An Ex Revealed: No Flaws Edition

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Remaining friends with an ex is unusual for me. For those who are new to RoadMom, WHN (what’s his name, aka, the ex-hub) and I speak only when necessary. I suggest reading my posts, “Healing Power of a Tequila Fantasy” or “Divorce Tag: It’s WHN’s turn“.

As for No Flaws? We met in high school, dated on two separate occasions after we both graduated, and then once, for 8 months, 4 years ago. He’s the only ex-boyfriend with whom I have an ongoing, easy friendship. No Flaws is usually the one to call or text, which isn’t often but often enough to catch up with each other. So, when he phoned last week after a 3-month hiatus, it was nice to talk about our respective adult children, business, and other topics of the day. As the conversation meandered over to our kids’ dating habits, No Flaws began railing about the types of people his youngest child dates.

I don’t know how my [youngest child]  can stand what [name] [insert what No Flaws deems offensive] .

We all have pet peeves or those things that others say or do that bug us. If you smack or pop your chewing gum, I actively fight the urge to tackle you to the ground and yank the gum out of your mouth. Instead, I get the hell away from you until you stop. I never have enough bail money with me, and I like my life.

We all have the right to decide not to date someone for whatever reason. I ended the dating relationship with No Flaws because we were two very different people who wanted different things from a relationship. He wanted a maid and house sitter; I needed a man who wanted sex more often and was home after work every night.

As I listened to No Flaws list the various things that he couldn’t live with if he were dating that person, it was the last few words of his rant that confirmed the kind of person No Flaws really is in a dating relationship.

If I’m dating a woman who [insert what No Flaws deems offensive] , I’ll fuck her, but that’s as far as it goes. There won’t be a future beyond that, even if we’d talked about a future together.

His attitude didn’t surprise me. I’ve known him for years, and we’d dated on 3 different occasions. So, I wasn’t offended, especially since the things he said bothered him weren’t things I had said or done while we were dating. What I did learn about No Flaws after all these years was something I’d suspected already:  He’s a double standard in word and deed. He has a serious character flaw. Or two.

Character, as defined by Oxford Dictionaries, is “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Given enough time and opportunity, and sometimes distance, people reveal their character to you. If you’re lucky. This understanding, revelation, aha! moment, or whatever you want to call it, is akin to freedom.

We all have flaws. Some flaws are superficial and can be corrected, while other flaws reveal a mental and moral deficiency. Some people are willing to work at fixing their flaws; consider giving them a chance to do so. Other people won’t change; ending the relationship might be the right thing to do. It’s your call.

In either scenario, be a person of good character, honesty, and integrity. If you’re a No Flaws, do the right thing for the one you’re dating. If you’re dating a No Flaws type, you may have a decision to make.

Before I end this post, I want to address the topic of abuse. Emotional, verbal, and physical abuse are more than just flaws. These forms of abuse can result in years of therapy or worse, death. Please contact your local authorities or someone who can help if you are or someone you know is being abused. Stay safe.

As for No Flaws? Friends only, and I’m not setting him up with any women I know. Girl code; y’all are safe.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of the divorced life, even though it took FOUR rewrites to get this post right. Blogging is hard! 

Copyright 2015, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication or use of any content is allowed without express written permission from Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. Your cooperation is appreciated and expected. We monitor for plagiarism and copyright violations. You may share posts as long as they are attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Bitter is as Bitter Does

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It’s THAT holiday. I’ve had a man in my life on Valentine’s Day exactly three times: once in my early college life with my first-ever boyfriend, when I was married to WHN (what’s his name for those who wonder) for four years, and a few years ago when I returned to the dating scene. All other times, I’ve been alone and either glossed over the holiday or unleashed a verbal assault anytime it was mentioned. My hopes and expectations for the day never matched my lovers’/husband’s idea of Valentine’s Day.

I wanted the flowers delivered to me at school or the office. Never happened. I wanted a nice piece of jewelry, maybe; didn’t have to be super expensive. Never happened. I wanted a nice dinner out. Happened once. I wanted someone to make a fuss over me that was different than the everyday peck and hug, and I wanted to do the same for that special someone. I did; they didn’t. Feel sorry for me? Don’t. I’ve done enough of that myself over the years.

When I married WHN, I naively thought that I’d always have a date on Valentine’s Day. And I was excited and finally felt like I was just like everyone else. Unfortunately, I was dumb enough to agree to marry on the day before THAT holiday. it was romantic, right? Not so much after all. Our anniversary and Valentine’s Day were mashed into one celebration on the day before; Valentine’s Day was deemed unnecessary by WHN.

So much for that fantasy. My fantasy. I was so young and didn’t know how to communicate what I needed.

I didn’t date for several years after the divorce because I was afraid to make another bad choice and I had a child to raise who was more important to me than any date or man. I was more than okay with reasons and choices in that regard. I did make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day when my son was young, and it’s still a big deal for him today. When he’s dating a girl at this time of year, he always does something special for her. I’d like to think I had a hand in that training. I may not have met a man who thought I was special enough to make a fuss over, but I raised a young man who does that for the girls he dates.

Amidst all of the get-over-it, don’t-let-others-steal-your-joy advice, I decided that it’s okay to let Bitterness in sometimes, as long as it doesn’t take root and dwell permanently. Bitterness is a human response to hurt, disappointment, lies, betrayal, and other life experiences that make us who we are at that moment in time.

I say hello to Bitterness, ask it why it’s here and am I as bitter now as I was last time it visited, apply a bit of balm (a day trip, a good book, a new pair of shoes, a phone call to a friend, a night out on the town, or whatever seems interesting), and then tell it goodbye until next time.

Today, I am taking a tap dancing class and then tutoring a student in writing. After that, I’m not sure, but I know my old friend Bitterness will have since departed for a respite.

May you, reader, be blessed and loved on THIS holiday and always.

Renee

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of the divorced life, even though she can’t wait to buy discounted chocolates the day after THIS holiday.

Copyright 2015, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication or use of any content is allowed without express written permission from Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. Your cooperation is appreciated and expected. We continually monitor for plagiarism and copyright violations. You may share posts as long as they are attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Turkey Day Reflections ROAD Mom Style

Not the prettiest bird, but it was very tasty. Letting it rest under foil and warm towels for an hour was the key.
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Now that everyone has left for their own homes, and I’m about to meet friends for coffee, I wanted to stop by ROAD Mom. We’ve had a good year in our family:  new jobs, graduations, birthdays, and just plain good ol’ regular days. Today, it was lots of food, plenty of pictures, a nap for me, and telling the teens to be careful as they left to hang out with friends—just a standard Thanksgiving around here, and every year is always the best. This year didn’t disappoint, except for a few minor things.

 

Smell the brine.

My grandmother would brine the chicken before frying it, but she never brined a turkey. No one in my family brined a turkey. The bird was thawed, and then either roasted or smoked; one year my brother deep fried a turkey to an oily mess. This year, I dropped the turkey in a vat—5 gallon bucket—of brine yesterday. Not only did the smell permeate throughout the house, the brand new bucket I purchased for this purpose is now infused with the smells of garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorn. So much for relegating the brine bucket to a more practical role as a mop bucket. Thanks, John Boehner, for that wonderful, flavorful, forever-lingering assault on the olfactory senses brine recipe. For Christmas, I want you to get the Republican party on the same page so I know where the hell it stands on the major issues, mkay?

 

Not the prettiest bird, but it was very tasty. Letting it rest under foil and warm towels for an hour was the key.

Not the prettiest bird, but it was very tasty. Letting it rest under foil and warm towels for an hour was the key.

Just your standard Thanksgiving fare on my plate, but that wasn't all there was to eat.

Just your standard Thanksgiving fare on my plate, but that wasn’t all there was to eat.

Here, have a little Stove Top with your salt.

I like homemade cornbread dressing, and “my recipe” (stolen from WHN’s sister—my ex-SIL—minus the boiled eggs she puts in hers) is the only one my dad will eat. However, we had fewer family members showing up for dinner this year. In keeping with my desire for an easier, more relaxed event, I decided to make Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing, which I’d never made. I figured low-sodium chicken broth would be better than using water. Good grief was Stove Top salty! There’s always room for homemade cornbread dressing at Christmas.

 

Pumpkin here, pumpkin there…wait a minute! What do you mean there’s no pumpkin pie?!

The only pie my son will eat is chocolate. Again, with fewer family members and me not wanting to have leftovers around for a week, I decided to scale back on the pies. One would’ve thought the end of the world was nigh when others learned that pumpkin pie wasn’t coming to the party. I offered money if someone wanted to go get a pie at one of the many stores open today (God bless those working while some of us lament about the lack of pumpkin pie.), but no one would venture out. There’s always room for pumpkin pie at Christmas. I sense a theme here.

 

Is that a whole cranberry sauce can I spy?

Mother of ****. Canned tastes just as good with a tiny bit of clove and cinnamon. Next year, I’m hiding the evidence and claiming that I made it from scratch. Nobody’ll know the difference. Yeah, that’s what for Christmas.

 

At least the rolls are those Hawaiian kind.

As much as my kiddo loves my cheddar-garlic biscuits and homemade angel rolls, he wanted Hawaiian rolls this year. Not everyone was in agreement, but there wasn’t a roll left to be had when dinner was over. It’s going to be a BYOR Christmas this year.

 

Yep, it’s Thanksgiving.

Whose Thanksgiving is ever perfect? There’s always that one dish that doesn’t turn out quite perfect, that one family member who’s just cranky, and many of us wishing we’d worn some stretchy pants.

 

 

We’re looking at several days of leftovers, and my son’s already asked for the good turkey and noodles that I make. Thank you all for stopping by, sharing your thoughts, and giving this divorced mom some love. May your tummies be full, your beds warm, and lives blessed today and always.

 

Reneé

 

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of the divorced life, even though she plans to skip shopping, hide out at home, and watch A Christmas Story. Who’s up for turkey and noodles?

Copyright 2013-2014, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Slacker Sundays and Thwarted Cable TV Plans

That lady kinda scares me a bit. Maybe she shouldn't mainline coffee?
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That lady kinda scares me a bit. Maybe she shouldn't mainline coffee?

That lady kinda scares me a bit. Maybe she shouldn’t mainline coffee?

 

Today’s accomplishments include getting coffee, a weekly trip to the carwash, and sitting on the couch all morning doing some reading and catching up on emails, and writing some lesson plans for a couple of students. If I hadn’t been holed up with the side project and homework all week, I’d feel like a slacker right about now. Instead, I’m grateful for the reprieve.

Since Thursday, the TV decided to show only the CW channel and won’t let me use the buttons or remote. I’m really not upset about it.

While we have another large TV elsewhere in the house, it belongs to Bo, and I’m not up for a battle to see who whines the loudest. His whining about not getting to watch ESPN was why I kept cable all those years. There are just some things we parents will suffer through, and at the time, suffering with ESPN as background noise was better than a six-month pout-a-thon with an alien from another universe masquerading as my teenage son.

Since I cut the cord, I haven’t really missed it but thought about getting cable again to watch a few shows this fall. That got nixed for obvious reasons, and I can watch most things online. Not in a hurry is a good place to live, I think. I’ll replace that TV when I decide what I want and after I get a few things on my long list of To-dos done… when the weather is cooler and I’m done with school.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of the divorced life, even though she’ll lament not being able to watch Sons of Anarchy and Justified in real time. There’s always Amazon Prime or Netflix.

Copyright 2014, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Loneliness is relative

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cautionA person can be married and feel exponentially lonely in that relationship dynamic. That’s how I felt during my marriage, which was one of many reasons I filed for divorce.  Over the course of the last 17 years, I’ve been, by and large, happily divorced. My doctor and others get a kick out of reading “happily divorced” in the Marital Status column on forms that I fill out.  Most of the time, it’s true. I am happily divorced. The valuable real estate that is my queen size bed is mine, all mine. I come and go as I please without answering to anyone. I’m a workaholic and I don’t hear “you’re never home”. I can sit in my PJs on a random Saturday and read smutty romance novels all day, and no one is around to bother me. Well, except for my college-aged son who comes and goes as if he lives in a hotel.

Lately, though, I’ve been going through another lonely phase.

Truthfully, this lonely feeling is my fault.  The last few months grad school has kicked my behind as I finish the last few courses, my part-time consulting business has slowed down (thankfully because of grad school), and I’ve started feeling burned out on my fulltime technical writing gig and want to move my career in a different albeit related direction. I’ve been so focused on work and being Mom over the years that I’ve let friendships slide and dating is nonexistent.

One thing I’ve learned over the past 17 years since filing for divorce is that my sense of loneliness is often relative to how other areas of my life are going. If things are going well and I’m staying busy, I’ve no time to live inside my head where the very core of me wants to find love and marriage again. When I’m mentally, emotionally, and physically drained, I want to hide inside another’s embrace, escape the stress, or feel a rush that takes me out of my inner monologue. I could join several of my divorced and single friends who frequent bars. A few of them are serial daters.  These solutions are only temporary reprieves for me rather than long term solutions. I’m not fond of bars, and the whole  try-other-people-on gets old after awhile and after repeated bad dates. My douchebag, ***hole radar is broken.

I do know is that the loneliness does eventually pass once I get myself out of my head and stop feeling sorry for myself. Yes, I would like to meet the one God said he’d send. Yes, I’d like to marry again, I think. (I’ll get back to ya on that.)  Lord knows I’d like to experience sex again before I’m too damn old to care.  To get myself in a better place starting this next week, I’m going to the gym again. I’ve the time since consulting has slowed down and I’ve only 12 weeks left in my graduate studies. Oh, well, there’s also a project I’m working for a client over the next six months, but that won’t take up all of my spare time. And I’ll play some loud parental advisory music to bang this mess out of my head. My go to music preferences are some Nine Inch Nails, God Smack, The Toadies, or Kid Rock.

I’m not qualified to tell you how to deal with loneliness. I certainly won’t tell you to get over it.  What I would suggest is that you stop before you act on that loneliness. Find a way to get outside of your head and focus on productive things and activities. No, you don’t have to save the world by crusading against hunger, but you can call up a friend and go out to dinner or visit a local park and go for a walk.  I think you’ll find that loneliness is often a product of our circumstance and relative to what it feeds on. Look at loneliness as a transient, temporary state of mind and being. Then, get the hell out there and live life the way you want.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of the divorced life, even though she not-so-secretly posts wedding stuff on her Pinterest account just in case. It could happen. Or not.

Copyright 2014, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

 

 

Renee’s Favorite (and not so favorite) Reflections of 2013

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On this last evening of 2013, in the U.S. that is, I’m hyped up on pain meds after a dental procedure and looking back over a year that was a mixed bag of almost every conceivable thing one could think of.  Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be anyway? What would it be like if everything was perfect?  While some things that happened were unwelcome, I was able to practice the art of being calm amid adversity. My kiddo learned a few valuable lessons along the way, too, I hope.  I’m grateful for the grace and mercy God extends to me each day.

As we transition from the old to the new, I wish each of you a new year of life and adventure. Live, love, learn, and reflect. Below are a few of my favorite and not so favorite things that happened this year. Well, the things I can recall anyway. I’m sure I’ll be editing the list tomorrow.

The Good

  • I just heard from one of my students that he received a 31 on his ACT! w00t!
  • I lost a bet to a challenging student, and held up my end of the deal to get my nose pierced.  At least she graduated high school. Well worth the brief pain and the weeks of healing, boogers notwithstanding.  (Only those who have nose piercings will understand that last bit.)
  • My kiddo graduated high school and finally decided to enroll in university this Spring.
  • Said kiddo is becoming more independent.
  • NO MORE DIVORCE/VISITATION/CHILD SUPPORT TO WORRY ABOUT (I was happier about this than I was the divorce 13 years ago)
  • The business is growing.
  • Grad school is kicking my butt in a good way; it’s tough but I love it.
  • It’s remarkably easy to transfer ownership of a vehicle to your child, and in some states, as long as it’s only a transfer and not a sale, your child doesn’t have to pay excise tax. Not sure about a gift tax, yet.
  • I’ll be saving $3200 a year on my car insurance! Why?  My kiddo got his own policy!  As an aside, I believe the logic that determines young male drivers are a higher risk is discriminatory and antiquated.  I’d bet that the number of young female drivers texting while driving exceeds that of their male counterparts, and then there are the girls putting on make-up while driving to school.
  • I’ve had 12 days off from work and tutoring in a row!
  • I need more balance in my life.
  • I must work out again.
  • Bought a new vehicle.
  • A friend of mine published her debut novel, The Sacrificial Lamb, by Elle Fiore.  Lies, intrigue, suspense, family, love, and an ending that will leave you clamoring for the sequel, which is in the works now.  Go on, read it, and then let me know what you think.
  • You, my followers, and those who stop by to visit. Thank you!

The not so good

  • My kiddo wrecked the car a week before graduation; he stays away from gravel roads now.
  • Said kiddo believes he knows everything. (It’s gonna hurt when that one hits him upside the head.)
  • Out of pride, my parents refused to attend their first-born grandson’s high school graduation. I hope my kiddo can forgive them, because I’ve had a difficult time of it.
  • I’ve been so busy the past six months that I barely recall much of what happened outside of tutoring, homework, my laptop/tablet, and dealing with a know-it-all teenage man-child. :-)
  • I’ve had 12 days off in a row. I could get used to this.
  • I must work out again.
  • Hydrocodone sucks. I’m not taking that painkiller again; the headaches are debilitating. Just give me good ol’ ibuprofen.
  • Maintaining three blogs and two websites that I seriously need to overhaul but don’t have time to get to as often as I’d like. Thank you for understanding.
  • My delays on the book review and guest post I still need to process…my sincerest apologies! I will get them up VERY SOON.
  • Copy/paste of text in my posts changes the font size. I’ve yet to beat it into submission and do what I want. I will win one day!

Happy New Year in your part of the world. Thank you for letting me ramble, rant, and rave on this little blog.  May you be blessed tonight and always.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though the only way she’ll eat blackeyed peas for good luck is in Cowboy Caviar

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Insurance rates, mama bears, homework, and holiday staycations

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I HAVE 12 DAYS OFF IN A ROW for the first time in 13 years.  In truth, my boss “encouraged” me to take the time since I’ll lose it if I don’t.  At risk of losing momentum and seriously crippling my mojo, I took the time off.  It’s a blessing really, because I have my final course project due and family visiting. Yeah, I think this might work out, mojo loss aside. Bring it on!

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You know that whole best laid plans?  I still haven’t learned that Unwind & De-stress is a pipe dream.

YOUNG LOVE SUCKS FOR THEM AND THE PARENTS.  While I know that there are two sides to every story and then there’s the truth, I’ve been mopping up buckets of tears since Sunday. Having seen the text messages from this I-don’t-have-anything-nice-to-say about the immature little girl  who broke up with Bo via text while he was at work, the young lady is lucky that I am capable of restraint, albeit tentatively held by a thread-bare string. I don’t understand my son’s desire to maintain contact with someone who flip-flops between expressing her undying love and then calling him the worst boyfriend ever five minutes later, only to apologize and say she didn’t mean it. It’s really too bad in this circumstance that Bo is now an adult and pays his own phone bill; I’d block her number. For now, I’ll content myself with fervent prayer that she won’t be the mother of my grandchildren someday. One positive that has come from the situation is that Bo decided to start college in January rather than next fall.

YESTERDAY Bo became a first-time car owner when I signed over my 2004 Civic to him. With receipt and temporary title in hand, we headed to the insurance agent to get estimates since Bo couldn’t stay on my insurance anymore. Many parents of boys that I talk to express their frustration with the antiquated mentality that boys are a higher insurance risk.  I am inclined to agree.  Even my insurance agent, who’s the father of girls, believes it to be discriminatory. We knew Bo, being a young male under 25 and after his night before Mother’s Day wreck this year, would get dinged on the rates pretty hard. But $1915 every six months?!  Fortunately, the agent ran a policy that provides Bo with the minimum coverage for a little over a $1000 every six months and a very manageable monthly deduction.  I, however, realized an annual savings of $2600 after dropping Bo off my insurance. WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Happy holidays to me!

DESPITE THE CONVENIENCE OF ONLINE GRAD SCHOOL, having homework due on Christmas Day is still something I can’t get used to. I worked ahead, of course, and turned it in early.  Still, there should be a policy that prohibits holiday homework.

One of dozens of handmade painted eggs that my grandmother designed.  I still recall how to make them. One day, maybe I'll pick up where she left off.

One of dozens of handmade painted eggs that my grandmother designed. I still recall how to make them. One day, maybe I’ll pick up where she left off.

TRYIN’ TO KEEP THINGS HOLY. I’m a word nerd who enjoys researching the origin of words. The word “holiday” is purported to come from the Old English haligdægIn the 14th century, the word evolved to mean “both a ‘religious festival’ and ‘day of recreation'”. (etymonlin.com)  I have a strong faith in Christ, and the holy season centers around Him in my family. As I rejoice about my insurance savings, comfort my son’s broken heart, ask God for forgiveness often for wanting to go Mama Bear on the heartless girl while simultaneously asking Him to keep her far, far away from my son, and wrap up my final course project, I’ve thought about never taking off work during the holidays again. Something always seems to happen whenever I see a spot of time to decompress. However, I think it worked out for the best because I was available to help my son the first couple days post break-up. It’s Christmas Eve, and Bo is no longer sobbing uncontrollably. THE INSURANCE SAVINGS!  My course is almost over.

It’s a good Holiday break.

However you celebrate, may you have peace, love, and joy this Holiday season and into the new year.

Lots of love,

Renee

ROAD Mom

Google knows best?

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Friday evenings are mine. With my full-time job, running a part-time tutoring business, and going to grad school, I treasure the final evening of the traditional work week. TGIF indeed! It was one of those Friday evenings a couple of weeks ago that the little blue bell next to my name lit up.

What’s his name (whn) had joined Google+™.

Apparently, Google™ thought this valuable tidbit was of importance to me because whn is still in my contact list despite that we’re no longer legally tied to one another. My verbal filter remained intact, allowing only a cursory “Good God” to escape my lips. I didn’t hold back the obligatory eye roll.

Since we have a son together, it’s logical that I would have whn’s email address handy. We’ve traded information, negotiated alternative solutions to issues, and shared our mutual annoyance with each other the past 16 years. However, I don’t think that a third-party service that is not intimately involved in our individual lives should determine what is and is not important to either whn or me. I’m sure whn was notified of my presence.

I couldn’t help thinking his joining odd, because his Facebook page that he and second wife share shows little activity directly from him (our son shares with me things from time-to-time) and whn can be secretive when it suits his purpose. However, what WHN does or doesn’t do is no longer my problem or concern. Our son is legally an adult, and whn and I are no longer tied to each legally. As long as he doesn’t add me to his circle, I won’t add him.

Time to seriously consider deleting him from my contacts. I know better than Google.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s fully aware that whn will never go away completely. There’s always her Tequila Fantasy as a fallback. 

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

© 2012 Google Inc. All rights reserved. Google and Google+ are trademarks of Google Inc.

 

Got dishes? The Rule of Four and Two

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dishesDuring my marriage, I did housework for three, cooked for three, washed laundry for three. For me, managing these responsibilities was easier because I left the workforce while pregnant with my son. Upon filing for divorce 16 years ago, I went back to work and back to school full-time. All while going to divorce court, and caring for myself and my then two-year-old.

Things change when you file for divorce.

I didn’t mind, because I was, after all, beginning a new life. From furniture and kitchenware to bed linens and towels, I replenished everything. Over the years, I’ve acquired enough cookware and dishware that could supply two small apartment kitchens with the basics and still have what I need. Now, I can’t accept full responsibility for the piles of pots and pans; at least half of my inventory was given to me over the years. You see, my mom likes to give kitchen gadgets as Christmas and birthday gifts. I blame it on her retiring 20 years ago. If she has it, she thinks everyone should have it. That’s how I ended up with a pressure cooker I’ve used only once, a mixer that hasn’t been used at all, and pie pans of multiple sizes. It’s quite ridiculous.

I’m a messy cook and too busy to cook intricate, complicated meals that take more than 30 minutes, and then spend an hour cleaning up the mess. Plus, my kiddo is terrible at washing dishes. I’m pretty sure it’s a deliberate move on his part. You name it—bribery, consequences, pleading, going on strike—I tried it, and I’m not looking for ways to get my young adult child to don the Platex gloves. I’ve learned to be satisfied that he places dishes in or by the sink when he’s done. Just because I’ve made my peace with it, doesn’t mean that he needs access to all of the kitchenware.

When we were readying for a move to our new house last November, I decided to apply a little math to my dilemma. I’m an English major, so this was a challenge for me. I was determined, though, because two people really don’t need that much, especially when both are working, going to school, and spending free time outside the home. I decided to keep handy only that which would fit in the dishwasher for one wash cycle after preparing three meals in one day, which is how I devised the Rule of Four and Two. So, I applied these two rules and deliberately packed all the kitchen items so that I would have only the bare minimum available for daily use while everything else was either stored elsewhere until needed or donated to charity. 

Yep! When it comes to dinnerware and glassware, I’m talking four plates, four bowls, four tumblers, four forks, and so forth. For the cookware, I keep handy two of everything. This means two sauce pans, two large pots, two skillets, two colanders, and so on. I didn’t include my set of knives or cooking utensils because they are housed in their own furnishings. I do keep a small blender for smoothies and pureeing, as well as a crockpot for some meals. Otherwise, it’s four and two, and that’s enough for us. On a normal day, we end up with enough dirty dishes to fill the dishwasher one time and no more.

What do I do when company comes over? If we will have more than two guests, I get what’s needed from the storage area in the garage and wash it for that purpose. When our guests leave, the dishes get washed again and stored away for later.

This trick saved my sanity, my kitchen, and my kiddo from a cranky mom who would love to have a spotless house again one of these days. Sometimes, you have to downsize.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’ll miss the dirty-dish maker when he leaves the nest.    

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Gas Stations and Bribery

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As a divorced forty-something woman not dating at the moment, I miss full-service gas stations and being able to bribe the current man in my life with promises to make it worth his effort if he’d just air up the car tires.

While driving to a doctor appointment this afternoon, one of the warning lights on my new Honda CR-V came on. I freaked. Not only did I not know what the exclamation point surrounded by a horseshoe shape indicate, but I was peeved to think that after three months my first new car in 10 years had a problem. Boy was Honda going to get an ear full!

I pulled into the parking lot at the doctor’s office—early—and checked my owner’s manual. The problem wasn’t dire; it was just the low tire pressure indicator. Whew! All that stress for something that I can certainly take care of myself until or unless I need it checked for a possible leak. The kicker is that I don’t want to do it myself. And I have an irrational fear of the tire exploding and killing me because I aired it up too much. Wait, wait! I wrote irrational.  I know how to check the tire pressure and air them up, having performed this task a few times over the years. I would just very much like to turn to the man in my life, bat my eyelashes, maybe look at him suggestively—if lingerie will work, I’ll do it—and say, “Honey, the low tire pressure light came on today. Could you put some air in them for me. ”

A full-service gas station would be great, but the Full Service Gas Station Directory didn’t find a single one in my state. That’s the same kind of results I’ve had in my dating relationships—nothing. So, while I’d very much like to pass on this task to a special someone, I’ve got another tire pressure gauge to keep in the new ride and a quarter’s worth of air to buy.

0 for 2. How ’bout them odds.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’d rather eat eggplant for a year than admit that she knows how to change a tire and oil.    

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Come on!

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My gmail SPAM filter sends all spam to my Trash folder. This spam includes notifications from a dating site I’d joined years ago but had since forgotten about. Thought I’d share some pick-up lines that were obviously selected from a list for your evening’s entertainment.

“Why aren’t you in jail? It’s illegal to look that good.”   RESPONSE:  I brought bail money. Enjoy your stay, though!  DELETE/BLOCK

“Is your dad an astronaut? Because someone took the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes.”  RESPONSE:  No, those are floaters. They’ve worsened with age.  DELETE/BLOCK.

“Do you trust your gut instinct?”  RESPONSE:  Not usually, but I’ll err on the side of caution and DELETE/BLOCK you.

“Do you have a map? I keep getting lost in your eyes.” RESPONSE:  All roads lead to Hell; you might want to make a u-turn. DELETE/BLOCK.

“I’m not a photographer, but I can picture us together.”  RESPONSE:  I was absent that day. DELETE/BLOCK

Experiencing nausea, yet? No? Read on…

“Remember me? Oh, that’s right; I’ve only met you in my dreams.” RESPONSE:  That was a nightmare. You obviously can’t discern fantasy from reality. DELETE/BLOCK.

“Hello, I’m a thief, and I’m here to steal your heart.”  RESPONSE:  I don’t have a heart. DELETE/BLOCK.

“You must have lasers in your eyes because you’ve stunned me.”  RESPONSE:  No, that was Superman’s heat vision.  I bring him everywhere with me.  DELETE/BLOCK.

“I’d love to survive a zombie apocalypse with you.”   RESPONSE:  Awesome! I can feed you to the zombies while I make my getaway. DELETE/BLOCK.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she secretly likes the zombie apocalypse line.   

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Always have a backup plan . . . or a really good colorist.

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The uh-oh’s of life happen; however, I believe that a little planning ahead can help. If I have an idea about how I will handle the unexpected, I experience significantly less stress and am much happier. Having a solid backup plan, or two, is essential for the survival of us divorced folk, especially those of us with children.

I’ve lived by example and consider myself pretty darn good at planning for the unexpected. I map things out for trips, I go on dry runs sometimes so I know where I need to go, I know what I’ll do in case of most emergencies. I go so far as to have backup plans for the backup plans for the backup plans. No kidding. There’s plan A, B, C, and sometimes D.

Yet, I’ve raised a man-child who can’t figure out what to do about something as simple as having food delivered to his work and charging it to his card because he forgot to pack a lunch. God help me. And him. There ain’t no fixin’ this, except by him learning the good ol’ fashioned hard way.

I’ll just color the gray.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s sure her hair will be white by the time Bo is 25.  

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

I can kill a cactus . . .

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…but I didn’t kill the periwinkles or cannas I planted this Spring. My mini rose bush, on the other hand, is not cooperating. When we moved in to the new place, the current landscape already had a couple of crepe myrtles, but I didn’t know what color the blooms would be come Summer. Much to my surprise, the blooms matched the periwinkles in the pic.

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The scraggly yellow rose bush with shark-tooth size thorns that I DID try to kill still lives, as evident in the pic. Look closely, and you’ll see a lone, ill-placed stalk.  It really is too bad since yellow roses are one of my favorites. However, nothing short of digging up that sucker will fix the problem, which is what a shovel is for.

Grad school kicks back in this weekend, and tutoring is ramping up again. I love the Fall. Okay, technically it’s still Summer, but this time of year is my fave.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s a little sad to say good-bye to the little bit of blooming color she’s been able to nurture.  

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

They call me, Mrs.

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Ditching the former married name for your maiden name is all fine and dandy unless you have children who carry your ex’s last name. No doubt, you either have been or will be addressed as Mrs. [former last name] again. Repeatedly. Especially by the young ones.

The only human beings on this earth that can get away with calling me Mrs. [former married last name] are the kids who know me via my son. When they were younger and in school together, it was easier than asking them to call me by my maiden name; they would forget anyway because I was, after all, a necessary association of my son. With three high schools in our hometown, many of the kids went separate ways after elementary and middle school. They’ve all graduated high school now and moved on.

I was shopping in the supermarket up the street this afternoon, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t hear Mrs. [former married name] three times. All from boys Bo grew up with. Where is he? Does he still live with you? What’s his phone number? And so forth and so on. By the time I was checking out, I was able to mesh together the little boy faces with the young men they are now, knew where they were all going to college and/or working, what their future plans were, and was asked when they could come over and would I cook.

I probably should have bought more groceries.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’ll answer to her former married name for only certain people.  

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Nocturnal Bliss

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You will survive daycare, and so will your kids.

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Daycare was both my saving grace and my worst nightmare. When I had to go to class or work, daycare was there to watch over Bo while I did what was needed. When I was potty training him, daycare staff was not as attentive as I was at home. I know, I know…they have soooo many kids to take care of. It’s an excuse. Then, there were the daycare workers who had no business caring for children. But what was I to do when I had to place my son in the care of others?

My kiddo was in and out of six daycare facilities by the time he was six years old. It was a trying time for me, not so much for him. He went with the flow, making friends wherever he ended up and taking it all in stride. I was a mess! When he started school and could go to their before/after care program, I was able to relax a little. Not only was it cheaper and run by teachers, they offered free tutoring and homework help along with other activities. The only remaining challenge was finding a daycare for summers. Fortunately, I was able to find one that kept the kids busy and active, while really taking care of them. Plus, as my son got older, sending him to daycare became easier. I’m not sure why that was, other than he was able to do more for himself.

Sending your kids to daycare will never be an easy decision, especially if you would rather be home with them. I will rarely offer advice on this blog, but I think this is one time when I want to share my thoughts on the subject.

5 ways parents can survive daycare

  1. Choose one that’s right for your kids AND right for you. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your children, field trips to local museums and fruit on the menu will not build trust in the staff and facility. Try another one.
  2. Tour the facility more than once and talk with ALL staff members. You’d be amazed what staff will reveal when you engage them in conversation, especially the younger, inexperienced workers. Seems a bit sneaky? Who the hell cares. They might be taking care of your children, right? Ask them questions about what they like to do, their favorite television shows, etc. Those little tidbits can give you insight into what they might be like around the children in their care.
  3. Visit in the mornings and between 5-6 PM. This gives you opportunities to observe the parents and how the staff behaves during busy times. Sure, the staff will be on their better behavior when you’re around, but at some point, they will forget you’re there.
  4. If it’s not working out, get out. There are plenty of daycare providers out there; you can find another that meets your expectations or provides the best care for your kids.
  5. Don’t feel guilty for doing what you have to do. You’re divorced, and if you don’t have family nearby or family who is able to watch your kids while you work, you may not have another choice but daycare. Reread #1; finding the right daycare for your kids and you will make the difference in whether you survive and they thrive.

In many cases, regardless if you feel like you’re playing musical daycare, your children will be okay. And so will you. I promise. I won’t, however, promise that they won’t put water on the tile floor and use it as an indoor Slip ‘n’ Slide the first summer they stay home by themselves.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she and her brother didn’t share the Slip ‘n’ Slide incident with their parents until she was well into her 30s.  

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Divorce Tag: It’s WHN’s turn now!

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Players:  Two exes; adult children 18 years and older

Rules:  The terms of the divorce decree and visitation arrangement no longer apply. The parent and/or adult child who arranges the event, outing, trip, etc., is tagged “it” for the duration of the activity and is responsible for EVERYTHING, including travel to and from, entertainment, medical, and other monetary obligations, including but not limited to damages and expenses related to property owned by the adult child(ren) when said property accompanies the adult child and all medical emergencies. The parent tagged “it” is expected to notify the other parent in the event of a medical emergency when the adult child is unable to do so.

Ready? Let’s play!

The first 18 years were basically all on me. Sure, WHN (what’s his name) paid child support and exercised visitation about half of the time, but considering that there was over 400 miles between us, the bulk of the responsibility to care for Bo was mine. From emergency doctor visits and last minute runs to the store for school project supplies to sleepless nights nursing high fevers and going to parent/teacher conferences and all the school events. I haven’t had vacation since 1994.

Since he graduated this year, I’ve been slowly pushing  Bo, now 18, to be more independent and responsible for his personal expenses and life.  He pays a little rent, his own phone bill, insurance on his car, and other expenses. I’m still there to offer advice and temporary emergency help if needed, and I don’t mind if he lives with me while he attends college. Everyone needs a leg up, and that’s what I’m trying to do while he becomes more independent.

Which leads me to the point.

WHN wants to take Bo to a baseball game next month. Funny, but my kiddo told his dad that he’d have to talk to me to see if it’s okay. I had to chuckle to myself because I’m sure that didn’t go over well. I decided to call WHN to tell him the same thing I told my son.

College starts in August, he has to get time off from work, he has bills to pay, and they (WHN and our son) have to foot the entire bill and how Bo will get there and back, including car emergencies, and still make sure he can pay his bills. I will not be responsible for any or all related expenses. Basically, if they can work it out and pay for it themselves, including any emergency expenses that arise—go, have fun. I’m just not paying a penny of it, let alone a dime.

I’m of the mind that Bo is 18; he can come and go as needed or wanted. Just let me know where he is and what he’s doing in case there’s an emergency. Otherwise, he should pay his bills, mind the rules of the house, and be respectful and considerate.

There is a small part of me that doesn’t want to draw this hard line in the sand, but I know for certain that if I don’t, I’ll be the one expected to fix it all if it goes to South. This time, it’s not going to be all on me. It’s WHN’s turn.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she secretly wants to tell WHN “no, you can’t have him”. 

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Dig in

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Filing for divorce isn’t easy; making it for the long haul can be even harder. When you just want out, any length of time seems likes it’s too long, but you have to go the distance no matter what.

In March 1998, I met with my first attorney who advised me to get a job as soon as possible (I was a stay at home mom) and told me that the divorce would take about 60 days. What a relief! Sixty days wasn’t long, until it turned into 365 days. Then, 730. And then 1095 before finally ending at 1,114 days.  Reads worse than the 3 years and 19 days it took to get the divorce done. Sucked, it did.

I don’t regret it.

The night before my ex-husband was served with divorce papers, I wrote a letter to him. In this letter, I asked him to simply let me go. I would ask for only child support and nothing more. He chose to counter sue me for divorce.

At the initial hearing, I had a job just like my attorney had instructed me to do, and my ex lied to his attorney about the number of car payments left on our truck. There were none left, and I had the paperwork to prove it. He was ordered to pay two months spousal support plus child support.

That’s when I decided to dig in my heels for the long haul.

Over the course of our divorce, I endured a 20-question interrogatory and mandatory mediation; wherein, my ex tried to buy me off with $1,000. I refused. It was a tumultuous 3 years filled with tears and prayer, and feelings of being emotionally raped. Yet, I came through it with the vehicle in exchange for the equity in the home, a portion of his retirement contributions during the marriage, splitting certain responsibilities for our child 50/50, child support, him having to carry our son on insurance, and me the option to live anywhere I wanted “without regard to geographical location”. I could have asked for more, but I was satisfied with what I received.

You will, too,

You’re reading the watered-down version, as sharing the details of my divorce is sometimes overwhelming for me 13 years later as I revisit feelings I thought long buried. However, no matter whether you’re a man or woman, I encourage you to dig in and fight for what you’re entitled to. It sucks, I know. It could take a long time, but it’s the right thing to do.

Are you going through divorce right now? Need a sounding board? I’d love to hear from you.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she can outlast the best of ’em.

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

DIY is for other women

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Where I’ll be this eve

I’m pretty adept at working my fulltime job, running my business on the side, maintaining a home, and being a mom all without paying  lawncare and housekeeping services. However, I absolutely loathed putting together the Adirondack chairs that now grace my front patio. In that moment, I wanted to be married to or dating a man willing to put those bastards together for me. Pure stubbornness prevented me from paying  a handyman.

A home that is relaxing and welcoming is one of the most important things to me. My home is my safe place, an oasis for me to escape the daily grind. Over the years, and mostly out of necessity and good ol’ fashioned stubbornness, I’ve been more  apt to take care of most home improvement and maintenance projects myself. Lawn needed mowed? I was on it. Change out the mechanism in a toilet tank? Yep, I could handle that. Paint the house? Give me a ladder and brush. As I’ve gotten older, and especially after this weekend’s project, I miss having a man around to do these things with or for me. I’m simply not superwoman; I wasn’t made to go it all alone.  This doesn’t meant I can’t; I’d just rather not.

There, I said it. I think we all have moments like this from time to time.

I’ve kept that tidbit to myself for a while now. Years, really. Many of my friends and acquaintances think I’m strong, resilient, and great. What they don’t know is that there are times when I feel like a poser; someone pretending to be something she isn’t. I don’t like being strong all of the time, all the crap thrown my way doesn’t always  bounce off, and I’m not as fantastic as others think. Most of the time, I’m doing all of these things because no one else  is around to do it!  Believe me, there are things I’d gladly hand over to a man who loves me. My short list includes anything that involves climbing a ladder, plumbing, and assembling things. If he’ll throw in a foot rub, tropical vacation  now and then, lots of sex, and take care of me when I’m sick, I’d be happy to reciprocate.

Mind, that’s just my short list. And it’s not an invitation. I’m quite picky.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s over the “I am woman. Hear me roar.” mantra, and still needs to hang the curtains she bought six months ago.

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Remind me tomorrow why I dig this pre-empty nest thing

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nestI’m currently traveling the world. A few short hours ago, I was in Germany before making my way to Holland. I’m thinking about stopping off in Ireland before heading to Mexico, and then to bed. Actually, I’m not physically in any of those places, but they all make great beer.

If you read my last post, you know that my son graduated high school last weekend. I’m happy for him, but I’ve seen him maybe two hours total since Saturday between his school and both of us working. On one hand, it’s a tad disheartening , as I’d love for him to be little forever. He was soooo cute. On the other hand, it’s liberating. This is our opportunity—his and mine—to be who we were meant to be as individuals. It’s exciting!

If you’re divorced, you know what I’m talking about. Everything falls on you when you’re the custodial parent; it’s 24/7 with no break. In fact, parenting is 24/7. However, when you’re filling the role of both mom and dad, the pressure is on two-fold. You sometimes have to postpone temporarily some of the things you planned in order to be mom or dad or both. It comes with the territory, and while I’d not change a thing, I’m looking forward to more time to pursue my own interests.

Regardless if you’re divorced or married, an empty nest is your opportunity to grab life by the balls. Take it. Live it. Love it.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s a total light weight when it comes to alcohol. Thankfully, the bedroom is a short walk down the hallway. DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Of tassels and tears

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tasselsandtears1It was surreal seeing my only graduate. In the abstract, and when he was young, I knew this day would come. Then, I found myself in the moment, wondering where the time went and if it was real. I cried a little, recalling the day he was brought home from the hospital with an apnea machine—the machine from Hell, I might add—and coping with the stress of having a premature infant who projectile vomited for weeks, as well as me trying to heal from a condition I now know was postpartum cardiomyopathy, a condition that could have killed us both or left him without a mother, and then more than a year of postpartum depression, something that many thought I should just get over.

I moved forward with trying to help us both navigate the challenges that divorce presented to him. I recall the confusion on his two-year-old face during the exchanges. And especially, as a young child, when I was called away from my studies or work to come to the daycare or school when he’d have a meltdown three days after returning home from visitation every month. I think I did a good job, as he’s one of the most well-adjusted children of divorce I know in spite of everything.

His first day of Kindergarten, swimming lessons, trips, fencing lessons (he didn’t like getting poked), school parties, death of his first pet—a fish named Sonic—first orchestra concert, first day in high school, first dance, first date, his first wreck the weekend before graduation (I’m still stewing about this one!), and a host of other memories flooded my mind this past weekend as he walked into the venue and across the stage.

As Bo and I move forward through a new phase in life—he into adulthood and the responsibilities that come with it, and me facing an empty nest eventually—I recall reading something several years ago by someone I can’t recall:

As parents, it’s our job to work our way out of a job.

I’ve been successful in some respects and failed miserably in others. I’m okay with that; I have to be, right? You don’t get a do-over when you’re a parent, but you can do better from any given point in time. Every parent who desperately loves their children does the best they can in the moment, and that’s the most we can expect of ourselves. We apologize to our children when we know we’re wrong. We provide moral support, regardless if we agree with their decisions or outcome. We worry. We cry. We hug. We listen. We love. We let go because they need us to. It will be the hardest thing I’ll ever do.

Much love to my kiddo. I love him dearly, desperately, and unconditionally even though he wrecked my car. He is and always will be my favorite person in the whole world.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s still waiting on the insurance check.  

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Pray for Oklahoma

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My home state has been hit hard the past two days.  A former classmate lost her home last night, and other friends are searching for loved ones. The devastation is surreal and worse than the May 3, 1999 tornado according to some accounts. Ways you can help those affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma:

pray4OK

Until YOU are divorced

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. . . the best thing you can do is let us bend your ear, cry on your shoulder, and feel the comfort of two arms holding us as we work through our feelings. And we will. Please, however, refrain from words of advice that are akin to “get over it”. This advice, sometimes meant as positive motivation, from those who have not been divorced can come across as insensitive and uncaring, no matter how gently you deliver the message.

Even if you speak from the point-of-view of being a child of divorce, a stepchild, a step-parent, or a second spouse, you have not experienced the pain of getting divorced, especially a divorce that may have been contentious. No matter how wise a decision to divorce is/was, it is equivalent to a death. Hopes, dreams, wishes—all dead. Our and others’ lives, both past and future, are changed forever. It takes time for us to work through the emotions, and even when we arrive at a place where we have healed for the most part, there are still moments and times where the pain of loss hits. A memory or an event can unearth the decomposed, maggot-riddled remains of a failed marriage, and we’re back “there” again. Add to it children, and we wrestle with shards of guilt that our decision to marry and divorce means for them as they navigate the challenges that divorce presents.

Until you are the one who is divorced, it will be difficult for you to understand what we feel and live with on a given day. Until a person can put him/herself in the ex-spouses’ shoes (my shoes in this case), it’s difficult to know the hurt and fears we try to keep a tight lid on for the sake of our child(ren). We cry, we scream, we yell in private, hoping to hide the pain from our children. They may not see or hear it as it happens, but they know we hurt. If we’re lucky, we have a friend or two to whom we can vent our true feelings and share our fantasies that involve the perpetual, eternal torture of the ex, if applicable. Mine happens to include tequila shots and watching my ex bouncing off jagged rocks/edges in a bottomless pit for all eternity. And this is healthy.

Listen over a cup of coffee or glass of wine. Give us a much needed hug, as we often miss the healing power of touch. That’s what we need most.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she still fantasizes about tequila shots and jagged rocks. 

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

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Healing Power of a Tequila Fantasy

You’re going to pick at it sometimes

I’m a mean mom . . . today.

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I believe in the power of a daily dose of chocolate and a pedicure every two weeks. These are the two indulgences that I give myself without fail. The first because I just like chocolate, almost any chocolate.  The second, however, comes with a back massage and a glass of wine. Talk about a treat! These fringe benefits aside, the foot massage included with my pedicure incorporates reflexology and pressure points to relieve aches and stress. It truly is the best part of the service, which is among one of the reasons why I’m making my son get a pedicure today.

With the graduation festivities winding up this weekend and next week, stress is going to be par for the course all around for everyone, especially my kiddo. He still has to study for finals and work his part-time job while balancing the demands on his time from both my side of the family and his father’s side. All while medicating a Springtime head cold. So, I figured a pedicure would be good for him.

As far as he’s concerned, I’m assuming much too much, and he let me know that he’s not the least bit happy about it. Not because he thinks pedicures and manicures are unmanly; he happily will succumb to a manicure from time-to-time. No, that’s not it. He just doesn’t like people touching his feet. I don’t blame him; he and I both agree that feet are gross, which is all the more reason to get a pedicure. Why walk around with gross feet when you don’t have to? And his aren’t pretty.

So, while the other moms out there will receive flowers, cards, and other gifts tomorrow, I’ll be getting the stink-eye from an unforgiving, 18-year-old man-child who would rather walk around with vampire toenails and callouses. Thank God this place serves wine, as I think I’ll need it!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there!

UPDATE:  He liked the pedicure, but I think it was more the cute girl giving the pedi than it was the actual pedi. I guess I’m forgiven.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she believes breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day is a myth, as she’s never seen it happen in real life. 

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

FREE TO A GOOD HOME!

I got yer "lean in" right here, Sheryl Sandberg. I ain't drinking that Kool-aid.
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I got yer "lean in" right here, Sheryl Sandberg. I ain't drinking that Kool-aid.

I got yer “lean in” right here, Sheryl Sandberg. I ain’t drinking that Kool-aid.

No, it’s not real.

I’ve had a busy week already, and it’s only Tuesday. I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned it before, but in addition to my fulltime gig, I own my own business and provide services that include technical writing and private tutoring. My client/student load ranges from 5th grade to college students. What this often means is late nights and performing triage to stop the bleeding of many a research paper. For example, a parent contacted me Monday to help his high school freshman with a research paper that was due Wednesday. The caveat the father had was that I wasn’t to do the work for his son. While I completely understand, being a parent myself, when a paper is in that bad of shape, the student needs a lot more assistance that less than 48 hours will provide. After explaining to the father the limited timeframe and what should and could be done realistically, we agreed upon the approach. In the end, all went well and the student has a completed paper in his hands tonight. He can sleep easy, and I’m a few dollars ahead. This leads me to my main point.

I never really wanted to be a career woman; I just wanted to be a wife and mom. Yes, I filed for divorce and I’ve had a couple of opportunities for a serious, possibly lifelong relationship. To some extent, I brought this on myself. I’m woman enough to admit it. My ex, on the other hand, resented the hell out of me staying home to raise our son. We didn’t need the extra income; he just wanted it. It was a Catch-22 for me.

In all fairness, I’ve had a good, albeit bumpy career, and starting my own company helps me feel more in control of my professional life. I’m very grateful for the gifts I have and opportunities that come my way to help others. This aspect of my professional life is why I still love what I do after a dozen years crunching words and writing instructional guides that maybe one person reads. It’s still fun. I am blessed.

However . . .

I took a break from grad school to get through my kiddo’s HS graduation and take a breather, but I’ll be damned if a HUGE project from a former client fell in my lap. It’s great to know people in all the right places. I just finished the RFP, and if they accept it, I’ll be busy up to my eyeballs for the next four months. Do I have to accept it? No, but when you are building a business, you do what you need to do to reach your level of success.
A vacay, some quality downtime to recharge; that’s what I need. A  beach, some imported beer, a NAP, and a companion to be lazy with sounds really nice. *sigh* Someday. ‘Til then, I’m going to make the most of the life I’ve chosen, and if someone happens to come along and I invite them to join me on my wild ride through life, all the better!
How y’all doin’?
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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s  really friggin’ tired this eve and will remain eternally grateful for the many blessings.

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Guess who’s coming to graduation?

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whoissheThe other woman in my son’s life is a bit of a mystery. My ex invited her into my son’s life 14 years ago, and then promptly married her within a few weeks after the divorce. I know only the color of her eyes and hair, about how tall she is, and what my son thinks of her. I’ve seen her from a distance and a picture of her with sunglasses on. I’ve heard from my son some of the things she’s said to him, like “You’ve been an only child too long.”  I asked to meet her during the early years after the divorce, but she never materialized, never showed her face. I have, however, met her and my ex’s two daughters whenever we would meet for visitation. As for her? Well, I eventually gave up, deciding I had more important things to focus on.

Yes, I’m talking about what’s-her-name, wife #2, the second wife, my wife. Regardless of the many labels I’ve bestowed upon this woman, the fact is I’ve never met her. All of that is about to change in less than two weeks. You see, my son is graduating high school, and they are all coming up here:  the ex, her, and their two kids. This will be the first time I will come face-to-face with this woman, and I found myself ruminating on what I might say to her, and yes, I’ve even practiced what I would say!  My thoughts have traveled across multiple boundaries from blunt and bitchy to friendly and forgiving.

Selfishly, I want to be blunt; I want to be a bitch. I want to say, “Long time, no meet. Long overdue, don’t you think?” Rhetorical, of course, because I couldn’t care less what she might have to say. The reality is that she probably doesn’t deserve the bulk of the blame. My ex does.  I feel that he should have had respect for me as my son’s mother, and made sure that his new wife and I met. He didn’t.

For my son’s sake, I need to be friendly with an attitude of peace. So, as we’re all sitting around a table—my son and me, him, her, and their two kids—at my son’s last high school orchestra banquet, I’m going to smile, participate in polite conversation when I have to, and focus on my son. It’s his night, his last hurrah. I’m going to behave.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s more than happy to do tequila shots while watching the ex’s wife bounce around the Bottomless Pit of Eternity with her ex-husband. 

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Don’t pass on the 28-year-old hottie

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He was tall, around 6’4″, with lean muscles, dark hair, and blue eyes. Not a pretty boy, thank God, but good-looking and a really nice guy to be around, in class at least. Just my type. The sad thing is I was so blinded by busyness and the responsibilities that accompany parenthood and a graduate fellowship that I didn’t see him standing right in front of me.

The first time I met him was the Fall of 2000 in Bibliography and Research Methods, a required course for all English grad students. He was 28-years-old, single, no kids, and had returned after taking a few years off following graduation. At the time, I was 34-years-old, had a Kindergartner, and was working and going to grad school fulltime. I don’t think he knew how much older I was than he. Anyway, the only time we talked was during class, and when December marked the end of the semester, I didn’t see him again until the next Fall when he invited me to join a graduate study group one  night.

Single and divorced parents can probably guess what happened next. The I-can’t-get-a-babysitter-on-short-notice excuse rolled off my tongue with minimal effort. It’s one of those automatic responses that, unfortunately, contains a lot of truth. After that, he and I  ran into each other now and then. About the time Halloween rolled around, he invited me to a party that was being held by one of the professors; I could even bring my son. Wonderful! Except we didn’t and don’t celebrate Halloween. Did I compromise my beliefs or stick to my convictions? I chose the latter.

Our single, childless counterparts don’t always know the juggling required to make something like that happen. If we’re lucky, and have supportive family members close by, we can tap into those resources. If not, we hope to have a couple of babysitters on call. When that isn’t an option, we have to say no most of the time. While I don’t regret upholding my convictions, I regret the circumstances. I was so busy with fulltime grad school and a fellowship, and helping my son transition in school that this guy—a guy who did things right—got away.

Why do you hide behind or get lost in busyness?

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s softened her stance on Halloween but still falls prey to busyness.

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

I have a love-hate relationship with Wal-mart

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Standing in line five people deep.

Not being able to find what you need because they moved it . . . again.

The was pricing that never was.

I loathe shopping at Wal-mart. Yet, whenever I got to go shopping sans child, it was the most exciting thing to me because I got to go ALONE. Regardless if  you have kids, braving any store can be a harrowing experience. However, it’s especially challenging when you’re a parent. No matter their age, kids always want this AND that. They get cranky and tired, or worse, bored. The older they get, the less often they want to go with you. And if you’re blessed with a tall son like I was, you have the added benefit of taking him shopping to reach things on the top shelves; yet, even that is accompanied by not so quiet groans of complaint. It’s a Catch-22, really.

As a divorced mom, my son had to go with me everywhere when he was younger. From two-hour hair appointments and three-hour shopping excursions to getting a tank of gas and grocery shopping, he experienced it all. He even had the privilege to attend a three-hour feature writing course with me one night. That’s what happens when the babysitter craps out on you, the parents live an hour away, and your brother and sister-in-law already made plans. There simply wasn’t anything else I could do but take him with me. Poor kid. On the bright side, he knows what to expect when tagging along with a future girlfriend or wife. Plus, not many kids can say they went to a college class at age four and lived to tell about it.

Like any parent who has to take their kids with them, you do what you have to at the time because there may be no other alternative. I think, though, it can be slightly more difficult for divorced parents at times. We can’t take off for the store while our spouse stays home because there is no spouse. We can’t drive to the quick stop on the corner to get gas because the children are not yet old enough to stay home by themselves. However, I made the best of it, and you will, too. If you’re lucky, maybe one of your kids will get an after-school job at Wal-mart. That 10% discount comes in handy sometimes.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though her son accepted another job at Braum’s. Good-bye 10% discount, hello free ice cream!

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

When my son thought I wasn’t looking

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kidYesterday, I was getting a pedicure at my favorite nail salon and trading mom stories with the nail tech. She is a mother of a three-month-old, and I’m the mom to an 18-year-old. As working moms, we can miss some of those little things that our kids do while we’re at the office but not everything.

I heard the first word, saw the first step, experienced his first day of school for the past 13 years, and a host of major milestones. Yet, the one thing I never can get enough of are those unguarded moments when my son was playing or hanging out with friends. Watching him laugh and just being himself when he didn’t know mom’s eyes were on him was freeing for him, and it showed. I remember feeling the same way when my parents weren’t around or when I thought they weren’t looking. Now that my son is becoming an adult, I expect that the opportunities to witness those moments will be few and far between. As excited as I am for him to become who he is and wants to be, growing up really stinks.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s thanking God that her son is graduating and getting out of the public school system.

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

You’re going to pick at it sometimes.

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You want to scratch the red dot, too, don’t you?

Healing after the demise of a marriage takes time, but even then, a tiny dot remains over the gaping hole of disappointment. When I look at that tiny dot closely enough, I see the scab left 13 years ago. Though it’s best to leave it alone, it does annoy me now and then. But only when I pick at it.

Yesterday was one of those rare times when something unrelated triggered a memory, which turned into a catalog of the things that what’s his name has and I don’t. The trickle of disappointment that oozed from the wound became a steady bleed. I staunched the wound with a Come to Jesus meeting in the kitchen, armed with the best weapons in my arsenal:  a bucket, scrub brush, and some cleaner. My kitchen floors are so clean you can eat off of them today. God and I, on the other hand, are still hashing things out. I happen to think 10 years is long enough to wait for Him to deliver on a promise made. And no, it’s not my Tequila Fantasy; although, I’m not opposed to the possibility.

I’m not part of the get over it mindset. Rather, I advocate the idea that everyone will heal in his or her own timing, and it’s not anyone’s place to tell him or her to just get over it. My decision to divorce my ex was absolutely the best for us and our son; I don’t regret it. In fact, I’ve forgiven him and asked forgiveness of him. I have moved on, but that tiny dot is still there.

It will be there for you, too. Just don’t pick at it too often.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she thinks Nine Inch Nails is much better than the metal core her son listens to.

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Flirtations over Ramen: Giving it the ol’ 50-cent try

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I was grocery shopping midweek recently and noticed a nice looking man, dressed business casual and within my age range standing in the bakery section. Yes, I looked and appreciated, and then I moved on. Shopping, remember?  What struck me as odd about the man was that he seemed completely engrossed in reading the week’s store circular. Maybe it’s not that strange, but I’ve not seen a man do that. Ever. For a good 15 minutes, he stood there thumbing through that circular as if it was the most interesting thing he’d read.

While he was busy perusing the “rock bottom prices” and sales items, I went about my errands. I generally shop the perimeter to avoid a lot of the junk, but I think they’ve caught on because smack in the middle of the produce section was a plethora of bargains. Most of them I pass up because they simply aren’t things we eat. This time, however, they had the good brand of ramen at 50 cents each, unlimited quantity! I’m not much of a ramen lover, but my son is ever since one of his babysitters made them. So, every now and then I’ll buy up several to have on hand.

At some point during my archeaological dig through the ramen bin to find all of the chicken-flavored packages, the man had meandered over my way unnoticed. That is, until he asked if the ramen was any good and which one I would recommend. YOu know that internal groan? Yes, that one. I guess a guy’s gotta start somewhere, but of all the places to flirt with the opposite sex he chose to advance his cause via ramen. There was simply no way this gentleman, dressed as he was, purchased ramen. And if he did, it was probably during his college years. I’m confident that it was not a simple need-to-know kinda thing; he was coming on to me. I told him that I didn’t really know, that my son was the one who liked them, and then I returned to my dig. He stood there for another 30 seconds before giving it up.

It’s flattering and can be fun when men flirt with me. For those few minutes, I feel desired, interesting, and like I still got it. But, gentlemen, please approach us when we’re looking at the healthy food options or in the beer isle, not the 50-cent or 10 for $10 bins. If you’re a single man shopping the bargain bins, and this may be the jaded-don’t-waste-my-time-divorced-40-something talking, I’m going to wonder about your financial stability or if you’re in league with the extreme coupon folks.

I don’t coupon.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though it took FOR-EH-VER to find the perfect noodle quote. Anybody want to watch Kung Fu Panda? What about The Sandlot?

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

When the P.I. looks like your little brother

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I was swinging my son on the swings in the courtyard of the campus apartment complex when I looked up and saw a man standing by the laundry room. He was far enough away that I couldn’t make out his features exactly, but he looked familiar. In fact, he looked a lot like my little brother. Why wasn’t he walking over here? Should I walk over there? It was strange and a bit scary.

My ex and I were a year and a half into the divorce proceedings, and it was anybody’s best guess when it would be done.  He was on his second attorney, the first having dropped him for reasons he should explain. Said second attorney behaved like a bully, only to be put in his place by the judge every time we went to court. His latest stunt of sending a P.I. to follow me only proved his idiocy and that my ex was getting ripped off, and not by me.

What reason would there be to have me followed? I still don’t know to this day. The guy couldn’t have been more obvious if he’d tried, since all he did was stand and stare at us. The best he would’ve gotten from tailing us was our daily schedule, which consisted of dropping my son at daycare, going to class and work, picking up my son, and then heading home for the night only to do it all over again the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat. Nevertheless, it  behooved me to address the situation.

I walk toward the man, my three-year-old son on my hip. The man starts to shift around, probably wondering if he should leave before I had a chance to approach him. He had been peering in to the laundry room and surveying the courtyard. His behavior wasn’t exactly covert. When I reach him, I state my name and tell him to tell my husband and his attorney that they should hire a P.I. who doesn’t look like my brother the next time. Not saying a word, he turns on his heel and leaves.

That’s how I pictured it going down in my head, anyway. In truth, I glared at the man from afar, picked up my son, and we went into our apartment and locked the doors. Later that night, I sent an email to my ex telling him that if wants me followed for whatever reason, he needs to make sure his money is spent on someone who’s more covert and doesn’t look like my brother. I didn’t receive a response.

Like I said, idiocy. At least it wasn’t my money.

There will be things that you may never know the why and what for, and you will have to get to a place where you’re okay with that. I was angry that my son and I were followed, and scared, too. If your divorce is even the slightest bit contentious and you think you’re being followed, no matter how silly is sounds, tell your attorney or local law enforcement. You just never know.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she wouldn’t be opposed to Tom Welling or Robert Downy, Jr., following her around.  Oh hell, why be picky! She’ll take both, preferably just out of the shower, towel-dried hair, dressed in white T’s, and wearing lowrise Levi’s. 

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

The three best words you can say

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My morning was off to a bad start. I woke up late and have a pending deadline to meet at the office. I’m on edge–looking, hoping, expecting. As I stand in front of the coffeemaker at the Circle K, confused and lost, he walks up alongside me and says those three little words:

“Here, let me.”

And then he fills my 24-ounce coffee cup with Hazelnut coffee, smiles, and pays for his coffee on his way out. When he walked up to me with the coffee pot in hand and poured a cup of coffee for me, that was one of the most meaningful, little things anyone had done for me in years. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to say thank you  before he was gone. I’ve never seen the man who made my day two years ago again, but I do remember what he looks like.

You thought I meant THOSE three words at first, huh? The only person who’s said I love you to me the past several years is my teenage son, and usually, that happens at the end of a phone conversation because he thinks saying it will get him off of the phone sooner. Sometimes, I’ll hear it when I’ve gifted him with money or a special item he’s been wanting for a long time. My son volunteering to do something probably won’t happen until he’s a few years older and more mature. For now, that’s okay.

In the meantime, if you have a friend or family member who’s divorced, offer to do something for them now and then. It doesn’t matter how small the offer is, just do it. We often won’t ask for help until things reach critical mass, but those times when people notice us struggling and show us a brief glimpse into what it’s like to have someone pay attention to our needs for a change, no matter how small, are pure gold to us. The best thing you can say and do is exactly what that man said and did. I will never forget it, and if I ever do see him again, I will say, “Here, let me,” and buy him a cup of coffee. ‘Til then, I try to pay it forward as often as possible.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she hasn’t yet met anyone who will offer up a beachfront property on a secluded island complete with a hot cabana man and free flowing beer.  

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Invest the child support

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But, Renee, that money helps me clothe and feed my kids, and sometimes, helps pay for things like little league and dance class. If I save or invest it, the kids wouldn’t be able to do those things.

And I don’t pay child support to my ex just so it can be put in the bank while my kids go without.

You’re both right. Regardless of who pays and who receives the child support in your situation, the primary purpose is to help with the expenses associated with raising children. Child support eventually runs out, though. What will you do if the money isn’t there to pay for college and the other parent won’t help? What If your child’s GPA is high enough to get into college but not high enough to get scholarships? What if you and your child don’t qualify for grants or loans? What if you simply can’t afford to pay for higher education?

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use the child support as it’s intended. I’m suggesting that you consider investing or saving as much of it as possible. If you’re concerned about how the money will be managed and by whom, you may want to meet with some investment managers to discuss your options.  If you want the money spent on education, many states now have special education funds in which the money could be placed.  You could then have it incorporated into the divorce decree and earmarked for anything from paying for college or major medical expenses to a special purpose like a new car or trip overseas as a graduation present. I’m not an investment expert; however, it would behoove you both to seriously consider it an option. There are a myriad of ways to ensure that the money is safe and reserved for the kids when the time comes.

I understand that there may be times where you may not be able to save even $10, but if you receive $500.00 child support each month, try your best to invest or save at least 10% or $50 each month. When you can, add more to this amount. You will be glad you did.

Child support is for the children, not a means for either of you to manipulate each other.

Child support is for the children, not a means for either of you to manipulate each other. If you’re the one paying child support, suck it up and know that most of us who receive it do not see it as our money; we spend it solely on the children. Those of you who receive it, manage it for the benefit of the kids. Don’t make me put you both in opposite corners.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she didn’t save as much of the child support as she had hoped. Bring on the student loans!

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

For a split second, I see the ex, not the child.

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Science can explain the color of the sky and other phenomena. Other things, like why the dryer eats the socks, simply can’t be explained. They just . . . are the way they are.  Children are their own individuals, an amalgamation of you and their mother or father. They are who they are, but when the kids aren’t around one parent as often as the other as a result of divorce, how is it that they mirror that absentee parent?

Since he was little, I’ve told my son that he’s my favorite person in the whole world.  When he was younger, I didn’t pay much attention to the similarities in his and his father’s mannerisms. I’ve noticed lately, as he transitions into adulthood, that these similarities are more pronounced, and there are times when it bugs the hell out of me. How can a child who saw his father on an irregular basis and talked to him on the phone only sporadically be so much like his father?  How can a child, nurtured primarily by one parent (me), be like the other with whom the child spent so little time?

Every once in a while, I feel a twinge of pain when my son’s mannerisms mirror his father’s.  For a split second, I see the ex, not the child.  And I hate when that happens, and I hate that I hate it. I also know that this is my issue to work through, not my son’s.

One good thing is that my son is more like me. He has my eyes and hair, my ability to adapt to change and not to be afraid to take risks when opportunity knocks down the door. My son is also a great friend to his friends, sometimes, to his own detriment—just like me. And he’s a hard worker, just like both of his parents. His style of music and early adulthood political views do not match his father’s or mine.

It’s inevitable, I think. Trying to figure out why my son’s mannerisms sometimes mirror his father’s shouldn’t be the focus, and I have to work at it. I can always tap into my Tequila Fantasy when needed.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even when she has to listen to metal core music with her favorite person in the world at the wheel. 

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Healing Power of a Tequila Fantasy

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It’s an evening at Summer’s end, just cool enough for a bonfire, light jacket, and time spent with friends. The tailgates are down, and I’m sitting on one of them with a bottle of my favorite tequila in one hand and a shot glass in the other. My friends, who tagged along for support, are imbibing in their personal choices of oblivion. The fire is roaring, giving off enough light to see and keeping us warm enough so as not to feel the slight chill in the air. We’re looking over the edge of the Bottomless Pit of Eternity, rocks and jagged edges jutting out from the pit walls.  What’s His Name is pinging from one rock and jagged edge to another, performing a series of somersaults and spins only a Cirque du Soleil performer could manage. One somersault equals one shot, two somersaults is two shots, and so forth. It’s a great show.

My recurring fantasy was a running joke among my friends and me, but it was also a coping mechanism that helped me work through the hurt and disappointment of a failed marriage. I was able to express my anger in a safe way through the fantasy. The Bottomless Pit of Eternity is fictitious, and What’s His Name is about as graceful as a football player taking his first ballet class. I wouldn’t mind seeing WHN’s attempts at somersaulting in a gymnastics class, as I think the resulting belly laugh would be worth the 400 mile trip.  

The power of fantasy can help purge the disappointment, grief, guilt, and other hurts that accompany divorce. And while many therapists say that fantasies are a common way that many people deal with the aftermath of divorce, it is NOT okay to act out our fantasies of aggression or anger.

“It’s OK to have fantasies of ‘acting out’ against our ex as long as we don’t actually act it out in real life.  Over time, anger helps to break the love feelings we felt towards our ex.

Do not seek revenge.  It’s OK to fantasize about it, but it is not OK to act it out.  Angry behavior such as hitting things, yelling or screaming only leads to amping up the drive for more angry behavior.  Don’t do it.”  ~ Dr. Jim, the LA Therapist.

I’ve had fun with my improbable tequila fantasy, and it helped bring levity to an otherwise emotionally stressful time in my life. I don’t visit it as often as I used to, which means I’ve healed. Thankfully.

These types of fantasies are okay, and can be entertaining while you’re healing and processing your grief. If you find yourself in a place where the anger and resentment is more than you can handle, call a friend or family member, or speak with a qualified professional who can help you navigate successfully to a place of healing and joy.

I’ll have to write Dr. Jim about the correct use of the comparative form of angry.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she has no plans to attempt a somersault anytime soon. A shot of tequila, neat, followed by a Guinness chaser is always an option, and you’re welcome to join her anytime.

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Give the staycation a week off

East Coast or West Coast? Fly or drive? Oh, the choices!
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2013 is here and I can’t believe a real vacation just might be in the cards this year. Job responsibilities and schedules look like they might align perfectly. The choices of East Coast or West Coast  and fly or road trip seem overwhelming, and I can’t help but smile. My son hasn’t been to the ocean yet, and I’d love to take him as a graduation present.

Many of the families I know take vacations at least once a year, sometimes twice. For this divorced mom, my vacation days were used to stay home with  a sick child, stay home when I was sick, my son’s school activities, for the visitation schedule with his father, and a host of other commitments. By the time Summer rolled around each year, I’d usually gone through half of my vacation days. I might have had about 2-3 days left to use in December.

Looking back over the last 13 years, I had the staycation down to a science. Annual seasons passes to the local water and fun parks, and the zoo were a must. A local theater company would have Shakespeare in the Park during the summers, and tickets were reasonably priced. We’d go fishing on Saturdays when the weather cooperated and visit family. When my son was a preschooler, spending time at Petsmart looking at the animals was a goldmine of free entertainment. We came home with a fish only once; Sonic lived for two years.

I enjoyed these times; it was what I “could” do. The first time my son road the log ride at the fun park and saw wild animals up close at the zoo, seeing his excitement when he caught his first fish—all cherished memories photographed  in our own backyard.

I’d still find the means to travel elsewhere, even if only once. Whether with my son in tow or an adults only vacation, I’d give the staycation a week off.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even when it’s all about the staycation. By day, she’s a technical writer, editor and trainer in the IT industry. In the evenings and on weekends, she runs her own company, providing private tutoring services to students ages 10 to adults.  She is also pursuing a Master of Education in Adult Education and Administration.  Reneé is currently planning a “real” vacation. 

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Let What’s His Name lie in his own bed much, much sooner.

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My son, affectionately called Bo (biological offspring), has changed his phone number three times in the past three months. It’s his money, and I attributed it to being on the cusp of adulthood. Make no mistake, I had a lot to say about his mindless expenditures, and he learned a valuable, expensive lesson. Each time, however, Bo neglected to share his new number with his father. One time, his father left messages for three weeks before finally calling me to find out if everything was okay.  Most recently, Bo finally settled on a carrier and a permanent phone number for the next two years. I made the effort to share the new number with his father.

I’m not sure exactly why my son doesn’t think to do this, as I’ve not asked him yet, but I’m inclined to believe that WHN is getting exactly what he’s nurtured and cultivated. It saddens me, really; however, it’s not a problem that I can fix.  Time with our kids flies by quickly, and when we meet only the minimum requirements, we get the minimum in return from them.

WHN and I live a little over 400 miles apart, and because of this distance, I crafted our own visitation arrangement that combined the best of standard visitation (i.e., alternating holidays and birthdays) with a personalized schedule where our son would visit  once per month and an extra week in the summer and during the Christmas vacation. Even with the customized visitation and my encouragement to be more involved, WHN canceled visitation regularly, never exercised his right to visitation over Christmas, and only saw our son in the summers for a few years. With the technology 10 years ago, there was and still are a plethora of ways to stay in touch with family. Why WHN never took advantage of SKYPE and other media is anyone’s best guess. Only he can answer that question. 

Disneyland Dad...that's what my Adolescent Pychology professor called the dads who swoop in once a month to play, and then leave the kids with mom to pick up the pieces.

Disneyland Dad. That’s what my Adolescent Psychology professor (who is a man) called the dads who swoop in once a month to play, and then leave the kids with mom to pick up the pieces.

When my son was younger and didn’t want to go to his father’s, I would tell him that it would be like going on a little vacation and that they would have fun.  Then, he could come back home on Sunday.  My son figured out early on that his father was the way he was and there wasn’t much he could do about it. My well-adjusted kiddo had the right attitude, and to this day he lets it role off.  I, on the other hand, wasted the early years after the divorce and a lot of energy being angry on my son’s behalf. It was, indeed, futile. I would not waste my time in that manner again. Thankfully, I let it go years ago.

Now that my son is 18, he can decide the type of relationship, if any, he wants with his father. I’m not sure where the father-son relationship will go in the coming years, but at the moment, WHN is lying in the bed he made. I pray for both their sakes that they forge a positive relationship over the coming years.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even though she’s never been to Disneyland.  By day, she’s a technical writer, editor and trainer in the IT industry. In the evenings and on weekends, she runs her own company, providing private tutoring services to students ages 10 to adults.  She is also pursuing a Master of Education in Adult Education and Administration. 

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com

Date more, fear less

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"I won't let love disrupt, corrupt, or interrupt me. Anymore." ~ from the song, Love Interruption by Jack White.

“I won’t let love disrupt, corrupt, or interrupt me. Anymore.” ~ From the song, Love Interruption, by Jack White.

Dating was an abstract concept for several years after my divorce.  After spending three years attending university and being in and out of divorce court while raising a preschooler, my focus centered on forging a career in technical writing, making a good living for us, and being a mom. Dating was, quite frankly, more work than I felt I had time for. I was also a product of my upbringing. In our family, the kids came first and we did things as a family. My parents hired babysitters from time to time to go to an office Christmas party or attend American Legion Auxiliary meetings. More often than not, it was just the four of us.  These reasons, however, were excuses because I was afraid. Of a lot.

Dating can't be that scary when you're divorced, right?

Afraid of who was out there and losing my identity again. In the first few years following my divorce, I would experience mild, silent panic attacks when men would flirt with me. I couldn’t get away from them fast enough, and because I’d made mistakes in the past, I didn’t trust myself to make sound relationship decisions.

Afraid of how my son would react to someone else wanting my attention. My kiddo is a remarkably well-adjusted individual, and he loves meeting people.  In retrospect, he would have been just fine, which was proven a couple of years ago the first time I introduced him to a man I was dating.  Although the relationship ended, I credit this man for showing my son the positive things that he should expect from a potential stepfather.

Afraid of parental wrath. It was easier to keep the peace than subject myself to interrogation and humiliation.  In the same breath that my mother used to broach the topic of remarriage, she would find various reasons—cost of babysitters and I shouldn’t be one those moms who selfishly leaves her kids with others—why I shouldn’t date. Never mind that our parents left us with babysitters now and then. What was most peculiar was that there were, and still are, types of men that were unacceptable in the family. I have my own theories as to why my mother is this way, but it’s in my best interest to avoid the inevitable. Not dating was as good as the next answer. I was the compliant child after all, doing what my parents told me to do and say and being how they wanted me to be.

Nine years after my divorce, I was able to move past the fear and begin thinking about dating again. How did I do it?  I didn’t. It was a moment in time when a former work colleague flirted with me that I suddenly realized I hadn’t panicked. There was nothing sexually harassing about his behavior; I know the difference between flirting and harassment. I was ready, and I’ve made peace with my fears and become more confident in my decision-making skills.

Plus, I really missed sex.

I also now know that my son would have been more than okay with me dating. In fact, and in some cases, it might have been good for him, too.  My parents, for all their good intentions, are controlling, and I’ve had to set boundaries with them. My dating life is one of those boundaries that they must respect, regardless if they like it.

Whether you’re a newly divorced parent or thinking about getting out there again, I encourage you to date . . . often. You have more control than you think, your child(ren) will probably be okay, and the parents will get over it. You deserve to have fun now and then.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even when dating results in a series of hits and misses. By day, she’s a technical writer, editor and trainer in the IT industry. In the evenings and on weekends, she runs her own company, providing private tutoring services to students ages 10 to adults.  She is also pursuing a Master of Education in Adult Education and Administration.  Dating is a distant 4th.

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

I took that whole “housework can wait, kids can’t” a little too far sometimes.

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It can't wait every time.

It can’t wait every time.

I like things clean and orderly, but I’m not a neat freak. When my son was younger, I attended school fulltime while completing my undergrad degree and worked, which meant that evenings and his nap time on weekends were dedicated for my homework and studying. Saturdays were always our Day o’ Fun; housework could wait. And I can’t go without mentioning FYONCF, also known as Fix Your Own No Chores Friday. We deserved it after all. I could use that one weekend out of the month when he visited his father to do the heavy cleaning, right? That’s what I told myself, anyway.

Things never get too out of hand, but sometimes, the laundry sits in the chair for a few days as we dig out what we need when we need it. I run the vacuum when I have a solid four hours so I can move furniture out of the way, which is about every 2-3 weeks. I will sometimes let the dishes sit for a day or two before shoving them in the dishwasher. There are moments in our crazy busy lives when we may have a half dozen fast food soda cups, large size, and McDonald’s fast food bags sitting around in various places of the house…for a few days.

No, this is not the norm. But I wonder if I’d been a bit more anal retentive about the housework if my son would wash the dishes he dirties, pick up his wet towels off the bathroom floor, and hang up and fold his laundry. I’ve tried, really I have.  Making chores fun by “mowing” the carpet was a novel idea maybe two times before my son decided he didn’t think vacuuming was important. I’ve made the “I’m not living with this mess anymore” speech and divvied out the chores that WILL be done every day.  My son is good for about three days’ worth of this.

In the grand scheme, would it have been different had I remarried?  Something tells me no.  Today, the dishes are done, only two shirts and a pair of pants blanket the living room chair, and a lone Sonic Rt 44 cup sits on the side table right now.  I’d say that’s progress.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of parenthood, even if the house is in disarray sometimes. By day, she’s a technical writer, editor and trainer in the IT industry. In the evenings and on weekends, she runs her own company, providing private tutoring services to students ages 10 to adults.  She is also pursuing a Master of Education in Adult Education and Administration.

Copyright 2013, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom.

Of Age and Sex [NSFW]

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Not safe for work rating as a precaution for language. The servers used by your employer could pick up a word or two that’s deemed unsafe. Jobs are hard to come by in this economy, and I want you to keep yours. Don’t work and read NSFW content. Lookin’ out for y’all!

As a late 40s divorced mom with a master’s degree, a good career, and my own business, I’d say I’m doing pretty darn good. I have friends who are a great support system for me. My son, Bo, is making his way out in the world and, hopefully, will be moving out soon. It’s a time in life where my age, experience, and wisdom have met and coalesced in harmony. Except where sex is concerned.

I know much more about my sexual preferences and needs now than I ever did in my 20s and 30s. I also know my body better and what an orgasm actually feels like. At times, my libido is akin to a horny teenager’s. I’ve read articles saying that’s because I’ve dwindling estrogen levels, which allows the testosterone to run amok. The fact is that one of two scenarios exists: no partner means I want a supply of batteries on hand and some good smut to read, or having a partner in my age group is hit or miss because he may have trouble performing. This all leaves me in a sex drought, wondering if I’ll ever have a mind-blowing orgasm that’s not self-induced.

Plain sucks. Or blows. Whichever you like.

By the time I’ve myself figured out, and realized how clueless or selfish I and my past lovers have been, the date-able men my age are facing performance challenges of their own. They try to make up for it in other ways. Sometimes, it’s different forms of affection or more inventive foreplay with or without toys, which can be fun and satisfying. However, I’ve never made love in the shower (There are nonslip pasties on the shower floor, right?), had a man’s face between my legs while I’m splayed out on the dining table (as long as we don’t ruin my expensive dining table), or been bent over the back of the sofa for a nice fuck (is this even comfy?) Complete with orgasms for me and him of course. All this is the stuff of deliciously good smut, which I’m not ashamed to say I read. You’ll find it among the works of Aristotle and Seneca, Shakespeare (overrated), Jonathan Swift, and South American writers (Gabriel Garcia Marquez rocks!), among others. I’ve a B.A. in English; a small library with variety is a must in my house.

With age and divorce comes wisdom, knowing, and a sense of confidence and freedom I didn’t have in my 20s or 30s. Too bad these don’t come with generous helpings of wanton sex with a good man and orgasms that leave me mindless and limp.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of the divorced life, as she fantasizes about Will in Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren. Why didn’t they write them like this when she was young? Let the ovaries sing! 

Copyright 2016, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication or use of any content is allowed without express written permission from Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. Your cooperation is appreciated and expected. We monitor for plagiarism and copyright violations. You may share posts as long as they are attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

Money, statistics, and divorce

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DISCLAIMER:  The views and opinions expressed by the author of “The True Costs of Divorce” are solely that of the author only, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of roadmomblog.com or its owners/writers.

“It’ll be $2,000, and the divorce should be done in 60 days.”

That’s what my first attorney said; what she didn’t say was far more costly. Namely, if my then husband countersued me for divorce, which is exactly what he did, it would take longer. After three years, a second attorney, and about $10,000 total (that’s just my costs), the divorce was finalized. I had family with whom my son and I could live temporarily, a job, and other monetary resources to see that the divorce was conducted fairly, and that both my ex and I were afforded the full extent allowed by law. Fairness was very important to me, because I wanted the facts to speak for themselves when it mattered.

Others who are seeking or have sought a divorce may not be as fortunate as I, or their focus may be on simply getting out without ensuring that the financial side of things are in place. The bottom line is that you should place your financial well-being near the top of the To-Do list before or immediately after you file. I took steps to ensure my financial security beforehand in order to reduce the stress; however, I didn’t have a how-to or someone to advise me what to do and when. All I had was time and plain ol’ common sense. For example, I didn’t have a need for or the funds to hire a financial advisor as recommended by the article, and I’d suspect that others won’t either. However, I did have to think about moving costs and the money necessary to set up a new place to live after filing for divorce.

Not all of us can afford everything that’s recommended in “The True Costs of Divorce” by Kimberly Rotter and Credit Card Insider, but it might help give you a head start, whether you’re contemplating divorce or currently in divorce proceedings. When this article was first presented to me a few months ago, it was primarily a collection of quotes with little commentary. The quotes, however, were relevant and reflective of others’ experiences.  Plus, my point of contact for the article graciously answered all of my questions and assured me that their services were strictly informational. (I hope that’s still the same after all this time.) Several delays in my world meant delays in sharing this article with you. Since I first read the article, it has been improved significantly with the addition of more commentary and only the quotes that support the author’s assertions.

Regardless if you’re only considering divorce or if you’re deep in the thick of it, giving some attention to your financial stability is important. How do you protect your credit? What can you reasonably afford?  Why should I invest the child support I receive?  You will be glad you did a little planning.

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of the divorced life, even though she feels extraordinarily blessed as she reflects on her post-divorce financial well-being.

Copyright 2013-2014, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.

“Let’s Get Physical” with Elle Fiore!

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For those of you who like romance with a little suspense, Elle Fiore is publishing again soon! “Let’s Get Physical” is a great read for one of those days when you skip the gym in favor of a comfy chair and cup of tea or glass of wine. Having just filed for divorce, our weight-challenged heroine—Fine! Overweight but formerly fit and trim.—steps back into the local gym where she meets a reluctant personal trainer. The last thing he wants is another lonely divorcee trying to get in his pants, but he decides to help her anyway. A little sweat and lots of hard work turn up the romantic heat between these two. Throw in a jealous, possessive ex-husband, and they’ve got more than a little trouble on their hands. While the plot seems similar to other works in this genre, Elle navigates the formula with intelligence, sensitivity, and a dash of realism with a few surprise detours along the way to shake things up.

You can follow Elle on Facebook.  If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste https://www.facebook.com/ElleFioreWrites?fref=nf in the browser address field.

You can find Elle’s debut novel, The Sacrificial Lamb, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I’ve loved romance novels since I was a teenager. From the sweet to the trashy, I don’t pass them up. In my world of academic pursuits and writing technical content, I need a diversion of hot heroes and strong heroines who provide a bit of fantasy and escape from the drudgery of life.

Reneé

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Reneé has been happily divorced since 2000 and is devoted to making the most of the divorced life, even though she’ll likely never reveal the full content of what’s really in her Kindle library. “Let’s Get Physical” was written by one of Reneé’s friends who she deeply admires for her writing talent, bluntness, tenacity, and love of life. Got get ’em, Elle!

Copyright 2014, Reflections of a Divorced Mom and roadmomblog.com. No derivations, no duplication of any content is allowed without express written permission. You may share posts as long as it is attributed to Reflections of a Divorced Mom and/or roadmomblog.com.