Tuesday, December 11, 2012

In It Alone

When you get married and decide to have a child, you do so believing that you're in it together.  You do it because you know any child you have would be blessed to have you as parents. 

Then you give birth to a beautiful, green-eyed, redhaired little angel and you look into her eyes and whisper promises to always love her and care for her and put her first.  You promise to provide and protect and you threaten to kill anyone or anything that ever hurts her.

You never think the person to break her heart is going to be her own father.  You don't believe for one second that her own father would say things like "she's not my priority" or "that's the limit of what I'll give and no more". 

You hear those words and your heart breaks.  There's an audible tearing sound while I speak to him on the phone and he says he won't help. Doesn't matter on what because he's a bare minimum dad but for today it was "I'll pitch in $2k for her a car and that's it.  No gas money, no oil changes, no car repairs.  She can work and get a job and figure it out on her own.  Gotta grow up sometime."


"So if she breaks down on the side of the road, I have to be able to deal with it myself, you won't help."

"Nope.  That's all on you."

Can you hear it?  That tearing sound is disappointment.  It rips through my heart slow and deep.  It starts at the top and rips my heart in two.  I'm so disappointed.  So shocked that he can say something like that about helping his own daughter.  I'm disappointed in myself that I picked a man who I thought would love his little girl unconditionally and without question; a man that would do anything for her and he turned out to be nearly the exact opposite.

My stepson is a better father to his 17 year old stepdaughter than my ex-husband is to his own daughter.

It's been over 13 years since our divorce.  That man has never once made me feel proud of his behavior.  He's never given me a reason to shout from the rooftops what a wonderful father he is.  He's put her down, yelled at her, hurt her, put his new wife ahead of her and has actually told her  she's not his priority, his new wife is. 

As we venture down this new path which should be an exciting time for Auburn Aries as she completes her driver's ed classes and heads toward getting her license, I find myself in the same place I have for the last 13 years.  Alone.  A single parent who carries the load of the world on her shoulders.  No soft place to fall.  No one there to catch me.  Fuck.  I'm tired.

I've no choice but to stand strong, even when I don't want to; even when I feel I can't - not for one more second - and do what I have to do.  As much as he likes to blame me for everything and as much as it hurts that he does, it'll be me who has the satisfaction of knowing Auburn Aries turned out the way she did because of the love and sacrifices I made.  That may be naive but I have to have faith.  She's a funny, beautiful, talented, compassionate young woman and when it's her time to fly, she'll soar, despite her father's bullshit.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Praying for Vomit, a Power Outage...ANYTHING!

People at work suck today.  I started the day out feeling great and now I'm so bitchy I can hardly stand it.

That guy on that other team continues to act like he manages my team.  Why isn't my Manager fed up and outraged?  Does he have to deal with everything with kid gloves?  Can't he just draw a line in the sand and tell Mr. Pushy Pants to kill the motor and get lost?!  I would be happy to do it for him.  Goddess, please give me the opportunity to tell Mr. Pushy Pants that he's not the boss of me and to pucker up and kiss my rosy ass and to once and for all put him in his place.  Sometimes being nice doesn't get through to some people.  It's been eight months of continually telling him to step back and still he tries to boss me.  Street Aub would love to handle it, but I have to escalate to my boss and follow procedure.  GRRR.  Same old story, same old song and dance.

And to the nitwit who has to crawl up my ass with a flashlight every fucking morning...please stop asking me the same shit every gawddamn day.  When I say I've got it covered, that means you can remove it from your to-do list.  I'VE GOT IT.  You work for me, not vice versa and you're not my freaking secretary.  I don't need reminders.  My plate is pretty full because I've stop handing work off to you, in case you hadn't noticed.  I swear it's like holding the hand of a 20-something who doesn't yet understand the importance of a job well done.

And do we really need to engage the entire team about how a client isn't opening tickets into the queue correctly?  Can we not think for ourselves?  How about you think to yourself 'hmm, this client isn't doing this right.  How can I best communicate to them the correct procedure?'

No, instead you have to tie up a staff meeting to complain that it's not right and engage our Manager and discuss it for 10 freaking minutes.  That's why I interjected.  Being helpful was a bi-product.  It was to cut to the chase and say here's how you handle it and can we move on?!  For shit's sake.  Bringing shit like that up doesn't make you look smart because you found a problem  Look smart when you share with the team how you discovered a lapse in procedure and how you fixed it.  Would you like one of us there to cheer you on for wiping your own ass, too?  Fuck.

Overall I love my team and my Manager and I enjoy what I do.  This is just one of those mornings when I can see through the veil that usually covers stupidity making it easy for me to not play well with others so it's best I stay right here in my home office and off the radar.  Head down, fingers flying.  The less I say, the better. 

Monday, December 03, 2012

The Things I've Learned

It's interesting to be 49 and be able to look back on the chapters of my life. To look back at each decade, each transition and what I've learned to this point. I would certainly trade the body I had at 25 or 35 for the one I have now. The laugh lines are more defined and the gray is now colored. And let's not talk about how my breasts are having a debate with gravity and gravity is winning. They still point at the sun but there's just more curve on the lower half than there used to be.
Here are some of the things I've learned:

Listen to your intuition. If something seems to good to be true, it probably is. I know this sounds cliche and I'm not saying a person shouldn't take risks. But if you're gut is telling you something just doesn't add up, then it probably doesn't. As important as it is to take risks, it's also equally important know when to say no and walk away.

If you break up with someone and it still feels unfinished and you decide to give it one more try, then limit it to one more try. The several break-up relationship will never make it no matter how badly you want it to.

Trust is the most important thing you can give a person. Trust includes the ability to maintain confidentiality. Knowing a secret does not give you power.

Be in shape before you hit 40, no matter what.  You should be in shape and stay in shape in the first place but I was part of a discrimination lawsuit with a company where people I had worked with for years said things that were flat out lies just to protect their jobs.  People I thought were my friends.  The sense of betrayal was great and I spiraled into a depression so vast I thought I'd never recover.  As a result I put on weight.  I didn't realize I had put it on until the fog lifted and I haven't been aggressive getting back in shape.  The older I've gotten, the harder it's been to lose it.  Your body truly is your temple, take care of it.

There are mistakes you cannot make when you have children.  Considering your children first is the most important thing you can do.  There are times the sacrifice you have to make feels too great (especially when it's something or someone you really want and cannot imagine living without) but you have to suck it up and do what's right.  In a few years they'll be grown and you can then do whatever and whoever you'd like.

You need to be able to laugh at yourself.  One time I was walking down a hallway at work with a coworker on my way to a departmental meeting and she and I were laughing and I needed to pee and took off running toward the ladies room.  I tripped on the carpet and fell.  When I did, I peed a little.  All I could do was laugh.  Laugh that I fell; laugh that I peed a little, and laugh harder because my coworker was laughing with me.  It's one of my best memories of that coworker.

Be true to your word.  Be honest.  Your word and your integrity are all you really have.  For me, being called a liar or having someone doubt me are pills I can't swallow. 

Always track your spending.  Whether it's in a checkbook register or online, know where your money goes and if you aren't good with it like me, don't hesitate to seek guidance from someone.  Being a single Mom has presented financial challenges out the wazoo and if you don't stay on top of it, it'll eat you alive.

It's true what they say, 'if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.'  I spent 17 years as  a Unix Engineer and although I was good at it, I was never great at it.  But being a single Mom, I couldn't walk away from the money.  I'm a Pisces.  I'm supposed to be a counselor or a healer of some sort, not working in the analytical world of IT.  I still work in IT but in project management now which I've found is a more creative way to do it that deals with people.

Wisdom comes with age.  The younger you are, the more everything seems to matter.  The older get, the easier it is to a.) spot bullshit and b.) decide to walk away.  Nothing is ever the end of the world and in most cases there's always a solution.  If you need to sleep on it to get perspective, then do it.  The key is keeping your emotions in check until you can figure out the solution.

Don't time having kids with menopause. Do some simple math and if you would approaching menopause and your kid will also be a teen, then have children earlier or have a life partner to share the load with.  Seriously.

The older you get, the more you enjoy being home.  My favorite things now are making a nice dinner and staying in.  I can make margaritas as good almost any bartender if I want them and I don't have to pay $9 each for them.  Some good food, the occasional glass of wine, the remote.  It's heaven.

I'm far from learning all my life lessons.  I'm tested every single day as I get Auburn Aries through high school and headed toward college.  I'm faced with things that challenge my patience almost daily.  They say the only thing you have in a crisis is how you behave through it.  I try to keep that in mind as I forge ahead through this stage of my life.  Some days getting from point A to point B is no big deal; other days, I can't take a breath deep enough to get me on the other side.

Either way I'll survive and hopefully still be able to share the rest of what I've learned.   I wish my parents had shared what they learned with me.  They didn't know to share it and I didn't know how to ask.  Of course that generation didn't sit and talk about it, they raised you and if you were lucky you got "Miyagi'd" along the way.  You learned by watching and imitating until it became second nature. I can only hope I'm setting the same example for my kid.  3,000 more eye rolls and she'll about have it!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Rejected

This is the stack of books by my bed that I've read this year.  

Well, those plus the 25 JD Robb books in my bookcase (see the third shelf).

I read a book a week.  I have favorite authors like Harlan Coben, James Patterson, JD Robb, Lee Child, etc. Then there are authors I'm less familiar with but start out hopeful.  I've learned if by the second chapter I'm not hooked, I don't bother reading it.  

Today I picked up a book and seven paragraphs in I encounter this:

Possibly the worst paragraph I've ever read.  Fragmented sentences, no creating imagery with the written word, no details, just bang, bang, well, bang.  Really?  "She lowered a breast to my mouth."  Does he participate in foreplay?  Is the recipient happy, enthralled, apprehensive?  Where did she touch him?  His face?  Did she feel the stubble from his beard?  Or did she touch his penis because apparently in this book it's touch, drop the robe, straddle, breast, orgasm.  Was there penetration or are her boobs just that sensitive?

I find I'm at the crossroads earlier than usual.  It's usually chapters two, three or four when I decide to throw in the towel if it's unworthy.  To date, there have only been three books I've bailed on.  One was so bleeding boring I just couldn't do it.  I got half way and it was more than it deserved (no more Faye Kellerman for me).  The other was a John Sanford book where he introduced too many characters in the first two chapters and by chapters three and four I couldn't keep it straight.  Buh-bye.

But is this one paragraph above worthy of throwing in the towel?  Is it a glimpse of what I will encounter with this particular author?  Is he going to breeze over parts where the characters connect emotionally?  

I'll give it my usual two or three chapters and if he doesn't shape up them I'm going to have to throw him back in the box headed for donation.  Only the good ones make the stack.  The rest get the cold, harsh reality of the garage and the Goodwill.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Maybe it's time again...

I've been decidedly single for years.  Tried relationships but it's so hard to bring someone into an instant family.  I'm black or white where Auburn Aries is concerned; there's no "give" when it comes to her.  She's mine and she has two parents, she doesn't need anymore. Everyone thinks they need to either a.)  discipline her themselves or b.)  tell me what I'm doing wrong.  Plus I don't want her to have to make sacrifices for the new flame and that's where it gets made. Our routines gets changed, my time is divided and she sees me excited about someone and it's not her.  I'm okay with my decision but I just had the strongest desire to love someone again. 

There was an ache inside to be close to someone, to hold hands with someone.  To be intimate with someone. 

I've been having dreams lately about being in relationships.  Last night's dream was about Charlie Sheen (the uncrazy one) but it was good and we had fun and he looked out for me.  It's such a hard job holding it all together all the time it'd be nice to have a soft, safe place to fall. 

Lord knows, though, that doesn't mean I'm ready to have someone up in my grill all the time and sleeping over every night and good gawd, me never having any time apart (maybe I'm not as ready as I think) but it'd be nice to have someone who loves me for me and appreciates it.  Someone who makes me laugh; someone who moves me.

Then the question from where that love will come.  Male?  Female?  Will they understand it could come from either?  Will they understand I don't need both so long as the love is nourishing?  Will someone take the time to get to know me?  Really know me.  Will they see all of the wonderful things I have to offer?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Maiden, Mother and Crone...my ass

Menopause.  Yep, if you’re female and my age you just quickly gasped and held it at just seeing that damn word.  If you’re male, just run along; this doesn’t concern you.  Go on.  Don’t doddle.

While on my lunch break, McK and I were watching TV and Poise has out a new line of menopause products.  Having never seen the ad before I paused the TV.   Puzzled, I look at McK and ask ‘Wait, roll on cooling gel, what am I supposed to do sit in CC’s with my friends and roll that shit on my face when I feel hot?!  Panty fresheners. What the hell is that and why will my panties need freshening?!’  McKenna flips open her laptop and pulls up the info.  “Panty fresheners, discreet feminine… oh my gosh it’s a scented sticker you stick on the outside of your panties.”  Shocked, I shriek “why am I going to need scented stickers on my panties?!?!”  

Laughing, she also pulls up a list of the 34 side effects of menopause.  Let me point out that July is the first month that “Ruby” ditched my ass.  So here I am in what I’m convinced is the beginning of the menopausal spiral and although menopause was just a word other women used, I’m finally faced with it wondering if this is really it and feeling a little fearful of what lies ahead.   I mean, seriously…how is it fair that when men age and have a midlife crisis they get to buy a Harley car and date a 25 year old and when I get to midlife I have to put scented stickers in my underwear?  Where’s the justice in that?

Anyway, as McKenna reads the list I’m literally sitting, well, in my mom’s glider rocker apparently practicing for my twilight years as well, and I start to cry.  34 side effects.  Thirtyfuckingfour.  3. 4.  34.  Dare I elaborate on why the tears?

Common Symptoms
1. Hot Flashes
2. Night Sweats
3. Irregular Periods
4. Loss of Libido  -  WHAT?!  Just kill me now.
5. Vaginal Dryness – But I’ll miss my responsive hoohaw.  This can’t be!
6. Mood Swings – Puhlease, I timed having a baby so badly, I’m giving driving lessons to my 15 year old while menopause is knocking on my door.

7. Fatigue
8. Hair Loss – Okay I have really thick hair so I’ll view this as an upside.
9. Sleep Disorders – I love my sleep.  I already get up in the night to pee.  Do I really need to add a ‘disorder’ to my life?
10. Difficulty Concentrating – Good gawd, I already work with kids half my age who don’t even need to crack open a book or manual.
11. Memory Lapses – “What did I come to the store for again?”
12. Dizziness
13. Weight Gain – Bitch please…
14. Incontinence- Good gawd I hope not.  I am in a constant state of Kegel hoping to prevent it!
15. Bloating
16. Allergies
17. Brittle Nails – You mean it gets worse?!
18. Changes in Odor – WTF?!  I like my smell just fine thankyouverymuch.  There’ll be no stickers in my panties!!!
19. Irregular Heartbeat – My high cholesterol helps with that already I’m sure.
20. Depression – Not before reading this list!
21. Anxiety – Only at the word menopause.
22. Irritability – Just ask McKenna.  Zero to 60 in .05 seconds.
23. Panic Disorder

24. Breast Pain
25. Headaches
26. Joint Pain
27. Burning Tongue
28. Electric Shocks
29. Digestive Problems
30. Gum Problems
31. Muscle Tension
32. Itchy Skin
33. Tingling Extremities

34. Osteoporosis

All I could do was choke back tears and say aloud (hoping the Universe was listening) “I don’t want all that to happen to me.”

McKenna being the amazing kid that she is, gets up and gives me a hug and tells me it’ll be alright.  Then in a flash (not a hot flash, more like the Road Runner) she grabs her laptop again and says ‘let’s see what it says about how to make it better.’  Goddess I love that kid.  So, she continued reading.

“How to lessen the effects of menopause…[long pause]…exercise.”  WHAT?!  We both bust out laughing.  That’s it?  Exercise.  I can fix 34 things that could put me in prison if someone approaches me sideways and exercise is the answer!  That’s all they’ve got to give me?  If I exercised now I wouldn’t be overweight so let’s just pile on the fact that if my menopausal experience sucks it’ll be because I didn’t put forth enough effort.

I know in all my Pagan ways I should embrace the Crone part but seriously.  There should be a box that you check somewhere “No longer using uterus” – check.  And that’s it.  Ruby loses my address and I’m good to go.  My mom and older sister were both through it by their early 50’s – no hot flashes, no sleeping disorders, no stinky va-jay-jays (and yes we talked about it back in the day with plenty of humor and margaritas).

I guess my only option is to approach this like I approach everything else – like I just rolled down a flight a stairs and popped to my feet.  HERE I AM!!!  Laugh or cry.  I choose laugh (hopefully).  What is it they say?  The only thing you have through a crisis is how you behave through it.   Here’s hoping I have friends around to laugh with me through it.  (Oh, and to fan my face with a magazine if I need it).