Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Strange Case of Alexander Theroux (on Edward Gorey)

Yes, I know it's been a very long while since I've posted, but life has been taking rather large strides over here lately (positive ones mostly, I assure you), and everyone who knows me is well aware of my massive time management issues. I also thought that anything particularly personal or happy would be a bit disrespectful after the last two posts. However, here I am now!

So, I'm reading The Strange Case of Edward Gorey by Alexander Theroux. I am a Gorey fan, of course, and his home (now museum) is all of maybe ten minutes from mine here on Cape Cod. In fact, now that I write this I realize that I never posted any of the pictures I took when I took The Cuteness there for some festival (free cotton candy and books--can't beat that!). Well, actually I posted them on Facebook, which is yet another reason why I post here less and less since I am on there quite regularly...but I digress (as usual).

Anyhow, about the book. I am confused. There is certainly a wealth of information on Gorey's character, and believe you me he is a fascinating character. However, the writing is so dense and there is such a chronic lack of commas that the book is nearly impossible to read without having to re-read each sentence two or three times. The sheer length of these sentences are so monumental that they often take up entire paragraphs all on their own. Granted, I'm not exactly innocent of long sentences in my own writing, but these are bordering on ridiculousness. My confusion doesn't rest in the text itself though. What I'm having such a difficult time wrestling with is the author's background. Here's his bio, taken directly from the back of the book:

Alexander Theroux has taught at Harvard, MIT, Yale, and the University of Virginia, where he took his doctorate in 1968. A Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Endowment of the Arts Fellow, he is the author of four highly regarded novels - Three Wogs (1972), Draconville's Cat (1982), An Adultery (1987), and Laura Warholic, or The Sexual Intellectual (2009) - and of several books of essays, fables, travel, and poetry. He lives in West Barnstable, Massachusetts with his wife, the artist Sarah Son. He has twice been nominated for the National Book Award.

How is it that a man with such a sparkling academic background and publishing history can get away with putting out such thickly written, self-indulgent, and seemingly editorially flawed book? Perhaps the editor felt that having such an academic rock star as an author warranted an extremely light hand in the editing department? Or maybe it's the choice of publisher that is the problem. The book is put out by Fantagraphics Books, which is a publisher who is best known (and respected) as a comic book and graphic novel publisher. Maybe this publisher didn't know how to handle this kind of manuscript but felt it would be a good addition to their catalog because of the subject matter (though I am not aware of the publisher putting out any of Gorey's work).

Oh, did you catch that "self-indulgent" part? Yeah, it is a little. The author often moves away from telling the reader about Gorey and goes off on brief discussions of his own opinions and experiences. Granted these are still presented within the context of the author's interactions with Gorey, but they still seem a bit like intellectual masturbation. Let me offer up an excerpt for example:

I believe I can say he liked my books and even found a lot of my theories cogent and, one would like to think, even compelling. I remember that he agreed with me that there are four distinct sexes: men, women, gays, and female singers - a grouping all of their own as far as vain, tempestuous divas go, all those petty, hard-to-handle singers like Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Maria Callas, and too many others still alive, fierce, endlessly demanding, and complicated intransigents to a one, who, floral beyond words, often spiteful, are given to the kind of legendary conniptions and impossible behavior we tend to associate with the jealous, dominating, but beautiful Queen Grimhelde in Walt Disney's Snow White who disguises herself as an old hag and uses a poisoned apple to "kill" Snow White, the actual stepmother of Snow White, remember - she had seduced and married a widowed king, who had a daughter called Snow White with his first wife, and then after the king died, the Queen ordered Snow White off to work in her castle, forcing her stepdaughter to abandon her title as Princess. I mention this because whenever I did air one of my theories (and there were and are many) Gorey always registered his smirking approval with a bout of exaggerated applause - slow steady hand-clapping - and the comically deflating, "Now shall we have a rum shrub?"

Whew! Did you notice the SIZE of that second sentence? That entire passage consists of only three sentences total! Never mind that the passage wasn't about Gorey at all really, but a brief diatribe on one of the author's pet theories. If I tried to pull that kind of literary shenanigans in my thesis I would have been raked over the academic coals. Then again, I suppose I'm not the one who has taught at Harvard or been nominated for National Book Awards (....yet). Was this supposed to be funny? It's hard to find humor in such humorless and sometimes even slightly abrasive material. And, frankly, a reaction like Gorey's to the author's theory doesn't seem like approval to me, but wild sarcasm that's just a smidge too polite to call the man out on his ridiculousness. Perhaps I'm missing something, but it's really no fun at all.

None of my ranting is to say that I'm not learning anything. Theroux is clearly an expert on all things Gorey, and he's offering up an intimate, yet analytical view of the man that is pretty handy when it comes to exploring Gorey's work. I was always under the impression that Gorey's work was a little more light-hearted, and composed with tongue firmed planted in cheek. This book isn't making me change that opinion dramatically, but it is making be believe that there's maybe just a bit more social commentary at work than I originally thought. Or not, and either way is okay. Theroux states on multiple occasions that Gorey was a man of contradictions, and this is coming through with such clarity that I can almost forgive the stylistic weirdness of the author. Almost.

There is a distinct possibility that the book is beyond me. I mean, I get what he's saying about Gorey, but maybe this guy is just a little too...I dunno...Derrida for me to have picked up the book thinking it would be a straight-forward biography. If that be the case, then I'll just go ahead and admit that I also thoroughly enjoy the pictures.

On the other hand, maybe the author is writing from a place just a generation too far apart from my own for me to fully appreciate the excessive formality and willy-nilly punctuation rules. There is a passage that clearly indicates Theroux is not a fan of the most popular of popular fiction, calling out Stephen King, among others by name. You won't catch me defending Stephen King in this respect (especially after reading On Writing, which I still haven't decided how I feel about it), but I think it's a pretty big clue to why so much of The Strange Case of Edward Gorey comes across so stodgy. It's sometimes hard to remember that it was originally written in 2000, and was revised for this new edition that just came out this month. The man lives only two towns over from me, so I am tempted to go knock on his door and ask if I can spend some time with him so I can understand just what he's trying to do here, but I really doubt he'd welcome my plebeian self into his world, which I imagine to be wood-paneled and book-lined, studded with leather couches, outdated globes, and green glass capped brass lamps and smelling of that fine vanillan scent of old, decaying books.

Don't get me wrong though, I don't want to turn anyone off to the book. It is wildly valuable as a source of information on Edward Gorey the person. However, anyone wanting to check it out should be aware that you'll probably spend a little more time wading through the thin book than you would expect. In other words, I respect the content, but I am a little baffled as to the presentation. I suppose being one of Gorey's only real friends has its benefits, and being able to write whatever you want, however you want is one of those perks. More power to you, Mr. Theroux.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

R.I.P. John C. Kohn

Unfortunately, the man I was talking about in my last post did not recover from his injury. I'm still reeling from the shock over this situation. This man who was such a huge part of my life and a tremendous influence on me is gone. I have the benefit of distance and time seeing as I'm about 600 miles away from Norfolk, VA now, and I know that his current friends and family are feeling the shockwaves much harder than I am, but this is still one of the most painful things I've ever had to deal with.

I managed to salvage a framed heart-shaped cameo that he brought home from Italy for me on one of his med-cruises when he was still in the Navy. It was in a box of things I had written off and had planned on sending off to Goodwill or something once the weather got warmer. It's on my desk now. I also found the single photograph I still have of him...of us together actually. It was from some Christmas party that he and I went to with my parents probably about 13 or 14 years ago. I wish so much that I had kept more, but years and jealous boyfriends get in the way. I also wish I didn't feel like such an outsider. My best friend from high school has kept me informed, and she understands how much he meant to me, but I also know that I am insignificant in comparison to his pregnant wife, his close friends and his mother (who I only spoke to maybe twice on the phone so many years ago). I regret now the decisions we both made after the last time we saw each other, but only because I wish we could have continued our friendship. I'm still not entirely sure what or why the things happened the way they did a few years ago, but I will have to make my peace with that.

Ultimately my heart breaks for his wife. I know the incredible gift of love that she's going to experience in a few months when their daughter is born, so I pray it is enough to heal at least some of the hurt that she's experiencing now.

All of this is just so tragic, I don't really have the words to express the millions of thoughts and emotions that are swirling around in my head. I just hope he knew how very much he was loved, and how much he will be missed.

In love longing
I listen to the monk's bell.
I will never forget you
even for an interval
Short as those between the bell notes.
~ Izumi Shikibu


Monday, December 13, 2010

Not entirely knowing how I really feel about the situation, I feel compelled to come here to work it out. Partially because I know I haven't visited in a while, and partially because I'm relatively confident that I can speak about this in this forum without it being wildly inappropriate given that my blog is fairly under-the-radar (I hope).

Anyhow, a few days ago, via Facebook (of all places), I learned that someone who used to be very dear to me may not be around much longer. He suffered a brain injury during exercises at the police training facility where he was about eight weeks into his training to be a police officer. They took him into the hospital and managed to perform surgery on him in the normal window of time for these things to take place, but apparently it wasn't enough. I'm no longer in his life, but by some quirk of the universe, he ended up marrying my high school best friend's god-sister--a little kid that used to follow us around when we were teenagers, and whom I never really thought much about. She (the wife) is pregnant with their first child, and, as you well know, it's also only 12 days until Christmas. Can you imagine the heartbreak that poor woman is experiencing? I can't.

It's just so strange to think that he may be gone soon. This was the guy that I thought I was going to marry. We dated for nearly two years while I was in high school, and that's like a decade in high school years. There was a misunderstanding between us, and I ended up marrying someone else while he was away on a six-month cruise with the Navy. He had come home with a ring for me, and it broke both of our hearts. Less than a year later we were back together for another four or five months after I left my first husband, but we were split up again by another one of those damned cruises. This time I moved to Florida while he was gone, and he spent about four years searching for me, never realizing I was so far away. We found each other again as my second marriage was falling apart, and sure enough, we ended up together again. This time it was very short lived because I realized that I had outgrown him. He was still that same guy with the quirky sense of humor, but I wasn't the same girl any more. I had much less self-confidence and drive when we were together, but by that time (about my junior year of college), I had begun to get a better sense of myself and had a pretty strong sense of ambition and motivation. It was enough to break the spell, and I went home after a very long weekend spent with him at his house and knew that it was the end. I didn't speak to him for for a few months, and by the time I decided it was unfair of me to just cut him off like that, he had already made his own decisions about me. We never spoke again, though I have sent him an email or two in apology, but never got a response. From what I understand, this was about the time that he started dating his now wife, who was able to provide some kind of inspiration for him to turn his life around and actually do something with himself. It would certainly make sense that he would cut me off if he had found "The One" especially if I had actually done the cutting off first. Of course, he always told me I was "The One" and I thought he was for me too...funny how things work out isn't it?

So now I'm sitting here in a very different life than I ever thought I would have and feeling the shockwaves of the tragedy that has happened to someone who was not only important to me, but actually defined my world for more years than I can really count. I no longer pine over him, but I am sad that we weren't able to at least maintain a friendship. Maybe it's because our relationship was always so...I don't know...intense. There was a lot of passion there, and a lot of breaking the rules. I still smile when I hear The Who because it was his favorite band, and he even played in a Who tribute band called Slip Kit several years ago. "Magic Bus" has particularly amusing memories because the band made him sing that song when they performed, and let's just say he was a much better drummer than he was a singer. He still holds the record for most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me when he left me a note on my bedroom window that simply said "Let's get together before we get much older"...again, a lyric from a Who song. I remember coming home from school on my birthday and finding the Beatles shirt I had been lusting after for months hanging from my ceiling fan in my bedroom. Everything I know about drummers I learned from him, and you have no idea how much I wish I still had that mixed tape he made me. The only songs I remember from it are "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" by The Police, "Play Me" by Neil Diamond, and "Bus Stop" by The Hollies (because we met, hilariously, at a bus stop in the rain), and it's still impossible to hear any of those songs without thinking about him. He also introduced me to The Ocean Blue, and encouraged me to start branching out in my music experiences. I was already extremely interested in music, but he really lit a fire under me for it.

My life is definitely better for having him in it, and I just hope that, whatever happens, he knows that. I also hope he feels the same way about me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Little Thing Called Love

The Boyfriend brought home an invitation for a friend's wedding a few days ago, and asked me to accompany him to it. Of course I said I'd go with him--I love weddings! But then I decided to visit the couple's website that they had set up for the function (isn't it funny how things have changed in just a decade or two? But I digress, as usual), and I was struck with a little sadness because I realized that I can never really have something like that without someone sneering at it as if it were a joke.

I've been married more times than is comfortable to say. The first one when I was barely 20 years old (ten days after my 20th birthday, to be exact), and it was only for a few months since it was an extremely abusive relationship. The next time, about six years later, I was essentially offered an opportunity and I convinced myself for a short time that my sense of obligation was something more akin to love. Obviously it's hindsight that allows me to see these things because at the time I believed in it. This one lasted about five years, but the relationship itself had fallen apart within weeks of the actual marriage. I held on for what I believed were good reasons, but after I finished grad school I was also finished with him. A few years of drama, and then there was my most recent mistake. He had convinced me that he was someone very different from the reality, and so I thought, what the heck...what's life without the occasional risk, right? I thought I understood things by then, and I thought I had chosen wisely that time. I won't go through all the heads-in-the-clouds stuff since the beginning of that relationship is actually chronicled here on this blog, but I will say that I can only, fairly, partially blame myself for that one since I was so artfully conned by him. Of course, all excuses aside, that still adds up to an embarrassingly high number that has inspired more than one joke about Elizabeth Taylor among my friends and family (with me laughing along beside them).

There are several ways I can look at this. Some say I'm very unlucky in love. I'd like to think that perhaps I'm TOO lucky in love to have had so many relationships that blossomed like that (and then withered away and died). I told my father recently that I'm really very good at a number of things, I'm just not very good with men. A friend, who has known me since high school, told me recently that she thinks that I'm just a very passionate person, who tends to get excited and swept away with things. I think she may be on to something there as well. Maybe it's all of the above.

At this point I actually wrote out a long bit about my dysfunctional family background, but obviously I thought better of it. That isn't the point here anyway. The point is that I'm in a relationship now that is unlike anything I've ever been in before. My previous relationships were full of fighting and other drama that I was willing to accept as normal. I was convinced that I was high maintenance in the emotional department, and that I had an innate inability of forgiveness, and unreasonable expectations of fidelity and honesty. I had ultimately come to the conclusion that I was not actually capable of a relationship that did not involve constant conflict, and that the underlying buzz of misery in my life with someone else was normal. I would have to either accept it for what it was, or I would have to choose to be alone. After the move and the overwhelming realizations about my husband and his family, I chose to be alone.

However, right about the time I was steeling myself for this eternal role as Single Mother, there was quiet and unexpected revelation that there was one last person waiting in line. I tried to shake him off, and I tried to convince him of all of the things I believed about myself in a relationship, and yet he hung on and patiently waited for the struggling to stop.

Now here I am, seven months into this relationship and there's not been any of the stuff that I had started to believe was normal. We don't fight, and on the very rare occasion that something happens, we simply express our feelings about the situation, and any other behavior like that is avoided in the future. I only have to tell him something bothers me once instead of having to mention it over and over and over (with the exception of the toilet seat issue, but it's still very rare). And I love him. Still.

I know seven months doesn't seem like a very long time, but the unhappiness and withdrawal sets in very quickly with me. In each of my marriages I can confidently say that I was unhappy prior to the actual wedding, but I felt obligated at that point, so went through with it anyway. Maybe I was desperate for it to work out, maybe I was stupid or naive, but I knew it was broken before it even started even if I did try to convince myself that that kind of broken was just the way it was in relationships. So now, here I am, seven months into a relationship with someone I have been extremely close friends with for three years, and I still get a little nervous and giddy when I go pick him up from work. He practically lives here with me now, but I hate to see him go every morning.

I know, I know. That's good, right? It looks like I've found real love instead of just succumbing to the usual comfortable misery that Hollywood, the Internet, and an epidemic of dysfunctional families has convinced us that marriage is supposed to be. While I feel like the luckiest girl in the world every night when he tells me he loves me and falls asleep still holding me, I can't help but to be angry at myself for giving away what rightfully should be his. It would be tacky of me to have a huge celebration at this point if/when he and I got married. I can't justify being nervous or excited on the day we get married because I'm a practically a professional bride at this point. I've done the big wedding, the beach wedding, and even the casual and fun wedding--what have I got left? Okay, so I've never just eloped and ran off to the JoP, so that would be new, but doesn't he deserve more than that? Don't *we* deserve more than that? I'm almost to the point of embarrassment of even considering another marriage. My father doesn't even know I'm dating anyone (at least not officially--the man isn't stupid).

So what am I supposed to do? How can I possibly celebrate the most amazing relationship I've ever been in when I've essentially become the Bride Who Cried Wolf? There's no one left who is even going to take me seriously any more. At least not until I can prove that it's going to last. Maybe instead of making a big deal out of the actual wedding we can plan a huge celebration on our 5th anniversary. We'll call it a Longevity Celebration. Then again that just sounds like I just gave him a 5-year trial period marriage doesn't it? Maybe some kind of Anti-Wedding celebration would work....?

Oh, I know I shouldn't be worrying about this since I've not exactly been proposed to or anything yet, but the wedding invitation started me thinking. It isn't that I want to erase my past--I mean, sure, I've obviously made some pretty big mistakes in relationships, but they are all a part of the history that makes me who I am today. I just wish I could figure out a way for him to know that he's not just one more notch in my wedpost (if you will), and to let everyone else know that this one really is different and really is special. Instead of people saying, "Oh, she's getting married AGAIN?" I want them to say, "Oh, she's finally found the right one!"

I guess he'll just have to be happy with my not-so-gently-used heart, and everyone else can just look forward to the day I can prove them all wrong.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I See London, I see France!


I cannot believe that it's mid-August already. I swear just yesterday I was packing up that truck to come to New England, and yet here I am already eye-balling a lease renewal. Clearly time flies whether you're having fun or not. Of course, there's been a lot of fun...more fun than not regardless of the unpleasant and drama-filled beginning of the year. Then again, maybe it was the unpleasant, drama-filled beginning of the year that has enabled all the good stuff since despite all the BS (and let me tell you there has been a LOT of BS), the divorce was probably the second best decision I've ever made (second to having The Cuteness, of course).

So, what's my excuse for the delay in blogging this time around? Nothing terribly exciting, just getting my life together in general. There's been a lot of work, a lot of exploring the local area, and a lot of basking in just how lucky I am most of the time. And I'll go ahead and admit there's a new man around the house as well. Someone who has been a dear friend for several years, and has patiently waited until we were both in the right state of mind and relationship to reveal his feelings for me. I don't want to get too sappy about it, especially since this is the first post after the one about my divorce, so it may seem a bit premature, but it works and it feels just right being with him regardless of the social taboos surrounding our relationship. That's all I'm going to say on that topic right now.

Moving right along...There are Big Plans afoot for the rest of the year. After all the stress of the first half of the year, I decided that I not only need, but deserve a bit of a break. I've done a lot of talking about how much I love to travel, but I haven't been out of the country in many, many years. Sure, I've wandered all over the States, and even made huge permanent moves, but I've not taken a proper vacation since I was a kid, and I've yet to make it back to Europe, where I essentially grew up. I'm changing that come late October/early November. Right around Halloween (a complete coincidence that I'll be spending what WOULD have been my third wedding anniversary over there), I'll be spending ten days in two of the most spectacular cities in the world: London and Paris. We're flying into London to spend four days there, and then we're going to take the train into Paris and spend another four days, flying out from there to come back home. I'm also flying Grandma up here to spend those ten days hanging out with The Cuteness since both of them have been pining for a visit since we left the Deep South. I actually feel really guilty about leaving The Cuteness for that long, but she's almost 5 years old, and the longest I've ever spent away from her is two nights when I went to New York back in 2007. It doesn't make me a terrible mother to want a bit of time to myself does it? Especially since she'll be able to be with Grandma the whole time, and once Grandma shows up, Mama doesn't exist any more anyway.

Besides the one twang of parental guilt, I am ridiculously excited to be going. I've been to London, but it was a number of years ago, and it was with family, so it wasn't exactly on my terms, so this time I'll be able to do the things that I find most interesting. Paris, on the other hand, has always been my little fantasy city. I think I longed to be back in New Orleans so much because it was like a tiny Paris--at least the Paris that I imagined since I've never actually been there. I've often fantasized of just picking up and moving to Paris, but I kept getting tied up in relationships with men who have absolutely no sense of adventure. Luckily for me, my new love has almost as strong a sense of adventure as I do, so who knows, if we love it over there, maybe that'll happen one day. For now I'm happy just to finally say that I'm going to be there to experience the place in reality instead of just in my head. Obviously, I'll be going over there with He-Who-Shall-Be-Named-at-a-Later-Time, who has never been out of the country at all, so it's a grand adventure for everyone involved!

Between now and then, there's a whole lot of non-blog-worthy activity, but I have decided that I will make a renewed effort to update more frequently. I think the lure of Facebook has pulled my attention to shorter, more easily updated formats, but I still feel a sense of obligation here...this thing has been around for five years, why stop now, right? I'm also freer to say things over here since few people follow me from one platform to another. Whatever the case, I shall return for more updates...and soon!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Got It! Finally!


Okay, I realize it's probably a little silly to be this excited over a kitchen appliance, but a Kitchenaid mixer has been on my "want" list for about three years now. I was never able to really justify the expense since we were perpetually broke, but in the four months that The Former Hubs has been gone, I've discovered that he somehow ate up a LOT of my extra income. I think I mean that literally too because he ate constantly, but it never completely registered because I never got to eat any of it if he got to it first, so it didn't dawn on me just how much we were spending on groceries that only lasted a few days.

However, this is not a post to bitch about The Former Hubs, it's a post to squee over my new mixer! I had a big project pay out, and with the calculations of what I needed for bills and to put into savings to fund the Grand Adventure later this year (details coming when we have them worked out), I found that I still had plenty to finally buy my mixer. Of course it took much coaxing for me to drop that kind of cash on myself, but I decided that it wouldn't hurt to reward myself a little for working so hard lately. Plus, as was pointed out to me by Impo The Master Salesman, with all the baked goods we won't be buying because I'm making stuff, the machine will actually pay for itself fairly quickly. Oh, and there was a a Mother's Day promotion going on where you can get a free attachment too...that didn't hurt my decision making process either.

So far I've used it once. I broke my Kitchenaid cherry on some fine chocolate chip cookies, and they were pretty good. Of course the outcome itself paled in comparison to just how freaking easy it was to make them thanks to the new machine. It makes me soooo very happy. Every time I walk through the kitchen, I see it sitting there and I smile. It's like a symbol of my life moving forward--or is that too sentimental for a kitchen appliance?

I love the color, but I have been seriously considering prettying it up a bit because clearly I can't just leave well enough alone. I was thinking it would look awesome with some little Swarovski crystals stuck to it in a cool design. Of course after using it once the idea may be a bad once since it would create more surfaces to clean, and boy does it get dirty in the most unexpected places! Ah, well...I'll give it time and see what happens. I haven't given in to my intense desire to doll up my car yet, so maybe my urge to glue crap to my mixer will pass just as quietly :) I have projects galore planned for the house right now anyway, so the mixer can remain nude for the time being.

"Oh, wait, she said projects galore!" Indeed I did, faithful and patient readers. The dining room is first up on deck, and has the potential to be mostly completed by the end of the month. Luckily the pieces that will take the longest don't affect the functionality of the room, so we should be able to actually use the room by the end of the weekend. Next is the living room, which requires the creative gadgetry genius of the Impo, who has been inspired by a nifty Lifehacker project, to complete. We're hoping for a trip to Ikea sometime next week *crosses fingers*. And, of course, I'll be posting pictures of the completed projects and process pictures if I can remember to take them. Exciting isn't it? The best thing is that these things are actually getting done instead of me just talking about it...I'm so excited :D

Much more happy blogging in the future...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It is Done (Hooray!)

So after nearly four months of high drama and generous amounts of frustration, the day of my divorce hearing came and went rather quietly. The event itself was largely uneventful, but I was expecting that. He was apparently looking forward to an (and I quote) "epic court battle," which I continued to tell him was absolutely ridiculous, but obviously he's not going to listen to me. Apparently his experience of divorce that's largely gathered from watching Divorce Court (as was wisely pointed out to me later that day) far outweighs any of my logic and experience. I will admit there was a smirk reminiscent of an "I-told-you-so" satisfaction on my face as I left the courtroom after the hearing, which lasted all of 2 "epic" minutes--literally, but there was zero interaction between us.

I showed up about 15 minutes early, and he finally rushed in about 20 minutes late, which was right about the time I was starting to get really angry thinking that he wasn't going to bother to show up. If he didn't show up it would have stretched the divorce out for another six months plus the 120 day waiting period, so you can see why I would be pissed off if that happened.

Thankfully he did make it, and he sat just in front of me and to my left, so I was able to take in one last good look at him before I never had to see him again for the rest of my life. He was dressed in the exact same outfit that he wore on our wedding day. At first I thought maybe he did that on purpose to try to provoke me, but it seems far more likely that they are the only decent clothes he owns. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the case since he swung by here twice on his way to job interviews and he was in the same outfit. It was also clear that he had worn the shirt many, many times prior as evidenced by the grey smudges of filth on the shoulder seams and cuffs of the formerly white shirt. I know, I know, it sounds like I'm being petty, but I notice these things with the clarity of an ex...you know, the view you get through the "What-the-HELL-was-I-thinking!?" lens. I know you know what I'm talking about.

Luckily we were the very first case to be called, so my inspection was short, and there was no time or opportunity for either of us to bother to speak to the other. The judge asked us a series of quick yes or no questions to verify that all the information in the papers was accurate and that we entered into the agreement voluntarily and freely, etc. etc. He told us the legal protocol to what was going to happen next (the obligatory 120 day waiting period, which is mostly to make sure that no one is pregnant and no one remarries and crosses paperwork), wished us both good luck and we were on our way.

So, that's that. It's thankfully over now, and I have no legal, emotional, or social ties to the man who spent the last three years making absolutely sure my life was a living hell. It's been a great relief, and I'm rather proud of myself for taking this step because things have only improved since he left--and I mean pretty dramatic improvements too, not just a little hint of things clearing up. My financial situation has exploded in happy, and I suspect it has a whole lot to do with the fact that he's not hovering around and keeping the noise levels in the house on par with a high school cafeteria with an impromptu metal concert and video game tournament going on in opposite corners, so I've been able to actually concentrate. I'm finally managing to get projects started and sometimes even finished, and the house is really starting to shape up well. Granted I owe a fair amount of the happy things to the new leading male character in my life, but I can gush over him in a more appropriate post. For now, I'll just sum up the moment of my divorce in a giant relieved and contented sigh with yet another promise of things to come.

Now that the stress of the divorce is over I'll be more likely to remember to document the fun things and to remember to bring my camera with me on all of our adventures. Of course the weather warming up is certainly helpful as well. With any luck the posting will get more frequent and far less serious as well :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

New England, New Life; Or, a Tale of Love and Failure

So, apparently I did it again. It's a little painful to admit here, but, once again I am reminded that I started this blog to chronicle my daughter's childhood, and my triumphs and failures are both a part of that. Well, maybe "painful" isn't quite the right word--maybe embarrassing might be better since I've found myself in this boat so many times before.

Things were going well enough between me and The Hub there for a little while. I thought the majority of the conflict came from growing pains of the relationship considering we've had a lot of upheavals (the drama surrounding the wedding, four major moves, money issues, and a hurricane evacuation), but this last move revealed that I was just being overly hopeful that the problems were outside the relationship. Once we arrived in New England, I started putting some pieces together, and it did not reveal a pretty picture.

See, I always knew that The Hub had a habit of exaggerating things a bit, and he's always had, let's say a unique perspective on the world. My experiences with him were relatively isolated as well since he came all the way down south away from his friends and family to be with me, so his personality was never placed in context for me. Once we arrived her on Cape Cod and started hanging out with his family and friends, I started to realize that not all was as it seemed with him. Stories were being told that I was familiar with, but they involved his friends, not him. Other things about his overall character were also revealed. It was a strange feeling to suddenly realize I was living with a stranger since the man I fell in love with was effectively a work of fiction. I chewed on this new information for a few weeks, but I finally came to the decision that I can't live with a stranger, especially one whose overall character seems to be quite the opposite of what I wanted and/or needed in my life. I decided to ask him to leave, and he did. The marriage is over, and I am really quite relieved.

Now before I start getting sympathetic emails, please realize that I'm fine...I'm better than fine. I'm happy. Granted he has created a rather dramatic situation by generating more and more fiction, it should all be over soon, and I'll be free of it. It's difficult to accept that he's spreading such lies, but I also have learned to just let it go considering I should have little concern over what some people think of me when I have absolutely zero respect for them in the first place. I know the truth, and those who care about me also know the truth, and that's all that matters. It's an unfortunate truth that some people are just unreasonable, and will never accept the truth unless it creates more drama.

I realize I'm being vaguely cryptic here, but it's out of necessity. I'm taking a bit of a risk even mentioning what I have since some of those on the other side of this situation may still remember that this blog exists. Also, being a public forum, I'm not especially interested in spilling the gory details of my divorce, and I'm just not interested in that kind of drama. I'm simply here to record that it happened.

So, from here, things are getting better every day. Spring is upon us, and I'm looking forward to the day when I can throw the windows open and breathe in the sea air. I'm thankful for my estranged mother-in-law's efforts in finding this condo because it really is beautiful, and it feels more and more like home every day. Maybe not the home for three that it was supposed to be, but I'm making the best of it. The Cuteness is also so happy here and loves the place as well. We're down a few pieces of important furniture since we ditched a lot in the move, but my biggest fantasies are of some patio furniture so I can enjoy an outdoor dinner or two over the next few months. I'll be sure to share pictures once that happens :)

Ultimately I have no idea what the future holds for us, but for now we're just going to stay put. I'm looking forward to getting some projects completed, work done, and having a clean house for once. Lots of road trips are also in order since I've never been in this part of the country before. Boston is on the list, as is another trip to New York City, and Salem, and maybe even Canada to visit my dear Henrico, who has managed to stick with me for almost 14 years worth of bad relationships (including his own), but I've never managed to make it to Ottawa to visit with him even though he's visited with me in three different states so far. My world is bursting with possibilities, and as long as I stay focused on them the future is bright. With any luck I'll have much more to be blogging about lately, so I'll be around more often here as well.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Score!

Being a writer, I have an odd, but understandable, attraction to old typewriters. I've always wanted one, but never got serious enough about it to warrant paying the sometimes large price tags on some of the cooler vintage models.

Well, yesterday we had a whole bunch of folks running up and down our wooden walkway outside the condos, and even had a few peeping into our front door (which is almost all window with venetian blinds on it, that I open up every morning to let the light in). This didn't bother me too much because there are at least two condos for sale here, and the population of Cape Cod dwindles dramatically in the winter, so the likelihood of our place actually being vacant is pretty high. In fact, out of the ten total condos on the property, we have evidence of only three of them (includes ours) being occupied full-time. Also, peeping into my front door gets you an eyeful of my kitchen and that's about it, and my kitchen is sparkling clean and beautiful, so I can handle a peek or two.

Anyhoo! I thought maybe there was a realtor doing an open house or something a few doors down, but when The Hub came home he reported that it was an estate sale. I had thought about wandering over even if it were an open house just to see the place since they are all designed differently, but I was even more down for a trip to an estate sale. It turned out to be quite serendipitous too...just a few days ago we were talking about how we needed to figure out something to put in the corner where the two sofas meet because what we had there was blocking a lot of the heat coming out of the vent on the wall. We found an old wood-turned table with a big lamp in it that works perfectly there. Granted, it's hideous, but I'm planning on refinishing it and making a new shade for it, so it won't be too bad. I was also talking with Uncle Impo the other night (that's The Hub's best friend, and also the friend we stayed with during the Gustav evacuation...he's back in Cape Cod too), and we were talking about maybe using some soundproofing material on the dormer walls that run diagonally up through my office because the loft is open to the living room underneath them, and the sound gets channeled right up into my office. Well it just so happens that there was a large piece of soundproofing foam in the upstairs bedroom at the estate sale...can you believe that? They even just gave it to me...who else was going to buy that, right?

So, moving on the next room I found the vintage typewriter in the picture for the perfect price--$3! I totally had to have it. It's a little dusty, but it has its case, and still works. None of the keys stick or anything...I was so excited! As far as I can figure out it's a Royal Quiet De Luxe Portable made around 1953. I say "around" because the serial number on this one is a little wonky. Mine has the prefix "RS," and I'm having trouble finding this prefix associated with that model, but I'm pretty confident that's what it is. No matter--it's not like I'm planning on selling it or anything.

Oh, and I also picked up a blown glass mortar and pestle, which should come in handy in the kitchen :)

Well, I was going to ramble on a bit more, but I was just informed that we have company coming over and I've not quite managed to get in the shower yet today, so I guess that'll get me to shut up early for once :D

Until next time, folks...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Hello, New England!

What a difference 1750 miles makes! It's been snowing for two days now, and it's about 17° outside before the windchill factor. I'm certainly not looking forward to having to go out in this weather, but sitting here in my nice warm office, the snow is nothing but beautiful.

The picture at the left was taken from my desk--can you believe the view? The only problem is that the snow makes it SO bright up here! It would be great for painting, but I'm stuck working, and the glare is pretty intense. I'm thinking about rigging up a curtain that just covers the bottom of the window up to the height of my monitor so I can still see out the window. Of course I'd only close it on days like this. Luckily the glare doesn't seem very bad at all on days without snow, so this should only be an occasional problem.

As for the rest of the house, there's still a lot of work ahead of us. The kitchen is completely unpacked, and the dining room table and chairs are all re-assembled. However, we have only been doing quick runs to the grocery store instead of big shops, so the pantry isn't well stocked, and the dining room table is currently covered in various decorative items until I figure out where I'm putting them. The living room is certainly usable, but we ditched my old TV stand before we left New Orleans, so the TV, the Xbox, the Wii, and the DVD player are all sitting in the floor with the DVDs and games still in boxes. I've found a pretty TV stand at The Mill Stores, so we're planning on picking that up in the next week or two. We're also sans bookshelves, which kinda blows, but we just had those junky bookshelves from Walmart, and they are notorious for falling apart in a move, so we gave them away. Now they need to be replaced some kind of bad! I've got a wall of boxes in my office since I had my reference books as well as some of my art supplies stored on a bookshelf. The Cuteness has an line of stacked books in her room where the bookshelf needs to go, so we need to get a new one before the books are pulled all over the room as she digs through them. But all of that is pretty minor, and we're just glad we're finally here.

We love the new place, but I have to admit the drama levels have been a little higher than I'm comfortable with. I think (hope) that will die down once we're completely settled in though. We're still the new to everyone, so as soon as our shiny veneer wears off I think we'll be fine.

There will be more updates coming soon. For now, however, I need to get some work done before people start showing up. We're the new Sunday night gaming spot for The Hub's old gaming group, and everyone is very excited to have him back plus me. My skills are a little rusty, but I'm looking forward to it.

Keep warm everybody!