The screwdrivers came back. Unexpected. Unannounced. They brought along other tools, including a saw I was also secretly pining for.
Monday night I went to a painting class with a friend. She brought sangria and Aleve and I tossed both back. That’s unusual on both counts but I had a killer headache, partly from crying my head off over screwdrivers. We sat in the back of the class and laughed and painted and had a much needed fun night.
When I got home the screwdrivers were on the dining room table. In a box. Gift wrapped. With a blue bow.
It was a strange marriage.
It’s a strange after-the-marriage, too.
(updated at end. geez, y’all.)
I suppose feelings are important. Other people’s feelings especially. But I don’t place a lot of weight on them with decisions. You can’t marry just because of feelings, remain married because of feelings (surely) and I think it would be terribly unwise to let feelings guide divorce decisions. Or any other big decisions. They’re so terribly unreliable.
Or maybe it’s just mine that are unreliable.
I was having MAJOR feelings today. I cried for an hour over screwdrivers. And then I got caught. By Maria. Who thought I was crying over spilled water and wouldn’t THAT be silly, but NO, I was crying over screwdrivers. She didn’t understand. Sometimes I think she pretends not to understand me, but this time I could tell, she REALLY didn’t understand. So she looked up at the ceiling (we were inside) and said it looked like we were going to get rain.
I don’t think Maria places a lot of stock in feelings either.
When I was very young, I adored my grandfather’s ‘shop.’ The workbench in the garage, the musty grease smell and the big black clamp-y vice thing. I loved to play with it, to touch it, to get thoroughly dirty out there while he was doing whatever it was he was doing. One of my earliest sensory memories is him washing off the grease from my hands with cold, pungent paint thinner. I LOVED it.
My dad always had a ‘shop’ area in his garage, and now he has a whole giant metal barn area. His always had a matching big black clamp-y vice thing that would inflict serious pain if you dropped the handle at the wrong time. I loved getting dirty, hanging around him while he was working on things and generally getting in the way. Still do.
Today I wanted to set up my own little area in the garage. It required a LOT of cleaning and organizing and I did it. It even has paint thinner. Just not a big black clamp-y vice thing.
When Mike moved out, he took all the nails, screws, nuts, bolts, washers, tools, and every single screwdriver in the house. He’s the man. He gets custody of the screwdriver collection, I get the house and the kids, FINE, I GET IT. This doesn’t mean he can’t miss the house and kids and it doesn’t mean I can’t miss the screwdriver collection. (FEELINGS, y’all. I’m so good with them.)
Before I could feel the impact of the missing screwdrivers, he bought me a big tool set.
That was very nice, completely unnecessary, and of course few other ex-husbands would do that. I know.
But here’s the deal. Those aren’t MY screwdrivers. I know which ones to use based on the color of handle and which drawer I stash them in. I remember which ones are my favorites and which ones never seem to work and which ones are only good for opening a can of paint.
And they’re all gone. They mostly had yellow handles, with red stripes.
The new ones? That Mike bought? I was grateful. Don’t get me wrong. And knowing Mike, they were probably REALLY nice. But they’re the kind that you have to stick the correct end part on. Each time. Like, pick your handle, pick your screwdriver tip need thing, and then assemble, and THEN you can use your screwdriver. Customize it every time, etc.
I hate that.
I hate that the old screwdrivers are gone, then this new set that just makes me feel unappreciative and stupid and uncoordinated and I don’t want those either, and so I decided of COURSE I should just go pick out my own stupid screwdrivers.
So I did.
I hate them, TOO.
Feelings. Everybody’s got em. I was crying while sweeping the garage because the screwdriver issue just really GETS to me.
These new stupid screwdrivers are pretty and blue and teal and red and I suspect that the handles are color coded to be helpful, but I can’t tell how, and I don’t KNOW them yet. You know…?
I needed sawhorses for all my ongoing furniture makeover projects. I figured I should just get free-off-craigslist pallets and old hinges and make my own sawhorses, but I didn’t. I just got the plastic ones at Lowe’s and wondered what my grandfather would have said about that.
I don’t want the old screwdrivers back. I don’t. They’ve left, they’re gone, and I don’t want them back. But I can miss them. I don’t know what’s so confusing about that. Obviously that is a highly emotional like, THING.
And Maria was right. It rained.
when i say I’m crying over loving and losing my screwdrivers, I’m crying over loving and losing my SCREWDRIVERS. how funny that some thought that was a metaphor? with weird, kinda tacky implications? um… awkward. funny. but… awkward. sometimes it’s really about the screwdrivers. like today. REALLY, y’all. they were just really, really special. i could go on about the handles. and my favorite one with a slight bend in the shaft from prying open paint cans but I DON”T DARE DO THAT, NOW, THANKS, so you’ll just have to take my word on it. i was only talking about screwdrivers.
God and I are real clear on the divorce. Peace. Clarity. Understanding. Grace. If I didn’t have this – If i didn’t have HIM – I couldn’t be here, divorcing. Ah, the irony. If I didn’t have HIM all these years, I couldn’t have remained married, either. But here I am, living, moving on, and figuring out life. It just wouldn’t work without Him. That’s because I don’t work without Him.
Not so important:
The church people. Who do not understand what has transpired that has led to the above Important Thing, and I really don’t want to explain it. I don’t want to say what happened in this marriage. I don’t want to defend this decision, or Mike, or the kids, or myself. But it’s coming. I hear it’s coming. They mean well, and I appreciate so much their collective heart on this subject. I really do. It’s one of the reasons I liked this church in the first place.
But I’ve kept to myself for years and haven’t gotten to know anyone and just quietly kept my head down and slipped in and out, only taking the time to get to know and love the very youngest members of the church. The problem with that, of course, is that no one knew me. Sure, that’s what I wanted. No one knows us, or how many kids we even have, or hey, i heard they have a daughter, or what exactly is our faith or marriage like and who ARE we…? No one knew. And I liked it like that. So did Mike. I don’t really trust people, and church leadership people maybe more than others. I don’t like it when they say all the right things, the spiritually ‘correct’ things, even – and then when your guard is down hurt you in ways you didn’t see coming. (One of my biggest regrets is just such a moment. I was too stunned to fight back, and fight HARD, even though I knew how. Oh, if I could have that back.) But now, no one really knows what would be true about me – or Mike – and what wouldn’t. No one knew what was truly going on because, apart from God and my lovely therapist lady, I never told anyone. Still haven’t told anyone everything. Still don’t plan on it, since the details of a surprisingly ugly past really don’t mean anything to anyone now. They only mattered to me. I didn’t let anyone close in order to help, because I didn’t need that kind of help. What I was praying and hoping for was the sort of help that could only come directly from God.
A lot of y’all saw this coming for a long time. But that’s the difference. I know y’all. And y’all know me. I can tell y’all stuff without spelling it all out, and you get it because you get ME. But to the church, this seems quite sudden and reversible and all it will take is a few good men to talk some sense into us. Except, that isn’t the case. I don’t want to be talked to or about or for anyone to attempt to persuade me into or out of anything. Mike says he doesn’t either. But someone with a lot of good intentions has already told him to move back home immediately. (And I think we were both like, “uh…. no.”)
I spent a lot of time and energy and prayer and therapy and years of my life on this and I’m REAL sure. We’re really well and truly finished. Even our phones are divorced. That took a lot of teeth gnashing and TWO HOURS on the phone with AT&T, and I assure you neither one of us would have made it through that insane phone call unless we were both deeply committed to this divorce.
I wish it could just appear in the church bulletin and that be the end of it. Tomorrow I’d just like to keep my head down, slip in and teach the two year olds and love every second of it… and then slip out. I don’t want the well meaning church people to stop me in the hall or talk to me or talk about me or… know or care or pray or be kind.
I’d just like to be left alone.
God and I have got it covered.
It’s almost baseball season. Do y’all remember my descriptions last year of Seth-6yr’s amazing baseball skills? He has only played two mini t-ball seasons but displayed such speed and skill that he became a darling little sports hero to all who saw him.
I sorta forgot about it, really.
But no matter. I’ve been reminded. You see, people who saw him play last year — people i DO NOT KNOW — are calling. Asking about Seth-6yr. Where is he playing? What league? How is he? Is he committed to a team? Can we ‘freeze’ him? Maybe he has an agent? Could we just talk to his agent, please, and take our negotiations there?
Kidding. Sort of.
But, I’d like people to leave my kindergartener alone, please. Maybe he doesn’t need an agent. He needs a security team. And an unlisted phone number. He already has an overprotective mama. He’s too young for this. He may be coordinated enough to pull off a triple play, but he’s still a baby and sometimes he forgets how pants work. So I think maybe it’s all just a little too soon.
For me, certainly.
And for him, probably.
OH, let’s just be list-y.
1. On my fingernails today, OPI’s “Birthday Babe.” It’s a fun silvery shade.
2. On my toenails today, OPI’s “The One That Got Away.” Shimmery, berry color. Grammatically, it bothers me. It should be The One WHO Got Away, but that wouldn’t sound as cute. It’s the sort of color that looks better then longer you look at it. Try not to stare.
3. Also a fave, “Love is a Racket.” It’s a gorgeous shimmery orange-red. I bought it for myself on Valentine’s Day because the name made me laugh. For years my mother would often exclaim, “WHAT? That’s a RACKET!” about any number of topics. And then I started exaggerating her delivery and saying it about, well, everything, because I found it so amusing and then oddly… she stopped saying it altogether. But she never said, “WHAT? LOVE IS A RACKET!” but I thought of her anyway, and how my husband was moving out the very next day and the stupid OPI color made me laugh and so I bought it.
4. I didn’t put it on because it is almost exactly the same orange-red color as OPI’s muppet inspired ”Animal-istic”, which was already on my toes and I was more interested in trying out the shimmery berry “One That Got Away” anyway.
5. Are you about sick of a list about nail colors? Because I could tell you about how WHILE I was painting my nails I was also watching Top Shot and during commercials, running out to the garage and filling in furniture holes with Elmer’s wood filler (LOVE that stuff) and then sanding it down, and that is EXACTLY what you don’t need to be doing at the same time you’re painting your nails Birthday Babe or any other color. Because… well. You have to go back and fix it. A lot.
6. But the furniture looks good.
7. Okay, no it doesn’t. But it looks BETTER.
8. I’ve been collecting cheap, grody furniture with the right ‘lines’ so i can fix it all up how i want it. And researching how to actually do that. (thank you for all your previous tips on that. i printed out all your advice and carry it with me like altoids now. Although, to be fair, not one of you said, ”I recommend that you don’t repair furniture or orbitally sand anything while having wet nail polish.” I guess y’all just thought I’d know better.)
9. This is brief because I need to go break a few gorgeous nails and strip some furniture.*
*My mother has politely requested that I not refer to my 3 craigslist tables as “my sex offender furniture” even though that is factually VERY true.** He WAS. So I won’t. I’ll just call them ‘tables’ from now on. That’s so very much less… interesting sounding though.
**Well of COURSE I casually said something like, “and over there maybe I’ll put one of my ‘sex offender tables’” JUST to get a kick out of her polite, reserved reaction. And I did. It’s a racket.
But today I’m working on those three exact tables that came from a questionable source. And that’s all I’ll say.
I have just a few minutes. Not long. But i wanted to write very, very quickly and thank all of you. The emails and messages were all kind and supportive and I didn’t necessarily think that would be the case. There is a common theme, though. SO. To those of you who may be interested…
I actually AM doing as well as I sound. I am every bit as peaceful about the whole divorce deal as it seems here. It’s not that I have all the answers about the future, or something fantastic planned, or that I don’t have money concerns. It’s that I do not need the answers, the circumstances, or the plans all laid out before me before I can be okay with life. Even if this were a nasty divorce… it’d be okay. I’ve lived through worse. The kids have lived through worse. No one is in danger here. Not this time.
This IS a big deal. But compared to other stuff… eh. There were years where every single decision and word and action had to be filtered through prayer to know how it affected personal safety. Trusting to be awakened at night if necessary by a very real God, or trusting Him when it was okay just to sleep. So that’s where I come from. And maybe now you can see why I’m not really all that worried.
I don’t care if I need to sell the house or the cars or work full time or start a business… whatever is in store will be okay. I’ll be okay. The kids will be okay. I have no doubts about that, or about the One who I’m trusting to look after us. He’s shown me there’s really no need to ever question Him on that one, and so I don’t.
A couple weeks ago I was well beyond “sick” and was in bed, puffy and miserable. I’d used the last of my air to whisper my way through reading a book out loud to Seth-6yr. He played with my hair while I read about a team of sled dogs, combing his fingers through long sections of hair. “How many hairs do you HAVE, anyway, Mom? Because you have a LOT.”
He said, “I think you have… one hundred and thirty nine hairs.”
He then proceeded to count slowly to one hundred and thirty nine, and for some reason, he spit on my face with every spoken syllable of the twenties. I blinked a little more and didn’t stop him.
Then he kissed the top of my head, very sweetly, and said, “Jesus knows how many hairs are on your head, Mommy.”
I cried. OH, but that got me!
The God who knows every detail of who you are will take care of you and be there for you, no matter what’s going on in your life, too. He loves you that much.
If you could choose between a fairytale, better-than-your-wildest-dreams marriage.… and a fairytale, better-than-your-wildest-dreams divorce…. you’d pick the first one, right? wouldn’t we all?
I never had a fairytale marriage. Are those real?
But I am having a fairytale divorce.
I’ve been inching toward this decision for 4 1/2 years. Then, in September, I found the lovely therapist lady and told her I was considering it. My mind certainly wasn’t made up. But I wanted someone with objectivity, who shared my faith, to go through it with me, as long as it took and then whenever we were through looking at all the angles, I’d be able to say, “I considered it thoroughly. And this is why I am – or am not – going to get a divorce.” And then once I had that clarity, go on with my life.
And that’s what happened. She walked me through the indecision and the issues and our past and present and future issues and kid issues and God issues and she’s still doing that, and I’m so glad. OH, I needed her. I still do.
I talked to Mike about it a month ago. And I was FULLY prepared to resist his charm. His repeated and impassioned requests for me to reconsider. A heartfelt plea or a big expensive gesture that would be offered in order to try to convince me to change my mind.
But… none of that was necessary. He didn’t exactly say, “GREAT. I AM SO GLAD, OUTTA HERE!” but he sure didn’t try to change my mind either. I would have liked the opportunity to stoically say, “I’m sorry. But my mind really IS made up.” But whatever.
Mike moved out yesterday. We talked and laughed and enjoyed each other during the hours the movers were here more than we did on any date in the last ten years.
Just now he brought me a gorgeous new tool set with a million drill bits and wrenches and pliers and much more that I can’t wait to try out, because he’d taken all of his tools and knew I’d miss them. And he actually just now cleaned the cat’s butt because it needed it and because I’ve never been the cat butt cleaner and I’ll be that eventually if it’s ever needed again (oh i hope not), but it didn’t have to be TODAY.
The kids were very upset when we told them on Saturday. Then we ate dinner and all curled up and watched a movie together. And ever since then they’ve been exceptionally peaceful about all of life in ways that I never would have expected and still do not understand. They’re excited about many of the new things happening and are choosing to focus on that instead of the sadness, I suppose. They seem more at ease now than they did a week ago when they still didn’t know, but there was this unknown force and tension in the house that was making us all cranky.
Now everything is out in the open and they’re not cranky.
I’m figuring out my life, and where it will go and what I’ll do and for now and I am just so grateful for these kids, for God’s grace over all of us right now, for Mike right this second, and for this (so far) really lovely divorce.
Last week I saw a bumper sticker that said “i heart my marriage!” and I rolled my eyes and wondered why it didn’t read “I heart my husband”? But whatever. Mine would read: “I heart my divorce!” Or, “I heart my soon to be ex husband!” But I guess they don’t make bumper stickers like that.
This morning I was really grateful because I accidentally spray painted the inside of an Escalade* and I thought, “Ha!! Any other day in the last 15 years I would have felt morally obligated to call Mike and confess that i just did that…” Not that he would have been upset. But still. I didn’t have to do that. And that’s a new thing to appreciate.
*I didn’t mean to. Obviously. I wasn’t even holding the spray paint can. I was actually DRIVING. It was a lever/trigger style can I had just purchased and something else that was heavy rolled into it and smushed it into the ON position and I heard this “SSSSSsssssSSSSsssssSSSS” sound and I dont have much of a sense of smell so I just kept driving and wondering if the kids’ headphones were on or what that sound could be, and then there was a definite fume-i-ness going on so I pulled over and… yeah. There’s not a paint mess, really, as that was all contained. It just smells AWFUL in there. it’s exactly the kind of dumb thing you don’t want to do EVER, but especially not right after you get over a massive respiratory thing.
(I love you all.)
Yesterday my mother called. Her sister, HolyAuntie had read that last post. And HolyAuntie, via J-Mom, said exactly what Mother T said in the comment section, plus a little more. (you followed that, right?)
So I called the doctor and got an unhelpful recording, and then decided I can do this. I CAN BREATHE. Surely with a little creativity and a lot of willpower I can do this.
And? i can. If I sit really still and don’t laugh or yell or cry and if I self -medicate with steam and heat and hot drinks… I can do this without any drugs. This is in itself a big improvement because that approach never would have worked two days ago.
Although I cant’ help but remember my childhood friend Stephanie. She was an only child and lived with her mom who was a scuba diver. There was an oxygen tank on the floor beneath the bar at her house where we would sit and have a snack and swing our feet. But she’d always casually say, “oh don’t kick that. it’s oxygen and it could explode.” and i can’t help but wonder if we had an oxygen tank under our kitchen bar area if it would have been helpful this week. not that we would have one of those. my kids would have kicked it until it exploded, “just to see.” But I’ve thought wistfully of all that gorgeous oxygen just sitting around unused and unappreciated in a tank in Stephanie’s house.
YEA! So, I’m practically fine. (I won’t do all the stuff I need to, Geekwif. I’m channeling into lists and leaving it there.)
It’s a snow day, so I don’t need to take kids to school, or pick them up or do anything besides sit and concentrate on happy oxygen rich thoughts.
I plan to serve leftovers for lunch. And for dinner. And then I’ll stare at fabric samples online. And get kids to do laundry. (this requires only whispering and pointing) And… no. I think that’s all.
Breathe in, breathe out, repeat.
okay, i am definitely resting.
i haven’t left the house in three days because the air outside is cold and cold air makes me cough and then i can’t stop. so i stay home and skip basketball games and my mom gets the kids from school and i just stay put. but even that is not enough, because if i get too close to the refrigerator when it’s open, or too close to the back door when the dogs are coming or going, then i fall apart.
cold air = baaaaaad.
and it’s snowing. so we have lotsa cold air.
fortunately mike remembered our old nebulizer, left over from baby ethan’s bout with rsv. he dug it out of some cabinet, unearthed some expired-in-2003 albuterol thingies, and set me up and i claw my way toward that machine every 3 hours like clockwork. and that’s the only reason i haven’t been hauled to the emergency room. so yea, mike, and thank you.
i am about as delicate as a doily.
and as useful.
i’m accomplishing absolutely nothing. not even breathing.
i need to go through every last piece of bedroom furniture and empty it all by tuesday night. i need to move stuff that is upstairs, downstairs. and vice versa. and there’s more.
but for now i’d settle for a really good deep breath and a nap.
all of this nothing is exhausting.
i miss air.
it’s longer than i expected and i am bored and impatient with the journey.
so y’all were right. i finally saw a doctor. and for ALL the stuff that was prescribed my way, i should TOTALLY be feeling better by now since that was a couple days ago, but i’m still a wheezy gaspy lifeless little thing who hasn’t accomplished the pressing items on her to-do list.
there was a chest x-ray, to check for pneumonia. it’s not pneumonia, it’s bronchitis.
the boys were APPALLED that i needed a chest xray and Caden-8yr buried his mortified face in his hands when i had to admit that this did involve removing clothing. he gets upset for me. i mentioned the little backless robe i got to wear, but it didn’t help.
then there was a shot in the right butt cheek. i’m not sure what was in that shot. i’m all proactive about my health like that.
caden-8yr asked if i had to pull my pants down or if i’d requested that they just inject my butt through my jeans. i said that was an EXCELLENT idea, but I hadn’t thought of it, so yes, the pants came down. he violently covered his face with his hands and rubbed until his little face turned splotchy pink. he was THAT bothered. he sighed. ‘were you wearing clean underwear?’ “UH, YES.” ‘what color?’ “green lace” and again with the covering of the face to blot out this story.
(I’m SUCH an embarrassing mother)
I got penicillin-free antibiotics and two different kind of inhalers and instructions to rest. because the doctor hasn’t seen my to-do list and doesn’t understand the time sensitive nature of these tasks. i suppose she has other concerns.
the timing of this could NOT be worse. it really couldn’t.
the other day i asked mom to drive me to petsmart, push the cart, and then lift the bags of dog food because there was no way i could do any of that and the dogs needed food. she did. she works out. giant dog food bags were nothin for her. i flopped in the passenger seat because i didn’t have enough neck strength to hold my head up.
i considered canceling my weekly appointment with the lovely therapist lady. i like her and didn’t want to expose her to my nasty germs. but then i got all selfish and thought there was NO way that this week i could skip her and so i just prayed that she was particularly immune. then i went in and sat on her couch (same couch as ever) and it was suddenly so SOFT and CUSHY and i just couldn’t help but spread out and lie all over it and get real comfy. i don’t know if it’s all the medication or the sickness, or the decreased oxygen to the brain as a result of the wheezing coughing mess, but i couldn’t finish a sentence i started. i kept starting and then stopping and then rephrasing and then there were ENDLESS rabbit trails and side stories and i was generally just not myself. i like to think that i usually sit upright and there’s a meaningful, coherent exchange. yesterday was more like the odd ramblings of a jellyfish. i’m still glad i went. i do hope her immunity is high, though.
i’m hoping to be well enough later to look at antique stuff with mom. i want old furniture for cheap that i can refinish. and this thing with mom is important because the alternative is craigslist, which i tried out for the very first time a couple weeks ago and wouldn’t you know it? i picked out end tables from a registered sex offender. after a few weird emails, i googled his name. and that’s how i knew. and then i asked mike if he’d pick up everything for me and he did and i was glad. BUT. i really do like my sex offender furniture. i just hope i don’t always think about it like that.
ok, i’m still a little rambly. i know. i just noticed. i’m stopping.