A Brave Farewell

I haven’t written regularly in ages. I haven’t had the urge. Even when I get an idea in my head for a post, a lack of motivation kills whatever ideas I may have concocted. BUT…I’m sitting here a bit buzzed after a long, stressful week at work and decided to catch up on some reading when I saw this week’s FTSF topic: One of my biggest fears I ever had to face…

The biggest fear I’ve ever faced, and overcome, is the fear of leaving the twins’ mother.

What started out as a somewhat normal relationship between myself and a woman four years my senior rapidly turned sour. I realized rather quickly that we were severely different people and that there was no chance we would ever be happy together.

Despite my realization, I put off saying anything to her for a multitude of reasons. She was a single mom struggling to pay her bills. She guilted me into moving in with her because she was having financial trouble. Yes, the decision to move in with her was ultimately mine, but manic breakdowns where she told me she’d have to beg her ex-husband to take her back multiplied the guilt factor ten-fold. So I moved in with her. We are different people, though. While she has socially liberal views, she lives somewhat conservatively and has a very conservative sense of humor. Or, she did at that time. I obviously have no idea what she’s like now. I was foul-mouthed, 20 years old, and not ready for (nor wanting) the type of responsibility she was thrusting upon me.

After about three months of shenanigans, I decided I couldn’t live like that any more.  And I told her so. She flipped the fuck out. She went bananas. She screamed. She cursed. She stormed out the door and told me over her shoulder that she was going to jump off the I-75 overpass and left me there with her sleeping children. Eventually, she came back, but I didn’t end up leaving because I was suddenly afraid.

What if she actually kills herself? Could I live with the guilt? What would happen to me? How would I deal with it? What would happen to her children? Their father moved across the country.

I ended up staying, but things got worse. She was paranoid about me leaving. She was controlling. She was manic. She was oppressive. I knew she needed help, but at the tender age of 20 I didn’t have a damned clue how to help her. I tried to stick it out, but I just couldn’t deal. I told her again I was going to leave…and then it happened.

She actually tried to commit suicide.

When I first told her she tried to storm out of the room. She was going to go jump of the I-75 overpass. I had to physically restrain her from leaving the room. I was not going to let her hurt herself. After a while she seemed to calm down and told me she needed to use the restroom. I moved myself down the hallway far enough so that she could reach the bathroom, but couldn’t make a run for the front door.

It never occurred to me just what we kept in the bathroom. You know, where the medicine cabinet is. For the life of me I just didn’t see it coming.

She came out moments later. She slowly crept towards our bed and laid down on the floor beside it. She calmly gazed towards me, and as a tear rolled down her cheek told me, “When you wake up tomorrow you won’t have to worry about me again.”

She had swallowed an entire bottle of Benadryl.

To say that I was shocked would be an understatement of elephantine proportions. I collapsed upon our bed and wept like a child who’d had his candy taken away. In my horror it never occurred to me to call 911. It never occurred to me to seek help. I was just…shocked. So I wept.

The morning came and we both awakened. Relief swept through me like a tornado through the corn fields of Oklahoma. She was alive, but she spent the majority of the next three days in our bed asleep. It still never occurred to me to call 911 the next morning. It never occurred to me to do anything. I knew she needed help, but the thought of telling her family the reason she was trying to kill herself was because I was trying to leave her prevented me. So I said nothing to no one.

I also decided from that moment forward that I would stay with her no matter what. I was not going to be the reason she committed suicide. I was never again going to do anything to push her towards that ledge. I was never going to do anything to jeopardize our “relationship.” When, months later, she dragged me to the jewelry department and said, “This is the wedding ring I want,” I didn’t object, despite the fact that I had never proposed (nor did I want to). When, a couple of months after that, she told me she wanted another child, I agreed without argument.

Eight months later she was pregnant. Nine months later I was the proud parent of a set of beautiful twins.

Years went by. She spent two years in college. Our boys took our full attention. When they got a bit older and required less of our attention, though, unhappiness began to creep back into my psyche. She was still controlling. She was possessive. Our personalities were still complete opposites. Most importantly, though, I didn’t love her. And never had.

For years I had wrestled with the idea of leaving her, but I never did. I was still frightened by that night. I was still afraid of what she’d do to herself. More, I was afraid of how my children would cope. Would they be okay? Would me leaving fuck them up? Would they hate me? Would things be alright? It was a perpetual struggle.

But I made a commitment. I told myself I would honor that commitment no matter how unhappy I was.

One night as I sat at the computer (doing whatever it was one did at a computer in 2006 – probably MySpace), she came down to say goodnight. The obviousness of my unhappiness was soaked on my face. She asked me what was wrong.

Before I could come up with some bullshit, which was what I always did, I blurted, “I don’t love you.” I have no idea what compelled my mouth to spew those words. In the past I was always able to come up with some lie to tell her about what was bothering me. Maybe my subconscious was tired of my bullshit.

She flew off the handle. I can’t even remember what she said, but none of it was pleasant and all of it was at a decibel high enough to shatter glass. As I sat there, dejected and berated, I decided I’d finally had enough. My limit had finally been reached. The meter was full at last. I wasn’t going to take this shit anymore. I wasn’t going to stay in this façade of a marriage. I wasn’t going give her happiness at the expense of my own. I was finished sacrificing my life.

It was the bravest thing I’ve ever done. I refused to be controlled any longer. Her emotional manipulations fell on deaf ears. Her angry outbursts solidified my resolve.

There was one moment of weakness, though. One night as I returned the twins to her, their tears shattered my resolve. I came back home, but things only got worse. A month later I left again and never looked back.

It’s been nearly 10 years since this all transpired, and none of my fears came to fruition. She didn’t commit suicide. In fact, she finally sought treatment after I left. My boys, though they were initially distraught, have turned into fine young men whom I’m proud to call my sons. They are kind, funny, and compassionate souls and I’m still unsure what I did to make them turn out as well as they have (or even if I had anything to do with it).

Deciding to end a relationship, and a family, may not seem like a brave thing to do, but out of everything I’ve ever faced it was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do.

My Own Worst Enemy

I’ve never had the courage to do what’s right for me. When facing a decision, I always choose to make things easier for others even if it makes things harder for me. My current misfortune is a result of one of those choices.

It started with the best of intentions. It always does, though, doesn’t it?

I had a huge decision to make. I had just left the twins’ mother and I had to make a decision on the house we had bought together. Was I going to force her to sell or would I agree to let her stay there on the condition she refinance the house to remove my name from the loan?

When I thought about it I remembered all the times I moved as a child. I remembered all the new schools. The new faces. Never having friends because I never knew anyone. I remembered refusing to make new friends because I just knew we’d be moving. Again. I remembered all the pain. The anger. The tears.

And I knew. I knew I couldn’t do that to my children. I couldn’t make them change schools. I couldn’t make them move. So I agreed to let her remain in that house on the condition that she refinance the house.

It’s been all downhill ever since.

Not long after I left her, the twins’ mother decided to quit her full-time job to sell Mary Kay products. I cannot fathom what convinced her this was a good idea, but somehow she thought she was going to make a living doing this. Then she got in a car accident that fucked up her knee pretty good and completely sapped whatever income she may have been making. Consequently, the mortgage on “our” house didn’t get paid for almost an entire year. In turn, that fucked up both our credit reports and made it impossible for her to refinance the house.

I discovered “my” horrible credit when I attempted to buy a car. The salesman informed me that my request for financing had been denied because I had defaulted on my mortgage. I kindly informed him that I no longer lived there and that mortgage was no longer my responsibility, but the bank didn’t care about that and was telling all three credit reporting agencies that I was a dunce who didn’t pay my bills.

So I got a lawyer and took my ex back to court. Sadly, the only thing I got out of that was a court order saying that I was not legally obliged to pay any moneys on that loan. The option to force her to sell the home was not viable because she had trashed the house, and it was no longer worth what was owed on it. The judge was also not legally able to order the bank to remove my name from the loan.

So I was stuck.

About a year later, my new bride decided to declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy because she brought almost $25,000 worth of credit card debt into our marriage (yes, that was a red flag I shouldn’t have ignored). I decided to file with her to have the house removed from my credit. That was the only way I could conceive to have a chance to repair my credit.

During 2008, 2009, and 2010, we owed the state of Kentucky taxes at the end of each year because Superbitch’s employer refused to withhold Kentucky state taxes from her paychecks (she worked in Ohio at the time). After consulting with our bankruptcy lawyer, she told us that we could addend the case to add the money we owed the state. We simply needed to pay the court costs for doing so. We eventually forked over the $150 court fees for doing so.

Last night I came home to find a collection letter from the state of Kentucky chilling in my mailbox. In it, the letter says that our bankruptcy case has been closed and the stay lifted, and that now we have to not only pay back-taxes, but fees and interest, too. They want almost $2250 from my empty fucking wallet.

The stay lifted? What fucking stay?

I immediately emailed my bankruptcy lawyer and asked her, “What the fuck?” Her response was, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Sorry, can’t help ya. Work out a payment plan or something.”

What. The. Fuck. Thanks for nothing, bitch.

All of this, years of financial torment, because of one fucking decision. One that, knowing what I know now, I’m not sure I’d make again.

Frankly, right now I just want to run away. I just want to hide. I am so fucking tired of shit going wrong. I am tired, just so fucking tired. With all the thousands upon millions of people fighting their way into this country illegally, all I want to do is get out of it.

But I can’t run away. I won’t run away. My children are depending on me. They need me.

So I’ve got to man up and somehow find my way through this and ditch the urge to run.

They say that you should make lemonade when life hands you lemons, but what if the lemons that life hands you are rotten?


This has been a

Finish the Sentence Friday

Post, where writers come together

and post endings to the current sentence.

This week’s is “I’ve never had the courage to…”

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (or more likely, Hell’s Gate)

I made it through my life without ever having the flu until 2008. What a horrible illness that is. High fever. No energy. No appetite. Sore throat. Runny nose. You pretty much feel like Jabba the Hutt looks when you have the flu.

I went to the doctor on a Thursday afternoon. The initial flu test came back negative, so the doctor diagnosed me with sinusitis, I think. He prescribed me an antibiotic and some Clarinex.

The Clarinex wasn’t really helping my symptoms. In fact, it made me feel even worse, though in my foggy state of mind it didn’t occur to me to stop taking it. Instead, I called the pharmacist the next day (Friday) and asked if it would be okay to take some Advil Cold and Sinus since I know my body responds well to that medicine. The pharmacist knew I was taking Clarinex, obviously, because he filled the prescription. Plus, I told him so.

Big mistake, Indy!

The next thing I know my body is on fire. I took my temperature and it was almost 104 degrees. My throat and face began to swell. My breathing became labored. I could barely talk. I freaked the fuck out.

I first called my wife. She wasn’t working that day and was out shopping. I asked her to come home so she could take me to the emergency room. She seemed irritated by my request, but agreed to do it. After such a reassuring phone call, I didn’t feel like I was going much support from her other than a ride to the hospital, so I called my mommy.

Yeah, I’m a momma’s boy. No shame.

My mom didn’t even recognize my voice on the phone. It was cracking and squeaky. I mean, I could barely breathe. I told her what was going on and asked her if she would meet me at the hospital, and she obviously agreed.

I was dressed by the time my wife got home. She wasn’t hiding her irritation at all. On the drive to the hospital I gave in to my panic. I had never had an allergic reaction before. I didn’t have the slightest idea what was happening to me. My throat was almost completely closed and I could barely breathe or talk. With the words I did manage to get out I said some things about my children losing their father and how I wasn’t ready to leave my kids. As I said, I was panicking. Obviously.

My wife responded with annoyance. She pretty much implied that I was being stupid for thinking that I was knocking on death’s door.  She irritably, instead of reassuringly, insisted repeatedly that I wasn’t going to die, which is clearly the only appropriate way to deal with someone in a severe state of panic. Sigh…

My mom was already in the waiting room when we finally got to the hospital. The intake nurse brought me to a small examination room to take my vitals and question me. That particular nurse was a moron who didn’t even know how to use a thermometer. She took my temperature, and gave me a “bitch, please” look when it only registered a little over 100. Despite the fact that my breath was labored, my face swollen and red, and my assurance that my thermometer at home told me I was running a dangerously high fever, she didn’t think to retry taking my temperature.

I told the nurse that I had taken both Clarinex and Advil Cold and Sinus. I also told her that my pharmacist had told me it would be okay to do so since they contained different ingredients. She told me that they’re both decongestants and probably shouldn’t have been taken at the same time.

“So I can sue my pharmacist for this ER bill?” I asked her.

She stuttered and backtracked and gave me a noncommittal response. I then had to explain to her that I was joking. It’s kinda my thing.

My panic attack continued even after I had been taken back and put in a room. Nobody had done anything yet to reassure me that I was going to be fine and would live to continue making stupid jokes. While we waited for the doctor to come in and see me, my wife, who had a lot of nurse training because she worked with special needs children, grabbed a thermometer off the wall and took my temperature. It read almost 104. It was comforting to know the intake nurse couldn’t even properly use a thermometer. It really builds confidence in the rest of the staff.

They took some blood (they missed the first time) and I waited rather impatiently while they tested my blood to see what the hell was wrong with me. I remember a tear escaping my eyes while I waited and I felt it burn its way down my cheek.

I’m not sure how long we waited for the doctor to return with the results of the blood test, but by the time he had my temperature and swelling had gone down. I was breathing and speaking normally again and had a manageable fever of about 100. The blood tests came back normal (because allergic reaction – duh). They gave me some motrin and sent me home.

I have no idea if I nearly died that day, but I know for a while I feared I would. Having an anxiety attack on top of an allergic reaction on top of the flu is the perfect recipe for a visit to the ER best described as a clusterfuck. Of course, I didn’t know I had the flu until the following Monday, when the doctor called me and said that the culture they left over the weekend tested positive. At least, I think that’s how he explained it.

I’m not sure if it was the Clarinex (which made me feel weird both times I had taken it to that point) or the combination of the Clarinex, Advil, and the flu that put me in the hospital that day, but since then I’ve told every doctor and pharmacist I’ve seen that I’m allergic to Clarinex. That is an experience I don’t wish to repeat.


This has been a

Finish the Sentence Friday

post, where writers and bloggers link up with
relevant posts. This week’s sentence
is “I thought I might die when…”

My Father’s Best Advice

Over my 37 years on this spinning ball of ignorance my father has given me great advice. Stop calling your brother stupid. Get your elbows off the table. Don’t use your shirt, use a napkin! Blow your nose because if you snort one more time I’m going to hurt you! You’re grounded! Again! That last may not have actually been advice.

A bottomless well of knowledge, my father is.

I’m great at giving advice, but not so much at taking it. I don’t like being told what to do, even in the form of advice. Consequently, any time I’ve gotten advice from my father I accept it gracefully (mostly) and then ignore it. Like any good son does.

I’ve been trying to narrow down the best piece of advice my father has ever given me. I’ve culled my list to two, but I think that’s as far as I can take it. So, I’ll simply share two great pieces of advice my father has shared with me repeatedly, but I’ve many a time rolled my eyes at because, well, I don’t really know why.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Like any normal child (or abnormal, for that matter), I lied to my parents. I denied committing misdeeds. I told them I would do things I had no intention of doing. When I was in trouble, I swore I would never do it again. I said I would be home by curfew. I said I would try harder at school. I lied a lot.

Whenever I was caught in one of these predicaments, my father would always say, “Actions speak louder than words.” Of course, my stubborn teenage self shrugged, rolled my eyes, and said, “Yeah, whatever,” but he was right. Actions do speak louder than words and it’s a lesson I have finally come to learn through many trials and errors.

For most of my life, I didn’t listen to the actions of others. I listened to their words. In fact, I often paid no attention to the actions of others and took words at face value. That has gotten me into some very tough situations, but after having been burned many times I’m finally paying attention to more than the words falling out of people’s mouths.

For instance, earlier this year I agreed to give Superbitch (my ex-wife – again, her chosen moniker – I didn’t make that up) another chance. She said all the right things. She had changed, she said. She knew what she wanted. She loved me. She had settled down. She now preferred to stay at home instead of going out all the time. She said all the right things.

I gave her her chance, but I was wary of her. She had told me all these things before. The first couple of weeks were great. Then I had a depressive episode.

Many of you know that depression makes you sad for no reason at all. Everything in the world can be going right for you, but depression rears its ugly head and says, “Be sad, motherfucker!” and you’re sad. There is no rhyme or reason to this madness.

Superbitch thought I was mad at her despite my repeated assurances otherwise. From that point on, her interest in our relationship did not exist. There was no affection. There was no interest in spending time with me. She started going out with her friends frequently again. When I brought these things to her attention she assured me that she still wanted us to work, but her actions told me otherwise.

This time, instead of listening to her words I listened to her actions, which didn’t change even after having a second talk with her about my concerns. So I made the decision to part ways with her, and haven’t looked back.

See, Dad? I finally took your advice…years afterward. Better late than never, amiright? RIGHT???

Be Sure BRAIN is Engaged Before Putting MOUTH In GEAR

Dad used to have a sign in his office at work that said this, or something similar to it. He took every opportunity he could to recite that phrase to me, because I often said stupid shit. This is another piece of advice I wouldn’t take to heart for almost 20 years.

When Superbitch initially left me in August of 2012, I was a clusterfuck of emotions. I was sad, lonely, depressed, bitter, angry, and drunk. In my rage I said many uncouth things to my future ex-wife. Horrid things I can’t take back, but wish I could. I called her unsavory names and wished ill things upon her. I meant none of those things, really, but was simply lashing out because I was in pain.

Superbitch handled it with grace, mostly. Instead of flinging hatred back at me she asked me to stop. She told me I was hurting her. And finally, she pointed out that I was behaving like my first wife, and that’s when the gravity of what I was doing hit me like a kick in the groin.

She was right. My goal was to get her to come home and I was never going to accomplish that by hurling demeaning epithets and telling her I hoped awful things befell her. So I stopped. When I was upset I forced myself to really think about what I was going to say before I said it. And wouldn’t you know it a funny thing happened. We actually had productive dialogue. Weird, eh?

I made it a point from that moment on to really consider the consequences of any words I speak before I utter them. That sticks and stones nonsense is bullshit. Words can hurt. Especially when hateful, bitter words are hurled by people you love.

My father is an extremely intelligent man and knows what he’s talking about. Just don’t tell him I said so. Despite our past differences he’s given me great advice over the years, most of which I disregarded because I seem to have an innate preference for learning things the hard way. People share their experiences with me. They give me their advice. Until I experience something firsthand, however, it just doesn’t seem to sink in. I consider myself to be fairly intelligent, so I attribute this to severe stubbornness.

But hey, at least I learn eventually, right?

Finish the Sentence Friday

A Ramble On My Neighbors

When it comes to my neighbors…I avoid them like the plague.

The folks in the townhouse next to me are not the most intelligent beings I’ve ever encountered. They have a puppy who, obviously, barks at everything. When she does this, kids and adults alike begin yelling at the dog. “Lady! Stop it!” (Yes. They named their dog Lady. How original.) This logic escapes them, but yelling at a barking dog does not shut it up. In fact, it only exacerbates the cacophony. Not only do I get to hear their dog barking maniacally, which I can tolerate, but then I have to listen to the entire family while they scream at the dog. That, I cannot tolerate.

The “man” of that house is also a maintenance man for the complex I live in. Normally, this would be a good thing. In normal circumstances you’d think I’d pass him while taking out the trash or something and be able to tell him I need my shower head replaced because it’s spraying water all over the wall, causing a leak in the bathroom below. But, no. That dude totally forgets and when I see him again he merely scratches his head while meekly telling me he forgot. No problem, Skippy. The shower head was only five bucks and the teflon tape was only a buck. I got this…even though YOU’RE legally required to take care of it.

This guy is one of the biggest morons I’ve ever known. When sewage backed up into my home a few years ago (because some idiot was flushing baby wipes down the toilet) he brought me a dehumidifier and told me that would help get the water out of my carpet.

baby-facepalm.jpg

Have you finished rolling your eyes? There’s another story where that came from.

Last year, Revis (who lives in the same complex as I do) had a dishwasher which wouldn’t drain. Mrs. Revis called maintenance and this moron came over, barely took two steps into the kitchen, and said, “Yup. It’s backed up.” Then he left.

Well, there was a unicorn... and, ummm. I'm a terrible liar!

How did he know it was clogged? Does he have x-ray vision? Does he have a super sixth sense? Did he clandestinely consult his crystal ball? Did he have a fortune-teller on speed dial? Inquiring minds want to know.

Anyhow, yeah, I avoid those neighbors. I have neighbors on the other side that I’ve never seen. I know people live there because there are cars parked there and I hear the squeaking every time they turn on a faucet in their house, but I’ve never seen them. Maybe they only come out at night? Maybe it’s Casper and friends? I’m honestly not curious enough to find out.

To be perfectly blunt, I very much an introvert. I don’t go out of my way to meet new people. Meeting new people is an uncomfortable experience for me. I’m not outgoing at all (unless I’m drunk) and I’m never sure how people I don’t know will take me. I’ve had friends tell me that my first impressions leave a lot to be desired. My very sharp sarcasm has had me mistaken for a caustic asshole (which I can occasionally be), so I’m a bit leery around new people.

I guess all this kinda makes me a hermit even though I’m completely surround by people. Ah, well. They’ve made no effort to get to know me either, so that makes us even, right? Right???

Meh…


This post was sponsored by Finish the Sentence Friday. This week’s prompt was “When it comes to my neighbors…”

Finish the Sentence Friday

It’s the End of the Summer

This is my first attempt at FTSF (Finish the Sentence Friday), hosted by the amazing Kristi from Finding Ninee. If ever you are looking for a new blog hop to participate in, I suggest this one. This week’s prompt is: At the end of each summer, I always feel…

At the end of each summer, I always feel…a tumultuous array of conflicting emotions. There are both pros and cons to this time of year, and I feel them simultaneously.

There are many things I love about the end of summer. First and foremost is the cooling of the weather. I dread summer heat. I loathe summer heat. I melt in summer heat. I hate being hot. I absolutely HATE sweating. This Michigan-born trooper prefers milder temperatures. A cloudy summer day is always welcome for the brief respite it brings from the oppressive sun.

autumn_sunday
Who doesn’t love fresh applesauce?

The coming of fall brings with it other things I look forward to, however. I absolutely love the changing of the colors. Orange, red, and brown leaves add so much more variety to the local scenery. It makes driving down the highway much more enjoyable when everything isn’t plain ol’ green. Autumn also marks the beginning of football season, and this trooper surely enjoys watching some football.

bengals stormtrooper
Who dey!

With the good comes the…kinda good. School. Back to school is both a good thing and a bad thing. There’s back-to-school shopping. New clothes. New shoes. School supplies. Homework. Forms to fill out. Getting your kids back into a routine. Fuck is it ever a pain in the ass. On the flip side, the kids aren’t home all day destroying the house and consuming every scrap of food that’s yet to expire. I no longer come home from work to find empty wrappers strewn about and both of them staring at different TV’s with Xbox controllers in their hands. So there’s that.

Back to school this year was particularly rough because the twins began high school this year. Shit is real now. From here on out their actions can and will affect them for the rest of their lives. The twins are extremely intelligent, but also equally unorganized. They lose or forget to turn in homework and that’s just not gonna fly in high school. They also made the freshman football team. While I love football, I’d have preferred they play a different sport. They have always been skinny and easily injured, two things that don’t bode well for any football player. The upside to that is they have motivation to keep their grades up since they’ll get kicked off the team if their GPA dips too low. So I’m taking the good with the bad here…and have my fingers crossed that neither of them suffer their first broke bones.

Most importantly, the end of summer is a segue to my favorite time of year. November and December, and the holiday’s therein, are times when lasting memories are made. Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Year’s. SNOW! Jackets. Hoodies. Chileh! SNOW! Wait, I might have mentioned snow already. Baby C loves playing in the snow and I love watching him do so.

How do I feel? Good riddance, summer! Hasta lasagna, don’t get any on ya! Fall and winter is where it’s at.

Finish the Sentence Friday