Category Archives: divorce

There’s A Reason They’re Called Ex-Husbands

I figure as long as I’m getting stuff off my chest, I ought to get something off my chest about the XH . . .

Our divorce was civil . . . mainly because I chose for it to be so. Once the divorce papers were signed, I rarely heard from him . . . usually when he needed or wanted something from me . . . and me being the silly goose that I am, would do be nice because I thought that “down the road” he would do the same for me.

It was never anything serious or important . . . usually dropping off mail that got delivered to me by mistake. Forwarding phone messages for him that came in on the house phone. Notarizing something or the other for him or a friend of his. I wouldn’t drop everything and run the minute he asked but I would find a convenient time to complete the task. Again, thinking that someday the favor would be returned to me.

Fast forward three years . . . to the day Prince Charming died . . . I had gone to the little town where Prince Charming and I grew up to tell the families the bad news. At one point, I realized that I needed/wanted to get home . . . to feed the doggies and to get away from everyone and try to make some sense of what had happened. My mom (bless her heart) didn’t want me to leave and said that maybe XH would go let the dogs out and feed them supper (both dogs were “his” dogs but I got them in the divorce – long story for another day!). In my heart, I hoped that he would agree to do this favor for me but, in my head, I knew that he probably wouldn’t. After all it was Monday night and he was at the bowling alley and, well, nothing interrupts bowling night!

I was right . . . XH couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t want to go let the dogs out. He was at the bowling alley. And he didn’t have a key to the house anymore. It was almost as painful to watch my mother’s heart break when he told her “no” as it was to tell her about Prince Charming’s accident.

A couple of weeks later, I had an opportunity to talk to XH . . . he needed me to notarize something (and yes, I agreed to do it only to ask him about the house key) and I told him he DID still have a key to my house because I still had a key to HIS house (which his current wife was totally surprised to learn). When he discovered that, in fact, he DID still have a key to The Little House . . . the look on his face was priceless . . . and the look on mine was complete and utter disgust . . .

What I wanted to say . . . but didn’t . . . and probably never will is this . . . I stood by your for 28 years. I dealt with a vindictive ex-wife and two step-children who saw us as their personal ATM. I tried to tell you that following your “dream” of “retiring” to build your own small business would bankrupt us (it did). I worked two jobs, took care of our house, and helped take care of MIL and her house to help make that dream come true. I helped you take care of both your parents when they were sick. I gave up more vacation, sick, personal time that I can ever count to take MIL to various doctors appointments; sit in hospital waiting rooms for tests, procedures, and surgeries over the 13 years she was sick and most of the time was there ALONE and most of the time they thought I was the daughter not the daughter-in-law. I stood by your side while you buried both your parents. Hell, I was the one that had to tell him his mother had passed away . . . and he couldn’t be bothered to do one little favor for me on the absolute worst day of my life.

There’s a song titled “Someone That I Used To Know” and that’s exactly how I felt that day . . .

He’s never mentioned Prince Charming’s death. He’s never texted or checked on me to see how I’m doing. Except for the one time he needed me to notarize something and one time he had a question about our past bankruptcy, I haven’t heard a peep out of him. He’s one of those people who is going to disappear out of my life until he things everything is “back to normal” . . .

What he doesn’t realize is that nothing will ever be “back to normal” . . . especially the person he thought he used to know . . . and this new person has no desire to ever know anything about him . . .

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Prince Charming took me on a trip.  It was my birthday gift.  He did the planning.  He did the research.  He made the reservations.

All I had to do was pack!

He took me to Cleveland!  Cleveland?  Yes, Cleveland!

 

We visited the “A Christmas Story House”.

Anyone who knows and loves Ralphie knows this house!

 

We went to the beach . . .

okay, it wasn’t Florida or Myrtle Beach but it had waves, it had sun, it had sand . . . it was perfect!

 

We went to the Lighthouse in Fairport Harbor.

Yes, I walked at 69 steps to the top . . .

This is the view from the top!

See that red car?  That’s the Dogmobile.  I almost didn’t recognize it.

And you can’t go to Cleveland without going to the Rock Hall of Fame.

The Rock Hall was too cool for words . . .

 

We ate at fun places!

“The Dude Abides” at Melt Bar and Grilled.

 

Chicken Paprikash at Sterle’s Country House

It was three days away from work, away from the daily stress that was threatening to choke me . . . just me and Prince Charming (the doggies went to Puppy Camp for three days) . . . and it was heaven.

It was the best birthday present ever!

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He Said, She Said

I’ve always said there are three sides to any story . . . or divorce.

There’s his side.

There’s her side.

And somewhere in the middle is what really happened.

In the beginning, I only heard Prince Charming’s side of the story.  How unhappy he was.  How lonely he was even with another person living in the house with him.  How any attempt at “fixing” the problems were met with either denial or resistance.  One person dominating the relationship and the other person doing everything they could to “keep peace.”  It seemed like Prince Charming’s marriage to The Queen is very similar to my marriage to XH.  Because I had been in that boat myself, I understood why it fell apart, what he went through during the marriage, and what he’s going through now in the divorce process.  But, like I said, there is more than one side to the story and I wondered could it really be that bad.

I believed Prince Charming but I still wanted to give The Queen the benefit of the doubt.

Then I had a chance to meet some of Prince Charming’s friends.  Some of his long-time friends.  Friends from high school.  Friends from the little town in Southern Ohio where he lived for 10 years before he moved to Virginia.  They told me that over the years, he had gotten more quiet and subdued.  They told me he seems much happier these days.  They’ve told me a little about some of the things they saw between Prince Charming and The Queen that made them wonder about the stability of the relationship.  The stories they told me were very similar to the stories that Prince Charming told me.  Their stories made me sad.

But, still, I wanted to give The Queen the benefit of the doubt.

Then when Prince Charming’s Dad passed away, I got to spend time with a lot of his extended family – cousins, aunts, uncles.  During the time they were here, I heard bits and pieces of the background story of Prince Charming’s marriage to The Queen.  More pieces to the puzzle started to fall into place.  It wasn’t a very pretty picture.  It was shaping up to be a very sad story.  My heart was starting to ache for him.

I was beginning to doubt that The Queen deserved the benefit of the doubt I had been giving her.

Then I had an opportunity to hear a conversation between Prince Charming and The Queen and the picture became crystal clear.  It was as bad as he told me.  It was probably worse!  The stories and the bits and pieces of information finally made sense.  She wants what she wants when she wants it and doesn’t care what how it inconveniences anyone.  It’s her way or no way . . . and any compromise is completely out of the question.  There was no warmth, no caring, no desire to understand anything but her point of view.

The cold authoritarian tone of her voice chilled me to the bone.  Her condescending attitude toward Prince Charming made me sad.  Her complete disregard for his feelings (or anyone’s feelings) made me angry.

It was sad to think that these two people had at one time loved each other enough to be married . . . and now they are complete strangers to each other.

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Where’ve You Been?

Oh goodness . . . I didn’t realize it’s been a month since I posted.

I’ve been busy . . .

Prince Charming and I went to see the “Three Stooges” movie.

Prince Charming and I went to the Air Force Museum.

Easter celebration with the family.

Drama with best girl friend #1.

Drama with best girl friend #2.

Drama with Princess,  XH’s XW #1, and Grandson #2 and his little girlfriend.

Granddaughter #1 told me that I’m gonna be a Great-Grandma in December.

Happy developments with Prince Charming’s Beautiful Daughter.

Not-so-happy developments with Prince Charming’s divorce.

Working on Spring Cleaning To Do List.

Working on this years “Home Improvement Project” List.

I promise that I’ll share details later!

Oh, yea, and nagging Prince Charming about his guest post.

Life is good . . .

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2011 Top 10

Everybody is doing a year in review kind of thing . . . and for the first time in a long time I have stuff to be excited about!

It wasn’t an easy year . . . but it wasn’t a bad year . . . it certainly was an interesting year . . .

The Highlights of the year . . .

10 – Being a single girl for 6 months.  Not saying that the divorce was fun or that I enjoyed the drama that ensued after the break-up of my marriage . . . but I learned a lot about myself and what I could do.  Until the divorce, I had never lived on my own.  I was somebody’s daughter and then I became somebody’s wife.  After the divorce, I got to be ME again.  I had forgotten what a cool person ME was.

9 – Finishing rehab and getting my arm back.  Yea, nothing like trying to be an independent single girl with one good arm and having to ask for help for all kinds of things.  When the ortho doc took the cast off my arm and I saw how little function I had with it, I was devastated.  I didn’t understand how it could be so bad after just three weeks in a cast.  I worked hard at rehab – and there were days when it hurt like the dickens – and I had serious doubts about whether the doc and the therapist were right about how fast it would improve.  But little by little, it did improve.  And today the left arm is better that it was before I broke it.  Yea, I’m still doing the exercises . . .

8 – Having someone who is an equal partner in a relationship.  I had a parent/child type of relationship with XH.  He was older and he thought he knew better and his way was always right.  My thoughts, feelings, needs weren’t given as much consideration as his thoughts, feelings, needs.  The marriage was very lopsided.  Prince Charming is the polar opposite of that.  He wants to know my thoughts, feelings, opinions.  We discuss EVERYTHING . . . sometimes to death . . . and it’s a wonderful feeling to know that he listens to me . . . and he talks WITH me about things . . . not TO me.  For the first time in my adult life I feel treasured.

7 – Having someone who wants to be involved in my family life.  XH was an only child.  Most of his family was scattered all over the country and he didn’t have much contact with them.  I’m one of 6 children . . . my siblings live within a three block radius of where we grew up.  I live 20 minutes away.  Between family birthday parties and holidays, there is at least one family gathering practically every month.  XH never understood my connection to my family and didn’t want to participate in the family events.  And made it difficult for me to participate in them.  I missed a lot of family things simply because I didn’t want to hear him complain about going or complain about me spending so much time with my family.  When Prince Charming came to live with me, one of the first things he did was change that.  Once he charmed the family, he encouraged me to do not only the big family gatherings but the little every day things – baseball games, choir concerts, parades, band concerts.  Not only was it wonderful to have his support and encouragement . . . it is wonderful to have someone who willingly and happily participated in those things with me.

6 – Watching Prince Charming run the 10k race in Virginia.  Last January, Prince Charming decided he wanted to start running again and he wanted to lost a little weight.  He set a goal to run in a 10k race in Virginia.  He was so excited to get back to a sport that he loved . . . even though he knew he was a bit out of shape and out of practice.  He knew it was going to be a challenge but yet there he was every day . . . every week . . . doing the training necessary to accomplish that goal.  I made the trip to see him run the race.  I was there to cheer him on at the starting line and I was there to see him cross the finish line.  It was an amazing thing to see him come running up the road . . . and even more amazing when he saw me on the sidelines and came over to give me a big kiss and tell me “I love you” before crossing the finish line.  I don’t know what made him happier . . . finishing the race or having me there to watch him.  I was just happy to be part of that special day for him.

5 – Roadtrip to Virginia by myself to see Prince Charming.  Part of my single girl experience was my first every roadtrip.  I drove 500 miles . . . by myself . . . to go visit Prince Charming.  I had never done anything like that before and I was excited . . . and scared . . . but the only way to learn is to do.  So I took the doggies to the kennel and I loaded up the car and off I went.  It was scary.  It was exciting.  It was fun.  I had made part of the trip many times going to visit Princess (my stepdaughter) so it wasn’t like I had no idea where I was going . . . but an 7 hour drive to visit her is much different than a 10 hour drive to see Prince Charming.  But it was so worth it.  After having Prince Charming come to visit me twice, it was fun to visit him and to see what his life in Virginia was like.  Once I got home, I had time to think about it and was very impressed at what I was able to accomplish all by myself.

4 – Drive in to see Grease and Victory Theatre to see Blazing Saddles.  Grease is Prince Charming’s  favorite movie of all time.  When the local drive-in played Grease as a fund raiser for the local Humane Society there was no doubt that we HAD to go.  There’s nothing like seeing your favorite movie on the big screen at the drive-in.  The minute I mentioned seeing Blazing Saddles at the historic theatre in the Big City, he said yes with no hesitation.

3 – Hamvention.  Prince Charming is a ham radio operator.  Hamvention is the big convention in the Big City.  Probably THE biggest convention for ham radio operators.  I’ve heard about it for years and have always wanted to go.  When Prince Charming found out I had never been he was dumbfounded and promised me that he’d show me everything.  I have no idea about anything ham radio but he took the time to patiently explain everything to me . . . and so did his friends.  It was everything I imagined and more.  And I can’t wait to go back.  But the best part of the whole weekend was seeing Prince Charming’s face light up when he was leaving for the first day of Hamvention.  It was a cross between the first day of school and Christmas morning.

2 – Frampton Comes Alive concert in Cincinnati.  The Frampton Comes Alive album played a BIG part of the young romance between me and Prince Charming oh-so-many-years-ago.  After The Break-Up, it was too painful for me to listen to any of the music off that album.  When I heard that Frampton was doing a 35th Anniversary tour for Frampton Comes Alive, I HAD to get tickets.  We were way too young to have gone to the original concert . . . and there was no way we were gonna miss it this time around.  It was everything I imagined it would be . . . and worth every penny we paid for the tickets.  Dancing to “Baby I Love Your Way” was a dream come true.

1 – Prince Charming.  You knew this was going to be number one . . . all of my other highlights were only possible because of him.  What can I say?  Having him in my life again and having him here with me and the doggies still takes my breath away on a daily basis.

If 2011 was this good . . . I wonder how awesome 2012 will be?

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Ghost of Christmas Past

Christmas is right around the corner.  One of the last big “first” for Prince Charming and me.  I’m so excited about Christmas that I can hardly stand it.  Buying presents.  Decorating the house.  Baking cookies.  Going to company Christmas parties.  Being with the families on Christmas Day.  Going to Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.  I feel like a little kid . . . and that’s a good thing because Christmas Spirit has been in short supply around here the past few years.

So you can imagine how excited I was to put up the Christmas tree and decorate the house last week.  Prince Charming and I got out the tree and the containers with the decorations.  He put up the tree and we put the lights on together. Then we started to put the ornaments on the tree.

That’s when things started to get a little strange for me.  See, last year I started to decorat the house and put up the tree and put the lights on it before I broke my arm.  After I broke my arm, I didn’t much care if the ornaments got on the tree or not.  Thanks to the Percocet I was on for my arm, I thought the tree looked pretty cool with just lights on it.  This is the first time I’ve looked the ornaments that XH and I had accumulated over the years.  I hesitated to open the boxes because I didn’t really want to face the Ghosts of Christmas Past.  But then I thought “Hey, it’s been a year.  It’ll be fine.”

Famous last words.  Each ornament that I pulled out had a memory attached to it.  It had a story attached to it.  Memories and stories that I had gathered up and packed away a long time ago.  So there the stories were . . . smacking me in the face . . . kind of like that TV commercial for the antacid.

Prince Charming could tell I was having a hard time but never said anything to me.  He just watched from a distance.  Until the last ornament.  It’s one that my Mom had made in ceramics years ago right before XH and I got married.  Two little mice in an old fashioned sled.  It has our names and the date on it.  It’s absolutely adorable and I have always loved putting it on the tree.  When I opened the tissue paper wrapper and saw what it was, I let out a deep sigh.  I thought “I can’t put this on the tree!”  I guess I had a funny look on my face because Prince Charming asked if I was okay . . . well that opened the flood gates and the tears just started to flow . . .

“I can’t do this.  It’s been a whole year! Why does this hurt so bad?  This is not how I wanted our first Christmas to be!  How can I put this ornament on our tree?”

Prince Charming sat me down and explained to me that it was okay to hurt.  It was okay to cry.  It was time to let all of this stuff out.  I’ve been trying to be wonder woman and hadn’t allowed myself time to deal with any of this stuff.  I can’t get past it if I don’t deal with it . . . because it’s always gonna be there waiting to jump out and get me.  I told Prince Charming that I want to take it all down and get all new stuff next year.  He laughed and promised me that we could get new stuff next year if I wanted . . . but he also asked me to do him a favor and think about it overnight before we took down the tree.  He promised that if I really wanted to take down the tree after I had a chance to sleep on it and think about it, then we would . . .

So I spent the day trying to avoid the tree . . . which is hard considering it’s in the middle of the dining room!  Then I stared at the tree for a while . . . and I remembered the stories and the memories attached to the ornaments.  And I came to terms with the Ghost of Christmas Past . . . that is what my life was.  Next year I’ll have a tree that reflects what my life with Prince Charming is.  And now I know that my past is what made me who I am today . . . and I can include that part of my life into this part of my life . . .

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I Should Have Known

When XH and I separated last year, one of my biggest fears was being a single girl living all alone in a older house.   The Little House was built in 1923.  It’s in good shape but sometimes things go wrong in an older house.  In the 20 years that we had lived in the house, Ex-Hubby had done all the home improvement projects – plumbing, painting, repairs, remodeling.  He had determined early in our relationship that I wasn’t “handy” and he didn’t have the patience or the desire to teach me how to do any of that kind of stuff.  Me being me . . . I didn’t question this.

When Prince Charming was here in November, somehow the conversation came to how the bathtub stopper thing wasn’t working and he taught me how to fix it!   It took less than a half hour, the part cost probably $10. It wasn’t hard to do.  It was wonderful feeling to know that I really could do the single girl living alone in an old house thing.

As excited as I was to have this new found knowledge, it got me to thinking . . . if it was so easy to do, why didn’t (ex now but at the time) Hubby fix it?  The stopper thing hadn’t worked correctly for a couple of years and when I told him about it, he said it was too complicated for him to fix.  He told me to go to the hardware store and buy a rubber stopper thing to put over the drain to keep the water in the tub.  Not knowing any better (and not having any reason to doubt his advice), that’s exactly what I did.  As I sat there in the bathroom with Prince Charming after fixing the tub, the little doubts about Ex-Hubby’s home maintenance skills started creeping in.  Did he really not know how to do it or did he just not want to do it?  We had a shower in the basement that we use most of the time.  The tub was only used if I needed to soak something or wash the dogs.  I’ve probably only used the tub three times since I fixed the stopper.  But nonetheless, it was a little unsettling to think that Hubby would choose not to do something because he didn’t think it was important.

Almost as soon as Prince Charming moved in, I started a “Honey Do” list of things that I wanted to change/fix/repair here at The Little House.  I’ve explained each project and his answer to each task is “okay, honey.  let me check it out and I’ll tell you what we need to do.”  Prince Charming has told me that he has lots of experience in working in old houses and Prince Charming’s Dad has verified that experience and has offered to help with some of the projects.  I know about Prince Charming’s Dad’s experience.  He’s was the “go-to” guy for the Community Involvement Group in the Little Place Where I Grew Up.  My Mom drafted all of us kids to help work events for the committee so I’ve seen Prince Charming’s Dad at work!  Since I don’t have a whole lot of experience, I have to take Prince Charming’s experience on faith.  Just like I did with XH.  Gotta admit it’s a bit of a scary feeling to know that I don’t know enough to tell if I’m being fed a line of bullshit again.

So Prince Charming has reviewed the “Honey Do”  list and he’s told me what we need to do for each project.  He’s also asked me questions about why things were done a certain way.  My usual answer is “I don’t know.  He always did that kind of stuff and I didn’t have any input.”  Prince Charming’s usual response to that is to fold his arms, look at the ground, and shake his head.  Evidently, XH’s skills weren’t all that . . . and it appears that XH was the king of the shortcut . . . get it done cheap/quick instead of get it done right.  Every project that Prince Charming and I are planning will involve some amount of repair to what XH put in before we can make the changes we want to make.  It’s been completely unnerving to hear what was done wrong, what shortcuts were taken, how simple/cheap it would have been to do it correctly.  It makes me angry.  It makes me sad.  It makes me weary.  I thought XH loved The Little House as much as I did but I guess I was wrong.  He didn’t think enough of The Little House (where he lived for 20 years!) to take care of her correctly.  He didn’t think enough of me to take better care of my beautiful little dream house.  Gotta tell ya, that realization took my breath away and made me cry like a baby.

So Prince Charming is teaching me.  About home repair – he’s giving me the skills I need to be able to help him properly take care of The Little House.  About trust in a relationship – his trust that I have the desire and the willingness to learn what he is teaching me and my trust that he cares enough about me and The Little House to do the projects the way they need to be done.  About letting go – I have to let go of my anger towards XH over this . . . XH’s lack of concern is just another sign that he was just as unhappy in the marriage as I was.

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