Alone but Strong

Single mother of two beautiful girls trying to rebuild my life. One day at a time.

Ego Booster

This past weekend, in the middle of all the drama, I said to myself, what am I waiting for, let’s put this fish in some water. So I signed up for a dating site. And all I have to say is, what was I afraid of? I really have no good answer to that, but what I do know is, I am having a blast. I know, I know, I should control my ego instead of trying to boost it, but after the past 2 years, I’m sorry my ego needs a boost, it really, really does.

As a 38 year-old woman who hasn’t dated in 18 years and who’s ex husband never complimented her, at least not in the last 16 years, I really needed to hear that I’m beautiful.

So let me tell you about a few of them.
There was one 22 year-old who, when I said he was too young, said “Actually I am 32 I made a mistake when I created my profile and havent been able to fix it… Hope that changes your mind?” You know he’s lying through his teeth, but it sure made me smile.

Or the 32 year-old from NYC who started the conversation with: “I’m jealous, is that bad?” I just had to ask why. And he answered: “Because of our distance and I don’t fit your age specs and someone will enjoy you instead of me…is that bad?” A little too slimy for me, but still nice to hear.

I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with a 41 year-old man who lives fairly close, he seems really nice, not the type I would normally go for but I am keeping an open mind. And to be honest I don’t even know if I have a type anymore. I’ve agreed to meet him for coffee today at 3PM. I’ve got a girlfriend who knows all the details, I even sent her a screen shot of his picture… You can never be too careful.

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Ex In-laws Follow-Up

As all my friends and all of you who read and commented on my post Ex In-laws said, contact your ex mother-in-law. So I did. I invited her to stay with me and my parents so that she could see her grand daughters. Her daughter then contacted me and asked if she, her new husband (she cheated on her ex-husband too), and their blended family of 3 kids could come stay too. To that I said no, my parents are moving, they can’t house me, my 2 girls, your mother and you and your family, that is too much. She could have then said, we’ll stay at a hotel and visit if that is OK, which would have been fine, but she didn’t. It was decided that only my ex mother-in-law would come.

Then drama struck and 2 days after I got his initial e-mail I get an e-mail from my ex mother-in-law that says that unfortunately she will not be able to come visit with us like planned. I didn’t even respond to it, because it was in the middle of everything and my ex apparently absolutely does not want me to have any contact with his mother.

I can’t help but wonder what he told her to get her to cancel her trip. One day I will talk to her and ask her what did he say about me and the breakup and the divorce. But, the time for that is not now. Now I am going to let it all go and have a wonderful vacation with my daughters and my parents.

Too Good…

Yes, I think my ex thought things were going to good for me. I’ve been very quiet these past 2 weeks because I don’t know if he is monitoring my blog, I don’t think so, I don’t think he would ever suspect me of writing one, but if he does I didn’t want to risk upsetting things more… This is going to be a long one, go get a snack, a coffee or maybe wine, and stick with me here.

On Monday June 10 when I went to drop off the girls, he sends them inside and wants to talk to me. Never a good sign. He starts saying/accusing me of lots of things so I yell goodbye to the girls and run to my car and drive off. Later that evening he sends me this email:
“To follow-up on our conversation today. I feel that we have reached a state where it will be extremely difficult to work collaboratively with good and open communication and trust. I feel that I have been very flexible and accommodating for a long time, in the best interest of the children.

Recently, you have contacted my mother and sister without communicating with me. My mother was invited to come stay with you and your parents without any communication with me. You have blocked me on facebook. You have not informed me of the children’s doctor and dentist appointments.

I continue to hear gossip at work, stemming from events transpired between you and me. This makes it more difficult to do my job, and has a negative impact to my name and professional image.

These are events that to me appear contrary to open communication and collaboration.

I don’t feel that we are able to have a collaborative and trusting, communicative relationship. I want to reinforce that the current separation agreement is what our parenting schedule is and continue to be based on. We had some prior discussions about modification, however I do not feel that what you proposed is in the best interest of me or the children. I am open to seeking and mediating a new agreement in line with the spirit of the original agreement on a more equal parenting time, and can find a mediator unless you would prefer to do that. If you chose not to mediate, then what is currently in the separation agreement would continue to provide the basis for the parenting schedule.

Further more, unless there is a written agreement where my cost for the before and after school programs for the children is covered financially I can’t agree to it.

Lastly, pursuant to my notice on May 29th, my new home address is xxx. Understanding that the agreement gives a 45 day grace period before it is in effect, it would mean that from July 13th, the drop off location changes to the new address.

Kind Regards,
xxx”

So lets look at the things I’m accused of:
1) Contacting his mother and his sister. I did contact his mother to see if she wanted to see her grand children since it’s been 6 months. I did not know that was not allowed. I did not contact his sister, she contacted me.
2) I defriended and blocked him on Facebook. Yes. True. I find no joy reading about his life, so I see no reason for us to be friends on there. And by blocking him, I don’t have to see comments that he makes on mutual friends posts, it’s like he doesn’t exist.
3) Not telling him about doctors and dentists appointments. Not true. I did tell him about the doctor appointment, I admit only 4 days in advance, but he’s never gone to them before so I didn’t see a problem with that. Dentist… I kind of forgot because they did not send me a reminder… So he was the last one to take them to an appointment that I had made. I’m not going to mention that to him, I didn’t want to give him any more bad things about me.
4) People are talking about him at work. I don’t know if it comes from my friends who still work at the same company or from his ex mistress whom he spends most days arguing with according to my friends. I will be more careful and limit my time with them just to be on the safe side to not put them in the middle. I would hate for him to get vindictive and try to have them fired.

So because of these things, everything we spent the Spring coming to an agreement on is off and we are back to the original divorce agreement. Plus he wants it in writing that he doesn’t have to pay anything for the before and after care for the girls in the Fall. These two things are in contradiction to each other. He wants us to follow the current divorce agreement and in that it clearly states that we have to pay half of the cost each.

And, did I forget to mention that he had still not signed and notarized the Letter of Consent for me to travel to Sweden with our daughters. We leave on June 25 is the plan. So I’ve been concentrating these last 1.5 weeks on trying to come to an agreement on what was going to happen for the Summer. Since if we are to go back to the divorce agreement I can’t take them for 3 weeks and he can’t take the 1.5 weeks and go to a wedding in Montana that he wants to do. In one of his other e-mails he writes:
“Without the flexibility of extending a couple of weekends this summer and having the previously indicated weekend open for travel I just don’t see how I can agree to you having them for three weeks straight. The agreement clearly defines two weeks as well as pickup/drop off. That leaves you in a situation of letting me know what two weeks you would like to spend with them for vacation in Sweden and lets make sure it is in compliance with the agreement. Until we have settled this, I won’t be signing a consent to travel letter.”

So I decided to play hard ball and told him that I understand that I won’t be going to Sweden if we can’t come to an agreement, but he won’t be going anywhere either! And lo and behold, I got an e-mail on Tuesday June 18 where he agreed to the compromise that I had put forth on June 16 which was back to exactly the way the Summer schedule was before this whole mess, including me dropping the girls off at his office, saving me, with traffic, at least an 1.5 hours.

So today, on Thursday June 20, he finally signed the Consent to Travel letter infront of a notary and I have it!

We will have to go back to a mediator and try to sort the Fall and day care and the rest of it out once we come back from Sweden. The one thing that I apparently needed to learn from this experience, which I should have learned during our marriage and divorce, is that his word means absolutely nothing. Not even if he puts it in writing in an email. If he gets mad, he will go back on his word and start threatening me again. And anything can make him mad. I am tired of being accused of being difficult to co-parent with, when I’ve always given in when he wants to change things. But if that is the way he want it then from now on I will be difficult and I will demand that everything that we agree on is signed and notarized. If there are major changes, the documentation should be done by a mediator/lawyer and submitted to court. I will never make this mistake again!

Moving

So my daughters have been saying that they are moving (ex and E are moving in together). Last week they said that it would happen this weekend, so I sent an email to him asking is this true and pointed out that he has to, per our agreement, tell me 45 days in advance of a change of address. His reply: “Oh, here is the new address and we are only moving some of the furniture this weekend, my lease is not up until September”. I wonder if he would have been as forgiving if I had done the same to him? We all know the answer to that!

Well they slept in the new place for the two nights and moved most of the furniture so I would say that it constitutes as moving, but I’m not going to fight about it. But the reason I pointed it out to him, is that if we ever have to go back to court, it’s good to have documented all the little deviations that he’s done to the agreement.

It’ll be interesting to see how long this relationship lasts, they’ve known each other for a little less than 5 months… But from what I gather her lease was up on the “cottage” that she was renting in this fancy town so she needed a place to live with her two kids (16 and 21 years old). Now she thinks she’s got her hands on a rich man that can take care of them. All I can say is, good luck with that!

Ex In-laws

I read the post What to do about the In-laws? today and it reminded me of a dilemma I have. I had a really great relationship with my mother-in-law (my ex’s father passed away before I met him). When we moved from Sweden to the US, she would come visit several times a year and when the girls were born and I stayed home she would come for extended trips. The longest was 3 months. My then husband would work and travel so most of the time it was just the two of us home with the girls. Then my ex moved out and she didn’t come visit for almost 2 years, I have no idea what he told her about it. During the separation he threatened me to tell people it was a mutual decision so I’m sure if she still thinks that. I went along with that to keep the peace, I told my parents and my close friends the truth, but with a 6 hour time difference and no face to face time, I have no idea what she thinks of me.

This past Christmas she came to visit for 1.5 weeks. I offered her to stay at my house with the girls since the Christmas week was supposed to be mine, but my ex took the entire time off so that she wouldn’t. I don’t know if he suddenly had the urge to spend time with her or if he didn’t want us to talk. I did see her a few times and the first time she commented on how much weight I’d lost. I wanted to tell her: “remember how much weight you said you lost when your husband died, can you imagine how these past 1.5 year has been for me? Being lied to and cheated on. Being threatened that he wants full custody etc, etc.” I said nothing since my ex was right there and smiled and said thank you.

Anyway, during that stay I brought up the fact that I wanted to go to Sweden this summer for a long visit. I asked my ex if he would like to come with for the first week, he could take the girls to see his mother and sister. He said it was a great idea, he told his mother and she loved the idea. Now fast forward one month, or a few weeks, he meets E. I had a suspicion that it would change things. A few weeks ago when I brought up the subject again since I wanted to book our flights he said that he couldn’t go. He said that he was moving so he needed to save money. I asked if I could still stay for 3 weeks and he agreed to that. Now back to my dilemma, has he told his mother he’s not coming? I don’t know. Should I contact her? Should I offer her to come visit at my parents house so she can see the girls (2 hours away so she’d have to stay the night)? What do I do? Do I, as always, take the high road and do what’s best for my daughters and contact her and try to make sure that she still has a relationship with them? I did during Christmas… I let him have 5 out of my 7 days. Why do I feel so guilty about things like this? Why doesn’t he have to take that responsibility and make sure that they have a relationship with her? Is it still my job or should it be his? And should I not pick up the slack after him, which I felt like I did during our entire relationship. Shouldn’t I be free from that by now?

Happiness and Weight

I’ve realized that happiness and weight go hand in hand for me. When I was going through my divorce I lost all the weight I had put on since I met my ex husband. The difference from when I met my ex until the day he said he wanted a divorce was a gain of 30 pounds (14 kg) over 16 years. At that point I was at my all time heaviest (when not pregnant) of 159 pounds (72 kg). I was very unhappy with the way I looked, but content with my life so it didn’t matter enough to do something about it. I should say I didn’t matter enough to me to do something about it. I was very out of shape and I wasn’t exercising at all.

Then my world fell apart and I couldn’t eat. My friends got me started with running again, so for the first time in 6 years, I was running and not eating enough. Not the best or healthiest combination but the weight melted away until the day of our divorce when I stopped loosing. For the next year, I was in limbo, not happy, but eating and exercising so I maintained a weight of 128 pounds (58 kg) without a problem.

Now for the past 3 months I’ve steadily gotten happier and I’ve gained weight. At first I didn’t worry about it, but now my pants are starting to feel snug. This morning I weighed 139 pounds (63 kg)… I need to take control and stop gaining weight! Why is it so hard for me to be happy and maintain weight? I know the simplistic answer is “I love food”. But that doesn’t cut it, I’ve always loved food, the year after my divorce I also loved food, but I didn’t gain weight. So that is the big question on my mind this morning. I need to figure out why so that I can face it and stop this bad cycle that I’m in right now.

What A Difference A Year Makes

I realized today that my ex wedding anniversary was three days ago, on Monday. I did not even think about it until I happened to look at the calendar and something was nagging me, I had the feeling I had forgotten something… I can’t tell you what a relief it was to think about that day and not feel anything.

I remember how low I felt last year on that day. I had been dreadding it for days if not weeks before! It’s amazing how much life has changed in this year. I am so happy with my life, with myself right now. I can’t help but want to thank my ex for wanting a divorce, because our relationship was definitely not healthy, not good for me at all. I would have stuck it out for the kids, but in the end this is best solution for me.

Happy Mother’s Day

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. But especially to all the single mothers out there. It’s not really the same when you don’t have anyone to pick up the slack on that day. It’s the one day of the year that even the most under appreciated mothers out there normally get some help from their spouses.

But when you are a single mother of young children, mine are 5 and 7, there is no sleeping in, no someone else will make breakfast and lunch and dinner, no one to buy you flowers or a present (my daughters made my ex go buy something yesterday… to tell the truth the thought of him buying presents for me makes me sick but I’ll fake it Sunday and put on a happy smile).

I have told them that a card and them behaving nicely all weekend is all I want. So they have spent the last two days wrapping anything in sight and hiding in my oldest bedroom 🙂 Very cute! It’ll be interesting to see how many “presents” I’ll get on Sunday, but I’m looking forward to that so much more than whatever they went to the store with my ex to buy.

Never Show Favoritism

I was reminded again this week why it is so important to never show your children that you have a favorite. It doesn’t matter how old your children are, it will never stop hurting! I have two foster sisters, I’m the only biological child to my parents. My mother has always favored my youngest sister, she claims that she never did or does, but it became clear again this week to me that she still does.

For long time I resented my mother and did not want to have anything to do with her. I went away to college and never really went back (the sister in question got my room a few months after I left for college). It also caused a rift between me and my sister. She thinks I’m overreacting when I say something.

I guess that is one of the reasons it was easy for me to move across the Atlantic away from that situation. I missed my friends more than my family… Sad but true.

Then when my first daughter was born, I started keeping in touch more with my mother. And after the divorce even more, we talk about once a week on the phone now. So she knows what is going on in my life. This past Fall my sister ran a long race in Sweden, 30k, so right between a half and a full marathon. My mother was so interested in how it was going, she was waiting for a call for when it was done etc, she told me on the phone. I didn’t think much of it until this past Tuesday. My mother knew that I was training to run a half marathon but she never asked when it was. So on Tuesday when I called I told her about all the mulch I had ordered and how hard it is to move it all by myself. Especially after being tired from the half marathon on Sunday. And the reaction, none! She said don’t do too much in one day. Not one single question about my race. Not what time did I get. Not how did it feel to do it. Nothing! I finished the phone call soon after that and felt so sad. I felt what is the point in telling her about my life if she is not interested in hearing about it?

This is a plea to all the parents out there, please show all your children the same amount of attention. Because if you don’t, it hurts.

Never Ending Yard Work

As I hinted at in the last post, I have a big yard to take care of. Before I go on, I want to make it clear, I’m very grateful to live in a beautiful neighborhood and have a beautiful yard. But I’m trying to come to terms with that it takes 100s of hours to maintain it each year. I have almost two acres and most of it is lawn or beds of some kind. It’s been a very cold Spring so I’m way behind, plus the training for the half marathon took up a lot of time (after running for 1.5 – 2 hours, yard work was the last thing on my mind most weekends).

This year it is time to mulch, it’s been three years for some beds, two for others. I have beds with flowers, fruit trees, berry bushes and 2 long hedges, all which need new mulch. We used to have a truck and pick up it ourselves, 2 yards at a time. Plus there used to be two of us doing the work… So, since delivery costs almost $100 I ordered the maximum that a tri axle truck can deliver, 18 yards. I’m hoping it’s going to be enough… So now I’ve spent the last two days cleaning out beds and moving mulch. I’m nowhere near done.

Here is a list of things that I still need to do this spring:
– at least 4 more days of mulching
– clean out all the leaves from the vegetable beds
– turn over the soil in all the vegetable beds
– decide what vegetables to plant (this year I skipped planting seedlings inside, normally I have 70-100 seedlings growing inside by this time, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, jalapenos etc) and buy all the seeds and plant
– power wash and sand down my deck and stain it (it’s been 3 years and it really needs to be done)
– put up the canopy of the gazebo tent on top of the deck once it is stained and dried
– clean up around the pool, remove all leaves and sweep the pool deck
– move all the patio furniture out (both on deck and by the pool)
– turn on the water for the pool house (which means that in the Fall I have to winterize that house…)
– order 3/4 inch crushed stone, probably 2 tons to finish work that the ex started and never finished
– mow the lawn (and after that it’s a weekly 1.5 hour job)
– trim all the lawn’s edges (me and my trimmer spend about 1 hour / week doing this)

Like I said, big yard, lots of work. Just making the list makes me tired. Is this really how I want to spend my time?