Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's Complicated

Money means choices. And choices often means paralyzingly difficult decisions.

I am desperate to pull up my horrendously soiled hallway and bedroom carpet and replace it with hardwood (no hardwood underneath, unfortunately) and then paint and re-plaster my bedroom walls/ceiling in preparation for the boys to move in there so I can take the bedroom that butts up against the living room (Bobby's current room).

But...I don't feel Bobby and Theo can be safely left alone in a bedroom, not just yet. 

On the other hand, Theo is likely to be climbing out of his crib up in the attic any day now, if he is at all on Bobby's schedule for that sort of thing, which means his days in the attic are numbered. Bobby is also getting worse about being within hearing range of the living room (he was miserable when I hosted my last book club). And as mentioned I am desperate to pull up that awful carpet and get us all settled in our permanent sleeping situations - me in the middle, boys in the back where it's quieter. But. Are they safe to be left unsupervised...? I would set up the baby monitor so I can keep an eye on them, but I'm still unsure.

It's complicated. Right now I'm just taking bids. I may not be able to afford it anyway. And in case you're wondering, I kind of have to do hardwood. The idea of two young boys who often get nosebleeds, soak through their overnight diapers, and get horrible stomach bugs several times a year in a carpeted room fills me with terror. I'd much sooner wipe than scrub, thousands of dollars extra be damned.

In other news, everything is a-ok with me and The Boyfriend. After a short cooling-down period, we spent a lovely day alone at a beach in Malibu on Sunday, then took the kids to a restaurant for dinner. Bizarrely, sitting in the booth right next to us so that I couldn't avoid eye contact every time I looked at The Boyfriend across from me was none other than The Horrible Little Troll, the unfortunate guy I met my first time out back in June through POF who completely misrepresented himself. We didn't acknowledge each other. It made me extremely uncomfortable. Can you say awkward???

The Boyfriend and I have been fine ever since. That feeling of pressure and smothering I had before is entirely gone - maybe it does just get down to not spending quite so much time together, and establishing that this person is not, in fact, going to get all butt hurt if Iwant some time to myself. I do believe I experienced The Three Month Freak Out in which I was ready to throw in the towel. This is typically the point at which most of my previous relationships ended (well, let's be honest...it's usually at the six week mark). We survived, and are doing better than ever. So, yay us!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

"The" talk

You probably can't see it very well because my face is in shadow, but this is the face of a woman who is a boiling cauldron of rage and resentment. I hide it pretty well, don't I?

What the fuck happened, you ask? Well, as so often happens early (or late!) in relationships, it was a number of small things that just built and built until I exploded. My sister came to visit last week, and while we had a lovely visit and spent a lot of time with The Boyfriend, I found myself feeling extremely exhausted, drained, and stressed out. After he left us Sunday night I asked her honest opinion about him, and while overall she did like him, she did notice some quirks about him - how he relies on my opinion and help getting dressed, how he obsessively shows videos on his phone as a way to bond with people, how he seems just a tad immature. All I needed was someone to open the floodgates and weeks of frustration poured out; all the little things he's done and said that irritated me, how pressured I feel to be completely enmeshed with this person right now, how smothered I feel. I decided we needed to talk. But only after I'd gotten a good night's sleep because I'd had only a few hours for days and was a basket case.

He came over Tuesday night and I chickened out. I thought maybe all that rage was just stress-induced. 

But then yesterday we had an exceptionally irritating text exchange in which I felt he was picking a fight with me over a non-issue (can I tell you how much I frigging hate texting?) and I told him we needed to have a serious talk and I was not happy. He came over looking terrified and I just unleashed on him. I'd had my first mammogram that day, my arm hurt from the flu shot, I had convinced myself that he was jealous of me and trying to tear me down like all the others, and I had had it.

We sat on my rotting porch and I picked at it for hours while we hashed it out. To his eternal credit - he listened, he heard me, and took it all to heart. I told him I felt like I was walking on eggshells around him, that I had an upcoming photo shoot for the family only and I was terrified he'd be all butt hurt that I didn't want to include him in it. He told me absolutely it should just be for me and the kids and that he would even feel weird if I wanted him in it. He said I should never feel like I need to "ask his permission" to go out without him (I did feel this way). He said I feel smothered and the last thing he wants to be is a third obligation in my life, that he's here to ease my burden, not add to it. And that we should dial back and go back to just dating - getting to know each other without all the heaviness. 

I hate to admit it, but...he's right. But it did break both of our hearts a little. 

Who knew relationships could be this complex? Jeezis.

He was supposed to come see me dj tonight but he's not coming; I believe his coming over Saturday night is probably off, too. I wanted my space, right? Right???

We were in touch a lot today and it's all good - he takes responsibility for everything and wants us to do better. I do love this man and do want him in my life. There's no question all of our lives would be better with him in it once we work out our shit. We just need to try a new approach and cool our jets a little. 

This morning he left as the workmen were tearing apart my ancient porch, the sign of our big confrontation, and preparing to build a new one. A metaphor for us? God I hope so.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Weekend shenanigans

More "family time" this weekend. Yesterday we went to the Redondo Beach pier and took the kids on some cute toddler-friendly rides (I wish I could post the video from my phone; Theo's face was priceless) and then on a glass bottom boat ride, something I never would attempt on my own. Which again kind of bums me out on a variety of levels when I see how much easier life is with two sets of adult hands. Taking on two small children entirely on your own is ballsy as hell but it sure is exhausting, and sometimes, as we saw on my ill-fated trip to Hawaii last summer, entirely impossible.

We went to a Halloween themed birthday party of his friends' on Sat night. Guess who we were?

His ex-wife was there. She was a very warm, lovely woman who introduced herself as "wife number 2" and gave me a long hug. I think the biggest thing in this guy's favor is the fact that he is on really good terms with all of his exes (two wives and many girlfriends). To me that says a lot. They all comment positively on our Facebook pictures and say they're happy for him. I don't think all of my exes would do the same.

I am adulting hard this week. Chimney sweep, termite inspection, and contractor estimate to rebuild my rotting porch this week; skin cancer check and general doctor appointment set which will also include a long overdue Pap smear, a flu shot, and probably a referral for my first mammogram. Hello, middle age!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Trying out bribing

I'm on Day 2 of the Ice Cream Challenge. Being as Bobby still has zero interest in using the potty or wearing underpants, I am resorting to bribery via an ice cream sandwich after dinner. I gave B the choice of going all day in underpants with the promise of ice cream; at first he refused, but on the second day he went for it (and succeeded, I might add), and he went for it again today. Mind you, I am cheating a bit since I'm only attempting this on school days. But I figured this would be an easy way to work up to full time underwear wearing - with my sister in town next week none of us want the stress of a newly potty trained kid running around town; we have yet to attempt a public bathroom. So we'll do a couple of weeks of underpants-only days on school days and then later try no diapers any time (except night). Fingers crossed. 

Toddlerhood is hitting young Theo right on time at 18 months - he is mercurial and sensitive and lets out the most amazing screeches. If you hand him something he doesn't like he throws it on the ground and kicks it. I'm reminded of how this is how we would all behave if it were socially acceptable. 

Here are a couple of shots of us on a Malibu canyon hike yesterday:

Things still going great with The Boyfriend. I'm shocked at how well I'm handling the culture shock of adding a man into my life. At first it feels weird and uncomfortable to have someone at your house all the time, talking about parenting issues, talking about a future with you. But like a lot of things, all it takes is time and trust. He doesn't feel like a stranger trying to invade our comfortable life; after three months he's starting to feel more like someone I want to welcome into our life. 

I will be interested to hear my sister's take on him when she meets him next week.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Vintage weekend

I had an unusually vintage weekend. Friday night The Boyfriend and I went to the re-opening of Clifton's, a kitschy cafeteria in downtown LA, where some people from the LA vintage community were going dressed in their best duds. Honestly it was a bit of a bust - they had long run out of food by the time we got there and we were both starving, so we walked in, took some pictures, and walked out to find dinner elsewhere. 

Then the next day I went to a 1920s themed festival. The last time I went to this I was secretly pregnant with Theo and barely squeezed into a friend's 20s garden party dress. This year I bought a gorgeous 20s hat and dress off Etsy in advance only to discover they were both way too small. So I wore a 30s dress and 40s hat and did a fake finger wave in my hair. 

I so love going to vintage events where I don't have to sing, dance, or run a contest. Thankfully The Boyfriend is interested in this stuff, too, and is trying to amass a vintage wardrobe for himself. Which will make shopping for presents for him extremely easy.

I ran my monthly Smc meeting yesterday. We have such a great group. Nearly everyone is pregnant or has a baby now, but we still get the occasional "thinker". I feel so proud when at the end of the meetings the new people say how glad they are to have found such a great group of women and ask to exchange contact info. I know when I was first starting out I would have given my eye teeth to talk to anyone about this process, much less find a group to meet up with to share the highs and lows. I'm so glad to be able to provide this for people.

They asked about my dating life and I told them what's been happening, adding the (to me) very interesting slant that had I not had these children already, it's extremely unlikely I ever would have, since I'm now 43 and this guy had a vasectomy some years ago. So yes, we could have been together and it would have been great, but...I would have been so sad to never have had kids. Can I just say, once again, how glad I am I just jumped in and had children on my own? Best.Decision.Ever.