Sunday, June 26, 2016

When there are grey skies

We scattered my uncle's ashes in the Atlantic yesterday, five years after his wife's were scattered there. My sister, two cousins, one cousin's girlfriend, her mother, and my sister's step mother all piled into two rowboats and each said something about him and scattered his ash in the water. 

I chose to sing the sweet sentimental song "Sonny Boy" that I sing to the boys, which got the tears flowing. I felt like the two sons - my cousins - were in that moment in need of a little push to emotion. We were all kind of doing that Brit thing of covering our emotions with humor. It's hard but I'm trying to be more open and less buttoned down these days. It's not easy when you've had a lifetime of stuffing your feelings.

When there are grey skies
I don't mind the grey skies
You make them blue
Sonny boy...

So, my uncle is gone. He chose to end his life at 80 because he just didn't want to get old and disabled. I understand it and I don't. No matter what, we have to accept it. It's easy for me to say I would never do such a thing, but I don't know what it's like to be old.

There was a lot of advice given about my relationship. Everyone says two things at once - that you need to be compatible and in synch, but that also relationships require compromise and sometimes you can't stand the person.

Ain't no happiness nowhere.

Still back and forth with the BF. He confirmed for me last night that we are indeed on a break and it's indeterminate - "for perspective". Which, again, I don't think is a bad thing, I could use a little distance right now. But I don't entirely understand our problem. I mean, if he is in fact quitting smoking and getting his financial life in order, then what's the deal? We don't seem to be communicating. It could be a counselor is in order just so that if we do break up it's for good reasons, not just over a misunderstanding. 

In the meantime, I'm enjoying being at the event where I first was recovering from a chemical pregnancy, then the next year brought my new baby, and now four years later am here with my four- and two-year-olds at home. There is a lot of history here and I am letting that sink in. 

I hope some day the cousins, sister and I can find a way to spend more time together. We all felt it when we were together yesterday for the first time in ages - it's just us, now. With the boys more able to travel in upcoming years it might just start to be possible.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Thank you all for your kind comments about our break up. 

To be honest, the words "break up" were never actually used; I spent the day after with no contact wondering what was actually happening - is he still going to hang with the kids this weekend when I'm out of town? Are we still going to Hawaii? Are we on a break? Are we done? Are we friends? What???

Yesterday's silence was entirely trumped by today's barrage of texts - some good, some not so good. He feels I don't trust that he's actually going to do the things he said he would - and he's right; I mean, show me a sign and then maybe I'll believe, huh? I didn't say these things. But he did come across as pretty defensive and accusatory a bit, as if I've done something wrong. Says he really wishes I'd said something about all these things I don't like about him, earlier. I did debate about this for ages as you know. Up until now I just didn't feel like I had the right. Well. So we spent the day going back and forth about if we should break up entirely or just take a break for perspective. Still not sure where we're at.

I'll be brutally honest with you people. I believe we should break up and never see each other again. For all his lovely qualities, he is exhausting and probably not that great for me for all the stress and anxiety he causes. But I just don't have the balls to make a clean break, not at this moment. I am way too emotional and I just can't face it. It's just too sad. He is a good man. Nobody is ever going to be perfect. I know I can always count on him to be fiercely loyal, to protect and care for us, to put us first. It was nice to know I was a priority in someone's life. It's hard to let that go. 

It's complicated.

Thank GOD I get to escape to Boston this weekend to be with my dance peeps, meet a fellow blogger, and see my extended family who I haven't seen since Bobby was a baby. I think connecting with my blood relatives who know everything about me and really understand me is going to be tremendously healing. 

In the meantime, thank God for awesome single girlfriends! I got a friend to come to Hawaii with me. She is stoked as she says she was just thinking she really needs a vacation. A half hour on the phone with United and I got his ticket refunded and rebooked in her name (with a $200 fee which he offered to pay) and we're off. So excited. I'm bummed I won't get to have hot sex all weekend, but something tells me she and I will have a much better trip than he and I would have had.

In other news, other than a few finishing touches, my awesome blue half bathroom is done. For the first time ever in my life I can use the term "the other bathroom". Yippee!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I think we're broken up. Although the BF had been cigarette-free and on the patch for a week and a half, Monday night he came over and I couldn't help but notice that the previously lost vaporizer was now found...and he was sucking on it all night, while simultaneously proclaiming to now be a non-smoker. I found this disturbing, but, as usual, tried to sweep it under the rug. As you do.

Then last night he texted me thanking me for helping him quit smoking. I was touched by this. But then he told me he's decided he's going to use the vape instead. Ummm...what? That's not quitting smoking. Maybe it's not as life threatening, but it's just another crutch. I texted that I thought the whole point was to be free of addiction and dependency, to not be constantly stopping to use some device to cover up anxiety. He tried to defend it to me, but I wasn't having it. He is never going to be free of addiction. He's a self-medicating addict.

Once again someone I love has chosen to self-medicate at the expense of a relationship with me. We really do date our parents, don't we?

I didn't know what to say so I texted a sad face. He said he's sorry he hurt me and he'll sleep on my couch and pick up his stuff in the morning. And so he did. I pretended to sleep as he got his stuff out of my closet and cleaned out his drawers, my heart pounding and nausea churning my stomach as I stared out the window with him inches away gathering his things. Then he left.

What have I learned from this experience?

Well, for one, never date a smoker. Just don't do it. Your whole life will be sabotaged by their stupid destructive habit. And make no mistake about it - they love the cigarettes more than you.

Be wary of people with dark pasts. Nine times out of ten they have not actually dealt with their issues even if they claim they have.

If someone makes way less money than you and has pretty much fucked up their whole life and lives in disorganized chaos when you are a very successful Type A person, you are not a match.

If someone has an obsessive, compulsive nature, watch out.

So that leaves single men available for me to date in the LA area at about zero. Good times.

Even worse, I either have to find someone to go to Hawaii with me in three weeks or not go at all (going alone does not appeal to me) for what was supposed to be our one year anniversary. 

Good times all around. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Renovations, part II

Renovations are moving along. We should be finished up by early next week. I must say it's such a relief to finally have the money and wherewithal to do these projects that were all put on hold while I was pregnant, breastfeeding and/or broke. I'm getting to clean and organize rooms that have been ignored for a decade or more. It feels good. 

I have zero experience with living in a place for fifteen years. Growing up we moved practically every year, and always rented. The concept of having to sift through and dispose of decades of accumulated crap is entirely alien to me. Also, the idea of renovating a space multiple times is new. 

This was the latest incarnation of my office. The wall color is an excellent example of my utter lack of taste when it comes to paint colors.

This is the laundry/service porch that will soon be a crazy blue powder room:

In other news, have not seen the BF since Sunday morning, but have been in constant contact. The break has been good for me. He says he has not smoked a single cigarette since Saturday. He also says he called the IRS to make a start on his back taxes. 

Do I think this is it, he's a reformed man, let's full steam to the altar? No, no. But at least for today it's promising news.

I visited with a couple of original jitterbugs who are now in their mid-nineties on Monday. They know the story of me and my children, and in discussing their own marriages, one of them turned to me and said, "see? You had the ideal husband - in a tube!" 

Ha ha, she could be right!

Monday, June 13, 2016


Renovations have begun. There is a plastic sheet over my kitchen doorway leading to the service porch which gently pulses with some phantom breath. The siding in the front porch has been torn off revealing the termite-addled underbelly, and two-by-fours mark the skeleton of my new bathroom.

Naturally, we have run into a snag. Saturday I noticed the hot water coming out of any faucet was just a thin trickle; Sunday morning confirmed it when I couldn't use the shower and had to take a quick sponge bath in the tub. Flash back to the days in my old apartment in the East Village that had more days without hot water than with, and large pots of water heating up on the stove. Ah, I remember it well. 

I still have no hot water. They say my galvanized pipes are the culprit and they need to be swapped out for copper which will of course cost a fortune and delay everything. Of course. And no hot water (or water at all) today. I would be more upset about this, but right now I have more pressing issues to worry about.

Apparently it's Do or Die time with the BF, just shy of one year. After spending a day with him, watching, exasperated, as he smoked all day while wearing a nicotine patch, even leaving a movie I took him to because he was "too antsy" (read: needed to go out and smoke), I was fed up. That night in bed I decided to let him have it, finally. 

He asked if his not quitting would be a deal breaker and I said yes. I said I hated how we were all inconvenienced by his stupid addiction, how much it intruded on our lives, how unfair it was. That the rest of us don't get to take a break from life every hour. That he is an addict and I am dating an addict, and exposing my children to an addict, something I swore I would never do, and that this is all my old codependent bullshit, and I hate myself for it.

He calmly asked if there was anything else holding me back and I said yes, his financial irresponsibility. That he is in no position to be a part of this family when he can't even get his own shit together or take care of basic things like his teeth or see a doctor or make sure his car runs. 

He asked if he got these things taken care of and quit smoking would I feel better about being with him? I said yes, of course.

Then he finally said the words. "Then we need to have a serious conversation about me moving in here."

My answer wasn't great but was a direct response to the sickening dread I felt when he said those words. "Well, I'd have to have a lot of therapy before anything like that started happening."

He said it was late and he had to get to sleep. 

We lay in silence for a few minutes while I stared at the smoke detector light on the ceiling. 

Then he rolled back over and kissed me and said he loved me, to which I grunted a response.

The next morning we were too caught up in the tragedy in Orlando and the realization that there was no hot water to deal with anything else.

We texted throughout the day. He says he's going to try not smoking at all for a week. Why he didn't do this when he first got the patch two weeks ago annoys me to no end. He says he's going to get everything else sorted out, too - the labyrinthine back taxes, the health insurance, the unpaid bills. He says if he doesn't then he'll end it himself, not wanting to make an enabler out of me. I asked how confident he feels that he can actually get all of these things accomplished. He said, "very". But I am not confident at all. I give it maybe 20%.

He keeps asking if we should break up for a few months until he meets all of these goals, and, if he does, can he then move in. I don't have an answer for any of this, really. Although I have determined that I don't want him living here without a bigger commitment, i.e., marriage. But that I am a long way from even considering marrying him. He has a lot of shit to prove to me first, and I need to feel ready. And I'm soooo not. 

Hanging in the balance now is Bobby's Father's Day thing at school on Friday, our trip to Hawaii in a month, and countless tickets to things over the next few months. It all sucks. But right now I don't really want to see him. I need some time alone with my thoughts. It worries me how similar he is to my mother with his self-medicating and empty promises and financial instability. 

Have I, yet again, chosen to date my mother?

And if so, there is no way that will ever be a positive or worthwhile thing in my life. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Back from Rochester

I survived another band trip! As expected, the overnight flight getting there and the 6 AM departure to return were indeed brutal - thankfully I was able to keep the babysitter all day yesterday while I slept and lazed around in an attempt to recover. I binged watched season 3 of Silicon Valley and then read the kids some books and put them to bed. I swear they - especially Theo - seem changed every time I come back from a trip. Theo seems to be taller and thinner and more articulate; Bobby seems older and more mature. It explains why parenting seems to move in slow motion when you're with the kids all the time, and then leaps ahead when you don't see them for a couple of days.

My big project this week is clearing out my much neglected office for conversion into a laundry room. I couldn't help but think of a line I once heard on Hoarders as I wiped the dust and cobwebs off my dance trophies and photos of the old time dancers - "these are things that should have a place of honor in your home; you are not treating these objects with respect". Since the kids I've used that room as a junk collector. I'm glad I have the opportunity now to sift through everything, organize it all, and treat these objects with respect again. 

Renovations begin Friday. The office, which has long been a non-insulated, cobweb-ridden enclosed porch, will be insulated, hardwood floored, dry walled, and painted; then the washer/dryer will be put in there and I'll set up a small desk for my printer and some office supplies. Then the back service porch where the washer/dryer was will be made into a small bathroom. I am prepared for my house to be torn apart and cluttered for the next month. But when it's all done everything will be neat and clean and organized...and I'll have a much-needed second toilet around here.

Here are some shots of the kids this weekend having a blast with the babysitter and my BF:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Meditations on a year since online dating

I believe it was a year ago today I tentatively dipped my foot back into the online dating pool after a disastrous romantic overture to a male friend was rebuffed (that episode still mortifies me on a daily basis). Right about now I was fielding that avalanche of early respondents - none of which panned out, of course. I would deal with a text rapist, a Cross Fit addict with anger issues, a million unreturned messages and a dozen or so pointless first dates, to finally land on The Boyfriend, or as I used to call him, Blown Out 80s Rockabilly Tatoo. In just a month we celebrate a year together. Which I do believe is a record for me. 

What can I tell other single mothers thinking of getting into online dating? It's kind of the only way to meet people these days, and yet it's a cesspool of rejection, dick pics, and flakes. I did online dating through most of my 30s with zero results, which lead me to becoming an SMC before time ran out. Yet at least 50% of the people I know in relationships met on online dating sites, which means it does work for some people. How can it be so horrid and ineffective and so profoundly positively change your life at the same time? Is it, like everything else in life, just about chance and timing?

Is it like the Lotto - you've got to be in it to win it? What constitutes "winning"? Getting married? Being exclusive? Just finding someone who likes you as much as you like least some of the time? Who knows?

After nearly a year with this person, I can say it's similar to being a parent - there are times when you love the experience, and times when you don't. Only with children you don't have the luxury of breaking up, nor can you expect anything in return. With children there's the burden of the fact that they have unformed brains that can only understand so much; with another adult there's the burden of their lifetime of bad habits and hang ups. And the constant nagging fear that, just as you have the option to opt out at any time without giving a reason, so do they.

I know several people whose spouses suddenly and inexplicably took off after more than a decade of (seemingly) happy marriage. And even the best relationships end with one person dying and the other being left heartbroken. 

Ain't no happiness nowhere.

With all this said, though, as I've mentioned, the BF and I are in a very good place right now, in part due to the fact that the nicotine patch is actually working to help him quit smoking, and in part due to the fact that we've been together so long now that I am starting at last to get "used" to him. I'm not an easy nut to crack, it's true.

Tonight I leave for what could be a bit of a torturous trip to Rochester - overnight flight, play that night, play again the next night and probably stay up all night to get a 6 AM flight back to LA. I have asked the babysitter to keep the kids out that day so I can just come home and sleep. I got away with my short trip to Korea with zero ill effects, but I'm not sure if I'll be so lucky this time.

Then as soon as I get home my house is torn up the entire month of June for more renovations. Hawaii in July can't come soon enough!