Saturday, April 25, 2009

Feeling Artsy Fartsy - Recession Style

This week I had a burst of artiness.

While cleaning out the girl's closet, putting away winter clothes and making room for the nice new spring wardrobe we had bought at Kohls, J.C. Penny's, Macy's and Target, I noticed most of her jeans had holes in the knees. Earlier in the year, I had patched a few of them with cute little iron on patches but since then, she had a wee growth spurt and some of those jeans were now highwaters.

The jeans still fit in the waist, so I cut the lower leg part off , hemmed or cuffed them to make shorts. (In my day, we just cut them off and washed them several times for the oh so cool "cut-offs" but I guess today that would be considered trashy.)

After a quick jaunt to Wally's where I picked up cute appliques, cute buttons and little sparkly diamond-like iron-on jewels, I proceeded to go through all her clothes that were too short, had holes in the knees and shirts with small stains on them.

A pair of very long jeans were cuffed (a large cuff) using iron-on hem tape, making them capri-length jeans. She had worn holes in the knee, so I patched them with "princess" style (not the Disney princesses, just the word "princess") appliques, pink and yellow flower appliques, and added pink beaded fringe to the bottom of the cuff.

Those jeans look so cute, if I say so myself.

A black tee shirt was revived with a large skull bones applique finished off with a nice sparkly, diamond grill/braces on his teeth. It was paired with "new" blue jean shorts which now have smaller skull bone appliques on their pockets. This is the girls favorite "new" outfit - she wore it today. It will have to be a weekend outfit because her school will not allow "skulls" on clothing.

One turquoise tee shirt that had small grease spots on it (my kids . . . even though they are given napkins, somehow little greasy fingers are still wiped on their clothes) became a one-of-a kind crystal design with a colorful butter fly applique and butter fly buttons sewed on strategically hiding any of the small spots. I added the same butterfly applique to a pair of her white shorts to make a set.

I did this all day Thursday and most of Friday morning. I matched shirts with other shorts/newly made shorts from jeans and was able to make six "new" short/tee shirt sets, three capri-length jeans and an extra two fancy tee shirts out of her out-grown in length pants, holey or slightly stained clothing.

Wished I would have done this before going to Kohls, J.C. Penny's, Macy's and Target.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Redistributing the Eggs in the Carton

I know some of you have probably heard of the egg-carton analogy:

In my carton there are three eggs. Two huge ostrich eggs and a small little robbin egg.

Think of the egg carton as a teeter-tauter/see-saw, with the two ostrich eggs taking up most of the carton on the right hand side leaving a little room on the left, which is empty and slightly lifted up in the air. The little robbin egg has slipped out of it's slot and is nestled up against the ostrich eggs, safe from falling out of the carton.

Obviously, the weight of the carton is not balanced.

The 12 year old and the 5 year old represent the ostrich eggs.

Over the past nine months, I have put all my energy into my two beautiful, broken hearted children, ignoring most of my own needs. I have held, hugged, reassured, soothed and wiped many tears from 12 y/o and 5 y/o but have never shed a tear for myself. The few tears that were blinked out were for others.

I needed a cleansing "woe is me" cry, yet for some reason, I refused to allow myself to cry. It's too late now and best of all, I currently do not feel like crying.

Leaving that city on the day that vileman was arrested was the best decision I made besides not bailing him out of jail (I am so proud of the way I handled his call from jail and so thankful I didn't rush to his aid). Had I not fled and instead, stayed in our home; I would have boarded up the house to keep vileman away then retreated to the bedroom, where I would have pulled the covers over my head and stayed there. Not leaving would have prevented us from moving forward and healing.

When we moved in with my parents, they were not going to allow me to wallow in despair. My priorities were the children. Their needs and my counseling sessions with the Healer have kept me from going coo-coo. Unfortunately, I completely threw all my time and energy into their activities, losing myself along the way.

Those two big ostrich eggs saved the little robbin egg from falling out of the egg carton but it's time to redistribute for balance.

The first egg to be placed on the left side will represent diet and exercise. I'm ready to focus on this part of my life and feel I'm going to be successful. No empty promises to myself this time. I already feel lighter thanks to a divorce and getting rid of the house and though I still maintain the original 15 pound weight loss since June 25th, it isn't significant enough to be noticeable in my clothes, face, butt and stomach. I have a plan that I started implementing last week and will talk about in a future post.

Second egg in my carton will be the need to focus on my mental health. I was seeing the Healer once a week up until my divorce in January. I quit going because I no longer had good insurance after the divorce that would allow me to go with just payment of my co-pay. To pay out of pocket would have been unaffordable. Also, the 5 year old "graduated" from counseling in December so I just assumed I had "graduated" too.

I heard from the Healer in February and she asked if I would be willing to come back and see her. She offered to see me on a pro-bono basis for four weeks. After those four weeks were up, she extended it for another four weeks . . . (how f*cked up am I?!).

Truth is, I love counseling and walk out of her office feeling lifted and empowered.

So for now, I plan to focus time on those two new eggs along with my children. With time, the carton will eventually fill up with more and more eggs representing other areas of my life; all equally distributed.

And as I redistribute my time, emotions and energy from fully focusing on my children, their ostrich size eggs will return to"normal" healthy sized eggs. This should help them progress on and no longer feel the responsibility of keeping mommy happy, fulfilled, and busy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

When the Fog Lifts . . . It's Amazing How Clear Everything Is

A couple of weeks ago, in a session with the Healer, I tentatively mentioned a dream I had the night before. Tentatively, because I was afraid of dream analysis and didn't want to hear something like "how long have you been harboring those latent ***insert something horrific or embarrassing*** tendencies?"

Anyway, the dream had me swimming in a huge pool, which happened to be in the middle of my house. I was so happy, swimming by myself. Then vileman came home from work and stood alongside the pool. The temperature in the pool got colder and any joy I felt quickly turned to anxiety. Worse of all, vileman jumped into the pool and tried to swim with me. I refused to turn my back on him, because I didn't trust him and was afraid he was going to try and drown me.

Okay, settle down and quit laughing.

I know what you are thinking and the Healer told me it wasn't a s*xual or m*sterbation dream. Instead it was a very illuminating summary of my life with vileman.


It has been very hard for me to want to post lately. Yet, I have so many thoughts that need to be put out here and then let go of. So here goes . . .

I had no tangible proof.

Gut instinct and a few hints of odd behavior told me something wasn't right.

My first suspicions occurred around late August 2004. We were in the process of moving to another city and were a few days away from closing on the house we had sold. There were men in and out of the house: repair men and inspectors.

I got the call from a woman who said someone from our phone number (a land line) had called her daughter's cell phone. I told her it couldn't have been anyone here because my son was only seven and didn't use the phone. Vileman was standing next to me and it is so clear now how sheepish he looked. The woman on the phone seemed very concerned about her daughter receiving a call from our number and I explained that we were moving and had many people in and out of the house, and that perhaps maybe one of them had used our phone and accidentally called her daughter's cell phone number. She wasn't buying that.

After she hung up and the vileman left the room, something told me to call her back and ask how old her daughter was. The lady refused to answer any of my questions and was uncooperative. She probably was just as scared as I was to know the truth.

I knew at that moment that I might be married to a vile person and would have to wait it out and be on guard until I had enough evidence to leave him.

Over the last six months, I have acknowledged and understand that the kids and I provided a family-man cover for him. We were, in Hollywood terms, his beard.


People like vileman are expert groomers.

At one of my son's ballgames, I watched from the bleachers as vileman went into the dugout and one by one touched each player on the shoulder, bent low to their ears and said something to them. It gave me the creeps. He wasn't their coach nor the assistant coach and really had no business being the in the dugout.

When we got home I told him I thought it was very inappropriate for him to do that. The verbal abuse was spewed at me "you are so paranoid!" "How could you think those awful thoughts about me!?!" "You are the sick one to think those things!" "You need to get a life because you are going crazy!" and so on and so on.

A couple of years later, I found out from the Healer that what I had witnessed was vileman practicing his grooming techniques.

*Grooming is the gradual process of invading a person's physical space, emotional space and intelligence. The groomer uses a selection process and desensitises the victim with more and more intrusive behavior. (*The Healer's definition - I was taking notes that day.)

My suspicions went into hyper-alert with my own children (they are fine by the way - my son swears he was never touched. I may never know the truth . . . did he or didn't he . . . but they both are in good mental and physical shape right now) and I hated to have kids play over because I had to be watchful. Remember, I had no proof that he was vile . . . but I couldn't let my guard down.

The first few weeks after I had a noticeable weight loss, vileman paid a little more attention to me, which made me, want to gain my weight back. The attention didn't last long and by December of 2006, he had lost all interest in me. Vileman never touched me again.

The last few months, he was spiraling out of control, he would call me with weird stories about why he wouldn't be home from work on time. I knew he was cheating on me and per the discovery from my lawyer, I was right. Vileman had begun to participate in dangerous and anonymous s*xual encounters. He admitted to having several hook-ups with couples but did not know their real names or remember where they lived.

My assumption is that he semi-told the truth to avoid perjuring himself, had our divorce went to trial. I know that there had to be a lot more "hook-ups" than he admitted. But I digress back to the true vileness.

I knew he was lying to me and I just couldn't stand sleeping next to him at night. I once had a nightmare of him rolling the area rug in the family room around my bludgeoned body.

I found myself sleeping in the family room on the couch or on the futon in the spare bedroom. (I took neither of these items with me during my move.)

Over the last few years, I doubt I ever got more than six hours of sleep and that would have been a good nights rest. My average was probably less than four hours.

Vileman had a bad habit of calling people that I knew (I usually found out later) and I would have to hold back on telling him about any new friends or people I had met. For example years ago when I worked, I found out that my boss was having a fling with another co-worker at work and mentioned it to vileman. He called both of them (I found out months and months later). And there is no telling how many of my friends he called over the years behind my back. It dawned on me recently that he did that to keep me from developing any outside friendships, which would make me depend on him more and make it harder for me to want to leave him . . . there's that fog lifting thing again.

I survived. My children survived.

You might read this and think why did you stay married to him? I had to. It assured me that the children were safe with me in the house. Had we divorced before he got caught, he would have gotten joint custody of the kids. I am at peace that I made the right decision to stay in that marriage and wait it out.

It is sad for my children that he may go to prison, but they don't need a man like him in their life. Nor does the public need another vile person on the streets.

I have more to write about vileman: his psychopath attributes and seeing him for (I hope) the last time. I promise they will not be novella length.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saying Goodbye to all the Old Hiding and Numbing Places

On Sunday night, I sat in my hotel room, located between two places where I ran up credit card debt of several thousand dollars over the time frame beginning around the fall of 2006 and abruptly ending mid June, 2008. Super Target is a hop, skip and a jump north and the mall is several hundred feet south of me.

Good bye old, destructive friends.

Actually, I said a semi-goodbye to "non-necessity" spending last June. For old times sake, I stopped at the Super Target before checking into my hotel room. I splurged on Method household cleaning products and picked up some Italian soda to bring back for the kids. (We don't have a Super Target at home.)

I was back in town (from the previous life) to close on my house Monday morning. Eight months after being on the market, it finally found a buyer. I am so relieved that I will not be saddled with a mortgage if and when the vileman goes to prison.

His portion of the equity will not fully pay off the $$$$ owed me for back child support and lawyer fees, but it is about a 40% start. My very good lawyer put a lien on the house payable to me since vileman's payments for legal reimbursement would not start until August 2009 . . . and I knew I would never see any money.

As I tried to watch Celebrity Apprentice (my guilty pleasure) I thought about all the ways I coped while living with vileman and how I have managed to say goodbye to both the destructive and non-destructive habits.

The mommie juice.
It was on its way to becoming a problem. I wrote one of you saying, that my tolerance was getting higher and higher of the cheap red wine and two glasses a night was not enough to give me that numb feeling. My solution to the problem was to get bigger red wine glasses. One glass probably held 16 ounces! When vileman walked through that door every day at 5:15 pm, I headed straight for the wine box. It was my unhealthy coping mechanism.

Once I was out of that environment, I noticed I didn't think about the mommie juice nor did I need the mommie juice any longer. In fact, it should have been renamed "vileman elixir".

The super-sized wine goblets went to one of the day-laborers who I hired to help me load my u-haul moving truck.

The Treadmill
When I was in a get fit mood, I would avoid vileman by walking on the treadmill after he got home from work. I made sure dinner was on the table for my family and instead of eating with them, I would disappear into the spare bedroom with my iPod and walk and walk and walk. Never walking anywhere, just walking in the same place. Stuck. I chose not to take the treadmill with me and vileman either kept it or gave it away. Either way, I don't care.

The Shopping
November of 2006 showed a weight-loss of 32 pounds. I had cut out salty foods, alcohol, snacking and sweets, adhering to the Dash diet. I was moving my body and not sitting in front of the television. As the numbers on the scale and blood pressure machine lowered, my credit card balance went up. The girl and I went went shopping twice a month. The stuff I bought wasn't hoarded and left in shopping bags. It was almost all used (except for most of my stuff) and everyone in the family benefited. A little too much.

Two weeks ago, I went through all my workout clothes, many still had tags on them (hey, at least they were out of the bags!). It was crazy going through all the yoga pants and tops! I was able to give my older sister some of the tanks but I still had way too many. Too many tee's that are too tight. Too many shorts. Too many workout bras. Too many.

A big portion went to Goodwill.

Monday morning, before heading to the title company, I walked through the empty house for the last time and said goodbye to that fancy faux prison and all my old hiding places.

The Pantry
Though I worked out at the Y several times a week and walked on the treadmill at night, I still managed to stand in the pantry and consume hundreds of calories during the day; it usually started around 1:30 with a little handful of this or that and lasted until 4:30 in the afternoon. I can visualize me eating a handful of something then closing the pantry door, returning quickly for another dose of numbing. A revolving door would have made it perfect.

The Master Bathroom.
That house had an awesome master bath! Huge bathtub where I spent many hours soaking in that tub at night, avoiding vileman. On the nights that I walked on the treadmill, I would retreat to my bedroom afterwards and close the door, turn on the TV and put a facial mask on for 20 minutes before showering. I could easily spend an additional hour in there, putting off any face time with vileman.

When I walked down the hallway to the back bedrooms to say goodbye to the small fourth bedroom that had housed my treadmill, a stench reminiscent of an overflowing port-o-potty on a hot August day permeated the air. Seems someone had taken a poop in the half bath several days earlier and failed to flush the commode.

It reeked.

It stunk.

It couldn't have been a more perfect ending in closing this chapter of my life.