Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hearing (And Best Friends)

So, the hearing was Monday. In case you were wondering, I decided NOT to go with a cape. I was tempted to combine a red power pairing with a blue power pairing for a truly Wonder Woman-ish experience, but in the end went straight with blue. I know. You were just dying to know.

Because the divorce was uncontested, this was a hearing before an attorney authorized by the court to run the hearing. And, because it was uncontested and I filed, only my attorney, my witness and I needed to attend. X and his attorney did not... and yet, they did. My attorney was sure that X wouldn't bother to attend. But I knew better. And sure enough, while my witness, M, and I were sitting in the lobby waiting on my attorney, X walked through the door. I hadn't seen him since he moved out, exactly 13 months ago. We've spoken a handful of times on the phone- recently even civilly- yet he said nothing to me when he walked in. He said hello to M and asked how she was, but that was it. It was really awkward.

X's attorney was a half hour late, so we all sat uncomfortably in the waiting room while my attorney and M made small talk about pee wee football. When we finally went in, the hearing lasted maybe 10 minutes. X said nothing. When it was over, he said good bye to M. I said good bye as he was leaving, but I'm not sure he even responded. It was quite surreal. Anyway, I'm not officially divorced yet- the judge still has to sign the paperwork- but that should be final within about 10 days.

M and I grabbed some lunch after. She needed to vent about her recent visit from her mother-in-law. And I just needed time to, I don't know, not be by myself. It's weird. When I saw him, I felt nothing. Well, maybe a little anxiety. But no hate, no anger, no tug, no anything. Almost no recognition. It was just so odd. I've got things to say about this, but not at the moment.

Anyway, M and I were room mates in college when X and I started dating. X and I went out with M and some other friends the night we got engaged. M was in our wedding party. And M was one of the first friends I told that my marriage was over. Seemed only fitting to have her at my divorce. I lost a lot of "friends" in this divorce. But I got to keep the best ones.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oddities, Take 1

OK, so, I may as well get this out in the open right now. I'm pretty weird nuts batshit crazy quirky.

So now that I've disclaimed that... I have this thing about my undergarments. They must match. Ideally they will coordinate with what I'm wearing, too, but my bra and panties must match each other or I will not leave the house. Seriously. If I'm in black and I change my mind to put on a white shirt necessitating a bra change, the undies are changing too. I know. I know.

I'm not sure what it stems from... ok... that's a lie. It started after getting caught in an impromptu game of strip poker in high school. The habit served me well during some sorority hazing, too. But really, as an adult, do I really need to worry about suddenly finding myself in only my skivvies in public? Probably not. But you.never.know. (Maybe I've just taken that "always wear clean underwear" a bit far... and- since you already know I'm insane I may as well admit that by the same token... I'm ALWAYS... um...*well groomed*... just in case I am in an accident and my clothes have to be cut off- because really that's what the paramedics are worried about... the state of my fuzzy. Um... at this point I feel it necessary to ask you to please reread the first sentence of this post.)

And, I guess it's silly, but it's become a bit of a security blanket for me. Kind of like a superhero outfit I've got on under my clothes. You know, just in case I actually do end up having to walk into that conference room and give my presentation half dressed a la those nightmares we've all had. I know. I know. It makes no sense. But I feel a little better knowing I'm coordinated should spontaneous near-nakedness occur.

I was explaining this to a friend of mine who has now started referring to this obsessive pairing as my 'roos (after underoos). And within my 'roos, I have something of a heirarchy. There's the "normal" (as if any of this is normal) pairings... whites, nudes, pale pinks, blacks. Then there's the "power" pairings... the red, the royal blue, the hot pink, the bolder patterns. Now, the power pairings can be worn on any given day, but absolutely must be worn on difficult days.... Like layoff days.... And trying-something-new days... And my-life-sucks-how-am-I-going-to-do-this days... Basically any day I feel like I might need an extra surge of confidence or bravado. Some people swipe on extra mascara... I put on lace boyshorts with rhinestones.

Tomorrow is my divorce hearing. I'm not quite sure I have anything quite up for the job. Would it be too weird if I added a cape?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Climbing the Walls

I've started a running list of things I want to write about. I can't believe how much I've missed this. Most of the list contains what will- I hope- be cathartic posts for me about my infertility, my divorce and how the two coincide. I could start now. I mean, my divorce hearing is on Monday. Perhaps some background on how I got here is well deserved. But I just don't have it in me today to draw from that deep dungeon within myself where I've shoved all of the grief and sadness and loss and tried to lock it away. Well, it's not really that deep anymore, or that secure. The grief, sadness, and loss have banded together to engineer an escape and with houdini-esque skill have managed to start eeking out of their confines. It's only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose. It might be better to write it out before that happens. But, like I said, I just don't have it in me today... it will just have to wait for another day.

Today I feel more like writing about one of the ingredients I DO happen to have in my pantry. Hobbies I enjoy. I've always enjoyed reading, but beyond that I've never really had hobbies. X and I enjoyed cooking together, but that's about it. There were always things I wanted to do, but for reasons I don't feel like getting into now (um, but they pretty much start with "X") never did. So after he left last year, I went for it. The first thing I did was sign up for a martial arts class. This was amazing on several levels. The first and foremost being that I, while almost impossible to shut up once you know me, am painfully shy and reserved in new situations. The fact that I signed up for a class knowing absolutely no one was a pretty impressive feat. The second piece of amazingness is that I, in my entire previous 33 years from that moment, had never willingly participated in any athletic activity just because I wanted to. I mean, occasionally in the past I'd have a couple of months where I'd go to the gym, or take up running for a month, or try step aerobics... but that was always to lose some extra poundage- it was never for fun. The point is, I was (am) not athletic by nature.

So, I started taking martial arts. Then, I found out a group from work met once a week to play tennis- which I also always wanted to learn- so I started doing that. And, because I was sucking wind during some of the martial arts training, I also took up running again- and stuck with it this time. I think that aside from doing what I wanted to do for the first time in a long time, this surge into athletic activities also gave me a sense of control over the only thing I felt I still had control over- my body. Which is incredibly ironic since I spent 7 years feeling like I had absolutely no control over my body at all, what with all of the drugs and exams and not being pregnant or not staying pregnant. But now I did have control over at least that, while everything else in my life seemed to crumble around me. So, I threw myself into the activities with gusto and had a great time. And, hey, it has other fringe benefits... I'm now looking pretty fit and since I am single again, I do have to consider what I look like naked. Oh, and um... I guess a healthier heart and stronger bones and... um... I'm sure there are other health benefits that are good, too. (But mostly I'm digging the naked thing. I'm pretty vain.)

Some of these activities slacked off over the winter. Tennis took a hiatus around November and is just starting to get ramped up if it ever stops raining. Running I tried to stick with through the winter, but I just refuse to run if it's actually freezing out.... or raining. I'm just not that dedicated to it, but Spring is trying to break through and running will pick up again. But, pretty much only martial arts has been consistent through the past few months. I'm not sure if that just wasn't enough and a need to do more had something to do with my newest obsession, or if it was just the serendipitous conversation with someone who mentioned he was going rock climbing, or if it was a combination of both, but I thought it looked like a lot of fun so I decided to try it and now I am addicted to it.

I'm currently climbing at an indoor climbing gym. I definitely want to try outside climbing once the weather begins to cooperate. But for the moment it's indoors- which is just dandy for me while I figure out what I'm doing. I've found- just like virtually everything that requires any skill at all- good climbers make it look easy. They are so graceful and fluid and they look weightless. I, on the other hand, am awkward and ungainly and look like I'm lumbering up the wall with a backpack full of lead shot. But in spite of the fact that I climb like a monkey with a mom and dad that are also its aunt and uncle, it's incredibly fun.

I think what I like so much is that it is so completely engaging. You work every muscle in your body at once, and unlike doing mindless reps on machines at the gym, you're brain is working, too, as you try to figure out the puzzle of how you are going to get up the wall on the particular route you are on. And I'm not sure what it is about the climbing community, but everyone is so helpful... I suppose because they enjoy it so much that they want to share that enjoyment- so they're happy to offer tips and wait patiently as I slowly make my way up the wall trying to figure out what I'm doing. I've only been doing it a short while, but already I'm getting stronger and am getting slightly better at applying some actual technique to my climbing which makes it a bit more muscularly efficient. I spent a few hours climbing today and for the first time do not feel like my arms might fall off, which is pretty exciting. I'm hoping to look like a monkey with parents who are first cousins rather than siblings soon.

So, like all the activities I've attempted in the past year, I'm really glad I tried it. Climbing is definitely going to be a lasting hobby. It's too fun to give up. Plus, tank top season is coming up and my arms are going to look like Trinity's in The M@trix.

(Um, I mentioned the vanity thing, didn't I?)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lessons in Professional Attire

Ok, so pretend you're walking into your attorney's office to prep for your divorce hearing on Monday. What are you expectations about the general sartorial experience you'll be having? Dress shirts? Ties? Tailored Skirts? Hell, it's late in the week... maybe some khakis and a golf shirt? No reason to be totally stodgy if you're not in court, right? But certainly there are some profession norms, right?

Well, I didn't just pretend to walk into my attorney's office to prep for my divorce hearing on Monday. I actually got to do that this afternoon. And when I walked in, an assistant I've never seen before came over to help me. She was wearing a little beret/paperboy hat with her wild little curls poking out from the bottom; a cropped little black denim jacket over a tight shirt, tucked into a black tulle ballerina-ish miniskirt; black leggings; I'm not sure about the shoes; and she was bedangled and accessorized to within an inch of her life. She appeared rather young and was very energetic. And, really, she was just as cute as an inappropriately dressed button. Because, seriously... a tu-tu?! In a law office?! I mean, yeah, that look would work in an art studio. Or a funky architectural firm. Or any number of fashion related establishments. But really... a law office?

Now, the fact that I actually have an attorney- and an accountant- already has me feeling a bit more grown up than I really consider (or want) myself to be. But now I suspect it might actually be true... I've started passing judgement on the choices of "these kids today." And, truth be told, I also suspect that most of the young drivers I see on the road are actually 12 because there is NO WAY they are 16- they look like infants.

Please, someone, tell me I'm not a grown up. I'm already dealing with quite enough. I can't handle that too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why Flourless Chocolate Torte?

My therapist says you have to be happy with your life. That’s the cake (or in my case, the flourless chocolate torte, since I don't eat wheat flour). Any relationship you get into after that point is the icing… but the relationship should never be the cake... erm... torte.

This is where I find myself. My divorce will be final at the end of the month signifying the end of over a decade with my ex. So I'm now taking control of my life, putting on my big-girl apron, and attempting to create a delectable un-iced torte. And the un-iced part is quite honestly fine with me. Attempting icing seems a bit messy and complicated at the moment- even with my big-girl apron on.

So… the most logical thing would be to determine the ingredients, right? What would make me happy? Huh. Well…

1. A job I don’t dread going to.

2. A career I enjoy.

3. A residence I can comfortably afford.

4. A secure financial future.

5. A community that feels like home.

6. Hobbies that I enjoy.

7. A social circle I can have fun in.

8. And a (local) close friend or two I can count on for anything.

9. Zen.

Sounds like a reasonable start, right? This recipe, however, is lacking quantities. For someone as uptight and anal and rule driven as myself, this causes a bit of consternation. It’s weird though… when I cook, I just throw what ever seems like it’ll taste good together in the pot and see what happens. I’m a great “taste and see” cook. Not so much with the baking. Baking is more exact. I measure when I bake. My life would be much easier if my therapist used a cooking analogy…

But the reality is that this metaphorical torte is supposed to change flavor over the course of my life. Sometimes the proportions of the ingredients will change, but as long as there is maintained a balance in the give and take of ingredients, well, I should remain relatively happy in my life. Right?! Sounds good on paper. Of course, in real life, I’m missing some ingredients.

Let’s check out the pantry, shall we?

Ingredient 1: A job I don’t dread going to. Hmm. This ingredient has been seriously depleted. I’ve already had my salary cut significantly. And repeated rounds of layoffs have me worried about my job security all the time. Coupled with the lack of work I see on a daily basis… yikes. I used to like my job. Now it’s a scary, miserable place to be.

Ingredient 2. A career I enjoy. Also in need of restocking. It’s up in the air whether I really enjoy my career. I don’t hate it per se, but I do have some definite dissatisfaction. Part of that is due to the current constant fear of losing my job. Part of that is because I’ve anticipated losing my job and have been looking proactively for another and there is virtually NOTHING out there, so I feel like it might be time for a change. And yet another part of that is because I feel like my job doesn’t make a difference… maybe that’s idealistic (and unrealistic)- especially for someone in her mid-thirties- but hey, it is what it is.

Ingredient 3. A residence I can comfortably afford. Hah. Definitely do not have this going for me. When X and I purchased this house the negotiations and purchase were just about the last straw in our marriage (we had significant other issues, though). We could afford it as a “we” but the “we” is no longer. And in the lovely market we can’t sell it. And affording it is getting difficult (see pay cut, in Ingredient 1 above).

Ingredient 4. A secure financial future. Does anyone have this these days? But Ingredients 1 & 3 are severely hindering this.

Ingredient 5. A community that feels like home. Not so much. I’ve been here almost two years. A good part of the first year, however, was spent dealing with the demise of my marriage and the ensuing early part of the separation. Not really a good time for community building. We moved here for jobs, knowing virtually no one. I’ve tried to make this place feel like home, but I’m definitely not there yet. Perhaps because I know I don’t really want to stay here.

Ingredient 6. Hobbies that I enjoy. These I do have- thankfully. In the year that X and I have been separated I finally started trying some of the activities I always wanted to try but never did. And so far that’s worked out well.

Ingredient 7. A social circle I can have fun in. This is one of those ingredients that if all of the other ingredients were plentiful, I’d be ok with what I’ve got now… one or two social engagements a month. But with most of my days being so dreary, I could stand some additional entertainment. I really had no idea how difficult it would be to form a group of “hanging out” friends.

Ingredient 8. A (local) close friend or two I can count on for anything. I am fortunate here. I do have two of them. One old, one new. Worth their weight in dark chocolate.

Ingredient 9. Zen. If only. What’s the opposite of Zen? Because I’ve got the Costco-jumbo-economy-family-sized container of that.

So, my torte is currently looking to be flavorless at best and a culinary nightmare that would have Gordon Ramsay inventing previously unheard f-word combinations at worst. Ingredient procurement is what I plan on working on for the next… oh… however long it takes.

Unfortunately, even the best mega-mart isn’t going to carry what I need. I’m on my own.