Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fake Ghost Papa

On July 4th the kids made wishes as they each sent lanterns up into the sky. When it was Luccio's turn he said, "My wish is for Papa."  The next night at bedtime, he reminded me.  He said, "I wished for Stregga to have Papa by her side for all of her weeks."  He acknowledged that he understood that Papa (my father)
is no longer alive when he said, "You know I mean fake, ghost Papa.  You know the part of a person that stays when their body leaves.  Like the spirit.  That Papa. I want his Spirit to always be by her side." Oh Bear! You precious, amazing little boy.  That is a beautiful wish. I know Papa heard it and will always be by Stregga's side and in all of our hearts forever.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mama's Matchmaker

My son, Vincenzo, told me he thinks I should get an online dating profile and he will help me write it up. He is working on a list called "What My Mom is Looking for in a Guy."   Apparently, he got this idea from Despicable Me 2 and Mall Cop.  The kids in both shows try to fix their single parents up and so now he thinks this will be a great idea to try for me.  Although his advice is completely unsolicited and possibly a bit overstepping into my personal space, I have to admit it's pretty good and quite thorough!


"What My Mom is Looking for in a Guy"  by Vincenzo (8 years old)

-A guy that is nice
-Doesn't play with guns, machetes, bazookas, knives
-Doesn't rob or murder
-Shouldn't be a "Smarty Pants"- he should be smart enough, but not too smart because then he
wouldn't be fun to play with.
-Likes my mom's kids
-Is not a jerk
-A guy that would not marry you in the first 5 months     (he pointed out that did not work out too well for me with my first marriage - OMG!)
-He should only visit and/or sleepover if he is invited    (sort of like a vampire?!)
-Be nice with animals - but does not like bugs or rats or mice
-Be a Holder of all your secrets     ( I did not realize I have- secrets yikes!)
-He should have a good job.  Like maybe he should work for NASA and gets lots of money. Except then you wouldn't get to see him a lot, so maybe not.
-A guy that would build something like a dollhouse or a castle and not say "ew" about it.
-He should be a good writer and not play too many video games
-He should not waste water! You do not want that happening in your house.
-He should do laundry
-If my mom asks him to go somewhere - he should say "yes" or "no"- NOT maybe
-He should love to read
-He would mow the lawn
-He shouldn't spend all day looking at himself in the mirror checking to see if he looks good
-Be a good hugger
-He shouldn't go nuts if he sees a beehive or a clogged toilet like Daddy does.




Sunday, April 26, 2015

Excuse me, your pants are on fire.

Men lie. It's a universal truth. The question is not "if," but how much?  In my extensive research (consisting of living daily life for the past 40 years on Planet Earth which is inhabited in part by human males) I have found that human males start lying at an early age and continue throughout the duration of their lives. Also, there are varying degrees of lies they tell.

It starts simple, early on in life. Usually to avoid getting into trouble.
I remember a time when my brother was 4 years old. I was 7. We were playing in the backyard and my mother had specifically told us not to turn on the garden hose. At one point she came to the yard to check on us and said to my brother, "I told you not to touch the hose."  He turned to her and replied, "I'm not touching it."  As he stood there holding the garden hose with the water turned on at full blast.

I notice it with my own children too. Nothing sets a male child up to lie more than a mother walking into a room and asking a question like "What are you doing?"  "Who is yelling?" "Who broke the …?"
Immediately they start to deflect blame.  "It wasn't me" is not just a phrase that Shaggy made up for his song.  It is a staple of the male vocabulary.

It is almost as if it is instinct.  A female asks a question- a male will say something, anything. Even if it's a lie. Sometimes they don't even mean to lie.  They just do it and once the story starts spinning it just goes in circles.

Nothing illustrates it more than putting a few males in a room and asking what they did that day.  On Saturdays when Oz returns with my children (2 boys and 1 girl) I always ask, "How was your day? What did you do?"  It's really just conversation. But, my goodness to see Oz and the children try to piece together a story is quite a shit show.  One will start and then the next one corrects him and then they argue and Oz will jump in and offer his version of their day and before you know it…no one can remember.  Except my daughter.  I can always count on her.  She recalls the important facts and tells them straight without editing.

Because really that's the thing.  No one is lying to be devious in this scenario. It's just that they can't remember so instead of just saying that they put together a great story.  OR sometimes they do remember but they aren't sure how much they should say because they don't know what the reaction will be.  SO they "edit."

Now, I know a few people might say this sounds biased and that not just men lie. And that is true. However, I have found that males tend to lie more and with less discernment.

That is why I always go with my daughter's version of any story.  Because females tend to have minds like a steel trap and we store every bit of information away in there.  We know how to decipher the important parts and we tell it like it is more often than not because we know by instinct that nothing good ever comes from lying.

I always tell my children, don't bother lying because I always find out everything anyway. It will have just wasted everyone's time and accomplished nothing productive.

As boys grow up and become men their degrees of lying seem to vary greatly.  So do their reasons.

Maybe you have met a man that lies about where they went for lunch. He might be lying because he had been trying to not eat junk food but stopped off at McDonalds and doesn't want to disappoint you.  Or maybe he stopped at McDonalds because he was hungry, but when he arrived at your house he realized you had cooked a gourmet meal and so he lies and says he is starving so you won't feel bad.

Or maybe your man hands you his paycheck and forgets to mention the amount he put in his pocket (that you will of course find later when you do the laundry.) He will say he didn't remember this (lie of omission.) Since it is a grey area you may let it slide.  But, you may be checking pockets more often.

Maybe he lies and tells you he had sex with 25 people and you learn later it was more like 2.   Maybe he will tell you it was 2 people and you find out it was closer to 50.  Or maybe he will tell you he is a virgin, but you find out later he was married for 4 years. Or maybe you think you are the only woman he is talking to, sleeping with, etc.  Then you realize you are one of the women in what seems like a village.

My favorite is when a man tells you something and then forgets he told it to you.  Later, he will lie about the story or change a few details.  You will ask him about it and he will say, "Shit! I forgot I told you that."

Seriously in the dating world the endlessness of lies is vast. Some are so completely outrageous they are downright hilarious!

Others are so freaking close to the truth, yet not the exact truth.  They are about 3/4 of the story, but omit the most significant part. Those are the lies that hurt the most.  Because that is a person you probably have gotten close enough to that they confide in you, they tell you enough that there is some trust built up.  You feel a sense of security because you think you know enough.  Then BAM!  that one teeny, tiny, GIANT, explosive detail surfaces ~ because the truth always does.  And you realize - there are no exceptions to the rule.  Men lie.  You just have to hope you have found one decent enough to only lie about the small stuff!

Or maybe somewhere out there is the Unicorn of all Men ~ the man that tells the truth.   If you find him, let me know.





Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Wild One

 I always wonder ~ for what reasons do we meet the people we do? When a friend showed me a picture of the Wild One I was definitely interested. The first time I saw him in person he was sitting on my friend's front porch and I felt an instant attraction. After chatting with him, I thought he felt a connection too. But, I wasn't sure until he walked me to my car and asked if I wanted to go out some time. Over the next few months I had a lot of fun getting to know him better.

The Wild One is very different from anyone I have dated before. I usually go for musicians or artists. Sensitive souls. Talented, but not necessarily handy around the house.  But, the Wild One is a complete Alpha Male.  He is strong and brave and does crazy stuff. He is an adrenaline junkie.  He thinks nothing of skydiving out of a perfectly good airplane or driving a race car at top speed. He planned dates that included off road exploring through the countryside and go-carting. I never knew exactly what to expect.

The Wild One is quite handy, he can fix just about anything.  If a furnace isn't working he replaces it, if a pipe is leaking he finds the source of the problem and takes care of it.  When he visited me, he wondered why the oven door was on my kitchen floor. I explained to him that it had been there for months, I had broken it off trying to clean it.  Three people had tried to fix it but insisted it was impossible and broken beyond repair. It had been suggested I replace the oven. But, it wasn't in the budget. Obviously I don't cook much anyway since it had been broken for months. Well, the Wild One took a look at it and had it fixed in less than 10 minutes. Another time, he helped me move furniture in my classroom at the beginning of the school year. He noticed that I had a lot of books and workbooks that were all different sizes and nowhere to store them. So he took some measurements and the next day he built a shelf perfectly tailored to those books. He built it with his own two hands and no directions. He didn't need google. Or Siri.  (FYI that is NOT a dig at anyone specific. So please don't send me hate emails.)

It had been a joke in my family that I tend to go for guys that have similar personalities to my mom. Funny, nurturing, a little bit of a worrier.

But, the Wild One reminds me of how my father was. Crazy, stubborn, determined, fixer of all things, generous, protective.  I knew when I was with The Wild One I didn't have to worry. He was a complete badass. A bear crossed his path and he didn't even panic.

My mom didn't know exactly what to do with the Wild One's personality. The first time she met him he was drinking at a picnic and in rare form and telling his stories! He kept refilling my red solo cup. She was horrified. One time he visited her house and he let her know that he had peed in the bushes in the front yard.  She couldn't get over it. She just kept saying, "I don't understand it. Why would he pee in the yard? We have indoor plumbing!  Who does that??"

But, despite his outrageousness, the Wild One would take care of things. He was definitely the "man" in the relationship.  Which gave me the freedom to be the woman that I felt like being. I could relax and let him handle lifting heavy objects, reaching top shelves.  I didn't have to stress when he drove. Although it felt reckless because of the speed or the condition of the roads, I knew it was safe because he had the ability to handle it.  I didn't have the constant need for an imaginary brake like I normally would.

The Wild One was not afraid of fire.  Literally. He was a volunteer firefighter.  But, also figuratively.  I didn't have to worry that the fire of my personality would overtake him.  I felt inherently that he was strong and that my temper and passionate nature wouldn't scare him.  Weaker men have tried to douse that fire by watering it down.  But, the Wild One didn't blink an eye.  He wasn't water. He was stone.

I have not laughed as much or shared more of who I am with someone in a relationship quite like that before.  We had an insane amount of chemistry.  Despite being jaded from past experiences, I felt like I could trust and explore and feel alive again.

And though I knew better, I absolutely fell 100% in love with his dog. I knew the attachment would only hurt when the relationship ended. After divorce the future is not a clearcut thing. For me, a single mother with 3 kids, the future is like looking at a black screen. I know what I feel in the moment. But, I can't see one second beyond today.  I like to be entertained. I like to have fun. I even like getting to know someone and sharing thoughts and fears and hopes and daring to dream. But, the future is not on the screen. I can't see it. Or feel it.  It is just the here and now.  So falling in love with a person's dog was not part of the plan. I honestly do not even like dogs.  But, that crazy, untrained mutt took a piece of my heart.

I believe that each person comes into our lives for a reason and sometimes it is not the reason you initially thought. Though the Wild One might not be for the long run, it's been a good experience. It was an opportunity to explore the dating after divorce world a little more. And a great distraction as I grieved the loss of my father.  Each person that enters my life is someone to learn from. The Wild One sure did have a lot to teach me. Most lessons were enlightening and very entertaining. Some were not so much fun.  New wisdom, new understandings that's what life is all about.









Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Time for Dying

When my Dad told me in August that he was stopping chemo treatments, what we refer to as Deathwatch 2014 began. I didn't realize that he would be dead 3 weeks later.  He had been fighting Lymphoma for 3 years with radiation and chemo treatments putting him in and out of remission over that time. This summer it was obvious that the treatments were poisoning him and taking it's toll.  Even his doctors said it was his sheer will to live that  was keeping him alive because the treatments were only doing so much.

One night I was there helping him while my Mom was at work.  He was agitated because his balance was off and the muscles in his legs had weakened because of the chemo.  He didn't want me to help him, so he insisted on dragging himself down the hallway using his walker and then pretty much flinging himself into bed without my assistance.  I walked near him anyway and he said, "So you are determined to help, right?"  Yep. I pretty much got my stubborn gene from him so he really shouldn't have been surprised.

When I left that night I knew.  He didn't seem as resolved as he had before.  He had 5 more days to go before his next treatment and it didn't feel like he was gearing up like he had been for the past few months.

He told my mother later that night and the rest of us the next day that he was not going to do any more chemo.  We all understood and agreed he had put in more than a fair share of effort to fight.  We knew that he only did it for us to begin with, the past 3 years he survived for my mom and our family.  Now we had to let him do what he needed to.

So Deathwatch 2014 began.

In my mind it was going to take months for tumors to grow and death to happen.

But, in reality…it was fast.

The kids and I spent as much time as possible with him over the next couple of weeks.  My aunts and good friends of our family stayed with us over those next few weeks helping with everything from cooking meals to supporting us emotionally to even caring for my Dad when he would allow it.

His strength deteriorated rapidly, but still I was thinking there would be more months to go.

The last week of August he told me that he was going to live to the celebrate my sons' birthdays on Labor Day and then that was it.  He said he was at peace with it and not to be upset.

I was thinking oh ok Dad. Sounds like a plan.

Well…he made it to the birthday party on September 1st. Thanks to our good friends he was able to be transported with his wheelchair to the park where we celebrated.

Then he went home and slept.  And never really woke up fully conscious again after that.

Hospice started the next morning.  He stayed mostly asleep.  When he did wake up he wasn't really talking much.  But, he was still getting his point across that he didn't want help and would try walking on his own.  The nurses had a difficult time moving him because his strength was surprising despite all the weight he had lost. They expected him to be weak and frail but he was really like the hulk with his super human strength so they couldn't lift him.  Eventually we had to request all male nurses to help with lifting. Thankfully he ended up with 3 amazing men that were able to care for him and assist him so he was able to stay home to die in peace like he wanted.

The 10 days after the birthday party are a bit of a blur.  Mostly I stayed at my parent's house with my aunts and our friends that were helping out. Our support system was amazing! My good friends took turns staying with my children and getting them to school. My boss and coworkers were absolutely fantastic about covering my class and caring for my students and children so that I could be there for my Dad's last days.

SO we sat. and sat. and waited. We ate and talked and told stories. My Dad stayed mostly unconscious.

One friend suggested that this Deathwatch process was an "Italian Family Thing."  I am not sure about that because I have talked with other friends that have big families that had similar experiences.  But, in speaking to others I have realized, it is not a common practice.  It may even be a bit crazy.

But, I don't mind being crazy.  It was worth it to pause every aspect of life. Especially because he woke up one night and everyone was there visiting and he was clear minded and when he saw me he said, "awww I love you!"

Relatives showed up to say goodbye, friends from all eras of my Dad's life came to visit. Cousins we hadn't seen in months were there with food. It was like a family reunion.  People chatted and shared stories of their time with my Dad.  Nurses and physical therapists that had worked with him over the past 3 years stopped by to say goodbye.  Everyone had their own stories.

We sat around him while he peacefully slept and shared with each other how he touched our lives in so many ways.  And we ate. And we laughed.

Through it all I couldn't help thinking what am amazing tribute it was to the life he lived that friends didn't wait until he was dead to pay respects.  They had been there throughout his life, stood by him in the 3 years he fought to survive and in his dying days did not abandon him or our family.

It says a lot about how he lived.  I can think of a million stories of my Dad reaching out to others.  There was one Christmas he had a coworker down on her luck.  We went with him and waited in the car as he dropped off a tree, gifts and groceries to surprise that family.

Too many stories like that to count.  But, he loved helping others and his generosity was his greatest attribute.  It was obvious in the faces of the people that loved him that he meant a lot to their lives.

Even the nurses that met him during that last week were affected by him.  He was UNCONSCIOUS when they met him, but they each said what a gentle soul he had, what a good man he was.  They worked around the clock to ensure that he had a dignified and peaceful death.

One nurse, Bob, spent a few days with us. I felt like I knew him forever.  He told us that his shortest assignment had been a few hours and longest had been 6 days.  Hmmmm….considering it was Day 4 of Bob with us,  I was wishing my Mom hadn't asked that question.  When Bob said goodbye after that shift I knew he was not expecting to see my Dad alive again.

On the morning of September 11th, Dad's nurse Godwin showed up.  That is when my mother knew.  It would be that day.  It would be Dad's last day.  She had to run an errand. We stayed out only exactly long enough to do what needed to be done and then we took shifts all day being with my Dad. She didn't want him alone for a minute.  My aunts stayed and our good friends were there too.  The house was quiet all day.  The only sound was Dad's playlist of songs coming from his iPad.  It was background music of all his favorite songs.  We would be talking or doing something and Depserado would come on and all of a sudden we would all be in tears.

Around 3:30 my mom wanted to take a shower so it was my shift to be with Dad.  I had my laptop and I was looking at Facebook and listening to his music.  When I heard In My LIfe by the Beatles play off his iPad, I just lost it. It finally it me that it wasn't going to be months. It was within hours and he was no longer going to be alive.

And then the power went out.

I freaked out a little  bit.  His oxygen tank was beeping and I thought he was dead. I walked over and touched his arm and nearly jumped out of skin when he took a breath.

We realized a fuse had just blown out when my Mom plugged in her hair dryer. We all laughed.

A few minutes later, Godwin came in and told me he was going to get my Dad bathed and dressed. So I went to talk and watch TV with my aunts.

When Godwin came out to get me, I knew.  I walked back into my Dad's room and he was lying there so peacefully.  My Mom was holding his hand.  He was gone.

Those few minutes were quiet.  It settled in a little.

Then a flurry of action happened. Family and friends and hospice nurses and a social worker arrived.
We waited for my brother to get there so he could have some time too.

At 7 pm Bob showed up.  It would have been his 7th Day.  No one had called him. When he walked through the door, the look on his face broke my heart.

He made a joke and said that when he drove up to the house and saw all the cars he thought, "Who died?"   Then he looked at me and said, "too soon?"  No. It was perfect. My Dad would have gotten a kick out of it.  It broke the tension!

Dinner was made, funeral directors were called. The house was full of people, of love.

The next few days we made memorial arrangements and picture collages and told more stories and celebrated his life through services and moments together.

Then the next day I went back to work.  And life went on. and on.

The next thing I knew it was Thanksgiving. He wasn't there to cook. To laugh. To wash all the dishes.
And it hit me.  Death is forever.

But, it was just a moment on Thanksgiving.  We had family and friends and the kids around so I was distracted.  That wasn't the hardest part.

For me the difficulty is the rest of the time, not the holiday.  My Dad was a part of my daily life. I would go there after work with my kids for dinner 2-3 times a week and Sundays.  Always Sundays.  And he did my laundry. I would drop it off on Friday nights and pick it up on Sundays washed and ironed for the week. Even when he could barely walk he had a washer and dryer put into his bedroom and would still do my laundry.  When I told him he didn't have to. He would day, "I'm not dead yet!"

I called him for everything. EVERY THING.  He fixed my cars, replaced batteries in my smoke detectors, painted my kitchen, cleaned my house, babysat the kids, cooked meals,  and as my friend Meeghan loves to remind me - I called him to unclog toilets.

Sometimes I dream about him.  He always looks healthy and his hair has grown back and he is happy.  In my dream one time, he told me to buy new cordless phones and to make sure I buy Panasonic ones.

I know that there is a purpose for everything under Heaven. And there is a time to die. And everyone loses people they love. And everything happens for a reason. Etc. Etc. Etc.   But, seriously -  it sucks!














Monday, November 10, 2014

Welcome to the Family

So once upon a time, 11 years ago I stood on an altar and bet my life on forever. Before God, my family and 150 witnesses I promised to love someone for eternity.  That lasted about 9.5 years. Well...you win some, you lose some. But, before it was War of the Roses and the flames of Hell engulfed us and turned us into jaded skeletons of our former selves, there was a time that Oz and I actually liked each other. I dare even say loved.  We were young, naive and beyond dorky.  Sometimes it is fun to look back at the video we made to play at our wedding (like on our ex-anniversary) and see how it all began.   From the days before Oz became Oz and I became The Wicked Witch.  We were just a couple of dorks thinking about growing old together. I look at that person that I was and laugh. And cry. My God I was so innocent. We were 2 idiots.  But, we had so much fun together.  I sometimes wonder, how could I have wasted a decade of my life?  Then I remember I left that marriage with a Master's Degree and 3 children. It wasn't all bad.  And I watch our video: Girl Meets Boy: Welcome to the Family and think that maybe taking a chance on LOVE wasn't stupid, it was a life experience that in the end I am glad I have.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Who ARE You?

This Fall has brought on an identity crisis for me. I had to change the name I use professionally and it caused some inner turmoil. The schools I have worked at had a culture that allowed teachers to go by their title and first names. I have been Ms. Carrie since I worked at my first teaching job in 1998. My friend Ms. Meeghan and I worked together at school and still refer to each other as our teacher names!   I took a 15 year hiatus from teaching and went off to explore the world of Campus Ministry and eventually became a stay at home mom. 

When I ventured back into the teaching world again I went back to the school I had started at. I was once again known as Ms. Carrie in my teaching profession. I moved schools last year, but we kept the same tradition. I was grateful to only be known by my first name because it was a major life decision on whether or not to keep my married last name or go back to my maiden name after the divorce. 

 I kept the married name because it made life easier. My kids have the name and it was a lot cheaper and less of a hassle than having to change my license and blah, blah.  I figured I never use that name anyway. Since I don't have to use it at work, the only time I really need to use a last name is my signature. As long as I don't have to say that name out loud why not keep it? Well…I was short sighted as usual.  

So this year policy changed. We now use our last names at school. It was decided by majority vote that it would be more professional  Needless to say, I not only disagreed with this sentiment, but I very loudly protested it.  I was outvoted by a landslide. And so it was decided in one swooping disastrous second that I would be referred to with the same title and last name as Oz's mother.  I didn't enjoy anyone calling me Mrs. X when I was that person. Now that I am NOT that, I enjoy that even less.  So I have modified it to Ms. X.  

Apparently the Ms. is a very big deal. I have had parents ask me to clarify. Students pronounce it Miss and other adults assume Mrs.  Especially since my children attend the same school and have that last name.  I feel that it advertises that I am a Divorced Woman. There is no way to clarify Ms. with 3 kids having that name without it screaming Single Mama.  It shouldn't matter. It truly does not affect my day what anyone thinks about the fact that I may or may not be married.  But, it does feel like an intrusion into my personal life. An unnecessary bit of info that strangers do not need. Going by Ms. Carrie gave me a persona that was relatable without having to get specific. The Ms. in front of my name gave reassurance to those that need it that I was being addressed respectfully by their children, but it gave me the sense of boundary that they did not need to know my marital status or failings.  

In the beginning of the transition this name change disturbed me. Greatly!  In fact, I held out until the very first day of school before I allowed anyone even my coworkers to refer to me as Ms. X.  In the weeks between The Vote and school starting I even considered changing my last name.  I debated should I change back to my maiden name?  But, that name didn't feel right either. I am no longer that person. My maiden name is a difficult last name to say and spell.  Not helpful when working with young students.  

I also debated going with a brand new last name.  I had first contemplated that idea when the divorce was finalized because the court will let you change your name that day for free.  I desperately wanted to  take a new name. I wanted a fresh start. I was really entertaining the idea of becoming Caralina Zaccara. Taking on the last name of my favorite soap character Johnny Zaccara from General Hospital and a much more Italian sounding first name.  My friend Beth had talked me out of it because she said the divorce combined with the new name would for sure have people thinking I had some kind of a breakdown. I thought it was good advice so I took it. 

But, before school started this year I revisited the idea.  My mother of course thought it was nuts. I would have no family tree, etc. etc. 

When I told Oz about my distress he said that he was giving me his last name because it belonged to the kids and I could just have it. I didn't have to be Mrs. anything. It was my kids family name. That made sense. 

But, the deciding factor was when Oz said that if I did decide to become Ms. Zaccarra he couldn't wait to tell people that I lost my mind.  I would NEVER give him that satisfaction!

I started the school year as Ms. X and the first time I had to introduce myself to parents and students it was difficult. I kept forgetting and even mispronounced it a couple times.  My students still know me as Ms. Carrie and very often still call me that. But, as the weeks have gone on they remember more and more to say Ms. X and I am beginning to actually remember to respond to it.  It doesn't sound so weird anymore. I don't over pronounce the Ms. as much and laugh when I say the X.  Only 3 or 4 unfortunate souls have referred to me as MRS. X.  They were quickly corrected and on went life.

At the end of the day maybe a name is just a name?  

The choices I have made in life are what they are. Whatever gets reflected in my name is not as important as the fact that I have 3 beautiful children who share that name. They are happy and healthy. End of story. 



Saturday, September 20, 2014

Where the Hell am I ??!!

Why would I need a GPS when I have an ex-husband with an iPhone? I'm usually pretty good with directions and finding my way around. However, there are those times when map quest sends me on a wild goose chase or I have taken a wrong turn and realized I am no where near my destination. In those situations I try to trust my gut instinct and follow the road that "looks" right. When all else fails I call Oz in a panic and he talks me through until I find my way. He can usually plug into google maps the street info that I think is correct and help me figure out the path I need to get on to arrive at my destination. Something I can probably do with my own phone but haven't figured out yet how to. Although Oz does mention on every occasion that I should probably try figuring out that map app.

Recently, I was with a co-worker trying to find a conference that we were attending. It was in Oz's area of the world and the location seemed familiar. My friend's navigation system and our googled directions were telling us we had arrived at our location but it was NOT there!

We drove around in circles and we were running very late. So I texted Oz. I knew he was at work nearby. He called me and asked what car I was in, I described it to him and he said he saw us and talked us through until we drove around construction site detours  and we finally arrived at the correct building which happened to be next door to his school.

As I settled into my conference seat, the thought occurred to me that in a matter of minutes Oz was able to look out a random window in his school building and find me on a crowded street in our state's capital city in a car that was not my own. The amazingness of that did not escape me!

I also call him during air travel. On a trip this summer I realized I had not been on a plane in 8 years and they are much smaller than I remembered. When my friend Sara and I arrived we were seated in the VERY last seat in the back of the plane by the bathroom. I started having a mild anxiety attack and felt claustrophobic like I had been shoved into an MRI machine. Sara was in a bit of a panic too because she hadn't traveled in awhile.

I didn't want to show just how nervous I was, so I texted Oz.  He reassured us both that the last seat on the airplane was the safest. We relaxed during take off and were basically ok.

On the ride back home we ran into some flight issues. The first flight couldn't take off because it was too heavy for the hot weather and it would affect the gas mileage.  So we circled forever until they decided to remove 6 passengers.  I texted Oz and he said he was sure this was a routine thing.  Not to worry.

We changed flights halfway across the country. The second flight was a brand new jet. Very exciting!
Except that we circled on the tarmac for a LONG time and then the pilot came on to announce there was an issue with the maintenance system.

Panic!!!

 Luckily this new fancy jet included charging plugs for my iPhone. So... I called Oz. I was freaking out that our plane was going to crash.

He reasoned that my plane was probably not going to crash land- especially since I was NOT actually in the air.  Good point!

Within a few minutes the pilot got on the speaker to say all was fine. Crisis averted!

The man sitting next to me said, "so your husband is calm in a crisis?"  I explained that he was calm (usually), but my EX-husband.  He said that his ex-wife would be glad if the plane went down with him on it. I told him that it did not calm my nerves AT ALL to know that information.

I will admit it's weird. I have been working on being more independent and for the most part I am making progress. But, there is no road map for post divorce relationships. However, there is a road map app that I seriously need to figure out.

Before this starts sounding like a sentimental bunch of crap please know that I am a realist.  I know why Oz still bothers to take my calls even though it annoys him.  The bottom line is - child care is NOT cheap.  Oz always says, "get home safely, I need you to take care of my kids."   I would be VERY expensive to replace!

Friday, August 22, 2014

The D-Team

My neighbor is a very classy, wise Divorcee. Her motto is: Live a good life! She shared some wisdom with me on how to do that. She said that there are two things a divorced woman needs: Romance and a Handy Man. And those two things do not necessarily have to be from the same person. Another divorced friend of mine completely agrees.  She said it is never smart to rely on one man for all things. After all they are human. It puts everyone at a disadvantage to expect one person to be all things and can result in resentments. So it is smarter to separate romance and household needs.

This made perfect sense to me, especially since dating is it's own shit show! So I took my neighbor's and my friend's advice and set dating aside as it's own category and took inventory of household needs.  I noticed my neighbors Team of people included: Lawn Guy and Restaurant Owner Guy.  Taking care of the yard and having an awesome breakfast are important, so this Team helps make her week easier.

I borrowed Lawn Guy from my neighbor because mowing and whatever else goes into yard work does not fit into my schedule of working full-time and taking care of 3 kids. I also decided my Team would include Deli Guy because egg sandwiches are very important to my mental health and Carpenter Guy to help with painting and projects.  Luckily, Carpenter Guy has also turned out to be an amazing babysitter that my kids love.  Thankfully, my Uncle lives nearby and is great with plumbing, painting and fixing stuff too.

My Divorce Team basically got me through the school year while I was teaching my First Graders and focusing on starting up a new school.

This summer I had to make a few adjustments because Deli Guy turned out to be a hot mess. So I have now switched to my neighbor's Restaurant Owner Guy for my egg sandwiches. There is a lot less drama that way and the toasted rolls are yummy!

Fortunately I have Lawn Guy's number on speed dial because the past couple of weeks I have been on vacation from work and realized that my back yard needed some major help.

I went out there one afternoon and took a look around and realized that the table was still set from when I had company visit in July of 2013!! Basically right after that visit I started at the new school and never looked back. I hadn't even stepped in my yard since last summer. It looked like the apocalypse happened. Tree branches were down from the winter storms, leaves were still there from last Fall.
I looked around and thought, " are you f-ing kidding me right now?! This is your yard?"

At first I thought, no problem I am a strong, independent woman. I have a few hours and leaf blower I can fix this.  But, in the end I only managed to rip up what was left of the lawn and there were moldy leaves and worms flying everywhere. It was beyond disgusting and not feeling very productive.
I thought, "are you f-ing kidding me right now?!"

I came to the realization that a strong, independent woman knows how to admit there may be more qualified people to handle certain things.

I texted Lawn Guy and he showed up with a crew. They removed one of the playscapes, 2 wagons, a picnic table and grill and loads of branches, leaves and misc. shit.  They also cut down down the bushes and overgrown stuff back there.

It looks much better! Not good. But, better.  Of course without all the mess I can now see that the entire house and foundation need to be painted. UGH!

All in all it is smart to have a Team of people around when you need them. It makes the upkeep of a household less overwhelming. It is just that it is a never-ending thing. There is always something broken, needing to be painted or replaced and taken care of. I have been very spoiled over the years to have had my Dad around to do all of these things and not have to worry. Now that he is sick, I am realizing just how underprepared I am to handle household chores.  I feel a little better knowing that if something major is wrong I now have a few people to call.

Although, yesterday my engine light came on in my car and I realized I now need to find Mechanic Guy.  My Dad always handled all the car related issues too.  He taught me enough to know that the coolant was low and the oil was too.  So I was able to replace those. While I was at the gas station doing that Cowboy Hat Wearing Guy stopped to see if I needed help.  I let him take a look to be sure I wasn't blowing up the engine.  The kids thought it was cool that we met a real life Cowboy.  But, unfortunately, it didn't make the engine light go off or the air conditioner come back on. So now on to finding a Mechanic...