Monday, November 25, 2013

the one where it's over, so over.

As of 2:28pm, I am divorced. 

It's surprising how quickly it all went. Weddings are so intense, so I was expecting a little more pomp and circumstance. I mean, at least some balloons and the Cupid Shuffle.

I was a little caught off-guard when I realized I had to take the stand. They really don't show this in shows like The People's Court. I could feel my anxiety rising as I walked up to the stand, and that's never good. Because when I'm anxious, I laugh. Loudly and without ceasing. Luckily I refrained from laughing maniacally. 

Instead I just sat there with the biggest tight-lipped smile, trying to keep control of the laughter growing inside.

I'm mature, guys. I swear.

A couple of questions here and there, and we were declared to be "officially single people again". I was okay on the ride to the courthouse, and the ride back to the county clerk's office. Yes. Ride. Because John and I carpool to divorce hearings.

But once I started driving back home, I lost it. It probably didn't help that I got lost and wound up driving through Pea Ridge, but I totally ugly cried the entire way home. And while I changed my clothes. And then on the 45 minute drive to Fayetteville to get the boys. At one stoplight I looked over at the car next to me, and a thirtysomething guy was staring at me with the biggest sad face ever. 

And now I'm back home. Puffy faced and processing it all while soaking in the tub. 

It sucks to fail.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

the one where my childhood is crushed

When you're in second grade, life is getting serious. You're at this stage in life where you're no longer considered a baby, and you're so close to being able to have the salad bar option in the cafeteria that you can't stand it. 

I can remember like it was yesterday. We would spend our recesses playing on now unsafe playground equipment while talking about everything. One day the topic of holiday characters came up. It was getting serious.

The general concensus was that the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny were fake, but there was a heated discussion on the existence of Santa Claus. I, normally vocal, a stepped back, taking it all in. 

Both sides had such compelling arguments. I mean, we knew that the old guy at the Mall wasn't really Santa, but that was because Santa had helpers to get all of the wishes from the kids around the world. But, the protestors argued, how could one man and right tiny reindeer go to every house in the world?

I took all of this information, processing it as quickly as my 8 year old brain could. I was leaning towards disbelief of the man in red. But I was steadfast in my decision that I would never verbalize my hints of doubt. 

I mean, I didn't want to screw myself out of him giving me presents, right?

The weeks flew by, and soon it was go time. Christmas morning was here! As an only child, my job was being the "elf", you know, the person who passed out all of the gifts. Piles quickly grew for Mom, Dad, and myself...but there wasn't a single gift from Santa.

There's been a mistake. 

I looked a second time, and then a third. Surely there was something from Santa hiding behind the tree. Or the couch. Or in the garage.

But there was nothing. No one had told me that Santa could read our darkest thoughts. Especially when they pertained to him.

Monday, November 18, 2013

the one where I was a con artist.

After a lot of reflection, I've come to realize that I was a weird kid growing up. Not one of those kids that you can take a quick glance at and peg. No, I was one of the other kind. Crack the surface and the oddity just spills out.

I was always a sort of venture capitalist. There was the time I made flyers and handed them to every neighbor on my street, offering myself as cheap, unskilled labor. Or when my friends and I unsuccessfully tried our hands at a real-life Babysitters' Club. But one of my favorite memories was when my friend and I became con artists.

We didn't set out to be con artists, persay. But we were fairly intelligent, overly creative, and bored. And the cure for summer boredom when you're 9?

You con the neighbor kids into paying to have their fortunes read.

We practiced for days. One of us would be the fortune teller, and the other would be strategically hiding underneath the table. Certain code words from the fortune teller would prompt the "spirit" to act appropriately. Lifting the table, knocking, and a gentle shaking were all part of the show.

When we went live, I somehow got stuck under the table for what seemed like hours while Sarah, in her best psychic garb, wowed the neighborhood kids with her powers. You know, after they paid their fifty cents. 

It was going so very well until a leg cramp sent the table flying, exposing my sweaty, red-cheeked, cramping body. 

Needless to say, we gave a refund.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

the one where I live in constant terror

When I was younger, my grandparents lived sort of a ways out from anything considered "in town". We went to their house every Sunday after church. Their neighbors had rows of pines trees lining their driveway, and pinecones would tumble into my grandparents yard. 

My mom is an elementary school teacher, and pinecones are pretty much a staple when it comes to arts and crafts. So one autumn day we gathered boxes of pinecones before loading back up in the minivan and making the 30-40 minute drive back home. As we were driving, my Dad suddenly reaches to the backseat and snatches my beret off my head without saying a word.

Alarmed, my mom looked at him, and he said that there was a spider crawling across my beret, so he had to get it. A little freaked out but thankful for my rescue, I looked down at the pinecones sitting next to me. 


Dozens of spiders were crawling all over the pinecones. I'm not sure what sort of crappy horror movie we had been written in to, but this wasn't okay. I had watched enough of Arachnophobia to know that this was VERY BAD NEWS.  I unbuckled and crouched the best I could between my parents' seats the rest of the way home, eyes glued to the bastardly pinecones the remainder of the way home.

Cut to today. I'm not sure what we were thinking when we bought our house. You know, the house that's sort of in a wooded area. The one where the backyard looks like this.

You hear about "spider season". At my house, EVERY SEASON IS SPIDER SEASON. I'm constantly shrieking, dry-heaving, and running like Flo Jo to skirt them. It's a season of constant terror and ample stock of long-range insecticide. 

Screw compassion. Self-preservation is where it's at.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

the one where I am overcome by the stench of love

I don't think it's any secret that the main loves on my life are my sons. I'm not any different than any other parent; they're the best part of my world. And there's nothing I wouldn't do for them. 

Except "PlayPlaces". 

The minute you open the door to the door to the secluded, steamed over windows, barefooted cesspool, you are hit in the face with the smell. THAT SMELL. The smell of dirty feet mixed with dirty diapers and sweat. It's gag inducing, and makes me one of those moms that usually lets my kids play alone while I savor every fresh breath of air on the other side of the glass.

When I was little, the coolest place on earth was ShowBiz Pizza. (Go ahead, Wikipedia it. Fayetteville is all up on that.) 

ShowBiz was where the cool kids had their birthday parties. It was where you went when you achieved something really awesome, like all E's on your report card. It was where dreams came true and you stayed clear of the animatronics on stage. ShowBiz was heaven on earth.

There are two types of kids. Those that played games at ShowBiz to get tickets and prizes, and those that played a couple games of skee ball but spent their time in the ballpit.

I was the latter.

I loved the ballpit. I'd make it my personal goal to try to touch each and every plastic balls with some part of my body. I pretended to swim. I'd pretend to float. I'd sink to the bottom like a rock so I could be fully immersed.

Fully immersed in a pit full of germ infested, filthy, oddly sticky plastic balls. 

When I have doubts that anyone out there cares about me, I remember ShowBiz. And the fact that my parents actually let me ride back to the house in their car without getting hosed down first.

The stench of love. 
I can't escape it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

the one where dating confuses me

A friend who is also going through a divorce sent that to me this weekend. After being in a relationship for so long, rejoining the dating world seems like this foreign land. Dating isn't what is was 6 years ago. 

And it sucks. Did you see that? DATING SUCKS.

Don't get me wrong. I've been having a great time meeting new people, re-building my self-confidence, and finding myself again. I've learned how to set boundaries; I'm learning how to show discernment. It's no longer about how someone treats me, but it's now about how they treat me and how they'd treat my sons. Over-eager to meet my kids? Nope. Total lack of caring about my kids? Nope.

I'm a single mom with very limited free time. Making plans with me sucks, I know. But I get really upset when plans fall through, because I had looked forward to them for several days, and probably turned down other offers to do so. It's so incredibly lame that I get upset or cry about something like that because I'm not 16 anymore BUT OMG IT SUCKS AND ALL I WANT TO DO IS PLAY ALANIS MORISSETTE ON REPEAT AND EAT COOKIE DOUGH.

I wish it was straight forward. Simple. Like Aziz said- you meet someone, you like them, and then you pursue it. No games. No scheduling headaches. No worries because it's clear cut and easy.

I'm enjoying where I'm at right now, though. It's probably the most confused I've been in dating career, and that's okay. While it's frustrating at times to the point where I cry, as long as I can still be myself and be accepted, then I'm okay. 

Even if it does sort of suck.

Friday, November 8, 2013

the one where maggie gyllenhaal is stealing my life

It started out fairly innocently. It was 2006, and I was working at Express.

"Do you know you look like Maggie Gyllenhaal?"

I protested. Then I went home. And saw an altered version of my face when I googled her. Some angles made her look gorgeous. Others, more like Quasimodo. No gray area. Very polarizing. It. Was. Terrifying.

After that initial day, I would literally (and I literally mean literally) would be told this at least twice a day. I began to question every comment. Was this a compliment? Was this a dig? WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN? 

As the years have gone by, it's all but stopped. I dyed my hair blonde, then let it go back to it's natural baby poo color. I grew it out long, and then earlier this year I chopped it off.

And then I saw this.


It's on, Maggie. It's about to get all sorts of Quasimodo up in here.