Settling

Well, we have come to an agreement through mediation.  I could have done better perhaps, but I could also be a lot worse off.  I’m sure people who say things like take him to the cleaners mean well, but I’m also fairly certain they’ve been watching too much court room drama.  The fact is attorneys are expensive and pretty useless in terms of negotiating.  It is up to the two people to sort it out.  Husband has been reasonable and fair even, but it is not enough income-wise to allow me to qualify to refinance the house on my own.  But I am determined to keep it and I know there must be a way to accomplish this.  I love the house, neighborhood, city, and I am not letting go easily.  The more time I spend asking for more money, the more money is wasted in this process and the less likely I will be able to recover emotionally.  Until the papers are signed and everything is settled, I live in this netherworld of past memories and future fears.  Once it’s done, I no longer have to continually revisit it, as happens every now and again when we meet for a meal and do business things like closing accounts.  It is so nice and we are comrades still it seems, know each other so well, catch each other up on our lives and laugh, and I walk away completely distraught and confused.  Why are we getting a divorce again I wonder?  And it starts up again, all the same old junk.  I can’t take much more of that torture.  And so I am taking a deal and accepting it.  For it to be done.  For me to be able to move on.

A Belated Christmas Letter

Well, the Mayans were wrong.  I was waiting and preparing for the end of the world, and thought it silly to send off another Christmas letter in the face of impending doom, but life goes on and it’s been an entire year since you’ve had an update (unless of course, you’ve been checking the sporadic blog posts).

2012 has been quite remarkable really.  I’ve been keeping myself very busy.  I only have two semesters of graduate school remaining, which will have me an official librarian by August 2013 (fingers crossed).  It cannot come quickly enough.  My very mature opinion on the matter is that it is stupid and I hate it.

Friends and family have rallied around and I have hosted a few fun things like the Naked Lady Party (also known as a clothing exchange, which I think will become a yearly thing), a 4th of July Picnic, and a Bastille Day Party.

Also, I have taken up the cello.  My neighbors offered me their daughter’s student cello to borrow and I began at the beginning, as you do, learning how to read music.  I can now play the crap out of Mary Had a Little Lamb, Frere Jacques, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Japanese Garden, and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Currently, I am struggling through Minuet in C by Bach.  It is coming along slowly, but seeing where I started with things, it’s impressive.

There were also a few get-aways this year. Friend Aimee and I escaped in April for a long weekend to Ashland where we treated ourselves to a few nights in the gloriously old-fashioned (not unlike myself) Ashland Springs Hotel and a play.  In May, the girls and I (Dylan dog & Reeses Cat) spent a week at the library cottage on the coast just staring out at the sea.  And in August the sexy silver fox, that would be my cute little Honda, carried a companion (dare I say…boyfriend?) and I across Oregon, down through Idaho and Utah, stopping in Salt Lake City and then on to Moab.

We continued our journey through New Mexico, camping in Chaco Canyon and documenting the ruins, and then luxuriating in a fantastic hotel in Santa Fe for a few well-deserved nights.  Spent an afternoon swimming in the Rio Grande and sunning ourselves, and then it was back on the road, a little corner of Colorado, and up into Utah again. Explored Escalante, the slot canyons Peek-a-Boo and Spooky.  I wandered up alone, after dropping my navigator off in Salt Lake City, through Idaho, stopping to visit friend Rachael and venture into the ice caves and weirdo bird museum (creepy!) and then on a bit further for a little family reunion.  Sister and the nieces came to stay in Portland not once but twice, as did brother.  They tackled some household repairs and brother played at being handyman for a weekend.   My house and I thank them, as will future houseguests when sleeping on the new futon.

When reflecting back through a year that began on such a heartbreaking note, I must say that it was surprising.  Surprising is the best description I can give to 2012, year of the dragon.  I have grown closer to my family, so many new and great people are a part of my life, my friendships have deepened, and I feel strong and able to cope with just about anything (please don’t test me please don’t test me please don’t test me).  I am hoping that 2013 will be spectacular.  I mean, we get to live on the planet just a bit longer afterall and if that is not something to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

She’s Changing Her Name From Kitty to Karen…

She’s trading her MG for a white Chrysler LeBaron…

Part of the divorce process is the option to change my name free of charge.  Change my name back to my maiden name I asked the attorney?  Honey you can change it to One Red Truck if you want.  Wow, I never really realized.  I’ve just known people to change their name back to what it was before the marriage.  Like you can revert back to that person again.  Seems silly.  I mean, I’ve had my current last name now as long (nearly) as I had my maiden name.  And I like it.  Why would I change it back?  But it did get me thinking…I have always wanted a different first name.  That’s silly too you all might be saying, but it’s true.  I’ve never really felt like a heather.  I just haven’t.  And most people end up calling me something else entirely or not addressing me directly anyway.  What if?  I thought.  In my twenties, my name change would have been Kate West.  Loved that name.  Still do.  But now, I’ve got this book embosser with my first two initials and last name, my poetry is published under that as well, my signature is that, and well, I’m fond of my initials.  They are something I thought I’d have forever.  So now I find myself drawn to the name Helen.  It is old-fashioned in the best of ways, it is my grandmother’s name, it sounds great with my middle and last name, is easier to pronounce in French (which should be more of a consideration for names I think), and it begins with the same initial. I’m sold, what about you?

My Very Bad No Good Horrible Week

It didn’t begin that way, but by Tuesday evening things had started to turn.  Wednesday night I had a date with my husband at the house.  It was our first sit down talk about divorce.  Yes, it’s definitely happening and here’s how discussion.  Lovely.  The actual time spent with him was okay.  It was really nice to see him and talk and I cried, but it was civilized, and he wasn’t trying to be an ass, he just is.  Tried to get him to articulate a little more on the reasons.  Really?  I asked.  You’re doing this to ride your bike and play your guitar more?  And he responded that he was also excited about an idea for starting his own company one day and how that would take sacrifice.  Just call me sacrificial lamb.  You do realize people start businesses all the time and don’t leave their spouses right?  Very fortunate for him our state is a no fault divorce state.

Thursday, while inserting my menstrual cup (what? too much information?) I discovered a small hard lump on my cervix.  Wonderful.

Friday I got a text from dark horse asking if I was available to talk.  Great.  Managed to avoid it till Sunday when boyfriend broke up with me.  He thinks I’m great, but he’s got shit to sort out.  Yeah, me too.  Still, it was the healthiest break up I’ve ever experienced, and the most grown-up, well-considered, growing relationship.  No regrets.

This week has me sorting at least some of my shit out, with a doctor’s appointment and a visit to my attorney.

Can anyone top that?

Falling Apart at Finalizations

I seem to be able to sail through those most dreaded of occasions somewhat unscathed, move out day, major holidays, anniversaries, etc, but I find myself unprepared for certain moments when they come.  Moments I knew someday I may have to deal with, but I hadn’t thought just how I was going to do it yet and was hoping against hope that I wouldn’t have to, and it was too much to think about.  Husband and I are for the most part incommunicado, and have been since I got my own wheels.  Which is puzzlingly and hurtful, but perhaps it was the best thing in terms of the healing process.  I stopped reaching out because the response was a cold distant one and it was more painful to be rejected like that again and again than just to say okay, you want to be alone, I will leave you to it.  We email when something is needed, like when I needed someone to watch the dog and cat when I went out of town, and he has been very accommodating, happy to do it.  Dropped them off and it was a tearful exchange but I noticed he was still wearing his wedding ring.  I picked them up, we actually talked over coffee and caught up, but then he wasn’t wearing his wedding ring.  This was a huge indicator to me about the his state of mind, just what I can’t tell you, but it made me feel good to see it still on his finger.  Like he couldn’t take it off just yet, hadn’t decided.  So when he did, it hit me with the full realization that he was done.  Finished.  Fin.  Days passed and it felt like I was in that beginning pain all over again.  Which is stupid.  On the advice of my support group, I stopped wearing my ring when he moved out.  I have been dating.  I shouldn’t be reacting this way.  Floods of tears.  Phone a friend.  Loud ugly fall apart crying.   I began thinking about all the ways I could’ve reached out, emails, phone calls, texts, letters.  I didn’t even say anything over our anniversary.  Neither did he, but nevermind.  Should I have?  Would it have altered his course trajectory in any way?  Could I have done something more?  Did I try hard enough?  And after talking to friends, I did start to think along the lines of

1)  He knew exactly how I felt, that I didn’t want this, would have done anything

2)  He did it anyway, left me crying hysterically on the floor and walked away, turned his back to me time and time again when I was crying and pleading

Just coming to terms with this when I receive a text from husband asking if I’m available the next day.  Asked me to breakfast or coffee.  Which only meant one thing.  He has made his unalterable decision in his time and he is ready to proceed.  Sent me into another crying jag, this one so bad I gave myself a headache, which then made me vomit.  I called him and told him I was free, but I didn’t think I could compose myself in time for work and so asked to reschedule.  He said he would look at his calendar and hoped I had a good day at work.  I am scared to have this discussion and I am devastated still.  Have been meaning to write about the ring removal for sometime, but was trying to find the funny ha ha spin.  I can’t.  There is no funny to be found here just now.  Perhaps in the future I can look back and say, hey, remember when he finally took his ring off and it made you cry so hard you puked?  Ah, good times.  But for now, it’s just sad.

The Take It Back Tour

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I’ve been a little quiet these past few months for many reasons…school, work, social life…but I also went on a little roadtrip.  I had planned on going alone as an empowering sort of adventure, but instead I invited the dark horse to be navigator and he accepted.  So a different kind of trip altogether, but still quite empowering.

The route was as follows:

Portland to Salt Lake City (12 hours)
SLC to Moab (4 hours)
Moab to Chaco Canyon (10 hours)
Chaco Canyon to Santa Fe (6 hours)
Santa Fe
Taos
Santa Fe to Escalante (10 hours)
Escalante
Escalante to SLC (5 hours)
SLC
SLC to Twin Falls (3 hours)
Twin Falls to Fruitland (3 hours)
Fruitland to Portland (6 hours)

It was a mix of camping and hotels, never more than two nights camping in a row (which I happen to think is a good rule of thumb).  Lots of driving in the sexy little silver fox, but the car did well and managed some very rough terrain.  Long bumpy dirt roads exploring canyons and campsites.  The French tourists praised my driving skills.  Some great life lessons were learned….Google maps is not, it turns out, always right.  Thank god for an atlas in the car.

New Mexico is beautiful.  Image

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It is a small world.  The park ranger at Chaco Canyon was from Idaho.

Finally saw the Loretto Chapel and the miracle staircase.  Bought a turquoise ring so I could come back and say, “Looks like somebody’s been to Santa Fe” which is marriage speak for bedazzled in turquoise and just a little bit tacky.  Spent a brilliant afternoon swimming in the Rio Grande River and sunning on rocks near the John Dunn Bridge outside of Taos.  Salt Lake City really does have streets as wide as I remember and the lights really do take forever to change.  I miss Mazza, and Stoneground still has the best tiramisu in the world.

ImageMoab has been built up in the eight years I’ve been away, but we managed to find a campsite waaay out of town where we were the only ones until some people arrived in the middle of the night and spooked us both.  Thankfully we were not knifed to death and drove out safely the next morning to live to camp again in Escalante.

ImageThe slot canyons are better without dogs.  In fact, there’s a sign at the top of the canyon posted “This Hike is Not Appropriate for Dogs.”  Ha.  Turns out, the maker of that sign knows what they are talking about.  I miss the red rock desert.  The sky is bigger here and full of stars.

And finally…sun on your skin feels good until it doesn’t.

The Dark Horse Ponies Up

Now, this may come as a surprise to some of you, having released the dark horse in a previous post, but he came round again and we’ve been playing quite nicely together ever since.  Though he was still doing the yes/no, hot/cold, come here/go away dance he had been since the start of things and it was beginning to do my head in.  I told him as much, in what I am referring to as the sock puppet talk, which goes a little something like this…

This is all feeling very one-sided.  It’s perfectly fine for you to call and show up at all hours, but when I try it I get this (one hand held out away from the body) no no, I need some downtime, think I’d rather spend the evening alone, etc etc.  And this one (other hand held close to the body), this close vulnerable one is the one I like and want more of and I don’t know how to reconcile the two.

I performed this sock puppet talk sans sock puppets fully expecting the dark horse to bolt and this to be the final end of things.  But instead of running away and avoiding me, he said I think I can do that.  Pardon?  Yes, that’s right.  The dark horse and I are going steady.  Yes, like we’re fifteen.