Wow. I am blown away that another year has come and gone. 2009 kicked my ass, both in a good way, and a less-than-good way. Not bad, per se, but if you have been reading, you know that it hasn’t been a walk in the park by any means. I am glad to see 2009 go, and am thrilled that I actually managed, perhaps for the first time ever, to achieve my New Year’s Resolution… divorce. Sure, it took me 11 months to get it done. Eleven long, grueling months, but it is done, nonetheless.
One year ago today, I was abducted from my miserable existence. Last New Year’s Eve, my best friend, Lori, agreed to attend my family’s annual NYE party with me, since, as usual, my husband refused to go. Not because he wanted to do something else, or even because he didn’t like going out on New Year’s, but because he thought I was going to leave him and didn’t want to get involved in a family function that would hurt him. It was the same reason he gave for skipping Thanksgiving, and also Christmas. Not really why he skipped those on other years, but whatever. So, I dragged my friend out into the cold, dressed in our best approximation of formal wear, and we had ourselves a blast. I think we rolled into the house about 6 am, and I put her ass to bed on the couch. When I woke up around noon, Lori and I started discussing what we would do to enjoy the first day of the new year. You see, New Year’s Day is a football day, which means that the husband would be sitting on the couch for hours watching endless games, highlights, and commentaries; leaving me virtually ignored. So, I didn’t even think to include him in our plans. This is, after all, what happened for the previous 10 years. So, when he called me (from the bedroom, into the living room), he was less than happy that I wouldn’t be sitting there bored to death watching him watch football. He started throwing around some of my favorite terms of endearment, such as ice queen, I rolled my eyes and hung up on him. Then, when I went to get dressed to start the day, he started in again telling me how I was the problem. Long story short (ok, not short… get used to it) Lori overheard everything he said to me, and as we made our escape she said, “Oh NO! I can’t believe the way he was talking to you!! I thought he was nice, but he is a douche! This is an INTERVENTION!!! YOU ARE NOT GOING BACK! I AM KIDNAPPING YOU!” At this point, I was pretty fried, I will admit. She got on the phone with another friend and they plotted getting me out of the house. I stayed pretty quiet, as most people hit with an intervention do, until the jerk started calling obsessively. I finally answered the phone and he informed me that a process-server had just been to our door, and that I was being sued. I lost it. I finally came completely unglued. The reason for the suit was due to a bad debt obtained during the three-year period when he just decided that he didn’t like his job, and wasn’t going to go at all. He makes the decision, and I get burned with the consequences. As I was attempting to get back in my car, the door wouldn’t open. I finally managed to get it open, and the flood gates opened. I cried all the way back to Lori’s house. I laid on her couch and cried for hours. I was exhausted…. mentally and emotionally drained… and I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Lori told me that she and her five-year old daughter discussed it, and they invited me to move in to their apartment. I will admit that I was resistent. I am stubborn… I will admit it freely. I didn’t WANT to leave my place. It was MY place, and if anyone should be leaving, it ought to be him! But… I finally had to admit that the likelihood of that happening was slim-to-none… I had to make the choice. Go back, be stubborn, and be miserable… OR take the leap and try to do it a different way. It took me less than three days to decide I was never going back. My friends, while happy I had done something, never really believed that I would stay gone. But something my friend Jeff said to me really hit home. He said, “You know… you can keep complaining about the situation and never doing anything – and eventually… we are going to get tired of hearing about it.” I decided he was right, and I didn’t want to be “that girl.” I am a smart, independent woman MORE than capable of supporting herself. Hell, I supported myself AND him for YEARS. It HAD to be easier to do it on my own.
Going back to get my stuff, since we left with nothing, was tough. The first time, I told him that I was just going to spend the night with Lori because she was having a rough time. Chickenshit, I know. But, I didn’t want to deal with a scene. We went over, and she put on her best depressed face, drawn hoodie and all, and I packed as much into two tote bags as I possibly could. Poor little Em… she knew it was a secret that she couldn’t tell him… he tried to talk to him and she almost flipped out. She comes running back into my room and says, “He’s trying to talk to me but I have a SECRET!!!” Needless to say, we got the hell out of dodge as quick as we could manage. We also bribed Em with ice cream, so you know, she was VERY motivated not to spill the beans.
The next day, Lori called me at work to let me know that Em was thrilled that I was moving in, and she had begun packing her toys up in Ziploc baggies so that I could move into her room. The sheer thought and loving compassion from a then-four-year old girl brought me to tears. I began going back home when I knew he would be working to get more stuff out. It was hard, for sure.
I am so thankful to my many friends and family members who invited me out on a regular basis to take my mind off things, and to let loose and have a little fun for a change. First was the “worst party on Earth.” Yeah… it really sucked LOL. Next was my cousin’s bachelorette party, which was a lot of fun and involved a party bus and copious amounts of alcohol. I am not much of a drinker, but it was still a total blast. I don’t remember a lot of the first few weeks… they really passed in a blur. I slept in Em’s bed, and will admit that I may have cuddled up with a giant stuffed dog named Razaroo, and I might not admit to crawling into a giant purple castle-shaped tent. Maybe. But I kept telling myself… “I’m OK!!!”
February brought along my annual out-of-town scrapbooking retreat with some of my girlfriends. It was a lot of fun, and I got a lot of work done. It was also the first time that I can say I don’t think we will be invited back, but those people suck anyway lol. I also convinced the girls that we should swing by The Salt Lick (outside of Austin) on our way home. Rogna kindly pointed out that a 70 mile trip was NOT on our way home, but I begged to differ – Especially where the best BBQ on Earth is concerned. They relented, and after we stuffed ourselves silly, eventually agreed. Mmmmm… all you can eat BBQ.
The next weekend was the wedding reception for my cousin and her awesome new hubby. They got married in Mexico, but then had a reception back at home so that we could all celebrate with them in style. Enter the soon to be ex. Unfortunately, our invitation arrived while we were still together, so he wanted to go. I told him I didn’t care if he went (it is a free country, after all), to which he said, “but I want to go as your husband!” [yawn] He did end up going, but I was much too concerned with catching up with my favorite cousins to spend any time around him, much to his chagrin. After this (and before, too), I started to receive a barrage of texts, voicemails, and calls from him asking me to come home and reminding me that our lease was set to expire at the end of the month, and he didn’t have any place to go.
About a week later, I started feeling sick. I had been on meds for anxiety for about a month, but they didn’t seem to be helping. As you know from my Panic at the Disco! blog, I do not do well with anxiety. After three days straight of throwing up, my body had enough. Enter the Three Stooges of ambulatory care. These bozos tramped through my room in muddy boots, got lost on the way to the hospital, and couldn’t get a vital sign right to say their (or more accurately MY) life. I was admitted into the hospital for 5 days. Many gory and horrible things occurred (read the old blog), and I was released on Friday night, still anxious and vomiting. After a miserable night where I very nearly lost the will to live, literally, I was taken to a different (aka BETTER) hospital, where they performed emergency surgery to remove my lap band. I felt SO much better immediately after surgery that I probably could have skipped all the way home, IV and flappy gown blowing in the wind.
I recovered at my mom’s house for a few weeks… because, seriously? Who takes better care of you when you are sick than your mom? No one… that’s who. And can you believe it? That dillhole shows up at my mom’s house while I am doped up on pain meds with that stupid apartment lease for me to sign. Douche nozzle. I am referring to myself, of course, because I signed the stupid thing. Idiot. Guilt trips will take you far, but you will discover they do not accumulate the frequent flier miles associated with that much travel. He kindly took off as soon as my now-roommate showed up, probably afraid that she would take his ass down with a Xena Warrior Princess-like jab to the throat, or perhaps a swift kick to the [fake] knees.
March & April had me feeling better than I had in a long time. We were eating better (South Beach Diet), working hard, and getting things into a groove. I even bought myself a new bed. I didn’t really mean to… really… I was just looking. But when the guy showed me the floor model… a $1400 bed marked down to $500… that felt like heaven… I was sold. I always wanted a new bed. I was so sick of hand-me-down beds. I bought that sucker and had it set up to be delivered to the Chateau (what I have lovingly been calling our apartment). Talk about Red Carpet service! If you are thinking of buying a bed from the Mattress Firm… do it. Pay the $60 for delivery. They literally showed up with a red carpet. And booties to cover their shoes so as not to make the same error as the Stooges. And they set up the frame and mattresses for me. And the bed was a good 3 feet taller in my room than it was in the store. I had to take a flying leap to get into the thing! I call it my Princess and the Pea bed (aka The Princess Bed), and it is heavenly. To this day, people cannot lay on this bed without wanting to snuggle down and fall right to sleep. [sigh] I am writing this from my bed now lol. But a few weeks later, once my bank statement came in to his apartment, he called and gave me the riot act over buying a new bed and how that told him I wasn’t coming back. It couldn’t have been the 5,000 times I TOLD HIM I wasn’t coming back… it was the bed. The next day I had my mail forwarded to a new PO Box.
I also had to lock down my Facebook account, for crying out loud. At some point, I started getting “Friend Requests” from him. I kindly ignored them. After a week or so, he asked me if I was ever going to add him as a friend, to which I said, “hell no.” After that realization, he decided to have other people spy on my FB status updates to extract information, which he would later call or text me about, generally at 3:00 am. I locked that sucker down tighter than a drum. To my knowledge, there haven’t been any other breaches.
While my new found freedom was nice, the paying half the rent at two apartments really sucked. I was so pissed about that damn lease, but there really wasn’t anything I could do about it. He wasn’t going to move, and I couldn’t get my name off the lease without him signing off on it and qualifying for the lease on his own (which was never going to happen). He also started hounding me about doing something with our dog (namely, he didn’t want to take care of him anymore). Around the middle of June, the anxiety started creeping back in. I ran directly back to the doctor for help, and he doubled my Lexapro prescription. I am fully convinced that this threw me over the edge into full-blown panic attacks 5-6 times a day. Another trip to the ER, countless doctor’s visits, and every test known to man (btw my gall bladder is operating at 94%, thank you very much), and I come out with a diagnosis of “Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome and a prescription for antidepressants. Basically, the long and short of it is that my nerves in my stomach are highly sensitive and easily irritated. Add that together with an acid stomach and raging anxiety issues… Boom. Misery. Since that day, I have taken my meds (meant to dull the nerves in the tummy) and haven’t had another episode.
During this time, I also took a little trip to a Psychiatrist, because holding two Psychology degrees myself, I find it important to keep a tight watch on my mental well-being, and let’s face it… my marriage did little to help my self-esteem and massively exacerbated a low-lying depression that I had probably been dealing with for years. After a few talks with whats-her-name (seriously… I don’t have a clue what her name is), I felt better about my situation and my choice to move on with my life. Oh, and in July I got an early Christmas present. I found out that our lease expired in AUGUST, not September, like I originally thought. Weeeee! Oh Happy Day! I immediately began packing, got a storage unit, and enlisted my girls to help me pack. I also begged some loving family members to help me with the actual moving.
And the husband… he was a prince. Of frogs. He wanted everything. He “needed” it. Blah, blah, blah. A friend of mine told me that typically in a divorce, one person gets the stuff and the other one is happy. Guess which one I am?? I gave it all up. I didn’t care. I was so tired and ready to move on, and sick of arguing about every little thing that I walked away from some very nice things. Oh well. Come to find out the jerkwad sold it all. Butthead. I really miss my TV. But, my little 13″ color TV with the built-in VCR my parents gave me on my 18th birthday has been getting me by.
September rolled around and I was getting really edgy about the divorce. I really couldn’t afford a lawyer, and I just didn’t know what the hell I was doing. All of the things you can Google wanted you to buy this fool-proof kit bullshit. I don’t really go in for things like that (though I am strangely compelled to buy things as seen on tv), so I was skeptical to say the least. I asked for advice from a friend who is a lawyer, but it didn’t really lead me where I needed to go. And then, one day, I had an epiphany. You file for divorce with the District Clerk’s Office. I used to WORK for the District Clerk’s Office. I had 500 friends working in the District Clerk’s Office. I just bet one of them could help me! So, I called one of my favorite people and she says to me, “Oh, honey! That’s easy!!! This is what you do…”
One week later, I had officially filed for divorce. My husband was kind enough to eventually realize that we didn’t have anything to fight over, so he signed the waiver to contest. All we had to do was wait 61 days.
And then he remembered the camera. For Christmas 2008, he went out and bought a bunch of expensive stuff that I told him not to buy as a “present” for me… including a Blu-Ray player (long since hidden by him), a ridiculously large, pink Coach purse, and a really nice HD camcorder. Since he knew he couldn’t get anything for the purse, I guess he decided that was the “gift”, and promptly started demanding that I return the camera to him. Suck it, asshole! You got EVERYTHING!! This was my inital thought. After 2 weeks of constant harassment, threats, and basic stalking, I decided that the old stubborn me was never getting anywhere, so I gave the camera up. Yes, it was a nice camera. No, I don’t for one second believe he was going to “sell it to pay off the debt” like he claimed. But, it was one less thing for him to hold over my head. One less reason for him to ever contact me again (not that it has stopped him). So, I gave it up. I wish I would have had it to record my niece’s awesome reaction to the tricycle I bought her for Christmas, but whatever. The picture of her riding it in a princess costume will live with me forever.
By mid-November, I was so ready for everything to be over. I was counting down the days on my calendar. As I got close, I called the clerk’s office again to make sure I could go in on the day I wanted to… good thing I checked. They did not hold the uncontested docket on that day. So, I went the next day instead. I was very nervous… especially since I seemed to be the only schmuck there without an attorney. But, I just followed behind one of the attorneys and eventually landed myself on the 9 am docket. After being called in front of the judge, sworn in, and reading my testimony (pre-printed, courtesy of the courts, thank you very much), I was waltzing out the door mentally singing Freebird. A celebratory jewelry party with friends later, and I was waltzing through the door of the Chateau a single lady. I thank all of my friends, family, blog readers, and random other people for all of their support and encouragement.
The rest of the year flew by in a blur. Thanksgiving came, and with it a visit from my brother. I was thrilled to see him, since he lives in New York and doesn’t get down that often. I had my first date in over eleven years, and it was… well… a disaster. I mean the date itself was fine, but the guy ended up being a tool after the fact. In fact, a week later he called and begged me to “take him back.” Umm… dude… it was one date. Weirdo. I had another first date… and then a second… and a third (that’s three dates with the same guy), and so far so good. He is a nice guy, and it is fun to hang out with someone and just be yourself. No pretenses… no self-consciousness. Good times.
And then it happened.
And I laughed so hard I almost wet myself.
And I believe I wrote a Facebook status that went like this: “Dear Baby Jesus in the Hay… THANK YOU for the gift of laughter… and for the fact that the last person to view my online dating profile happens to be my ex-husband.” That’s right, folks. On a site that doesn’t ask or list you name or even your email address… the last person to view me was him. And of course, he started to send me the most horrible, vile, and mean texts you have ever read. And trust me, one day you WILL read them. As will the courts, if he doesn’t leave me alone. So, I blocked him. Good times… Good times.
So, another year has come and gone, and with it I am happier, healthier, and a lot wiser. I have high expectations for 2010, and I am thrilled that I get to continue my journey with great friends, a terrific family, and myself. Because that is truly what I have gained this year. I have the self I always wanted to be. I will always have goals and will always move forward, but life after divorce is about to get a whole lot more interesting!
Happy New Year to you all! Please continue reading, and leaving me those comments.
(PS – Sorry for the 3,600+ word post. It was a hell of a year! If you stuck with it to the end… kudos to you! And to me! LOL)