Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How Do You Define Happy?

I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. What a crappy way to live.

I'm happy at the moment. My career isn't changing, but my company is busy and I have plenty of things to do at work. My kids are having their daily challenges, but I'm able to really see what great people they are turning into, with good values, quick brains, and open hearts. My home is a mess, but it's being appraised this afternoon, which is the last step (I believe) before it is refinanced in my name only, and truly becomes *my* house. My personal life is going well, with a man that I truly care for, even though we hit our rocky patches occassionally. (How can you not when one of you is fighting for custody and the other is going through a divorce?)

In writing this down, I've realized that I'm not being my usual overly Pollyanna self, that I'm seeing things realistically, but am still waiting. I'm waiting for my job to bore me again, my kids to get bratty, my home to need expensive repair, my personal life to fall apart, and my ex-husband to decide to fight me on the terms of our divorce.

Does anyone have the abilities to really live in the moment? To look around and say, "Yep - this is all I need" without looking for the pitfalls ahead? Can that be bottled?

Monday, November 19, 2007

More Time

I need it. In the consumer-driven society that we live in, where everything is available for a price, how does one get more time?

I feel like I'm constantly watching the clocks and calendars right now. During the kid part of the week, I'm watching the clock to make sure we're getting everything done that needs to get done. Yesterday that included laundry, food, baths, homework, playtime, time to clean, more food, more playtime, and eventually mellow time in front of a movie. In the morning, I'm watching the clock to make sure I've got enough time to get the kids up, dressed, ready for the day, while still taking care of myself.

When I don't have the kids, I'm still trying to balance things. In the last non-kid week, I filed and served divorce papers, starting the refinancing on my house, began to think about starting my Christmas shopping, and even enjoyed an adult beverage (two of them, actually!)

My biggest concern is that I'm so busy watching the clocks and calendars that I'm not appreciating the now. When I catch myself, I can slow down, and enjoy the moment, but how much am I missing? How many extra opportunities for "I love you" and hugs and kisses am I missing, because I'm thinking about what has to happen next hour, the next day, the next week?

Friday, November 16, 2007


Life was so simple, once upon a time. All I needed was my thumb to suck, a stuffed animal to cuddle and a book to read.

Today, I had different needs. I needed my denim skirt and shoes that make clicky-sounds. The shoes make me sound intimidating, and I needed that today. The skirt is a size 4, and it's loose on me. I needed that today, too.

Last night, T called me to tell me that he no longer was going to agree with our agreement on the house. (The agreement was made in 2004 when we split up, and it said that he gets 1/2 of the down payment of the house, but that's it.) He decided to tell me last night that he decided that wasn't fair anymore.

He made a few suggestions, which I did not like. One was to give him more money. One was to give him a percentage of the equity in the house as it was now. One was to give him a percentage of the equity in the house whenever I sell it. I understand that it's a community property state. I understand that LEGALLY he's entitled to half of the value of the house. However, let's revisit the reality, shall we?

We bought a house in California together, before we were married. I put down about 2/3 of the down payment, he put down about 1/3. We both were working. We had one child. We both were working. I paid about 60% of the mortgage, he paid about 40%. We had another child. He stopped working. I paid the bills. He stayed home three days a week with the kids, the other two I paid for a babysitter. I still paid the bills. We sold the house two years later and made some money on it.

We lived off that money for about 8 months, before we both found jobs in Prescott, where we live now. When we bought the house currently in dispute, we used the rest of the money from the house sale in California as the down payment. From that time, I paid the mortgage. Oh, there were a few months, where T made a moderate effort to help, he paid about 30% of the mortgage for about 3 months out of the first six. Then we split up, I paid the bills. He lived somewhere else for about a year, and I let him move back in. I paid the bills. After that, he was laid off. I paid the bills. He went back to work. I still paid the bills. I had the yard landscaped. I paid the bill. Things went wrong, I had them fixed. I paid the bills.

So our final agreement is that I will pay him the $28,000 we agreed on. I also agreed that if I sell the house within the next 5 years, I will have to pay him another $15,000.

The part of this that bothers me, is that he knows that he didn't pay for the house. He knows that he shouldn't have a claim on any equity from the house. However, the whole reason that he wants this agreement (I think) is so I don't sell the house and buy something new with anyone else.

Ok, the skirt and shoes are helping, but maybe a good thumb-sucking wouldn't hurt.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Ok, so I met with the Certified Paper-Pusher yesterday. In the hour before I was going to see her, I was in a fantastic mood. I felt like a kid before Christmas. Why? I mean, technically, shouldn't there be some sadness? Some regret? Why am I feeling so good about my marriage ending? I know, it's been over for a very long time. Everyone knew it. I knew it. T knew it. The kids knew it. I think the mailman knew it.

Anyway, I meet with her, she checks through my paperwork, rewords a little bit here and there. Puts all my forms in order - tells me how many copies of each section I need, explains the time-line, tells me what I need to do next. Made life very easy.

So, here's what has to happen now. I have one more section to complete (it's only 2 pages), and then I get to file the paperwork and pay the $226.00. At that time, I get to sign up for the state-mandatory parenting class. Then T needs to be served. The easiest way to accomplish this, is for him to go with me to the courthouse and sign the acceptance of service (as well as the custody and parenting plan). Both of these things have to be signed in front of a notary or court deputy. The next best option is to just hand him the stuff, have him sign it in front of a notary himself, and file it at the court. Here's the problem there - what if he doesn't do it? What if he just sits on the paperwork? The mandatory waiting period is 60 days. It doesn't start until he is officially served (which means - his signature is notarized!) The least favorable option (at least for me) is to have him served by the Sherriff's department or a Process Server, this would have to be done at his place of employment, since when he's home, it's either at night or when he has the kids. Neither would be a really nice thing to do.

So, when leaving the office of the paralegal yesterday, still riding my really good mood, I called T. Of course, that was a mood killer. He was not willing to commit to meeting me at the courthouse. He said "we'd talk about it". Silly me, I thought that's what we were doing on the phone.

It's now Thursday morning. I'm filing the paperwork tomorrow. I still don't know if it's going to be a voluntary service, or if I'm going to have to have him served.

Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day. I'm (hopefully) starting my divorce waiting period, signing up for my parenting class, and then going to my son's Thanksgiving play, where he is in the pivoting role of "Narrator #1". I'm quite sure it will be Tony-worthy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oh, to be a fly...

I don't know exactly what happened.

I know that T and D met and had dinner together. I know that D.'s intentions were to give T. the chance to ask him anything, to make him feel better about the fact that his children were going to be around another man. I know that D. also made it pretty clear that the driving by my house (a.k.a. stalking) has to stop, and that it was making me uncomfortable. I know that T. did his usual thing and wasn't totally honest. He told D. that I asked him to run his name or check him out through the P.D. (Hello? If that was the case, why would I not give him his full name???) He told D. that he never cheated on me (but even D. could tell he was lying on that one). I know that T. asked D. more personal questions than he should have.

I don't know what the results are going to be. I just hope that things can move quietly forward. This afternoon, I'm meeting with a "Certified Document Preparer" to go through my divorce packet and make sure it's complete and ready to go. I want to get it done and over with.

Time to move forward.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


What happened to my nice peaceful life?

Yesterday I was in a great mood. I was a little tired, but I was happy. During the course of the day, I got some very sweet text messages, got to give my hard-working employees some really good news, got to hear about a new account at work that's got the potential to be HUGE, and picked up my gorgeous (although very dirty) kids from day camp. (No school - Veterans Day).

The kids wanted to invite D over for dinner, for one of their favorite meals (a really quick soup that we make together), so we had a very nice evening, with soup, salad, bread, and fruit, nice conversations, and hugs and kisses before bed.

Then the shit hit the fan.

Ok, so that might have been when it hit, but we didn't really know it until later.

D and I hung out for a while last night, and fell asleep for a little while. At 10:30, D went to leave and I walked him to the door. My phone had a little red light on it, and there was a text message waiting for me. It said: "S's book is on the bench as are the gold dollars. Thank you for slowing things down. Spare me the only over for ten minutes speech. We need to talk!"

Ok, so let's break this down, shall we?
S's book is on the bench as are the gold dollars.

Around 8:00 last night, T decided to "swing by" the house to drop off our son's library book and a few golden dollars (tooth fairy money - we're getting close). He saw D's truck.

Thank you for slowing things down.

I didn't say that I was slowing things down. When meeting with T to go over our divorce packet, I asked him if there was anything I could do to make this easier on him. I was told things were moving too fast for him (not just the divorce, but my relationship too.)

Spare me the only over for ten minutes speech.

I told him that D sometimes came over after the kids fell asleep, but it started out as 10 - 15 minutes, just to say good-night and sometimes pick up some leftovers for lunch. I didn't tell him that was still the case. However. the fact that he knew that D was there for more than 10 minutes means he has now started WATCHING my house.

Apparently, he wasn't watching the house, but he came *back* by the house after going to Wal-Mart.

Anyway, there were several long converations on the phone. Me and T. Me and D. and yes, then D. and T.

Tonight should prove to be entertaining yet again. T and D are meeting for coffee to talk.

Speaking of coffee...

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Every new relationship has to go through the phases, right? The just getting to know each other phase, the learning about each others pasts phase, the "let's go out" all the time phase, the "let's stay in" all the time phase (wink, wink), the "what do you want to do tonight" phase.

Well, there's another one. At least there is in my life.

Poor D was introduced to the "Liz is on meds" phase. I had a migraine last week and another one forming yesterday. No big deal, I have medication for 'em. The problem is, that in order to break the cycle of the migraines, I have to take a complete dose of the medicine. A complete dose take me 4 hours, and since the pills make me tired and loopy, staying awake and REMEMBERING to take them every hour is a challenge.

My whole life, I have been very sensitive to medications. I've hallucinated on codeine, sudafed and vicodin. I've had complete conversations in person and on the phone while on medication, and not remembered a thing.

I *think* I remember everything from last night, but can't really be sure. I know that I wasn't my brightest, my wittiest, or my most entertaining self. Hopefully, I also wasn't my drooliest, slurriest, or sloppiest self either.

On the good hand, the migraine seems to be gone, just a little medication hang-over this morning. Being a light-weight kinda sucks!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Doing The Right Thing

I always figured it was supposed to be pretty black and white. You're a good person, so you always do the right thing. If you know what the right thing is, you do it.

So why does doing the right thing have to suck so often?

Being honest is the right thing, right? What about when that honesty ends up hurting a friend? What about if that honesty changes things irrevocably? Still, it's the right thing to do, right?

When your soon-to-be ex-husband wants to talk - you do it because it's the right thing to do. You sit and listen to all his worries and concerns, you set him straight on the stuff you know, offer opinions on the stuff you don't, and in the end you're going to do what you're going to do anyway, right?

A very good friend of mine, was facing this dilema last week: when a child's father wants to see the child, you allow it because it's the right thing. It doesn't matter that the father of the child isn't a "dad" by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn't matter that the child has found a "dad" in someone else. It doesn't matter that everyone would like to pretend that the "dad" in question was also the father. We have to do the right thing for our children.

So how come it is so easy for other people to *not* do the right thing. How can there be people in the world for whom, doing the right thing for anyone else is not even a recognized function? How can we all be so fundamentally different? Are we created that way? Is it learned behavior? Back to the age-old question - is i nature or nurture?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this one. Please feel free to comment.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Where does it all come from?

I'm starting to believe in elves. Not necessarily the kind that come in and make shoes, spin straw into gold or even the kind that help out Santa. I'm convinced, however, that there are mean little people somewhere - that sneak into my house and make piles of laundry.

How else can one woman and two children go through so many clothes? Yesterday, inbetween making dinner, dessert, going out for lunch, playing with the kids at their school, overseeing homework and cleaning a bathroom - I managed to do four loads of laundry. Sure, you'd think I was done, now, right? Nope. I still need to run the kids clothes tonight, and I didn't even tackle any of the sheets or towels yet!

Personally, I think if the Elves can come in and make laundry - there should be Sprites that come along and wash it (and dry it, put it away, etc.) and while they are at it - they should clean the other bathroom, too!

Friday, November 2, 2007

1 vs. 100

No, not the game show.

Here is my question for today. Why is it that you can get married by filling out one simple form, but in order to get divorced you get a 3 pound packet of paperwork to complete?

I picked up this packet a couple of days ago, and I've done a little work on it daily since, but I've barely made a dent. This this is so huge, so daunting - is that the idea? Make sure they *really* want it by burying them in paperwork?

The good news, is that I did tell T that I picked up the packet, and hoped that once I got through as much of it as possible, we'd be able to sit down and go through the rest. I'm hopeful that we can be friendly enough and stick to the agreements we had in place. Unfortunately, I'm seeing friends of mine, in various stages of divorce, finding that things didn't go the way they had planned.

Keep good thoughts in your head for me, and I'll keep Neosporin and band-aids around for all those paper cuts I'm sure to earn.