Monday, December 31, 2012

Well, it wasn't the end of the world afterall...

So that WAS 2012?  No world ending events just a mixed bag of crazy with a dash of wow thrown in for  good measure.  I sit here watching Ryan Seacrest host the tribute to the late, great Dick Clark on New Year's Rockin' Eve.

The Pumpkin is with her other parental units and has been since Christmas Day.  I assume she is having a good time or I surely would have gotten a call to retrieve her.  This makes me happy.  The biggest 'rip off' for kids of divorce is reality that they get limited time with their parents.  She is with me most of the time.  I host her main launch pad and continue to do the day-to-day parenting stuff that was always part of my job description.  Her dad is a good man.  He was always a great parent.  We do it differently, but perhaps that is the silver lining of divorce -- because those differences would probably have lead to conflict between us as our child makes her way through the maze of adolescence.

Speaking of adolescence, that is one of the big developments in 2012.  The Pumpkin is now fully into that wonderful, wacky world of hormones, growth and discovery.  Strangely, I am still wondering where the raving, unreasonable, door slamming teenager is.  The one I live with seems content and no more volatile than she's ever been -- hold it, age 3 was a rollercoaster -- but other than that, she's been pretty easy going. She makes interesting observations about her posse of friends and classmates with an understanding that belies her age.  My mantra of "this too shall pass" seems to have rubbed off.

That is not to say we haven't had a few 'teachable' moments.  One of her Homestuck buddies invited her to a birthday party that involved movies and a sleepover.  Movies, okay.  Sleepover, not so much.  The friend is a guy.  "But, Mom he's gay."  Sure, whatever.  It's nothing personal, but even gay guys are often 'straight curious'.  We compromised.  She went for the movies and I drove to the other side of the city to pick her up at midnight.

She also got her learners permit.  As in learning to drive.  Now, to be honest, she has no interest in driving.  Cars are big pieces of metal that she says are scary.  But, with her dad's encouragement she passed the written test.  That was in the spring.  She hasn't been behind the wheel of anything yet.  One challenge at a time, I guess. Between not wanting to learn to drive and routinely forgetting her cell phone [or neglecting to turn it on] she may get her teencard revoked.

Work for me continued to be a way to pay the bills.  Thankfully I work with a great group of people to break up the day-to-dayness of it.  Our office moved in the summer.  The upside of the new building:  it has a gym and I actually go and spend 30 minutes or so on the treadmill several days a week.  The downside: we share a floor with the in-house cafeteria for a seismic company.  I want to adopt their chef.  We are assaulted daily with the wonderful smells of roast beef, baking bread, and turkey with all the trimmings.  Oh my.

The Pumpkin also graduated to the big leagues, aka high school.  While she is at a school that is massive (as in the school population is close to the population of the town where I grew up), she is in a sub-program of Arts Centred Learning.  This means she is with many of her classmates from her junior high and the curriculum allows her to flex her creative muscles while learning the subject matter.  I do have my concerns - - she is getting great marks in gym and LIKES it.  What the?  Like I said above, I do go the gym at noon.  I do NOT do it because I like it.  I do it because I have seen my health future and unless I get my cardio system into better shape it isn't going to be a long one.  But she likes gym.  Blame that on her dad...

She and I also did a couple of road trip vacations this summer.  First we drove to the beautiful Okanagan where I delivered her to her other parents after a visit with her two Godmothers.  Vernon and area is amazing and beautiful and spending a few days with two of my besties (including a mini wine-tour) was wonderful.

At summer's end, we took another trip that is an example of why staying friends with your ex is a good thing.  Renfrew and OM (the 'other mother') have a vintage Airstream trailer.  In August, Renfrew took it down to our old hometown and set it up for us to use for a week.  It was great.  We were able to take the canine critters with us and spent a week visiting with old friends and just chilling before school started.  My kind of camping.

This fall brought the fifth anniversary of my 'life quake'  that upended my reality.  As I reflected and mourned the loses, I also realized I am finally healed to the point I may be able to make a go at a new relationship in the new year.  Guess we'll see.

So as the curtain closes of 2012, here is my wish that those around me have learned the lessons presented to them and that they are all ready for the new challenges and miracles in 2013.  Namaste my friends.  Namaste.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Marriages Breakdown over CHORES -- Stop the Presses! [NOT]

The elevators in my workplace have little monitors that run a cycle of 'news' stories and weather reports to give the occupants something to stare at during the ascent and descent.  Last week one caught my attention.  It seems a group of UK divorce lawyers did a file audit and discovered that the common denominator in more than 1/2 of marriage breakups was HOUSEHOLD CHORES.  Well . . . duh . . . that is hardly news.

That being said, back in the day when I was actually a divorce lawyer, my observation was that the arguments about the socks on the floor, really were not about the socks on the floor.  They were a symptom - - much in the way that an emotional or actual affair is not really the problem in a relationship, but a symptom of the problem in that relationship. 

As someone who has never professed to be Debby Domestic or Suzy Homemaker, I marvel at my friends whose homes seem to always look company ready.  My house can look company ready, but I need a good 24 hours' notice.

Given that I share my dwelling with the Pumpkin, 2 canines and 2 felines, the landscape can get a bit crazy.  The cats consider EVERYTHING either a toy or something upon which to shed.  This means that it is not uncommon to find random small objects kicked under the sofa or entertainment unit, or worse, sitting in the middle of the hallway just waiting for the unsuspecting human to step on them -- think pop bottle lids.  The dogs are more selective . . . socks are meant to be carried from place to place (one at a time), discarded kleenex is a snack food and windows are to be decorated with nose prints and drool deposited whilst barking at the neighbourhood squirrels.

The girl-child is trailed by an assortment of food containers, dishes, school papers, craft supplies and totally unclassifible items.  She has finally learned that the answer to the "where is X" question most often results in a blank look from her mother.  Hey, kid, I can barely keep track of my own things, you're on your own.

The fact that I am an adult with ADD does not make things easy.  Being as distractable as a 2 year old at Toys-backwards-R-Us often leaves me standing in a room holding some item or other and asking myself "what is this, and where was I taking it?"  With any answer being interrupted by my "hey, look a butterfly" mind.  I set whatever I have down and then 10 minutes later realize what I was doing, but can't remember where I left the item I now need. 

I know for a fact that my less than Martha Stewart style was part of my contribution to the pile o' crap that ended my marriage.  The fact that Renfrew's style of dealing with almost any issue was practiced passive aggression did not help matters.  Also, the fact he conveniently forgot how to do much of anything around the house while he was in Mountie training did not help.  [Believe me I apologised to the WiL for any part I played in his selective amnesia about such things as the inner workings of dishwashers and the role of brooms and vacuums, but I have since caught him sweeping the floor at their house, so I think he may have found a memory spell somewhere.]  The girl-child has informed me that his ability with large appliances (like clothes' dryers) hasn't improved...she has a great new collection of very soft sweaters thanks to his laundry efforts. 

But the housework issue wasn't the death of us.   The housework only represented our disregard for each other and for each other's time and effort.  The more he stopped contributing and participating in the day-to-day stuff around the house, the angrier I got.  The angrier I got, the less I did.  My requests for help were treated as nagging demands, so I stopped making them.  By the time all was said and done, we weren't taking care of ourselves, much less each other.  Yes, it was about more than the socks on the floor.

What did I learn?  I learned that ignoring an issue doesn't make it go away.  And I learned that sometimes the smartest thing to do is hire a cleaning service -- and use the time you would be cleaning to focus on what matters:  each other.