck. It does suck, according the people I’ve encountered who have experienced it.

Still, when I got the envelope my heart sunk into my stomach. My throat got dry. Saddness poured through my a slow, sticky liquid. Yuck!

I didn’t sign them right away. I let them sit until Sunday evening. Then, after confirming what I was supposed to mail back with C, I signed where the sticky note said to sign, folded the document and slid into the postage-paid envelope provided. Then I stuck it out in the mailbox. It would have been picked up yesterday and will probably be delivered today. No doubt it will be filed before the end of this week.

Another step in the process down.


Amicable Divorce

Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it.

Or a myth, an urban legend of sorts.

Well, there are law firms that specialize in this sort of thing. Like this one in Royal Oak that C and I are using. They specialize in amicable divorce. And trust me if you want to save money it is the way to go. All told we’ll spend probably less than $2,000 on our divorce. That’s a bargain compared to some of the horror stories I’ve heard, people spending tens of thousands of dollars or more.

Lewis Black has a joke about why divorce costs so much. Because it’s worth it! he says. It’s a funny joke, especially when Lewis tells it, but it’s pretty fucking sad too when you think about it.

Maybe at the time it seems worth it, but I’m willing to bet that in the aftermath, when the dust settles, some time passes, and things get to the point where two people can finally be civil to each other again it’s got to seem like a damn waste.

But it’s not just the  money. C and I want to be amicable. We want to get along, for our daughter’s sake of course — parents being civil to each other is one of the major factors that help kids adjust to divorce — but also because we’re genuinely fond of each other. We want to be friends.

That’s what we tell people; that’s our story and we’re sticking to it. Many don’t get it, or just don’t think it’s really possible, even if they don’t come out and say so. Maybe not, but we’re going to try.

It isn’t always easy. We’ve had some rough moments, but we’ve managed to work through them. So far. And things do seem to be getting a little easier, as time passes.

I was chatting on facebook with an old high school friend. He’d been through a divorce, a pretty nasty one, that sapped his saving to the tune of some $50,000. And he said something that surprised me. When I told him that we were being pretty amicable, that we were genuinely fond of each other and wished to support each other through this process and hopefully remain friends, good friends, he said that must make it a lot harder. For him it was easier to hate his ex at the time. Maybe it was motivating. Maybe it was even necessary, a part of the process. I don’t know.

Maybe it is easier to be angry and hateful than it is to be sad and supportive of the other person. I can see that. Trust me. I’m good at anger. I’ve been doing it my whole life. My parents like to tell a story of how, when I was baby, I cried a lot, hard and loud. They said that I seemed as if I was pissed off at the world for being born. My response was always, Yeah, I’m still not too happy about it. But you know what? I’ve spent way too much of my life being angry and bitter and resentful for any number of reason. It may  have been easy at the time but in the long run I think it takes a toll that’s just not worth it. It may be harder in the immediate moment but I’m ready to try something different, something better.

Maybe in the end I can’t really do it. But I’m going to try.

Beware of Boomer saboteurs

Great post from JenX67 this morning regarding an article that discusses the ways in which Boomers may sabotage GenXers as there is a succession of power.

From the article itself:

To successfully transfer power, leaders must gradually share more and more of it over time. Collaborative leadership freely partners, shares and cooperates. That’s what older leaders need to be doing now to prevent major hiccups when they retire.

Are Bomers doing this now? If not, they should be. And if they aren’t it’s because they’re still operating under the delusion that they’ll never retire, never give up their hold on the power reigns.

Personally, I’m not all that interested in resting power from a Boomer, not in my current situation anyway. I want to do my thing — write. But I do know of a few GenXers who seem to be constantly bumping their heads against the fat, unmoving asses of Boomers.

What do you think — could this get ugly in some situations?

51/49 stat is BS

I was going to write a clever post about how getting divorced was like relocating to Area 51, in reference to the stat that at some point the rate of divorce tipped to over half of all marriages. But then the other day I ran across this fairly recent article, which claims that that the 51/49 stat is a media myth:

Despite the high-profile scandals, reality TV shows highlighting “Cheaters,” online companies helping married people have clandestine encounters with other people’s spouses, celebrities proclaiming monogamy to be a biological impossibility, and a false but widespread belief that half of marriages end in divorce, Hartman and Bilton have reason to believe their marriage will last. More than 65 percent of first marriages reach their 10th anniversaries. That number has jumped to about 80 percent for recent marriages.

I was surprised because I’d always just assumed that the 51/49 (or something close to it) was true. Of course,  this is encouraging news, especially as reflection up Generation X as whole, but I also found it kind of disheartneing since I’m one of the minority who could stay married. <sigh>

The article goes on to say that divorce rates have been falling for 30 years, and that divorce is at it’s lowest since 1970. That really blew me away. I figure that they were constantly on the uptick. Although reflecting back on the 70s I suppose it should not have been so surprising.

More stats from the article:

“For those marrying in the early 1990s, 78 percent were still married after 10 years compared with 73 percent of those marrying in the late 1970s. … Those marrying in the early 1990s were 7 percent more likely to be still married.”

Apparently being married in the 70s is bit of a curse. Wonder if it had anything to do with huge bell-bottom pants and platform shoes and just ugly fashion in general. Although if that were true, the 80s could arguable be more of detriment to marriage longevity.

According to the article you can up your chances of staying married by attending in premarital counseling:

They are also engaging in more premarital counseling, which is another factor cited by researchers who have documented the strengthening of the marriage institution.

“Couples who attend premarital courses tend to communicate better, solve problems and report better relationships than those who do not,” a study in the journal Family Relations found.

A few more marital facts:
  • Born-again Christians have the highest rates of divorce, according to a study done by Christian researcher the Barna Group. The lowest rate is found among atheists and agnostics.
  • The highest divorce rates were in the Bible Belt states, according to an analysis by The Associated Press

The First Holiday….

Divorce, as with all major life changes, presents one with a series of lasts and firsts. Last time you don your wedding ring. First time you sleep away from the place you once called home. Etc.

This Easter will be our families first separate holiday, even though Colleen and I are not technically divorced yet. But I suppose you have to start getting used to these situations sometime, right. Addy and I will be spending Easter Sunday with my family, while Colleen will spend it with  hers. For this particular holiday there is not hand off planned, although time willing I’d be glad to deliver the girl so she can spend some time with Colleen and her grandparents and mom.

Both situations will be difficult in their own way, I’m guessing. For Colleen because she’ll be away from Addy That would be hard for me, I know — my time will come. For me because I’ll be self-conscious about what people are thinking. I’ll feel a bit…what’s the word I’m  looking for…incomplete, I guess. Not that I’ve never taken Addy places on my own before but this will be different.

After Easter the final countdown to my move out date begins. And the real bummer is that Colleen will  be gone for much of it, traveling for work while I do the single dad deal. I suppose it will be good practice, right. And for one of the remaining weekends Addy and I will be taking a trip to visit her uncles and cousin, leaving before Colleen get back into town.

Can I just say, this feels a little strange, blogging about this. I want to chronicle it but I don’t want to be overly-revealing, if that makes sense. I’m not one for blathering every bit of my personal life out to the web. Although I suppose one could argue that divorce is pretty personal. Still, there are aspects of it one can keep to one’s self. Or at least off the internet.

If these posts are boring it’s because I’m guarded, trying to find the right balance here. I’m hoping what I write will at least mildly interesting if not of use to others. But maybe in the end it will on serve my own purpose, getting things off my chest, which strikes me a little pathetic. But I guess it is what it is….

Bleak mornings in the grim shadow of divorce

Mornings are the hardest right now.

Especially with daylight saving time in effect (or is it affect?) and it’s still dark outside. I often wake before the alarm goes off and just lie there in bed, staring up through the dark at the ceiling. I’ve little, if any motivation, to get out of bed. That’s when my thought grow long and bleak, even dark at times.

Plus this morning it was raining.

It doesn’t help that work is slow and I’ve less than usual to occupy my time. Because what does help is doing something, anything, make a decision, even about the smallest thing. I find that planning for what’s coming next helps. And of course writing helps. Although it’s always temporary, very temporary. Minute you stop moving that’s when the bleakness sets in again. And there’s nothing to be done about it. It just is what is it.

Generation X and divorce

I spent some time today searching for statistics on the divorce rates among Generation X. I didn’t find much. Google Generation X and divorce and what you get is the oft stated assertion that many GenXer grew up with divorced parents, and some rather snotty comments about how selfish and spoiled GenX is and therefore must have a lousy divorce rate, comments clearly made by Boomers. Perhaps it is still to soon for such data to be compiled. Or maybe I just suck at internet research.

Anyhoo… my purpose was to educate myself on the numbers since when I start blogging for JenX67 I’ll be mainly writing about being a divorced GenXer and a single dad. I figured I should know a little bit beyond my on experience. So much for that.

If anyone happens to know of any studies or even just news articles about Generation X and divorce, theirs not their parents’, I’d appreciated being  directed to them.

I did come across a collection of short stories and novella, though, that made me think of my most recent post about Omega Males. It’s titled Greetings from Cutler County, by Travis Mulhauser. And initially I was drawn to it because the stories are set in Northern Michigan. Reading the dust jacket flap only increased my interest, since it was clear these were “guy stories.”  But a specific kind of guy stories:

Most of the characters are young men who think of themselves as losers and outsiders. Short on cash, popularity, and the ambition needed for success, they nevertheless are able to examine their failings with the self-knowing humor and resignation of the perpetually thwarted ne’re-do-well.

That’s definitely a description of GenX Omega Male fiction. Hmm. Did I just invent a new sub genre? Quick! To the copyright office.

Maybe, because of the pending divorce and likelihood of losing my job, I’m just  feeling like I’m at a low point in my life but I get the sense that I’m really going to identify with these characters. Some of them anyway.

Am I an Omega Male?

When your life is in transition, major transition in my case, it only stands to reason that you’d engage in some serious self-examination and self-reflection, asking yourself some hard questions.

So today I’m asking myself the question: Am I an Omega Male?

What is an Omega Male, you ask? A most appropriate and excellent question. For an answer let us turn our attention to slate.com, which has an entire article on the subject.

The short definition is that an Omega man “is having trouble being a man,” like the Ben Still character in the Noah Baumbach film Greenberg.

The Omega male ranks below the Alpha male who wants to dominate and the Beta male who just wants to get by. Omega man has opted out or given up.

This idea is not a new one. Susan Faludi addressed it in her book Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Male in 1999, which the slate.com article references. But with the recession it is apparently this trend is becoming even more, well, trendy…

The article holds up Don Draper and character from Tom Hanks war films as examples of the Masculine Ideal.

The article goes on to define subcategories of the Omega male. If I am one of these types, it is most likely the Liberal Arts Layabout, whom “…are usually failed artists of some sort, often surrounded by more successful friends and relatives.”  With my MFA in Creative Writing and not a damn thing to show for it plus the fact that I’m underemployed and underpaid, working a library job that one only needs a  high school education to do, it’s difficult to refute the comparison.

I’m  not really refuting the comparison.In fact, I pretty much accept it, not with any pride but hopefully not with complete resignation either. The question now is can I do anything to change my status. I know I’ll never be an Alpha male, I just don’t have it in me, unless I’m playing dodge ball then I’ll kill your ass, make you eat gymnasium floor buddy. But I could at least bump up to Beta male, that would be something. Don’t you think?

Of course, one has to wonder: is an Omega male up to such a change? Or is he, by his very nature, incapable of this sort of positive change?

I came this close….

….to chucking this whole blogging gig.

What a tragedy that would have been, eh.

My life is in such turmoil right now — divorce, moving, possibly losing my job — that I just didn’t think I could muster the enthusiasm. I may be on meds and in counseling but I’m still about as bummed and blue as I can possibly be. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been this sad in my entire life. And I’ve always considered myself a kind of down dude, but maybe I just didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.

Anyhoo… yesterday I got an email from JenX67, asking if I wanted to be a regular contributing blogger to her site, Are You There God, It’s Me Generation X. She wants to turn it into a multi-blogger deal, which seems pretty cool to me.

Despite that, however, this is the kind of thing ‘ve found myself shrinking from for reasons best known to my therapist and God, I suppose. It’s difficult to explain but probably has something to do with my fear of responsibility combined with lack of confidence in my efficacy — can you tell I’m in therapy or what? In any case, I didn’t think that I’d be up to. I mean, I have a hard time regularly contributing to my own blog under the best of circumstances. I didn’t want to let Jen down.

But then I decided, no. I’m going to do this. I can. And I’m going to blog, mainly, about exactly what I’m going through — divorce and being a single dad. I ran it by Jen first and she thought it would be a good topic, since as Generation X these things will become more and more relevant.

So that’s what I’m going to attempt to do. We’ll see how it works.

However, this new venture won’t be up an running until perhaps early summer. So fro the time being you’ll have to get you’re Daily Whine from me right here. Although I wouldn’t expect it to be daily.

Day after tomorrow angst

Does anyone else remember that made-for-tv movie The Day After about nuclear holocaust?

I do. And it scared the shit out of me. I’m not sure if the fear of nuclear war was there in my head before I saw it but once I did it was an ever-present angst.

Well, discovered a book which is a kind of memoir about growing up with that particular angst. It’s called The Day After The Day After: My Atomic Angst.

I’m guessing I’ll be able to identify. Just a little bit…