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Archive for the ‘single mothering’ Category

The vacation was fabulous, and thank you for asking, and oh my god I wish we were still there. Every day was wonderful. Each had its share of less-than-wonderful minutes (“I AM TIRED OF WALKING! I CANNOT WALK FOR EVEN ONE MORE STEP! I AM GOING TO SIT DOWN AND REST RIGHT! HERE! Oh, Mummy, look, there’s a squirrel!” and off she runs) but on the whole we had such great fun, and I’m so glad we spent the ungodly amount of money that we did on this big Mummy-and-daughter vacation.

Now I will spend a slightly-less-than-ungodly amount of money printing out photographs. Some of them even have skies in them. As opposed to that wonderful white glare that I interpret as an angry Digital Camera God wreaking his vengeance.

Anyway.

I would like to say a moment of thanks for the many wonderful gentlemen who unintentionally parody themselves on dating websites.

For GoofyGuy, whose profile shot shows him looking as if he’s watching his beloved dog of 20 years be euthanized for a brain tumour.

For HappyGoLucky2010, whose profile photo looks like a mug shot.

For SalInParadise, about 2000 miles away from me and over 10 years  younger, who nonetheless added me to his favourites list. And for HandsomeDude99, 1000 miles away from me, who would like to know if I’m interested in a date.

For ImSane!, who sent me exactly five messages, each one a glowing tribute to his own many charms, the wonders of his photographs, his impressive hobbies, and his fascinating goals and dreams.

For CrushedByLife, who told me that he came home from work one day last week, staring into the abyss of his failed marriage and was roused to life again by a timely drink, and by the way, would I be up for a movie? (I feel badly about this one as I do not want to make him feel rejected, but was so badly alarmed by his message that I couldn’t come up with something suitable to say in reply–and now it’s been much too long.)

For the guy whose name I can’t remember, who posted so many flattering photographs of himself in various poses in his bathroom, open medicine cabinet plainly visible behind him. He has a nice shower curtain.

For SunnyScotsman, who lives in another country but sends me multiple messages whenever I log on.

Oh, yes, lots of sane and normal guys who I am talking to like a sane and normal girl … but if it weren’t for the nuts, how much fun could it be?

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I need a new nickname, Dear Readers. One for a guy who is irish, smart, bookish, and a psychologist. It’s not lending itself to anything really obvious for me so for now I’ll go with Psych. So: coffee date with Psych today at a local cafe. Went very well; he’s personable, friendly, very smart, we talked for a couple of hours about tons of things and enjoyed it greatly, and who should walk in just as we were thinking about heading out but two of my coworkers, who then took up a table on the opposite side of the cafe and smirked at us (nicely). And then we all struck up a conversation, so score one for Psych who was also able to chat with my very nice colleagues. There will be a date #2 later this week, before PP comes back. Tomorrow I’m meeting up withe FriendBoy and looking forward to it greatly. Plans with GameBoy fell through (he needed to take the kids this weekend). Tomorrow evening I’m meeting up with a local hiking group for the first time, and really looking forward to that too–local hiking friends! I need that badly.

This mini social update brought you to you by PPlessness. I miss her like stink already. Today I will cook, sew, write, read, run, and pretend to be productive instead of lonely and miserable.

~~~~~

So as I began thinking of this post, I dropped my near-full can of Diet Coke and spilled it all over the floor–appropriate, I think, for writing about a non-goal-oriented, serendipitous, grace-under-fire approach to success.

For all of the progress women have made over the last several decades, certain attitudes remain distressingly common and difficult to eradicate: to be successful as a female, one must be youthful, attractive, desirable to men, and in long-lasting and heterosexual relationship. It doesn’t matter what else you have, do or are in the rest of your life. If you can’t master these four, expect to be pitied. A man who ages well, remains single, and has other accomplishments is admired and envied; a woman is pitied, as if nothing else matters if she can’t get a man and keep him happy.

If this doesn’t describe why women continue to buy and devour relationship self-help books, I don’t know what does. Arguably, women need men far less than men need women. So how else to make sure that women chase men around trying to service and satisfy them, other than to convince them that they are pathetic failures, desperate, sad and lonely caricatures of women?

Women’s magazines–chick flicks–chicklit–and those god-damned relationship self-help books–the happy endings are all a kiss with the handsome prince, however defined. Men are not sold this bill of goods, though as anyone who has ever lived with a man could tell you, men are really the ones who need the presence of the opposite sex in order to function on a daily basis. But I keep coming back to a few things, including one (just ONE) of the relationship self-help books, which pertinently noted that in order for girls to grow into women seeing singledom as a positive option, women who are single need to see it so themselves, and act like they’re not just in a holding pattern waiting for a man to show up and complete them. The rest of the book I can no longer recall (though clearly I should go back and reread it).

And I keep thinking–you know, I want to be in a relationship. Very much. I want my happily ever after, too, and for real this time, not a pretty mask on an empty horror. I would like to live with someone I love and who loves me and PP and makes our lives better. But that’s the key–it has to make our lives better. I have to believe going in that this isn’t an even trade, but an improvement. I’ve been in a bad marriage before. Being single, even being single when you really don’t want to be single, is a hell of a lot better than being in a bad marriage.

Still, I get caught up in the feelings of inadequacy, as if there is something wrong with me and I have failed because I’m not in a relationship. Or because it’s been four years since the separation and The One has yet to appear. So it’s headshake time.

Here they are: Maeve’s Reasons Why Single Moms are Already Successful:

1. Biological: Your genes don’t care if you’re married or common-law or a prostitute. They just want to get passed on. Single moms, by definition, have done this already. My genes give me an A+.

2. Autonomy: Single moms don’t have to get anyone’s permission to paint the living room, put flowered curtains in the bathroom, sleep on whatever side of the bed they damned well please, make what they like for dinner, or spend an extra $50 on a frill. The downside of running the house by yourself is a total downer, meaning exhaustion and over-extension and too many bills, but the upside is truly beautiful. No televised sports games. No arguments over discipline or schoolwork. No cable bill. No snoring. No pile of stinky underwear beside the bed. No lidless toothpaste tube leaking toothpaste all over the sink. No in-laws. No doing 50% more housework, no pressure to take a paycut and work part-time since we don’t “need” my income. No choice between nagging someone to do a little bit of housework vs. just giving up and doing it all yourself.

3. Financial: We bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and give exactly zero thought to whether or not it wounds some fragile male ego to say so.

4. Variety: You know what cures the middle-aged female labido? Singledom. Boredom is death to desire, Dear Readers. No fears there, so long as I’m not committed to anyone. When I was with the Ex, thanks to boredom and the Ick factor of sex with someone who was trying to have sex with the entire female half of the western hemisphere, we did not have a whole lot of (ahem) intimate time (and when we did, I was a bundle of resentment, which also is no fun for either party). That hasn’t been an issue for a while now.

5. Career: The Married Me was trapped in a boring, stultifying, dead-end (yet comfortable and secure) job largely because it met my ex-husband’s needs. Thanks to autonomy (see #2), I now have a job I like in a career I love and live somewhere I’m crazy about. I write in my spare time. I read oodles of books, and complete my craft projects.

6. Authenticity: I am building a life that matches who I am and who I want to be.

7. Happiness: I practically ooze all of that gratitude-happiness-meaning stuff the Positive Psychology gurus go on and on about.

No wonder I am being picky and demanding in relationships. Marriage has not been good to me, and as I write this I realize that I feel I’d be giving up an awful lot for something of dubious value. I still want that partnership, but it has to be a good partnership, one in which I’d gain more than I’d lose–meaning that the above needs to remain intanct. I need to know I can still live my environmental and social values, still do work that is meaningful, not sacrifice my personal life to meeting the needs of the household and my partner, not cede my equality. I’m still going to date, not just because I do want a relationship that can lead to a real partnership someday and I won’t find it at home in my pajamas, more’s the shame, but also because celibacy isn’t a lifestyle I can appreciate for more than a few weeks.

In the meantime, thankyouverymuch, Western Culture, but women haven’t needed men to be successful for a very long time now. Feel free to catch up with reality whenever you’d like.

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1. the idea was to draft the email and let it sit for 12 hours so I could tone it down, make it less angry. Instead I reread it, turned up the heat, and hit send. Man I was pissed. I did, however, communicate very clearly that I did not want to hear from him again, that I considered his behaviour harassment, and that if it continues from this point on I will contact the authorities.

So, of course, HE WROTE BACK. Promising to never contact me again on account of how I am an evil, corrupt, dishonest, scheming woman he doesn’t want in his life who by the way is single because she doesn’t want to communicate. Fucking hell. What a goddamned asshole. (Incidentally, that is the gist of yesterday’s password-protected post.)

I’m surprised by how much this unsettled me. I found myself avoiding my run Saturday in case he decided to track me down again to “say hello.”

Oh, did I mention that in one of his emails over the weekend, he told me that he had looked up my blogs and articles (the ones with my real name) and had been reading them while we were dating? And hadn’t mentioned that to me, until a week after we broke up. Is it just me, or is that creepy?

2. GameBoy date went ok, but just ok. He’s a nice guy and seems like a good Dad–good friend material but I could see things there that, if we were dating, would drive me nuts inside of six months. (“The Man is not out to get you! I’m sorry, but there are much more important people he’s focused on.”)

3. PP’s dance recital was brilliant. Oh, the dancing and twirling and grinning and bopping there was to be seen! She was fabulous and it was so adorable. When my parents send me their pictures I’ll post them on FB.

4. I’ve decided to let Gandhi drop. For obvious reasons. He’s decided not to let me drop. I keep getting new emails. At least he doesn’t know where I live and I’ve set up an anonymous email address to communicate with matches, so he doesn’t know my last name either.

5. There’s a couple other people I’ve been talking to, including FriendBoy, who I’ve got tentative plans with for Sunday. This is good. And a long list of other things to do to keep myself occupied the first week PP is at her Dad’s. And I plan to work overtime and get some more hikes and runs in. Do I sound like I’m dreading it? I am.

I think I’m going to have a few dates this weekend, actually, and a couple of them are going to be friend-dates, including with GameBoy who has decided NOT to b a creepy stalker after finding out that I don’t want a relationship with him. I am happy about this.

It’s strange how much that date and the email afterwards helped, actually, after the way Hike behaved–it’s hard not to wonder if I somehow didn’t communicate directly or clearly enough with him and encouraged him to harass and follow me about. But no. GameBoy got it pretty straight and without going off the rails, and I wasn’t more less clear with him. Hike really is just deranged.

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1. Hike is still emailing me. We’re past the stage of Random Love Song Lyrics and now well into Denial, in which he sends me random observations from his day, as if we were still dating. I have not replied to any since Monday (the one before the one where he admitted he’d been lying to me). If anything, his response this week convinces me that breaking up was the right thing–seriously, we dated for two months, this response is way way too much. Does he think he’s going to harass me back into a relationship?

No, that wasn’t my question. My question is: Should I be worried? Should I do something? Or do I just keep ignoring him and hope that he eventually stops?

2. I’m corresponding with a really nice guy on an Unspecified Dating Site. He’s tall, he’s in good shape, he’s very smart, he’s funny, we have a lot of common interests, he has a face like a totaled car. How shallow am I for caring about this and is there any point in talking to him when I can’t imagine being attracted to him?

3. Date tonight with someone I’ll call GameBoy, on account of his job developing computer games. We have a decent amount in common and he seems fun and cute and he’s a single dad and plays in a band, so Pea, if she’s reading this, would likely approve. I don’t know if I see him as long-term relationship potential but it should be a fun date. I’m not sure if there is a question on this one. No, wait: it sounds like he had a big rebel phase when he was younger (tattoos, smoking, etc.). I’m about as goody-two-shoes as it gets. What am I thinking? Yes, I think that’s my question.

4. Met a potential friend too, as we both decided we weren’t sure about dating each other but like each other, so … that’s good. Guess there’s no real question for that one.

5. Corresponding with another guy I’ll nickname Gandhi. Seems like a decent enough guy and he even actually likes poetry, all on his own, and not impress me. But he also stalks my profile (visits four or five times a day) and if I take a few hours to respond to an email, will send me another one to remind me. All feels a bit much. He also seems to be in a high-conflict post-divorce situation eerily similar to the Trader’s. He’s not in town this weekend so I won’t meet him for at least another week. Question: can I deal with the drama of the high-conflict post-divorce situation? How about the stalking of the profile?

There are a couple of others, but no one significant right now. My completely unabashed goal is to keep myself busy this summer while PP is at her Dad’s.

6. For the parents among you, when your kid has a cold and a persistent cough afterwards (for a few days, not a few weeks), do you bring them to the doctor or tough it out at home? And how about puffers and antibiotics for treating them?

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You know what that is, Dear Readers? That is the sound of Hike’s last email giving up on the lying, admitting I was right, and apologizing for it. Followed by me shouting at the computer, “Ha! I fucking knew it!”

I kept that to myself. With difficulty. I’m pondering whether or not I should write anything back at all–maybe just a note that I would like to think we can be friends at some point. I do like the guy and I did like hanging out with him but he’s not a good long-term partner, at least not for me. I am glad I listened to that inner voice telling me that something was not adding up, and when it started speaking, not a year down the line.

And now, consider: the many points of connection between the Ex and Hike:

-both had repeatedly and seriously dislocated their left shoulders, necessitating surgery
-both have sleep apnea
-both have similar hair (dark, and still there)
-same age, within a couple of months
-similar taste in music
-and now? Both prefer not to bring up stuff with their partners, instead hiding their insecurities and doubts behind patent falsehoods, and becoming defensive and angry when questioned about it.

I feel badly even writing that out. The truth is Hike is a hell of a nice guy. He’s kind, generous, complimentary and sincere. We have a ton in common and I loved hiking with him and talking about politics and books. He just has a shitload of baggage from previous relationships (who wouldn’t?), and is very insecure so hides it–or tries to–instead of talking about it. The Ex did that, too, It was a huge factor in his sex addiction, that when he was feeling insecure about himself and my interest in him, he couldn’t talk to me about it–it was easier for him to replace me. It doesn’t excuse what he did, of course. And they’re not on the same level. But it’s too similar and brings back too many bad memories for me to be able to deal with it.

I do wish it could have been different.

And now, for something light-hearted, mostly. A PP update!

Her next dance recital is on Saturday. I can’t wait. My precious bunny all dolled up in some ridiculous too-tulled costume bopping around on stage. Photos on FB to follow.

She is a princess wizard. Sometimes her batteries run low, and then she recharges herself by sitting on the yellow thing in the school play-yard. She is a junior wizard right now, but she is working her way up to senior, and when she gets there she will cast a magic spell to make sure that no one ever fights again, especially mommies and daddies so that no child ever needs to have their parents get divorced, because that’s so hard on the kids.

Why, yes, that was a knife twisting in my gut. Thanks for noticing.

She had a nosebleed to end all nosebleeds last night, just before bed. Fifteen minutes of fauceting, I can’t tell you how many tissues, and lots of long, ropy, bloody snotty clots. It was disgusting. It was like she was giving birth to aliens from her nose.

During the nosebleed to end all nosebleeds, she told me that she sometimes thinks about dying, and the refused to elucidate. This has me somewhat concerned.

Yesterday at the park she was Rosebud, from Santa Buddies. A little girl there insisted on calling her Rosemary and it had PP quite offended.

We are going on our big vacation in a few weeks and I can’t wait. Also, I’m not ready. We’ve got plane tickets and shuttle tickets and hotel reservations so the important stuff is taken care of, but still. The summer access schedule is coming soon and I will miss her like stink. I’m dreading it already.

Hmm. This is not as light-hearted as I’d planned. Let me find something without a shadow here.

There is a house on the way home from school with a robin’s nest in a straw planter. The homeowners let PP climb up on a chair on the porch to spy on the baby robins whenever she likes, and last week she got to pet one. It was so soft! she said. It made her week. Also, she has decided that she would like to start walking to school by herself. Sort of. Last week she first broached it and I said I would walk a ways behind her, as a practice run, but then on the way out the door she said, “Mummy? I changed my mind. I want you to walk with me!” And burst into tears.

So I did.

But since then she’s become more and more comfortable with more and more distance, more and more confident in crossing the street alone and remembering which way to go. I think next year she’ll just be a walking-by-herself pro.

I love that girl of mine. She is so lovely, and I am so lucky to be her mom.

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Do you know what that sound is, Dear Readers? It is the sound of me not rushing around, actually sitting at my desk and having ten minutes in a row to collect my thoughts and plan things more than two hours in advance. It’s a nice sound. I like it. (New PM Is on board and has taken over the projects. I’m still involved but much reduced.)

Aaaaaaah.

So my plan is to take this week, and plan. Also, breathe. I like breathing. I missed it.

Update:

1) PP’s missing a vaccine so I get to leave work early this afternoon to take her to a walk-in clinic to get it, because even though we finally got that pediatrician referral, this pediatrician doesn’t do routine care and won’t give shots. He will however investigate her growth issue a little more, which is fine and overdue, but gah.

(Thursday’s update to Wednesday’s draft update: Called the walk-in clinic to confirm their hours and that they had the vaccine in stock. Took time off work, took PP to the clinic, sat there for an hour and a half, and was told that they had just used the last dose on the patient before us. Told the doctor and the receptionist how unacceptable this was. No apologies or acceptance of any responsibility. No solutions forthcoming. So blisteringly angry I started swearing on my way out the door. Kicked the car and slammed the car door and burst into tears behind the wheel because, seriously, HOW CAN IT BE THIS HARD TO GET A CHILD A NEEDED VACCINE? How is it that so many people have made so many errors and not a single freaking one of them are taking any responsibility or proposing any answers so that my daughter doesn’t get suspended from school? We’ve taken her in for every well-child visit and were always told she had received all the vaccines she needed, so how is it that this one is not recorded anywhere? She’s been registered at this school board for almost a year and we were told all the files were transferred over from the last one, so how is it that her new school board didn’t have her vaccination info? How is it that they took until May to tell us this, and then gave us less than two weeks to fix it? How is it that not one single person I’ve spoken to at the health unit has been able to communicate the complete information I need to me when I call them–how is it that a doctor’s office can so badly screw up a simple referral that they end up sending a child to a pediatrician who doesn’t do routine care–how on earth does a doctor’s visit RUN OUT of one of the most common vaccines, and not be able to run their office well enough to communicate this to people who specifically call for that information? Sometimes it seems like this bucolic little world I’ve found myself in is set up expressly to punish single working parents, because everything is ten times as hard as it needs to be and the attitude of everyone I come across seems to be that this is no big deal because of course there’s another parent and income at home and I can afford to take endless time off to deal with their screw-ups.  I hate them all.)

So PP had a blood test yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon after the appointment and took it like a trooper. It’s not easy getting blood out of those little arms, you know–and all she said was “Ow.” (She is now very stressed out about the vaccination and potentially being suspended from school. Of course.)

2) Spring is finally here and it is gorgeous. There is a yard with trilliums growing in it that I pass every morning on my way to work, and I stop, and smile. The park and yards are full of flowering trees. I got out a bunch last weekend, squeezing every last bit of sunlight from the days, on a couple of hikes with Hike; did a bunch of reading and sewing, and in general making myself feel relaxed (lots I need to do, but none of it can be done on a weekend anyway. I still need that weekday off; maybe this Friday or next). (Like: trying to transfer my old retirement savings account to a new institution after the move. I can’t believe it’s taken a year already and there’s still missing information. Of course, this is all because I am stubborn and insist on ethical funds so I can’t go through a regular bank, which means an extra hassle every time I move or change anything. Hopefully once I get it all set up this time I’ll be with an institution that has a bit more scope and moving won’t be such a hassle.)

3) Hike. Seriously nice guy. From a recent email, a rodent rescue gadget he put together to fish chipmunks out of his mom’s swimming pool:

“You are correct.  The chipmunks don’t really swim around splashing, squealing and smiling like in the cartoons.  In fact, I am not sure if a chipmunk can actually smile.  I have rescued several that were near death.  So I got out the hot water bottle and wrapped them in a towel and then wrapped another towel around the chipmunk and the water bottle.  It seemed to work well enough that the one did not really want to leave.  Can you blame him or her?  How often does a chipmunk get a spa treatment.  I thought it was going to ask for a facial!”

Tell me that’s not cute.

We haven’t had the Relationship Talk yet but he’s making noises about inviting me to a family birthday shindig in a few weeks. I’ll see him tonight after my haircut.

~~~~~

I keep telling myself that sometime in the next week or two, things will calm down, I’ll be able to collect my breathe and catch up on my personal life and make some plans and it just never seems to get here. This has been one of those weeks where I am so sick of being a single mom–and one without any kind of family help or local support network–I just want to throw in the towel, admit defeat and give up. My car is two months overdue for an oil change. I’ve needed a haircut for three and a half weeks. There’s the whole vaccine debacle with PP. I haven’t had spare time to deal with the retirement savings thing or the mortgage and I have a new insulin pump that I haven’t had any time to learn how to use properly. I get these little tiny windows of two minutes here and there that aren’t enough to do anything but dash off a line, here or elsewhere–this has taken the whole week to write.

I seriously want to just lie down and give up. But I know if I do that more stuff will pile up and I’ll just end up with a bigger hole to climb out of; if I don’t just keep going it’ll get worse, not better, because there is no help coming. It’s a really shitty motivator but it’s going to have to do.

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I drafted this the Friday before last, tried to revise and post it Monday, and am giving up. Next week is going to be just like this last one at work only moreso, so enjoy a post that’s from the archives before it ever went public:

~~~~~

Let’s try:

1. New PM starting next week. In six days my workload will slowly reduce by half. Or at least, this is the theory. Even if it reduces by 30% though this will put me in a better spot. Also had my annual review, which went well, and got a raise.

2. Hike. Our chat about the drop-ins was casual, and his follow-through is decent but not perfect. It’s good so far on the unscheduled pick-ups-from-work, but he still came the house by twice this weekend without calling first. (sigh) Now–to be fair–one of those was to deliver flowers for Mother’s Day. (Three flowers visits so far for those who are counting, Dear Readers.) You know how I hate to put my foot down, but I think I’m going to have to.

3. Sleep Conspiracy: Two months of single-mothering with precious few breaks. I love the extra time with PP, but it leaves me tired, drained and cranky, for sure. We should be back to our regular schedule, which means I should be able to catch up on my sleep, but last Thursday the idiots in the house behind mine had an outdoor party until 2 am (I called the cops), and then Friday Hike came over, Saturday it’s back to the regular lack-of-sleep schedule. Next weekend looks similar as PP will be returning home early for the work-related events, which take up Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. Even with two naps this weekend (I couldn’t have stayed awake if I’d tried), I am so beyond tired it’s not funny. I should be able to catch up somewhat the weekend of May 21.

4. Other Boys.

Marvin decided to get all pissy and passive-aggressive with me when I wasn’t returning messages fast enough. I don’t have time to SLEEP and he’s bugging me about emails, not to mention the tone with which he chose to say so.

I have one email from someone else sitting in my inbox that’s been there for three weeks that I just haven’t had a moment to properly respond to. (Mind you, I have been replying more promptly to Hike, but that’s because a) I’ve actually met him and b) I squeeze in one or two over the work day.) (Still, I feel guilty about it.) The guy in the City who’s 53 but seemed decent? Is unemployed and planning to remain so until he has a good relationship so he is free to relocate, and more power to him, but that’s not a situation I feel comfortable taking on. I should say so to him, though. SlowPoke keeps sending messages. He’s not asking why I haven’t written, and he’s still not suggesting communicating outside of eH, but on the other hand he KEEPS WRITING. Odd.

But I have two guys on eH that I haven’t responded to in a week and a half either. I feel like I should tell them something, but Hike and I are in that weird transition zone where we’re not yet in a relationship, but we’re spending enough time together that I really don’t have anything available to even respond to emails, let alone go on a date. Responding as if I’m free feels dishonest; responding as if I’m not free feels premature; not responding feels insensitive.

Don’t you miss the fun of dating, Dear Readers? Aren’t you envious?

5. PP: Is great. She keeps scaring her own pants off with these highly imaginative games she invents and then half-convinces herself are real. Now it’s the Fake World, a la Coraline, which she is afraid will invade the Real World with only herself and her friend M to defend it.

6. I had a follow-up appointment for the new pump last Thursday that I completely forgot about. First time in my life that’s happened–and I feel like a heel about it, though I would have had to cancel anyway. Otherwise new pump is working out fabulously and I am taking full advantage of no longer having a need for pockets.

7. There was a 7. What was the 7?

~~~~~

I never figured out what the 7 was. We’ll leave it blank as a sign of respect for the Update that Ceased to Be.

8. Hike has taken it upon himself to visit when I’m not here and do my yard work. Is it wrong of me to be pleased about this? My lawn is happy, I think. He even edged my garden. I’ve never had an edged garden.

9. Today is the work thing with  PP. In just a little while she will be home, and we will go bowling, and then over to a colleague’s for supper. Last night on the phone she did not want to hang up with me: “I will not hang up this phone!” she said tearfully. “Wouldn’t it be great if it was a waterproof phone you could take into the shower?” I said. “I would love to talk to you all night. How about if you write me an email when you’re done and I will write back and you can read it tomorrow morning? Would that help?”

PP: No! You must write back right away!

Maeve: Oh! Well then, how about I write you an email when you are in the shower, and you can read and write back when you’re done?

PP: OK.

Contrast this to a few days ago when PP was pulling the same thing when talking to the Ex–I will not hang up this phone! I will not move until you come and pick me up!–and all he could say was, well you have to, it’s bedtime and there are things I have to do.

PP: I miss you more than you miss me!

Ex: Oh, I doubt that. I think we both miss each other about the same.

So I’m feeling a bit smug but also frustrated on PP’s behalf, because really, it does not take much–just reassurance and love so that she knows she remains important to her parents when she’s not there. But he can’t empathize enough with her to do more than offer half-hearted pats-on-the-head and tell her what HE needs. Dink.

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