Saturday, 30 November 2013

Confronting the inevitable

Last night, I was waiting outside a theatre for my friend to turn up.  I'd bought tickets to say a tiny token of thank you for the support she'd shown me over the past year.  I was really looking forward to it.  And bloody early.

I flapped about in the cold, trying to keep warm, and took a glance into the theatre foyer where all were enjoying a mulled wine or three.  Then suddenly - fuck me! - it's my ex!  What is he effing doing here?  He HATES the theatre!  He was heavily involved in a conversation with a much shorter being, who was being shielded by the masses.  Bloody hell, thought I.  This is awkward.  What do I do?

And so, lacking in the knowledge of Ex's Etiquette, I sent him a text to say that I was here, too.

After a couple of minutes, my friend turned up and we went inside.  My ex had by this time magically disappeared (a bit like the shop owner in Mr Ben), and my friend and I agreed that the five minutes before kick-off could be pleasantly spent at the bar.

I'd just got my drink when I spotted him again.  The multitudes had thinned out by this point and it was very easy to see his companion; a short, slim, blonde lady, mid 40s, quite attractive, bit posh looking.  Holy shit.  A date.

Now, first let me say this.  My ex is allowed to date.  I'd go so far as to say that I'm pleased he's dating.  For me to get the willies about it would be hypocritical.  But my reaction was odd.  I grabbed my friend by both arms and span her round like some manical morris dancer, making sure that my back was to him.  What was I doing?

"What's he doing?" I hissed to my friend.  "What's she like?" "How old is she?" I couldn't contain myself.  I was excited.  It was the strangest reaction; I wasn't unhappy (why should I be?), I didn't feel an ounce of jealousy or regret or anything like that.  I did feel a bit odd.  And I remember doing a lot of hopping about from foot to foot.

After five long minutes of glorious spying, my ex disappeared up the steps to the cheap seats whilst we made our way to the stalls.  The realisation that we were in the front row (hallelujah!) obliterated all thoughts of my ex and sent us both into happy swoons for the rest of the evening.

My one overriding thought from the experience was that she looked like a nice person; which meant that she would be kind to my kids, should things go well for my ex and her over the coming weeks.

And I hope they do.  For all our sakes.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

My 100th Post

I can't quite believe that I've had one hundred spoutings.  Some nonsensical, some practical, most pretty much 'of the moment' and just reflecting what I was feeling at that particular time of that particular day.

But perhaps that's what blogging is all about?  An instantly shareable diary of our feelings, a way to offload the crap and a way to spread the joy of what's happening in our lives.  Sometimes people are interested and sometimes not, and we watch the stats bounce up and down with elation and deflation.  Occasionally a post is picked up by Mumsnet or Britmums, and a huge peak in that all important readership graph makes us feel like real writers - we could write books, for God's sakes; we're not writing bollocks after all!

Well.  If we are or if we aren't writing bollocks, for me, this blog has helped me get my thoughts in order.  It's found me friends - talented bloggers in similar situations, or who are writing about different issues and problems in a sensitive and funny and engaging way.  It's got me in hot water (remember hot flying examiner who found me out?  Yowch...), and it's made me re-consider what I do for a job.  I'd love to be a writer.  One day.  When I'm a grown up.

This blog started as a pure 'How I got divorced' blog, but it soon morphed into a reflection of my real life, which wasn't all lawyers and arguments and spreadsheets.  It was kids and boyfriends and hangovers and work and family and sadness and friendships and vodka.  As all lives are.  Which I think is a healthy thing; you can't bang on about how horrible your husband is ALL the time.

So I just wanted to say a big thank you for reading, for taking interest, and a huge sloppy kiss to anyone who has left a comment on here over the last few months.  And just because I can, here's a photo of some focaccia bread (which I truly only made because it sounded rude) which came out of my half working oven today.  It didn't taste very nice - Paul Hollywood would have spat it out - but it looks ok in the pic.

Night all.  I'm off to enjoy I'm a Celebrity because I'm that way inclined. xxx

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The joys of single parenting

You know, I don't for a second regret leaving my husband.  Not for a second.  But I have to admit that this single parenting malarky is a lot harder than I expected.

After a while, you feel a sort of grinding, perpetual tiredness that comes with the responsibility of being the grown up ALL THE TIME.  You're always 'on', even when you've snuck away to bed for 15 minutes - in theory, to 'power nap', in practice, to listen to the kids bang eight bells out of each other downstairs.  There's always something sodding domestic to do, and of course you need to be in a state of readiness to turn on your sympathetic/joyful/pleased/shocked/stern face for the kids at any given time.

This week has been tough.  Saturday was a visit to my Dad and his partner, who has Motor Neurone Disease.  My brother was there too, with his family (see previous post).  Added to this was the complication that the boyf had to go to hospital for an operation, and needed some looking after.  As I was unable to get there, I had to text his ex wife to ask her for help.

I found this stressful.

The boys objected to going out on Sunday, so it was proclaimed a day of rest - which of course means a day of fighting, arguing, shouting, hitting, crying.  My period was a day late.

I found this stressful too.

Monday was the school run and a full day at work, followed by a lovely choir rehearsal.  The kids were at their dad's.  This was NOT stressful, but the sleepless night that followed was.  My period was two days late.

Tuesday - work, followed by endless scurrying around dropping the kids off at cricket, swimming, sock darning...  Period now three days late.  Woke at 4am and took a pregnancy test in the half light of my digital clock.  Negative.  Thank fuck.

Wednesday - school run followed by work, followed by school run and parents' evening (my ex didn't bother turning up, obviously).  Period came on with a tsunami-like rush, soaking through my knickers and leggings.  I left a red buttock imprint on the school chair.

I'm now lying in bed having had a discussion with my 13 year old about the merits of homework, how to build a model of a Maglev train, how he hates his brain, how nobody gives him any attention at school.  My back hurts.  The washing up is waiting for me downstairs.  Boyf's wife is at his house making him tea.

I am too tired to be stressed.  In a minute, I'm going to pour out a vodka and send the kids to bed.  Then, dressed in my old scummy but glorious dressing gown, I'll sip my drink, wish I had some Maltesers, and watch some shit telly until sleep overwhelms me and I wake myself up with an enormous snore.

Welcome to the life of a single parent.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Wake up! I'm texting to tell you that you're chucked!

I was half awake at 6.45am this morning, enjoying the thought of another twenty minutes of snooze time before having to get up and make some sort of forced smiley contact with my boys over Shreddies and tepid coffee.

Anyway, my phone lit up silently for a few seconds, heralding an announcement from the boyf.  This is what it said (stet throughout):

I can't do this Lottie - I'll talk later if you want but I can't do this on am own you can't help me and I can't help you / you need to find seone better. Sorry

This man is usually articulate and grammatical.  He frequently moans but this seemed like...something else.

I didn't know what to do.  I felt like I wanted to go to him but I live over 100 miles away, have two children to look after and work to go to.  Also, his text said (I think) that he didn't want to see me. And we all know that he doesn't want to see my kids.

A bit of background: the boyf had a retinal detachment a few weeks ago, had it sewn back on, then went to Paris with his daughter this week.  While he was there, it became dis-attached again.  He spent £700 getting back to the UK to go to Moorfields Eye Hospital, arriving there at 11pm.  They looked at him and said they couldn't operate until the following day, so, instead of spending another £200 on a room at the local Premier Inn (half term price hike), he wandered the streets all night with his massive backpack and one working eye.  He turned up as instructed at 6.30am at Moorfields, waited all day for his op, but was sent away at 6pm.  No dice.

When he got home he had an 'episode' or, as we used to say in the Midlands, he went mental.  He texted me yesterday and used the 'C' word 7 times.  He said he had punched holes through doors and walls, smashed things, pull shelves down.

He has depression.  He has been on a wrecking crusade before, but the text this morning made me worried.
So worried that - dramatic pause - I texted his ex wife.

This is the first time I've ever made contact with her.  She has made plenty of contact with me (see previous posts) but I'd never texted back.  But I know that she loves him, would do anything for him, and I wondered if either she or his daughter would phone him to check he was ok.

She came back to me within minutes, simply saying:

I too am deeply concerned.  He's not good around people when he's in a crisis but we'll go over now and do what we can.

And that's exactly what she did.  She and her daughter went round, got him out of bed, made him a cup of tea and tidied up as best they could.  She sent me two more texts, telling me that she was there, and that he was well rested, and that they would go to hospital with him if necessary.

I've spoken to boyf since and she did go with him to the hospital today and waited with him for hours - until he was sent away again.

She is a good woman and loves her husband, despite everything he has done to her, without any sort of edge.  He is a very, very lucky man to have her.

On the phone tonight, the boyf has said that he doesn't want to be the sort of person who needs help, and that I should look for someone else.  (Obviously, I have been looking for someone else.  For quite a while.  But no one seems to be popping up.)  The irony is that I would actually delight in helping him.  If only I didn't live so far away, with two little beings to look after.

He may have his op tomorrow and his wife may be back, holding his hand.  This is weirding me out somewhat but he needs someone and I am not prepared to chuck everything up in the air and run to his aid.

Tomorrow I'm half expecting a text saying he's back with his wife.  It'd the best thing for him.  And I will shrug and move along, searching for the next unsuitable man in my life.