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Archive for June, 2010

So the Ex replied to my last email politely denying his requests to spend all his time with PP by charging that I don’t put her first and am not taking her feelings seriously.

I have tried now twice to draft a reply and no matter how much time I give myself, it still always comes out as me screaming via email and cataloguing every parenting sin he’s committed in the last six years. Seriously. I’m not taking her feelings seriously or putting her first?

When is it I get to tear off his skin in one-inch strips and braid them into a bathroom rug?

I know it doesn’t matter what he says, he’s not getting his way. I know it doesn’t matter what he says in these emails. I know I have all the evidence on my side for his priorities and choices for the last three-four years. I know all of this. It doesn’t matter. I can’t respond without counter-attacking. Not yet. And I have to respond somehow, I’m moving in a few days.

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So the mail service lost PP’s dance recital tickets. The box office told me the best they could do was have new ones printed that I could pick up the day of the performance.

I should add that my parents were to join the Trader and I for an early dinner before the show, and since my Dad was working until 3 that day and the show was at six, getting to the box office to pick up the tickets immediately beforehand wouldn’t work. I planned to get there before the first show and have the tickets in my hot little hands well in advance so I would have less to freak out over. Then the Trader and I could hang out in Beyond Bob and do a little exploring. Not like I have a house to pack or anything, but driving back only to drive all the way over again would waste nearly as much time and be much less fun.

Rain + two accidents on the highway = Maeve bursting into tears in the car on the way to the box office, convinced she will not get her tickets in time.

And then the Trader pulled out his phone and called his friend B who happens to be married to the lady who owns the dance studio–really, connections are a wonderful thing–and they promised that no matter what happened, I would get in.

Not that I actually felt better until we got to the box office (with 3 minutes to spare before the first show) and I got the tickets. All’s well that ends well, but seriously, I could have done without this on my last weekend before the move.

Then we sauntered back to Beyond Bob in a much better frame of mind. We went to the butcher’s and the cheese shop and a bike shop, a little grocery store, a camping store, a few kids’ consignment shops, had a snack in a little espresso shop, and generally had a ball. My parents, will miracles never cease, got there on time and we had dinner.

My parents like all my boyfriends, since I think they’re just generally gobsmacked that anyone would ever want to date me, but regardless, it went well and the Trader was much relieved even though I kept telling him we had nothing to worry about.

Then we all went and watched PP’s dance recital.

And it was so fabulously awesome, even if PP did lose the thread of the dance completely for about thirty seconds while she stared into the audience, trying to find us. It was the cutest, the most adorable, the most awesome dance ever, and I’m not biased either. And I think the pictures the Trader took of us while she was in her recital finery are some of my favourites of PP and I together ever.

Then I came home, and packed, and kept packing, and then packed some more, and now I am wiped, but the packing is almost done.

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So, the Ex got his office relocated to Bob for a year, so now of course he’d love to spend more time with PP–in fact, he wants to spend ALL his time with PP, and doesn’t see why I shouldn’t just not see her at all.

Seriously. He wants more than half the week–plus extra considerations for extra-curricular stuff. Now that it’s easy and convenient for him to do so.

It is taking every ounce of self-restraint I possess not to pound his head in via email.

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1. Working tons of overtime. I know that sounds like bragging or the Pain Olympics but it’s not meant to be. I am just … workings tons of overtime. Deadlines, colleagues on vacation with projects on deadline, people away sick, persnickety clients in distant countries who want things Just So but don’t really understand what they’re asking for …. On the plus side, I will have a nice bank of overtime to draw from for my July days off with PP.

On the downside … I need to pack.

2. PP! Is adorable! In so many scrumptious ways. We borrowed the Trader’s fishing net and went frog hunting in the pond and she had so much fun, and I had so much fun with her, and she adored the little frogs and spoke softly to them and petted them nicely. Other people would come by and admire the frogs we caught, and one woman was very happy seeing her learn to love nature. It’s the kind of spot that collects people like that.

I’m going to miss it. I cried the other week when I was running through it and realized how much exactly I am going to miss it.

3. I’m moving in 12 days. Holy crap.

4. I actually have to consult my dayplanner to write this post because I’m so lost on what was done when by whom.

Oh! Right!

5. The Ex, curse his shrivelled heart.

He’s decided that Thurs-Sat is just fine after all, but only because he’s secured an office for 10 months in Bob. If he were still working in the City, it would be totally impractical to commute a bit more to spend time with his daughter.

This is the same man who moved to Bob last year, to spend an extra 90 minutes every day commuting to and from work so he could have regular sex with his girlfriend. Now doesn’t want to commute a few more minutes each week to spend an extra 12 hours with his daughter. Except that it’s all worked out just because someone gave him a temporary office nearby.

I swear to god.

Anyway. All’s well that ends well, but up to Saturday evening, Dear Readers, I was plenty anxious that it would not end well.

6. Speaking of anxiety…

So you know my opinions about the Trader’s stress and anxiety levels.

Yes? Yes.

Ever since I’ve started packing to move to Beyond Bob, the Trader gets sick every weekend. “Sick,” I should say. He’s “sick.” He has a sore throat and a headache and he’s tired and he’s just going to lie down while I pack for a while if that’s ok? Every weekend. Every weekend he is, of course, NOT sick–just fine in a few hours or by the next day. Nothing ever comes of it. Yet every weekend he takes his symptoms, such as they are, just as seriously as he did the last weekend.

Needless to say I have been skeptical of the “sick,” and it had become a joke.

“Gosh, I’m not feeling well honey. I’m tired, my throat’s sore, I think I’m coming down with something. Do you think it’s safe for me to come over? I don’t want to make you sick.”

“Of COURSE you’re sick. I’m packing!”

This is not the sympathy he’s aiming for.

Friday, though.

FRIDAY.

Friday he was DYING, Dear Readers. In an agony! Stumbling home from work! (After spending the day on a yacht. No, really.) Exhausted! Frail! Slow! Burning up! He had heat stroke, he’s sure of it, and he almost went to the hospital!

Next day: DYING! Exhausted! Throat so so sore! Oh my gosh, not heat stroke! Strep! Must be strep! Oh the agony!

Sunday: Coughing! Choking! DYING! Did I tell you how tired I was on Friday and how I stumbled to the boat? I am going to the walk-in. I’m sure it’s strep.

(It’s not strep, honey. If it were strep you’d feel like you were swallowing knives and you wouldn’t be able to speak.)

I’ve had strep throat. This is strep throat! Oh the pain! Almost as bad as the heat stroke on Friday!

(You didn’t have heat stroke. You like heat. You go running when it’s 35C, remember?)

Umm, yes, but I was a lifeguard and I know it was heatstroke and I know how sick I was and am and I’m going to the doctor!

(OK. Let me know when you’re done and what the doctor says. In the meantime, I’m packing. Of course.)

Umm, the doctor said it’s not strep. (Uh huh.) And it might have been heat exhaustion on Friday but not heat stroke. (Uh huh.) And I don’t have a fever and my throat’s a bit red but not too bad… (Uh huh.) So do you mind if I come over? (Honey. YOU’RE NOT SICK. Of course you can come over.)

~~~

So as some of you know, the anxiety/stress thing has been occupying me for a while now. Not just because he clearly suffers–I mean, my god, the way the man was speaking you’d think he had pneumonia, and at the worst it was a cold–but because it affects his behaviour towards me sometimes, and that’s not cool. Not wanting to tell his ex about me because SHE’LL DRAG ME THROUGH THE COURTS AND TRY TO TAKE MY SON AWAY FROM ME! And when it came about, she pouted, and that was it. That’s not the only example but it’s the most dramatic and the one I can remember discussing here, so it’s the one you get. Anxiety: bad for him, bad for us.

So I googled General Anxiety Disorder and had it up on the computer for when he got here on Sunday and we talked about it. I’m not trying to diagnose him but at the very least there’s enough overlap that I’m sure that whatever helps people w/ GAD would help him too. So his job is to read about it and think about it and then we’ll talk about it again. I’m still not sure I’m not overstepping or being intrusive but the subtle and tactful approach has not been working. He doesn’t retain subtle or tactful. One needs a blunt object. Or maybe a sharp one.

It’s like something happens and his mind gets fixated on the worst-case scenario to the point of acting or thinking as if it’s the ONLY scenario, and thus must come true, and then he goes charging off trying to “fix” it by arranging things and telling people what to do, which makes it worse. And if it were just work, or his friendships, I might keep on with the gentle hinting–but it’s us too and it is a strain.

Trader: I have a lot of backpacks. I collect backpacks the way women collect purses.

Maeve: Huh.

Trader: Well … not the way YOU collect purses, since you don’t do that, but the way other women collect purses.

Maeve: Oh. (Thinking, wow, that’s a lot of backpacks. Where does he keep them all?)

Trader: Uh oh. Oh no. That’s going to be a source of conflict, isn’t it? We’re going to fight about that.

Maeve: Umm…

Or how if I don’t write him back within say 30 minutes he’ll assume I’m angry at him. Or how he’s been prepping me since our first date about how his parents are guaranteed to hate me, because no one is good enough for their son. Or how his ex taking her time asking for a travel slip means she is planning to whisk him away to India and he’ll never see Trader-Tot again. Or how he gets “sick” every weekend for a month or two. Or how, when I don’t sleep well, he’s sending me emails every hour asking if I’m feeling ok … which is sweet, but for the love of god, it’s just sleep. Or how, when my asthma’s not well controlled, he’s scouring the internet for hepa filter reviews and worrying about where we’ll keep the tropical plants after we live together. Or how just about any problem no matter how insignificant in my life bothers him way more than it bothers me. Which is sweet, but mind-boggling. Or how I stepped up my asthma meds (see above) and one potential side-effect is easier bruising so as a result I have a whopper of a bruise on my arm and he doesn’t want my colleagues to see it because they’re sure to think he’s beating me.

I love Captain Stressball but there have got to be better ways of dealing with this. I’m just not sure how far to prod. The man is totally convinced that all of his fears are completely rational, and when they don’t come to pass it was just a lucky break. I don’t think he’ll ever see it on his own.

On the plus side, he was very receptive and sees my point and is willing to read and think and talk about it. Unlike a few certain exes I could mention.

7. I’m a good boss, eh? I can delegate and supervise and everything. This is a complete shock to me, since I’d never done it before and am such an introvert. But it makes me very very happy.

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a wild party

I think what saved me actually was that I didn’t have time to obsess over the RSVPs.

Every so often my stomach would clench at 2 am and I’d think, crap! No one’s RSVPd yet! And I’d worry and lie awake but then the rest of the time was such a rush that I didn’t have a chance to think it over, except to think that no matter who came or what happened I’d work hard to make it a good party for PP.

It was a magic tree house party. I had four magic tree house games, one involving balloon popping. There were loot bags with “We’re moving!” stamped on them and a picture of a little car with “bye” on the license plate and a pile of boxes in the back window, thus proving that it is actually a good idea to buy craft supplies never knowing if you will have a chance to use them or not. A bad lesson for me to learn, from a budgeting standpoint. There was PP’s present from me, a little pink point-and-shoot camera (and many resulting photos of tongues, fingers, feet, and self-portraits). Other magic tree house parties apparently use fans and strobe lights to mimic the spinning and the blowing, but I can’t imagine imposing such discipline on the guests because as soon as these kids showed up they started running around full tilt. There was a treasure hunt. I thought I made the clues reeeeally simple but apparently not so there was a lot of adult help, and frankly some of the adults were stumped, so next time I will make it easier somehow.

We had seven guests plus PP plus the Ex’s girlfriend’s son, so nine kids altogether. Not a huge crowd, but enough kids for all the games to work and enough for PP to have an absolutley marvelous time (apparently she’d been promising her friends a “wild party”–and she delivered!) I took a bunch of candid shots but I also asked each of her guests to stand with PP for a picture of them together, and I’m so glad I did because they were all little hams and I got some really good pictures.

There were cards with very sweet sentiments written on them, and at least one phone number. I hope PP can keep in touch with at least some of them. I think it’s easier to move when you take your friendships with you. My plan is to print some extra photos and have her give them to her friends with our new contact info, including a phone number and email address.

Anyway, she had a great time and some really good kids came. Thank goodness I didn’t have time to panic.

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Too busy planning a party for tomorrow to do anything, except breathe, and that badly because my asthma is acting up.

Dear Readers, what will become of us if I am too busy even to write the weekly update posts? I ask you.

I suppose the answer is, wait until the move is done. Then there will again be time to do things other than pack and plan and phone utilities and work and all the rest of it.

I move in three weeks.

The Ex has still not committed to a new access schedule. Or even meaningfully communicated with me about it.

I am giving him one week, then playing the Court Card. I don’t know what else to do.

Back to party planning. It’s 11:15 the night before and I need to come up with something that combines Dragon of the Red Dawn and a scavenger hunt and a bunch of loot bags. I have a dragon toy, a prize, a red bag I’m going to decorate to hold a treasure map, and … what? What is the glue that will hold this together? Dear Readers, I don’t have a clue.

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I have promised myself a day off from packing but I am finding it a difficult promise to keep. I look at something. I think, I could pack that. Then I think, No, I’ll pack it tomorrow, it’s not going anywhere. Least, not until I put it in a box.

I am also feeling pretty lucky, as I sit here drinking tea from the mug a friend made me for my birthday years and years ago, and looking at MNWH’s two beautiful quilts, while PP plays with her toys and I sit here wondering how in god’s name I am ever going to manage to bring all my stuff with me to Beyond Bob–recognizing that plenty of people don’t have that much stuff nor a new town to relocate it to because of a new job.

~~~~~

My parents are doofuses. That’s not new. They are dithering both about whether or not they will attend PP’s dance recital, and if and when they want to invite the Trader over for dinner (after telling me how much they wanted to meet him). The Trader was kind of surprised. After all of my stories about them and the nutso things they think and do, it somehow hadn’t occured to him that they could say they wanted to meet him and then not follow through.

That didn’t irritate me. Not telling me if they’re planning on attending PP’s recital when the tickets go on sale tomorrow? THAT irritates me.

~~~~~

Last week, when I packed up my bedroom closet, I found a box of letters from the Engineer.

I picked one out, read it, and fell into a deep funk. It only lasted for an hour, but still. What an idiot I was, and how much energy and time I wasted on someone so clearly not worth it for so long.

I also told the Trader the broad outlines of that story, and it was not catastrophic, which is always surprising even though most people who know about it don’t in fact hate me for it.

Meanwhile: what do I do with the letters?

They are not yet packed. They are sitting on my dresser in a shoebox, worrying about their fate.

On the one hand, they’re borderline pornographic and remind me of a time in my life and a person I was that I don’t care to remember.

On the other hand, maybe it’s good to remember.

I went through the whole box last night and reread them all, including the break-up letter I ended up having to scan and email because I couldn’t mail him anything, and everything in it that turned out to be so true and so prescient and which I had already half-forgotten. Like that nightmare I had, partway through, where I was diagnosed with cancer and dying and he still didn’t come. Or what I said then and meant, and which turned out to be wrong. Sometimes it’s better to remember even if it’s painful.

So I don’t know. The box will sit on my dresser for a few more weeks, I’m sure. All the other cards and letters have been packed.

~~~~~

The Ex is dragging his heels on negotiating another access schedule.

Get this: he can have the old schedule back with its additional 12 hours per week, which PP would love, and which would cost him nothing except an extra ten minutes of driving on Friday mornings because of the increased traffic, and he won’t commit to it. Why? Because he’s not sure if his office next year will be in the City or in Bob, and if it’s in Bob then sure the extra ten minutes of driving is great but if it’s in the CITY, well, then how can he drive an extra ten minutes a week for an extra twelve hours with his daughter?

I am disgusted. I’m even surprised, which I thought I never would be about him again.

The Trader is disgusted. I told him about this, and he looked at me and said, You know that wouldn’t be me, right? I would fight for a lot more than he’s got.

I do know and it’s one of the things I love about him.

Last year when the Ex moved to Bob he was perfectly prepared for PP to spend hours in the car every week while he ferried her around so that he could get exactly what he wanted. But ferrying himself around for less time each week so that PP can have quality of life and time with her Dad? Why would he want to do that?

~~~~~

I met the Trader last July, and while there was a month long break in there while our schedules diverged and I dated ED–remember him?–we’ve still known each other for most of a year and, barring a few hiccups, it’s been a pretty good year.

He’s kind and clever and generous and fun and he really loves me, which is a revelation itself.

Yesterday we talked about kids. If we decided to try for one of our own, when, and given our ages how far we’d be willing to go before giving up, and how sure we’d have to be–given our experiences–before being willing to try again.

We talked about living together and when and if we should ease into it.

And it wasn’t stressful. It was nice.

I don’t know what changed but something has shifted since the break-up and its aftermath. Even the Trader tells me that I am acting differently. I seem less on edge, he says. I seem happier. Part of it is the new job and starting to figure things out. But part of it is something else, and I can’t quite pinpoint it myself, except to say that things feel easier now.

July will be ten months. I haven’t had a ten-month relationship since leaving the Ex.

September will be a year. I think that will be an interesting milestone. I don’t know why or how exactly but I have a feeling.

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