The Cow’s Already Dead

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite expressions.  Its origin is that of a vegan friend who ordered a salad at a restaurant and when it came to the table with cheese on it, I asked whether or not she would send it back.  Her reply was “the cow’s already dead” and began munching away.  Which was of course not true because it was only cheese, but still amusing and appropriate for a great many occasions in life.

One such occasion being, did John or is John schtupping someone else?  Is he going alone on his holiday to Jamaica (an airline credit because he refused to go on our trip in September)?  All I can say to that is the cow’s already dead.  Would it change anything?  No.  Was it the catalyst for John checking out of the marriage?  Perhaps, but the outcome remains the same.  My non-communicative husband checked out of the marriage long before I noticed or before he admitted to being unhappy.  Would it be easier to understand if he had an affair and then felt awful, like he had ruined everything?  Maybe, yes.  Would it make me any more or less devastated, confused, sad, hurt?  Probably not.  Therefore, the cow’s already dead.  I’ve got to deal with the situation no matter what, pick up the scattered pieces, and create some new mosaic.


Diapers, Dementia, and Dirty Rats


Sweet Baby James keeps playing this refrain: Don’t come to me with your sorrows anymore, I don’t need to know how bad you’re feeling todayI declare I’ve had my share and I’ve heard it all before, it’s time for me to be stealing away.

If only I could steal away.  Seriously universe, give me a freakin’ break.  Since John physically left a month and a half ago, I’ve found out my job is in jeopardy due to lack of funding (layoffs are scheduled for around May), the furnace broke and I spent four cold days in December without heat before it could be repaired for a hefty sum, someone (malicious or no) uprooted the poetry post in front of the house (running joke: the poem wasn’t that bad) and rifled through the recycling bin (it would be the week after my single girls shopping trip…see previous post) littering the neighborhood with Lelo and Funfactory boxes, have had a rather large (large as in many and size) colony of rats residing in the basement that needed to be exterminated for the price of the monthly mortgage, my self-help book was stolen (really, who needs it more at this point?), and the heavy rains are now flooding the basement/garage floor.  This is aside from the usual daily diapering of the dog (also issuing pills to prevent leaky bladder) and waking up in the night to the loud caterwauling of the cat with dementia.  My elder animals are becoming more and more like infants and I am now a single parent.  All this on top of functioning at work, attending and trying to concentrate on graduate school, and oh yeah, dealing with some heavy emotional shit because my husband left me!!!  I’m half expecting to find a swarming plague of locusts next time I step out the door.  And I’m wondering if it’s some sort of karmic retribution.   I must have been a very naughty librarian in a previous life.

The Shopping Habits of Single Girls

I have been indoctrinated into the ways of the single woman and her shopping habits.  Sipping a mimosa over breakfast (yes I drink before noon and some days well before 10am—and who am I kidding about the sipping?), I plotted out a busy day of shopping with a friend.  Told I should acquire an array of sexy lingerie and a vibrator, we thus went about town with that mission in mind.  I must be dyslexic because I came away with only one set of qualifying underwear and an arsenal of sex toys instead.  Ah well.

Lately I’ve been given a hard time by a few thinking I should be out there dancing on tables and taking to bed any warm body available.  But that’s not really my style is it?  Very déclassé that.  I have standards, values, taste…and I don’t think casual sex would be very fulfilling.  At any rate, I’m not that girl.  And since I have a lot to work through with myself before becoming properly involved, I have sided with Woody Allen on this one, which is, sex with yourself is sex with someone you love.

You Fucked That Song Up For Me…Thanks

This is one of the many reasons I love working in a library.  Because brilliant little gems like this cross my path and make me smile.  The title is self-explanatory and it includes the usual mix of depressing tunes on a cd in the back along with an explanation of why each of these songs has been destroyed forever.

Having made a little 1990s pre-marriage break-up mix for myself to listen to, this spoke to me and started me thinking.   Not only did my husband fuck that song up for me, he took it a step further.  Music that has been ruined extends to whole albums, even entire genres of music, I now find unlistenable.  Okay, so the melancholy guitar was wearing on me long before this, but I could at least bear to listen to a few chords without bursting into tears…no tears, though it did always make suicide somewhat more appealing (Iron and Wine, I’m thinking about you).  Road-trip music like Tom Petty is off limits now, as it was sort of the anthem of our courtship.  Did I keep these anthems when dividing the music collection?  Of course I did.  Will I ever listen to them again?  Not bloody likely.  I should have paid more attention perhaps when my husband, let’s call him John, insisted on singing loudly along with Free Fallin’ (since getting back together after the first break-up in university).  “And I’m a bad boy, cause I don’t even miss her, I’m a bad boy for breaking her heart.  Now I’m free, free fallin.”  Well, he certainly is now isn’t he?

I’ve gone back to INXS, and U2 as well, though it was heavy in the courting days.  Thankfully it predates my husband by a boyfriend, so it’s safe.  I have not been able to return to Eric Clapton because I failed so miserably with James Taylor.  Ray Lamontagne I’ve tried tentatively, as I have Josh Ritter and Nick Drake.  All made me sad, but I owned the sadness.  This leaves me with Motown, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Al Green (bless them) and classic jazz tunes.  The blues are quite tolerable too.  Because my range has shrunk considerably, I have reached into my childhood for others and chosen to reintroduce a little country via Randy Travis and also a bit of lounge lizard in Barry Manilow…(What kind of messed up childhood did I have you may be wondering?)

I am wide open to discovering new music that speaks to me.  And if I never hear another singer/songwriter wanking on guitar, it may well be too soon.  And I can live with that.

A 3 Wagon 2 Sister Kind of Day

Having made it through Christmas intact, I was surprised when I began to unravel come New Years.  Why was this onslaught of emotions so unexpected?  Well, I suppose I thought I had come through the hardest parts (husband’s moving day, spending Christmas alone, etc) that New Years, a holiday that was always quite mediocre as a couple together anyway, seemed easy peasy in comparison.  I was wrong.  New Years Eve found me calling around to my best girlfriends (I like to refer to them as wagons, as in circle the wagons) and sisters.  It was a five alarm fire day, or as I called it, a 3 wagon 2 sister kind of day.  After spending the day on the telephone, I celebrated New Years Eve with new friends and had my first tarot card reading.

The cards were full of major arcana and included the wheel of fortune (everything changes), the chariot ( surrender/new beginnings), the tower, which depicted a man falling or jumping off a tower—how very appropriate (having perceptions shattered and reassessing beliefs), temperance (transformation), and the hermit.  It was clear that my current situation is in flux and there are new beginnings and transformation ahead as well as a whole lot of pain, turmoil, and self discovery.  The outcome…the hermit card.  Great.  That is of course not what I wanted to hear.  The reader of the cards then explained (after my spinster freak out) that the hermit is actually a positive card and not what one assumes.  It does mean that there is some solitude, but it is needed to process things and be introspective.  It is a time to think, to hold the light for oneself, and it will lead to enlightenment (one can hope).  There is definitely a journey ahead…am I ready for it?


Goodbye Little Blue Pills and Hello New Bedsheets

After fourteen years of marriage it’s just something that isn’t considered anymore.  Why would I change my method of birth control?  That little blue pill has served me well over the years.  But that is just the question I had to face at my annual pap smear/pelvic exam.

Method of birth control…while carefully studied and evaluated in my teens, it has not been thought about in any mindful way since.  I remember the excitement of learning about (and experimenting with of course) different methods: natural, rhythm, barrier, UTIs, etc. before settling on the little blue pill.  I explained to the doctor my reasons for reevaluating my birth control method…yes, my husband has left me and sadly that means I am not having sex and oh, while you’re at it go ahead and test me for every STD you can think of because my trust has been eroded and my husband has gone off his head, it may be syphilis for all I know.  The doctor then launched into her defense of the little blue pill, as I was sobbing naked (naked, not just from the waist down because I had worn a dress that day, but full body naked under a backless paper smock) on the examining table about my situation, and how there were still benefits to taking it even though it wasn’t necessary at the moment, i.e. regular periods, lower risk of ovarian cancer, etc.

I decided to continue filling my prescription for birth control because as my friend stated, “you don’t really need any hormonal changes at the moment, you’ve got enough to deal with.”  But I also got fitted for a diaphragm while there, because it’s so intriguing.  Okay, so I’ve really always just wanted the mysterious pink case it comes in (it’s a bit of a palaver to use actually).  And as the doctor says, if you’re going to be in new relationships, there’s nothing like the condom.  Which sent me into another spell of naked crying.  New relationships?  Condoms?

After a trip to the pharmacy to fill my not one, but two birth control prescriptions, which is just a bit of silliness on my part as I’ve no need to control anything being that I’m celibate, I found that a funny thing happened.  My husband moved out (not funny) and this 10pm pill time ritual that I have participated in religiously for the last seventeen years, disappeared.  I never forgot to take my pill in all this time and all of a sudden, I started to do just that.  When I began to realize what was happening and that there were going to be no consequences, I decided to go with it.  Why not?  I never wanted to take the pill forever.  In fact, I never really wanted to take it at all, it’s just that my fertile body and my panic attacks at being pregnant didn’t really mesh in my early years.  Once on the pill, I thought age 35 would be a good time to stop and contemplate having children.  Well, half of that is there at least.  And so, with a little reluctance and some sadness, I said goodbye to that incredible little blue pill…and hello to a not dissimilar color of new bedsheets.  I can’t keep sleeping on the monogrammed ones from the marriage afterall.

My $1000 Evening

As the normally romantic nostalgic holiday of Christmas was fast approaching and I was suddenly so very alone, I decided I needed to plan something for myself.  Not just something to occupy my time…this needed to be special and meaningful and truly enjoyable seulment.  And so I booked myself (and the dog) into the Heathman Hotel for the night, a swank historic building in the heart of Portland.

Dylan and I were going to be taking public transport the short distance downtown and bus regulations state only service animals are allowed, so I kitted her out in her red backpack and matching gentle-leader regalia and was busy making up a story should I be questioned…fortunately I wasn’t and we boarded as if we belonged.

After checking in and getting Dylan settled, I went out shopping.  I wanted something extravagant…no, I needed something extravagant.  Something that would say you are enough and you deserve beautiful things.  And so I marched myself into Tiffany’s.  That’s right, into Tiffany’s.  Past the security guards and straight up to the posh looking salesperson behind the counter.

“Hello” I said.  “I am looking for a gold ring to wear on my left hand because my husband has left me and I have X amount of cash.”  Never one for subtly, me.  I was lead over to one side, tried on some priceless things (watched like a hawk circling it’s prey all the while), made it round the room, and came back for the gold twist ring that fit my middle finger.  Sort of an F.U. to my husband.  The salesperson took my selection, put it into the iconic blue box and wrapped it in a red ribbon.  Merry Christmas to me I thought as I walked out of the shop.

Deciding my night of financial debauchery would not be complete without a stop in the Goodwill Boutique, that is just where I took myself next.  I found several new tops and changed into one of them (tags still on) as soon as I returned to the hotel and then went down to dinner…alone.  Which was actually okay once the staff realized that I wasn’t waiting for anyone to join me and was in fact dining alone (why they didn’t get that when I said, “reservation for one for dinner please” is beyond me) so bloody serve me already.  I ordered a beet salad (rediscovering my love for beets that could never be indulged in the marriage) and a winter squash risotto.  With no dinner conversation, I looked around to my fellow diners for entertainment.  The lady in the corner was having a great time with her companion and laughed like Phyllis Diller.  Her hair was not unlike the actress either.  I had soon cleaned my plate and charged it to the room (how I love charging things to the room) and then walked across the hall to drink a cocktail or two while listening to a jazz trio.  Up to the room after that for a midnight raid of the snack bar and off to bed before coming down in the morning for a leisurely and expensive brunch with yes, another cocktail.  Hair of the dog and all that.