even harder than I thought

My first weekend out of the house was even harder than I thought. But I don’t know what I expected. What could I expect? This is all brand new to me. I’ve never done this before, which begs the question: do I ever want to do this again?

Ask me now and the answer is a resounding: Hell no!

Which begs another question: Do I even want to consider another serious relationship…ever?

I had my doubts about marriage before now, and after this, well, let’s just say it hasn’t really improved my opinion much.

Probably too early to be even thinking about that sort of thing anyway. I’m not just going to run out and meet someone just to meet someone, just so “I won’t be alone.” blah blah blah. That seems  ill-advised, if you ask me.

And I know what you’re thinking: I didn’t ask you. Too bad. You’re getting my opinion anyway. This is, after all, my freaking blog, buddy!

Who am I talking to anyway?

I don’t know

Quiet, you!

Bffffft!

Anyhoo… the beginning of the week hasn’t been much better than the weekend. And what really troubles me is that I find no solace in things that had, in the past, always brought me comfort, things I could escape in, like reading books and watching movies. I’ve already blogged about not being able to stand music very much these days. Ack!

Thing is I don’t really have the luxury of NOT being okay. I’ve got my daughter this weekend. I can’t take care of her if I’m wrapped up in my own miserable self-pity — wah wah wah! Not to  mention self-loathing.

Well, that’s that then…

… I guess.

So why do I feel as if there should be more, I don’t know, not fanfare, that’s not the right word, but more…something to mark this dismal occasion.

For one thing , it’s too bright and sunny outside to reflect my bleak  mood. My misery. Where is the rain? And the gray overcast sky? The chilly ill wind? Eh, who am I kidding, I know better — the world does not adjust itself to your moods. If it mirrors it it is simply a coincidence.

Worst day ever!

Today marks the last day (and night) that I will spend in the house I have called home for about 7 years now. You know, when I say it it doesn’t seem like all that long. But really home is more about the people you live with than the place you live in. And in that case the home I’m leaving I’ve known for more than a decade. Now, that does seem like a long time. It does to me anyway.

Anyhoo… from now on I will only be a visitor there, although I’m sure it will still feel like home in some way, at least for a time. In a way, I’ll be glad when it is finally sold and I’ll never have to return to it, but that’s not going to happen for some time.

Tomorrow (Friday, April 23, 2010) after I pick up my daughter, get her home (her home, not mine), feed her dinner and make sure she’s completed her homework, I will, after Colleen home (her home, not mine) arrives from work, leave and go to my parents condo, where I’ve installed myself in the spare bedroom. And I suspect that will not feel very much like home. How could it? At least not at first.

This fact hangs over my head like some immense entity in the sky just waiting to fall and crush me, and I cannot escape it.

Perhaps it is too much to call today the “worst day ever!” even if it does feel that way. It’s probably more accurate to call it the “worst day ever…so far!” After all, considering circumstances there are likely to be even worse days in my future.

I’m sure that sounds pretty pessimistic, but really can you blame me? Besides I don’t think it’s so much pessimistic as it is realistic. I have a hard time believing that it is all up hill from here, that there aren’t sadder days ahead. But what do I know.

I’ve been attempting to prepare myself for this inevitable departure, in small ways. For example, instead of calling it “home” I try to say “the house.” As in, “I’ll see you at the house later.” And on my cell phone I’ve changed the land-line number designation from “Home” to “Derby house.” But I don’t know that that really helps much.

I don’t know that anything can really help. It is simply something to be done and endured. What else can you do?

No music….

….please!

One of the real bummers of my current circumstances, i.e. getting divorced, is that I can no longer enjoy music. In fact, I can barely stand it.

I’ve always lived with the notion that music can be a comfort and cathartic, especially when you’re down, but for me right now it is just painful. It is the emotional equivalent of chewing on tinfoil.

Of course, I’ve never been a music connoisseur, but I’ve always  liked music, like anyone else. So to suddenly have it be a source of discomfort rather than pleasure is disheartening to say the least.

This is especially a problem for me at work, because I have a job where I sit at my computer all day and listening to music is one of the ways that helps you pass the time. But as stated above I can’t do that. Instead, I listen to TV shows online. I’m not so sure that listening to TV shows provides comfort as much as it is simply a distraction, which isn’t bad except there isn’t real joy in it, you know.

I do get some semblance of joy from reading still, thank God! Don’ t  know what I would do if I couldn’t read. I read all the time, somteimes several books simultaneously. But I can’t read while I’m working.

Writing helps but in a different way. It isn’t so much about joy or distraction as it is about making order of chaos. It is helpful to write, to shape the ides, to reconsider and rewrite.

Why am I not doing this for a live, you might ask?

Good fucking question. Why not indeed?

Emotional Borderlands

Right now I feel as if I’m living in some kind of  bizarre borderland or something.

I’m married (technically anyway) and yet I feel alone. I live in a house that more and more it doesn’t feel like my home.

Thing about this borderland is that it is littered with these invisible vortexes or wormholes or whatever. They’re everywhere and it’s pretty much impossible to not stumble into one. And like that you’re sucked into a different dimension, a whole different emotional state, and fuck if you know how you got there. Makes you feel like you’re losing your mind sometimes And it can literally can make you feel and seem like a crazy person.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just stressed because I’m doing the single-parent thing again this week. Same as last week when Colleen was in NYC only this weeks a bit more difficult because Addy’s not on Spring Break,which means she needs to be dropped at school and picked up. She needs a lunch in the morning and dinner at night. Plus there’s homework after school. Damn, kids today have a lot of homework. At least, it’s only temporary for me. What about those people who do it every day. It doesn’t end after a week. It just keeps going and going…. How do they do it? What choice do they have, right?

Daddy Daughter Road Trip

That’s right. Addy and I are hitting the road tomorrow. For Indianapolis. To visit my brother and his family, including one of Addy’s favorite cousins, Miss Riley Roo!

Traveling always makes me at least a little nervous, although it never used to. I used to find it much more exciting. Not sure when that changed. When I became a father? Before then? I’m not really sure. I just know that it makes me uptight now. And, taking a trip as a single parent is even more nerve-wracking. You have to be responsible for everything. You really appreciate how having a spouse made it easier. There was two of you to make sure you that you didn’t forget anything.

But really, other than critical medications, what could you possible forget that couldn’t be bought on the road or once you get to where you going?

Of course, it also means that I do all the driving, there and back, about five hours each way, which really isn’t that much, especially when you consider that I made a 13 hour car ride from here to Iowa a few years ago. (I took an alternate route. Don’t ask.) Still, there are more comfortable rides than my Honda Civic. But it’s got cruise control, so I got that going for me.

At least Addy is old enough to pack her own bag. Sort of.  I guide her along and check her packing but mostly I try to leave to her. She’s 9 after all.

But then, I’m 42 and I could really use someone looking over my shoulder when I’m packing. And I did…but not anymore.

One thing that makes traveling a lot less stressful is a GPS, which I’ll be using on this trip. It’s Colleen’s but she’s graciously allowed me to use it. Thank you! It’s so much better than trying to read a map while you’re driving, or trying to memorize the directions. You don’t have to make as many stops. Chances are I’ll get one for myself after I move out. Should probably get my own suitcase too. There’ so much stuff that I don’t have…

Anyway, I’ll probably be up for a little while, running through a mental check list, to make sure I don’t forget anything. And, oh yeah, now that I think about I need to get gas on my way out of town. But I’m sure that I will forget something. I usually do. REMINDER: packs snacks!

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.

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