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  • 2 weeks later...
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Fun With (Brain) Chemistry


So, it's been about a month since I started the lower dosage of Cymbalta. Seems to be working like I had hoped. The constant, pervasive drowsiness is gone, the dry mouth problem has lessened and so on. Most importantly, it's still doing what it I want it to do....keep my brain functioning better than it had been med-free.


Here's the part I don't get, though....I'm on half the dosage I was taking, but it costs almost the same as the higher dosage....? What's up with that?


In the back of my head, and based on a pure cost perspective alone, I'm aware that I'm not going to be able to stay on this indefinitely. I'm not sure I want to stay on it indefinitely. At some point, curiosity will likely win out -- I'll start to wonder how I handle Life Without Meds enough that I'll have to find out. I'm just not there yet.


Last few weeks have been crazy. Got hired for a fairly large educational project being produced by the cushy, plush, just-short-of-palatial production company here in town. I hadn't done anything for them in a while and, was, in fact, starting to wonder if they'd forgotten me. Out of nowhere, I get an email from one of the recording engineers asking if I'm available/interested in working on this project. Well, duh. Since then, 2 or 3 days a week, I get up early, go to the production company's studio, read for 2 to 2.5 hours, then go to the office job, put in my time there, then go home and do whatever voice work has cropped up during the day from other clients.


It's one of those times in life where things are relatively smooth and there's no big, angsty crisis demanding my attention. I have learned to appreciate these, because it seems like these times are more "passing moments" than "permanent condition."

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  • 2 weeks later...

A Scene From Someone Else's Life


I was standing in line waiting to order my lunch when I saw and heard it.


Her mother was in line in front of me, she was walking away from her mother and shouted, "I want to go with daddy! Daddy!" Her daddy was tall with blond hair, holding the little girl's younger brother. He had gone to get the family's drinks at the end of the counter.


She kept yelling for him and he wasn't paying attention to her or wasn't hearing her...I don't know which. She stood there with her long blond hair, in a purple top and green pants, and there was just something that drew my attention to this scene from someone else's life that was playing out before me.


I wonder if she will remember today. The day she and her family were having lunch at and she kept trying to get her daddy's attention. Will it be a Significant Memory or something that won't be consciously remembered at all? And what about it drew my attention?

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Time Flies


Yes, it does. I look at the calendar and see we're in the first week of December...and realize it's been 9 years since the work meltdown that brought me to this city and started moving me out of radio.


In some ways it seems longer than 9 years and in some ways it seems like it wasn't that long ago. I am not the same person I was then. Especially when it comes to the way I approach work/employment.


There are things that can still tap into some anger about that time, though. Maybe that will always be the case. It was something that was worth getting angry about and appropriate to be angry about, after all. But I don't wallow in it (well, not for more than a few minutes) and I let it go. Knowing full well I wouldn't let it happen again....even if it led to losing my last full time radio gig.


Even so, I will be glad when this month is over.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've Always Wanted To Bleed On Produce


Slicing up some stuff a week ago or so, and took a chunk out of my thumb with the link removed. I am very certain my mandoline has an *extremely sharp* straight-edge blade. Healing up very well, but it was still traumatic (and, quite literally, a bloody mess) at the time.


The things that make up this version of my life are all chugging along relatively smoothly. Not much on deep thinking/ruminating/wallowing (or whatever label you want to put on it) lately. I guess I could blame the meds or I could say "the major issues are resolved" or I could say I look at things differently or about a million other explanations/excuses...but the bottom line is stuff just doesn't bother me all that much anymore. Even stuff that used to annoy the living crap out of me and cause words to just come tumbling out of my brain just causes a brief flash of pique and a sigh and an, "oh, well...whatcha gonna do?"


Every once in a while headling-grabbing stuff happens now, and I don't hear about it until days later. I am so out of the loop news-wise since I left radio. There's no job requirement to at least have some passing knowledge of what's going on in the outside world.....so I just don't. And I feel better for it, oddly enough. It's truly amazing how much stress & angst keeping up with current events can cause.


So, the holidays are upon us. And, as is the case every year, that extra "joy" of the season forces some people over the edge. 2 shootings last week...the one at the mall in Oregon and the one at the elementary school in Connecticut. Given what I've seen play out in previous years, there'll likely be a few more "Everything's Alright With The Family" whacked-out situations before we get into 2013. Every year it happens. Every. Year. It's sad that the best we can hope for now is that when the snap occurs, they'll keep it in their family and leave the general public or the local school out of it. You don't need to drag the rest of us into your BS.


But, as I have seen so often repeated in the last several days, we're probably not dealing with rational people anyway.


So, I start to wonder....what did these a-few-bubbles-off-plumb folks do 100 years ago? 200 years ago? When they snapped, what happened and how did their community deal with it? Because I am firmly of the opinion that humans have not found new and different ways to screw up for a very, very long time. They just got some different tools to work with. Crazy, delusional people in our midst is not a new development in the last 10 or 20 years....not by a long shot. But what did they do before going to a public place, armed to the teeth and letting loose became a way to "express themselves?"


I read an article about the mall shooting in Oregon, and someone was offering up the opinion as to why the death toll was not higher. They said people were generally more aware about what to do in that kind of situation. That they headed into mall stores and the stores locked down, or they just got the hell out when they got wind of something happening. Think about that for a quiet moment. Do you realize what that means? It means we are adapting/have adapted to this sort of thing.


I thought, with a mix of admiration and disgust, "Humans really will adapt to anything....even to stuff they absolutely should not tolerate."

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Kitty Is Fixed!


So, back in early October, the gray & white boy went to the vet hospital for radioiodine treatment for hyperthyroidism. He had a follow up exam and blood draw about a week ago and the vet called with his results this week. His T4 (thyroid) levels are back to normal and his liver enzymes (which were high) are back where they should be. He has put on a little over a pound (and could use a bit more, IMO) and is acting like his old ornery self.


I am so glad we switched vets when we did. I seriously doubt the old vet would've been able to diagnose & handle this...I mean, crap, she couldn't even handle the cat! So, I get more time with the gray & white boy...and that's awesome.

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  • 3 weeks later...

People And Their Weird Ideas


Weird ideas about life, how things work, food, how their bodies work...


The latest thing that smacked me upside the head with people's weird ideas was the person who seemed to honestly believe that olive oil either was or contained "melted plastic." No real sound basis for this idea, but was totally conviced of it....and there was no persuading them otherwise.


How do these people get ideas like this and how do they then go on to function on a day-to-day basis? And why, oh why, must they subject me to their mental malarky?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Know Your Limitations


I hear you're having problems. I'm sorry, but I cannot help you. Please stop having random people ask me.


If it was a perfect world and if I was a perfect person, I suppose I would. But it isn't. And I certainly am not. I drew a line for a reason, and it's still a valid reason, so the line stays. I don't believe it would be a wise or good decision to push myself beyond that line in this case. I will not put myself in a position where I am open to being falsely accused of who-knows-what again.


I cannot and I will not do that to myself.

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Missing Component


There is a component to most peoples' personalities that makes them care about what other people think of them or care about how they're coming accross to other people. I sometimes wonder if I am completely missing that component or if I didn't have much of it to begin with and lost that little bit over time. In either case, I find myself being glad I don't have it.


I was talking to someone about the calls from random people (mentioned in the previous post), and the person I was talking to said most people cave under that kind of pressure. But to cave, they'd have to give a flying squirrel about what other people thought of them or how they came accross to other people. If you don't care about those things, there's no pressure....just annoyance at being called. Thinking about that observation the person I was talking to made - that most people would cave under that kinda pressure - I found myself thankful for certain missing components in my personality.


I can remember a time when I was younger when I focused on what I was not and what I did not have and how miserable that made me. Now I find I am devoid of certain traits and I am thankful and appreciative of those missing pieces. What a change from 20, 30 or more years ago....being thankful and appreciative for what I am not as well as all the things I am......and knowing that the total of what I am and what I am not is enough. And it doesn't matter if anyone chooses to disagree with that. I know my truth and I will live my truth and that's really all I need to do.


I sleep just fine at night, thanks. I have for years. I expect that's something that will continue as long as I still sleep and wake.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This Is A Test Of The Life Happens System....This Is Only A Test


I get to the point where any unexpected curveball that would cost, say $2,000 or less doesn't much phase me. So life throws a $6,000 curveball my way. The pipe that takes the waste water from my house to the city sewer system needs to be replaced. After 40-some years, a *#%$ing tree root has busted through the pipe and left a 30-some-foot-long crack in its wake. So, they're gonna dig up my back yard and replace the whole thing and it's gonna cost about $6,000.




I already know it's all on me to figure out where that money is coming from. But then, I fall back to the question I ask myself - If I was single, would I have to deal with this myself? The answer's yes, so it's not worth being annoyed with his lack of financial assistance. Throw it on the pile, it'll get paid with the rest. Just like I dealt with other stuff regardless of what my income level was at the time. I just need to blow off some steam and express a few things before I let it go. At least he's altering his schedule to be the one who'll be here when the work is done, so I'm not doing everything. That's more of a contribution than I would've gotten a couple years ago, so I'll focus on that.


On the upside, they say that I probabaly will not have to have the line rooted out every 2-3 years anymore. The stuff they're using to make the pipe now is much better at keeping tree roots out than the stuff they were using when the house was built 40+ years ago.


Eh, this is just a small bump in the road. I have dealt with stuff of this magnitude before and it's all been fine. (broken bones, surgeries, vehicle issues, etc) It doesn't help anything to go all drama queen. It is what it is, he is who he is and that's what I'll deal with, thanks.


In other news.....


I had a dream the other night. It is not yet spring, but my brain hasn't seen fit to grant me a dream visit from you in a long, long while. It did the other night, though. And it was a welcome visit. So, I wish the real you well and hope life is being good to you.


And finally....


I ordered what may well be my last 90 day refill of Cymbalta. The 30mg caps are now over $500 for a 90 day supply. What? Seriously? That's about what I was paying for the 60mg pills. It's been...oh.. coming up on 2 years taking it. The cost is ridiculous. The issues that put me on it have been discussed to death in therapy. And while I think my brain functions better on it, my brain was functioning ok off it until I got overloaded with life crap. The life crap was dealt with and I've solidly moved into some new ways of thinking, so maybe it's time (well...in 90 days anyway).


My drop from 60mg a day to 30mg a day wasn't bad. No physical symptoms, no brain zaps....so maybe coming completely off it won't be so bad, either. (I still shudder at the taper off from the Lexapro) I'll have to go see hunky soap opera primary care doc in a few months to discuss it, but I'll deal with that when the time comes. Heh...speaking of hunky soap opera primary care doc....he is now my husband's primary care doc, too. I said something to my husband about the nickname I gave the doc. After his first appointment, he comes back and says, "Yeah, I see why you call him that." Seriously. The guy looks like the good looking young doctor character you'd see on the daytime soaps.


I suppose I should try to make sense of this tax stuff. At least I know I don't owe any money on that stuff. The sewer line problems more than make up for it, but still.....

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Old Habits Die Hard


Yes, yes they do. Even when you've been to therapy and done the work and busted your ass to change your way of looking at things. It's still so easy to slip into old habits....and find yourself dealing with familiar irritations and annoyances.


Take a deep breath and a step back. You have different ways to deal with this now. First and foremost is to remember that it's not your responsibility to determine when he's hungry and what he wants to eat. If he can't be bothered to figure it out for himself, don't step up and try to do it for him. You end up playing a game of 20 questions you can't win because the answers will all be along the lines of "I don't know" "I hadn't thought about it" or a bunch of ways of defining what he doesn't want....all the while not getting any closer to what he does want.


No, no, no. I will figure out when I'm hungry and what I want, and I will go about making or getting that. If you want to share or come along, fine. But I will not be held hostage while you hem and haw and keep giving me non-answers. In fact, I think I might try not asking any questions. All the better to not give you the opening to start playing 20 questions. Statements, not questions.


So, I guess the thing to remember here is this...old habits may die hard, and it may be frighteningly easy to slip into old behavior patterns. But all the work in therapy and on my own thoughts gives me options and awareness. Still, it is a little discouraging to see how easily it all slips away, y'know?


The other thing I noticed is how slipping into that irritatingly familiar dance also made me want to find a sympathetic ear to complain to. Um, no. Not going there. I'm tempted to label my head a "no whining" zone. But if I remember it's not my responsibility, what is there to whine about? Nothing. Nothing at all....

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Every once in a while, when I'm really bored and it occurs to me, I will google the Alcoholic's name. He is definitely NOT a "computer/technology guy" by even the broadest of definitions, so for years, nothing came up.


Until today. Today....2 mug shots....connected to arrests in the past 3 or so years. Arrests for being intoxicated and doing stupid crap...arrests for being somewhere he had no right or reason being.....arrests for possession/use of a controlled substance (likely marijuana). While his pictures (mugshots) are still recognizable as him, he has not aged well. I mean, even taking into account that it's a mugshot....he looks...old.


It's kinda sad, really. I had always hoped he'd get his $%&* together, but the cynical part of me always said he wouldn't...he'd still be drinking and would end up getting arrested or dead. And, lo and behold, what has happened? Drinking and doing stupid stuff and getting arrested.


As hard as it was, leaving him was one of the best things I've ever done for myself. What would, at this point, nearly 20 years of living with that sort of stuff have done to me? (Yeah, wrap my mind around that for a quiet moment....it's been almost 20 years since I first met the alcoholic....it's been just over 14 years since I last talked to him....yeesh.) The five-ish years I was around that stuff was more than enough drama, thanks. It made me angry and bitter for a good while. I can't imagine what nearly 20 years of it would be like.


The most recent arrest record Google turned up was from mere weeks ago. Makes my life seem incredibly un-whine-worthy, huh?

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What Might've Been


Been pondering the Alcoholic's mug shots and possible state of his life the last couple days. What the hell happened to him? I haven't talked to him for...oh...a good 15 years. But what-all transpired that ended up with him being arrested and looking like that?


I mean, I'm glad I bailed out when I did, but still I wonder.


I've had a thought that has 2 possible meanings about the whole thing: Basically, that I couldn't have done anything to change it. In one way, I can take that to mean that I somehow failed....and in another way, I can take it to mean that it didn't matter how much more (or less) I did (or didn't) do...his own choices brought him to where he is and that's where his path was going - no matter what I did or didn't do, with or without me. That's what he chose, over and over. And it never mattered what opportunities I (or anyone else for that matter) presented him, he chose not to take them....and he chose to keep on with his addictions.


My choices took me a different direction, but I could've just as easily chosen the rollercoaster ride he would've provided.... It's easy to look back on it now -- knowing what has transpired and say it was so obvious. But when I was living it...not so much. I always wanted to hope he'd bottom out and make some different choices....change his life....sober up....deal with his demons.....


It's a weird mix of things...sadness that he's in the sorry state he's in, relief that he's not an active part of my life and hasn't been for a long time, valdiation/vindication that I did the right thing by leaving him. There is, however, no joy in it. I can't even gloat about being right about what kind of life he was going to have. I mean, after it was over, I always kinda figured he'd end up dead or in jail.


I look at the mugshots online, and I wonder why and how that person had such a hold over me back then. What I see is someone to be pitied....and avoided. Not the sort of person I'd want in my life these days. What did I ever see in you? Why did I think you were oh-so-pretty? Back then, maybe you were....now, you just look like an old, angry drunk.


I couldn't save him. But then again, it was never my place (or my responsibility) to.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Larger Forces At Work


Spent several days this week rather mopey and with a deep sense of futility due to pondering some large, societal forces.


First, I saw this video about the distribution of wealth in this country...how people think it is, how people think it should be ideally, how it really is, and how it has changed in the past several decades. Yes, I make more now than I was making 5 or 10 or even 15 years ago....but I have to have 1 full time job working for someone else and (almost) full time self-employment to make that happen. Looked at certain ways I'm working more/working hard for not markedly much more money. Combine that with the stats in the video, and I'm left with the feeling that, because I wasn't born into wealth and haven't managed to become famous (or infamous, as the case may be), I'm going to be stuck working harder and harder just to end up treading water.




Then I started reading a book about the inner-workings of the food industry and how they use decades of research about human physiology and psychology against us to push their product. link removed. How is the average person supposed to fight the good fight against that when things are so clearly stacked against them?


Double Ugh.


These are things I cannot change. They are large forces that are part of the society and time in history I live in. I wonder if ignorance of these larger forces would be bliss, because awareness of them isn't feeling very blissful. It makes me feel like I'm fighting some sort of uphill battle where the enemy has far more resources and firepower than I will ever have. I mean, in the movies, the cute, furry Ewoks win against the technologically advanced, but that's the movies. The realistic safe bet is on the side with more resources and firepower.


I'm starting to see these sorts of things -- "if you work hard, you'll succeed" and so on -- as part and parcel of the lies that "the enemy" likes to spread to keep the masses under control and under their thumb. Keep us believing that we can somehow improve our lot in life....or the processed food in the stores is good for us....or that we "need" certain things that humans lived without for decades....and we're really just being manipulated into what those larger forces want us to do. It was really making the daily effort seem pointless.


On top of that, there's the pervasive message that what I am doing is not enough. I read some article about "how to succeed in voiceover" (yeah, I know, that was my first mistake) The author was going on and on about he did a minimum of this many auditions a day, and devoted that many hours to marketing himself and another amount of hours studying business strategy and on and on.


I manage to drag my sorry ass to the gym 3 times a week, and various health articles and what-not are screaming at me that it's not enough. I'm wondering where am I supposed to find all this time? Time to excercise *every* day and do a minimum of this many auditions and put in 7 or 8 hours at the office gig, and market myself, and make sure I'm preparing/eating minimally processed healthy food and on and on and on.


I want to scream at (???who???) that I'm doing the best I can and if it's not good enough, oh well. Nagging me isn't going to somehow motivate me to do more. Threating me with various illnesses and premature death isn't going to do much to motivate me at this point either. I mean, what with the financial stuff....so, I live longer....and have to work more to keep a roof over my head. Premature death sounds like an opportunity to rest given the bleak scenario of running on a hamster wheel and not getting anywhere, y'know?


So, I have what I guess is a common reaction when confronted with these large things one cannot control and has little power to change. I become paralyzed, say "%*#@ it" and don't think about any sort of long term things. It's too overwhelming otherwise....it really is.


I think I need a vacation.

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....But In My Dreams....


It was the old studio where my boss/mentor/father figure and I used to work so many years ago. It was being remodeled...made over physically and programming-wise. We were both there, playing with the new furnishings, equipment & format. Just a vague snippet of a dream that stayed with me after I woke up this morning.


Such a long time ago....

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  • 2 weeks later...

You Say "Po-tay-toe," I Say, "....Whatever"


Drama at the office gig in this last little stretch of time. Ultimately, I think it will bring about some good things, so I wouldn't say it was "unnecessary drama." In the aftermath of it, I find it odd how...erm...delicately I'm being handled.


BTW, I didn't have the drama, so it's not like I'm being treated that way because I exploded or anything. I was more of a sideline observer.


Anyway, my overwhelming reaction has been a very neutral, "Ok." I don't feel threatened by any of it or feel like it's some sort of plot to oust me or loss of status or anything like that. I. Just. Don't. Care. And I don't think they understand that. At all. I was talking to my husband about it and he said, "I know you don't care, but a lot of people in your situation would be all kinds of worried or upset right now."


It's not worth it. It's a no-brainer office job that provides a steady paycheck and relatively inexpensive health insurance while I build my voiceover empire so I never have to leave my house again...bwhahahahahaha.


But I guess there are a lot of people who don't really get that. Not like I've tried to hide it or anything. In fact, I've been pretty transparent about it. It is my bordering-on-insane work ethic that drives me to do the level/quality of work I do (even in a no-brainer office job) and not any sort of "career aspirations" or anything like that. I have always said (out loud, to anyone who would listen) that this is not a permanent stop for me...I'm just a visitor there.


Of course, there's also that other odd component of my personality that makes me not care what other people think. I guess (?) if I cared about outward appearances I might be having a fit right now.


But I don't, so I'm not.


Mostly I'm amused that there are people looking for a problem where there is none.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Make It A Game



When I first lived on my own, I used to play the "Can I get 2 weeks worth of groceries for $20" game. I had to make it a game or I would become despondent and paralyzed.


Now, I have to re-visit the concept of making something a game...or at least finding humor in an otherwise irritating/annoying situation. Then comes this thought....maybe this is the thing that the Universe has put in your path to make sure you don't get complacent and comfortable. Hmmm. Need to think about that. Perhaps I've been approaching this from the wrong angle....focusing in too close when I need to step back and see a larger picture. Are we nearing the time to make the leap?


What do I need to do to make that happen in an "intelligent, well-thought-out" risk kind of way rather than a "reckless and truly stupid" risk kind of way?


Much like hearing stories from people who are parents about stuff their kids have done make me think "more reasons I'm glad I never had kids." Perhaps I should try taking the attitude "more reasons it's time to move on" when I'm being given the current day's list of issues.


All I can change is within the boundaries of my own skin and the confines of my own skull. The rest of the world will do as they will, and be who and what they are. But I can make the choice to not let it bother me just as I can choose to let it bother me.....


Which choice keeps me in a state of calm centeredness? Which choice pulls me into surface drama?


Step back, breathe. (Well...breathe as much as your stupid allergies will allow....) Give yourself that moment or two to make a conscious choice and not a knee-jerk reaction.


Trust yourself.

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  • 2 months later...

Partnership For A (Nearly) Drug-Free Me


So, a short while ago, I decided it was time to go off the Cymbalta. Went to see hunky soap-opera primary care doc and he agreed. Last dose was about a week ago. It hasn't been nearly as rough as going off Lexapro. It'd probably be a lot easier if I wasn't contending with a mild cold at the same time. That left me wondering, "Do I feel crappy because of stopping the Cymbalta or do I feel crappy because I'm getting over this viral respiratory nasty?" I mean, even under the best circumstances, increased sinus drainage is a real buzz kill.


That leaves me taking one pill a day. The daily 5mg progesterone so I don't bleed all over myself. Haven't had a period in about 2 and a half months and that's fine by me. Seems like my body sort of "forgot" that it was only supposed to bleed for a few days and then stop. Then again, I turned 49 last month. These things are to be expected. At some point the whole thing will shut down and I won't have to take the progesterone anymore, either.


Lots of random stray thoughts in the last few months, but mostly busy between the job and voiceover work. I figured up my quarterly estimated taxes and projected I'd be at that $20-25k annual for voicework this year....again. That'll be 4 years in a row. On one hand, this serves as proof to me that it's not some sort of fluke. I can do this well enough to convince people to pay me to do it. It is a source of annoyance to me that I have not yet figured out how to get beyond that income level. Part of me thinks that the way to get beyond it is more time -- which means ditch the job. But that is a risk that I'm not sure I can afford to take yet.


Which means it's hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go.


One of the things that I've realized in this last bit of time is this...It doesn't matter what industry/business we are talking about. It takes a "special" breed of person to work at the corporate level. 10 or 20 years ago, I quietly thought to myself, "I don't think that makes any sense," when witness to some bone-headed corporate shenanigans. It would never, ever occur to me to say something aloud...even the most timid, polite and subordinate way possible.


But I have changed. I don't think "things" have changed when it comes to people who work at corporate and the stupid things they do. So, the changed part here has to be me. I see BS, I call BS and I don't bother much with tact, dipolmacy or politeness. I have had interactions with some of our corporate over-seers since the first of the year that, 10 or more years ago, would have me fearing for my job. Now? I. Just. Don't. Care. You don't like that I'm giving you my opinion of what you're doing and how non-sensical it is? I don't care that you don't like it. If you don't like my mouthing off, tell me to pack my things and go. They don't....at least not yet, anyway. And if they did....well, that just takes care of deciding when to quit and pursue the VO business full time, doesn't it? In an ideal world, an easy transition where things are financially comfortable would be the way to go, but this world is not ideal. It's easy to get too comfortable and too complacent, and that doesn't really spur one on to make something better happen, does it?


This fall will mark 5 years since I launched my VO business. I remember that first year, every time I had to file & pay quarterly estimated taxes, it was just this horrible fear-filled, oh-my-God-how-am-I-going-to-pay-that-it's-not-fair event. Looking back, I wanted someone to swoop in and fix it. "Someone" being my husband, I guess. In a show of slow-learner tendencies, it took me, oh, about a year to fully realize that he wasn't going to do squat to help me figure it out or pay for it. And it took a little longer for me to fully acknowledge the fact that it probably wasn't his place to do either of those things. It was MY business...not his. And even though we are "married filing jointly"...it was MY business income (not his) that needs to have taxes calculated. He has a job with wages. His employer takes care of his tax payment bookkeeping on the money he earns. It took over year, but I finally put on my big girl panties and dealt with it myself....like I should have all along. And since then, it hasn't been a big deal. His only responsibility is to provide me a copy of his check stub so I can figure in his income & taxes paid when I'm doing the joint bookkeeping. He does that. He has no idea what I do or how....or even if I actually pay it (I do)...and he has no interest in knowing. I can't make him have any sort of interest or force him to provide any input on our joint financial situation if he doesn't want to, and, really, we're both happier since I quit trying to make him. Personally, I couldn't live that much "in the dark" about the money, but we're not talking about me here.


Five years owning & running my own business and generating a (somewhat...) respectable amount of income has taught me a lot. I'm sure it is a factor in my confidence/not giving a crap mouthing off to corporate about their stupidity. It slowly dawned on me that just because someone's "from corporate" doesn't mean they're smarter than I am, it doesn't mean they're better than I am, it doesn't mean they are more competent than I am and it doesn't mean than that they're worth more than I am. All it means they talked someone into hiring them for a certain price and agreeing to whatever strings the person hiring them attached to that money, and I didn't.

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Through The Looking Glass


After what-all has gone on in my life the past, oh, year and a half-ish, I find myself less and less able to relate to most people and their various issues. If you haven't been hanging on my every word in this thread , the short version is I had what would likely be labeled a long-distance emotional affair with someone who really wasn't worth my time and who was never really serious about any of it anyway, looked into getting divorced, ultimately decided not to, and, instead, completely re-wrote the ground rules of my marriage so we now have what might best be described as a partially open relationship. Pretty much a bunch of stuff that just doesn't fly with the majority of the population in these parts of the Interwebz.


Then again, I've spent most of my 49 years on this earth not particularly caring what other people thought about me...I'd say it's a little late to start caring now. (Or as my most recent therapist put it, "You and conventional parted ways a long time ago.") What I do know is that the way things are here works pretty well the majority of the time....and works a lot better than before all the above happened. I'm happier, he's happier. Captain Asshat rarely makes appearances anymore....and if he starts to show up, he gets asked to leave very quickly. Home girl doesn't put up with that sort of treatment anymore. What they say is true -- people treat you as well as or as poorly as you allow. But you really have to be prepared to follow through if they treat you in a way that is unacceptable.


People change over time. They develop new interests, or lose interest in things that no longer serve them. Sometimes outside factors change them - medications, health issues, changing careers - in ways that they or any outside observer never could've predicted. Neither partner in a marriage stays the same over the long haul. If the structure of the marriage doesn't change with them, it can be more like confinement than a solid base to work from.


If I didn't have a strong sense of Who I Am and the knowledge that I could do "single" as well as I can do "married," the outcome of the last year and half-ish might've been very different than my current reality. When you know deep down in your bones that you'll be just fine no matter what happens, navigating through the storm isn't nearly as frightening or difficult. Your basic ok-ness is a foregone conclusion and you know that when the drama-filled moments pass, you'll still be standing...you'll still be you...and you'll make your way just fine.


As I go about my day-to-day routines, it just sort of smacks me upside the head that some (a lot? most?) people don't have that kind of certainty in themselves. And it makes things that are, in my mind, small things, into Big Major Life Issues (!!!!!) for other people. When I look at it and think to myself, "In a year, this probably won't matter to you anymore.....and in five years, you may not even remember it. Therefore, it's not really worth getting your panties in a twist about now." When you can sit at the table with Life, look it straight in the eye, and say, "Bring it, buddy. Ain't nothing you can dish out that I can't handle." It frees you up to find things to enjoy....'cause you're not all tied up being afraid or angry or focusing on what's wrong or focusing on things you have no control over anyway.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Life Says, "You Are Ready To Deal With This Now"


I don't feel ready. But if I wasn't ready, it wouldn't have happened. Y'know, I was starting to think it had been too quiet. Things going along relatively smoothly for the last year or so...


I was looking for a post-it note. I thought I had some in my desk, but I couldn't find them. There were some on his desk....a couple different sizes of them in this little container that looks like a book and the post-its are the "pages." I picked it up, flipped it open and in addition to the post-it notes were 5 (count 'em!) 5 credit cards. I had a bad feeling when I saw they were from different issuers. I thought about the times in the past several years when things just weren't making sense -- the way he'd fly off the handle at any unexpected expense...the way anytime I brought up any sort of financial topic for discussion I'd end up getting my head bitten off before the conversation was completely shut down...the way he paid off his car loan last year and started working a lot of overtime but never seems to have any money....lots of other little things like that.


Being the resourceful (and nosy and now somewhat paranoid) person I am, I'm well aware of the fact that one can obtain a free copy of one's credit report once a year from each of the credit reporting bureaus. So I went and got a copy of his.


I can't claim I'm shocked by the fact he's racked up credit card debt behind my back. I've known for several years that he's had at least 2 of his own cards and, about 6-7 years ago, I inadvertently opened one of his statements because I thought it was mine. So, I knew he had about $3k on that card at that time, but the few times I did ask, he's was all, "Oh, yeah....paying it down, not using it anymore...blah blah blah." There have been times since then that I'd wonder about what was going on, but y'know, I've had my own to deal with in the last few years especially, so I chose to be willfully ignorant. I talked about it when I was in therapy with the New Agey therapist -- how his reaction when I'd bring up starting to merge finances was extreme...and made me suspect he was hiding something.


What floored me was the amount I saw on his credit report. I requested the credit report the day after I went looking for the post-it notes. Which, ironically enough, happened to be our wedding anniversary. Awesome.


I am pissed. Yeah, part of me really furious. I think about all the scrimping and saving and frugality I've been practicing in the aftermath of getting fired in 2008, and all the while it's being undermined. I think about the amount of work I've been doing for the last 5 years getting my voiceover business going and the work I've done trying to get away from having a job and being fully self-employed....and it's all being undermined. It's howlingly apparent we are not "on the same page." Hell, I don't think we're even in the same book.


I haven't said anything to him yet. I'm still trying to process it and figure out what I want to do. Everything in my belief system says there is a reason this information came to light now. Everything in my belief system also says that I will be provided the tools and support I need to handle this, or else it wouldn't be happening. Everything in my belief systems says I will (ultimately) be fine.


So, I'm trying to figure out what to do with this information. I already know I am not going to get in a fight about it. It is what it is. I don't know what the hell he did to dig this hole, but I'll be damned if he's gonna drag me into it....and I'll be damned if his financial mismanagement is going to keep me stuck as a wage slave forever. I have a couple of ideas on how I want proceed, but I'm not quite ready to act on them yet. This post is the first time I've mentioned any of this outside my own head. It's been over 24 hours I've been carrying this around, and for me, that's some sort of record.


I realize I'm not exactly innocent on the "hiding things from your spouse and doing things you shouldn't" front...but good Lord, the majority of these credit cards were issued in 2005 & 2006. This has been going on for YEARS. W.....T.....F.


Trying to decide if a few visits with the therapist might be in order. This is seriously f'd up.

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Knowledge Is Power


Seen on a facebook page:


When life knocks you down...calmly get back up, smile and very politely say, "You hit like a ."


Today, that feels like it fits.


After the initial shock and flurry of distractive activity wore off, I sat down and carefully went over the credit report I got a couple days ago. If I am honest with myself, I knew about this already. Just not the details. I'd caught little glimmers of it here & there over the years, but I was never ready to really take a look at and deal with it. Now I am.


I still haven't said anything. I absolutely refuse....REFUSE....to have it come up in such a way that there's going to be some big-ass fight that brings out the full force of Captain Asshat (as if he has a leg to stand on, here.....). I will NOT have my head bitten off or be spoken to in such a way that I leave with the impression that this is my fault. It's not.


Nope, I'm still "getting my ducks in a row," as they say. I figure this is still all part and parcel of the underlying theme of this particular life of mine....and that is how I'm going about dealing with it. I am controlling/managing/taking care of that which I am able to control. After a closer look at the credit report, there's not really much more damage he can do (unless he opens a new account). He's pretty much maxed out on what he has. I'm not terribly inclined to go rushing in and clean up this mess....but you'd better believe I will protect myself from getting dragged down by it/dragged down into it.


The only thing that's changed in the last 48 hours is there is now a number attached to what I already knew. So, I'm moving forward as if nothing's changed, because the only thing that has changed is knowing a detail. Having a clearer picture is never a bad thing, but he doesn't need to know that I know. He's been living with hiding this for who-knows-exactly-how-long...let him stew in the on-going stress of that a little longer. That's what he chose...that is what he shall have.

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Wait For It....


Still pondering my options. Although one of the things last week's discovery accomplished was getting me off my butt and making an appointment with a financial/investment advisor.


The investment company where the bulk of my retirement savings is parked has a free financial advising service for customers with accounts over a certain balance. I've qualified for this service for...oh...a few years now. Just haven't taken advantage of it...in part, I suppose, because I harbored some sort of illusion that we'd go together and plan for a shared future.


Now, I am going forward instead of waiting for something that isn't going to happen. Much like re-financing the house last fall. Put on your big girl panties and take care of it because no one else is going to do it for you and/or with you. I already realize I'll be presenting this person a daunting task - assist me with financial and investment planning when I only have 50 to 75% of the information you'd really like to have to make any recommendations. Hopefully the person I have the appointment with will be more of the "I like a challenge" type than "I can't do this without X, Y & Z" type.


I have my information (various account statements, tax returns) printed out and ready to go on appointment day. I doubt he's noticed them sitting on the printer. If he has, he hasn't asked. Eventually, he did ask about the refinancing and I have to admit I gave him a kind of "Don't you worry your pretty little head about that" kind of answer since he had exhibited such dis-interest in such things prior to all those papers showing up.


Part of me has started to wonder how deep a hole he'd let himself fall into before he ever bothered mentioning any details to me at all. Part of me wants to sort of sit back and see. Wait a few months and pull another credit report and see if he's making any progress. And part of me wants to jump right in and start doing something to start getting out of the hole he's already dug...because I know how long it took me to dig out of a hole that was less than half of what he's created now.


My goal during the appointment is to see if there is a way I can use and protect my own resources to create the life I want regardless of what he's doing or hiding. There's been a pattern of me bailing his ass out financially (either directly or indirectly) since we met. It's taken about a decade, but I'm tired of it. He won't change it, so it's up to me to change the one thing I can, which is myself. If he doesn't like it....oh, well. I guess he can leave. Oh, wait....he can't afford to leave, can he? (insert bitter, sarcastic laugh here.) And there, we have opened up another whole can of worms when we start talking about money and things financial. One that I have avoided for a while now. Apparently, Life is saying I am ready to start dealing with that, too.

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Seriously, What Did You Expect For Free?


That's what I was asking myself after leaving the appointment with the financial person at the investment company. I mean, yeah, I got some useful information...and yeah, we are going to change a few things to get maximum growth on the money I do have saved up. But I have to admit there is a (familiar) vague sense of disappointment.


It's that same vague sense of disappointment I've had every time I harbor some hope that this professional...this person...I'm going to see has THE ANSWER to the real problem that spurred me to their office. At this point, I shouldn't even have the slightest shred of that hope....I know better. However, it seems there's still some faint glimmer of it somewhere in my psyche. On the plus side, I didn't have to pay to walk out with a vague sense of disappointment. It just took an hour of my time, and it wasn't completely wasted. For free, it was probably a pretty good deal, really.


I know that my answer can only come from me. It's not going to come from some outside source. Outside sources can be good for information, for venting, and for a, "there, there" with a shoulder to cry on. But THE ANSWER....my answer...can only come from me.

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