BEFORE

November 13, 2010

Tomorrow, we’re going to see the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall. I’ll do everything I can to make sure the boys have a fun time and make great memories. As for me, I have no expectations. When I looked up some expert’s marriage advice on the internet last night, he said- have no expectations. So I won’t expect to have fun even. I did expect a nice family road trip to NC recently and ended up feeling punched in the gut when I realized L didn’t even want to go visit my family, and, in fact, considered it a burden. So there we were in Hagerstown, MD at one of our old favorite places, Hard Times, and instead of feeling nostalgic, I felt like something was desperately amiss.  I hate myself for crying so easily, especially in front of the boys; it’s unforgivable. They must think I’m nuts. The Teep looked so worried as I tried to smile through my stupid tears- laugh even- haha- your dad is an- ah, no names.

OK, I thought this might be a letter to L. Now I know it won’t be. I am upset. What do I do? Who can help me? Really, who can help L? Because if he would go back to normal, I’d be OK. This is what I think I know. Things started going downhill in August. My in-laws were here. L finds it difficult to talk to me when anyone else is around. He started to lose what would ultimately turn out to be a lot of weight- maybe over 30 lbs. He did it mostly by running  strangely long distances, like 7-10 miles easily. He started an undercover assignment. Just looked in calendar- he’s been away once a week since September 13th. He’s been waking earlier and earlier, so now it’s normal for him to get up at 3:30 or 4AM to get into work early, exercise, grab a bagel, etc. Give me a break, 3:30? Just thinking about what I’ve written, I see that he’s turned himself into a new guy with a new way of life. Maybe it’s as simple as out with the old (me) and in with the new.

I’m convinced he went through a period of depression during August, too. Plus, I think he drinks too much, but he doesn’t ever like to hear that. How much is too much? Five beers last night sounds like a lot to me.

I could deal with anything, ANYTHING I just wrote  except for the change in how he treats me. L never smiles at me, jokes with me anymore, touches me. Now I might cry again. How long do we have on this earth together? I promise he is wasting our time together day after day. He is so cold to me. What do I do? Threaten to leave? Or wait out this Twilight Zone episode?  If marriage isn’t easy and is something you have to work on, then why am I the only one who cares? The one word that sums up L is indifferent.

Maybe he’s crazy at work. Maybe this special assignment is so much more important and pressure filled than I can even imagine. But, don’t other guys have hard jobs, too? Does every guy in this profession stop loving his wife? I know the answer to that, and it makes me feel even worse. I am not imagining what I’m going through. I need to be really strong now.. If only I knew how or when things will get back to normal. It’s just such a shame. We could be loving each other a lot every day. I feel totally helpless and hopeless now. I pray every day for things to get better. Tonight I just pray for a fun, safe morning in NYC for the boys.

I’m really being too nice. There’s a part of me that’s furious. I should demand more for myself.  I must be worth some effort, but he shows me day after day that I’m not. I see that it’s up to me to teach these boys how to treat a wife. They are all very loving and good to me. I’ll do three women a favor and turn them into loving husbands. Who knows, maybe I’m a horrible, stupid, ugly wife. But I really feel like something is going on with L that’s beyond me, and I’m just a casualty. So for now I’ll hang in there and try not to be demanding of anything…or have any expectations.

AFTER

November (?), 2010

Advice from Teresa, Jenny’s sister- He walked out on us.  I get to set the rules.  He’s mad?  He created this…I’m mad.  He needs to know I’m not gonna roll over.  This is going to be a horrific holiday, but I need to make it good for the kids.  No matter what I did, he did something so much worse.

November (It’s all a blur), 2010
To L- No matter what I did…and I know I’m so at fault here, I don’t believe I deserve what you did. The pain I’m feeling is so real I can almost touch it. If I don’t write this here, I’ll text it to you, and someone told me to get control of my emotions a bit and resist the impulse to lash out, which is not unlike the impulse to smoke when someone is trying to quit.
Right now, this evening, we should be sharing our days with each other. You’re doing that- with someone else, which is both devastating and unspeakable to me.
Meanwhile, I’m in the trenches. I have so much to do that I don’t know where to start. Reality is in my face every moment, which is both good and bad.

November (still a blur), 2010

I guess I’m going to have a breakdown every day.  The worst part of the day is the afternoon.  Today, I got up from a table of 8 friends at Panera (only Jenny and Maggie know everything) and bolted.  I couldn’t get to the car fast enough,  I heard little voices calling, “Bye, JC,” as I flew.  In the car, I did my new favorite thing.  I blasted the radio so loud I couldn’t hear myself think.  It didn’t stop the tears, just the thoughts, which was some relief.  Then I got home and noticed a text from L.  Hope and relief surged through me, to my dismay.  L was unhappy that I went to Pastor R, who then contacted L “out of the blue.” He wishes I would have told him first.  L also wanted to confirm his 6:45 dinner with the boys.

me: Wish you would have have told me before you ruined my life from out of the blue..yes we’re still on, but the Teep has a lot of work to do.  Can’t spend all night at dinner, but if you want, come help him with his notebook.

No, L had no interest in helping with homework, but he would like to see them this weekend.  Of course, just the fun.

December 2, 2010

I’m so worried about myself.  Here I am bawling at 8:30AM.  I can usually make it to the afternoon.  Last night was a horror for me.

December 3, 2010

After an hour on the phone with L, I think I see that it’s over.  He has a lot of anger towards me.  Now, you would think I spent the rest of the day freaking out.  I didn’t.  No sobs or screams.  The call did make me miss breakfast at Panera for Maggie’s birthday with Jenny, too, but I ran straight to Angel Tips at 10:30 to catch up with them.  Jenny handed me a mocha latte which became my breakfast and lunch.  The pedicure was soothing.  I tried to enjoy each little touch from it.  I couldn’t get a manicure because my fingers were so torn up, a nervous habit.  The birthday girl treated because she had so many gift certificates.

I left before the girls to catch the kindergarten bus.  My boy got off and I fed him and played Constructables with him and focused on him like maybe I usually don’t because the house was clean around us, and his dad wasn’t texting or calling like usual.  My Fat Angel was so cute and full of kindergarten stories.

At 2, I drove the little man to Jenny’s and got to Westfield early to park for therapy.  As I sat in the hallway of the office, I texted Lou, my guy, that I was outside his locked office.  He texted back that he’d be there in a few.  He was late, but I didn’t care.  I was sitting reading Family Magazine, chilling, texting, when he opened the door to the building and called up, ” JC, do you want something to drink?  Come with me.”  Clutching my Snapple, I followed him across the street to a chocolate shop where I ordered the one bready thing I saw on the menu, a chocolate covered pretzel.  Jenny later joked that it was my first date.  Well, he did pay, and it was nice to do that little, normal thing with him.  And the carb saved my stomach  since I don’t eat these days.

I saw kids’ drawings on the wall, and asked how many kids he has.  He said 4, between 5 and 11 years.  I asked about his marriage ONLY because my infidelity book said it was a fair question.  He answered a little sheepishly that he wouldn’t kid me.  He’s separated BUT so weird because he knows he’s a good couples therapist.  He was married 14 years, too, before separation.  I just couldn’t believe how similar our situations are.

Tonight I skipped a fun holiday party at the Lang’s.  L and I would have been there for sure.  Instead, the Teep, age 11, was out from 7-10PM at a friend’s watching football.  I was up at 3AM today, so I was quite tired.  I lay in bed tonight under the heating pad (can’t get rid of this chill) with Bear pressed up against my left side, the Fat Angel, my right.  I drifted in and out while they watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…awful movie.  I couldn’t do the dishes or even email.  I just barely managed to shoot off a few ” L stinks” texts- because I had to get up and get the Teep in the freezing cold and darkness with the brothers in the backseat at 10PM.  The other kids’ dads were in line because this was a “Dad Job.”

At home, I tried to push three boys quickly toward bed.  I needed to watch TV long enough to turn out their lights and move those elves, which the Bear, more than anyone, counts on.

December 4, 2010

This morning, I woke at 7AM- later and better than usual..  As usual, my situation came crashing down on me but not quite as strongly today.  I’m glad he was blunt with me yesterday and angry and a little mean.  I needed to let go of hope.  It made me feel better.  My new goal is to heal and learn about how to make a marriage successful.  At that point, L might come home, though probably not, and I admit I might not want him by then.  I might have to find someone else to have an amazing marriage with.

Now, I have somewhat of a full day planned.  Cleaning lady coming at 9.  Santa coming into town at 10.

Santa was fun, though, the Teep, at 11, wasn’t into him.  He wouldn’t even stand next to Santa for a pic.  I didn’t fight it- just took the other two.  The Fat Angel asked for a short-haired, black guinea pig…great.

Then, we went on the horse-drawn ride through the neighborhoods.  It was open this year, so my allergies could stand it.  In years past, I either had a full blown attack, or L took the boys while I waited behind in Town Hall.  Sadly, it’s all me now.  I sat across from a girl from town who lost her husband after, but as a result of, 911.  We’re both on our own for different reasons.

When we returned home, Belle and Ed, our next door neighbors, were halfway done raking our yard. I started crying and hugged Belle. A guy had said he was coming to rake last week but never did, so here we were on our way to Christmas, the only house in town with drifting leaves. I sent the kids inside because I had picked up Vivi and Sirius’ son, Ryan, on the way home from basketball so couldn’t make the Teep rake with a friend over. I joined Belle and Ed for a couple of hours. The leaves were moldy, wet, muddy, and heavy. As we raked, my insane story came out to Belle. Every time I tell it, the deception element nearly knocks me down. But I noticed I told it without crying.

Meanwhile, I had four boys inside as I raked. Inevitably, I heard some screams and shouts, I poked my head in more than once, and they came flying out  a couple of times, too. Not until partway through dinner did the kids tell me that the Fat Angel had taken a steak knife and cornered the three of them behind the bed. I was horrified, especially since Ryan, who came to our house to “hang out” was chased with a knife. The boys laughed as they said their brother tried to kill them with a steak knife. I got my Angel upstairs and told him it was unacceptable and mean behavior.  No dessert or Wii tonight. (And then I made the D’s hot chocolate.) I told him he may not touch a knife for the rest of his life. Even when he’s an adult, his wife will have to cut his apples and steak. He explained that he was just playing and wouldn’t have sliced for real. I believe him…but still!

Sirius and Vivi, who are the best, laughed it off. They asked what the others did to provoke such a thing. Good point, but still, a knife?

December 5, 2010

I’m jittery this morning because I know L is coming “at 3 or 4” for the boys. There are some things I need to say to him…when he gets here because he won’t be coming in at the end with our party starting and 30 friends here at 7. I’ll make a list like I do when I go to the doctor.

1. Thank you for being blunt/mean on Friday. It’s what I needed, and I’ve felt better since. (check)

2. I want to set the record straight on one point because you have a lot of resentment toward me that you might be using to justify your affair. I never said- Oh I have it so hard, and you have it so easy at work. Never even thought that. Sometimes he would pick at what I do at home and say I have it good. Then I’d say something like, well you do get a lunch break without kids, must be nice! (not discussed)

3. Angel’s knife incident (check)

4. Most importantly- Is there any chance I might have contracted an STD?

December 6, 2010

I cannot function. I cannot care for these needy, needy kids. I’m losing control. I’m losing my mind. I cannot take that the Bear just caused the pom pom to fall off the Fat Angel’s Santa hat. I don’t  care. It’s too much to handle. My ovaries ache. My chest hurts. I’ve been out of control since about 2PM today. My body is tingling inside. It won’t shut off or quiet down. My anxiety cannot be controlled. I feel like I’m dying.

I am dying. The Bear just told me he wrote a note to the elves to fix the hat so I won’t have to. He told me, “I love you.” and kissed my cheek. He asked if I wanted a vitamin C drop since my voice is scratchy. It’s not a sick voice but a crying voice. I truly couldn’t be lower. If L doesn’t come home, maybe I’ll move anyway. I need relief. I did so well all morning. Knowing I can fall into a pit of despair at any time is awful. It hits me out of nowhere. Who’s here for me day to day? I need some sort of hotline.. I pray for clarity, strength, and patience. I pray for my husband to come back home and for this nightmare to end. I pray that his girlfriend backs the hell off and find an eligible guy, such as her now ex fiance. I’m so upset for the many men and women out there going through this. The pain remains unbearable. The only good thing is that I discovered an iota of self control and managed not to text L, whom I’m used to turning to with anything, throughout the day. I took this contact for granted.

Hopeful things:

1. Others have traveled this path before us and have gotten back together.

2. On Sunday (yesterday) when he came over, his simple willingness to talk to me gave me hope. He actually brought up the7 week marriage course I found on the internet. I made him dinner and didn’t feel like freaking out. I don’t hate him but just wanted to connect with him.

I was feeling so good after seeing him. Until this afternoon when I plummeted mentally. L felt he had to leave by 6:45PM. Jenny walked in 5 min later. The party was going by 7. I had sent out an email to  a close friends. I told them that L and I are separated. I asked friends to help us trim our tree and to please bring an inexpensive, hand me down,  or homemade ornament, so that we don’t have to take out our usuals, attached to memories of happy years.

It was sheer chaos and lots of fun. Kids went to bed around 11. Here’ s the thing.  Forty  friends come to support  the boys and me all at once. Was this amazing or evidence of incorrect priorities?  The desserts, ornaments, and wine flowed. It was overwhelming and so much fun.   The boys and I are blessed with so many  good friends.   Did I put friends before husband?  Was L neglected or just a mostly miserable  malcontent?  Now, my friends are all I have left here and I’m beyond grateful.

December 7, 2010

I totally crashed yesterday and couldn’t recover almost this entire day. I called and left a message for my doctor. His nurse called me back, and gave me a 3:45 appointment. I need to be evened out. I’m up, I’m down, I’m crying whenever…Anyway, sensing my mental state, Maggie came over for a walk again in the AM. We walked fast through the freezing temperature. Jenny picked me up at 11. We ran to Toys R Us and were back to catch the kindergarten bus. I remained a mess throughout. Angel got off the bus and Jenny and I drove him over to another friend. Then, Jenny took me to therapy. She met Lou and his sparring buddy, who was wearing a shirt for the first time. Therapy always seems to make me feel better.

OK, the doctor at 3:45. My weight loss is 6 lbs. Me choking out how my body is betraying me, begging for relief. His eyes downcast, he’s seen so much of this. The result: some hopefully temporary meds.

Pippa brought me a probably authentic Shephard’s Pie for dinner. She was going to Walgreens and picked up my meds. They seemed to work, getting me through the night until 6AM. I’m shocked by what I have to take to get through a day. Can I blame that on L? I used to be a person who medicated only when absolutely necessary for the likes of a headache.

December 8, 2010

I took some meds on an empty stomach because I couldn’t eat. Maggie came to walk at 8:30AM. By the time we sat down at the coffee house, my eyes were closing; I was so suddenly tired. Could barely choke down half a piece of French toast. Barely remember walk home, but the freezing air helped. Maggie sent me in to nap and not drive. I’m really just resting, writing, and listening to my internet marriage guy- Disk 3. C’mon, L and I could succeed. Why won’t he give me a chance? We could build phenomenal love.

OK, the Angel gets off the bus soon. I should change out of my pajama top for Panera. The extreme sleepiness is gone, and the anti anxiety med is probably working.

Took it again at 5…because now, at 6:25 PM, L has been here for awhile. Not much interaction with boys. He has to tie up pool business to pass his treasurer job off. Good, he should have ages ago. It took up too much of his time. Teep and Angel were plying Wii. Bear is at a church club. Something is keeping me from freaking out as, again, I find myself “waiting”.

Oh yes, I made dinner again. Well, I was anyway for the boys. I told L to help himself and went upstairs, mostly because I have zero appetite.

The Fat Angel’s teacher called this afternoon to tell me what he told her at school. He asked her if she knew his dad left home. He said his dad yelled at me a lot (which isn’t completely true but must be Angel’s perception) and that he (the Angel) feels really bad. Yesterday, Angel told Kat- Did you know my dad left us and got an apartment and didn’t even tell us?

Wow, I didn’t think this 6 year old creature was aware of much. I’ve been listening to my marriage fitness CD’s throughout the day, too.  Not typical kindergarten background noise, but benign.

December 9, 2010

Another day. Talked to L at 10:50AM. Well, let’s see. My day began at 3AM when I woke for good, my chest cramping and my nightmare instantly descending upon me. I had told the Teep he could stay home today. He was out anyway at 1:30 for parent/teacher conferences. So, it was just a half day off. His stomach had been hurting since last night when he was so upset he cried and cried. I kept the Angel home because he woke up with terrible croup. He could barely breathe air into his lungs. I texted and called his father- nothing. I stuck him in the shower with the hottest water. He had to stand near it and breathe in. To me, it seemed like an asthma attack. L called 20 min later- so not helpful.

Anyway, at 10:50, I calmly asked L to come home. I made a good case. I told him: (and I know because I wrote down what I wanted to say- too much of wreck to count on remembering)

-Nobody’s life or marriage is perfect

-lot of ways this could have gone down

-lot of ways to handle unhappiness

heart to heart with me

counseling

talk to someone else

-You did worse possible thing.

-You walked out on me and your family

-You chose another woman over me

-You tossed my life upside down

-Your irrational action is causing my emotional reaction (from my therapist)

-You are living/sleeping with another woman

I took ownership for mistakes I made but told him he made the worst choice possible. He was kind of quiet on his end. Once he said- Oh, like usual, you’re making this about you. He thought I was getting wound up, but I was pretty calm and matter of fact.

I told him I’d like to write a letter to his girlfriend. He instantly snapped- no way; you’ll say I said I still love you. I told him it’s already written and it doesn’t say that at all. He said he would check to see if the Sauce would mind receiving a letter from me. I bit my tongue. Did he check with me to see if I minded that he  bed jumped at 4AM for two months?

After my conversation, Maggie, Jenny, and Stacey were in my den in minutes to offer support. Not a whole lot I could even say. I’m floored. They took turns talking.

Maggie took the Angel to lunch. The Teep and I went over to his school for his student run (as in him) parent teacher conference. We found out that Teep won a class at a gym in town. I’m suspicious that Maggie somehow made it happen, but I’m thankful and the Teep is happy.

We had a fun, delicious dinner at Pippa’s house.

Later, Rick came over and took all the pool stuff L had gotten together. That was sad. I love that pool. I liked that L was on the board, on the inside, running it. And I liked bringing in guests for free- stupid, but true! Rick was nice enough to dispose of the bloody, freshly caught bird he encountered (thank you, Big Cat) on my Halloween doormat.

December 10, 2010

I woke at 5AM, my insides shaking. It all came back to me in a flash. I need to get them off to school, so I can collapse. I have Lou at 10. On the late night advice of Teresa, I’ll try to buy myself a pretty, new sweater and, she stressed, lip gloss. Maybe L will see me when he comes for the boys on Sat. AM.  Wait, that isn’t  exactly the point.  I’m trying to feel, strong, confident, and good about myself.  I can’t process thoughts myself right now, so I’ll follow her advice right down to the gloss.

6:45AM

I’m physically and emotionally exhausted yet it’s time to make lunches, pack 3 boys, put out breakfast, and go make sure everyone’s feeling happy and OK today. I kind of want to cry and sleep…if only I could.

7:39AM

The Bear finally broke down. As we were picking his clothes, he started crying. “When’s Dad gonna come home?” Said I didn’t know. “Everyone said it would be a short break,” he continued. I held him close and said we’d be OK. I’m nauseous.

OK, how about this one. It’s 8:05 and we’re NOT at the bus stop because the Angel REFUSED to go to school. I will have to drive him if I can…….I drove him, bribed him.

At 10, I had a session with Louis. I was, frankly, bored and so, so sleepy. I’m sick of my situation. First, I covered myself with my jacket up to my chin. Eventually, I put up my hood and slumped down so my head rested on the couch. I might have briefly closed my eyes. I can’t imagine what he thinks of me. He has to watch his 4 kids while his wife is out of town this coming Thurs and Fri. His dog has stage 5 cancer and is about to start chemo. Louis definitely has his own problems.

I did get my new sweater. Any one would have fit fine because I weigh nothing. Shopping felt strange because it’s a normal activity, yet I’m a shell. The girls working at the store see me, but they cannot guess what’s happening inside me. I bought a bright orange-red thin turtleneck sweater at the Gap. I did what Teresa said to do. I like how I look but not how I feel. Could that be a start?

After school, the Fat Angel got 2 donuts and a medium hot chocolate at DD. Hope I don’t have to bribe him every day.

December 11, 2010 Saturday

Oh dear God, L was here from 9:30AM -5:30PM. I’m emotionally exhausted. Filled with hope and despair. And so, so tired. His conflict is palpable, his concerns real. I’m so determined to get him back and really don’t have much of a clue how to do it. I only have myself and our family to offer, but must do it without seeming desperate. I want this nightmare to be over. I want us to begin working on the amazing marriage I know we can have.  I want us to have a chance.

December 12, 2010

I’ve hit bottom again. Sobbing like I haven’t in days bottom. I got up at 6ish which is too early to begin a horrible day. I took a shower and went back to bed, realizing I couldn’t get up. I feel so badly that this might be depression. Maggie came and took the Teep and Bear. She came back and took the Angel. I listened to marriage help on Disk #4. It’s so amazing. It makes me feel worse because I can see mistakes we both made, and I can see how to fix stuff, too. I just need a chance. That’s what it boils down to. I just need him home.

I made it to Maggie’s by 2 and ate one of the boy’s leftover chicken noodle soups. I cried on her couch like I never have before. I had her call my parents. They’re on the way. Just when I thought I couldn’t feel worse, I do.

Tara is in my kitchen now. Pippa and Jeb came by to take Bear to a soccer party. Tara sent her son with them, too. She brought dinner, meatloaf, and is keeping an eye on all the kids. How do people do this? How can I make my body feel better? I was so happy, with all my stress, that my period came yesterday, like clockwork. Some part of me is still working.

I ate a bit of Tara’s meatloaf, noodles, and peas. She got so much more than she bargained for tonight. She thought she was coming over to hang out, and then I totally dumped on her; she found me a mess. She took over downstairs while I disappeared. An excellent friend.

Momma and Daddy arrived at 5:30 and sat at the table, too. When Daddy came in the door, he hugged me like he didn’t want to let go. I told Momma everything. She took it in stride, shocking me. She even wants L back for me if that’s what I want. She thinks he’ll come back.

December 13, 2010 Monday

My anxiety symptoms are out of control. I got up at 1:30AMish to use the bathroom, and my body wouldn’t go back to sleep. He is with her. I took some meds and slept. I was jarred awake, my hands shaking. I had a dream that I drove a few feet too far, right onto the railroad tracks. I got the car off the tracks but then had to pedal it up this steep, steep hill. An unmarked cop car with tinted windows pulled in front of me. I was afraid he would stop me because of what happened on the tracks. That’s when I woke, shaking.

I tricked myself when my alarm went off. I shot out of bed, made one lunch, got some breakfasts out, and raced around….before realizing I couldn’t do another thing. Then, I ended up back in bed. Crying can wait until 8:30…maybe.

Sometime later- OK guess what? I’m OK. And I never want to return to how I felt yesterday again. Can I forbid myself from becoming depressed? There are so many people out there dealing with worse or equivalent situations.

Let’s see, my day started with me sort of stuck in bed again. OK, so I did cry at 8:30. Momma gave me a back rub which she said was good for my immune system.

Then, L texted me to call him. We talked for too long. I’m sure I pushed a bit too hard. I actually laid out my plan. We all go to this Christmas concert coming up as a family. He comes home for good that night. We start the 7 week program the next day. We spend Christmas at home with just the five of us. Then we’ll attend the Richmond basketball game the day after. What a joke, a dream- and impossible.

All I remember after that is learning one valuable fact. His girlfriend at some point suggested he go home and work it out with me. At that time, he chose her, committed I guess, and she made a life altering decision based on that. I think this person is Lynn for sure, and that she broke off her engagement for my ugly, stinking husband.

December 14, 2010

L came last night around 6:30. Momma and Daddy went over to their longtime friends in town, Trudy and Don, for a visit before he arrived. When L entered, I pretty much left as quickly as I could. On the way out, I told him no sugar for them tonight because they had too many candy canes at CCD. He asked if he could get Teep a decaf coffee. I said, sure, why not? He said, “I’m really just trying to be courteous.” I snapped… “Every woman’s dream- to be married for 14.5 years and end up with courtesy.”

Jenny said to come on over; she was putting out dinner. I really didn’t want to intrude. Instead, I drove over to Trudy and Don’s to hang out. They are so wonderful. Trudy said she’d never trust L again. I still think I could. She told me that when she first herd about what happened to me, she was devastated.Trudy hasn’t felt this badly since her sister died. L has affected so many people.

Momma and Daddy wanted me to go to a local Italian restaurant with them, but I was so sleepy and needed to be home. I got home before L left with boys for the Scout meeting. I didn’t care. I went upstairs and called Jenny. As we were laughing about something, L came up to the bedroom, gave me a peace sign, and left.

Unknown Date

Today, I woke up and cried a bit. I knew I had the Bear’s concert at 9AM only because friends reminded me. So I got him out of his track pants and red T-shirt and into cords and a nicer shirt. Bear wanted to text his dad. I gave him my phone so he could mention his concert- no response. Mind you, this man hasn’t been to a concert since the Teep was in kindergarten and the Angel was a baby in my arms.

I went to the concert at 8:30 with Daddy, and it wasn’t easy. I could barely say hi to people I know, and it’s hard to see couples. Then, there’s Ms. X, divorced. Mrs. Y, four seats down, cheated on and divorced. Ms. Z was across the aisle, with her ex with his homewrecker present, too. And then there are all those kids, who might grow up to become cheaters and homewreckers, and, most tragically, betrayed partners. They don’t know the pain of life coming their way.

Then the Bear’s class filed onto the risers, and I stood up to watch and wave, and my boy was so awesome! He actually sang for once, in Hebrew, no less. After his second song, I was ready to bolt and return to bed, but no, Daddy asked, “What else do we have to do? We should stay.” Barely able to stand it, I went for a walk. Out in the hall, I saw Anne, who thought I was mad at her because I skipped her White Elephant party this past weekend until Pippa had a second drink and told her what happened to me.  Another couple, who are my neighbors, got ahold of me in the back. The woman promised to come over. The man hugged me and told me I’m beautiful, just like that. Words I never heard in 14.5 years of marriage. I realized how nice they felt. Pippa said she had something for me. She wanted to come over this afternoon. I said why not come over right away? Daddy found me about then and, mercifully, said we could leave.

At home, I made tea. Pippa gave me a pair of 7 jeans in size 4 and some pants. I was so honored (for real!) to get her amazing hand me downs. Usually Jenny or Tara do. They fit me easily. The bad thing was my body shaking inside all afternoon. Coco came and joined us for tea right when we were viewing Lynn’s picture in my family’s summer scrapbook. Disgusting…moving on….

Maggie came at 11:30 to drive me to Lou, with lunch before. Momma and Daddy were there to catch the kindergarten bus, and Daddy took the Angel to the toy store for a stuffed panda and then to Dunkin for hot chocolate and donuts. In Maggie’s car, I was still shaking inside. At Panera, I ordered an Asian sesame chicken salad but couldn’t eat the soup or chips since I was still a wreck inside.

Maggie and Lou said hi to each other. He asked me for a piece of gum, like I was chewing, but it was in Maggie’s car. He jokingly called her name down the hall. This is what he gave me today: Maybe L doesn’t have the actual capacity to have a good marriage. At age 40+, he should have been able to come to me and say- I have a problem with our marriage. He did not. Instead, he mentioned this and that, and, no, I didn’t comprehend the severity of the (his) problem. Because he didn’t communicate it.

He’s really not worth my grief. And Lou says he’ll be no better at current relationship- guaranteed. Good, I wish L no happiness. Lou taught me how to breathe and demonstrated it several times which was kind of amusing. He told me to say a word as I breathe. I asked- like cheater?  NO, a calming word. I tried “water.”

Lou says some meds knock him out, too, and he suggested a different one. In fact, he takes it all the time. I’m so glad I picked such a real and messed up therapist. His leg was bouncing up and down just like mine was! His allergies are so bad, and he forgot to replace the tissues I used up last time. He rummaged through a messy drawer for some allergy meds that weren’t there. His idea of replacing a light bulb is to move a good bulb from one lamp to another.

I brought my summer scrapbook so he could see the people in my life- and see how normal it seemed. He never doubted the normalcy. He used the word complacent to describe us- and typical.

So maybe 4ish, L clued in to the Bear’s concert.  I texted, “Bear opened up his mouth and sang for the first time in his life…in Hebrew. I was proud.” His response- Tell him sorry I missed it, I’m so proud. Yada yada…

Have regret, L. I’d be more angry if I didn’t feel like he is truly mentally ill.

I talked to my college friend, Julie, tonight. She’s so sorry. At least I’m not like college friend, Mandy, who’s separated with husband in jail after threatening their family. So much hurt in the world. Why should I not have pain?

I made chicken fajitas tonight. I skipped the meds. I’ve been calm on my own all evening. He isn’t worth it- really. Really, I will be OK. So will the kids. He lost so much more than I did. But now at 10:55PM, I’m hoping for a full night’s sleep.

It’s literally 5 degrees out, but we’re safe inside with the heat cranked up like it’s never been. I hope I feel this good in the morning.

December 15, 2010 Wednesday

Wow, another day. Momma and Daddy left at 10AM. Very hard to let them go, but they have so much to do at home. My sister, Bianca, and her family, including in-laws, are coming this weekend. I woke up way too early, at 6AM. I didn’t fall apart today, but by now, almost 4PM, I want to. I keep telling myself- he’s mentally ill, he wasn’t a great husband, she’s crazy to be with him, he is so not worth it. But the fact is that he’s still my husband.

I ate a tiny breakfast, went to Bed Bath and Beyond with Jenny, hung out with the Angel, dropped him at a friend. The Teep came home at 1PM (school out early for P/T conferences), and I took him to Panera with a whole bunch of friends for him and me. He had fun at his 6th grade table. Our friends are so good, it’s overwhelming. I know I keep mentioning it, but I’m especially so grateful for this network at this moment in time.

This is my new thing. If he ever introduces the Homewrecker to my boys EVER in my life, I will ruin her at work and everywhere else.  I will out her to the world. I’m sure he’ll start to tell a tale of our separation and their dating, in that order. I’ll happily tell the truth to set the record straight. I’ll hand out copies of this story outside their mutual place of work. I’ll go on Oprah or have my 15s of fame in the NY Post….if he EVER thinks of introducing the kids.

I can’t even go back and read this story myself. How could anyone hurt me so much? How could I let it happen?

Vivi was so funny at lunch. She’s so mad. She wished all sorts of horrible things on L. I don’t like to go their personally. I’ll leave it that I don’t wish him happiness. Jenny’s Staten Island friends asked if I had cut off his balls yet and sent them to his mother to hang on her Christmas tree. Someone else said nothing to cut off. The girls are so great…sisters. Not a homewrecker among them.

Tonight, dinner at Jenny’s. It feels so good to tell people that, “L left me.” It takes a little of the pain away from me for some reason.

____________________________________________________________

I don’t think I’ve really told my story, yet. L was depressed in August. It hit his birthday but started weeks before. His parents were visiting with us at the time. He deteriorated. He pulled away from me. He’d sleep alone in Teep’s bed and not because he needed to get up for work early the next day. I remember one night he stood in our bedroom door looking lost. I must have asked- just tell me what’s wrong. He just shook his head, tears in his eyes, and said he needed to go for a walk by himself. I found this shocking. It made me angry that he couldn’t or wouldn’t open up. I think he thought he had said it all/explained it all for 5 years. But really he said very little. He was depressed and I didn’t react in the right way. This is what I did. Well, I tried to cheer him up. I did things like point out his many blessings and all the things that make me happy- like our life in this town, our friends, our health, active kids. I’d go to sleep with him in the Teep’s twin. I’d push myself against him, hoping he’d be comforted and snap out of it.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

I was feeling pretty good. I talked to Steph who told me things WILL get better. She went through this three years ago. I’m starting to see L for who he is- ugly on the inside and out. I guess I always tried to see him in the best light. I adjusted to and came to appreciate his odd, closed off personality. I overlooked his ugliness but it was there all along.

When I checked my phone, there was a text from Jenny. She found out Homewrecker’s address- where L might be staying. I felt instant anxiety. Something made me want to run over there and pick up my husband, confront the Homewrecker, whom I think of as Snatch. Maybe I’ll send a Christmas card. Maybe I should just remember ugly- ugly- ugly- ugly- ugly….

11PM- need to try to sleep. I pray for strength in the AM. That’s the worst time of the day, that moment when the nightmare becomes real again…every AM, like Groundhog Day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I woke too early. 5AM something. BUT, I took some medication which let me sleep a little more. It calmed my shaking insides, too, and when I woke with the alarm, I was able to get up. I got the boys out. But now I’m alone and a little bit stuck in bed.

OK, Jenny is picking  me up at 9:15 for coffee at Penelope’s. I can do this. I can get myself ready. He’s not worth it. Ugly, inside and out. Not sure I completely believe that, yet. I’m still stuck on my opinion that he’s mentally ill.

9:20PM

I might actually be OK.  I talked to L tonight. He was angry, confused, and seemed to be on the defensive. I try to be completely honest with him, but I won’t be a pushover and I don’t need to tell him everything. I did say that all the love and support I’ve gotten from family and friends outweighs the bad that he’s done to me.

He said- that means if we ever reconciled you’d never want to leave the town.

He must have used the word reconcile 2-3X during our hour conservation. Mixed signal alert. Sanity alert. I refuse to read anything but desperation and anger into his use of that word. I refuse to hold my breath.

But I did say- no, you’re wrong. At this point, right now, you could come back, and I would move. I could make you a priority. I haven’t in the past, but guess what? I haven’t been your priority, either. I almost hate to say those words. Don’t interpret them as weakness but as honesty.

I’m too skinny. Amazing how it melts off when you don’t eat for a month.

Friday, December 17, 2010

L-

What? You’re cheating on me? WHAT? In my distant memory, I told you never to do this. In college, a roommate I had for one semester (when my usual roomie and dear friend, Jasmine, was abroad), told the Director of Housing how unhappy she was living with me. I was floored. This replacement roommate was so weird. I tried to make the best of it, to include her, to like her. I told you once upon a time that I didn’t see that one coming. This blindsiding was a million times worse. You got me good.

8:09PM I hate these moments when I’m alone. I hate that I just took some medicine before I started to shake inside just because I’m so scared of it happening. Shelia did an amazing job of cleaning the house again today. Liezel brought me ribs, cooked carrots, and noodles for dinner. I picked the Teep and Pippa’s son, George up from their friend’s house and realized that two teenage girl cousins were the “adults” at home and had somehow fed the boys a hotdog and fries dinner. Interesting and OK.  I took George home and returned Pippa’s dish, which last week’s delicious shepard’s pie came in, with a thank you. I also brought my marriage CD’s to share. I’ll make sure every other marriage in this town survives, if not my own. Pippa politely declined, though. They are good.

Do I want this deceitful, dull creep back?  Not in my bravest moments.   But, geez, it seems like a lot of men in this situation at least try. What a confused coward L is.  Wow, I packed five insults into a very tiny paragraph.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

My story continued (This is hard.)

August 24th was a turning point and perhaps my biggest regret. I freaked out. I told him I’d been trying and trying for two weeks to make him feel better. I turned it around on him. I said I was upset now. Look what he was doing to me.   I was depressed. I was going to the doctor soon to ask for meds because of him. I told him it felt like he dumped me. I told him he could not be depressed. I wouldn’t allow it, basically. We were at a Jets training camp that day with a bunch of friends. I was so mad at him, but I don’t think anyone knew it. At home, maybe that day, I ended up in bed sobbing. He comforted me. Said it would be OK. I kind of made him promise to try harder with me, put in some effort because in my view, I’d been trying so hard for so long.

Miraculously, things seemed to improve…a bit. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t putting in more effort though to “make things up to me.” His efforts at losing weight were really picking up now, too.

____________________________________________________________________________________

9:16PM Uh-oh, my appetite kind of returned. I definitely just ate at least 11 chocolate covered Godiva pretzels- that’s 9 grams of fat. Plus, my stomach isn’t used to a lot of food.

December 18, 2018 Saturday

Today I felt OK. I still woke up too early, 5AM, took some medicine and snoozed until a decent hour. I was nervous because L was coming. I brought the boys to the basketball game- actually Pippa picked us up. Then I had plans with Jenny. As I was driving away with her, I saw L pulling in. Jenny saved me today. I had a great time with her and her mom and daughter at the Nutcracker on Staten Island. L had the boys until 6. Then, we talked again. He can reconcile with me or not. I will be OK.

December 19, 2010 Sunday

If I was a weaker person, I’d be a wreck right now. L arrived at 1. I ran out with the Fat Angel to Kat’s son’s 7th birthday party. The Angel loves a gymnastics party. So, L had the other two. He dropped the Bear at Pippa’s and went over to Rosa and Emile’s at 3:30. I planned to be at Maggie’s at 5. First, a neighbor brought over a huge plate of chocolate peanut butter bark that his wife had made and a nice card- they know I’m in trouble. Then, Stacey wanted to see me for 5 min. I was on my way out so drove over to see her. She gave me a Visa gift card in a card to spend on a meal or me- so nice of her. I continued on to Pippa’s, grabbed the Bear and got to Maggie’s by 5:15.

So, tonight Maggie and her brainy, humorous husband, Oswald, saved me. L dropped off the Teep around 5:45 and stepped in to talk to me. He was all over the place.  Commented on my fake Uggs. He said what he did made things irreparable. He asked if I’d move to Pittsburgh, two other random places, or an Indian Reservation with him.  (His job is potentially movable.)  He said if I never talked to him- even 18 minutes about the kids and 2 minutes about us- we’d never reconcile. He said, “If we end up getting divorced…” at least two times.

I let it all wash over me. I remain alone and intact. I try to picture myself with the love of my life, and it doesn’t have to be him. My partner is faceless right now. I can just feel his arms around me. Oswald thinks I’m one of the nicest woman he knows, a sweet thing for him to say. We had a delicious dinner of spiral cut ham, special salad, broccoli, chicken nuggets, and crinkle cut and sweet potato fries. The boys spirits were high.

Then, we piled into one car, got hot chocolate outside the church, and front row seats inside. Adults sat behind the kids. I loved it. The Angel was a bit restless, but mostly sat and took it in- a rock concert- a Christmas rock concert- awesome.

Before it began, I sent one text. “Nothing is irreparable. You belong here with us.”

December 20, 2010, Monday

Woke up nervous but at the decent time of 6:55AM. Took some medication; now I’m ready to crank these kids out.

9:35AM This rocks. I can fit into pants I haven’t been able to get a leg into for years. Not eating has its benefits. Can’t even say it’s just not eating. Not being ABLE to eat. As my appetite returns, I’ll have to be so, so careful. I like my new/old size.

Hahaha, I just kept nodding my head last night in Maggie and Oswald’s entranceway. I became a Bobblehead. Yep, I’ll move our kids and live across the country with the Native Americans, but you can’t leave another woman’s bed. Thoughts like this hit me later. I’m such a sap. Hope does me in. I must remember for my own mental health that he’s NOT worth it. Bobble, bobble, bobble…

6:30PM Pippa came in with her boys. She brought a big rotisserie chicken from Costco which she heated up a bit by microwaving it its plastic tray. Do you think I care about such things right now? She brought a tupperware of corn and a bag of Caesar salad. So easy and so good. Pippa’s taking my situation so hard. She told Jenny to give me all the jeans she’s given to her through the years. I’m now the skinniest.

December 21, 2010, Tuesday (woke up fighting)

Just baked my almost 6 dozen chocolate crinkles at Liesel’s house. She has two ovens, so we had fun chatting and baking. I made my dough last night so just had to roll it into balls, coat with confectioner’s sugar, and drop it onto cookie sheets.  The recipe is from Trudy.  I use it every year because it’s easy, produces a great cookie, and makes the giant quantity needed  (6 dozen) without me having to do a bit of math.

Now, I’m home, it’s 11AM, and I’m waiting for a call from L. Or am I supposed to call him? Who cares. Liesel said so many in town have separated. Then, she named five couples, not counting me.

Maggie took me (and Angel) to therapy again today. I like Louis. He hugged me in the hall at the end which felt nice. He met the Angel and said Hi to Maggie again.

Tonight was busy. I headed to dinner at Jenny and Dan’s. Chaz, a friend, who happens to be a lawyer, arrived at 7. I can tell he’s worried about me. We are living at the whim of L. Unless I file for legal separation or something at which point we would become an obligation. When the level of deception came out, in other words, my sorry story, Chaz just put his face in his hands. He can’t be my “real” lawyer but can recommend one- and go with me.

Pippa’s cookie exchange was very nice with Jenny, Maggie, Penelope, Tara, Rosa, and Liesel there. Bonuses were that I wasn’t the primary topic and didn’t eat much junk. Rosa had a raccoon wrapped around her neck that was named Fred by the end of the night.

11:40PM I’m so tired.

December 22, 2010

OK, today I woke up sad. But I knew I had to meet Liesel at the salon for a mani/pedi at 9:30. She had some giftcards that were about to expire and was kind enough to ask me to go. At 9:08AM, I noticed that the Teep’s backpack was at home still. Yes, he walked all the way to school without it, phone in hand. He always texts me “here” when he arrives. So, though it was 30 degrees outside, I flip flopped the backpack into the front office. All the secretary could say was, “Didn’t he notice he didn’t have it?” I guess not…or maybe he did, but can you please make sure he gets it so he doesn’t starve at lunchtime?

The mani/pedi with Liesel was so nice. The legs, arms, and back chair massage is amazing. I could see that Liesel was about to go with the red on her fingers. We both already had the same red on our toes. I had “rosy future” a pale-pinkish neutral picked out for my fingers. At the last moment I gave up my rosy future and switched to the bold red. Not sure dark colors on fingers last more than a couple of days. I think Liesel was afraid I’d call her on Christmas screaming, “It chipped, darn it, why did you make us go red?!” This potential problem was easily solved. We each bought a bottle for touch-ups. Why not? I’m so happy with my nails…and my friend.

Oh, then I worked the Angel’s library at 10:55. The librarian is back after breaking her leg. She’s been out the whole year. She talked to the kids on the rug while I raced around like a maniac shelving books. Normally, I would then sit and check out the kids’ books. She, with the multiple fractures, sheepishly asked if I wouldn’t mind if she checked out the books. Before the request was out of her mouth, I was saying- Sit, PLEASE sit. She was all like- I want to learn the kids’ names. I’ve had problems with damaged books.. yada yada. I was just like- would you take your broken leg and sit already. I’m fine.  She’s a nice person and great with the kids.

After library, the phone was ringing as I entered the house. I grabbed it only to find myself on with HIM. And HE didn’t have a whole heck of a lot to say. We kind of chatted civilly and normally with my mind racing. What is this about? He’s not worth it, he’s not worth it. He mentioned all the openings for relocation at his work right now. He didn’t ask, would you go to _________or ________? He was really just chatting. Oh, they’re starting whatever in DC? Oh, they want experienced workers on it? I said- Oh, sounds great. They’ll fill it. Finally I said, “You should do it.” He asked, “Really!?” I said sure, you’re single, go wherever you want. I tried to wind down the conversation. “OK, then…”

Then, my call waiting beeped. Somehow I got rid of him and our weird little back and forth, pressed flash, and found myself on the phone with someone I wanted to speak with even less.

Thankfully, the Fat Angel saved me by getting off the bus. I made us each ham and eggs. We got to Panera a little late. He got a Pepsi, I, a mocha latte, both free thanks to Panera rewards. Pippa, Maggie, Penelope, and Liesel were there. Angel slid under the table to escape the smell of Maggie’s Caesar salad.

I’m in a wild panic over Christmas now. I’m so behind on just basic gifts I need. I went to Homegoods with Maggie and got a couple of things. Then I dragged the Angel to my new favorite store, Hallmark. I keep going and reusing this $10 off of $40 coupon. Stupid stuff, really, but I keep grabbing it up. We picked a house with birdseed glued all over it for Grandpa for $12. It will probably poison the birds. Then we picked these super soft slippers for Lara, Bianca’s mother-in-law. Only the Angel insisted on getting the ones with the rubber ducky pattern. Somehow I’ll convince her they really are for adults.

Then, I bumped into Jenny and Dan in Learning Express. Weird because I was in there looking for and Elf on the Shelf for them. (Sold out) I passed along my Hallmark coupon since that was their next stop.

“It’s really easy having you here, but it’s also really hard.” Robin to cheater Patrick on General Hospital.

I knew I needed to run out and get at least six giftcards for teachers and bottles of wine, etc. So what did I do instead? The Bear came home and asked for his friend, Steven, to come over. Sure. The Teep texted- can George and Jack come over? Of course. At least the Angel was with his friend by then. So, I ended up with five boys. Rosa came in with a huge taco dinner at 5. So overwhelming and sweet. George stayed for dinner, and there was so much. I told Pippa to come over with Jeb, her Bear aged boy. She did… only I left her alone with her tacos and boys and flew like a maniac to a local restaurant and Dunkin Donuts for yes, six giftcards. I ran home, wrote out two cards, and went to pick up the Bear and Tara’s two kids at youth club. The leader, separated a year, gave me a big hug. When I got home with Bear and located my cell phone battery on the driveway, I saw L had arrived and was chatting with Pippa, who was offering a bit of support even as she told him how bad he looks. He was going out with a male friend tonight. He really only had maybe 40 min with the boys. I ran over to- yes, Pippa’s- for 20 min.. Then, I dropped an ornament at Maggie’s. And returned home to talk to L for a few. I really don’t understand what’s keeping this man away at this point. Why do I care so much? Do I really? He says he’ll have an awful Christmas but wished me a good one. He said he’d reread my email and try to think about and answer some of my questions. He said he’s really not happy currently. While I was out, he took down a very heavy box I needed and helped the Teep put our star on top of our tree- finally. The boys pointed it out later because it meant a lot to them. L left with tears in his eyes, Teep and Bear hugging him and saying, “I love you dad.” The Teep even encouraged him to go spend the holiday with his aunt and uncle on Long Island. It was emotional and heartbreaking. Not 5 min later I got this text.

L: I’m sorry I’m going to miss our Christmas. This is really hard, and I’m sorry.

Of course I never know if I’m responding correctly, but

I wrote: Thank you…I’d like to think we’ll have our family Christmas back again next year…but I’m optimistic right now see? We’ll miss you for sure..very hard.

Then he went to meet his friend. What does my future really hold? Sleep came at 11:32PM.

December 23, 2010

Today, I woke up on a mission. The Fat Angel, age 6, will not let me clip his fingernails…while he’s awake. I keep forgetting to do it while he’s asleep. This AM, the alarm went off at 7ish. He was still asleep next to me. I grabbed the clippers, but of course he woke right up. It was almost time to anyway. I said- Angel, it’s the middle of the night; go back to sleep. He didn’t buy it and flipped out. Teep came to the rescue and filed a couple of his nails down. Angel was still like a beast.

Then I packed and packed some more. Angel got off the bus at 11:30, right in front of the house like always. I ran out a holiday card that contained $10 in singles and said Merry Christmas to the bus driver.

Jenny and Dan stopped by to help me load the car, but it was almost done. Instead, I asked Danto help me put the chairs on the deck in the shed. This is something we do every year. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do this year and half waiting to see if L would do it- no. Dan ran out to run some errands. Jenny stayed for tea. Pippa stopped by, too. I made myself half a chicken with melted cheese sandwich- first thing I remembered to eat all day. I gave Jenny a little Hallmark ornament- a tray with a bottle of wine and chocolates- a girl’s survival kit. If my girlfriends were sitting side by side on that little tray, it would have been perfect.

Kat stopped by and I gave her a giftcard to the place where I got my hair cut. She wanted to try it, too. I’m so thankful for all her thoughtful little gifts and her friendship always, through thick and thin.

L didn’t call like he said he would. Just an apologetic text, busy at work, etc. I actually believe him, and it’s OK. Won’t need meds.

So, the boys came home from school- and I WASN’T ready to go. The boys and I scrambled. I kept calling out things for them to do. Recycle, get tall socks so we can go skating, find cat litter, and last but not least, load His Highness, Big Cat. into his cat carrier. The car was stuffed. The only thing we couldn’t fit in was the snow tube, darn it; now it’ll snow.

The Teep navigated because I’ve been known to even mess up GPS instructions. There seemed to be lots of traffic which I loved. It kept the pace slow. I wasn’t the weirdo doing 60 while everyone zoomed by me. We arrived at 4PM, a perfectly acceptable hour and 10 after leaving home. It was so nice being there. Momma, Daddy, my sister, Bianca, her husband, Skippy, their kids, and his parents. Big Cat was whisked to the basement to learn where his litter box would be located but was then invited upstairs.

Bianca and Skippy made beef stroganoff casserole for dinner- so good. When the kids left the table, the conversation turned to my situation. I’m not sure Skippy’s parents expected to hear such a crazy tale!   They’re probably halfway back to NC by now.

Oh, my huge mistake of the evening…I had the three boys running presents (for adults) down to the tree. The Teep came up with two of them. I was like- What’s the problem? Get them under the tree! Teep just pointed to the tags, “To Bear From Santa”, and “To Fat Angel From Polar Bear”. My eyes got big. He said, “Don’t worry, Mom. I still believe in the spirit of Christmas.” Then he told me to hide them. He’s the greatest boy. Won’t leave my side. Said he wants Dad and me to have great Christmases.

Christmas Eve 2010

Today I woke up squished but cozy. I fell asleep with Bear next to me, his chest hurting badly. Teep abandoned the love seat for the spot between the Bear and the wall. The Fat Angel was on the floor next to me on a couple of sleeping bags. Ten minutes after saying goodnight, the Angel complained that he was the only one on the floor. I said, “Woof, woof; you’re like a puppy!” Then, I fell asleep. I woke up the next morning with the puppy next to me on the futon.

I extracted myself quickly because I needed to move the elves! On Dec. 22, our elves hid in one of our bags that was partially packed for PA. Wow, I guess they wanted to come with us. And they did, although the Bear was very concerned about their trip in the trunk. So this AM, it was amazing to see one in the tree and one on the TV!

L is bad. Did he really have an affair? Why does it still shock me? Why is he still hurting us? I’ll be OK because he’s not worth it. And I didn’t need meds to get out of bed this AM. And I’m wearing those size 4 jeans my sister brought me. And I’m surrounded by family and my three amazing boys. Why would I take him back after what he did to us?

Christmas 2010

This morning was OK- better than OK. Santa’s presents were stacked nearly to the ceiling, or so it seemed. Lara and Diego arrived early, and when Grandma and Grandpa were ready, and every child said Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus, the kids went to town on presents. I think they were all really happy.

I messed up big time today. L really wanted to talk. I called before lunch. We discussed issues civilly. I agreed to call him back after our late lunch feast. My sister heated the spiral cut ham and made cranberry sauce, her special mushrooms, and sweet potatoes with pecan and brown sugar topping. Daddy made a few mashed potatoes for Diego. I made the green bean casserole under duress.

After eating, I called L back which was a big mistake. Sure, we listened to each other. We could work out anything now I feel, but the bottom line is that he says he loves Lynn, whose identity is now confirmed. She’s the one. The Homewrecker. I basically told him nothing can even be discussed until he’s out of her bed. My husband is in love with another woman. Ugly inside and out.

Why does my situation seem hopeless? Why is this my life, now? Why am I so horrible? Why do I have so many friends, yet my husband wasn’t happy with me? Why did he never think I was pretty or funny or brave? Why didn’t he want me?

December 26, 2010

Bianca, Skippy, and kids left today around lunchtime because it’s snowing! The entire East Coast is being getting hit by a N’oreaster.

L was supposed to take three boys to a college basketball game in Newark. The expected snow changed his plan. The Bear hadn’t wanted to go with him anyway. L changed his plan to a trip to the local mall. Bear still didn’t want to go. He then said he’d go if Dad bought him something. No way, not getting into that.

Finally, the white sedan was spotted idling outside. I went out,  stared at him, and asked if he was OK. He looked haggard, his nose huge, his eyes small and puffy. He said he was OK. For the third time in 14.5 years of marriage, he told me I looked good. I took it in stride and said, “Thank you.” Jerk loves someone else. I asked why he didn’t come in and say “hi” or “Merry Christmas”? No, the coward didn’t think think anyone would want to see him. True, but everyone would have been civil.

I got the Teep out first. Finally, I convinced the Bear. The Fat Angel had a fit and wouldn’t go. L got mad but should know the Angel’s personality. He left with two boys. I ended up walking to the playground in the frigid cold with the Angel leading the way on his EZ Roller for 20 minutes of play. As we bobbed up and down on the see-saw, I asked him why he wasn’t frozen. Finally, it was time to roll home.

I napped this afternoon, drifting in and out as boys wedged themselves under my down throw on the loveseat. Teep and Angel watched Lord of the Rings. The Bear finished his Star Wars Legos, sat with me a little, and had a bowl of cereal. That’s when we figured out that nobody gave him dinner, ha ha. Now it’s 11:20PM, and boys just went to bed. The Teep, who should take the futon in his own room, is in his new fleece sleeping bag on my floor. The wind and snow are raging outside. Oh, and L is alone. For now, anyway, which is good.

December 27, 2010

7:30AM  I woke from a dream where L was dying or dead, and I was upset but had to remind myself- why? He already died to me.

The wind is pounding on the house. The Teep switched up to the spot near the Angel. We are snug. L has to go to work and be something important today. It’s amazing to me that they trust him. Well, I won’t be a distraction today.

Uh-oh, my current problem is 2 feet of snow at home in NJ and maybe an inch here plus 60mph winds. This means very unhappy boys. I didn’t even mention the two feet. Too bad I gave them Pippa’s report of 18 inches last night, but I assumed we’d get dumped on here overnight…oops.

5PM I’m so upset, and I’m upset that I’m upset. I could barely stand to grocery shop. And Daddy wants me to go help him pick stuff out. And it’s so normal I felt like crying. I couldn’t look anybody in the eye. They’ll see right through me. They’ll see I’m broken inside. I can’t stand to read the tabloid covers- who cheated on whom. Who adopted a baby after being dumped. I feel so badly for anyone and everyone in my situation. But to see all the couples and normal mothers flitting about the store. I mostly feel really alone.

What’s wrong with me? It’s been over a month. I don’t think he’s worth my pain. But the fact is my life is so different now. For one thing, we saved so much for our future. He always made sure the 401K had plenty. For us. I’m heartbroken. Today, he’s subbing at work for some bigwig. I’m sure he’ll be great. He’s so important. I’m nothing. Just the stupid woman, who in my extreme happiness with our life, managed to drive my husband away.

Today I wrote an email to the Sauce. Only I won’t email it to her at work. Jenny and Pippa reminded me that I need L’s financial support to raise these boys, to just live. I promised I’d sit on the email maybe a week and then send it through the mail. Need to make sure the homewrecker reads it.

My nerves are shot. I’m shaking inside again, on the verge of tears. I don’t have to drive anywhere. I’m safe. Let the wind howl outside; I’m taking some medication.

Oh, one more important thing. In Wegman’s I was feeling so lousy. I switched my wedding ring, which was my grandmother’s, from my left ring finger to my right. It felt good yet so weird. I am lost.

This afternoon, I showed boys how to propose to a girl. Must have come up on TV, can’t remember. I got down on one knee and said some appropriate words. The Teep and Bear were so silly about it. Their “practice” with my ring was funny. I said that’s why 11 year olds don’t get married! They asked how Dad proposed. I told them to ask him.

The answer to that is that he handed me a letter. It was beautiful, but cowardly, which set the tone for our life together evidently. Sometimes words need to be spoken. It gives me no joy that he’ll undoubtedly do better with the Sauce. I’m so angry.

Today, I watched General Hospital real time. I actually watched 15 min of whatever is before it, maybe As the World Turns? All other soaps besides GH seem really stupid to me. Anyway, on this other one, a teenage son told his mother that his dad had something to tell her. The dad stood there, mute. Teenager spit out- dad cheated on you with his assistant- and boy exited the scene. The mom started babbling stuff like: We need to punish him for saying such crazy stuff. Why would he say that?

He’s really off the wall. Dad finally utters, “Because it’s true.” Mom’s face fell. I know what she’s feeling better than she, the actress, does (hopefully). To think this scene has become so acceptable.  To think most people will eat up such a juicy storyline. I just looked at Momma and sighed, “My life is a soap opera.”

The boys and Grandpa watched Sorcerer’s Apprentice tonight from the Redbox. When it was over, they were so wound up. They literally threw themselves all over me. They had a “danger zone” sticker stuck on the Fat Angel’s bare chest and a “chief troublemaker” sticker on his back. They’re nuts! And they’re with me and not L- who didn’t contact us by phone, text, or email at all today.

My college friend, Felicia, sent me a sweet card today. She met L the same day I did all those years ago at the Italian Oven. She interviewed with him first because I had interviewed first at Ruby Tuesday’s. He was the restaurant manager and hired us both, just as he had recently hired Jasmine. Anyway, today I got Felicia’s nice card. I tucked it away in my black backpack since it’s personal. She sent me a silky friendship bracelet that I tied right on. She’s one of my best college friends. The only reason I didn’t call her myself with my sorry story is that she just had her second baby and I didn’t want to upset her with something so overwhelmingly upsetting to me.

I also talked to Jenny, Pippa, and Maggie today. Mostly they don’t want my email sent yet or  L’s work contacted. I’ll trust their judgment.

December 28, 2010

I woke at a decent 7AM time. And I went to bed last night at a decent time, too, 10PM.

I had a dream I was putting too much eye makeup on all wrong. The Angel was bored and went back to a dinner table, where one of my college friend’s husbands was sitting, forlorn. L was there, too. He and I had been getting along. Then he said to my friend’s husband- yeah you haven’t heard about my situation. I’m never gonna leave her (his mistress). End of dream, me awake, meds in to stop shaking.

The Angel is sleeping sweetly beside me, head on his new gorilla pillow-pet. His shirt, for once, is on and buttoned. This beast gets so hot.

I actually went back to sleep until boys started fighting over gum and Teep called Angel a “loser”. They all ended up back in bed with me, and I smoothed everything over as we cuddled in.

11AM I tried my wedding ring on my right hand again. It went on even more smoothly, and I know my grandmother is smiling down.

Today we found the one hill for miles around that had maybe an inch of snow on it. The boys, in full snow gear, sledded over and over. We were almost the only ones out there probably because there’s no snow. Then we went to Burger King for lunch. Grandpa got a Whopper Jr. The Teep, a Whopper. The little two each had a meal. Dad was disgusted with me for not even getting a Whopper Jr. He said, “L’s eating.” Well, I like my size 4 jeans. In fact, Bianca just gave me a nice pair of Calvin Kleins.

Jenny texted: Tell ur dad you are on the market for a new man.

Text to Louis from me: I’m proud of myself for canceling a very mean text before I sent it….i’m turning into a mean person…maybe I always was…something is wrong with me for someone to do something so terrible and extreme to get away from me…no need to comment and tell me it’s not true…i’m tired of feeling good, then bad, then good again…like a yoyo.

OK, I had a semi crash this afternoon. Just started crying again to my dismay.

What is the ending of my story? I’m so afraid of it, but I’m so hopeful, too. More hopeful than I have a right or reason to be.  On my way home from Wegman’s last night, I was feeling my worst in maybe days. The Bear pointed up and there it was- the most gorgeous salmon and purple sunset. The Bear didn’t know what salmon meant. Grandpa explained orangey. The Bear wondered if it could be seen from NJ. I just stared at it in wonder

My text to L: What did I really do that was so awful that you had to do something so cruel and extreme to get away from me…tell me…just summarize so I can fix myself…not for you..for me..what is wrong with me? I know you won’t come back…that’s not the problem…I want to feel better inside myself…i need to never drive anyone away again…you tell me now

I’m so pathetic.

So many honest texts followed from L like: I read your texts about our trips and other memories, and I want to be sick over I’ve screwed up so many lives…

Or: I don’t know that it’s something with you other than we were both different in some ways and unwilling to change anything…priorities like we’ve discussed..

And: I had convinced myself things were hopeless and I felt trapped. Maybe I was deluding myself. I don’t know and I feel like it doesn’t matter now because there’s no way to make them better for everyone involved (our family).

And: You definitely seem much more angry now (not sure if I’m misreading your tone), and I suppose that was inevitable and I deserve it.

Still L: Not that it matters much to you (for good reason), but I am also in a great deal of pain over how I’ve screwed up our lives.

And: It is painful that the Angel already seems to have less than no interest in me, that the Bear has to be talked into spending time with me. That the Teep seems very happy to be with me, but I know it’s because he’s hoping I’ll come back and that we can be whole again. I’m not blaming anyone but myself at this point for my actions, despite whatever my perceived reasons were, but like you have said to me- it is what it is.

More: I’m not sure there’s any way to make it better, given the change your attitude seems to have taken over the last few days.

(He also asked a couple times when he could talk to the Teep.)

My text: You can call the house and ask for him..he’s here..and if you hadn’t fallen in love you know we could have fixed everything else like so many do after a crisis. This is on you now. I’m willing to share every bit of blame up until now. You quit. Stop making excuses..I would reconcile…I see crisis as opportunity. I understand time heals and we could look back with understanding…nothing has to stay this way…would be a blip in the kids’ lives…we could give them the example of us…your only problem right now is yourself..how could I be angry? I’m upset…have you even considered just coming home? For real? Don’t blame my attitude or anything else…my words and actions say let’s fix this.

I got no more texts after sending that one. And Teep got no call. Once again, I just put myself out there. Provided more assurances. Probably didn’t dignify myself. Some medicine and a glass of wine helped me recover from this exchange.

My college roomie, Jasmine, sent me a package today containing a giant, red hexbug with a remote control. She’s so crazy! It made me smile- so much fun!

10PM Just finished watching Eclipse with Grandpa and three boys. I’d say I covered the Bear and Fat Angel’s eyes for 35% of the movie. And then there was the discussion between Bella and Edward on the bed that I just flat out muted. But really, at least the boys and I loved it. Grandpa was still asking questions at the end like, “Is she a vampire?” and, “Does she know he’s a vampire?” It didn’t escape anyone that the Fat Angel’s just like a werewolf with a shirt always unbuttoned if not off completely. Tattoo on his bicep, longish hair. Oh, and we watched Edward propose to Bella twice because the Bear was unplugging the Christmas tree the first time.

If anyone is curious about whether kids really use Pillow Pets as pillows, the answer is yes. The Angel’s head is resting comfortably on Bobo his monkey. I hope Bobo is washable.

December 29, 2010 7AM

Up at an OK time- the exact time I need to be up to get the boys ready for school. My insides were shaking. I had just driven a bus through snow so deep that I couldn’t get up a hill. I went a different way and reached the hotel room where L, my boys, and extra boys were staying. L wasn’t too happy to see me. The room was chaos.

I have stuff to add to my Lynn letter and stuff to take out. I hope my friends approve it and let me mail it. It’s really to let her know some facts- like she won’t see marriage for years if ever. Really the letter’s most important function is to make me feel better.

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My story continued…..

So, things seemed to improve after that day with the Jets. The Fat Angel lost his first tooth on August 26th. The Teep had Locker Day at his new middle school followed by a fun filled afternoon at the pool with his friends on August 27th. On Saturday, our family grilled at the pool with three other families. On Sunday, the five of us had so much fun at Liesel and Rick’s backyard, family lobster party. Another evening, the Fat Angel had his first movie night. Then, the Bear had one. The Bear’s travel soccer, which L wanted him to do, started on September 4th. Momma and Daddy came on the 5th to watch the boys while L and I attended a huge backyard party at the Coco and Dave’s. Soccer practices kicked in for both the Teep and the Bear on September 6th. All boys first day of school was the 7th. L went in late to work that day to see them off with me. More soccer practices, playdates, etc. The Bear’s first pack meeting was the evening of Spetember 10th. We had a huge soccer tournament the weekend of Sept. 11-12 in Bridgewater. The Teep and the Bear each played in two games each day. On September 13, L took the Bear to his evening Scouts meeting.

In my opinion, we had a full, fun, typical schedule filled with stuff we agreed the kids should do. Between the two of us, we got everything done and even had our share of adult social events.

Then, L was “tapped” for an undercover assignment. It had to do with what he had worked on in D.C. a couple years ago. I couldn’t ask questions about it, which I accepted. I didn’t want to get him into trouble at work. The assignment involved him traveling to an undetermined location once a week, usually on Tuesday. He said for my purposes, I could assume somewhere outside of D.C.. But he was vague about it. Said he didn’t always have to go so far down. I assumed a certain place, but he could neither confirm nor deny. He told lots of people he had some undercover work. That part wasn’t a secret. He told me he drove down every week with a colleague. He even said I could probably figure some of it out if I thought about it a little. And believe me, I did think about it quite a bit. I thought I was stupid- couldn’t think of a single reasonable explanation. He told me because of the nature of what he was doing, he would not always be able to be reached. If Monday was a vacation day, he wouldn’t go on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, instead. He told me I should be able to figure out why. I was imagining him driving down to some secret location to meet with a “bad guy” or make a phone call.

His first trip was Tuesday, September 14th– he went into the office early in the day and traveled to the special location directly from work. Then, he went straight back to work the next day. This was so everything would seem somewhat normal to his coworkers. Not everyone at work was privy to his assignment. He was really trying to keep it as normal as possible at work. So, when he left the morning of September 14th for work and then his trip, we didn’t see him again until after work on Weds., September 15th. After many weeks of this, I thought the pressure of the assignment was getting to him. I thought if I could just hang in there and be understanding, when it ended he’d feel better and be able to smile at me and open up to me again.

I write a lot of stuff in my calendar. It’s just habit because I use the info later when I scrapbook. So, the first thing he missed was the Angel’s kindergarten open house. In fairness, he probably wouldn’t have gone, anyway. Usually, one of us goes, and the other minds the kids. Now, I didn’t want to leave my kids alone that night. But why go to the hassle of a sitter for an hour? Why bother my next door neighbor to take on the boys as she’s putting her daughter to bed?

I decided to leave them from 7:30-8 so I could go to just the classroom portion of open house. I think I was 40 minutes total. Momma called them 2X in that time. I flew in and out, skipping the PTO meeting. I just wanted to meet his teachers again, see the room, hear about expectations. I hated leaving the boys even though the Teep is about a year from babysitting age. L knew what he was missing. He readily agreed with my plan to leave the boys, too.

On Saturday the 18th, Momma and Daddy did us a favor and came back to babysit so L and I could go to Oswald’s 40th at a nice restaurant nearby. L and I sat next to each other and had a fun night. I wasn’t able to catch Jenny when she passed out next to me, though, due to a little e-coli issue.

On Tuesday, the 21st, with L away, Kat had the boys and I for dinner, so we wouldn’t have to be alone. It was nice.

Although I didn’t record it, I’m sure L was away the Tuesday nights of September 28th and October 5th because he didn’t skip a week.

Then, Columbus Day arrived. Monday October 11. The boys and L were home. He reluctantly agreed to a trip to Hacklebarney Park which has always been a place our family has enjoyed at least once or twice a year. I have very cute scrapbook pages from our Hacklebarney trips. At some point that day, he told me that his day away wasn’t Tues., but Weds, this week. I should be able to figure out why, he informed me.

Now, I was mad. Honestly, I didn’t complain about it much but giving him up one whole night a week was becoming a pain- and I couldn’t understand exactly why it didn’t translate to a little extra time at home the next day. Was Weds. OK he asked? NO.

Knowing he goes out of town on Tues., I said yes to Halloween Bunco at Penelope’s house for Weds.. And guess what? I wanted to go. And guess what else? L REALLY wanted me to go. He was sorry for the change. I literally called five sitters before getting a new one, Katie. And I told him about my struggles. Why didn’t HE leave messages and try the next one and get me a sitter? The problem with potential sitters was that it was a school night. Katie didn’t want to sit past 9:30. I needed 10. After all, there was a Halloween gift exchange planned. I ended up having her from 8-10 for $20. I think I won $10 back in Bunco.

Nov. 2nd (Tues.) was another slight dilemma. I really wanted to go to a vendor night at one of the elementary schools. So I did- with three boys, who wanted to buy everything in sight and touch even more! But we had fun, and the Teep carefully and excitedly picked his dad’s Christmas present, a Jets birdhouse for our backyard.

The next day, Weds., we went on a trip as a family to see Bianca and Skippy and kids. That’s another story, though; let me stick to the undercover assignment.

His final work trip was on Weds., November 10th. Another final lonely evening of dinner by ourselves, homework, bedtime my sole responsibility.

Now, here is the sick, twisted, and terrible punchline everyone knows is coming. There was no undercover assignent. Let me be clear: every time I thought my husband was out of town doing something important and vital to our country’s national security, he was spending the night with a slut named Lynn. I know this because he told me on November 17, 2010.

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OK, Grandpa and I are taking the three to an ice rink in Bethlehem. I really don’t love this activity because in past years, the boys have been terrible at it, and I end up dragging one by each hand around and around, barely escaping falls myself. We’ll see what happens!

8:20 PM I didn’t fall, AND I was usually able to keep the boys up, too. The Fat Angel was a maniac on his double blades. He could pull me. He did this scooter move. One foot would glide and the other would pump like crazy. The Bear did great and he had the most difficult skates on, his own hockey skates. So slippy with no toe pick. The Teep was awesome. He gets better every year. So fast with no breaks except the wall. My feet and ankles were seizing up by the end. Actually, the Angel’s and my end came earlier than the others’ end and a half hour before the end of the session.

Grandma and Grandpa’s friends, 79 year old Addie and 83 year old, Jerry- married like 54 years came tonight for pizza, one plain and one onion. It’s actually a second marriage for both only because they were both widowed. He broke into song at one point, “JC, JC, you’re young and alive…..” Addie left me with, “Life is hard sometimes, but the Lord is good.”

I must say I’ve reached a new stage in the process of my dealing with this whole thing- absolute disgust toward Lynn. I sent L some mean texts about her tonight. I’ve mentioned her thunder thighs, her square jaw, the fact that she needs to keep running marathons. They cannot work out- even if he doesn’t come home; it would be so unfair.

I talked to my college friend, Hope, tonight. She’s the mother of four beautiful, blonde boys. She admitted she didn’t know what to say to me. Her husband went through something this past August, too. Sounds like he was unhappy at work. Instead of turning to another woman and destroying his family, he took a month off and ultimately returned to work. Hopeful is such a gentle person. I could tell she couldn’t handle the very worst details of my story. She invited the boys and I to go spend a long weekend with them. I’d love to. Should I drive or train?

My hand is ready to fall off from writing and texting. I hear Grandma in the other room telling the Teep that his long, greasy bangs will result in pimples on his forehead. She told the Bear his hair will turn gray early. It’s OK. First she talked to them about God for a long time. That’s the most important thing.

My lesson to the boys today was compliment your girlfriend or spouse at least once a day. The Teep was the best at it. The Bear and Angel found, “You’re a fine specimen”, a hilarious compliment. Well, I’m trying.

“Mom, it’s so annoying being one of the beginning ages,” said the Angel at 10:03PM as he drifted off to sleep wishing he was older….

December 30, 2010 8AM

I woke before 7, took some medication and slept until now. I was shaking. Then, I dreamed that the Teep was pregnant. When we went for his ultrasound, there was no heartbeat. It was exactly what happened to me once upon a time only we weren’t so upset this time because boys aren’t supposed to have babies, and, there are things in life, unfortunately, more painful than miscarriage.

Flash to a theater. There were two women smoking behind our family. It was so annoying, and they got up and circled around once but came back to their original seats behind us.

Flash to the house I grew up in. Ed mowed the front lawn as a favor to me. I was thanking both Belle and Ed profusely because he had mowed an intricate grid of maybe square foot squares. Thank you guys for being the best neighbors.

I reread my texts to L last evening. No regrets; they’re kind of funny. I guess my only regret is that I cared enough to send them.

“Why do the girls say ‘hold on’ every time I call them?” Facebooked a male aquaintance. Here’s my sarcastic imaginary reply: Because you’re not their priority…please make yourself feel better by beginning a “real” relationship with a coworker.

Me: Yep no response..just your awful wife..everyone has one of those…it takes the truly brave and lucky to have a mistress, too. Look in the mirror. You will see a heartbreaker…go figure.

L: I don’t know how to respond to what you are writing.

Lou: People can hurt each other dreadfully. Doesn’t mean the hurt party deserved it. You know that. It applies to you.

So, basically, L gets to  run over to the Sauce’s little apartment, have a nice dinner, some TV, kiss her square jaw- the usual.   Whatever makes him happy, of course..I hate being so bitter and hurt. Give me some time, and I’ll deal better. But, should I really be kinder to the homewrecker having an affair with my husband?  What is expected of me right now? Kindness? Acceptance? I already offered forgiveness and willingness to try. Am I supposed to keep giving and accepting and giving some more until I’m empty? The Teep is next to me which brings me great comfort. He doesn’t like to see me upset.

Me to L (I was really on a roll): My parents friends are  here. Married 54 years. Why not us? Jerry is singing to me now. My life is crazy. How about a text? I’m sure you texted her all the time without me suspecting a thing. I was so stupid. If the Sauce was married, and someone decided to have an affair with her husband, even if he was the one that “made the choice”, she would be upset, and that’s an understatement, right? How can the actions of two people cause so much hurt? Are there no other options to infidelity? Breaking up with me first? Telling me how really bad it was for you? Because I begged you to those last few days when you couldn’t even raise your head. How about talking to someone? Pastor, parents, brothers, a friend? What’s done is done and you are unwilling to let us heal together and rebuild and live our future somewhere new and fresh. With our very own family. I’m so upset and sad. I’m so overwhelmed that one person- you- could take me down. I look at the pic of 8 year old me. Why couldn’t I have warned myself? Should we warn all the happy little girls that someday an ugly man will ruin your life? You’ll survive, but it will be so hard. And what about the little boys like our own. Someday they might be unhappy. To them I’d say- Please reach out and try harder. Don’t devastate your wives and your own innocent children.

I have found my platform- marriage preservation. This had to happen for me to understand. When I heal, you’ll see me on TV. I can save marriages. I can make a difference. You’re probably thinking this happens to so many people. Why would I stand out? I’m determined. It’s not enough to accept a 50% divorce rate. Someone needs to do something about it. Why not me?

Me to L: You can text me in front of the Sauce.  It’s not like you’re cheating on her; we’re married and she’s the mistress. Just say it’s work; you’re good at lying.

I think I’m hitting another stage I’ll call the Dislike of the Mistress stage. Most people tell me to focus on L. It was admittedly his choice to break his wedding vows. But it does take a special sort of lady to enter into an affair with her  married boss, in my opinion.

Grandpa has taken to writing the three boys names on real glasses with a Sharpie. I find that interesting. Grandma’s friends came over today. Sisters Linda and Joan and another woman. I helped out with coffee, tea, and dessert service. And then I almost fell asleep at the table. I really have good friends in town. What if L came home for me. Then, we’d need to move. I told him I would. Is he worth it? Probably a moot question since it won’t happen.

The Teep tried to beat up his brothers tonight. He’s so full of anger and they know how to annoy him which is a bad combo. Being a single parent is hard.

To L: Why didn’t you take care of our driveway just out of curiousity? I know the Teep told you someone was kind enough to snowblow it, but you didn’t know that and were willing to leave that to me…like the leaves, the garbage, and the drains. I see how this works. I’m trying not to say anything bad about you, but you somewhat suck. Luckily, living in an apartment, you don’t have to deal with snow, leaves, grass, drains, kids and the mess they create daily. You’re not even helping with the Sauce’s rent!

L is a freeloading cheater.  What about that is attractive to BBQ Sauce?

“It’s not like grownups can control other people’s bodies.” the Fat Angel, little smartie, just said to me. I had a serious talk with him about “flipping out” and responding with extreme physical violence towards his brother (who, of course, ask for it, but that’s besides the point.) I told him, no, I couldn’t control his body, but he could. He can make the right decision about how he will react.

I told him as he gets older, and he hurts others, other people could control his body- teenagers are put in juvie, adults in jail. Bodies can be controlled by others, so you might as well start early and learn to control your own, first.

December 31, 2010 7:18AM

Woke up nervous about my drive home.  Saw Momma in the hall and was the first to tell her Happy Birthday! Big Cat will be the second. I’m going back to bed to try to calm down.

Big Cat has been a perfect gentleman and a model houseguest. After the 1st night when he barfed in a corner of Grandma and Grandpa’s bedroom, his behavior has been perfect. He was shy the first couple of days, sticking to the basement, Grandpa didn’t want Big Cat on his bed. Bigs is so smart, could sense that, so chose Grandpa’s side of the bed to luxuriate on. In fact, his favorite spot became Grandma and Grandpa’s down comforter. And when anyone walked downstairs, a paw would shoot out from between the spindles on the balcony rail to bop you. Grandma doted on him, feeding him plates of Christmas ham and making him the subject of photo shoots. He is truly a king. I told Grandma she could have His Highness another week, With all the snow at home, he’ll be in anyway. “Um,” she screamed, “No!”

Last night we had take-out Chinese. Shredded garlic chicken, chicken fried rice, and pork lomein. All great choices. Then it was fortune cookie time. Mine, no kidding, read, “Sorrow of parting will bring happiness of reunification.” The Teep felt that one cookie was meant for me. It was so amazing.

December 31, 2010

Happy 73rd birthday, Momma. Momma opened her presents right away- cupcake merlot from me and a winter bracelet from Hallmark. Dad gave her a pendant on a 20” chain. It’s an old piece of glass that’s been found and polished into art. And the part we missed when we picked it at Cleo’s is that it’s from a green beer bottle. She thought it was cool, and we exhaled. We even guessed a Heineken.

I packed all morning. It was hard to drag the boys away from Wii and DS to help do things like clean up their own scattered Legos. All any boy ever wants to do is put the cat in his cage an hour before he needs to be. The Fat Angel and the Bear disturbed him on Grandma and Grandpa’s bed. It would have been easy to take him from there. Then they gave themselves the job of “tracking” him as he squeezed between boxes and furniture in the basement.

We went out to lunch at Prime, a steak place just past Wegman’s. The thing I liked best about my Hawaiian chicken with rice was the small portion. Momma found her Greek salad “wilted”. It didn’t look that way to me, but I don’t like Greek salad, so I’ll just take her word for it. The interesting thing is that Grandma and Grandpa each celebrated with a Beefeater martini up with a twist of lemon. Each time they took a microscopic sip, they commented on how strong they were. Daddy said it was the best he’d ever had. By the end, I fantasized about gulping Momma’s down and letting her drive home (although true she doesn’t drive). She took the final couple of sips after finishing her food, at the moment Bear’s excess steak fries. Then I found myself in the unfamiliar position of serving as my parents designated driver as they giggled to the car.

We ran over to Dave’s deli for Gelato’s. I had eaten about a fourth when I was ready to go. I couldn’t eat another bite and wanted it safely in the freezer for Daddy tomorrow.  L never would have let boys finish in the car, so I did, Grandma was happy with her celebration.

After breakfast, flowers from Grandpa arrived. They were gorgeous, not huge, but like spring. The Bear’s eyes nearly popped out of his head at the thought of flowers appearing at the door. He wanted to know why Grandpa didn’t just go pick them up. Lesson #3 took place on the spot. Flowers should be delivered or brought home to your girlfriend or wife at least 3X a year- birthday, anniversary, just because, etc….They are beautiful and show you care.

I think we left around 2:30PM with a car fuller than when we came, if that was possible. First, we followed Grandma and Grandpa to their bank in the Weiss shopping center right by their house. Grandpa wanted to pay me back for things I bought for them like some wine and my Lands End jacket I ordered which they gave to me. Only this time, I couldn’t take a check that would go through L. Dad gave me $200 in cash which I stashed in my special, secret backpack. Then, it was time to hit the highway. Momma had wanted to lead us a half hour down the road home, but I said NO thank you to that. Only…I couldn’t get out of the Weiss parking lot…literally. I turned around and swore to the Teep that once I got out of the flipping lot, I’d be OK. Grandpa swooped up to us and motioned for me to follow them. I did, escaped the lot, and they miraculously only drove us to the entrance of the highway where they waved their arms wildly and screamed, “THAT WAY!” I said again that I was OK, just couldn’t find my way out of that parking lot, but they were too busy waving and pointing to hear me. The light changed. I entered the ramp, my GPS came to life, I said a prayer, the Teep, my navigator, perked up, asking about our gas level, and we were off…and OK.

I couldn’t believe the first thing I’d have to see at home was L’s face. I was supposed to have kids home at 4. At 3:55, the Teep handed me my phone- It’s Dad, it’s Dad. Press send, send, send. Oh fine.

Me: Yeah, it’s not 4, yet. I’m driving. (Click)

At 4PM on the dot, and I couldn’t have planned that, we pulled into our driveway. Couldn’t get far because the walk wasn’t shoveled. I moved a couple scoops of the wet, icy mess. That’s when L arrived. Nobody said a whole heck of a lot to him. Boys were too amazed by the snow and trying to run through it bootless (er, Bear). L took the shovel from me. He’s lucky I let him be my hero.

One more thing about the car ride back. The Teep and I talked about our next trip- to Washington DC (Bethesda) or even Richmond. I said Richmond was maybe a little far for me, a new highway driver. The Teep said it would be fun to take the train. I agreed but said it was expensive. He said Dad bought a plane ticket to his parents  AND is paying rent on his own apartment. (Not really, but it’s what the boy believes). The Teep thinks it would be fair for us to spend some money. I said, you’re totally right Boy. What a good idea!

I ran out to the wine shop for a bottle of red for Pippa and James and some cheese crackers. When I got home, father of the year was floating around the kitchen- alone. “They’re down playing Wii,” he reported. I didn’t say a thing. Whatever, it’s his two hours. At 5:50, I needed to get boys ready. L was hanging out by the door looking awful. He wished us a great time at the party. I wished him a Happy New Year, too. He said he wasn’t doing anything- just staying in. I looked right at him and reminded him that, with the right people, that could be the best time of all. He almost cried as he shook his head, “It’s bad,” he mumbled, “It’s really bad.” What does that mean? I refuse to interpret anything positively for our family.

He had also said he wants to come talk to me on Monday. In fact, he took the day off. Great- something else for me to be a wreck over. He said it’s about the kids and I shouldn’t dread it. Dread it? Will this man never stop ruining me?

I said, “Boys, say goodbye to your dad!” and finally got him out the door. Then I became a screeching maniac for just a minute. “Teep, change your shirt. Bear, you can’t wear fuzzy pants. I want three boys brushing teeth! Where is my camera?” We made it to Pippa and James’ at 6:22.

And had a great night. The Fat Angel and I left at 10 because his belly hurt, and he wanted to go. By the time I  looped around and said goodbye to everyone, he was laying down by the front door. At home, he quickly fell asleep. Teep and Bear stayed and sang “We are the Champions” with all their friends at midnight, banging Pippa’s pots and pans as they all ran down the street before the adults even knew what was going on. Soon thereafter, the party was over, and Rosa and Emile drove boys home. I gave them their Happy New Year smooches, and they were in bed by 1AM.