Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bake Sale, Anyone?

That's Fab Miss Kristen's suggestion for saving Casa del Mar. Why, you ask, does Casa del Mar need saving? Because my landlord is going to sell it.

Gasp!

It's not that I haven't been a good renter...he appreciates how I have cared his house (my home). He has grown weary from the expenses of owning it. I'm guessing he bought into it at the top of the market and is now going out of pocket more than he's making off of me (remember he lowered his rent so I could move in? Rather nice, but not very business-savvy).

So there's a sign in my yard. And it makes me sad every time I see it. I have loved Casa del Mar from the moment I crossed its threshold. And it has loved me right back. This little house was my big leap out of a dead marriage and has been front and center for an astounding amount of personal growth. And I can appreciate it for all of those things.

It will be very hard to pack up my things and move away, but I know all will be well -- probably even better -- when I do so. Perhaps Casa del Mar has another job to do. Another person's life to change. She rolls like that, you know.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Favorite V.D.

I have spent many a year detesting Valentine's Day.

I'm not saying that I think it's all that great now. It's still a mostly sad holiday for those who can only muster up gestures of love and caring when prodded by Hallmark and Zale's. But, well, you kinda knew this was coming...this year was...a-ok.

Mark and I agreed that we would give the day only a smidge of attention. We gladly express our love for one another daily, and neither of us are swimming in cash so a simple something would more than suffice. As I was making heart-shaped gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes this morning, I glanced out the front window and sheepishly said to Audrey, "My boyfriend is here." (And I quietly wished I had combed my hair.) Mark surprised us with Valentine doughnuts and a pretty box of my oh-so-very favorite Christopher Elbow chocolates. And tucked neatly inside the box of gorgeous confections was a cd he'd burned for me.

Of all the gestures from all the men in all the years, I have never been so moved. I've already savored it three times. Each song was personally picked by my sweetheart and means something very special to our very special something. And that makes my heart smile.

I think my inner holiday cynic just shriveled up a bit more. Give me another year and I might actually be nice.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Behind the Music

Training for a marathon leaves one with less time to do but more time to think. Today while out for my run I was listening to some old tunes. I have ridiculously few albums, so those I have, I have listened to. Again. And again. And again. I had only three or four loaded on my mp3 player a couple of years ago while I was going through the divorce. Two songs in particular, anthems really, could revive my workouts and give me strength to do what needed to be done on the home front as well. One, Desert Song by Alice Smith repeats, I'm going away, and my favorite stanza is My momma said....life is for living....if you are unhappy....go out and reinvent yourself (I still get chills when I hear that part). And an Alicia Keys song that spoke to me was "Go Ahead" sending the message that it's time for him to go (he suggested we split, so I thought he was supposed to leave), including A change is going to be made, so you'd best be on your way.

Anyway...(you're here because I can make a short story long, right?), today's running music reminded me of those workouts that kept me sane while I fought against, later accepted and finally embraced the demise of my marriage. The songs walked me through much of the darkness, the pain, and eventually hope. And today I again reminded myself that while I would not recommend divorce to anyone, it was absolutely one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

Minutes after I finished my run, I received an email from the mother of one of Audrey's friends. She was giving me the heads up that she is in the process of a divorce so I wouldn't be surprised if Audrey came home from school with this information. Upon delivering this news to her daughter, she immediately latched onto the fact that Audrey has two houses like she soon will and looks forward to sharing this with her.

And I was heartsick.

Now, I don't know this gal all that well. She and I have chatted numerous times and she helped out to a tremendous degree while The Ex- was out of town a coupla weeks ago, but we've never grabbed a drink and shared war stories. So my picture of her life has been that of a lovely marriage and happy kids and a two car garage and family vacations. And maybe that is all true. But even if it is, it isn't always enough.

So because this revelation was such a surprise to me, it induced me to reflect on how lightly I approached the divorce once I truly accepted it. I'm sure I offended many a friend with my happy-go-lucky delivery of the news, but it's so much deeper and uglier and harder than any of us let you know. Because even though we know that getting that divorce is the right thing to do, there's nothing easy about ripping your children from the lives they knew, shredding your own dreams and aspirations and starting from ground zero. So we keep all of that under wraps, deliver the news with a nonchalant smile and an "It was hard to come to the decision, but we know it's for the best."

And while that last part is usually true, I think I'll always be sad for anyone who has to go through this. Then I will wish for them the amazing adventures and happiness that I've experienced along my path. Because while I've taken some ridiculous missteps, they've all added up to the magnificent life I enjoy now.

Though magnificent missteps and a ridiculous life might be more accurate.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Busy as a...

...single mom going to college. Nah. Doesn't have much of a ring.

Spinning Marcy gently reminded me this morning that I hadn't blogged in quite some time. This is an indisputable truth and luckily, I have a jillion excuses for my lax behavior. Let's just hit one biggie. School.

I mentioned about a month ago that I was starting classes at UCM. Hardly worth the fuss (except it makes my Mondays really long), it's a whopping one hour in Warrensburg. About ten days later, my courses began at JCCC, coinciding perfectly with a very last minute trip that The Ex- took to Haiti. You might recall last winter he did some PR work for a mission in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They asked him Tuesday at accompany a priest who was returning to the island and document some of the damage. He said, "yes" so I dropped my plans and picked up the slack. Wednesday at 8 a.m., my classes started. The kids had to be ready for school extra early three days a week and sitters were snagged for my late classes.

He returned stateside about six days later and by the next week had zipped off to Utah where he was shooting a documentary. So while my semester ramped up, I was having troubles getting into gear. The kids have been reasonably patient with my schedule, but we're all feeling the pressure of my madness (yes, I'm comfortable admitting to that).

He returns late tonight. Tomorrow I hope to get in some quality time with my beau, interspersed with cooking and studying and resting. I don't feel like I have a very good handle on my classes so far (organic and biochemistry, microbiology/lab...need I continue?) And next week brings a couple of tests to boot. I'm crossing my fingers that a quiet weekend will restore some balance, even if it's only my skewed version of it.