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When the Bough Breaks

January 11, 2018
when the bough breaks

Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop

Who the hell puts their baby, along with the cradle, in a fucking tree?

They don’t. It’s a metaphor. For mother (or father, primary caregiver – just so I don’t offend anyone reading this who isn’t a mother, but who is the primary caregiver – hey, we’re all, metaphorically, in this together, right?).

Did you see what I just did there?  I just fucking apologized to someone who might or might not be offended that I assumed the nursery rhyme was about mom and not dad. 

That’s how overwhelmed I am.

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock

I am breaking. 

I am a single mom, I am always in a state of overwhelm, but lately I have not been able to get any respite.

Between trying to chase down an IEP for my daughter who was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and Anxiety; fighting my ex husband in court, via text message and through his porn-star named attorney (I am sure she is nice and probably a decent attorney, but she really should consider changing her name); and work full time… I just don’t have any energy left.

My house is a shambles. I have laundry in the washing machine (not the dryer, but the washing machine) from before Christmas, and there’s some weird shit growing in my fridge. 

I cannot keep all the balls in the air right now.

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall

I know I am not the only single mom who doesn’t have any support. In fact, it is so common we should form a club and make t-shirts. The problem is, we’re all too overwhelmed to meet up.

I suspect that’s a big part of what is wrong with society right now. Aside from the explosion in single people raising little people, we’re also really disconnected. Sure, we communicate with one another on social media, but that’s usually just so we can flaunt our moral superiority. It rarely is about lifting anyone up or offering sincere support – though I am sure it happens, it doesn’t happen enough. 

We’re disconnected from family. At least I am. There was a wedding in my extended family not too long ago. I’d been hearing about the preparation for the last year so I knew it was coming up and expected to be invited. I was not. I was informed “we really didn’t think you’d want to go.” How considerate. No, I’d never want to connect with family I haven’t seen in a few years. I really enjoy not going out and seeing people. I much prefer to stay home. Of course, god knows I have plenty to do at home (see above) so maybe it really was a blessing that I wasn’t invited. I’m not even sure I would have wanted, but I am sure I would have liked to be invited. 

And down will come baby, cradle and all

I’ll get over this, I will get my footing back and I will get my shit together. I will get the IEP, I will get the school to accomodate my daughter and I will manage the next four years of dealing with the ex somehow. I do. I always do. And, I’ll do it alone.

Actually, I am not alone, I do have support, it just comes from the oddest and most unexpected places. My first ex husband’s wife has been wonderful. She always has been. I recently connected with a high school classmate, through Facebook, and he helped fix my leaky drain. He was most gracious, happy to help. It was not like it was some horrible chore to him (like it was when I used to ask my brother for help) and that was wonderfully refreshing and fucking weird at the same time. 

There is no point to this, I just needed to vent. So, thanks for listening.

Ex#2 Winter

Snow, Snow and more Snow

December 10, 2013
lots of snow

Less than two weeks ago I actually said (back when we had nothing but grass and temperatures above freezing) that I though we might have a mild winter.

It’s my fault, I jinxed it, I take full responsibility.

About a week after I made that stupid prediction it’s been snowing ever since and the temperature has barely crawled above 0.


Thankfully I have a snowblower (that doesn’t work) in one of the storage sheds out back. It hasn’t worked in years but ex#2 tells me it’s an easy fix and all he has to do is clean the spark plugs or maybe the carburetor. I’m not really sure because I stop listening after a while. I know better. He gets all excited to do manly things around the house. He even Googles how to do it and might watch a few videos over and over. I get excited because I believe the task can easily be completed with a little WD-40 and possibly some duct tape – that’s how simple he makes it sound.

And then he ventures outside into BELOW ZERO wind chills and suddenly the job isn’t so easy.

It’s still easy, it’s just a lot harder to work on it in the colder than anyone should have to endure temps. Suddenly there is more Googling going on but now it’s for someone who repairs small motors. Thankfully we have one of those nearby.

Now if I could just get him to take it to the shop. Maybe next spring?



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Ex#2 Things I Really Like Winter

Have You Hung Your Holiday Lights?

December 3, 2012

Houses with crappy holiday lights, decorate your house for the holidays, how to make your house look like shit for the holidays, how not to put lights on a house, bad Christmas light displays


I have, sort of. I actually left the ones from last year up so I didn’t have to put those up. Because I am short and am afraid of going to the top of a 20 foot ladder I can’t put lights on my roof or my second story window. So my house looks like shit next to my neighbor’s. He goes all out with the icicle lights and multi colored lights on his roof. It looks awesome and at the same time makes my house look crappy. Putting lights on my house only draws attention to the ugly ass siding I have. My house doesn’t look this bad in real life. Close but not this bad.

Last year I asked ex#2 to help get the lights on the roof and 2nd story window. He said he would but never got to it. It didn’t matter how much I begged or nagged he is a master at ignoring me and was able to easily blow me off until after the holidays.

This year I invited him to celebrate Thanksgiving with us in the hopes that he would operate the turkey fryer and feel guilty enough about letting me cook and clean for three days that he would offer to do the lights on my house.

And he said he would. Just not this past weekend when it was 50 degrees.

decorate your home for the holidays, how to hang your christmas lights, nice holiday lights,

My neighbor with the awesome holiday lights (it even appears to snow more on his house and I swear that must be the star of the north or the one that guided the three wise men.) on his house took pity on me and put the lights on my garage. Something I am eternally grateful for because the pitch of even my garage roof is pretty steep and I was freaking out on the ladder. Even when we discovered that we had plugged in the second strand of lights the wrong way and had to do it all over again (though we both considered drilling holes in the wall and using another extension cord for a brief moment) he just got up on the ladder again and redid them. Cracking jokes the whole time.

I have the most awesome neighbor. In the spring/summer/fall he trims my tree and hauls away the branches and leaves. He really rocks.

My awesome neighbor even grabbed the ladder and brought it to the front of the house. He was going to do the job that ex#2 might or might not get to eventually. The problem was my ladder was too short for the house. My ladder, even extended all the way (past the safety rung) it came to the window and about 6 feet below the roofline.

My awesome neighbor tried anyway but to no avail.

So, I’m back to waiting on ex#2 who has a bigger extension ladder.

In the mean time I get to participate in the #HolidayLights Twitter Party sponsored by Phillips, and you can too!!

#HolidayLights Twitter party details

What: Join us for a Twitter party with Philips, maker of energy efficient light bulbs and exterior LED holiday lights, to share tips about decorating your home for the holiday season and setting the mood for parties, whether festive and formal or comfy and casual. If you light your house for the holidays, we would love to see photos of your display, too!

When: Wednesday, December 5, 2-3 p.m. ET

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #HolidayLights hashtag to track the conversation.  You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite:

Hashtag: #HolidayLights

Prizes: Philips will give away five total prizes – one set of IMAGEO Table Lights, two Lumiware Table Platters and two sets of LED bulbs.  Winners will be chosen randomly from among participants who respond correctly to trivia questions.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Other info: Visit the Philips website –

Your fellow co-hosts

Amber, Parent Palace – @ParentPalace
Andrea, Mommy PR – @MommyPR
Annie, Mama Dweeb – @MamaDweeb
Connie, Misc Finds 4 u – @princesstimetoy (and/or @Miscfinds4u)
Jennifer, Redhead Ranting – @redheadranting
Kelly, Texas Type A Mom – @texastypeamom
Mickey, A Helicopter Mom – @ahelicoptermom
Mimi, Woven by Words – @MimiBakerMN
Piera, Jolly Mom – @JollyMom
Tiffany, Sweet Phenomena – @SweetPhenomena

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Ex#2 Kids Music People

Hey, Adam Levine by Tim Mahoney

January 18, 2012

Last year on the first season of The Voice, one of our very own local Minnesota boys got to sing in front of Christina, Ceelo, that country guy and Adam Levine. I don’t have time to watch these kinds of shows like a fan should. I don’t have time to watch three times a week or however many times it’s on but I made a point to watch this show because Tim Mahoney was going to sing for a national audience.

I’m Sure We’ve Met

Tim Mahoney is someone who has been a part of my second marriage for no other reason than we listed to Cities 97 whenever we were on the motorcycle. Tim was part of one of their samplers as well and that got a lot of play in my car. I’ve never met Tim but I have seen him play all over the Twin Cities so it feels like I know him. He was up and coming when I met Ex#2 so he will forever feel like part of that relationship.

Tons of Fans

Tim has a huge fan base in Minneapolis/St. Paul. His fans are devoted and he gets an awful lot of attention from local media. I am sure he hustles his ass off to get as much air play and time on the local Saturday morning news shows. I wish him nothing but the best and actually would love to pick his brain to figure out how he does it because damn if I’m just banging my head against a wall in these towns. So, I wasn’t surprised to see he got a shot on a national show and figured he would do very well.

He didn’t, at least not for his talent.

As you may know the hook of The Voice is that the “experts” can’t see who is singing so they choose to work with an artist based solely on their voice. It is only after they hit the button that they turn around and see who they have chosen.

Tim was chosen by Adam Levine, sight unseen, and when he turn around in his oversized chair he looked a little confused and explained his confusion by stating that he thought Tim was a chick.

Cuz Adam Levine has such a low voice and looks so manly (seriously, dude just because you wear all black and have a tattoo doesn’t make you look tough, in fact you are a mustache short of being a Village People).

It’s All Good

I stopped watching after that but learned later that Tim didn’t get much further than that episode, or maybe he did but he didn’t make it to the end. It was a bummer, the man has a ton of talent and can write a great song. I’m not surprised any of those people didn’t recognize his talent but truth be told I can’t imagine working with one of them without wanting to smack someone (Christina, Adam) so he probably did better for the exposure and confusion than if he had actually worked with them. All publicity is good publicity, right?

Best Served Cold

So, a year or so goes by and Tim gets the final word. Tim wrote a song called Hey, Adam Levine, he posted it on Youtube and it’s getting some attention. It didn’t hurt that he got a call into KS95 and got to plug it (how the hell do I do that?). They played a clip of it on the radio and I spewed Diet Coke through my nose as I listed to the lyrics. Of course my daughter was in the car so I had to explain what that was all about.

So now Tim Mahoney is in yet another phase of my life, the one explaining that ‘dick’ is another word for ‘penis’.

Thanks, Tim!

Ex#2 Kids WTF?

What Is Ringworm?

December 13, 2011
What does ringworm look like, what is ringworm, how do you treat ringworm

What is ringworm*? I’ll tell you what ringworm is. It’s the reason my kid has been home for the last four days and the reason your kid came home with a note only slightly less better than the lice note.

Thankfully we are not the lice family but ringworm is a very close second.

What is ringworm?

Until a week and a half ago I was merrily living my life never having Googled “What is ringworm” and “images of ringworm”. Life may not have been easy but it was less complicated before the dreaded ringworm made its way into my lexicon.

It all started a few weeks ago when I noticed a little red mark on my daughter’s wrist. She had a small, red circle on the top of her wrist and while she said it didn’t hurt, itch or otherwise bother her it tickled the back of my brain.

You know that feeling you get when you know something but can’t for the life of you remember what it is? I had that feeling about her rash but it wasn’t coming to me. I knew there was something familiar about the circular pattern on the top of her wrist but having had Lyme’s disease twice now and knowing full well that her rash was not the bullseye so common with Lyme’s disease I ignored that nagging part of my brain that said I should be paying attention.

One week later the ex and I took the daughter to the pool to try out for placement in swimming lessons. There, dressed in a Hello Kitty bathing suit that was a tad too small for her was not one circle rash but two. Now, the daughter was sporting one on her neck as well as her wrist, which was now much bigger.

The ex said it looked like ringworm to him. Me, knowing so much more than he could ever hope to know, blew off that crazy idea because our daughter does not have worms. Surely it must be something else. The ex husband, knowing it isn’t wise to argue with me, didn’t.

Does ring worm mean you have worms?

Yes, I thought having ringworm meant having worms. When we found our beloved Reuben I brought him to the vet to get de-wormed and was surprised when he pooped out spaghetti when I knew he hadn’t eaten any. I knew that our daughter did not have worms.

Until that nagging voice in my head kept itching at me. It was saying something like “you know, he has been right before” and “he isn’t always wrong” so I asked Google what the heck was on her wrist by searching for the term “what does ringworm look like”.

It’s not pretty.

After being diagnosed by Dr. Google I called the doctor to schedule an appointment. I didn’t think we really needed one, I knew what it was now, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to nab a prescription simply on Google’s say so. The doctor took one look at my daughter’s wrist and neck and prescribed me gobs of cream because apparently ringworm takes a long time to go the fuck away.

School and the note about ringworm

The St. Paul Public Schools don’t like ringworm (can you blame them) and they insists that the horrible skin affliction be covered – securely- at all times on school property. It is also their mission to make sure the afflicted child is reminded to wash their hands every five minutes. The child doesn’t need to get The Note that is passed out during class, the one meant to warn but that really scares the other parents that their children have been exposed to a dreaded disease and now it is too late to prevent the passing of said disease so really all that is left to do is panic and wash everything in the home that has every been touched – rash or not.

Yes, we are the family with the ringworm. I don’t know where it came from but I have been told to check the animals for it (none of them have any rash that I can see). She is not the only child in the school with ringworm, there is another one in a higher grade whom she does not know. How she got ringworm, I don’t know. All I know is, it’s not lice.

*The term ringworm or ringwormsrefers to fungal infections that are on the surface of the skin. The name is derived from the early belief that the infection was due to a worm, which it is not. Ringworm is a fungal infection in the skin. Nevertheless, the name ringworm remains. Some of these fungi produce round spots on the skin, but many do not. On the other hand, many round, red spots on the skin are not due to a fungal infection.  –

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Ex Husbands Ex#2 Kids Things I Really Like

Minnesota’s Children of the Corn

October 11, 2011
Children of the Corn

Shafer Corn Maze, Things to do for Halloween in Minnesota, fun things to do in Minnesota, Shafer cornfield, where is the Shafer Corn Maze, corn maze on highway 8, corn maze by Taylors Falls, Corn maze near St. Croix Falls, Ex#2 and I took the daughter to the Shafer Corn Maze this weekend. It seemed like a fun, family outing when I suggested it and obviously the others agreed because they were game to go.

Normally this time of year, I am gearing up to start complaining about the cold. Not this year. This year in Minnesota the weather has been so lovely I’ve completely confused the seasons. It’s been in the 80s this past week in Minnesota.I am sure it is really spring and summer is just about to begin.

Usually by mid October the less sturdy of us have already given in and turned on the heat at night. This past weekend I was bitching at myself for taking out the window air conditioning units too soon.

I’m loving this weather. It’s ruining my blogging and my relationships but I am totally loving this weather. I walk around with a smile on my face, I have nothing to complain about and most importantly Xcel Energy can suck it because I get at least one more energy bill this season where I won’t have to sell a kidney to pay for my heat!!

So I was all jazzed about going to the corn maze for an afternoon of adventure.

Shafer Corn Maze, Things to do for Halloween in Minnesota, fun things to do in Minnesota, Shafer cornfield, where is the Shafer Corn Maze, corn maze on highway 8, corn maze by Taylors Falls, Corn maze near St. Croix Falls, instructions for the Shafer Corn Maze, how long is the shafer corn mazeThe deal with the Shafer Corn Maze is that you go through one of the mazes (they have three) and try to figure out the whodunit they created.

Basically it’s like Clue. At least that’s what the woman in the little ticket stand said as she passed me three cards that needed to be hole punched at each check point.

It seemed like an easy enough thing to do – find 6 check points, mark the card with the hole punch at each one and then figure who did what.

The whole who did what aspect of the maze was lost on me and my daughter. Ex#2 didn’t even bother to understand it. He spent most of the time walking through the maze telling me that what was missing was motivation. You see, he wasn’t motivated to find all six check points because he knew there wouldn’t be beer at the end. Now if they had a keg at each check point, he said, things would be different.

Shafer Corn Maze, how to play the game at Shafer Corn Maze, where is the Shafer Corn Maze, Shafer Minnesota, what is there to do in Minnesota on the weekends, halloween fun things to do, But we live in Minnesota and you can’t sell, or otherwise distribute, beer in the middle of a corn field. This is too bad because the Shafer Corn Maze is pretty cool. It’s a huge maze, cut well and they have a bunch of activities outside of the cornfield.

The Shafer Corn Maze is also just a stone’s throw from the Wisconsin border and I am pretty sure the corn mazes there offered beer.

Even without beer we pressed on for two of the check points. No one had a clue who did what to whom and no one cared. Both the ex and the daughter were bored and wanted out of the maze.

I tried to convince both of them, but especially the daughter, that this was a lot of fun and when we were through the maze we could say we accomplished something for the day. Of course the whole time they were complaining I was wondering how we were going to find our way out of the maze. I had my phone so I was pretty sure if we got lost in the corn maze the police or whoever finds idiots who can’t find their way out of a corn maze, could track me, I mean us. Thankfully, I was not that woman who got lost in the corn maze. However, I totally understand how it could happen.

Neither of them cared about accomplishing anything but getting out of the maze. Normally I would have pressed both of them to finish the damn maze. It cost $21 for the three of us to walk 2 miles through the stupid maze and dammit we were going to have a good time doing it.

Normally that’s what I would have done.  After seeing this, I thought better of it.

Children of the Corn, Shafer Corn Maze 2011, what to do to creep out your kids in Minnesota, fun things to do in autumn in Minnesota, Where is the shafer corn maze, highway 8 corn maze, is there beer in Minnesota, can people in Minnesota have any fun, why is minnesota so boring,



Ex#2 Kids Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off

I Have Child Induced ADD

July 27, 2011

I do. I have child induced Attention Deficit Disorder which means I can’t focus on one task for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m not ashamed to admit I have this disorder, most mothers do. Scratch that, all mothers have child induced ADD.

It starts during gestation, though we don’t notice the degree of the disorder until after birth. In the beginning, during pregnancy, it’s innocent enough. You get excited about bringing a new child into the world, picking out cute little baby clothes, when to tell your boss, when to go back to work, if you go back to work. These thoughts take up a huge part of the brain during pregnancy, though they are completely overshadowed by the worry that comes with being a new parent. Worry that no one warns you about because if we knew about all the worry that comes with parenting no one would have kids. Add to that all the strangers who start touching your belly, asking you personal questions about breast feeding and the inevitable changes in your body that take place, it’s no wonder we can’t focus on our work.

After the child comes it’s nothing but constant distraction. Even once we are finished with the toddler stage of childhood and they can actually do things for themselves we still are constantly interrupted with stupid questions such as “what is the dog thinking now?”, “Why can’t I use a Sharpie to paint my nails?” and “Where is the hamster?!?!?”.

We might have come a long way baby but if you are a mother who works outside the home you don’t wonder why you get paid less than your male counterparts. You know why.

I know, them is fighting words, but the truth is men don’t worry about their kids when they are at the office like women do. And children don’t bother their fathers nearly as much as they do their mothers. If you are a mother and you work outside the home you know you get at least five calls or texts a day asking for something like money, to go somewhere, to do something or to tattle on a sibling. If you are a father you only get a call when something big happens like a broken leg or the house is on fire. And both of those calls usually come from the mother and not the child.

I’m not suggesting we aren’t productive, we just aren’t as productive as we could be because half our brain is worrying about the call that is coming. And, when the call doesn’t come we worry about that and call them.

Case in point: My ex husband, ex#2, picked up our daughter on Monday to take her to the pool so I could get some work done. He hadn’t had her in his possession for more than an hour before I got a call from him asking me what was in her teeth.


I didn’t know what is in her teeth, scrape it off with a toothpick, I suggested. He said he had tried, that it was like cement and he couldn’t get it off. I don’t know what he expected me to do about the stuff in her teeth. I couldn’t see it (not even in the picture he texted me), I didn’t know what it was and as far as I was concerned she was on his time and he should be able to handle this.

Now he is not a stupid man, he isn’t prone to hysterics, though she is and I could hear her getting panicky in the background. I suggested it was time for a teeth cleaning at the dentist and didn’t think much more of it. He called me back several times to ask me what it was.

“It’s epoxy” he said, somewhat accusingly.

I don’t have epoxy, I use Elmer’s glue for all of my adhesive needs, and if I did I doubt that my 8 year old daughter would go to the basement or garage, where it would be stored, mix it together and then apply it to her teeth. Sure, she has done some questionable things in her short life but she has been warned ad nauseum to stay out of the cleaning products, and to not put things in her mouth that weren’t food. Hell, she won’t even put vegetables in her mouth, I can’t see her putting epoxy in it.

I got 7 calls within two hours about the epoxy in her mouth. I was so frustrated I told him to take her to the ER if he was so concerned. Mind you I am sure it is just tartar or plague on her teeth and I made a mental note to set up an overdue dental appointment. He told me he was going to make some calls and handle it. Why he couldn’t have done that before calling me 7 times we will never know.

I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what was on her teeth. I Googled it, I asked all my friends if they knew what it might be, and of course they didn’t because they couldn’t see it anymore than I could. The point is now that I knew about the epoxy on the teeth I had to search my home to see if I actually had any epoxy which is like trying to prove a negative. Just because I don’t think I have any, and because I didn’t see any when I tore the house up looking for it doesn’t mean it isn’t somewhere in the house. She could have found some, smeared it on her teeth and then hid it because she knew she would cause all this trouble when she realized she couldn’t get it off her teeth.

Needless to say I didn’t get a whole lot of work done on Monday.

And that’s when the kids are gone. When they are here I can’t focus on a task for more than a few minutes because I need to be updated with the status of Justin Beiber’s relationship with Selena Gomez and then I need to be convinced that I am getting this news not because someone is jealous. Then there is the constant getting of things that are placed out of reach for safety’s sake. Scissors are stored above the fridge because I worry about my children running with scissors. If the scissors are stored in a place where the kids can reach then I just know they will spend the day running with them and holding them the wrong way. I have to constantly get up and monitor the scissor usage.

Guinea pigs are routinely placed on my desk while I am working.

Yesterday morning my son’s girlfriend stopped over. My son is 18 and his girlfriend is 19. I tell you their ages because they are both taller than me and can reach anything in the house that they might need. Everyone was eating cereal and I asked her if she had had breakfast yet knowing full well she had not. I offered her some cereal and started toward the kitchen to get the bowl down and pour the milk. I stopped myself and said she was a big girl and could do both of those things on her own without my assistance.

As mothers we grow accustomed to taking care of people. We cut their meat, we pour the milk, we do all those things because when they are little they can’t do those things. But, they do grow and they learn how to pour the milk without spilling.

School starts in about a month, 43 days to exact, and I can’t wait, but I know that it will take me at least three days to grow accustomed to them not being here, and I will still get up from my desk every five minutes because it has just become a habit.

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Ex#2 politics Things that piss me off Uncategorized

It's Not The Heat, It's The Minnesota Government Shutdown

July 13, 2011
U.S. Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota.

Image via Wikipedia

Actually it is the heat too. It’s been dreadfully hot and humid here and I really don’t like the heat very much. Thankfully we are getting a bit of a respite with regard to temps these last couple of days but I hear according to Jonathan that it will be in the upper 90s come this weekend. Thanks Jonathan!

I’d like to blame my lack of posts on the Minnesota government shutdown but honestly I haven’t noticed that the government has been shut down. I think we are in day 12 or possibly 67 of the shutdown.  I understand that Mark Dayton, in all his wisdom, has chosen to shut down the things in Minnesota that are actually profitable like our racetracks and state parks. They left open the agencies that send out money so if you are waiting for food stamps or some other check you will still get it right on schedule.

My last sentence notwithstanding, I don’t really know who is at fault here. According to Ex#2 it is the greedy Republicans but according to most of the people hanging out at my local coffee shop it’s Mark Dayton. I don’t know and I don’t care. Hell, keep it shut down as far as I am concerned, just so long as they get it going again come September when school is supposed to start.

No, I don’t know who is at fault for this standstill but if I were in charge no one would leave the table until they worked things out and ate all their peas. That’s how we did it at my house.

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Ex#2 Pets Things I Really Like

RIP Reuben

June 21, 2011

14 years ago my ex husband (then boyfriend) and I were driving along a country road in Western Wisconsin when serendipity struck. We were in the right place at the right time and something wonderful happened. It was the middle of January, late afternoon, when we noticed two small animals on the side of the road. When we opened the car door to investigate, two little puppies made a beeline for us. We weren’t far from a farm house so we grabbed the pups and drove into the driveway. After knocking on the door for a while, a strange looking woman who was missing a few teeth, and in much need of a root touch up, answered the door. Upon opening the door ten more puppies scampered out into the cold.

Reuben in the Cascade Mountains


We returned the pups and as we were getting back into the car the strange woman asked us if we would like one of the puppies.

We didn’t need a puppy, we didn’t have time for a puppy, we certainly didn’t want to train a puppy.


black lab dalmation on the couchWe were chosen by the smallest dog in the litter, we named him Reuben, after the sandwich. There was always confusion about how we should spell his name but since I am telling this story we will spell it the right way.

Reuben was half dalmatian, half black lab and 100% retarded.

He was also one of the sweetest dogs I have been blessed to have. My ex husband was remodeling my parents’ cabin, it was a long project that took nearly a year to complete. Reuben grew up at the cabin. He spent his days in the lake chasing rocks and the occasional fish that swam by. When he wasn’t chasing rocks he was spinning.

Reuben had OCD. When he was in town with me he didn’t have access to a lake to chase his rocks and would instead find a sock or rope toy and spin with it. He would spin for hours if we let him. The spinning was entertaining but a little disruptive to the house and any children who were nearby so we tried to stop him before he got going. Once spinning, the only way to stop him was to take away the rope and find something else for him to fixate on, usually me cooking dinner, until he forgot about the spinning. We had to put the toys up on the china cabinet or the top of the door so he didn’t get them and start spinning again.

Reuben didn’t like to be left alone. When we had to leave him alone he made his displeasure clear by pulling down the blinds or uprooting my potted plants. Sometimes he pulled the stuffing out of the couch.

We took him everywhere, he was even at our wedding.

Reuben was always happy. The sun was always shining in Reuben’s world. The sky may have been a different color too. As long as Reuben had rocks to chase and spinning to do it was a good day for Reuben.

Reuben protected my children and made me feel safe even when I knew he would hide under the table if someone tried to break in. My ex husband and I had locked ourselves out of the house one night and had to take the back door off the hinges to get in. I watched from the patio door as Reuben hid under the dining room table only to bark fiercely once he figured out it was us. When I was pregnant with my daughter Reuben would rest his head on my belly and then bark when the baby kicked. It never got old and he never figured it out. After she was born he would come and get me when she cried. I’m pretty sure he just wanted to make it stop and that he hadn’t developed any kind of Lassiesque traits.

Reuben and his RocksReuben loved apples, carrots, cucumbers and especially green beans. He loved them so much we couldn’t plant them in the garden because he would eat them before we could harvest them. Reuben loved car rides, long walks and he especially loved my ex husband. He loved me too, I was his mom, but I was also the one who took him to the vet for neutering, gave him his medicine when he was sick and pulled the 3 X 5 inch square of carpet  that he ate out of his ass.

As Reuben got older he suffered from arthritis and a torn ACL. He’d had surgery on it a few years back but because he couldn’t sit still it never healed right. The pain didn’t seem to stop him much or maybe he just didn’t understand why pain happened. We couldn’t keep him out of the lake. He would stay in the lake for hours until he was shivering and my ex husband had to wade in and bring him back to shore. If there were rocks to be chased, Reuben was in heaven.

Which is where he is now.

I don’t know when it happened but Reuben got old. He become incontinent, he couldn’t walk up or down the stairs without falling,  and he was nothing but skin and bones. His body had given out but his mind didn’t tell him that. He was still happy which made the decision we had to make so difficult.

Last night, after months of putting this off, my ex husband did what had to be done. He buried him up at the lake he loved so much and marked his grave with all of the “Reuben Rocks” we had collected over the years.

I know he is in a better place. I know he is chasing the big rock without any pain and spinning to his heart’s content. I know all this, but I still miss him.


Dumb Shit I Do Ex#2 Send Jen on a Vacation

Perimenopause and Zoloft

June 15, 2011

Okay guys, you can skip this one, we’ll be talking about woman things so go crack a beer and watch a game somewhere.

Are they gone?


For the past several months I have been experiencing bouts of moodiness. Extreme moodiness which usually include crying jags on the couch, self hatred followed by watching chick flicks with Ben and Jerry. If I wasn’t crying I was yelling at someone or yelling at myself. These bouts of moodiness were usually accompanied by my period which had become irregular in the past several months. I assumed I was in perimenopause but didn’t do much more than ride the storm out and buy a lot of ice cream.

Two weeks ago I blew up at my ex husband because he offered to paint my deck for me.

I have no idea why.

After scaring him away he texted me and asked me if I was okay, he also said he would install my air conditioners and do some wiring for me.

Apparently I scared the hell out of him because while he has always been helpful he has never offered to do so much.

I texted him back that I was not okay, that I was pissed off for reasons I didn’t understand, that I needed chocolate and a hug. He offered to get me chocolate and a bucket of chicken which just sent me into a new tizzy.

That’s some insane shit. I’ve been moody before but never so irrational. However, I knew the mood would subside as my period ended. Which it did until this past weekend when the whole thing started all over again, and accompanied by my period.

I tried to muddle through the whole thing. I took my daughter the the mall to see a movie and do a little shoe shopping. I should have been on top of the world and I was until I had a near panic attack in the shoe store. It wasn’t a panic attack, it was a hot flash. It freaked the hell out of me though and nearly sent me into a full blown panic attack which if you have ever had one you know they can be pretty scary.

We left the shoe store without any shoes which was pretty depressing. I spent the rest of the weekend carb loading and lying on the couch. I had no motivation to do anything and didn’t see the point anyway.

Motivation has been lacking for a long time as well. Work had become work, I had to force myself to do anything on the computer and I was ignoring the phone whenever it rang. I was also ignoring my kids and cooking had become a thing of the past. We were eating fast food or frozen pizza because I just couldn’t bring myself to cook.

On Monday I decided I didn’t want to live this way anymore so I called my endocrinologist and told the nurse what was going on. I told her I wasn’t sure who I should be calling, my OB/GYN or someone else but I had to talk to someone and right now. She said she had an appointment for 11:30 that morning and wondered if I could make it.

“Yes, but it cuts into my nap time” I said only half jokingly.

That’s how insane I have become.

I quickly got dressed, even threw on some mascara and drove to my appointment.

I was quickly called back to the exam room which made me wonder if they don’t deal with this whole perimenopause thing a lot. I wondered if they didn’t have a standing order to get the middle aged women out of the waiting room as fast as possible so not to scare the other patients.

After getting on the scale, seeing that I was up five pounds since my last visit in October and being rather surprised it was only five pounds because of all the carb loading and couch surfing I had been doing, I sat down and filled out some questionnaire which determined I was really depressed. I wasn’t suicidal, I didn’t want to end my life I just wanted to make everyone else’s miserable.

I met with my doctor and explained everything to him. I told him that nothing major had happened in my life, things were actually pretty good and I had no reason to be so down. He asked if I was having any ‘ups’ or just ‘down’ and ‘normal’. I was having no ‘ups’ which I suppose means that I am not bipolar. Realizing that some people were having ‘ups’ and I was not was just one more thing to be depressed about. I had mounds of laundry that needed to be cleaned and put away, I could really use an ‘up’.

I told my doctor everything. I told him about the late night eating I have been doing for months and couldn’t seem to stop even though I knew I shouldn’t be doing it. I told him about my lack of desire for anything, that I didn’t want to do anything and that I felt horrible because I didn’t want to go out with friends or have fun of any kind. I told him that my moods were having an impact on my kids and that was what I wanted to end the most.

I asked him if he could write me a prescription to a week in Tahiti. Without my kids.

He said that wasn’t really an option at this time. This admission nearly had me in tears. I fought them back but wondered if I shouldn’t just let them flow because this was the kind of thing I was dealing with and maybe he should see it. I wanted to go to Tahiti, sort of. I didn’t really want to go to Tahiti because I don’t know anyone there, I look horrible in a bathing suit right now and I don’t have the money or the time to go to Tahiti. I also am pretty sure I don’t like to fly anywhere and I know I hate packing so really the whole thing sounds like a lot of trouble.

See? This is the kind of shit that goes on in my brain…


After sitting there for a few moments in silence my doctor finally suggest I take Zoloft for a few months.

To be continued….

Advice Dumb Shit I Do Ex Husbands Ex#2

Donate Your Car To Help Kids

February 9, 2011
car on fire_05

Image by gregor_y via Flickr

Not too long ago I wrote a post about the size of the box that was used to ship an item that was no bigger than a quarter. I mentioned that because I was a Republican I didn’t get into the whole green movement, it was a tongue-in-cheek comment as you can see by reading the comments on that article. In the comments Tarheel challenged me by asking me this:

Wait! It’s in the Republican rule book that you can’t be concerned with “Green” issues? Does that mean you don’t have any interest in reducing dependence on foreign oil, or finding ways to reduce the material being hauled into landfills?

I honestly don’t understand Republican opposition to the idea of Global Warming. It’s pretty much a fact, given the data that’s been collected. While the cause is not certain, reducing those emissions that theoretically could contribute doesn’t seem all that unreasonable to me. But I’m funny that way.

and I went on to tell him that indeed I do recycle but I forgot to mention that I once donated a car to charity.

We have all seen the billboards that say donate cars for kids and I suspect many of us glance up at them and then drive on and forget about it. Last years ‘cash for clunkers’ rebate really hit charities who accept donated cars hard. Car donation is really very easy but if you don’t know how to donate your car you might not think about doing it. And you should because when you donate your car it gets sold for the highest value possible and then those proceeds are used to help kids who go without. Most places will even tow your non working car away for free and you get to write it off on your taxes. It’s a win-win all the way around.

I donated my ex husband’s van to our local fire department. It was during our divorce and he didn’t want the vehicle for reasons only he understands. I didn’t need the van but I had to get it off the property we were selling at the time. Because our divorce was rather nasty he refused to move it, he just gave it to me and made it my problem. So when the fire department mentioned they took vehicles for donation I was all over it. Imagine my surprise, and my ex husband’s, to learn that the van actually worked (though it really was in bad shape) and that the fire department was going to use it to train fire fighters about putting out car fires. I got to donate something, I got the write off and I got to watch my soon to be ex husband’s van set on fire. It was cathartic to say the least.

While I don’t recommend that everyone donate their cars in the hopes that someone lights them on fire I do hope that anyone with an old vehicle considers donating it for kids. It can do a world of good.

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