Thursday, May 19, 2011
I may get "down," be in tears, or feel desperate sometimes, but never for long. No matter how dark things seem, before I know it I'm bouncing back--seemingly out of the blue. This amazes me. Sometimes I sit there thinking, "Okay, where's the bounceback? I could use it now!" And eventually it always comes.
If you were to ask where resilience comes from, some scientists claim it's from your upbringing. Even those who have had a dismal childhood, with lousy parents, can, if they find the right role model in a neighbor, teacher, or relative, emerge resilient.
I was lucky enough to have an idyllic childhood, almost too free of want or worry, and I could have been terribly spoiled. Although they were a bit self-absorbed, my parents were successful, handsome, never out of work, and never fighting. I had no siblings to share their attentions. We weren't rich, but we weren't poor either. Though my parents didn't own any property when I was growing up, we lived in beautiful historic houses filled with antiques from their dealership and oil paintings that both of them created. We took regular vacations, and I had all the books I could read.
And now, of course, I've got Bill, whose presence really makes life happier and boosts my reslience, even in the rough times. And he's resilient, too!
Plus, look at that, the sun just came out after a week of rain! How symbolic!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
When you start to look at life like John Irving does (think "The World According to Garp" or "The Hotel New Hampshire"), and when your life starts looking back at you in that same way, then you know you're finding humor in the worst possible situations. Stuff like: Plane crashes in the ocean, family goes down, someone survives by floating atop the stuffed family dog. That's what I'm talkin' about. Cue laugh track.
Four months ago, my ex was court-ordered to put the family home of the past thirty-plus years on the market and to find another place for himself, my two adult children who live with him, and a 140-pound dog the size of a small horse. Much pain, hysterical shrieking, and payment of attorney retainers preceded and followed this decree. My son stopped talking to me entirely. There was a suicide attempt (faked, and solely for effect, but never mind). I had to endure two stressful legal appearances, a demand for every conceivable document from the last 7 years of my life, and threats of equity court, alimony, prison, and deposition under oath.
In retrospect, I see in this all the elements of a screwball comedy. We are in court, before the judge, who is ordering, very matter-of-factly, that the house be sold and the proceeds split. The ex's response is to turn to his attorney and inquire, audibly, "Can we bring criminal charges now?"
An even more bizarre series of events ensues, involving the actual sale process. (a) I haven't been allowed in the house in years. (b) My ex doesn't answer his phone or open his mail, which makes showings and meetings with the realtor awkward, to say the least. (c) When the realtor finally manages to gain entry, by screwing up his courage and knocking on the door, he discovers a real estate nightmare worse than "Hoarders" or "Gray Gardens." His little "Tips for a Successful Sale" handout about having soft music playing, flowers in vases, and clean countertops for showings is a joke. One basement door is padlocked, and one can only guess what's behind it. The dog/horse (which has, by the way, bitten the ex's attorney and holds all visitors to the home at bay) has had the run of the house because ex has stated that it's "too dangerous" to walk it outdoors, and has used the house liberally for its massive elimination needs. The place smells, and anyone who goes inside comes back out feeling itchy. (d) Realtor determines that the only way to list this hell-hole suitable only for teardown is to have the court order the ex to begin by filling a dumpster with the "clutter."
A date is set for said dumpster to be obtained and filled. That date passes. Realtor, me, and two attorneys, all jumping up and down at once, cannot compel ex to get the thing and start filling it. His attorney finally obtains a dumpster FOR him. He proceeds to fill it at his leisure, claiming a sprained wrist and bad back. Realtor reports to me, weeks later, that ex isn't loading the dumpster right. Tables are being tossed in topside up, with huge spaces underneath; hunks of ripped-out carpeting are being thrown in higgledy-piggledy. The basement door remains padlocked. Ex tells realtor that he has plans to fix the house's electrical system and roof--which should be quite useful activities, given that it's a teardown. I remind realtor that I don't even try to communicate with this lunatic any longer and that he should contact his lawyer instead.
The house is never listed on MLS, because it simply can't be. But somehow an angel of a developer makes an amazing offer on the house, no strings attached except that everyone has to move out and clear it out as much as possible. This is wonderful!
I find out that it isn't a short sale, as I'd feared, because some secondary liens aren't really liens on the property because of screwed-up paperwork years ago. This, too, is wonderful!
What does the ex do? Of course, he signs the purchase and sale, then goes berserk and announces that he's going to march to the bank (on a Sunday) and force them to "make" it a short sale despite everything. My son wisely decides that he has had enough insanity, gets the hell out of there, and goes to live with a friend. My ex fakes a suicide attempt with, it turns out, a replica flintlock that shoots only wax wads and leaves a dent in the floor. (If he were trying to shoot his head off, wouldn't there be a dent in the ceiling, I wonder? Well, never mind.) My son and I call the police when we learn of this. The street is blocked off, helicopters circle the neighborhood, hordes of police cars arrive, flashing and wailing. The ex is hauled off to a mental hospital for a week. My daughter is home alone with dog-too-dangerous-to-walk and a refrigerator that doesn't work except for its freezer. She gamely claims that she's okay as long as she has some frozen dinners and fresh fruit.
The realtor's expected lifespan is now reduced by about ten years because the ex hasn't found a place to live yet, his lawyer is incommunicado, and the angel of a buyer--an impatient man, we're told--wants to have the closing sooner.
Ex arrives back home from loony bin and somehow finds an apartment. (This place actually allows 140-pound horses inside??) Daughter is thrilled with it and no longer wants to leave and go live in her own place. I am not allowed to know the address, because I'll no doubt have my minions casing the joint and planting listening devices.
The closing date is in a week, we're signing all kinds of papers, and there's no sign of moving vans, storage pods, or even a signed lease for the new apartment.
Cue laugh track!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Ever since I read a book by John Sarno about the mind-body connection, I've been acknowledging that most of the structural aches and pains that I feel are NOT a physical problem, but rather manifestations of stress and anger that my mind is reluctant to grapple with. Oh, I've got touches of arthritis and slight scoliosis all right, but that's no reason to be held back. Now when I get a new ache or pain, I mentally yell at it to quit that, that I know it isn't serious, and that I plan to continue on! The pain goes right away, too.
Mind you, I don't have anything major wrong with my body like so many others here, but I refuse to be held back by a popping knee, frozen shoulder, or lower back pain any more! (I can't run. I do acknowledge that. My knee just gets much more painful when I even try, so walking is just fine by me.)
Sunday, May 15, 2011
I am a very trusting soul, always believing the best of people. You all know this to be so, given my experiences with my ex. I am taken aback when someone turns on me, because as far as I can see in my happy little heart, there's no reason for it, ever. Of course this special thing, too, has an obvious down side: that I can easily be taken by surprise or advantage of, and that I don't understand or play office politics at all.
We recently lost a very good friend, my first BFF in a long, long time. I was totally trusting of her seemingly unconditional friendship with me and Bill, and it saddens and perplexes both of us that there's such a rift now. We were in a tight financial spot, having to pay my lawyer, a few weeks ago. Bill, who is the brave one about such matters, asked her if we could borrow using one of her unused credit cards. "No problem," she says, because she has bailed us out in the past and knows we're always good for it, within a month.
Then a very peculiar series of events took place. We need work done around the house before putting it on the market, and she recommended a handyman whom she knows. We've heard pros and cons about this guy lately, so Bill checked with another mutual friend, who also hires this fellow, before contacting him. The mutual friend was leery of this because of drug problems, yada, yada. When our friend heard this from us, she exploded and accused us of betrayal, throwing the borrowed money in our faces as if that obligated us to work with whomever she suggested, regardless of good sense or of getting advice from elsewhere. She later apologized to me only, but not to Bill, who is the one who really deserves the apology because he handled all the transactions and, we feel, did nothing wrong.
This is a bizarre situation, and Bill is planning on contacting her, just to get an explanation, if not an outright apology.
I'm not going to stop trusting other people after being sucker-punched, because it's part of my nature. Lesson learned, though: Neither a borrower nor a lender be. The fear of being "beholden" after borrowing money is strong in me and has been reinforced by my friend's apparent assumption that we were totally beholden because we borrowed from her. I suspect this might be a New England, or at least an East Coast, trait, because I know that other cultures don't view loans in this way. (In many cultures, you're a fool if you lend money and deserve whatever happens to you, lol!)
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I'm not sure whether this is a good thing, but I'm very regular about sticking to routines. This comes in handy with Sparking, because no matter what's flying loose in my life, I adhere to tracking nutrition, tracking fitness, posting on message boards, tracking water, walking 5 miles a day, and sticking within my calorie range. The down side of this one is that it sometimes tries to interfere with spontaneous fun! The up side is that it keeps me grounded in something when I need to be, and it isn't bad for me.
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