Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Some Things About Divorce

I debated whether or not to write this post but, in the end, decided it might help someone out a little bit.  So here it is.  Just a few things about going though the Big D (and don't mean Dallas.)

I saw this the other day and I both agree and disagree with it.  On the one hand, any time a family is busted up, it IS in fact a tragedy.  However, there's a lot of truth in the second statement.  Children deserve happy parents, they deserve to know what a good and strong relationship is and how it works.

That said.  Here we go . . .

1) It's HARD.

Here's the deal.  I was the one to initiate my divorce.  It was something that had been a long time in the making.  I was done.  D-O-N-E DONE. 

However.  The actual process was really, really hard.  I can't imagine how much harder it would've been if I had not been the one to initiate our breakup.  You are literally ending things with the person you promised to love, honor, and cherish "until death do us part."  It made me feel like a complete and utter failure, especially since I had been married only five years.  To put things in perspective: my great-grandparents were married 74 years, my grandparents 59, and my own parents (who did eventually divorce) 25!  I felt like I failed my family and my children.  And it was HARD.  There's no other word for it and the caps are necessary.

2) It's emotionally taxing.

Perhaps I went into the whole thing a little na├»ve.  I expected it to be emotional.  What I didn't expect was just how emotional it was going to be.  I guess this goes right along with the whole "it's hard" thing.  But "hard" can encompass a lot of different things; I had no idea just exactly HOW emotionally taxing divorce would be.  For instance, it was emotional just splitting up our assets.  And I'm not talking the BIG assets like house and bank accounts.  I'm talking about the smaller things like furniture and, "do you want the grill?"  Those were things accumulated over the course of a marriage, things we bought together and, for whatever reason, it just made things even more real when it was time to disperse them amongst us.

3) If you have to do a parenting class, it will be one of the most depressing things you will ever sit through.

Yeah, so.  In the state of Tennessee (and I think in most states) you have to do a parenting class if you have minor children.  The one I went to lasted about three hours and was in a "discussion" type format.  The instructor was very nice but I was not comfortable discussing one of the most personal things in my life (the actual details of my divorce/ the breakup of my marriage) with complete strangers.  Honestly, I don't really feel like I learned a whole lot from the class -- my ex-husband and I get along fairly well.  But I left it feeling super depressed.  It was combination of the stories from other people in the class (the guy who sat next to me didn't have a parenting plan in place yet.  His ex was being difficult and he could only see his children when he went to their schools to have lunch with them!) and the statistics of what happens to children from broken homes. 

4) Kids are resilient.

Yeah, regardless of anything I heard in the parenting class I can definitely vouch for this one: kids are resilient.  Yes, it's hard for them.  It can be very hard for them.  But they adapt and they learn and they come around.  It's harder on certain kids.  One of my children had a very tough time in the beginning; the other two weren't phased at all (a lot of this could have to do with age.) 

5) Compromise is key.  Compromise, compromise, compromise!

And actually it's the "compromise" thing that can make things so emotionally taxing.  For example, I won't have my children this year on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  I won't get to see my children on Christmas on even years.  And that breaks my heart.  I'm going to be a complete and total mess  come early morning of December 25th.  But they need that time with their dad and, on odd years, they'll wake up with me on Christmas morning.  We had to meet in the middle on that one and on practically every other holiday.  And I'm lucky enough that he agreed to let me see them every year on their birthdays regardless of whose turn it is to have them. 

6) If you can be amicable, you'll save yourself so much grief (and money!)

We literally sat down at the kitchen table and dispersed our assets.  We did the same with our parenting plan.  Yeah, we had to compromise on things.  But we were able to amicably hammer out the agreement between ourselves which kept attorney fees to a minimum and saved us from mediation as well. 

7) You'll feel judged.

You wouldn't think you would feel so much disdain given that we live in a world where so many marriages do end in divorce.  But, yeah, it's there.  The judgment.  People who have never been through a divorce don't seem to understand that we're not all Kim Kardashian or Britney Spears.  There were times - there still ARE times - when I see someone who has never gone through much grief or strife in their marriage say things about how they'd never divorce, marriage is forever, JUST WORK ON IT, YOU ASSHOLES.  And I want to punch them.  They have NO IDEA.  Most people don't just wake up one morning and think, "Well, golly gee, that asshole let the toilet seat up again and didn't pick his socks up off the bedroom floor.  Imma go get me one of them there divorces!"  No.  Things are much more complicated than that and if you've never been divorced, odds are you don't GET it.

8) I felt oddly conflicted over my name.

I have friends who have been through a divorce and went back to their maiden name.  And I always thought, "why would you do that?  Why wouldn't you want your name to stay the same as your kids?"  Now that I'm on the other side . . . I get it.  And I felt very conflicted on whether I wanted to keep my married name (a name that doesn't feel like "mine" but one I share with my children) or go back to the name I was given at birth.  In the end, I decided to keep my married name.  Mainly because it IS the same name as my children and, honestly, the thought of going through the hassle of changing everything back just didn't seem worth it.  Plus I have a brother and he has two boys of his own: my maiden name will live on for a couple more generations at least. 

9) Divorce changes the way you view marriage.

Meaning: while I could maybe entertain the thought of getting married again, going though the emotional turmoil of another divorce completely clouds how I view marriage.  When my ex and I were discussing whether or not I'd change my name, he said something like "yeah, no use going through changing it when you'll just have to do it all again when you get remarried."  Wait.  What?  Uhhhhh.  We were in the middle of a divorce and the LAST thing in the world I was thinking about was getting remarried.  Now that I'm in a happy relationship, the marriage question seems to come up a lot.  People around us drop everything from little hints to out right saying things like, "y'all better hurry and put a ring on it!"  Honestly, though, I have a committed relationship that's full of love and trust.  We're not having any children together.  Marriage isn't something I feel like I HAVE to have. 

10) It really will be okay.

Even though it is emotionally taxing, I really do believe getting to the point of divorce is harder than the actual divorce.  I remember telling a friend once that I felt guilty because I was more emotional about the ending of a relationship where I wasn't married than by my divorce . . . my divorce from a man that I was MARRIED to and had CHILDREN with.  It didn't make sense.  She told me, "that's because you don't just end a marriage.  Once you're to the point of divorce, you know you've tried as hard as you possibly can, you know you've done everything."  Solid advice and truth.  And once you get to the point of divorce, you've gone through the hardest part.  And when you keep that in mind, you know you'll be okay. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bearssssss.


We did not make the decision to go Tampa and Clearwater Beach to escape the frigid cold (seriously, it was 75* the morning we left Memphis.) We didn't go just to splash around in the Gulf or even to have some fun kid-free time. Nope. We planned the trip back in July when the NFL schedule came out and we discovered the Bears would be playing the Bucs in Tampa Bay two days after Christmas. 


I've always been a college football girl.  I mean, I grew up watching NFL and would still have the TV on whatever game on Sundays but I was just never all that into the NFL.  I have to say, though, that the NFL spirit is rubbing off on me.  It was awesome walking in Tampa that Sunday and having random people yell, "Go Bears!" and "Bear down!" And, I mean, we were over 1,000 miles from their team.  Pretty cool.

We bought beer when we landed in Tampa Saturday but wanna know what we didn't buy? A cooler. 
 

That's the crisper drawer from our hotel fridge. You do what you gotta do!


We didn't buy tickets before the game (still expensive on Stubhub!) A couple scalpers wanted $100 per ticket for seats on the third level. Yikes! We were in the parking lot, drinking a beer, when a crackhead-looking guy rode up on a bike. He offered us two lower level tickets for $50 each plus a couple beers. I was hesitant, so afraid they were going to be fakes, but we gambled and ended up with amazing seats!




Just seven rows back, right in front of the ship, and everyone we sat around was cool as hell. We couldn't have had better seats for the price!


You can't really tell from the pics, but there were just as many Bears fans as Bucs fans. In fact, our entire row was in Bears gear. We had season ticket holders in front of and behind us, though, and they were awesome. Bucs fans are really a class act!
 

Best part? Bears won! Mark had, like, a nine live game losing streak. Now I can take him to an Arkansas game! (And we might just have gone to one over the weekend . . . )

Monday, January 4, 2016

BlowDawg, Luscious, and Drunk Anfrunny Go to Florida

Two years ago, I went to Ft. Worth right after Christmas and it was fabulous.

Last year was Arizona right after Christmas. Amazing. 

However, the decision to spend the days after Christmas in Florida this year may have been the best one yet!  The weather was awesome, the Bears won, and I had two pretty cool travel companions. I wasn't sure how things would go traveling with two guys but we had so.much.fun.  

We flew into Tampa and arrived mid-morning Saturday ... so we had the entire day to have fun. Our first stop was picking up a rental car ... a Kia Soul that smelled awful. Over the course of the weekend I heard things like, "smells like dirty socks ..." "A prostiture..." "Ass ..." "Why does this car smell like a dick? ..." "Jeez. Now it smells like socks, beer, and pistachios." You get the picture.  I'm pretty sure every single time I see a Kia Soul from now on, I'll think it smells like a prostitute's feet.  We should've returned it but were too ready to get the party started. 

Anthony used to live in the area and had a few places he wanted to hit. First was Kahuna's and, guys, if you're ever in St. Pete, check it. It's a dive but probably the best food I had all weekend. Saturday, Mark and I split fish tacos then Sunday (yeah, we went back) we tried the fish spread and an order of wings. The bartender also mixed us a mean Bloody Mary. 

After Kahuna's, we hit not one but TWO different Hooter's (then another for dinner that night ...) 


One was the original Hooter's and a total tourist trap. And not to be all sexist or whatever but if you work at Hooter's and your face is busted, at least sport some personality. K? Thanks. 


We stayed at the Holiday Inn on Clearwater Beach and managed to get an upgrade to the penthouse suite. Hello, awesome!  The views were amazing but I couldn't wait to get my toes in the sand. 



The water was a little chilly but the sun felt ahhh-mazimg. 

 
Mark and I both forgot our sunglasses so we bought some at the hotel gift shop ... that's why I'm sporting those super cool neon green ones! We were sitting at the pool bar when I noticed how cool everything looked reflected in his glasses. Had to take a pic ...


The views at the pool were stunning ... especially as the sun began to set. 






Seriously ... does life get any better?!?

After the sunset, we headed up to the room to get Drunk Anfrunny ready for the night out:


We planned to have dinner at Crabby Bill's but it was so packed that we ended up sitting at the bar at Hooter's. We were right on the water of the Gulf ... amazing seafood options. And I was ordering fried pickles at Hooter's. Yeah. Winning. (Mark did get oysters, though, and I had a few of those!)

We headed to bed fairly early for a vacation night because the next day was ... Da Bearsssss.