Archive for March, 2013

The List

It’s great that she is very attentive, but not what I need,” my friend told me in chat.
 
Do you have a list of what you do and do not need?” I typed back.
 
Not yet,” he answered.  “I play the dating game by the seat of my pants.”

Back in January 2008, after ending another doomed dating relationship, I sat down and came up with a list – a relationship credo, if you will – of what I felt I could bring to a relationship, and what I felt I needed from someone to help balance me.

Even after 5 years, it’s still pretty close to what I feel I need and can give back.  I don’t expect one man to fulfill everything on that list, but ideally it’s what I think would help me be balanced.  Of course, my life is a lot busier than it was back then – but it still makes for interesting reading.

What I need in a relationship:
  • Someone who is truly looking for a life partner: a friend, lover, and co-participant in our lives together – someone to work together with to build the lives we want.
  • Someone who keeps in touch at least 1-2x times a day, either with texts or phone calls so that I know they are thinking about me and that they are ok.
  • Someone who can have conversations with me – to freely exchange ideas back and forth on a topic – to get excited and passionate about things – to hear each others thoughts, hopes, dreams, funny stories – not just the weather or the day’s activities.
  • Someone who will set time aside for us. Focused, un-distracted time together.
  • Romance. I like little gifts, flowers, e-cards, funny pictures, being told I’m cute or sexy and loved. A note in the pocket, a card mailed to work, a flower on my pillow.
  • Someone with a ready laugh and ability to look on the funny and positive side of life.
  • Someone I can touch – someone I see on a regular basis, and who, if there is distance, is prepared to adjust our lives to be closer together when the time is right (which is not years and years down the road).
  • Someone who likes to hold hands when we are walking, touch when we are sitting, and is not afraid to show affection in public, but not molest me in front of the family.
  • Someone who enjoys sex and is not inhibited in the bedroom, ready to explore. 
  • Someone who doesn’t try to keep me like a dirty little secret. To introduce me to their friends & family as appropriate – I want them to know I exist.
  • Someone who accepts me as I am – my past, my open and flirty nature, my friendships and loyalties. Who doesn’t look down on me for my past mistakes or for my less than conservative ways.
  • Someone who has their own friends and has things to do, and will invite me along, but doesn’t expect us to be inseparable. We need time alone and with our friends, too.
  • I don’t want to live separate lives – I don’t think we should do everything apart. But I do think that there are times when we should be comfortable enough to be in the same room together doing different things – like reading & watching TV, etc.
  • That being said, I do think we need to dedicate time together and when our time together is limited, I think we should work at making it count.
  • Someone who can handle finances, who can make decisions and act on them, who can take leadership, who can be creative and spontaneous, who doesn’t wait for me to do or fix everything, but also doesn’t try be all-controlling – that wants my input, but can take care of things on their own as well when needed.
  • Someone who will stand with me when I am in trouble, or being mistreated. Who will not shy away from conflict when it’s unavoidable, but will also help me maintain the right focus when I’ve let myself get too worked up over something trivial or unsubstantiated.
In return, I promise to give to a relationship:
  • A willing partner in the life we create together.
  • To be there when you call, and to reply to your text and phone calls, as well as initiating them myself without hounding or stalking you.
  • To talk to you about what I’m thinking, and listen to you and discuss what’s going on with you.. A readiness to share my ideas and opinions.
  • A willing ear to listen to what’s going on. In fact, when you call I will walk away from my computer or tv and go in to a room where I can concentrate totally on you. And when I am with you and you are talking, I will focus my attention on you.
  • Romance – I love to give and take care of my partner! An abundance of goodies from my kitchen and heart – including the texts, cards, and little touches that I also want.
  • A ready laugh for jokes and funny stories – and to help you laugh with me.
  • A willingness to travel, and even relocate, to make a relationship work.
  • A willing pair of lips to kiss, soft and tender caresses, and an adventurous nature.
  • An open invitation to meet my family and friends whenever you want.
  • To accept you as who you are, to not dwell too much on the past, but our future.
  • To not be overly-clingy, and will not expect you to spend every minute with me.
  • To not nag you if you are doing something important to you, like football.
  • To not always choose other things over you, and commit to time we spend together.
  • To accept your advice, stand behind decisions you make for us, to not expect you to do or fix everything, to not control or countermand, to provide input and not just say “I don’t know”, and to take care of things I can take care of when you can’t. A desire to help out when I can, and hang back when that’s preferred. An ability to be flexible and spontaneous, as well as dependable.
  • To stand by you in times of trouble, to look out for you if you are incapable to look out for yourself in time of sickness. To not avoid conflict, and not try to create unneeded drama. To play devil’s advocate when appropriate, and to help alleviate the stress in your life.

Do you have a list?  Or do you, too, “fly by the seat of your pants?”

 

 

Just Breathe

In and out, in and out, don’t hyperventilate, don’t overthink it, don’t hold it in, don’t forget to let it out, breathe, breathe, breathe, feel like you’re in labor, feel like you’re drowning, feel like you are barely awake, feel like the world is yelling even though everything is deadly quiet.

Just Breathe.

whoooooooooooosh.

Feel better?

Yeah, but only if you don’t think about it too much.

So tell us about this new love interest in your life.” a friend asked last night.

I duck my head.  “It’s still a little new, and there are things going on, and I’m just not ready to talk about it yet.”

Breathe.

My foster dog has started hiding under the covers each night.  I often wake up to find him curled up next to my cold, smelly feet.  Why would an animal willingly subject himself to such torture?  I almost sat on him this morning because I forgot that sometimes a rumpled quilt is not a rumpled quilt, it’s a silly dog.

Breathe.

Work has me in a tizzy.  Every day I walk in determined to conquer the world.  Many days I flee in hopes that tomorrow will be better.  No matter how much I give, it will not be enough because we are running understaffed with no hope of rescue in sight.

Breathe.

Most of the time I’m fine with the fact that the 3 last major relationships in my life have all either gotten married or engaged and that I’m still single.  That’s fine.  No really, that’s fine.  Unless maybe I’m the problem.  I’m not the problem though.  And there’s not a problem.  Well, only that I find myself wondering if there is a problem and I’m just not seeing it and oh god oh god why hast thou forsaken me and how do I not mess this new thing up? Am I being too clingy?  Am I being too standoffish? Was I overconfident last night and turn off new people that came to the Geek Meet because in reality I was just trying to hold it together and oh god why hasn’t he texted me and. . .

Breathe.

Breathe. 

Breathe.

Mr. Ron’s Neighborhood

Ron is a real person. Sometimes I wish he wasn’t.  Welcome to Ronday!

Ron and my sister eventually wore out their welcome at Lola’s place. Well, and Lola was about to get evicted too – because she decided to stop paying rent on her section 8 housing.

So Ron found a place over an hour from where he worked, and moved my sister out there. Now, my sister had no car or means of transportation other than the bus system, and knew no one other then my dad & stepmom, who lived in the next town over and both travelled a lot.

But Ron felt it was a great place for them because “they saved lots of money.”

Soon after moving out there, Ron realized that the commute for him to go to work was just too long, so he began staying in town with friends each week, leaving my sister in this new place all by herself. She didn’t have a phone because they couldn’t afford to put one in. Ron did give my sister a beeper, however, so he could beep her and she could walk to a pay phone and call him on a calling card.

He didn’t have a beeper, so she had no one of contacting him, except at BK if he happened to be working then. And my sister kept “misunderstanding his schedule” because often times she would call and he wouldn’t be scheduled to work like she thought.

My sister found a job working at a grocery store bakery, that required her to be there by 4:00 AM every morning. The buses didn’t run that early, so she would leave her house shortly after 3 AM and walk there.

When I paged her one day she called me back and told me all about her job and walking to work. I asked her if she felt frightened, and she said not since she’d gotten to know a few people she saw on her route every day.

People at 3:30 AM?

“Newspaper men?” I asked.

“No – just a few girls who work at a club downtown and are usually getting home around that time – and some of their boyfriends.”

I asked her for her street address and made arrangements to come visit her that weekend. I went to her dumpy little place – barely the size of a closet and she shared a bathroom with others on the hall.

“Why are you staying here?” I demanded. “What does Ron have to say about all this?”

“Ron says it’s fine – the cops patrol this place all the time – and he likes being able to take care of me.”

“The cops patrol this place all the time?” I asked. “Ron calls this taking care of you?!?”

“Oh yes,” says my sister. “This is a very popular neighborhood. Why, it was just on the news the other day as the city’s #1 street!”

I looked up the news story she referred to. The street was in fact #1 in the city . . . for drug-trafficking and prostitution.

 

Engaged, Number One

When I was a child, I lived on the Atlantic Ocean.  I loved walking on the wet sand and seeing the footsteps I left behind.  I loved to see the rippling waves moving ever towards me, criss-crossing themselves to reach the shore, and then swirling around my ankles before pulling whatever they could back out to sea. 

I remember digging my toes down in to the sand, and feeling the waves erode the foundation right out from under my feet. I suppose that’s how I could have felt yesterday when I got my ex-boyfriend’s text. 

When would be a good time to talk?”

 I stared at the phone for a minute. 

Umm.  Are you ok?” I typed back.

I thought  to what could be wrong:  something medical, the passing of a family member or friend, a bill collector trying to track down my ex-husband.

Rather than be distracted all day at work, I stepped outside and gave him a call.

He apologized for bothering me at work – he hadn’t meant to upset me.  He asked how I was doing and I was able to say confidently, “Great – and you?”

Really good, he said.  And then he told me he and the woman he had left me for were getting engaged. They would marry in December.

When it’s right, it’s right.”

I wished him all the best and we got off the phone.  I would be lying if I didn’t say I was surprised.  One of the major reasons why our relationship ended was because he had stated that he didn’t see himself ever wanting to live with someone else, let alone get married.   

It’s funny how things change. 

Had I gotten this news even a few weeks ago, I might have been angry and bitter and devastated.  I would have felt the tide pull away my foundation.  But the same waves that took him away, brought something better back to me.  And I’ve picked it out of the tides and have taken it home with me.

As I told a friend when discussing it, it just doesn’t make sense to hold on to what has ended – it just delays me from grasping hold of what can be.

Whether it be the waves below, or the ocean of stars above, I cannot regret losing what was never mine to have.  I will enjoy the things the waves brought in and out of my life, and my voyages on this life’s sea.

So, in the words of Jean-Luc Picard, Engage Number One!

I feel I would be remiss if I did not finish this story, even though it may cast a somewhat disparaging light on me.  I did not reply to Trotter’s last email, but within a day or so, I got another one.

“. . . I would still like to meet you for lunch one day, but I don’t want to pressure you.”

To which I replied:

Thanks.  I’m not sure that we would be a good fit – I think we have different mindsets on things.”

He thanked me for my time, complimented me again on my eyes, and went radio silent.  Five days later, I received the following email from him.

“Good morning. I hope U R doing well. Curiousity has gotten the best of me. I know U R not interested in me, but I have to ask. What did I say that made you think we have different mindsets? Was it my comment about not dating outside my own race? If so, I am not racist in any way. I have black friends and black co-workers whom I treat just as I do anyone else, with the respect they deserve.”

(Okay, content aside for a minute.  U R?  Seriously??  You are in your 40s – you can spell it out.)

At first I was just going to ignore his email.  A part of me just wanted to delete it and him from my memory.  But finally, I gave in to my more wicked side. 

I waited two days before answering back:

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.  Yes, the race comment was a big turn off.  I know you don’t view yourself as racist, and I get that.  But I am part black – and you obviously would have an issue with that.”

Here is where you may judge me, however harshly.  Can I prove that I have any black in my genetic makeup?  No. But I’m French and y’all know that we are lovers, not fighters.  If history has taught us nothing else, it has taught us that we French would lay down for anybody. My family tree is a rainbow of races and creeds. I know I’m multi-racial.  What races?  I don’t really know, nor should it matter.  And that’s my point.

Here’s what Trotter answered back:

“There is no need for you to apologize. I on the other hand, want to sincerely apologize to you if I offended you in any way by my comments. I definitely did not intend to do so. I am definitely not racist/prejudice in any way. Two of my nieces are bi-racial and I love those two girls just as much as I love every other relative I have, and I am proud to be their uncle. As I said before, my step-sister is divorced from my brother-in-law, who is a black man, but they are currently back together, though they are still divorced.

 I currently live with my step-sister, her ex-husband, and my two bi-racial nieces in [redacted]. I have never dated anyone outside my race, and I have chosen not to do so up to this point based solely on how some of our dumb ass family members view bi-racial marriages. I have witnessed my step-sister being treated differently by some of our family members due to her previous marriage and her two youngest children and it really angers and frustrates me. I hold NOTHING against you for being bi-racial. I base my opinion of you based solely on you, not your race, skin pigment, education, etc.

In my opinion you are a pretty, intelligent woman, whom I am still interested in, but I understand my comment turned you off and I REALLY hate that. I have no issue(s) with you being bi-racial, and that would not keep me in any way from wanting to meet you, learning more about you, or date you, but I understand if you choose to not talk to me again. Take care and again I am sorry.”

I appreciate that he apologized.  I appreciate that that he tried to make amends.  He’s still an idiot, but I appreciate what he tried to say.  And that he willingly admitted that he’s not man enough to face his family who may be more racist than he is.

The one statement that really stuck in my craw was this:

“. . . I base my opinion of you based solely on you, not your race, skin pigment, education, etc.. . “

I wanted to ask him why I was afforded such a privilege of stayed judgment, when the black woman who had contacted him originally was not given that same respect.  Since, y’know, he gives the same level of respect to every black person that he gives everyone else.   

I didn’t respond, and I won’t.   I could go on, but I won’t do that either.

Besides, I’ve found something much better.  But that’s another story.

Meet the Ronulians

Ron is a real person.  People who act like Ron are called Ronulians.  People who put up with Rons are called Ron-duhs.  Happy Ronday!

So Ron has introduced my sister to her roommate, the previously mentioned woman who is on unemployment and has a baby by an illegal alien who is providing them with the luxurious section 8 housing they are all living in. I dub this roommate Lola (as in Lover Of iLlegal Aliens)

Lola has failed her driver’s license test 4 times, my sister has her license. But she has a car and my sister does not. Lola decides to get a part-time job but the store that hires her is not on the bus line – it’s in the next town over.

What’s the solution? Lola drives to work each day on her learner’s permit, with my sister as the observing driver. However, Lola doesn’t want my sister to drive her car, so my sister then sits in the car for the 4 hours of Lola’s shift.

My sister tells me this one weekend as she’s over borrowing some books. She’s read through all of hers as reading has become her primary occupation while waiting for Lola.

“Why don’t you try to get a job in the same plaza as Lola?” I ask. My sister then explains that the store Lola is working at does not want them to work the same shifts, and the only other store in the Plaza hiring was the grocery store.

“Well,” I say. “It’s better than nothing, plus you’ll get discounts on food and stuff you need!”

The grocery store is willing to work with my sister and give her similar shifts as Lola, but the grocery store has 6 hour shifts and Lola works 4 hour shifts – so there would be some overlap.

Lola won’t hear of it, though. “Why should I have to wait around for you?”

Thanks For Breaking Up With Me

We broke up in 2005 and then again in 2007.  It was strange to see his name come popping up on my Facebook friend request list again this week.  But a lot had changed in 6 years, and I was just as curious to find out what had changed for him.

I was amused to see that most of his pictures showed him wearing his standard “uniform” that I had always seen him wearing:  baggy jeans and a solid broadcloth button down short-sleeved shirt, usually green.   His hair was the same military buzz cut as well.

The biggest difference?  He was married.

At first I was a little surprised, but once the initial shock wore off, I could honestly say I was glad.  I went back in to message him my congratulations, but no sooner had I accepted his friend request than he was gone.   He had friended my work Facebook, maybe he thought he got the wrong one.  I also noticed that his niece had hacked his Facebook once – maybe it was she who had sent the request.   Whatever the reason, the connection was broken as quickly as it had come.

I logged in to my personal Facebook, and sent him a request, realizing he may not accept it.  And then I sent him this message:

I saw you come up on my work FB, and was glad to see that you were happily married. I wanted to thank you for all you did for me while we were together, and also for not staying with me when we weren’t right for each other.

I’ll always value our time together. You taught me the value of connecting with a person on multiple levels – you were the first guy that had really happened with. You raised the bar for me – and I’ll always be glad.

Looking back, I realize I had so much to do to get myself together better – that I wasn’t ready for an equal partnership. And even though I’m still searching for “Mr. Right” – I know I’m now a better Ms. Right than I ever was. Thanks again!

Whether he ever reads it or not, I’m glad I finally got to tell him.

We had started dating back in 2004 – about a year after I had decided to divorce my husband.  At first, everything was great.  But during that time, I dealt with the death of my sister, a bout of depression, losing my job, and being evicted from my apartment.  I had no car, not much in the way of personal belongings, and was very lost at sea.  In short, I was a mess. I can say this now, looking back.  At the time, I was just trying to hold on.

He wasn’t the perfect boyfriend – we both had issues.  That’s the point though.  The good that we had, I cherish that.  I learned from it.  The bad that we had – well, I learned from that too.

Timing is everything.  This past week, I felt myself travelling down a similar path:  bills all coming at me at once, things breaking down, and my safe little world crumbling. The people I would normally turn to –  gone or not an option.   Defeat felt like it was just creeping in from all sides.  It would be easy to shut down and let the worst that could, happen.

This time is different.  I’ve learned now. I can do this.  And if I can’t do this, I will get up and start from where I fell and try again. 

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling

The Ron Job

Ron is a real person.  I can’t make this stuff up.  Welcome to Ronday.

Ron and my sister came to visit at my Dad & Stepmum’s house. My husband and I joined them for dinner.

As we made small talk around the table, my stepmum asked me how my job hunt was going. (The company I had been working for had been bought out and was being merged so downsizing at our location was inevitable, so I was being proactive since Marketing Manager positions were sometimes challenging to find.)

Ron, of course, had the perfect solution. He had a friend who was doing something with computers that paid big bucks. He was not sure what it was but he knew it was easy and anyone could do it.

My sister sat beside him, unemployed (his manager had deemed it best for them to no longer work together – y’know, the tongue twister and hand holding being a bit much for people about to eat lunch). I suggested that maybe he might see about getting her a job with his friend. Or even himself.

He quickly shook his head. “Naw, I want to stay in management. Y’know, I’m practically acting assistant manager now, and if my boss decides to put my paperwork through – I’ll be making almost $10 an hour!”

I’m Not Predjudiced But . . .

I had been talking to this fellow Trotter for several days now.  The conversation was neither annoying nor fascinating, it was just general conversation via text and email.  A not unpleasant diversion.

We had agreed to meet for a date this week – and I was actually curious what it would be like to meet Trotter in person. I got the sense he was truly looking for a long-term relationship without being overly intense about it, and that was new and different.

Yesterday, I was packing up from StellarCon and in the process of carrying too many things at once, I opened up several apps on my phone with the palm of my hand (I hate when that happens!).  Annoyed, I immediately started closing out of all of them.  One happened to be POF, the dating site Trotter and I had met on. 

Within minutes, I received a new message from the site, from Trotter:

I only signed on here to respond to a message from . . . none other than my ex-girlfriend.  She has been on here checking out my profile as well as updating hers . . . OMG . . .whatever.”

It seemed weird to be getting what seemed to be a defensive explanation from a guy that I hadn’t even been on a date with yet.  Why would I care that he was on the site?  Or that his ex was checking up on him and updating her site? 

I gave back my standard answer when I don’t want to engage in the drama:

LOL.”

Soon after, I got this message:

OMG! Now some black chick on here wants to meet me!!!  I am not prejudice[d], but I do not date outside my race.  Just my choice and preference.”

Is it just me, or does it seem like every time someone starts with “I am not prejudiced” that they almost always are?

I answered back:

You could be missing out on a great opportunity!  Some of my best friends sleeping at my house tonight are black! 🙂

His answer:

I think I will stay like I am.  Again it’s not a prejudicial thing.  It’s just my choice.  My sister was married to a black guy and two of my three nieces are biracial, so it’s not racial at all.”

Umm.  Dude?  That proves that your sister is not prejudiced, not that you are.  And it’s not racial?  You just said you didn’t want to date outside your race.  Ergo, that would mean that it is, actually, racial.

Thanks for playing.  Here’s a lifetime supply of Turtle Wax – since you seem bound and determined to stay within your hard-headed shell.

Ron Around The Clock

Ron is a real person.  Not even his name has been changed to protect the innocent.  Welcome to your weekly Ronday blog!

Ron was a class act charmer. My sister was not necessarily on the top of her game, but with some help she had gotten a studio-style apartment in a decent area of town near enough to the bus system that she could get back and forth to her job at the call center.

However, a few weeks after meeting Ron, he convinced her to move in with him in his much smaller place which he was currently being evicted from.

But it was okay, because he then moved them in with another girl who was in section 8 housing with her small baby concieved by an illegal alien who had recently been deported. This new girl was living on unemployment and food stamps and had failed her driver’s test 4 times – but that’s another story and this is, after all, the Ron thread.

Nevertheless, my sister was no longer on the bus schedule so she lost her job and Ron got her a few hours at Burger King with his “executive” pull.

My sister soon got in to the habit of calling me on the 11th and 28th of each month (my paydays) and asking to borrow a few bucks until her checks came in (my sister got small SS & VA checks each month beyond her dream BK salary). I usually would spot her 20 or 40 and she would pay me back within a week.

But one time she called me up to ask for much more than that and I just couldn’t do it – plus I felt like I was enabling bad habits in her. She explained to me that Ron had sat on his glasses and had broken them and had spent their last $200 on some new studly designer glasses because he needed them to see/work.

(He couldn’t find any ones sexy enough that were actually covered under his BK health plan.)

My sister told me that they were living off BK food but needed diapers and formula for the baby (evidently the food stamps didn’t cover some of that either).

I just couldn’t do it (my husband at the time was pretty adamant)- and said maybe Ron should return the glasses for cheaper frames or tape the old ones back together until he could afford new ones. This was not an option for dear old Ron.

All week long, I felt bad and worried about my sister and this innocent baby. On that Saturday, I told my husband I couldn’t be stronger any longer and decided to take my sister grocery shopping for the things they needed or see what I could do to help.

I couldn’t reach my sister all day, and was growing concerned. Finally, she called me back all excited.

“Guess what, sis! Ron bought us Garth Brooks tickets!”

Surprised, I asked if Ron had gotten a bonus that allowed them to score such wonderment and cover their daily necessities.

“Oh no,” she explained. “Ron’s car payment bounced – so he just used the money from that!”