The Ex-Files – Installment #4

I was 8 months pregnant with my son. I was running a Day Care in our home to make money to keep food on the table and the electricity on. Oh and then there was the rent. We were always behind but I had to do what I could to keep the landlord from evicting us. He was very understanding, more than he should have been.

CP was in one of his ruts where he was laid off from a job and not getting off his ass to find another. He seemed to think the food was going to magically appear and that the electricity fairies were going to keep the power on. He always said something stupid like, “We don’t need electricity.” WHAT?! Seriously, you may be wondering? Yes. I’m serious. What did he think was keeping his damn beer cold and making his coffee every day? What did he think I was going to do with the 7 kids I had in my house every day with no power? That meant no Sesame Street, no cooking meals, no lights, no freezer and refrigerator to keep our food, no cold milk for cereal, and many other things. I wish I knew what the hell was wrong with him!

So, anyway… I was busy with kids all day long and he was sitting around in my way. I was preparing meals for my Day Care kids, doing laundry, cleaning up messes, and doing activities with the kids. We had outside playtime, preschool activities, and I also had a few learning centers set up. I was busy so when the dryer buzzer went off this particular day, I ran to the dryer, threw the clothes in a basket and took the basket to my bedroom. I was thinking I’d get to it asap and just tossed the basket on my bed. It just happened to be on CP’s side of the bed. Big mistake.

He came home after a few hours of “shootin’ the shit” as he called it, with his cousins. I guess it was around 7:30 pm. He was tired and as per the norm, he went to bed with no dinner. Even though I cooked, from scratch, because anything less than that would have pissed him off. But I digress. He went to bed before 8:00 pm.

He never thought about ME. I still had our daughter to bathe and get to bed, bedtime stories to read, a kitchen to clean up, toys to put away….and my own shower and relaxation – HA. He was in bed because HE was tired, from NOT working, but from visiting with family. By 11:00 pm I was finally finished with MY chores, exhausted and went to bed.

Let’s not forget the very first line of this post. Go back and look. I’ll wait.

I got ready for bed and quietly entered my bedroom. I couldn’t turn on the light because CP was sleeping so when I got to my side of the bed I tripped. What did I trip over? The fucking laundry basket I sat on the bed earlier in the day. I nearly fell on my stomach (all 8 months of my son there) but thankfully I was able to catch my fall on the nightstand with my right arm, spraining my wrist in the process. I was so pissed off when I found out what it was I tripped over, I went to the living room with my pillow and slept on the couch.

In the morning I said angrily to CP, “Thanks for putting the laundry basket on the floor in the dark of the bedroom for me to trip over last night. I almost landed on my belly.” He replied, “Sorry, but you put the laundry basket on my side of the bed so I thought you did it for spite.” So apparently, since he thought I did it out of spite then it was ok for him to almost cause me and our unborn child serious injury???

I think that’s when I really started to hate him.

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Roomis Igloomis

Remember that episode of Gilligan’s Island where Mary Ann thought she ate a poisonous mushroom? In her dream, the Professor was her doctor and he told her she had a severe case of Roomis Igloomis.

That’s what I had today. Roomis Igloomis. No, I didn’t eat any poisonous mushrooms or any mushrooms at all. I just felt yucky all day long. My stomach was rumbling and squeaking. Well, you don’t want to hear the details. Trust me, I had Roomis Igloomis. At least, that’s what I’m calling it.

 

Confusion

Last night I went to bed barely able to walk. I was in severe pain from the cleaning I did that day. I just bite off more than I can chew, every stinkin’ time. Anyway, I went to bed and fell asleep quickly.

This morning, Dad poked his head into my room and says “Hey it’s after 9:00.”

I rolled my head towards the door. I said, ” Oh shit,” and rubbed my eyes a little and asked him, “What time is my appointment?”

“It’s Saturday,” he responded after a brief pause. I’m pretty sure he was trying to decide if I was serious or just screwing with him.

“SHIT! I’m so confused!” I said, clearing my throat. This type of confusion usually only happens when I take a nap and have slept pretty hard. This is the first time it’s happened from a good night’s sleep – and I must have slept really hard!

Dad chuckled and went on to clatter the dishes in the kitchen as if to make sure I didn’t fall back asleep. It took me awhile to get my brain and my body acclimated. I wish I didn’t hurt so damn bad in the mornings! I was up and ready for our weekly outing to have lunch. Today, we were planning to have Italian food.

Later, I recalled another odd time that I had been severely confused but it was back in my 20’s. It was the middle of the night; 2:00 am actually. I was sound asleep, my now-ex next to me snoring his damn fool head off. The phone rang. It was on my side of the bed, so I answered it.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Debbie! How are you? Are you ready for this weekend?”

“Uhm. Yeah? Who is this?”

“Oh Debbie, wake up! It’s me, Phyllis.”

At this point, I was seriously trying to ‘wake up’ because I couldn’t remember who Phyliss was! I asked the caller, “Phyllis who?”

“Phyllis. Your hairdresser! Wake up, Debbie!!”

By now, I thought I had a prank caller on the line. I said in my snarkiest voice, “I think you have the wrong number, Phyllis, the hairdresser.” 

She replied back with my phone number and my full name…. I confirmed that WAS my number….AND my name…..

“I think you must have the wrong Debbie [last name] because I don’t know anyone named Phyllis and I don’t have a hairdresser! I cut my own hair!”

She was perturbed with me; I could hear the aggravation in her voice as she said, “Well, I’ll call you back tomorrow, Debbie….. after you’ve had a chance to wake up.”

I managed a quiet, “Whatever,” before hanging up and I rolled over and went back to sleep.

It was quite puzzling until the next day at work. I was congratulated several times by coworkers on my ‘pending nuptials’ which left me scratching my head. I just thanked them and went on with my day each time.

When I returned home, I grabbed the day’s newspaper and confirmed that I was to be married to a man named Dennis, whom I had never met. There were no photos, so that explained why everyone thought it was me. But Phyllis…..she must have opened the phone book and just assumed I was the one. She probably realized she had the wrong Debbie soon enough because she never called me back!

 

A Woman’s Poem

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A Woman’s Poem — Does any of that sound familiar to you? If it does then you have most likely wanted to take a cast iron skillet to your husband’s head a few times. But, we don’t. Why? Because that’s not who we are. We are friends and we are mothers. We are daughters, sisters, aunts….. What will our loved ones do if we go to prison? We don’t want our children to live without their mother, our sisters to lose a sister, a mother to lose a daughter…..so we either a) put up with the bullshit or b) LEAVE. There’s also a C: Put up with the bullshit, walk on egg shells for a few months or years…and THEN leave. My choice was C, mostly because I felt stuck. (No job, 2 little kids, no where to go….)

Seems that I was always being compared to how his mother did it or how his uncle did it.  OR: The way HE would do it. I didn’t clean the floor the way HE would have, I didn’t make the sauce the way his uncle did it, I made the beans the way my dad liked them because he was coming for a visit instead of the way HE liked them, or the famous “That’s not how my mom did it.” Well, you know what? Too damn bad.

The problem at first was ME. Yes, me. I was looking for acceptance. I didn’t get acceptance from my mother. I was never good enough or I never did something the right way in her eyes. So, what I really needed was acceptance…from someone, anyone. My ex SAID he accepted me, he treated me as if he accepted me, at first. When all the criticism came, I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t doing my job correctly. I felt like a complete failure. I was always looking for that acceptance so I always tried to do it the ‘right’ way, to please him.

When my daughter started preschool, I started meeting other parents. I witnessed other husbands taking the time to show interest in their child’s education, showing respect to their wives, and actually participating in the family as a whole. When my daughter’s class arranged a Father’s Day celebration and my ex couldn’t take the time to show up, it really opened my eyes!! Boy, was this an eye opener!! My daughter’s teacher sent her to the office to call home and I went to the school immediately to sit in for her father. She was very upset. The thing is, I told him about this event 3 weeks prior. I reminded him each week that it was coming up. Still, he never even attempted to get that day off, not even a half day. For his own child. 

I started to realize that the way I had been living was NOT normal. Screw this relationship. I was doing all the work. I was mother, father, nurse, teacher, playmate, house keeper, cook…. If I was going to do all the work myself I might as well do it BY MYSELF!! Oh, he went to work to provide….blah, blah, blah. He went to work sometimes. He didn’t always work. When he got laid off, he sat around the house drinking coffee and then beer, playing solitaire, all while in MY way. I was running a Day Care in our home to put food on the table because he couldn’t be bothered with finding another job to tide us over until he got called back to work. We were always 3 months behind on the rent because I didn’t make enough money and he sat on his ass. All he did was tell ME how I wasn’t doing something the right way, and not lending a hand to help at all.

Some things happened that I will save for another post, but this relationship ended June 6, 1993. That’s when I knew it was over and there was no forgiving, no forgetting, no going back. I made every attempt after leaving him to keep him connected to his children but he couldn’t handle it. He said, “It hurts me too much.” Seriously. I can’t even imagine how the kids felt when their father all of a sudden just stopped communication with them. My kids were 6 and 3 when we left.

I never looked back.

 

 

 

 

A Fond Christmas Memory

For some odd reason, I don’t remember a lot about our Christmases growing up. Oh, there are a few things I can recall like the little Life Savers ‘books’ Santa would bring us, the Christmas coloring books and brand spankin’ new crayons, the candy canes, and the gift my sisters and I got to open on Christmas Eve. It was always new pajamas, or a new outfit to wear on Christmas Day. I don’t think we appreciated it then as much as we do now. I don’t remember too much about any gifts I (we) got, or if we were disappointed because we didn’t get what we wanted. Those things just aren’t important enough to remember.

The fondest Christmas memory I have is the time we couldn’t afford a tree or maybe we just waited too long to get one. I really don’t remember that part. My mom, being the creative and crafty person she was, noticed the GIANT pine tree on the side of our neighbor’s yard which had a broken branch. It was HUGE! I don’t know if Mom asked the neighbor or not but she went outside and snatched up that humongous branch and brought it in the house! She trimmed the branch so it would fit in the corner of the living room. She propped it up, and if I recall correctly, she had to secure it to the wall to keep it from falling! We decorated it with our usual holiday ornaments, tinsel and star on top and that’s the ONLY Christmas tree I remember as a kid! It was an awesome Christmas tree! It’s great how Mom made sure we had a tree that year. I’ll never forget it.