Well, not really. Right now, there's this:
Proof that it is possible for me to look scarier than usual at 5 am. Fecking bug. Glad I smited it. Had a follow up with the Doc this morning and, after 2 megadoses of Augmentin, I've just managed to dodge IV treatment, though there are two more follow up visits in the immediate future (plus 9 more days of antibiotics) before we consinder declaring victory. I like having 2 eyes, so I'm willing to be patient for once.
To go with the shiner, I'm also the proud owner of the world's reddest and itchiest Augmentin induced rash. Ever. I keep scratching my back against couches, chairs, fridges, trees...I don't care how silly it looks. *scritch scratch ahhhhhh*
Right now, there's no knitting. Not til the itching stops. LOTS of antihistimines and a plan to see the Doc in the morning before the scratching turns into extreme exfoliation.
I'd just started my annual fall joining of the single sites, but I think it best to suspend things for a few weeks til I stop resembling a Lifetime movie refugee. And I read this interesting article in Oprah (oh shite, here we go again) written by Heather Sellers about her decision to go out on 100 coffee dates. Sounds interesting...
More on that later, after I stop scratching myself senseless.
This weeks 10 on Tuesday: 10 Traits You Looks For in a Romantic Interest.
Surely you didn't expect a mere list on such a topic? Actually, it started as a list and somehow morphed into precisely the sort of singles ad that's advised against. : )
40 year old divorced mother of 4 (ages 8,9,11, & 14) seeks mature single/divorced male. 'Mature' is not so much a reference to one's age as to one's life skills. If you're responsible for your own clean laundry, if you have a checking account (I'm not interested in the balance; I'd just like to know you keep your money some place other than the bottom of your sock), and you subsist on something other than your charm and good looks, keep reading. Men interested in replacing their first wife, that shining beacon of light who almost singlehandedly raised the kids, cooked dinner, did laundry, managed the family finances, organized family vacations, helped with the homework, and otherwise managed all various and sundry tedious aspects of family life whilst you were busily bringing home the bacon should look elsewhere. I was once that woman, and I've moved on. Undoubtedly, so has your first wife.
I'm interested in someone who's humorous, with tendencies that run a little more towards Monty Python than, say, Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura and who doesn't mind that it takes me a little while to warm up to a complete stranger. A liking (though love is preferred) for reading is a must and if you tend towards mostly graphic novels, that's fine unless A) you're only 14, then you shouldn't be reading this anyway or B) you're terrified your doll action figure collection will freak me out. It won't. Besides, I won't pick on your doll action figure collection if you promise to ignore my humungous fiber addiction yarn and fabric stash (and books. there are quite a few). As far as other interests go, if the world around you delights and intrigues you, we'll probably have lots to talk about.
I'm admittedly a bit of an introvert and not the most demonstrative person in the world (except for my kids) so while a loving personality is important, it's not a requirement that you hug everyone you see, or call me every day (as a matter of fact, I'd prefer that you didn't.) Rather, it's that you like most of humanity, on most days. Off days happen-so be it- as long as every day isn't an off day.
Musically speaking, you can love Kenny Chesney, at the top of your lungs in the shower if it pleases you, just know that I'll have my head buried under the pillows while you sing. And when I'm bopping around to jazz or Elvis Costello, well, don't say that I didn't warn you.
Oh, and sex, that tends to be a big deal so let's get that out in the open right now: I like sex, a whole lot, actually, but I'm unlikely to leap into your arms (or bed) on the first date. Probably not the third, either. And your mind's the biggest part of whatever attraction you might hold for me, so the tantric sex you've been mastering over the past decade, I'm sure it's delightful but if that's all you've got to offer, well, sorry Charlie. We big girls can take care of those things at home.
And me, what do I like? Knitting, quilting, reading, mountain biking, gardening, people watching, squishing sand between my toes, dancing in puddles, good food (though gluten free these days), crunching through fall leaves and enjoying the scents of a fine fall day...much of what I love is fleeting and intangible...it's life as it happens and there's something waiting to happen every day. If, for you, every day is just another boring day of the same old, same old, with no beauty in any of the details and no joy to be found, I'm so sorry. You wouldn't like me very much.
"Divorce is the psychological equivalent of a triple coronary by-pass. After such a monumental assault on the heart, it takes years to amend all of the habits and attitudes that led up to it" ~Mary Kay Blakely
Back when I was married, I was the Designated Timekeeper of the House, something people who know me now would undoubtedly find hilarious. I had a complicated calendar system coordinating who had to be where and when and I was usually the one responsible for making sure it happened. As luck (or foolishness) would have it, I married a man who's sense of time could best be described as fluid. When X told you he'd be somewhere in a certain amount of time, you'd multiply that by 3 (ie, 15 minutes in X time = 45 minutes real time) and you were usually close. When there was an important event (say, a surprise party or wedding), we (his friends and I) would lie a bit about when X had to be there. Party at 6? Tell X he had to be there for 5:30. Inevitably, he'd still be late, but less so. As cell phones and pagers became more prevelant and affordable, X could be nudged along a bit more efficiently, though only if the devices were on.
(Someday, I'll share the amusing-in-retrospect story of how X nearly missed Nick's birth cos his cell and pager were turned off)
For several years, I found his time avoidance tolerable and even amusing. I was in love, and it was kind of cute the way he'd always end up rushing in and people'd joke about it. Possibly one of the greatest oversights I made about that particular habit was the fact that there was no way in hell I was going to find it remotely endearing in 30 years. Or even 10, for that matter.
It was the alarm clock that finally brought this to my attention .
For the entire time we were together, we owned a digital alarm clock equipped with huge red glowing numerals I'd swear were intended to be visible from space. Regardless of where we were living, the clock usually resided on a table or bookcase on X's side of the bed less 4 feet from his pillow. Certainly, within an arm's length. And every morning, for over 10 years, the first words out of X's mouth were "What time is it?" Let it be noted that not only did I sleep on the opposite side of the bed, I'm nearsighted in a coke bottle glasses kind of way and, without corrective eyewear, incapable of deciphering anything more than 8 inches from my nose. The view from my side of the bed was of an enormous and occasionally flickering red blur and it was inevitable that I would eventually find this question not just pointless but pretty fucking annoying.
"What time is it?" Over the years, this question became the equivalent of squeezing the toothpaste from the middle (nigh unto impossible in this day and age so I guess I'm dating myself) or constantly finding the toilet seat up in the middle of the night.
It really irritated me.
Why couldn't the man keep track of his own damn time? Was he in a magical dimension where time couldn't exist leaving him dependent on humanity to read the freaking clocks for him? If I was ever hit by a Mack truck, who'd tell him what time it was?
A question that never occurred to me at the time: Why was it that I, a rather quirky yet rational woman, had decided to focus every bit of marital frustration and hostility on one question? Lots of people want to know what time it is. It's a fairly common and innocuous question and asking for the time doesn't necessarily mean that one is a catastrophically disorganized alcoholic with a complete inability to fulfill commitments.
But eventually, that was my association with that question. Took about a decade to get me there (apparently, Pavlov's dogs were a bit quicker than me) and 5 years after the divorce was finalized, it can still be a hot button for me.
5 years later. What the hell is up with that, woman?
I actually starting thinking about this before Thanksgiving, about the time I impulsively decided to put my profile back up onto a singles site. We can ponder why it is that I opened a profile right before my busiest work season but I think my particular "I'm single and available yet too busy to date this time of year" avoidance technique is fairly transparent. For the record, I've been officially divorced since October 29, 2003 and I've been on exactly one date.
You did read that correctly. One date. I'm pretty sure that if I opened the celebratory package o' condoms a friend gave me after the final court hearing, I'd be greeted by a puff of powdered latex.
So, in the past five years I've doubled my salary, gotten a good handle on finances and investing, shepherded 4 great kids a little further along in their lives, become pretty adept at knitting & quilting (though I'm still the suckiest spinner ever), made some new friends, learned how to operate firearms, taken up skateboarding (with my son!), discovered I love mountain biking, learned how to actually appreciate myself...all sorts of good stuff. But, at the end of day, I'm still lugging around enough baggage that, periodically, it hauls me up short like an angry mutt chained to a doghouse and leaves me flat on my back, staring up at the sky and wondering "What the hell??" What the hell, indeed.
This isn't about to turn into a round of self-flagellating. I have shed some bad habits:
I no longer worry 24/7. I wasn't born a worrier, but when X took up drinking, I took up worrying with a vengeance. Where was he? Was he dead? Did he kill someone? If he was/did, had he paid his auto/life insurance this month? How much hidden debt did he have? Would we lose the house? Blah, blah, blah...I think it took me longer to quit worrying than it did for him to quit drinking.
I've stopped using food as a crutch, though it my case it was more like a wheelchair. A motorized wheelchair, possibly with a sidecar, though that'd make it more of a motorcycle, eh?
I've gotten past the point where some hapless man introduces himself to me and all I can think is "WHAT. DO. YOU. WANT?" (Ok, I'll admit I'm not terribly kind to drunken 24 year olds but they don't need the encouragement)
And, oh, have I ever learned to lighten up. Most of the time, anyway.
But, somewhere along the line, I developed this fierce protectiveness about my personal space and privacy that borders on neurotic. I've determined that if I find Mr Right, separate houses is the way to go. In and of itself, the idea, while odd, is mostly harmless but what it means to me is perhaps a bit off: Separate houses means not having to compromise about furniture, or decorations, or personal style, or who does the dishes after dinner, or who takes out the trash, or who takes care of the laundry, or any of a myriad of typical interactions between a couple that I've now taken to interpreting as "encroaching on my personal space." This, as some might say, is not "healthy". As a matter of fact, I'm re-reading this and thinking that it looks like I might have flunked the "sharing" and "playing well with others" parts of kindergarten except that I know I wasn't always quite like this. The seed for this particular nuttiness was planted sometime during my marriage and took root in response to X's various behaviors. After I moved out and got a little breathing room and a taste of privacy again, instead of backing down from this essentially defensive behavior, I made it a life style choice. Probably not the best decision, conscious or not, that I've ever made.
I have no idea how I'm going change this, but that's what on the plate for this year. My New Years Resolution is still officially "Eat Dessert First" and while I'm enjoying dessert, I'm going to make a conscious effort to unload the last of the habits, attitudes, and baggage left over from a crappy period of my life that's long since passed. I'm going to be 40 in June and I have no desire to drag the ghosts of my former life into the second half of my existence. Besides, 40's a little young to give up on men, sex, and the beloved warm spot that's a joy to snuggle into when he (whoever and wherever he is) gets out of bed in the morning.
Well, 5 months after the horror show that was E-harmony, I find myself feeling perky & optimistic and ready for another round of internet dating roulette. Once again, I'm receiving a quick and interesting education on lingo, expectations, and all sorts of ritualistic weirdness. However, it's a little less stressful this time. I choose a site (to be revealed at a later date) that let me pick my own tagline and allowed for some other freedom so I could put my personality and expectations right out there. The site makes all sorts of recommendations for taglines, most of them incomprehensively dorky. For the little summary of who I am and what I want, I took the blunt approach:
Eccentric book woman
I'm a divorced mother of 4 (yup, four-joint custody). I've been selling books for 19 years and I love it as much now as I did when I started. Good coffee makes me smile (and a bookstore with coffee is joy). I laugh loudly, mostly at Monty Python-esque humor. I collect useless bits of trivia for amusement and love sharing them at random, particularly after a drink or two. I've always preferred being barefoot to wearing shoes, though I should probably mention that my favorite shoes are red patent leather Doc Martens. And I tend to be a little shy when I first meet people. Who am I looking for? A man who is intelligent, humorous, and loving. After that, I'm open to the possibilities.
I briefly toyed around with mentioning knitting or quilting, but realized the first time some hapless man joked about getting a sweater, I'd probably run him through with a needle and that just didn't seem like a hot idea. Waste of a perfectly good wooden needle and all. Attached to my profile is a huge section devoted to height, body type, TV viewing habits, hobbies, political & religious inclinations, and all of the inane trivia that manages to be both mundane and necessary so I didn't the need to prattle on and on as I'm usually wont to do.
And I've gotten surprising number of responses. Surprising in part, because I am a little (well maybe very) cynical about dating, particularly internet related, and I expected that putting my real self (as opposed to the tidied up "for special" version that was reserved for church when I was a kid) forward immediately wouldn't garner much interest. So, we'll see.
Lame that it's blog-worthy, but 3 years after my divorce was finalized and 16 years after the last time I stepped out with a new person, I have a date.
I will, of course, wear the shiny red Doc Martens.
You'd think that a dating site would understand the concept "no means no." Think twice. A few days ago, I cancelled my Eharmony membership. After getting a dire warning that I'd lose contact with all of my matches, I pressed "cancel" because I was really, truly done with it all. I then got this perky little message about calling customer service to ensure that I was credited properly. Right. Didn't have a chance to call them that day and the next morning, my inbox contained several more matches, plus 3 new requests for communication. Sigh. So I called the Eharmony CS line and spoke to the very nice Bonnie, who promptly offered me 2 years for the price of one. At this point the potential horror really starts sinking in. They have roughly 8,000,000 members, leaving them with an ample pool to continue sending me 5 or 6 matches a day. If the pace didn't settle down, I'm looking at roughly 3,600 to 4,000 matches over the next 2 years. That truly is man-spam of unheard of proportions. Oh, no, no thank you, really. So Bonnie cancelled my account-I think- and I promptly received my cancellation confirmation email. 3 hours later (while I was at work), Eharmony sent me an email telling me what a great job I was doing! If there are matches in my mailbox in the morning, I assure you that, no matter where you live, you'll hear me scream.
Well, 5 days into my free week of EHarmony, I pulled the plug. Each day I found myself opening my gmail with increasing trepidation (and a correspondingly knotted stomach), wondering how many men they'd tried foisting on me during the night. For the record, the average was 6 a day. 6 a day. From a website that promises at least one match a month which I interpreted as meaning that I wouldn't be man-spammed. Oh, was I ever wrong. I'm 5"9', liberal, feminist, wiccan, moderately disorganized, anti-authority, anti-organized religion, and many consider me a tad aggressive in personality. Did I mention I like to argue? I was very clear about this in personality survey & I know they got that info because I read the profile they made about me. So, this morning, when I discovered they'd "introduced" me to "John" who's probably a very nice man, but is also a 5"5' devout Christian (and boy do I mean devout-he mentioned gratitude to god 3 times in his quick profile) who also mentioned he's very organized & doesn't like confrontation, well, does this sound like even a remotely good idea? I'm all for meeting people who aren't exactly like me, but I'm pretty sure the only place this guy & I match up in their much touted "29 dimensions" is that we both have kids and we like them. Being breeders does not make us a match made in heaven, particularly since I don't believe in heaven. <deep breath> Much better. At any rate, more important than the issue of man-spam was the realization that while I like meeting friends through my blogs, if I'm meeting some who'll potentially share a future with me, I prefer doing it in person and the chat online & have a coffee date routine doesn't cut it for me.
Next adventure: my friend Regina is currently attempting to convince me to try 8 minute dating, so stay tuned for further adventures of She Who Despises Small Talk!