2018-04-24 Achtung Baby

I put my iPhone on master shuffle to see what the Universe thinks I should be inspired by. “Even Better than the Real Thing” by U2 apparently.

Hey.. isn’t that song like 30 years old? There’s nothing like THAT coming up in the shuffle of 1000+ songs I have on my personal electronic pocket computer in the year 2018. It doesn’t make me feel old, though, just a reminds me of an earlier time. The only thing even better that might be the actual “Real Thing”. 😜

Seriously though.. that song was one that my dear un-departed ex-husband put on a mixtape he made for me in the early days of our courting. It was my introduction to U2 and I’ve been a fan ever since. (Of U2, not my ex).

***

I stopped typing for a little bit there to think about life, and just like that I’ve blown right past the BNL (Bare Naked Ladies) and landed on Blue October. I guess that’s how life goes sometimes. How on earth did I miss all those years going by and land in 2008? It’s not a typo, 2008 was the year of Blue October and the event that I would later call my own personal “Punctuated Equilibrium”.

If that wasn’t enough to convince me that the Universe is a “Real Thing” (with a cosmic sense of humor), the next selection is “Song for the Road” by David Ford. The one and only and there’s no other connection for reference to my Simply Vera Era that is stronger than that (except Mr. A to the Z). The first time I heard it, we were riding in his black Jeep along 144th street to somewhere.. I don’t remember where. Where isn’t important when the song is so good it makes you cry. Of course he was playing it and thinking about another girl. His “one that got away”. I didn’t even know her, but I wasn’t a fan. Her hair was more red than mine and that is all I knew.

I wasn’t even a book in his life between two iconic book ends, I was merely a chapter. Thin pages with a few words about tennis and tv shows, good food and great conversation. And that not-meant-to-be podcast “for or against”. It had some clever name I don’t recall. Do you remember that?

The girl he was with after me was someone my closest friends and I nicknamed “The Wildcard”. She was some shade of crazy I never knew existed and I don’t think I’ll ever know if it was love that made her crazy or if she was like Lady Gaga and “Born that way”. It’s ok though, I let go of caring about that years ago.

I actually saw her at a funeral for the mom/aunt of a pair of mutual friends of ours in 2016. I didn’t recognize The Wildcard right away that day because of her long blonde hair, which I think was her natural color. Her hair was black when I met her and she died it clown red to try and become a closer proximation to what SV was looking for. I’d never dye my hair for any man. I might take motorcycle lessons and tennis lessons and force myself into awkward social situations but my hair is sacred.

Well well, what do you know – An appearance by MRAZ.. how appropriate. I wonder if the Universe is standing behind me on this elliptical machine and reading what I’m writing. No, that’s too physical. When you are omnipresent, you don’t have to stoop to such levels. The song in play right now is “Life is Wonderdul”. It’s all about the contrast between opposing things and the idea that we can’t truly know one thing without the other.

Thinking about this makes me happy. It’s explaining away all the bad things. We wouldn’t truly know sound without silence, we would not know the warmth of the sun without the long cold winter. I wouldn’t recognize the sunrise if there was no dark of night. I can look back at my life and all the bad things are softer in the light of this philosophy. The song is brilliant. “It takes a toll to make you care”. My dues have been paid and I’m ready to collect.

Coming up to the end of my time here now and I am not surprised that the Universe has done it again. For its final play of the set, we have Fall Out Boy singing “Thnks fr th Mmrs”.

“Thanks for the Memories?”. How appropriate. There is a Fall Out Boy CD that reminds me of another time in my life, but the cannon of their music has extended beyond that and now I can’t help but just enjoy it as one of my favorite groups. They actually called me up earlier this year and asked me to come to their show in Lincoln this fall. To which I replied “I would be happy to”.  I will be happy too.

Times Up. Rewind. Replay.
Achtung Baby,
~Miss SugarCookie

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2018-04-19 Round Two. Ready…

Fight!

That’s a quick throwback to my youth where I spent many hours in an arcade watching boys play video games. Most noteworthy was street fighter 2 watching Ryu and Ken and whoever that green dude was that rolled himself into a speeding ball and smashed himself into his opponent. Yes.. I was there by choice, and I was getting paid!

Yup.. I got paid minimum wage to man the Aladdin’s Castle in the mall while the owners were away. I did it all. I unstuck tokens, exchanged skeeball tickets for prizes at the redemption desk, and make change for folks who didn’t want to put a 20 into the token machine. My boss was a woman and she was an asshole, but she was never there when I was there so it was all good.

It was a good job for a teenager, except maybe the sound effects that will forever linger in my brain as a result. I’ve always been a hard working dependable person so they liked me. The end of that job was kinda fuzzy but I think there was an incident where I was closing and had a migraine (which was new for me at that age so I didn’t know what it was or what to do). I ended up not doing all the chores for the daily close. Stupid stuff like cleaning the skee-ball lanes and I don’t remember what else.

My boss gave me a hard time about it and I told her I had a headache. I think she must if thought I was lying or she didn’t care. She made a big deal over it anyway. I’m fairly certain I didn’t work there much after that. My tolerance was low for being treated that way.

The arcade thing followed me when I ran away to Vegas. I was 19 and not old enough to deal blackjack and was not cut out for the cocktail-girl gig. I landed at Treasure Island at the ticket redemption desk. So glamorous!

That desk was a stones throw from the most annoying midway game in the history of the universe. Picture 10 clown heads 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡, with balloons attached to tubes coming out of the top of them 🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈, and every four or five minutes a group of people raced to shoot water into their mouths which inflated the balloons. Then POP POP POP and a winner was declared and given some shitty prize no doubt from the oriental trading company. Then repeat.. all day long. My gawd.

Going home with the sound of balloons popping echoing in my ear was immeasurably worse than any street fighter noise could ever be. Still, I worked that job until we were sick of the Vegas life (and the Military life which is how we ended up there in the first place, Brian, Mr. Airman First Class and i).

Where was I again? Oh yeah.. Round Two. This is my second post today due to missing yesterday and being awake at 3AM and needing to get my current set list of time commitments out of my brain.

At least it worked. I was able to fall back asleep after that for about two more hours. I’m finally back at the gym this morning and despite all the deadlines looming .. I don’t care. I need this.

Here’s reality.. there’s no way I’m going to bank 25 hours in the next three days for work. There’s no way I’m going to finish the Easthope book. Or Kinzie. Epic fail. I just can’t do either or both really well and that’s a fact. I’m looking forward to the end of the semester, a relief to the pressure.

It sorta feels like a bunch of clown heads racing to the finish and about to pop. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

But you know what I always say which remains true no matter what??.. Time marches on and whatever happens happens. One way or another things will work out, for better or worse. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Ok.. I didn’t say any of that. Someone else did. But if the shoe fits…

Time to Do The Thirsty Thursday Again,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-04-08 This is My Blog and I’ll Rant if I Want To

I’m not gonna sugar coat this. My ex-husband is a supreme douchebag. My gawd.. it’s good that my BS threshold is so high, otherwise I’d probably have been pushed past a breaking point way before now.

The funny thing is, he gets so butt-hurt when people talk shit about his behaviors. If you do douchy things, people are going to call you a douche bag. It’s that simple. And my responsibility to have your back and defend you ended in March 15, 2010 when I signed those papers in a court of law. A bitter-sweet day, but absolutely necessary for me to pursue a better life.

For 8 years I’ve tried very hard to walk a line where on one side, was him and his behaviors and tactics and the other was my children and my desire to maintain positive relationships for their sake.

I still have a responsibility to be amiable for them, but my ability to spin a positive light around him despite his life decisions is waning. I just can’t.

Breaking news this week.. he quit his job. The one that he got to end his 4 year streak of not having a job. The one that my kids’ health insurance was through. The one that he complained about every single time I saw him because he hated it. “Boo-hoo”.

You mean to tell me you didn’t like your job (or just working probably). Welcome to the real world bro. Lots of people Work a job they don’t like because it serves a purpose.. income and insurance. Security for your family. Your children who depend on you to man up and be an adult and not just quit because you are not happy.

Ok.. back it up. People might give me the side-eye saying this. Didn’t I do the same thing last year?? Yes. But here’s the difference.

1. I had a plan and enough savings to carry me a certain amount of months.

2. I’ve worked 20+ years in my field and have a great reputation and mad skillz (spelling isn’t one of them). 😜 So I knew I could get another job without too much trouble. He doesn’t have that.

3. Before I quit, I made sure he could take over the insurance for the kids with his employer. I would never have quit without having that figured out. Even if it was through the stupid Marketplace.

Three strikes and your out dude!!

He stopped paying child support years ago and I never pressed that issue because we mutually agreed to change our parenting plan and terms without officially going back through the courts. Not only that, but I’ve carried tje insurance and paid all medical expenses for the 4 years. Even when insurance switched back to him, I still paid the medical bills out of my HSA.

I even went to the courthouse recently to sign a waiver saying he was caught up on his child support because in the eyes of the court, he was delinquent. So I’ve gone above and beyond on his financial behalf. For the record, and in hindsight, signing that was stupid and I will never do it again. I lost all leverage to get anything out of him. However, once that amount starts piling up again, shit is gonna be different.

You act like a deadbeat, people are gonna know and I’m done enabling that. The kids are old enough now to understand and recognize it too and I’m over trying to smooth that over too. Z needs to get checked out for an issue and I told her she’ll have to wait until mom can arrange coverage because dad quit his job. She can form her own opinion about the situation.

I don’t know how I would possibly spin this anyway. I’m not even gonna try. I’m also going to TRY not to dwell on it. I have to get insurance for them no matter what and can’t depend on him to do it.

He tried to tell me marketplace was going to take 90 days and a prerequisite was filing 2017 taxes. Both of those things were bold face lies. I know, because I spent part of my Friday afternoon going through the forms online. I can get coverage by May 1st. I called him out on it and he just acted stupid. Derp.

What an idiot.

Ok.. I have to be done and find my happy place again. Now where did I put that mantra??

Oh yeah.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-04-07 Five Weeks

Five weeks ago today, I was waking up and laying in bed and going through my normal single-girl routine…

Pick up the phone.. check for text.. check email.. look for app notification badges, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress.. open Bumble and make a decision about swiping right or left on the current person whom I presumably was stuck on for some reason or I probably would have swiped already. Then I would keep swiping until I got stuck again or decided I had better things to do with my Saturday morning.

Five weeks ago is when I first laid eyes on pics of JS and swiped right. I honestly don’t remember if it was a match right away or if it came shortly after that. In either case, by the time I was on my elliptical machine at the gym, that same morning, we were already texting. That text conversation ended with a plan for having a phone conversation later in the afternoon.

It was a warm day for early March. Sunny and Temps in the 50s but with some wicked wind. When 2PM rolled around, I grabbed my phone and headphones and headed out my front door for a walk and a chat. It was a great idea, but the wind was problematic. He was outside too and we both struggled with the wind noise.

I did a move around my block and settled back on my front porch which is pretty shielded from the wind. He ended up at a spot on a patio in his back yard. It was a great conversation. Right away I really dig the fact he was full of questions and the conversation was so easy. Even with him bringing up most topics, he shared equal info about himself.

It was mostly the main things.. where you are from, what you do for a living, what’s the family status (kids, ages, etc). We probably talked for an hour and a half and the end of that conversation, if I’m remembering correctly, ended in a plan to meet soon.

Soon turned out to be that evening!! “Life is too short” he said, and I agreed. So that night we met at a wine bar and had more great conversation over a few glasses if wine (him white, me Red). Again, it was super easy conversation and it made it even easier because he’s nice to look at. 😉

Believe me, I’ve shown up for a first Meetup and been surprised that the person I was meeting didn’t look anything like their picture. I think JS is even better looking in person so it was super happy about that.

I think I nursed one glass of wine for about an hour and a half and he was sensitive to the fact that my kids were home alone so we called it a night. I assured him they were capable of taking care of themselves but he insisted and I let that be the final.

He walked me out and toward my car and as we were saying goodbye I was wondering if he was going to try and kiss me goodbye. He didn’t, so I requested one. A girl’s got to know, you know?! It was nice. 😊

He then walked me closer to my car and when he saw I drive a Prius, he said that he used to drive one. That sticks out in my mind for some reason.

That was five weeks ago.. the day I met JS and our first date. Here we are five weeks later and couldn’t be happier.

I realize now that it’s more than checking boxes, as it should be. Yes.. all the boxes are checked ✅ and there’s no red flags 🇹🇳, but it’s so much more, and tough to articulate or write about. Perhaps because I’m not used to writing about this situation. I historically just haven’t, so I’m not as practiced at this than I am at what to say when my heart is broken.

I’ve written him a few times directly, with my thoughts and feelings, and I know based on our conversations he’s feeling the same way. It seems sort of impossible or not real, but I’ve had a few weeks to get used to it and let me tell you, it’s easy to get used to.

One of the best parts has been the easy communication that has been continuous. He’s responsive and not only was interested in my writing but read my poetry blog (not this one), and without any prompting, he read into my poem with the statements about cut flowers AND initiated a conversation about that specifically!! Like he was reading my mind. Wow!!

So far, we’ve been ‘out’ about half a dozen times and the rest has been meeting at his house and he’s cooked for me and we’ve watched a movie and played pool and just sat and talked. He’s also cooked me breakfast (that was pretty awesome too)! 😉

After about two weeks, I was confident I was not going to be ghosted again and now, I’m starting to allow myself to daydream about the future. Five weeks ago I never would have guessed this is where I would be in April. Never. Amazing!

So now I’m cautiously super optimistic and just trying to enjoy each conversation and date. I’m dating!! My relationship status is no longer single!!! Huzzah!!!! 🌈☀️🎉💕😊

Now THIS is the Life! (Bout time),

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-30 Austin Day 2: Changes in Scenery

I’m now into my second day of enjoying everything this city now offers me. I say “now”, because as we get older, the scenery has changed.

I absolutely cherish how things are now. When I’m here, I’m family. We hang around and talk and eat. We go out for delicious meals also full of great conversation. The kids treat me like family and I’ve come to appreciate this family life as one that seems to me to be how things ought to be. It’s nothing like either my childhood nor the early years of my own children’s lives. I can’t change anything about all of that now, nor do I have a longing to dwell on it.

I just look at what is in front of me and embrace each moment as a gift. They are open with me about their struggles, which makes the way this household operates seem just that much more magical. They work together to work through things. Human beings together and committed to that togetherness, and always making the best choices they can for the sake of their children and their relationship.

It elicits a very compelling feeling within me. A deep desire to create the same thing in my own life. To bottle it up and take it home with me. A truly impossible task when one is missing the most key ingredients.

The other fairy dust in that bottle is sustainability over time. The agenda of things has changed here in Austin over time. Though I consider Rebecca one of my very best friends, the connection has an intriguing and ironic beginning. I’m from Iowa and so is her husband. We grew up in the same town.

In fact, we went to the same high school though I never really met him there. Our introduction came sometime after that as he was good friends with the man I would marry. He was a groomsman in my wedding. In essence, the start of that relationship is what ultimately (10 or so years later) led to the start of my relationship with Rebecca.

In those early years, the scenery in Austin was very different. We were all about 6th street and drinking and sitting on dueling pianos. We flipped pankaces at the theatre and she was Veronica and I was Betty. They handed us shots and we took them. When people talk about the good ole days, one might presume this is what they are referring to.

But for me, every change of scenery has been the best of times.

Ironically, they were married just as my marriage was falling apart. The Thursday before their wedding, I drank so much I put myself into a world of hurt and ended up missing out on their rehearsal day BBQ. I’ll always carry that as a heavy regret.

In the years that followed I continued my visits to Austin solo. I’ve been here over thanksgiving twice, because you’re supposed to spend holidays with family and they were always the best hostess and host ever.

I’ve made trips for baby showers and also trips “just because”. I’ve flown and driven and made that journey also alone and with other people. They (my Austin peeps) saw me through my divorce and then also my other relationships. They saw the start of things with Matt and were also there in the end. We have laughed and cried, so cliche, but true. They have been my sounding board for my deep life conundrums and always provided good, and honest, insight.

I try to come here twice a year now. Typically in the spring when winter weather back home has gone on too long and weather here is phenomenal and then again in the late fall, after their summer heat has subsided and winter is knocking on Nebraska’s door again. As I’ve said, it is an escape for me, to a home away from home.

Today more family is arriving and the scenery will change again. More people will invigorate the environment and the discussions will turn from being intimate, and take on a lighter, more surface level tone. Steph will be among the new guests, and I have not seen her since just after her and her husband moved from Nebraska to Texas. I’m quite looking forward to hearing about how things are with them now.

I’m not afraid of change. In fact, I often embrace it. I think I’ve always been this way and maybe that’s why I enjoy living where we have such distinct seasons. It might also be why I enjoy traveling and also life changes. Each change seems to be another step in the right direction. More so now than ever. I don’t really miss the good ole day’s because I know that today will be even better!

Cheers to Change,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-25 Heavy Sunday Thoughts

Sunday again and I hit the sauna at the gym, mentally preparing for my typical elliptical set and getting ready to check my stats for the week. But first, a quick check of email. There was a message waiting for me and it was a thing I just can’t unread. A birthday reminder for my dear friend Kristy who took her own life seven years ago.

My first reaction was anger at Facebook for issuing this reminder. How callous and cold. And then, irritation that of all the Shit Facebook spends its gazillion dollars on, adding a bit of code to prevent reminders going out for people who are deceased. However, all that melted away when I went to her profile and timeline and started to read all the things that people have posted to her all these years, before and after she left us.

She was a bright, beautiful, ball of energy. A star who’s light shined and touched everyone around her and burnt out too soon. She was adopted and I always knew that, but never knew the full story until I attended her funeral in 2011. It’s unfortunate we often don’t know the true stories of people we easily call friends.

We became friends somewhere in 2004 or 2005 when she joined a girls group I was in that got together regularly to walk, talk, and play board games. She was the one who introduced me to Settlers of Catan.

My fondest memory of her was a road trip the group took to KC and her and I drove together and arrived a day before the rest of the group. We wandered downtown and had BBQ at some popular live music venue and drank cocktails until we decided that dancing must happen.

That was back in the days People didn’t have apps on smartphones, telling them where to go. Somehow, we still ended up at the perfect rooftop bar and danced our asses off until they shut the place down. It was probably somewhere in Power and Light, before that area of town marketed the name.

Somewhere in 2009 we fell out of touch due to some very personal and unfortunate circumstances. I knew she was in Pharmacy school and knew she had a history of relationship issues but had finally found a “keeper”. I was happy for her, but was too selfish to reach out and see how she was doing.

Time passes, you know, and her story is not mine to tell, but details about events leading to her suicide were also referenced at her funeral and even more so after the fact when a story her parents insisted on was in the paper. An article warning about the dangers associated with taking prescription drugs for ADHD. I knew she took them, but I had no idea what the possible side-effects were. It’s heartbreaking,

People continue to post on her timeline, mostly around special events like her birthday or class reunion. Posting most often is Mike, who was her last boyfriend. I can’t imagine how he must have felt, and still feels every day missing her.

I scrolled all the way back to the beginning, tears running down my cheeks, but I’m in the sauna so people probably presume it’s just sweat I’m wiping away. The fact that I could see her there with all the thoughts and well wishes was good. I’m sure it is somewhat therapeutic for all those people to express how they feel. I might just have to, now, paying respects to her life and the short time she was in mine, five years maybe.

Perhaps these words are enough though. I’m not sure. It’s certainly all that I can manage right now.

Happy Birthday Kristy… You are missed.

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-13 Fire 🔥 and Ice ❄️

I said upfront that it is what it is. Organic is a nice way to say unprocessed and unfiltered. That means that sometimes you get unfiltered awesomeness and sometimes it’s just rotten. Today I have a rant about my ex (husband) and if I remember before I’m done writing, I also want to contemplate a dream I had and what it might mean.

First, the ex. This guy! Flame 🔥 on!!

This guy who never cared about being a partner in parenting when our kids were small. This guy who was so career driven “for us” but found time to go out and drink and screw around when he was in town, yet didn’t have time to change a lightbulb or drive his kids to swim class.

This guy who was perpetually stuck in his 20s and wanted what he wanted and didn’t care until well after our divorce.

Having 30% responsibility for the kids when we separated was eye opening to him. He slowly realized how difficult things can be and also what rewards were also possible. Now he cherishes his children and they are his world, but that took a long time.

I remember the first time he texted that he was up all night with Z who was sick. I was all like “how is she now?” (And welcome to the real world, no shit it’s hard).

I went through years getting letters from the school about how my children were habitually tardy and he always said that it wasn’t him. He was always the master of convincing himself he was never to blame. I’m the data nerd, so I had the calendar with the schedule and crosschecked that with the detail reports I requested from the school. Surprise surprise, the kids were late on his mornings. I knew that already because I was rarely late.

Then we went through a phase where his vehicle wouldn’t start in the mornings. Despite it being at least 8 years newer than mine AND the same kind of car (Ford Escape), he would text and say “my car won’t start, can you take the kids?”. What was I supposed to do, say no?

He always made excuses.. and each time that was a reminder to me why were not married anymore. Over time (8 years this week actually), he’s gotten better, and now he has a job again and a girlfriend and takes more responsibility for things.

Every once in a while, though, I still get those reminders. This week Is his daughter’s Sweet 16 party which is a big deal to her, and I’m taking care of ALL of it, including hosting at my house and paying for everything. The only thing I physically can’t do is get 8 people to the escape room event and back. I asked for his help with carpool over two weeks ago and then confirmed again last week.

Then yesterday Z and I were picking something up at his house I’m the middle of the day, and he saunters out in his pajamas and comes up to my car window to say hi.

“I took the day off because I hate my job” he says. I conceal my eye roll by briefly looking down and then just smile and nod. I proceed to confirm the carpool again (because this is necessary) and I’m glad I did because he proceeds to tell me he can’t because he has a job interview IN DENVER. WTF??!

I’m really low on good alternatives. I’m not friends with the other parents and it’s short notice to take Work off early anyway. My sister is out of town and my other sister doesn’t have a car and I’ve got no friends close to this area of town. My parents aren’t close enough for it to be reasonable, but that’s my next best option.

He asked about Uber and I replied, “sure, I’m sure my dumping 3 teenage girls in a car with a complete stranger is going to go over really well… no!”.

This morning I requested he ask his girlfriend to help. She’s lived with him un officially for a while now and officially for the past several months. I think it’s not a stretch to ask. I forced his hand on it and she said yes, so now it’s all worked out. I’m still left feeling a little “WTF” though. Seriously.

There is so much more I could rant about, but perhaps that’s enough for now. I gotta turn down that flame so I can get to more important things, like how I almost died in a dream. It left me with icy chills. ❄️ I say “Almost” because when it happened, I woke up instantly!!

This was the night before last but you don’t experience something like that and forget it easily. I was with a few people at an event and the only one I remember was my step sister, Julie. We were looking up watching some event on tvs. There were multiple side by side screens like they have at the gym or at a sports bar mounted above where we were standing.

The screen on the right was showing some party outdoors with mountains covered in snow on the background. I had interest in this because I had family there too, or so I felt in my dream. It was too small to know for certain but I just felt it.

The scene didn’t last long. All at once you could see in the distance on the TV that there was an avalanche of snow coming down the mountain. At first it was small, and then in an instant it became massive and a spit second later, it overtook that party and I barely had time to consider the fact that my family was all crushed under that snow before a giant white mass came down upon us and where we were. Another instant later I woke with the fear of death in me. I was at that event and buried under an avalanche of snow and debris. I was terrified and it truly took me a few seconds to recognize it was a dream and I was fine. I didn’t really go back to sleep after that.

Like I said, that was yesterday but it’s still lingering in my brain. It happened so fast and what I just described is all I remember. I wonder what that could all mean?

No matter, time to get back to reality now and the party happening in a few hours here in Sunny Nebraska where there are no snow filled mountains! 😉

Flame 🔥 Off,

~Miss SugarCookie