Ultimate Wish List–The Search for a Unicorn

I have talked a lot about what I don’t want when it comes to the opposite sex. I have gone over a lot of the bad or negative things about dating and a plethora of pitfalls as it relates to the men I have dated or gone out with. I honestly don’t believe that all the good men are gone or married. Or gay for that matter. I mean, seriously, there has to  be at least a few of them left and maybe, just maybe, I will be fortunate enough to find just one of them. So, instead of listing all the bad things about the men I have come across, perhaps it would be nice to address what I do want, because I have been thinking about that a lot lately.

  1. A gentleman. A true gentleman, not just one that likes to say he is and then forget his manners as soon as he gets comfortable with me. I want a man to open my doors, go out of his way to treat me like I matter to him, speak with kindness, not just to me, but everyone he comes across, even when he doesn’t necessarily like them. He should have at least some basic understanding of manners and etiquette and be good to my kids and my family.
  2. A man who is proud to be with me. I am not a super model. In fact, I am about the farthest thing from that, but I want whoever I am with to be okay with that and to be proud of who he is with, because in spite of my physical shortcomings, he thinks I am still an awesome person and a great catch.
  3. A man that isn’t afraid of feelings. Oh my gosh, it would be nice to be with someone who is not only okay with my feelings but doesn’t mock or belittle others who have them. It would be nice if he shows and shares his with me because he cares about and trusts me that much.
  4. Someone who realizes and is okay with the fact that I fuck up. Because I do. Monumentally sometimes. I want someone to push back when I push and fight when it’s necessary. I want him to not puss out when I mess up and talk to me about why he is angry with me when he is angry with me. He should be able to engage in conversation when things go wrong and not just walk away. A good man sticks around when things get difficult. A good man will get that I am worth it even when my insecurities and baggage get the best of me.
  5. Someone with a good work ethic. Maybe that sounds a bit trite, but I want him to work hard. I also want him to play hard. Lazy is good at the right time, but I really want to be with someone who not just says he likes to hike and swim and go to the gym. I want someone who actually does and encourages it in me when I am too damn tired to move. I want someone who says “let’s go!” and grabs me by the hand and drags me to the car to go do something active when everything in me says “no. Let’s just watch Netflix”.
  6. Lazy at the right time. Yes, I realize that I just said I wanted someone active, but there are times when I really need to relax and just chill. I need to recharge my batteries and I want someone who can honestly tell when I need that and help make that happen. Sometimes I really just need a day when I can sit on the porch, wrapped up in a blanket or a hoodie, drinking hot cocoa, either enjoying a good book or watching the rain fall. Some days I really need to just breathe and little else. The right man will know this and enjoy the quiet with me.
  7. A good sense of humor. I love to laugh. If a man can make me laugh so hard I snort, he just might be a keeper. I love all kinds of humor–jokes, sarcasm, off color humor, dry humor, nerdy humor, geeky humor and  (gasp!) dirty humor. If he can make me laugh, he is ahead in the game already.
  8. Someone with a past. This might sound strange, but I want someone with a past. I am not so sure that someone will accept mine if they don’t have their own. All those flaws I sport, the baggage I carry and all my scars are a part of who I am. They have built my character, made me strong, given me compassion and taught me things a clean and trial-free life could’ve never done. Someone with a past will understand this. They will see mine and not be afraid to share theirs.
  9. Someone who encourages me. I have always been able to take care of my self, but it would be nice to have someone who is willing to be my cheerleader. In relationships, I do my best to encourage and cheer my partner on, but rarely is my effort reciprocated
  10. Someone willing to be gluten free. This may be the hardest one to find. If one doesn’t have to be gluten free, why do it? I mean, who knows if this is something I could do if I didn’t absolutely have to. I would like to think I would, but it was hard enough doing it out of medical necessity, but when it’s not? Good luck. A man willing to give up his beer, bread and anything else gluten filled may be a unicorn indeed.
  11. Someone who wants to live. I am tired of men that want to be comfortable staying at home all the frickin time. I want to go camping and fishing and out to movies and for walks. I want to travel and see the world. I want to hang out with other people and go dancing and play. I want to have fun and I want to be with someone who wants to do those same things. I don’t want to spend my life working and then coming home to cook and clean for someone else and then watch Netflix until bedtime. I want to be with someone that isn’t happy in a bubble of comfort. I want to do things that scare me or challenge me or change me.
  12. Someone intelligent. I have always been kind of a nerd so I value intelligence in a partner. Maybe I need to ease up on that though because often when I find a super intelligent one, they kind of turn out to be, how shall I say this? Less than fun. Lacking anything resembling exciting.
  13. Someone that is good to my family and kids. If a man can’t get along with my family, there is really no point in pursuing a relationship because, while I don’t see them as often as I would like or I should, they are very important to me. The last man I dated and the only one I have introduced to my children or family since I dated my ex-husband, did a bang up job of completely pissing off my entire family, save my dad. “J” was absolutely rude as shit to my sister and you just can’t be rude to her. “M” (my sis) is a genuinely nice person and does her best to make people feel at ease and engage them in conversation. You can’t treat my family like crap on the bottom of your shoe and be in my life.
  14. Someone creative–I don’t care how he is creative (unless he is out creating new STD pools and offspring with a bevy of other women), I just dig creative–woodworking, drawing, painting, putting things together, building things. A man that works with his hands is a huge turn on. Watching a man work with his hands, however/whatever he does, can be mesmerizing. And actually kind of therapeutic.
  15. Someone adventurous and young at heart–If a man can turn even the most mundane of activities, such as grocery shopping or errand running, into an adventure, that is someone I want to spend my time with. I want him to see the world through the eyes of a child and be just as giddy as I am over things others take for granted. I want to watch the clouds float by, count the stars, wonder at the beauty found in seemingly ugly and dirty things.

This list probably sounds like a lot of demands and high expectations. It is. I am no longer willing to settle for “meh” any longer. I mean, there is a little wiggle room in there somewhere, but this really is my ultimate “wish list” for a partner. As high as my expectation is for the next, and hopefully final, man in my life, I hope his expectation is just as high for me. We should challenge each other, fight for each other, take care of each other, cheer each other on, and, God willing, go on a million adventures with each other. If that isn’t possible, and just “meh” exists, then really, what is the point?

The list of (im)possibilities

Sometimes progress can be difficult to see when you are in the middle of a slump or things are just not moving as quickly as you would like or expect. A short time ago, my boys and I were going through one of those times. They didn’t ever express such sentiments, but when every request is a “no” answer because of the lack of money, it isn’t a stretch to think they were feeling the frustration every bit as much as I was.

I am a fan of tangible evidence. Just paying bills and eliminating debt isn’t enough. I can’t put my hand on the absence of debt. I want to actually have a way to show that we are doing better and that we are making progress, so I came up with an idea for me and my boys to do just that. The idea is that we need to make a list of things–things we want to do, things we want to buy, places we want to go. These “things” should be anything we want, no matter how mundane and no matter how extravagant. It is to be a list of probable, possible and seemingly impossible things. I want my kids to shoot for the stars because you never know what circumstance is going to come your way. Items will be added as we think of them and crossed off as we buy/do/travel to each one of them. That will be the tangible evidence of progress. Like a very ambitious to-do list.

So, I gave my boys “homework”. I asked each of them to give me a list of their first 10 things they want on that list. I made a list of my first 10 as well and the following is the beginning of our dream that will hopefully keep moving and growing.

My list:

  1. Buy a house–This, to me, is the biggest representation of success. For some, it might be no big deal, but for me, it is monumental. During my marriage, when we were making a LOT more money than I am now, we were always behind on the mortgage and, quite honestly, the house was falling apart. I went from there to my Grandpa’s house where I lived for free (I wasn’t employed yet) for 3 months and then to a low income apartment. In May, I moved in to a rental house. I love having a space where I don’t have to worry about playing music loud enough to hear it, where my kids don’t have to worry about stepping too hard on the floor and disturbing the downstairs neighbor and where I can, for the most part, do and grow whatever I want. The next best thing would be ownership. The very best thing would be ownership.
  2. buy a newer car–I love the car I have now, but it is 14 years old and in dire need of numerous repairs. I would love to have a van or a pickup truck so that I can transport all of my stuff for the art and craft shows in which I am a vendor. I have only ever had used cars. Like REALLY used. My newest car has been at least 6 years old and the oldest was almost 20 at the time of purchase (1978 Mercury Zephyr–I LOVED that car). To me a car is nothing more than a means of getting from location to another, but having one that is reliable is one of the most important things on my list.
  3. Buy a toolbox–I am gradually getting basic tools that every household should have (hammer, screwdrivers, small saw, etc). The problem is that I have nowhere to keep them and therefore they get put down wherever anyone is finished using them. That means, I can’t ever find them when I need them. I buy replacements and then find the original. It would be much more convenient, not to mention financially responsible to have everything in one place and not have to keep buying the same tools over and over again.
  4. Take my kids on a trip to Monterey, CA–Monterey is my favorite place on earth, and I have been to some pretty cool places. There is so much about it to love. It is beautiful, it is by the ocean, it smells heavenly, it has amazing food and, for me, it holds some wonderful memories. Immediately after graduating from army basic training, I was sent to Monterey to study Russian at the Defense Language Institute. There, I experienced my first sense of adult freedom, my first kiss, my first real relationship, first love. I made some of the most amazing friends I have ever known.  Yeah, there is much to love about Monterey. I don’t know if it is just my slightly skewed and bias opinion, but I can’t imagine a more wonderful place. I want so badly to share that with my kids. I have been talking to them about Monterey forever. I have them convinced. I only hope  it is as heavenly to them as it is to me.
  5. Buy a fishing license–I have been telling my boys for the last two summers that we should go fishing, but never actually putting any effort into doing so. There are probably a million places in Idaho to fish, but I don’t know where they are, beyond the Boise River. Thankfully, I have a rather large number of friends from which to glean that information. My goal for summer 2018 is to go at least 5 times. Five is not a really large number so it should be doable, but life, my life, has a bad habit of getting in the way of plans. At any rate, five is the goal.
  6. Get another tattoo–I actually want to get several, but there is one that I want to get more than any other–a Phoenix. My most recent tattoo, a watercolor butterfly, has special significance for me. A butterfly is the perfect example of of transformation, the concept of something amazing, graceful and beautiful from something, well, ugly, blobby and awkward. I feel like I am, or was, that caterpillar,  some loathsome thing that no one really wanted and I felt like I really didn’t deserve happiness or love. While not quite where I want to be, I feel like I have transformed from what I used to be. My next tattoo is going to be a Phoenix because a Phoenix rises from the ashes. Rebirth from destruction. I have been through a lot of things in my life (see previous posts) and I have managed to survive all of them. Not unscathed, but I am still here. I have repeated piles of ashes from every time I have been broken, damaged or destroyed and come out stronger.
  7.  Buy A Taboret–A taboret is a wheeled, portable table or cart, used for holding and moving art supplies and functioning as a hard surface to create on. Right now I have a tiny Walmart coffee table that is overflowing with art and craft supplies. I would love to have something mobile to make painting and creating more convenient. Taborets run anywhere from about $100 to about $800 and sometimes even more. I don’t want or need anything fancy. I just need mobility. I am tired of my coffee table being unusable for its intended purpose.
  8. Take my kids to Lagoon–I haven’t been to Lagoon in about 25 years. It has changed a lot in that time. I do remember it fondly though. Growing up we went about every other year (poor family, 4 kids. You do the math). My boys have never been to a theme park. Never. We have been talking about going for years, but we have never had the money or reliable transportation. Come tax return season (spring break), I think we will be going, if we either have a newer car or we can borrow one from someone else. A trip to Utah can fulfill two things on my list–Lagoon and a new tattoo. I got my butterfly done by an artist in Orem and I would love to have him create another for me.
  9. Get a dog–I miss having a dog so much.  Dogs are amazing. They are quite possibly the greatest gift from God, right after our own offspring. They don’t judge your weight, your place in life, your beauty, your job or your mistakes. They love. That’s it. They love us when we are unlovable. They love us when we screw up. They love us without stopping to think if we deserve it. They instinctively know when our hearts are broken and we need extra love. There is just no downside to having a dog.
  10. Buy a new bed–Several reasons for this. 1. My mattress is about 16 years old and needs to be replaced. 2. I am sleeping on the same bed and mattress that I had while married. That alone is reason enough to replace it. 3. My bed frame is a lodgepole pine frame so it is really big, really heavy and tall enough that I have to climb up into it.  4. It is super squeaky. Like embarrassingly so. If I have to explain how that is problematic, you are way too young to be reading this blog. Squeakiness is not a concern now, but at some point in my future, it might become an issue. Again. Maybe.

“A’s” list (age 12)

  1. A set of Prismacolor colored pencils–“A” is definitely my son. He loves to create anything and everything. He loves color and art and sees the world differently than most. Despite the fact that he already has a growing  collection of writing utensils (much like his mother), he wants more. And Prismacolors are the best. I have a set I share with him, but he wants his own. I get it. There is something about having a collection  that beautiful all your own. The color, the feel, the smell and the way it changes a white sheet of  paper into a work of art.
  2. Nintendo 3DS–Well, he is a 12 year old boy so further explanation would be redundant.
  3. Trip to Peru–This one actually surprises me. He has said a million times that he wants to move to Italy and he has talked about visiting Japan and a few other places, but I don’t ever recall Peru being one of them. I love that my kids are adventurous and willing to try and do just about anything once and I’m glad this one is on his list. This trip may be a very long way off, but that is the point of the list–to dream and plan, even if it is seemingly impossible.
  4. Get a dog–“A” is an animal lover. There isn’t an animal he doesn’t like or want in his life. Someday, he wants to be a veterinarian or an ASPCA worker that rescues animals. He has such a heart for animals. We used to be a vendor at farmers markets and “A” used to find every single dog in the market area and make friends. Not just the cute puppies or lively young ones. He loved the old ones, the “ugly” ones and the shy, skittish ones. He loves cats too, but dogs are something special.
  5. Buy a new house–As of late, we have been doing a lot of online house hunting. We aren’t quite ready yet, but that does not stop us from looking. I think that “A” might want a house for the sole purpose of being able to get a dog. Right now he shares a room with his brother and he is dying to have space of his own where he can escape his brother. What can I say? They are close in age and fight constantly.
  6. Buy a new bed–My kids are sleeping on old metal bunk beds with hand-me-down mattresses. The bunk bed is old and squeaky and uncomfortable. And the frame is such that the two beds cannot be separated. They need to be separated. My kids are just about too old for bunk beds and they are both sick of them. We bought the entire set up for $100 from a neighbor who desperately needed the money. Each had what the other needed. Now we need something else.
  7. Buy a Galaxy Note 8–Right now “A” has an inexpensive smart phone. He wants something better. He says he just really likes the galaxy phones. He hasn’t had much experience with any other kind of phone. He liked his first phone so much he wanted to keep it in the Galaxy family.
  8. Buy the book “IT” by Stephen King–He has read the book already, or several chapters of it anyway. Yes, I know he is only 12, but he can be pretty mature for his age. Sometimes. The minute the trailers for the remake of the movie “IT”  came out, he and his brother started pestering me about seeing the movie. I was a little wary because the nature of the book/movie, but he thought the movie was, in his words, “AWESOME”. The only part that made him uncomfortable was when the bully was going to kill the cat. That was the only part where he looked away from the screen. It Figures.
  9. Trip to Italy–He is fascinated by all things Italian. The food, the art, the architecture, the landmarks. I don’t blame him. My dream vacation would be Italy so I could see the art and architecture I studied in college. What’s not to love about Italy. There is so much history that happened in and around Italy. Some of the greatest artists in history are Italian and some of the most amazing architecture on the planet is located in Italy. For a kid that loves all things beautiful and artistic, Italy really is a perfect fit.
  10. Get a parrot–Not only are parrots cool, but again, the color and “A” is all about color. Parrots are intelligent, colorful, beautiful, funny and they can be affectionate creatures. Dogs are on the top of his list, but it is easy to see why a kid like “A” would want one.

“N’s” list (age 13)

  1. A trip to New York–I am not sure what he is most looking forward to in New York. There are so many awesome things to choose from. Shopping, food, adventures to be had, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, architecture, entertainment, except for musicals, of course. No musicals. Musicals induce much eye rolling and complaining.
  2. Lots of Airsoft guns–“N” is 13. He likes guns and these are somewhat safe for him to use with the proper safety equipment. I am not sure why the “lots” designation is necessary, but, like I said, he is 13. I am thinking I might actually enjoy engaging in battle with him. Something to think about when it comes time to purchase, if we do decide to do so.
  3. Trip to Lagoon–My kids are somewhat deprived when it comes to the entertainment aspect of their lives. Having never been to a theme park, I can see why this is so important and on the list. “N” loves a thrill and roller coasters and the like fit that bill. But more than just roller coasters, Lagoon offers,  from what I remember, much more entertainment. I have to do my research, but I believe they have added a number of rides to the park and even though I am 47 years old, I might have a good time too.
  4. Buy an iPhone X–My son is all about technology and, if given the chance, would have all the latest gizmos and gadgets. I am somewhat technologically inept so I have to rely on his knowledge and research when it comes to such things. As bad as it sounds, I need him to explain how things work on my iPhone. I am an Android girl and my recent upgrade found me walking out of T-Mobile with an iPhone instead of an Android option. I am still not sure why, but I am thankful my son can negotiate those waters for me. I don’t think I am ready to commit to a $1,000 piece of technology for a 13 year old, but perhaps I can be convinced if he becomes a bit more responsible when it comes to taking care of what he already has. One can hope.
  5. Buy a tent–The last time any of us went camping was at a craft fair in Homedale, ID about 4 years ago. The only time actually. Prior to that, I think I was about 13 (unless you count 5 months in Saudi Arabia). My boys and I slept in a borrowed tent and used blankets from home. I don’t want to be that mom that always talks a big game and does nothing. I want my boys to experience sleeping in a tent, smelling like a campfire and breathing in the fresh, clean air in the middle of nowhere. We talk about and plan, but so far nothing has come to fruition when it comes to the outdoors. Buying a tent, as well as other equipment, is my goal for the coming months.  Camping is definitely on the agenda for 2018.
  6. Get a job–“N” is only 13 right now, but he is counting down the days until he turns 14 and can get a job. In Idaho, you can work at the age of 14, but options are pretty limited. He doesn’t care. He wants to make his own money. He will happily do whatever job is available. Now, if  only I could get that kind of enthusiasm when it comes to cleaning his room.
  7. Buy a gaming PC–He has been asking me for this for a  long time. Occasionally we go to Best Buy and look at things we can’t afford and a gaming computer is one of those things. I don’t know much about them, but “N” does his research. He doesn’t always do well in school, but he is no dummy. He loves to research things. He enjoys spending hours telling me facts about things he has found on the internet and in books and magazines. He has a couple specific computers in mind and they and their components have been well researched.  We need a new computer anyway. Maybe this is the way to go to suit all of our needs.
  8. Buy a MacBook Pro–He’s 13, he’s into technology, he’s a fan of all things Apple. ‘Nuff said.
  9. Buy a house–All three of us want a house of our own. “N” is at an age where having his own space is becoming more and more important. Sharing a room with his brother is becoming more problematic. They drive each other crazy. In each other’s faces and in each others way. They are becoming way more physical with each other and could both use space away from the other. “N” also understands the importance of having something of our own, something that, with each monthly payment, we get closer to ownership.  At the present time that investment is going into someone else’s pocket.
  10. Buy a car–“N” is already talking about getting a car. Not one for the family to get around in–one for him. In Idaho, I think you only have to be 14 1/2 years old to take driver’s training and 15 to get a license. He is a very independent kid and cannot wait to drive. He is so anxious to grow up. He is an adventurer and is already planning his escape.

We all have so much to look forward to when it comes to our futures. Sure there will be bumps in the road, but that is okay. We will just keep moving forward at a pace we can handle. I can’t wait to get everything on paper and begin crossing things off.

 

 

The Cesspool of Romance, Part 2

The more I date, the worse it gets. Although since the break up I haven’t dated at all. I haven’t wanted to. I am wondering if it is all worth it. I have also been wondering 1.what it is that I am doing wrong or 2. what is wrong with me that I am attracting less than ideal mates or 3. if I am the problem. Am I so broken, damaged and fucked up that I am chasing them away. Is my need for honesty, transparency, loyalty, intelligence and stability expecting too much? At any rate, now is a time for introspection and focus on myself and my kids. The following match types are just some of the reasons I am where I am. Alone and content with that.

The Liar–One of my biggest pet peeves is lying, whether it is outright lies or lies of omission. I cannot not stand liars. The dating pool has opened up a whole new supply of them. They lie about everything, from whether or not they have a facebook page to being on psychiatric medicine to being married or involved. They are always trying to pull one over on you. Then, they are shocked when you call them on it, offended you have a problem with it and then they run. Or they get pissed. More often than not, they run. God forbid they engage in anything remotely resembling the truth.

The Narcissist–He likes to make you think it is all about you. For a while. Then his true self comes out. He likes to spend money on you and then throw it in your face just how generous he is. Especially after you’ve had any sort of disagreement. They have a fragile self-esteem that is damaged and/ or challenged at the slightest criticism. They don’t like not being the single most important person in your life. They need, so badly, to feel important. Any challenge to that and you. are. toast. They are really good at being bad and cruel and then turning it on you, making you feel like it is your fault. I mean, like really your fault. You find yourself apologizing and when you do, they dig even harder, inflicting as much pain and guilt as possible.

The Player–This one is really good at making you feel like you are the world to him. He showers you with attention, affection and gifts. The only problem is, he is doing the exact same thing with other women. As much time, energy and money as he spends on you, it is almost unfathomable that there could be other women. But there are. And he has a long history with a lot of them. I went out with a guy that liked to brag that he was really well endowed and that a LOT of women really liked that. So many, in fact, that he lost count somewhere around 110 of them. Good thing it stayed platonic. He was carrying unwelcome passengers as a consolation prize for his efforts. No thanks.

Mr. Friends with Benefits–When I was on Plenty of Fish, I stated in my profile that I was in no way interested in a friends with benefits situation or a casual sex relationship. That did not stop the requests, flirtations and constant attempts to talk me into it. I am not sure why they were even interested since I never backed down from my stance. In my eyes, friends with benefits is simply benefits with a little friendly conversation tacked on. That would make me little more than a sperm receptacle and reduce me from an intelligent, flesh and blood woman with plethora of gifts, skills and opinions/ideas to a mere body part put on this planet for the pleasure of a man I don’t really know or care about. And one who certainly didn’t care for me. I will take being single over being someone’s ejaculate catcher any day.

Captain Clingy–This one can be frightening. And suffocating. I am pretty independent. I like my “me” time and being alone a fair amount of time. I enjoy being on my own and creating things, going to the movies and whatever else tickles my fancy. I don’t have to be in the presence of someone else to be happy or enjoy myself. Captain Clingy, on the other hand, needs to either be with you or know where you are. All the time. You must answer your phone when he calls or text him back within a certain amount of time.  No reason for not doing so is permitted because he goes apeshit and gets nasty with you, assuming that because you didn’t answer his text within the allotted time frame, you must be ignoring him and that can’t be tolerated. Any attempt at being in a relationship with this person is sure to end badly and he won’t be able to let go when you finally decide you have had enough.

Oh so lonely–A huge red flag and One of the quickest ways to make me run, is when a guy tells me he’s so lonely, tired of being lonely or tired of being alone. I think we all get there sometimes, but oh my lord, you  don’t have to tell everyone, especially the women you want to meet or date. If you can’t be happy on your own, and in your singlehood, I won’t make you happy. No one will. You have to be able to find a place where you are happy and comfortable in your singleness. Being in your lonely place is like having a spot light shining on your pile of insecurities. If you aren’t okay on your own,  you will be throwing red flags up everywhere, in everything you say and everything you do. Unless a woman is equally dysfunctional, you will lose her. And if she is equally dysfunctional, it will be a train wreck waiting to happen.

The Cynic–This is one I personally can’t date, not that this is the case for everyone. For some people, this works. Personally, I don’t do angry or cynical. I am a pretty happy-go-lucky, Pollyanna-type  most of the time. I easily bore or tire from too much politics which usually fuels the cynic. While I am on one side of the aisle and disagree, sometimes vehemently, with those on the other side, I would much rather be happy and love my friends than fight with them. Or fight with strangers for that matter. The cynic doesn’t care. In fact, they seem to revel in hurting and/or offending those on the other side. I can be friends, but dating is off the table.

The Bore–Boring kills me. I am always up for adventure. I love to laugh. I am a chatterbox. I randomly sing and dance, sometimes in a public setting. I can be completely unrestrained and silly. Sedate is fine with some women, but I want to be with a man that wakes me up, not puts me to sleep.

The Fool–No offense to the intellectually challenged or intellectually average, but I need an intelligent partner. I am a pretty intelligent girl myself and I love super smart men. If a man can’t form a coherent sentence or engage in intelligent conversation, I find myself looking for excuses to end the date.  A man may be super nice, generous, kind and a million other positive things, but when I think of spending my time with someone I can’t relate to, I just can’t even. And if he is smart, but uses shit language (text-ese, bad grammar, can’t spell, uses non-word word replacements, etc), again, no. I cringe at the sight of such things. I am certain this makes me a horrible person, but I can’t help it. I value words. I value their meaning, their structure, their sound. Words are important.

I have noticed that some men embody only one of these types, but with some, you hit the jackpot. They embody several. Good luck negotiating that territory. If my dating (mis)adventure is any sort of  map to negotiating the world of relationship potentiality, There is an awful lot of crap to wade through when it comes to finding a partner.  Hip waders are highly recommended, as well as a shovel and air freshener.

Rock bottom is a foundation not an anchor

I must admit, I can be a jealous girl. Not jealous of someone looking at or flirting with my man (which at present, I don’t have), but jealous of where others are as compared to my current life location. I guess I imagined, when I was younger, that I would be further along in my life, career, financial state, etc. than I am right now. Marriage and divorce have a funny way of upending your plan.

Marriage, with the right person, can be such a blessing in so many aspects of your life. I wasn’t so fortunate. Before marriage, I had a great credit score, I was responsible with my money (I was the only one touching it so I knew where every dollar went), paid my bills on time, kept my utilities on. I wasn’t perfect, but, as a single mom I had to be close. I accepted help from the state when it came to daycare, but everything else was me. Without daycare assistance, I never would have been able to work and my oldest son and I would have been just another welfare statistic.

Fast forward a couple decades and I found myself suffocating under a mountain of debt. Credit cards that went years without payment, one utility or another getting turned off every other month, mortgage payment always late, sometimes by months, worries over whether or not we would have money to feed our kids and those kids wearing duct-taped shoes to school. I was so unhappy and, even though I was a stay at home mom, I was working myself to death, baking 60-80 hours a week to make a little money at farmers market and working additional hours to create custom painted items that I sold at markets, craft shows and online. We made more than enough money to pay our mortgage, bills and other expenses, yet there we were. Nothing was getting paid and we were falling further and further behind and there were threats that the bank was going to take our house.

The thing that finally made me realize I was done was a receipt for a paperback book. A paperback book. I found the receipt in my car because he failed to dispose of it.  He was choosing his wants over the family’s needs. The receipt was just the tip of the iceberg and that was my wake up call. I made my plan to leave and bided my time. I was done.

That was my rock bottom. I walked away from my failing marriage. I had no job, no money, no place of my own to stay. Nothing, but my kids, my clothes and my art supplies. My grandpa, who was in rehab healing from a broken hip, let me live in his house rent free while I looked for a job. My parents and sister and brother-in-law helped me with food and gas money until I could get my first paycheck from my new job.

When I left, what I did have was a mountain of debt acquired during the marriage, school loans to the tune of $20,000 that were in arrears, no self worth, fear of the unknown and feeling like a complete and total failure.

Nothing like facebook to add to the broken mess. I watched as my friends bragged about their amazing relationships and marriages. They posted pictures of smiling faces in far off places on sandy beaches. There were grandchildren born and graduations and job promotions and the purchases of brand new homes and expensive cars. People were going back to school, starting businesses and lives were pretty damn good.

And there I sat on a cold hard rock, alone and feeling absolutely worthless. What I didn’t understand then, is that sometimes we have to hit bottom and that is place where we have to make the decision to lay there on the cold rock and let it kill who we are or we can begin to build from the surrounding rubble of our experiences. I paused while I was there for just a moment and then I made a decision. What I couldn’t seem to do for myself, I would do for my children until I could do it for myself. Kids are wonderful motivators. They need you to be there for them and do for them and that is why a lot of us choose survival when the alternative is so much easier to embrace sometimes.

My kids. They were the first stone I placed when I started over.  They were the cornerstone in the rebuilding of my life. Every day, every week I added stones. Some were big and some were small, but they all fit nicely together and made for strong walls and a sturdy life. I got raises and a promotion at work. I started paying off debt that had been long neglected. I became more comfortable in my own skin and gained confidence I hadn’t seen in a long time. I moved from my grandpa’s house into my own apartment, which, at the time, was a little piece of heaven for me. Recently, I moved into a small house in another town, one that has a yard and a garden and a room for all my art supplies. I paid off (or settled) almost $10,000 of debt. I have been paying on my school loans that were almost in default. We are on the right track and doing better than I imagined considering where I started.

But, all of the gains were not without hiccups along the way. We definitely did some back and forth with the positive and negative. We had car repairs, unexpected financial hits and I even got served three times for things that were either exclusively the ex’s responsibility or mutual. Earning much less and paying  more in expenses than him, I paid off the majority of our personal tax debt (just before the tax commission levied my checking account), all the business taxes from a business we both benefited from after promises of help (this time not before they levied my checking account and emptied it leaving me with $0.01) and finally settling what started at a nearly $10,000 debt after paying it on my own for 2 years. I can honestly say I am proud of myself for how far I have come.

I still struggle, watching everyone else. I feel like I should be there too. Buying a house or accepting an awesome job offer or driving a car that isn’t 14 years old and in dire need of repairs. I still get twinges of jealousy because I want the things that they have. I want to go on  vacation or drive a nice car or live in a house that is mine and not someone else’s. I want to be able to take my kids to the movie or out to eat without first consulting the checkbook to figure out if we will have enough money to make it to the next paycheck without running out of gas or food. All of these things are frustrating. My limitations are frustrating.

Forty-five is a strange time to try and start over. My friends, by the age of 45, have comfortable existences. They are married or started over at a much earlier age.  I assume, maybe incorrectly, that their lives are much more fulfilling or less stressful or further along than mine. I feel like I did when I got out of the army as a 22-year-old single mother. Completely left behind and very often alone in my struggle. It is hard to put into words how out of place I sometimes feel.

I have no doubt that things will continue to get better. Not without setbacks for sure, but they will get better. I don’t know in what capacity or any sort of timeline, but good things are coming my way. I just hope they come before I am too old to enjoy them. I mean, I am 47 after all. Not exactly a spring chicken with her whole life ahead of her. There are so many people to meet, beautiful things to see, places to experience and music to listen to. I would like to do all those things while I can still walk, still see and still hear. My life still has a lot of possibility and potential. I just need to go out and pursue it. Hunt it down and own it. Until I find it, I must remain diligent and patient. And patience is definitely not one of my strengths.

Being single doesn’t suck so bad after all…

Shortly after I started this blog, I met someone. We talked online for about a month and met in person on February 3rd. Three weeks ago, he ended it. If I know one thing about myself, it is that I am a bit much for men to handle. I am a pain in the ass. I know it. The funny thing is, after analyzing the relationship a bit, I am pretty sure I would have ended it within a few weeks anyway. I was seeing in him a lot of the things that made me leave my husband. His reasons for ending it were different than mine but…whatever. We were in different places and I had a much larger emotional investment in the relationship than he did. Regardless, here we are. Unicorns don’t exist.

As much as  loved being in a relationship that, to my blind eyes, was near perfect, I am now unattached and surprisingly quite happy and content. Maybe it just hasn’t hit me yet (I seriously doubt that) and maybe I just know it wasn’t meant to be. Whatever the reason, There are things about being single again to love and appreciate.

  1. The whole bed is mine again. Let’s face it, all that snuggling and (ahem…) grown up time was awesome. That will definitely be missed. A Lot.  The switch from contact overload to no physical contact will be difficult, but for the first time in a while my bedding will remain in place and the bed will be kept presentable. Maybe. I am not great about making the bed, but at least the sheets will stay where they belong and I won’t have to fight them every night. I don’t know what he did when he was asleep, but the fitted sheet was always ripped up on his side. Now, I can sleep stretched out across the bed again without anyone hindering my splayed position. Oh, But the snuggling….
  2. No chewing tobacco. He was always nice enough to not do it around me, or at least he wasn’t obvious about it,  but the habit itself is disgusting. As much as I hate cigarettes and cigarette smoke, I hate chewing tobacco more. Nasty shit in your mouth and spitting. Gross. And then there is the cancer issue. No thanks. Why can’t I find someone who neither smokes nor chews. It seems that those are the only men I seem to meet. Or those with drug histories or legal issues. Maybe those should be deciding factors for choosing someone in the future.  That will eliminate a LOT of men. Not that I am anxious to date again. I am not. I can’t seem to get it right.
  3. No more walking on eggshells anymore. OMG. Walking on eggshells with regard to everything you say is exhausting. Don’t offend. Don’t post the wrong thing on facebook. I am kinda like a bull in a China shop sometimes. I can be awkward and clumsy and sometimes the things that I let spill out of my mouth or from my fingers (online) are less than graceful or elegant. Now I am free to dance about the world minus the fragile eggshells that kept me in line. I guess I am lucky that he saw the flawed mess that I am before I got any more serious about him than I already was.
  4. No mockery of my condition. I have a pretty decent sense of humor, but even mine has limits. I can laugh about the unfortunate symptoms of my celiac disease and I do it fairly often. But every single day, joking about what I go through. It gets old after a while. After it gets old it starts to sting a bit. I find my symptoms embarrassing and extremely uncomfortable. They really aren’t a joke, but I let it go on. Sometimes his response to a complaint or concern was an obnoxious whining, mocking crying noise and sometimes I was afraid it was real and not a joke. I probably should’ve said something, but see number 3. I didn’t force him to walk on the eggshells he provided for me.
  5. Minimal farting. My world is noisy and stinky enough with a teenager and a pre-teen in it, but add a grown adult man who thinks farting all the frickin’ time is funny and you get a testosterone playground filled with the unpleasantness of body odor, smelly feet and rotten eggs. Not to mention the sounds of the farts themselves, and the gut-busting laughs that were sure to follow.
  6. No complaining about gluten free food. I know that gluten free foods are not exactly the tastiest creations with the most pleasing texture. I live with it everyday. I don’t have a choice. I have to make the best of a less than ideal situation so I accept what is and find foods that I can eat as acceptable, albeit imperfect, replacements. Complaining about it and showing your disdain for my diet really doesn’t help and kind of makes me feel like shit. Making a face and turning up your nose at my fare while denying what I have to offer adds to the nice little shit pile. No worries. I don’t have to deal with it anymore. Except maybe from my boys, but I expect that from kids. And they really don’t do that anyway.
  7. I can start going to the gym again. This is my fault. In part. The last couple of months has been a whirlwind of change and activity. In March I bought a gym membership, went about 8 times and then stopped. I had to look for a new place to live, then I was moving (which takes forever) and cleaning the old place. Then there was the relationship. He came over most nights and I felt guilty about leaving him alone in my place (he NEVER made me feel guilty about it so that is on me) and I craved being around him so I let what I wanted take precedence over what I needed. Now I can go without guilt.
  8. No more wondering. If you have ever been in an uneven relationship, you know what it is like to wonder. Do they care about me as much as I care about them? Are they as emotionally invested in this as I am? Will they be there for me the same way I will be for them whenever needed? If you aren’t sure, chances are that answer is no. I knew he liked me and liked the physical part of our relationship, but as far as truly caring about me, I just wasn’t sure. I never heard him say as much. I would tell him I was happy to see him, happy he was here, that he meant a lot to me, etc., and the sentiments were never reciprocated. I think the most I got was “I miss you” and “I can’t wait to see you”.
  9. No competing with an electronic device. We are all somewhat addicted to our smart phones, but to varying degrees. I love mine. I admit it. But as for it completely running my life, I can safely put it down with going batshit crazy. The thing does not have to be in my hand being viewed by me every waking moment. Not so true in the ex’s case. We would be snuggling on the couch watching a movie, one arm around me and the phone in his other hand scrolling facebook, amazon, some geek site, etc. I tried so hard to be understanding. He has ADHD and is always doing 3 or 4 things at a time, but when I wave my hand in front of his phone to break the trance, several times in one night, I’d say he is full on addicted. While watching TV, at the table eating dinner in a restaurant, in the movie theater, etc. It was always the most important thing in the room.

There are some things that, at the age of 47, are much better handled than at 27. At 27, I think I would have done anything to make the relationship work no matter how ill-matched the pairing was. I would have forgiven just about anything and worked and tried and ultimately failed, having wasted an ungodly amount of time on someone that was never worth 5 minutes. At 47, I still try to be understanding and I try to make things work, but it is so much easier to walk away because now I understand just how valuable my time is and just how quickly it passes. I don’t want the time that passes so quickly to have been wasted on some butthole. I would rather my time, energy, affection and love be invested in someone who truly deserves it. I have yet to find him. I am not certain he exists. I know that amazing men exist because I have plenty of friends that are married to or dating them, but as for whether or not there is one out there for me, I am just not sure. In the meantime, I am not sitting around waiting for him to show up. I am living my life, doing what I enjoy and spending time with my kids. If I run into him, it won’t be because he can’t look up from his phone. It will be because I have tripped over my own two feet or a crack in the sidewalk. Hopefully, he will be paying enough attention that he will be able to keep me from doing a header on the pavement and busting my face.

Facebook, Twitter and other social diseases

It’s interesting–facebook used to be entertaining. And fun. It started out as someplace where people could virtually meet or reconnect with people from their past. Everyone had all kinds of things to say and share. I loved the family updates and the realness that I could identify with. I enjoyed the reading the various points of view and engaging in spirited debates with people who resided at the opposite end of the belief spectrum. Lately I have noticed that it has become either boring or vitriolic, and, for the most part, people are becoming one-dimensional. It seems that people have found their niche and rarely step away from that. It has become a social stranglehold, choking the life out of anyone it touches, limiting social expression to one or more of the following:

  1. The “selfie slut”–OMG. The selfie slut. I get that kids like to take pics of themselves, but grown-ass adults? Oh. My. Gawd. One from this angle. One from that angle. One making this face and one making that face. Not sure what it says about someone when they are over the age of 21 and take more selfies than an insecure 14-year-old girl, but totally cringeworthy. You look good. You know it, we know it. Please just stop. Or maybe just slow down a little bit.
  2. The “happy couple”–You’re in a relationship. We get it. And it’s perfect. We can tell because you are always telling the world just how perfect it is. You repeatedly say how blessed you are and you use terms like Bae, Baby, My love, etc. It drips of liquid sugar and we get a cavity every time you post. Keep it real sometimes. We are happy you are happy, but no one is that euphoric all the time.
  3. The “religious nut”–I am a Christian. I have a lot of Christian friends, some new to the party, some have been there for a long time. Some are super judgmental and can be downright nasty. All the time. Some can only talk about their testimony/conversion/faith in every single post. It’s like everything in their lives just disappeared and they are only capable of praise and worship in each post. I am all for testimony and worship, but I think sometimes that obsessiveness pushes people away rather than draws them in. Real life is messy, imperfect, bumpy and unpleasant, even for Christians. We are human too, after all and subject to the same pitfalls, feelings and screw ups as everyone else. Share those too. I like to know that I am not alone. I am sure most people do.
  4. The “political junkie”–These are the people that like to post nasty, one-sided, not even remotely objective articles about the candidate(s) they hate. They use those articles to point out just how stupid the other party is without even bothering to listen to why they vote and think the way they do. Both sides are guilty of this. Both sides have good points and not so great ones, but they spend so much time yelling over each other (technically impossible online, but you know what I mean) and doing the playground “neener neener” thing, that there is no meaningful discussion. They purposely act nasty to start fights. They lose friends this way. Not just on social media, but in real life because they have zero self control and zero tact and zero ability to even try to see from someone else’s point of view. And they are always super shocked and offended when you fire back something equally condescending and rude because you have had it up to here.
  5. The “peddler”–makeup, pink drink, ketones, wraps, essential oils, candles, etc. They could make a hundred posts per day and 99 will be bragging about the product they are hocking. Hashtag this and hashtag that, all referencing their goods. Most of these people had cool lives before the cult of multi level marketing took hold. But now, I have a newsfeed full of “ads” promoting products I could never afford. I am glad you are happy with your stuff, but no, it doesn’t work for everyone.  What else are you doing? Really. I want to know.
  6. The “drama queen”–If there is drama, they post it. No matter how personal it is, it goes on social media. Every. Stinkin’. Detail. Sometimes it is way more information than anyone deserves or wants to know. We get a play by play of the whole dramatic scene(s) or process. We now live in a bizarre world  where there is nothing that is off limits or taboo. We hear it all, from Boo’s incarceration to who everyone is having sex with to what family member has been disowned and why.  I have had my momentary lapses in judgment when I rant or bitch a bit, but I try to keep certain details out. I don’t post names and I keep certain details private. Vague bitching. Does that make any sense?
  7. The “Hater”–They spew hate on everything. They are angry and vindictive and more than happy to share their misery. With everyone. They like to belittle and throw insults and painful barbs every chance they get. They have little to no regard for who they hurt, insult or offend. And they get personal. No one is immune and it is a wonder they have any friends. I don’t know. Maybe people keep them around for when they want to fight or maybe they just find their misery amusing.
  8. The “perfect parent/perfect child”–Similar to the “happy couple” but in this case it’s all about the kiddos. Their kids are perfect. They do no wrong. They have a 5.0 GPA from all that extra school work they ask to do. They are always the most valuable player on the team. They get along with their siblings. Their children are selfless, generous and never do anything even remotely naughty. Meanwhile, my kids are beating the crap out of each other because they are brothers and they are close in age.  One is semi-homeless and making choices that sometimes make me cringe, but he is resourceful and he is incredibly talented musically and is currently working on several short stories and a book. One has to take everything apart and leaves parts of everything all over the house and he struggles to make C’s in his classes because his mind works differently than most. One is a perfectionist that is incredibly hard on himself, artistic, like his mother and a very soft heart. He also has a very thin skin and takes everything way too seriously and way too personally. They are beautifully imperfect and I couldn’t ask for 3 better humans to call my sons.

Social media can be like a street pharmacy and each of those niches is a different drug. What is your drug of choice?

A little grace please. And maybe some patience.

I am a lot of things. Perfect is definitely not one of them.

When you have been through some of what I have been through, I’d like to say you develop a thicker skin, great discernment skills and incredible strength, but that is not always the case. I guess in some ways I have, but I think that most of what I have developed is a plethora of coping skills, some of which are not healthy for me or anyone else. Not healthy and not fair. And then there is the baggage associated with them. Oh, the baggage.

I have encountered narcissists, assholes, selfish men, jerks, deviants, users, liars, abusers and men that make promise after promise, only to blow me off time after time. They have made me question my worth and my place. The last of these  issues was only part of the problem in my longest relationship, but it gave me the bulk of an attitude I have developed that can best be described as “Fuck the world, I will do it my damn self.”  While most men I have encountered, save my dad and my grandpa, have contributed to this attitude, not all of them have. Unfortunately, it is my immediate, knee-jerk response when something happens, whether it is a missed call or text or unforeseen circumstances that screw up my plans with someone. Fuck the world. I will do it my damn self.

This attitude is hurtful and not at all fair and, from something I read recently, seen by others, especially men, as a weakness. Regardless, my fear of the same bullshit happening again, elicits the same response. Fuck the world. I will do it my damn self. Even though someone has proven time and time again that they are not like that,  That they are to be trusted and treated with kindness, an honest mistake will, again, result in that response. Fuck the world. I will do it my damn self. I have been let down so many times that that is the expectation when people make promises or say they will do something. I am always anticipating it. This is just a portion of the baggage I carry with me. It is something, one of the somethings that I would like to get rid of. This response can be off-putting and it pushes some people away. What would be nice is for someone to stay long enough to get past the bullshit response and help me unpack my baggage, leaving room to fill it with new memories, good memories, fun memories.

While I can be  serious pain in the ass at times, insecure, afraid, angry and hurt over dumb, sometimes irrational things, there are good things about me too. I have an awesome sense of humor, dark and twisted sometimes, and maybe even a little dirty, but well worth seeing come out. I am easy to amuse. I can find fun in just about any situation with just about any person on the planet. I am passionate about life. I want to go and do and be and meet. Life is beautiful and I want to experience it. I am kind to others, or at least I try to be, even when they are horrible to me. I forgive easily and I try to see the best in people. If I do get angry, wait 5 minutes and it will pass. When I love someone, and that love is reciprocated, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them. They are my world and I don’t see anyone else. I am faithful. There are a lot of good things about me that I think are worth others’ time.

I just hope all the good trumps the bad.