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Ex#1 Redhead

I Channeled Lucille Ball for my Wedding

April 17, 2011

Last night at the Tribal Blogs Slumber Party we got to talking about bad hair or drunk hairdressers or maybe it was just bad marriages. I’m not really sure because the conversation was going so quickly. Anyway, I mentioned that I looked like Lucille Ball at my first wedding and of course everyone wanted to see a picture.

So I posted this

redhead ranting, Minnesota blogger, wedding disasters, bad hair, don't let your hairdresser drink before he does your hair for your wedding

Because the conversation was going by so quickly and soon enough we were talking about Go-Girls again, I never got to explain why I looked like Lucille Ball for my wedding.

So I will now.

Don’t worry, it’s a short story.

It was a big wedding, since it was my first, and like most brides-to-be I was all about making everything picture perfect. Notice the flowers, aren’t they beautiful? The flowers were the only thing that worked out right at the wedding.

The cake was wrong, I got the wrong wine and never heard the end of it from my father, the dress ripped and of course the husband was completely wrong.

The hair should have gone right.

It didn’t because it was my wedding day that my hairdresser, who had been doing my hair forever, decided to get off the wagon. The bridesmaids and I had all met at my apartment the day of the wedding and had a mimosa. We weren’t pounding them, just one each. Not my hairdresser. He had one drink then another and then a few more by the time he got to my head. My hair was very long, which is why it is piled so much on my head. In order to not have it hanging down the only thing he could do was back comb it and then tightly curl it with a curling iron. I objected though apparently not enough because it was 15 minutes before we were supposed to leave for the church and there wasn’t enough time to fix it.

I spent those 15 minutes in my bathroom crying while my father tried to convince me, through his laughter I might add, that it looked fine. He also mentioned something about Lucille Ball being a beautiful woman at one point which only made me cry more… which made my mascara run.

I had to brace myself so I didn’t fall forward from the weight of all that hair in the front of my head.

The wedding itself went off without a hitch but the reception was overwhelming to me. I suspect I knew I had made a mistake and if I didn’t I surely did when my new husband dropped a ball and chain onto the wedding party table as we were making toasts. I kept my mouth shut, made a toast or two and then headed to the bathroom to take off my pantyhose and shoes which were killing me, if my hair hadn’t thrown me so I would have thought to grab a pair of jeans so I could change into something comfortable, but I wasn’t thinking. I then went down to the pool house where all the wait staff were getting high and hung out with them for the rest of the evening. Interestingly, ten years later I married one of the waiter’s best friend, though he did not introduce us.

So, what wedding disaster stories do you have to share?

 

 

 

 

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Ex Husbands Ex#1

How to Win at Slots

February 23, 2011
A row of "Wheel of Fortune" slot mac...

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of weeks ago I left a comment on Babs’ post about winning at bingo. I hadn’t won at bingo because I don’t play bingo but I had won a small fortune on the slot machines and left a brief synopsis of the story on Babs’ blog.

I hadn’t though about that day in a long time. Partly because it was about 20 years ago and also because even though it was a great win it was also bittersweet.

I’d never won anything before. Okay that isn’t true, I won Dr. Hook’s album A Little Big More when I was about 10 years old. I won it by being the 9th caller to an am radio station. I would not have won it for the fact that I had faked being sick that day and was not at school but instead was at home listening to the radio. I did not stay home because I wanted to listen to the radio to win a Dr. Hook album, I stayed home because there was a math test and I wasn’t prepared for it.

But I am getting off track.

Even though I had actually won something before it wasn’t something that happened very often so when I won at the casino that night it was a big deal.

In a nutshell, my husband at the time (ex#1) and I went to the newly opened Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, MN. Minnesota had a few casinos in the state but because they had to be on Indian reservations most of them were either way up north or way down south. There weren’t any close until the one in Prior Lake was built.

We went to the casino because it was date night and there wasn’t anything else we wanted to do together. We had been married for just a little over a year but already we hated each other and needed something like date night to make us spend time together. In our short marriage we had already experienced infidelity, cancer and the death of our daughter just two weeks before the casino date night. It was a lame attempt at holding something together that really couldn’t and shouldn’t have been held together. He probably would have agreed to split if I had asked but I wasn’t willing to concede defeat so early on so through sheer stubbornness we went through the motions.

We entered the casino together and then quickly went our separate ways. He wanted to play a game of poker, something I didn’t know how to play, something I had no desire to learn and something I certainly didn’t want to watch him play. In my state of deep depression I just wanted to be alone so I searched for the most isolated slot machine and sat down with my rolls of quarters. I was still a wreck, prone to crying at any given moment so being in a dark and noisy casino was really not a bad place for me if I broke out in tears which seemed to happen without warning. I was playing a progressive slot machine which meant if I bet on all lines of play I could win several different ways so I put 8 quarters into the machine and pulled the lever. I think I won $1 on that first pull which was enough to spur me to put another $2 in the machine and pull again. This time I won more than $1, I won the jackpot. I won $2500 on my second pull.

Alarms and lights started to emanate from my machine which irritated me because while all this racket was going on I couldn’t play the damn machine. I had to wait for an attendant to come and cut me a check because the machine didn’t pay out in quarters that much money and because the IRS wants to know if you win more than $600 at a time. While I waited for the attendant to return with my check I started to play the machine next to my machine ( I wasn’t going to leave my machine until I got my check) and after one pull I won the jackpot again, another $2500. Once again the lights and whistles started coming from my machine. At this point my husband came over to see what was going on and was happy to see that I was having such a great time playing the slot machines (something he had said were for idiots not more than an hour before by the way).

Within about 15 minutes I had won $5000 but it didn’t end there. Because I had to wait by my machines I kept playing the nearest, within arms reach, machine to me and won the jackpot two more times. At this point I was pretty sure luck had nothing to do with it (except for the luck of being on date night with someone I had nothing in common with and therefore ended up at a casino because neither of us had anything against them) the casino had just opened and set the machines to pay out frequently so there were plenty of winners who would go home, tell their friends about the win and they would go down and try to win too. Funny thing was, we didn’t tell anyone about our win for a long time.

Both of us felt guilty for winning at a casino. Not so much the winning but that we were even down there at all. We, or maybe it was just I, felt as if we had no right to be anywhere having any kind of fun at all. It was just me now that I think back on it. I was surprised I had the capacity to smile again (and winning $10k tends to make me smile). When my daughter died I was pretty sure I would never smile or laugh again. I had no idea that time was a hugely powerful thing.

My ex husband and I stayed together long enough to have another child, born almost nine months after the casino win. We stuck it out for another 8 months after that and then called it quits. I have never won at the casino like that again and I don’t expect to either. You can’t win if you don’t play but if you keep playing after a big win you will lose everything back so quit while ahead.

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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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Ex Husbands

The Worst Christmas Gift, Ever

December 6, 2010
Lump of coal

Image by Duncan Harris via Flickr

Welcome to the first ever Tribal Blogs Carnival! For our first carnival we are talking about the worst Christmas gifts ever. Some of us received them and some of us gave them. Be sure to click on the link at the bottom of this post so you can read all the hilarious stories of gifting gone wrong.

TribalBlogs Carnival

It was our first Christmas as a married couple. Ex#1 and I had only been married for a couple of months when we celebrated our first holiday as husband and wife. To be truthful our marriage was already strained. My father had been diagnosed with lymphoma on our wedding day and I had been escorting him to chemotherapy several times a week and taking care of him and my mother when my father was too ill to do so himself. We were looking forward to Christmas because my father was going to be taking a break from treatment and we were hoping he wouldn’t be so sick and could actually enjoy the festivities.

In all honesty I had been so busy taking care of my parents and working full time that I never put my marriage or my husband on the front burner. He assured me that was okay because he had lost his mother to lymphoma and knew what I was going through. I also learned later that he was happy to have those nights free to pursue other interests but that’s a different rant for a different time, and I didn’t know these things then.

I was looking forward to our first Christmas together. The high from all the wedding gifts two months earlier was just beginning to wear off and I was anticipating, with excitement, what my new husband might put under the tree for me. I thought maybe some slinky negligee or something that sparkled. I don’t know why I was thinking about sparkly things, we didn’t have any money, but we also didn’t have children. At least I didn’t have children, he had one from a previous relationship but he was little and didn’t require expensive gifts yet, I was sure my new husband would find something romantic to put under the tree.

I have no idea what I gave my husband for our first Christmas together. It was probably practical and it was probably something he wanted since he came from a family where they made a list of the things they wanted. My family was much more passive aggressive and made no such lists. We preferred to make the gift giver squirm and figure it out on their own. And I had no idea what I wanted. I had just gotten a shitload of gifts for getting married and certainly didn’t need anything. I just wanted something from the heart. Something from him, my new husband, that told me he knew me and what I needed.

Which is exactly what I got.

Thankfully I insisted on opening our presents to one another in our home, alone, without other family around. We would go to my parent’s house later in the day and open presents from them and other family members but I didn’t think it was prudent or appropriate to open something that might be very private so we decided to open our gifts to one another by ourselves.

My husband had placed his gift to me under the tree a few days before the big day. It was the size of a small shoe box and it was very heavy but it made no noise or movement when I shook it. And I shook it often. He would smile and give me little hints about what it was. He was clearly pleased with his choice.

“It will make your life so much easier”

“You will have more time to do the things you want to do”

“It will give you freedom”

What could this wonderful thing possibly be? I figured it probably wasn’t sparkly but I thought just maybe it might be a cellular phone. Cell phones were still relatively new and rare and even though I didn’t need one back then, because no one needed one back then, I loved tech toys and so did he. I would have been totally cool if he had bought a cell phone and used it himself. He certainly had more use for one than I did being a real estate agent.

He was so proud of himself I was sure that must be it. What else could it be based on it’s size and weight?

So it was with great excitement that I ripped the package open on Christmas morning.

I removed the paper and noticed that he had put the gift inside of a Sunbeam box. What a kidder my husband was. He was so clever he was trying to fool me in the process of opening the gift. Keep the anticipation high, what a great husband I had!

I opened the box and was stunned to see that indeed the box was no decoy. Inside the Sunbeam box was a Sunbeam iron.

I’ll repeat that for you.

Sunbeam Iron.

I restrained myself from throwing it at his head.

He is still smiling, a huge shit eating grin, expecting me to wrap my loving arms around him and tell him how this wonderful gift is going to change my life.

“You don’t like it?” he asked.

silence

“I thought you’d love it because your iron is so old and it doesn’t have any of the features like auto shut off that this one has” he continued.

more silence

He went on to explain his reasoning for choosing this gift. He thought it would help me to better iron his shirts if I had an iron with all the bells and whistles. Little did he know the appliance had nothing to do with my ability to iron his shirts.

That was twenty years ago, we have been divorced for nearly 18 years now and I have no idea what happened to the iron though I vaguely recall it falling off the ironing board shortly after it burned one of his shirts.

So what was the worst gift you ever received? Or were you the kind of person who gave an item like an iron? Share your stories here and be sure to visit the other Tribal Blogs member’s blogs to read their stories.

No Name Dufus and The Worst Christmas Gift Ever

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Ex#2 Kids

The Dentist

August 18, 2010
School dentist examining a school girl in the ...
Image via Wikipedia

It’s not just me who is having a hard time coming up with stories. My local news station, KARE, reported on a Wisconsin man who was stopped in his car by police because he was changing clothes while driving. He had been to the state fair and was sweaty. He was given a warning. This is such a non story I can’t even find a link to it.

Onward.

Monday I took the kids to the dentist. A routine visit for cleaning. My son has spent the last two years doing the braces thing so he had no trouble opening wide and having a bunch of fingers and instruments in his mouth. My daughter, on the other hand, did.

I didn’t tell her we were going to the dentist until the day before the appointment. I remembered well the eye doctor appointment and how that caused her all kinds of anxiety days before the actual appointment. I don’t know why she freaks out about going to the doctor. Aside from her normally scheduled vaccinations, most so long ago she can’t recall them, she hasn’t been poked or prodded by anyone in the medical profession. Even when she shoved a straw through her upper pallet they didn’t do anything but take an X-Ray. She comes from a family full of doctors and nurses, there is no reason for her to fear anyone in the medical profession. And yet she is terrified.

The drive to the dentist was easy enough, it was only half a mile, but once we sat in the waiting room she got all quiet. When the technician came to bring her back to the exam station she started to hyperventilate.

I knew this would happen so I scheduled my routine cleaning for another time so I could sit with her to try to calm her down.

That didn’t work.

She sat in the chair and started crying. She kept asking if they were going to hurt her. Like they’d tell the truth if they were. When the technician tried to put the bib on her she started screaming. Loudly enough that the other patients were beginning to get nervous.

I tried to calm her down by talking calmly and lovingly to her. I explained this was just a cleaning (silent prayer that there were no cavities but who was I fooling?) and that if she just lay back and opened her mouth it would be over before she knew it.

Louder screams as the lowered the chair.

Another tech came in the room with pictures of her last visit. My daughter had been given a face mask and gloves at the last visit and was pretending she was a doctor, she looked like she was having a good time.

Nothing but more screams.

The technician kept telling my daughter that if she didn’t calm down I would have to leave.

Seriously!?

I wasn’t ready to leave. I had to protect my baby, or at least give her comfort while terrified.

The technician had balls of steel and told me in no uncertain terms that I had to leave the exam room.

I grabbed a few Kleenex and reluctantly left the room. I went down the hall do see how my son was doing.

He was doing just fine and told me to leave.

I walked down the hall, listening to my daughter scream, and sat down in the waiting room.

Alone.

So I did what any single mom would do and I texted her dad to tell him all about the screaming.  The dentist is a family friend of her dad’s family, I just thought he should know what was going on and misery loves company. Her dad called within seconds and said he would talk to her to calm her down. Like that was going to help. I told him I had it under control (from my perch in the waiting room) and that she had to learn to deal with this on her own. No more enabling, we had to start some tough love.

A few minutes later she walked into the waiting room and hurried into the bathroom.

“She’s stalling” said one of the technicians, but not the one with balls of steel.

The tech explained that they were finished, they were not able to get X-Rays however, because she couldn’t handle the thingmabobs in her mouth. Those suck and I can understand but I really wanted X-Rays because I wanted to know if her two front teeth were ever going to grow in. It’s been nine months since she lost the first one and seven since the second one. I’m tired of cutting her corn off the cob.

The dentist wasn’t willing to try to get X-Rays. They didn’t see any problem with the teeth taking so long to come in so they weren’t going to go through another screaming fest. They had other patients they needed to see and they didn’t want to scare any away.

Here is the irony, the daughter who has to be reminded to brush and floss (and sometimes mom forgets) had no cavities. None. The boy on the other hand, the one who has been brushing and rinsing and doing all the right things has six. Six! Thankfully two are on his wisdom teeth which are coming out next month.

We go back for another cleaning in six months.

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Ex Husbands Ex#1 Kids

Abby Annette

March 25, 2010

Today would have been my daughter’s 18th birthday.  Not the little one who keeps me on my toes but my first born daughter, Abby Annette.

I was going to write a post like this last year but my son totaled my car four hours after getting his drivers license and I ended up posting about that. You can read it here if you want.

Abby Annette was diagnosed with spina bifida and anencephaly about two weeks before she was born. She never had a chance.

I had been experiencing contractions that were strong enough to bring me to the hospital but like a car that makes a noise until you bring it to the mechanic they stopped as soon as I got to the hospital. After the third trip down there and seeing how big I was the doctor decided to do an ultrasound.

Because I had been down to the hospital so many times, and it was getting to be routine, I sent my husband off to his meeting. I could tell something was wrong by the look on my doctor’s face but he wanted to wait until my husband returned. I’m sure you all know I wasn’t going to stand for that.

I heard the words and the explanation and I understood that my daughter was going to die. I however, was not going to cry at that moment. I would later but I knew if I let go I wouldn’t be able to stop. I bit my lip and started singing a song in my head. A song we must have heard on the way down to the hospital. Justified and Ancient by KLF featuring Tammy Wynette of all things. I didn’t like the song and I could only remember the chorus, and I didn’t quite “get” the lyrics. In fact to this day I have no idea what the song is about. All I know is that it distracted me enough to keep me from losing it.

All bound for Mu Mu Land
All bound for Mu Mu Land
(hey)
(hey hey)
All bound for Mu Mu Land (justified)
(hey hey)
All bound for Mu Mu Land

I thought it was Moo Moo Land. Which struck me as somewhat amusing.

When my husband arrived I told him what was happening. The doctor came in and told us that for now the contractions had stopped but due to the circumstances they wouldn’t try to stop them. They told me I could go into labor at any time. I asked if I could drink and they said yes.

On the way home I made my husband stop at the gas station to pick up a pack of cigarettes for me, then I made him stop at the liquor store.

When we got home we started making phone calls. I made one call. I called my father and told him what was going on. We lived next door to my parents, if I made the call in my kitchen and my father picked up in the kitchen I could see him. I told him what the doctors had told me, that the baby had spina bifida and anencephaly and that she would most likely die within minutes of birth.

My father was a doctor. He questioned me about the diagnosis. He wanted to make sure they had said anencephaly rather than hydrocephaly. Hydrocephaly is an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain, it is a common companion of spina bifida but it is treatable and the baby can live. With anencephaly the child is born without a forebrain and can not live. I explained that I had not gotten the diagnosis wrong.

That was the first time I had ever heard my father use the word “fuck”.

I asked my father to make the calls to the rest of the family. I didn’t have it in me to explain to everyone. I also asked him to tell my mother even though he suggested I do it. I couldn’t deal with her at that moment. My mother had short term memory loss as well as other brain damage from a stroke when she was 29. I couldn’t tell her the sad news and then tell her again and again and then comfort her for not being able to comfort me.

About ten minutes after hanging up with my father my brother called me. He didn’t say much, just that it sucked and then we sat there on the phone for about 15 minutes not saying anything. There was just nothing to say but it was comforting to not say anything with him.

The next night my brother stopped by with a lasagna and his daughter. My husband was the gate keeper and tried to keep them out. His heart was in the right place, he thought seeing my niece, who was only a year old at that time, might upset me. My brother wasn’t having any of it and forced his way in the house. My niece ran into my arms and though I did cry a little it was because she was such a wonderful sight to see. My niece and I had bonded from the moment she was born, I was the first person besides her parents to hold her. I was her aunt Nenny. Seeing her was and always is one of the best things in the world. They didn’t stay long but wanted to stop by to say hi. My brother mentioned that my sister in law was going to stop by a little later.

When my sister in law arrived we sat in the kitchen and smoked and drank. We cried too. I was playing a waiting game and drinking was probably not the best thing considering it relaxed me which prevented me from going into labor. I am forever thankful to my sister in law for sitting with me night after night. She had a family to care for, she had work, she had a life to get to but she spent each night of that week with me.

After two weeks and no contractions my doctor said he could induce labor. He started my on Pitocin. A lovely drug that makes your uterus contract. At the rate they were giving it to me they anticipated I would go into labor in about three days. Three days would have brought us to March 25th which happened to be my husband’s birthday. I suggested we wait a day or two to start the whole Pitocin routine but my husband said he didn’t mind if everything happened on his birthday. He was not convinced that it would necessarily happen on schedule.

The doctors and nurses had briefed us on how the delivery would most likely happen. If the baby was born alive they would do everything to make her comfortable, but the general consensus was that she couldn’t feel anything. They said she wouldn’t be able to live more than a minute or two beyond birth.

The baby had been active the whole time. I could feel her kicking and hiccuping up until the night before I went into labor. I was sitting in my kitchen by myself. I hadn’t felt any kicks for an hour at least. I tried to make her move by pushing on my stomach, something that had always worked before, but it didn’t work this time. I knew she had died. I didn’t tell my husband. I don’t think he was home, but I am not sure at this point. I just didn’t.

The next morning we went into the hospital for another dose of medication and the doctor decided to hurry things up just a bit more by inserting seaweed sticks into my cervix. Apparently the sticks then expand and dilate the cervix causing labor to begin. I’m not entirely sure how they work because as he was inserting them he broke my water. Because of the birth defects I was carrying a lot of extra fluid. As bad as things were at that moment it felt wonderful to get rid of some of the pressure I was feeling.

I was in active labor for no more than half an hour. There were no monitors wrapped around my belly. The whole room was incredibly quiet. After she was born the nurse cleaned her up and took her foot prints. I was checked to make sure everything was okay. At some point the priest from our church came in the room. I wasn’t fully there. I was in Mu Mu Land. Trying to hold it together so I could get out of the maternity ward and go home.

Shortly after a nurse came in and dressed Abby Annette in an outfit with yellow bunnies on it and some booties that had been knit by someone who hung out at the hospital or something like that. I couldn’t understand why she was dressing her up until she pulled out the camera. She posed the baby with toys, in my arms with my husband standing beside me and in several other positions. It was surreal. I didn’t want pictures. The nurse said maybe not now, but one day I might. She took four or five Polaroids and two rolls of film.

I didn’t want pictures. At that moment I just wanted to move on. In my minds eye my daughter was an adorable little redheaded girl. In reality she was not. She had many birth defects that are probably part of the whole neural tube defect. Her spine had not closed, she had very long limbs but this was an optical illusion due to the fact that her head didn’t exist beyond her face.  She had what the nurse called a cleft pallet. In reality she had two mouths. I kept laughing because the phrase a face only a mother could love kept running through my head.

And I did love her. I knew her as only a mother could. I had already planned her life out. She would be smart, funny, beautiful. She would grow up to do the things that she had a passion for. She wouldn’t settle for anything less.

We tried to donate her organs but they were too deformed to be of any use.  After making arrangements with the funeral director we were allowed to go home. Because the hospital was expanding the regular entrance was closed. To get out we had to walk through the children’s hospital, the cancer ward. As bad as things were at that moment I knew they worse for someone else.

The next week, hell, the next month, was a blur. We made all the appropriate arrangements. I received flowers and cards from friends and family and from people I didn’t even know. I received one of the nicest and most heartfelt cards from the cashier at our neighborhood grocery store. The kindness of people never ceases to amaze me.

I held it together for the most part. I was busy making arrangements, canceling my baby shower and just trying to get through each day without screaming at any pregnant women or moms walking down the street with baby strollers. I probably could have used a little therapy at that time.

My husband and I decided to bury Abby Annette in the cemetery where his mother was buried. This was one of the few things that made me happy. I had never met my husbands mother, she died when he was 15, but it gave me great comfort to know that my daughter would be with her grandmother. She couldn’t be buried next to her, she had to be buried in the childrens section of the cemetery but it was close enough. As a mother I felt as if I had let her down. I wasn’t sure what I believed as far as an after life but I felt horrible that I wasn’t there with her to take care of her. I didn’t want to die but I didn’t know how to be her mother given the circumstances. Having her grandmother there helped a lot.

My husband and I didn’t talk about any of this. Our marriage was already ending I just refused to see it. I had held it together pretty well I thought. I knew I would eventually have myself a good cry, maybe for a couple of days, but I wanted to get through all the ceremony first. I didn’t want to make anyone more uncomfortable around me.

We had a small funeral, just immediate family. I don’t recall what the priest said, I wasn’t really listening. I was just singing the Mu Mu song to myself. When my sister in law saw the casket, the tiny little casket, she lost it and started crying. This set me off and suddenly we were both bawling our eyes out. Something my stoic family just didn’t do. Of course it set all the women off who were in attendance.

I don’t remember much that followed the funeral. Life returned to normal for everyone else but me it seemed. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had quit work in anticipation of being a mom. I could have gone back to work but that didn’t seem like something I was ready to do. I decided to get pregnant again. My husband wanted to wait but I wasn’t going to not be a mother for long if I could help it.

He didn’t understand. When mother’s day rolled around a couple of months later he didn’t get why I was so mad at him for not making any kind of deal about it.

“But you aren’t a mother” was his defense.

I’m pretty sure I was. I gave birth to a child, I named her, I buried her. That makes me a mother in my book. He didn’t understand and really wanted to wait but when we had to put down my dog only a few weeks later I think he knew, as I did, that having another child just might save my life. And it did.

My son was born less than a year later.

If you are still with me I’m wrapping it up.

Like the bag I have of all the cards I received and the rolls of film I never developed I never know where to put her in my life. When people ask me how many children I have, I tell them two. I don’t mention Abby Annette because for the most part it isn’t something I want to explain. It makes people uncomfortable and it makes them sad for me. When I get to know people better I have no problem telling them, it just isn’t something for acquaintances.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my first born child. It isn’t something my ex and I discuss but it is a bond that we have between us. My children know they have a sister but it isn’t something that comes up in everyday conversation. Life goes on.

Around the time that Abby Annette died, in fact only a few days before, Eric Clapton’s 4 year old son died when he fell off a balcony. I don’t recall it being in the news at the time, though I am sure it was. He wrote the song Tears in Heaven for his son. That song pretty much sums up everything I have tried to convey here.

And it’s much better than Mu Mu Land.

* It’s funny what no longer seems pertinent but I should say that the neural tube defects could have been caught in a series of tests in the first trimester. I chose not to have the test. I figured I was 25 and healthy and if something was wrong we would deal with it. I never imagined that they would or could discover something like this. I was thinking about Downs Syndrome. I knew if I took a test and it revealed something was wrong I would be faced with decisions I didn’t want to make, nor was I willing to make. When I found out I asked if they terminating the pregnancy was a possibility, if I could have a c-section. I was told that that would be considered a third term abortion which my doctor was not permitted to perform. He could induce labor but he could not terminate the pregnancy. I was also told that a c-section was not a possibility because there was no reason for one. It was shortly, only a few months later, that it became public knowledge that taking folic acid supplement greatly decreased the risks of these kinds of neural tube defects. Now breads and other foods are supplemented with folic acid. I should also note that I had had a miscarriage before this pregnancy. Knowing that, I was put on progesterone to help maintain the pregnancy. I had been on Clomid to get pregnant and I was also on Lipitor at the time of conception. I don’t know if there is any correlation to taking a statin and birth defects but they now they say if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant you shouldn’t take them. While in the hospital I was approached by an ambulance chasing lawyer. I told him to go to hell.

Please don’t feel sad for me. I got 8 1/2 months with my daughter which is something no one else had. If this hadn’t happened I would not have my son who was conceived five weeks after Abby’s birth. I don’t know why things happen I just know that sometimes they do. I have been blessed with two wonderful children and I have an angel looking over me. Not everyone can say that and I feel pretty lucky.

One more side note. When the diagnosis was made my brother suggested that I shouldn’t bother playing the lottery since I already hit my one in a million chance on something. Actually the odds were much better something like 1 in a 1000 if I recall correctly. In those five weeks between pregnancies my ex and I went to the opening of a casino in our area. I hit the jackpot three times winning over $10k. I haven’t bothered to play ever since.

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Ex Husbands Ex#2 Things I Really Like Things that piss me off

Ten Things I Hate About You

March 15, 2010

men who leave the toilet seat up

I was asked to write a guest post about the top ten things men do that drive women crazy. I came up with the standard ones, leaving the toilet seat up, farting, hands down their pants, that kind of thing, but I couldn’t come up with ten and my post went horribly in the wrong direction. The post was rejected and I was given a different topic to write about.

Since I do not live with a man anymore, at least not at present( and the 17 year old boy doesn’t count because I am raising him not to do those things, though he does anyway), I wasn’t able to come up with any more than those three or four. And they all seemed really petty to me now, though they did drive me crazy then.

But I wonder what things men and women do that drive each other bonkers.

Here is the original post:

There have been a million articles written about the things men do that irritate their women. We all  know that leaving the toilet seat up, clipping their nails anywhere but the bathroom, spending the weekend on the couch with their hands down their pants and performing  Dutch Ovens are things that drive women mad. Which is probably why men do these things.

Let’s face it, men, specifically married men, have gotten a bad rap in the last decade or so. They are usually portrayed as big dumb oafs on sitcoms and television commercials.  They stumble through life not knowing what to do. Thankfully they have their smart wife to steer them through life’s challenges.

I’m not going to perpetuate that myth. I love men. I do. And my track record of two marriages and two subsequent divorces proves it. At present I have been single just long enough to appreciate all the great things about men.

Now that I am single I have to kill all the icky things myself. If a toilet gets backed up I have to plunge it out. My last ex husband was a phenomenal cook, I ate well when I was married. So what that he couldn’t put a dish in the dishwasher to save his life, I had a three course meal prepared for me every day we were together.

If something needed repairing my guy could do it. Sure I had to nag all the time but isn’t that what he wanted me to do?

Even though I am divorced I haven’t lost the ability to look and act pathetic when something goes wrong. I can convey that ineptness over the phone and my ex husband will come over and fix just about anything. As long as I have cold beer in the fridge.

Not too long ago I was given a glimpse of what a great guy my ex husband really is. I was having surgery and he offered to hang out at the hospital and wait to see that I was okay. He took the day off of work, drove me to the hospital, waited for hours while they prepped and performed the surgery and then waited in recovery with me while I came off all the drugs they used to put me under. He didn’t even bring a video camera to capture all the bizarre things I was saying.

It gave me great comfort to know that someone was out there waiting for me, that someone cared enough about me to take a day off of work and watch game shows while I had surgery on my girlie parts.  He wasn’t obligated to do any of that. When he stopped at the drugstore on the way home to pick up the necessary feminine protection products and purchased them himself, I was reminded of what a great guy he really is.

We women forget that about our men. We complain to our girlfriends that all they do is hang out in the garage, go fishing with their friends, never spend enough time with us, never stroke our egos enough and all those other top ten things they do to irritate the hell out of us. When they do the little things like buying tampons or plunging out that backed up toilet we often take it for granted.

I’d take nail clippings and Dutch Ovens any day.

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Blogging Ex Husbands

Boyfriend or Blog?

March 10, 2010
Fremont Troll in Seattle

Since Lola jumped back into the dating world I have been thinking about finding a mate for myself. It’s been a fleeting thought, here and there, throughout the years since my divorce. I have dated but no one seriously. There seemed to be all kinds of good reasons not to get involved with anyone. My divorce took two years and it brought out the worst in me. I was angry and when angry I tend to attract the wrong kind of guy.

After my divorce was finally settled I moved, was job hopping and busy finding my way. Dating just seemed like one more burden that I didn’t want to take on. Last year I decided to give it another try but then life interrupted that plan and I never made it a priority. It didn’t help that the few dates I did go on were somewhat( okay, horribly) disappointing.

Fear is another reason I haven’t jumped back into the dating pool. You don’t go down in flames twice and think to yourself, oh, this is a breeze, I’ll just get back on the horse again. While it might be easy to blame my choice in mates for going down in flames the truth is it takes two to tango and I contributed to the death of both of my marriages. About 2% is my fault. That might be a conservative estimate. Regardless, I don’t trust anyone to get too close anymore.

For the most part this hasn’t bothered me. Being a single mom I don’t have a lot of free time so when I do I like to spend it with a book or watching a show from start to finish. I used to be fun. I used to do things. Now, I have to raise to kids and that can sap a lot of energy from anyone and I am not the most energetic person to begin with. The holidays are the worst but even they are getting better. I don’t feel as if I need a man to complete me. I am complete on my own and am happy with myself.

Which means I am no longer angry, in fact I am at peace, and it is probably time to go out and meet someone.

Except.

Now I blog. Unless I meet a man who blogs, who also happens to live in my hometown, it isn’t going to work. There is no room in my life for a boyfriend and a blog, let alone four.

How will I explain to him that I have to visit a million sites a day? How will he understand that everything he does is very likely going to be published on my blog and then commented on by virtual strangers. Strangers to him, not to me, you guys are family. But how is he going to understand that? Will he understand that when he tells me a secret I will keep it to myself, never to mention it to anyone, except all of you? I don’t think so.

I should have found a mate before I started blogging. I am sure that when a spouse becomes a blogger it is covered under that for better or worse part of the vows. If I became a blogger after I met and married him he would have no choice but to accept it, begrudgingly maybe, but accept it he would.

Who wants to get involved with someone who eats almost every meal in front of the computer? Who wants to get involved with someone who is constantly checking email to see if anyone commented? Who wants to get involved with someone who looks at stats all day long, even though she really doesn’t understand them. Who wants to get involved with someone who runs around the house mumbling things like keywords and bounce rate under her breath? Who would understand that when Google publishes their page ranks it’s the same thing as having tickets to the Super Bowl when your team is in it?

No one, unless he is another blogger and then there would be competition.

Who has the better theme? Who has more followers? Who has more feed readers (he would)? Who has more comments? I’d have to double my bandwidth.

Another blogger wouldn’t work for those reasons and because no one would go out and get things like groceries. We’d both never wear anything but sweats and showers would become optional. Two bloggers don’t make a right.

I’ve decided if I am going to get involved with anyone he is going to have to be a computer geek, but not one who blogs. A geek who spends his days in forums about databases, MySQL, PHP, CGI and scripts ( I have no idea what these things are, I just looked at my cpanel). He will have to be a guy who can lose hours of his life online learning things that will ultimately benefit me.

My first ex husband is a real estate agent. Yeah, I dodged a bullet there, though I completely missed his successful rise for nearly a decade. He had no tech skills and even worse no mechanical skills. If anything broke I had to fix it, or make the call if I couldn’t. My second ex husband is an electrician. He could fix things, anything. It was great having him around because if something broke I wasn’t allowed to fix it. He could also cook and enjoyed doing so. But he didn’t understand my attachment to the internet and I wasn’t blogging then. Even though he could fix anything he rarely did. He started considerably more projects than he ever finished, our marriage included.

No, the kind of guy I need to find is someone who has not seen the sun in decades. Someone so pasty white I will look tropical standing next to him. Someone who can explain things to me when I announce “I don’t get it”. Right now I am covered, my son is that kind of geek. However, he leaves for college in a year and a half so I don’t have a lot of time to meet a geek. And it isn’t as if they are easy to find. You don’t meet them at the bars or coffee shops. I’d have to find them online and sadly I don’t speak their language. I need someone to set me up.

Guys and gals, I need you to find me a geek. The only requirement I have is that he not live in the basement of his mother’s house.

Instead of turning into that crazy cat lady, if I don’t find a mate, I will be that crazy blog lady.

*Hat tip to Mrsblogalot for inspiring this post.

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Ex Husbands Kids

I Did Pretty Good

February 27, 2010

Not too long ago I was talking to my ex husband’s wife, my son’s step mom. This is not a rip on the new wife post so don’t get all I hate my ex husband’s new wife on me.

I like this woman. If I was going to be replaced by anyone I couldn’t think of a better person to replace me.

Of course, she didn’t replace me, at least not in my son’s life.

Anyway, I was talking to her not too long ago and we were discussing my son. Let me backtrack just a bit. When my son started school I needed a before and after school daycare for him and his step mom offered to do just that. She never asked me to pay her or reduce the child support her husband was paying to me. It saved me tons of cash and tons of worry. I am eternally grateful to my ex husband’s wife.

single mom and baby

So we were talking about my son. I don’t remember what the conversation was about, probably my son’s current hair color or something. In the midst of this conversation my ex husband’s wife says to me:

“You did a great job raising the boy. It couldn’t have been easy on your own but you did a wonderful job raising him into a fine young man. You should be very proud.”

I responded by telling her that she and ex#1 had a big hand in it as well and they should be equally proud.

Credit is also due to ex#2 who played a huge role in my son’s development.

Her words meant a lot to me and they roll around my brain at times.

When ex#1 left us I was terrified. I had no idea how I was going to raise this child on my own. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever been as scared as I was at that time in my life. In addition to getting a divorce I had to move. Our life was constantly changing and I worried all the time that my son would have all kinds of issues because of our unstable life.

Cascade Mountains, mom and son

Eventually, it stabilized.

Last night my son and I were in the kitchen eating guacamole. Avocados were on sale and I had picked up four of them. I used two to make a fresh batch of guac. As I was making it my son opened a bag of chips and started dipping the chips into the guacamole. We were discussing a rave he is going to this evening. This discussing included talk about drugs, drinking, driving under the influence and doing other stupid things. A discussion we have had too many times to count.

I trust my son. He is a smart kid and he knows I trust him. He also knows he doesn’t want to lose that trust.

While we were talking we finished the guacamole. Instead of finding something else to do we continued to talk in the kitchen. I have a hard time just standing still so I made another batch of guacamole. We stood around talking and eating more chips and guac.  We both had things we wanted to do, I needed to do some work on the computer and he wanted to clean his room so he could go to his rave tonight. We both made our way to the couch and collapsed in a heap of guacamole and lime chips overload. We watched a little TV together and then called it a night.

My son is 17, he has one more year of high school and then he is off to college. Days, or nights, like these are numbered.

As a single mom I have given up a lot, and a lot was taken away from me. I don’t have much of a social life anymore. When I got divorced the first time, all of my married friends dropped me like a hot potato. I was no longer invited to any social gatherings, which probably hurt more than my ex husband leaving me.  I was suddenly broke so even if I had been invited out I couldn’t have gone, though it would have been nice to be asked.

I pissed and moaned about it for a while and then found a new life. I started a business, I met my future ex#2, and made new friends.

Rinse and repeat.

I gave up a lot for my kids and I wasn’t always happy about it. Had someone given me a crystal ball, to show me how it would turn out, it would have been much easier to accept. Looking back it was all more than worth any sacrifice I made.

There are only two pictures of my son and me together. That’s what happens when you are a single parent. There are few pictures because there is no one there to take the picture.

I wish there had been more pictures to document our life together. It’s not too late to get a tripod and start taking them but that little boy has grown into a man and there won’t be anymore pictures of me carrying him.

Which is probably as it should be, he can carry himself now.

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Ex#2 Kids

How To Text Message Properly

February 24, 2010
text message between mother and son

Do you text, or txt, message? If you are under the age of 30 you probably do and don’t think twice about it. If you are over the age of 30 you probably struggle a bit with the whole thing.

I do text message. Reluctantly. I don’t really like to but in some cases it is the only way to communicate with people in my little world. My son has a cell phone but the school scrambles the phone lines during classes. They aren’t able to do the same with text messaging. So if I want to get a message to him during the day I have to text him. Ex#2 is not allowed to talk on his phone during work so I also have to text him if I need to get a message to him. My brother just prefers to use text messaging so if I want to talk to him I have to text him to call me.

I am one of those people who writes out every word in a text message. This is probably why I don’t care to do it all that often. typing with one or two fingers on a tiny little screen takes patience and concentration, two things I lack.

Today I had to text Ex#2 to remind him to take our daughter to an after school activity.

Me: Will you take M to her music lesson today after school? Let me know, thanks, J

His response: k

Just “k”. Presumably that means “okay” but who knows, he could have hit the keypad incorrectly and sent it off on accident. Not likely but you never know. This is my baby and I want to know that she is “k” at all times. I don’t think communicating in English is such a bad thing. Lord knows her father and I don’t communicate all that well to begin with so I don’t think I am asking too much.

Of course I am, that’s probably the biggest contributing reason we are divorced, we are not able to communicate, but I can always hope can’t I?

My son is a different story altogether. I text him something in full English and he knows he must respond the same way or I will not respond to his text messages in the future. I have taught him well, if I do say so myself.

Me: Did you hand in that note I gave you to the office today?

Him: Yes, mom. I did it as soon as I arrived to school.

Me: Thank you, honey.

Him: You are welcome, mother.

There might be a little sarcasm in his text messages but since I can’t hear his tone of voice I am assuming he is just a lovely and polite son.

He doesn’t text this way to his friends. He is bilingual.

Him: r u driving 2 robotics?

Friend: no rn’t u?

I can’t even make a decent example of real text messaging. My fingers and my brain just won’t get on the same page, but you get the drift.

I know why I can’t text like a teenager. I’m not one. I learned how to type in 7th grade with all the other girls in my class. Boys didn’t need to learn how to type since they would have women to do that for them. I type faster than I think. This should be obvious if you have read any of my posts or comments. I get ahead of myself and if someone talks to me while I am typing I have to hit the backspace key until I find where my thoughts were interrupted.

In my head I can’t make the switch to text messaging lingo. I can’t say R when I mean “Are”.

I blame Prince and his Revolution for this. He started using U instead of “you” decades ago. His song “I Would Die for U” is probably the first record of text messaging making it into everyday language, and we didn’t even have text messaging back then.

Damn you Prince.

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Events Ex#2

Just in Time for Christmas…Holiday Depression

December 11, 2009

I was blazing through the season.  I put up my lights and started decorating the house for the holidays, I watched animated Christmas specials from the 70’s with my six year old, and enjoyed them more than she did. I baked and baked.

And then I hit the wall.

I don’t know what happened except that the reality of the season probably took over.

I start out each holiday season the same. I have high hopes, I believe.

I watch Lifetime holiday specials. And I never watch Lifetime.

You know the kind of movies I’m talking about. The hapless single (usually widowed) mom who manages to have a successful career going but has been unlucky in love. Somehow a stranger ends up at her doorstep a few days before Christmas. She takes him in (she is a successful businesswoman with the common sense of a fruit fly of course), and he ends up cooking wonderful meals for her and her young son (who just needs a guy around to make his life perfect), fixing her German car when it breaks down in the middle of traffic (all the while she is telling him that she can handle it herself), and looking great the whole time.

Eventually (Christmas Eve) they fall in love and live happily ever after.

I hate these movies.

But I watch them anyway.

I watch them because I figure maybe I am doing something wrong and I can learn from these movies.

So far no stranger has knocked on my door, if one did I would let him in and show him to my kitchen and then introduce him to my truck and my kids.

But so far no man, studly or not has knocked on my door looking to change the life of a single mom.

I am the Charlie Brown of the holiday season.

I have received three Christmas cards. One from my aunt, one from my brother (who couldn’t even bother to sign the photo he sent) and one from my paper delivery person (with a conveniently enclosed self addressed envelope).

I understand that Christmas cards are like blog comments. If I want them I have to send them out, the year before.

Last year sucked(there are too many posts to highlight from last year but it culminated in my washer, dryer, furnace and dishwasher breaking down in about three days time and I was severely broke. I think a toilet overflowed flooding the basement too. It really sucked)  and I never got around to sending out Christmas cards so I have been axed from everyone’s list.

Which really sucks because it took me years to recover from no cards after each divorce.

I’d been sending out cards to people who dropped me, family included, for three years trying to recoup the amount of holiday cheer I used to receive. And I was there last year when all hell broke loose and I dropped the ball.

I still haven’t sent out my cards this year because I’m not really sure who to send them to. Do I continue to send them to people who don’t send them to me? Do I start using the phone book, choosing random people in the hopes that I haven’t sent them too late this season so I get some back?

I don’t know.

So I sit here and watch Fargo. I am watching Fargo because Armageddon is not on tonight ( a sure sign of the apocalypse). I love the movie Fargo. I don’t need any translation, I speak Minnesotan.

In an unrelated aside, the CEO of the company I used to work for in Seattle used to hang out by my desk and talk to me because he loved Fargo and couldn’t get enough of the accent.

If I see one more commercial for Kay Jewelers (which I am sure I will) I am going to go postal. Not that it would make any difference since I am alone when I see these commercials and unable to go postal on anyone but the dog and he doesn’t deserve that.

But they piss me off.

So do the car commercials this time of year.

Does anyone really buy someone else a car for Christmas?

If so I have been doing it way wrong.

I’ll get over this. Tomorrow I am going to get a tree with my daughter and my ex#2. It sounds like a great way to spend the day. Tree farm, six year old who complains about everything and an ex spouse. Oh and it’s really cold.

I’m grateful that the ex will do all the heavy cutting and heavy lifting. Once it’s in the house, however, he will take off and I will be left to get the boxes of ornaments down from the attic, untangle the lights and after the novelty wears off for my daughter, left to decorate the damn tree alone.

I will get through this, around the day after Valentine’s Day of next year.

I can always watch Die Hard, it’s a great holiday film, Bruce Willis has hair, and they don’t talk with a funny accent.

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