Archive for October, 2009

Are you kidding me!?

Posted on October 30, 2009. Filed under: Are You Kidding Me!? | Tags: |

I dont consider myself to be much of a complainer. But sometimes these things all happen in one week and then I just can’t help it. Little annoyances all piled up until I can’t help but point it out.

Did you know that we cannot get by without an ATM card these days? I had no idea checks had become obsolete. (Mostly because I haven’t been using them.)  But I lost my debit card last week so checks have been my way of life for five annoying days. You know who doesn’t take checks? The Blockbuster in my area that is closing and has therefore become a retail outlet. You know who won’t let you write a check over the purchase amount if you haven’t written a few checks there in the last ten years (because you’ve been busy keeping up with the times and using a debit card) so that you can finish your transaction at the Blockbuster across the street? Jewel.

Have you been to an Apple store?  I ventured in last week because my iPhone has not been vibrating for about two months.  I walked up to the desk and was asked what time my appointment was.  My what?  I need an appointment for customer service?  Okay – I get it.  I guess we were there on a pretty dead day, which made this concept seem ridiculous.  I suppose if it had been packed, the purpose would have been more clear.  But don’t look at me like I’m an alien because I didn’t know I needed an appointment.  Truthfully, I think their Apple heads are a bit inflated.  Not everyone has been to the Apple store, people!  It’s not like a grocery store, where the customs are known.   Give an iPhone carrying tech-NO mama a break! 

Remember doctor’s notes?  You had to bring them to excuse yourself from school, gym class, science projects.  But Bally Total Fitness?  You must be kidding me.  In April I purchased 32 personal trainer appointments.  I had used just under half of them when my company (which I have been at for less than a year) announced that we would have summer hours.  This meant I would have to be at work an hour earlier all week long in order to enjoy a half day on Fridays.  There goes my standing Tuesday/Wednesday 5:30 a.m. PT appointment.  For the first few weeks I tried going in the evenings when I didn’t have Braden, but I just couldn’t keep it up.  I spent the whole day dreading 8:00 p.m.  If I don’t get it over with first thing, or at least on my way home from work, forget it.  I don’t want to spend my evening after work anticipating an ass-whoopin’.  So I told my trainer I’d be back in September.  When I returned, we had a few sessions before I was informed that my sessions had actually expired – mind you I paid $700 for these sessions and was not informed of expiration, unless in fine print.  I need a doctor’s note to get them back.  YES!  A doctor’s note!!  Who are you, Bally?  My parent?  My school teacher?  No!  You are a business I patronize and paid good money to see my PT.  I’d kick your ass if I were in better shape!

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From the Other Side – #1. The Divorce Attorney

Posted on October 29, 2009. Filed under: From the Other Side | Tags: , , |

Have you ever felt like you were living a life that someone else already lived a few years prior?  Or like you were meant to meet a particular person at a particular time?  I befriended a woman at work just shortly before my divorce process began.  We shared life stories only to discover that she had been through everything I was going through down to some eerie details.  Given that most of my other friends were starting families rather than ending them, I was thrilled to have a friend who could relate.  And offer insight, wisdom, advice.  She had tons of it! 

Yet, I didn’t follow any of it.

I think it is just human nature (either that or I’m a complete dimwit – I prefer the earlier) to need to gather all the information you can, but go your own way regardless.  As though we need to experience the mistakes on our own as part of our growth.  So this is the first of a series of posts in which I’ll share the decisions I made (against my girlfriend’s better judgment), the consequences of which are still rearing their ugly head. 

Ex-Husband and I were civil with one another and of modest means, so when we decided it was time to lawyer up, we collaborated.  Because the court does not allow a divorcing couple to share an attorney, we agreed that I would hire an attorney to represent me in an uncontested divorce.  Ex was not represented.  We split the cost of my attorney – $750 each – and called it a day.  This lawyer drafted a document that I basically dictated to her.  You should see this divorce decree.  It’s a joke.  But at the time, I thought it was what I wanted.  Everything split right down the middle – assets, debt, possessions and our child. 

I wanted the divorce to be over as quickly as possible.  Because we didn’t accumulate much (assets, debt or possessions) throughout the five-year marriage and we agreed on everything, this seemed the logical route.  We each kept our own 401(k), we split up the furniture, he purchased his car from me at half the KBB value, he paid me for his half of our credit card debt, we agreed on a parenting schedule and joint custody, we signed the document, I went to court and we were free. 

Only now, I am not free at all.  I am bound by the load of crap that is my divorce decree.  I should have listened to my girlfriend.  I should have listened to the universe when it was blaring “you get what you pay for” in my ears.  But at the time – to me –  a quick, cheap exit seemed the best strategy. 

An attorney who has since represented me in an unrelated matter shared his view on my flat-fee divorce decree: If a lawyer is going to offer a low, flat fee for a service, said lawyer should communicate that what you get at that rate is not going to be the same quality as what you get at the higher, hourly rate.  They should also explain that if you are hiring them simply to draft a dictated document, you will not be getting any useful legal advice to accompany that document.  My divorce attorney put clauses in the decree that no good lawyer would advise a client to agree to. 

To my girlfriend (she knows who she is):  go ahead and say it.  I can handle an “I told you so.” 

Click here to read the intro post to the “From the Other Side” series.

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From the Other Side – A series of posts on the decisions I made during the big D

Posted on October 28, 2009. Filed under: From the Other Side | Tags: , , , , |

Clutching Braden’s blue bunny, I cried myself to sleep Monday night.  My boy was at his dad’s for what seemed like an eternity (in reality, Monday was his fourth night away and he wouldn’t return until Wednesday evening).   I don’t cry often, and I never sleep with stuffed animals, which is why this is worth mentioning.  This outpouring of emotion started because I missed Brady so badly it hurt.  But it snowballed.  And suddenly I realized that I wasn’t just crying about what I was missing at the moment, but all the moments that I was going to miss going forward.  And all of the normalities that I took for granted as a child that Braden will miss throughout his childhood.  I opened a floodgate, and the only thing that could stop it was the Sand Man.

Tuesday I awoke with a sobbing – I mean throbbing – headache.  I knew I had just one more day to go before I would have my baby back.  But halfway through my dismal day, I got a call that completely changed my mood.  Ex-Husband to the rescue!  “If you wouldn’t mind, uh, if you can, well, I know you’ve been missing Braden and so I was hoping you could maybe take him tonight so I can work late.”  My desperation for five p.m. had changed from looking forward to the day’s end to looking forward to the evening’s beginning!  When I arrived at daycare to pick up Brady, I opened his classroom door and his head turned, his big blue eyes lit up and the biggest smile took over his face.  “Mommmmmyyyyy!!”  He ran into my arms for a big huge hug and then he did one of my favorite things he does.  He touched my face and gazed at me with adoration.  It’s so darn cute.  And we went home to have a lovely evening together filled with laughter, Gator Golf, grilled cheese, bath time and bedtime stories. 

Reflecting on the 180 I experienced with regard to my emotional state, today I decided it’s time to write about something I have been putting off.  What is on the other side?  When embarking on the unknown, on what do we base our decisions?  How do we make the right ones?  Or is there even such things as wrong ones?  Leading up to my divorce, I had a lot of decisions to make.  Mine and Braden’s future hinged on the unknown.  Many people going through a divorce are going through it for the first time.  They don’t have personal history on which to base their decisions.  But in my case, I was also a brand new parent.  I had no idea what would lie ahead in terms of Braden’s development, the challenges we would face as parents, the impact the divorce would have on him, etc.  So I had to make a lot of blind decisions.  I did research and spoke with others who had been in my shoes for advice.  I weighed everything and made the best decisions I could at the time.  In hindsight, I’d have done it all differently.  And I’m going to tell you about it in a series of posts over the next few days or weeks.  Keep an eye out!

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Ice Breakers

Posted on October 26, 2009. Filed under: Extras! | Tags: |

Ice Breakers.  We all know they are coming in certain situations – first day of class, a newbee luncheon at work, seminars, workshops, etc.  Most people dread these, but not me.  Any chance I get to share, y’know, I’ll take.  There are two Ice Breakers that come up nearly every time:  1. tell us your name, why you’re here and what you hope to get out of this, and 2. tell us something most people (or the people here) don’t know about you.  Number One is easy.  Number Two, however, is the one that seems to make others uncomfortable.  The key here is to plan ahead.  You know the question is coming, so have your answer prepared.  I switch off between these two, depending on the audience:

“My elbows are double jointed and therefore bend backwards.”  (This always results in a request to demonstrate, followed by wincing.)

And

“I had 27 jobs before my 24th birthday.”  (This always results in gasps followed by questions.)

Now that these two answers no longer qualify as something “most people know about me,” I suppose I’ll have to come up with new ones.  Perhaps more grown-up ones.  Who’s going to take the Human Gumby whose had (now) 28 jobs seriously? 

What are your answers to Number Two?

 

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My Contribution (This is why I blog.)

Posted on October 24, 2009. Filed under: Life Lessons, Writing | Tags: , , , |

The need to relate is just human nature; it is innate.  People need to feel that they are not the only ones in whatever shoes they’re in.  This is especially true when going through hard times – whether they be professional, financial, or personal.  When struggling/hurting, people tend to search.  They search for answers, support, wisdom.  This is why I’m doing this.

Like most adults, I have  struggled.  I have hurt.  I have failed.  I have searched.  When searching for the answers, support and wisdom I needed during my greatest personal struggle – the dimise of my marriage and the aftermath – I found myself frustrated that there was no one place to go where I could find what I needed.  I needed to read about someone who had been in my shoes, how they handled it, how they came out and what they learned.  I needed it desperately.  I found myself talking to anyone who would listen (thanks, guys), in hopes that one of them would have something to say that would be the answer to all of my problems.  Of course, this just can’t be – but I sure did wish it could at the time.

Friends, family and strangers alike have made assumptions about the purpose of my blog.  I figured a post was in order.  A lot of personal blogs are journals of  the author’s daily experiences.  Mine is not intended to be.  Some are diaries of the authors’ otherwise private thoughts.  Not this one.  A lot of parents’ blogs offer advice on parenting.  I won’t be doing that.  My blog is not a medium through which I’ll bore you with the details of my day-to-day life (you can go to Facebook for that).  It is not intended to be a cathartic experience for me; it is intended to be an affective experience for my readers.  I am writing here to exercise one of my personal values using one of my passions.  Here, I hope to make a contribution through writing.

If someone reads what I have written and feels like they are not alone, I’ve made a contribution.  If I have learned something through my experience that by sharing I can shorten another soul’s journey to the same knowledge, then I’ve made a contribution.  I love to write.  And I love my life in a way that some people can only hope to.  So if I write about how I got here and reading about it helps someone, I’ve made a contribution.  That is why I do this.

I have a lot of ideas on how I can parlay this into more opportunities to relate to others who are where I have been.  But I have to start somewhere.  Here it is.

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