Wednesday 16 February 2011

I'm Not Dead -- Not Yet

No, I've sort of lost the urge to blog. I've been busy with work, with my new house, with my children, with my new man.

The house has proved to need a bit more work doing than it appeared at first. And getting someone to do the work is difficult too. And I still have many things to buy for it. I still have lots of boxes to unpack and I just don't feel like doing it. Part of the reason is the boxes are in my bedroom, which is glacial thanks to a malfunctioning radiator.

The children and I are getting along a lot better. Our trip to Florida at Christmas helped a lot. They know I love them. I know they love me. We are coping.

My new man! He is someone I met at work in December. I was still in contact with the old boyfriend from 28 years ago, but we'd had quite a few ups and downs and I was starting to think I should look elsewhere. I had thought about men at work but the ones I was interested in were taken. And I was a bit reluctant to appear like I was desperate. Then this man walked into my life. He flirted with me outrageously for an hour or so one afternoon. I texted a friend that night asking about him. I wasn't sure if this flirting was indeed flirting or something he did with all women. A bit of both it turned out. While I was in America at Christmas he texted me to ask if I'd like to go out when we got back. And when I got back the texting onslaught started. He is younger than me. By about 12 years. He says it's not an issue, and it certainly doesn't feel that way when we're together. I've never had a relationship like this. I keep casting my mind back to various relationships and their beginnings. Of course, there's that giddy can't-get-enough feeling. But this is something different. I've never had such an adventurous and open sexual relationship for one thing. Also, in the past I was much concerned with what a man did for a living and what sort of cache he had. My new man has no such cache. He is by his own admission bad with money. He lives in a filthy flat, has no car, works at a low-paying job (but so do I). What he has is a fantastic sense of humour and a way of making me feel like I am the most gorgeous, desirable woman on earth. And I feel the same way about him. Is he Mr. Right? I have no idea. But he is Mr. Right Now. Every time I see him, I want to see him more. Our obligations to our mutual children (he has a 9-year-old son to whom he is devoted) have acted to slow things down a bit. Just as well. I fall head over heels too often and too quickly. At 51, I feel mortal, like I don't have much time left before I'm a toothless hag. But I also feel it's time I enjoyed myself. I panic. I get paranoid. But I get over it. And then I see my man and everything's great. Old Boyfriend wasn't happy when I told him I was moving on (after he forgot my birthday when I did all but sign the birthday card for him). But that was never a realistic relationship. This one is.

The ex continues to prove why he's an ex every chance he gets. Now I tell the children when he pulls one of his shenanigans. Like text me to fuck off. Like email me to threaten me about one of the children. As each day passes, I thank God I am away from him and that I have the life I have.

I'm happy and that is a very strange feeling for me. But I'm getting used to it.

Friday 1 October 2010

And Now For a Little Foolishness

Wish I'd read your comments earlier before I plunged straight into another relationship. Well, almost but not quite a relationship. And with someone I've written about here before: my Photographer Boyfriend from 28 years ago.

You see, I received an email from a mutual friend on Sept. 2 saying PB would love to hear from me. We have been asking about each other for years -- 28 years to be exact. So I emailed him. And he emailed back. And I emailed back, etc. And we skyped, sometimes for hours at a time. Oh, I had the most marvelous 26 days. We giddily, foolishly told each other how much we loved each other then and still do. And we opened up to each other in ways we never did all those years ago.

Oh yes, I fell into that marvellous abyss called love. And so did he. And then my old insecurities about him resurfaced when he wouldn't commit to us meeting up at the end of October. He has legitimate reasons. But I thought somehow they would magically disappear. And I was uncomfortable with how he was or wasn't letting his daughter know about me. Never mind that I haven't told my children about him. So I sent him an email spelling out all my insecurities, which triggered all of his. And then I panicked that he wanted out of my life just as he was coming back into it.

To cut a long story short, we have decided to step back a bit. Well, he decided and I have no choice but to go along with it. Otherwise, I risk being branded a bunny boiler. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that he is right about so many things. And so are those of you who left comments on my previous post. Why plunge straightaway into another relationship? The relationships I should be working on are with my children. They just aren't interested in a relationship with me right now.

PB worries that I am using him as an escape from my dreary reality. And I must admit that might be true to some extent. But my reality is about to change for the better, I hope. I am about to complete the purchase of a new home and should be moving within a week and a half, with any luck. I have been living in a bedroom for the past year and I am sick of it. My divorce is final. Nearly all the money has been split. It is time to move on.

Will PB be a part of my future? I am praying that he is. It amazes me how much I remember of our 18-month, on-and-off relationship. And how much he remembers as well. We have gone over the ugly bits -- him cheating on me, my reaction, which was to bring 3 men back to his apartment to sleep with me in his bed, our final break-up, and our last meeting in 1988. He thought I was indifferent to him, that I had no feelings for him. No, I had too many feelings. I considered reconnecting with him in 1990-91, when I was single again. But he wasn't single yet. I considered emailing him 10 years ago when I first googled him. But I didn't. I wrote about him here two years ago. And then I did email him. He never replied and I assumed he was not interested in hearing from an old girlfriend. He says he never received the email and I believe him.

So for 26 days it was very hot and heavy. So wonderfully absorbing. But we were neglecting the practical sides of our lives. He has a book project to complete by the end of the year. He has taxes to file. He has other assignments. I have to move and all that entails. I have to allow myself to adjust to my new status, and to work out how my relationship with my children will change. And where they will live and when.

So we will stay in touch, but not as ardently or frequently. It doesn't mean it's over. Just that we have to put other things first right now before we tackle the very real problems of geography and children and money to see if this will work. I hope it does. I am so thankful to have him back in my life. He has changed, of course. Physically but also emotionally. He has grown up, and so have I. But I also have to remain realistic. For now.

Sunday 29 August 2010

I'm Almost Out of Breath

Ah, so much has been going on in Wakeup's world, it's hard to keep up.

First of all, I made an offer on a house that has been accepted. Now I go into buying-house-fast mode. Secondly, although I love my new job as a support worker for autistic adults to bits, it doesn't pay well and there's no security. I could go for a permanent position that pays better but that means shifts, nights, and weekends. I'm not ready for that at this point in time. I have a job interview on Wednesday for a fund raising position.

And I've been thinking about the next relationship I want to be in. Because I'm not sure how soon I want to be in a relationship. I realise one reason I love my job so much is that I am treated well by my co-workers and the clients. I don't get that at home at all. I am the mother who ruined my children's lives. I am the woman who spurned such a loyal and faithful husband. I am shit at home. But not at work. At work I am the person who gets a client who supposedly doesn't like to be touched to put his arms around her and to play games with her. At work I have men (fellow workers) telling me I have a stunning figure and look nothing like my age. At home I have a daughter who uses guilt and extortion to get me to buy things I can ill afford for her. A daughter who is resentful if I buy myself something at all. A daughter who thinks I don't even deserve a new bed after 15 years of sleeping on old ones (actually longer). A son who curses me out behind my back because I made him come home to eat the meal I prepared. At home I have a soon-to-be ex-husband who to my face seems ever so reasonable but sticks the knife in the moment my back is turned.

So the next relationship I'm in will have to be something really fantastic. Something that puts a spring in my step. With someone who respects me. Who doesn't treat me like an idiot or a harlot.

But in the meantime I am waiting to move. And then I will exhale. And exhale. And exhale. For I've been holding my breath for a very long time.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

I Need To Wake Up and Make Up My Mind

I've been invited to apply for a permanent post where I work. Should I do it? It involves shifts and sleepovers. It means a 75p/hour pay rise, though with some perks. It also means I'd work with some individuals I quite like in a house I quite like. But I would lose my independence. As it is, I can determine my hours, though not where I work. So I could have a boring 9-4:30 job or a very interesting, fulfilling one with hours all over the place.

I feel paralyzed by indecision. I've been frantically househunting because I want to get out of here pronto. And I've found three properties I really like. But I keep finding fault with each of them. I am so afraid of making the wrong decision. I took a friend with me on Sunday to look at six houses but soon regretted it. I know she was trying to be my advocate, but I felt like she took over. So I'm going solo or with the kids.

And I wonder if I should report FEX for supplying underage teens with alcohol. He bought an alcopop for Daughter's friends tonight. I am strongly opposed to this teen-age drinking though I'm a total hypocrite. Just because I did it doesn't make it right. And Daughter lied to me about it and tried to make out that it was her dad lying. My relationship with her is very rocky.

So, back to these houses. One is actually a two-floor three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with views of the beach and the golf course. I love it, but the outside needs some attention. The two others I like are Edwardian semis: spacious rooms. One has been decorated very nicely. And it's a bit beyond my price range. I am torn between going for the cheaper option (the apartment) and paying to have the exterior refurbed or buying something I don't need to do anything to. The apartment comes with a garage. The two semis don't. The apartment doesn't have a garden (yard) though it has the potential for one. The two semis have small, manageable gardens (yards). My kids want a house with a party room. The apartment has just enough space but nothing spare. The semis have a bit of leeway. My kids will be out the door in four years' time and I don't know how much time they will spend with me before then. I have to think about taxes (lower for the apartment), upkeep, utility bills, resellability, and how I would feel being there all by myself. I keep asking for advice but don't know if that's the right thing to do either. Everyone has an opinion and sometimes it's colored by what they want, not what I need.

The kids have found lots of excuses for not coming with me to look at these houses. I know I should be more understanding of them. This must be so hard for them. But it is so hurtful to me. FEX says he doesn't know if he's going to keep the house on the market or not. He keeps going in the back garden and taking out some shrub. I now think he is trying to show me and the garden who's boss. I imagine this is how it will be for the rest of his or my life: him trying to prove to me what a bad decision I made to leave him. I still feel no regrets though I am very sad about my relationship with my kids.

I must focus on other things: job and house. Make a decision, wakeup!

Sunday 1 August 2010

The End Is Nigh

We had our day in court. And we reached a settlement. I was not leaving till we had an agreement. On gray, rainy day in a non-descript 60s courthouse, we came to the agreement that I get 55% of the assets and 40% of his pension. It's not an overly generous settlement. I could have fought for more money. And I would still be here next year. FEX is buying me out. He has a mortgage in place and is ready to transfer the money any day now. I came down £30,000 and 5% of the pension share. But it's only money and it's worth my freedom.

That night FEX and I sat and watched TV in the same room and had a reasonably civil conversation. FEX said if I wanted he would look after my money. Then today I did some weeding in the garden that soon will no longer be mine. FEX came out and demolished a poor, innocent forsythia. At first I thought he was showing me and the garden who's the boss. Then as I saw him hacking away I realised he was working out his anger, despair, or whatever emotion he might be feeling. Tonight, the phone rang and I answered it. Someone sounding suspiciously like Lurch said, "FEX please." It was one of FEX's two friends, the one who's been through a bitter divorce, the one whose ex-wife had him thrown in jail, the one who's been advising FEX to be so aggressive. I could hear FEX re-enacting our day in court, only making himself and his lawyer out to be the heroes. And of course that's not what happened at all. What happened was two barristers doing a lot of math and going back and forth with offers and counter offers. We were there from 9 a.m. till 2:30. It was a long, exhausting day.

I had hoped the settlement would put an end to this bitching about me on the phone. But obviously it hasn't. So, FEX, no you may not manage my money. I don't want your filthy hands on it.

I went to a party last night and spoke to a friend I hadn't seen for a while. He and his wife, both lovely people, are separated (again) and divorcing. I can't take sides because I can see both sides so clearly. And I know firsthand the hurt they each are feeling. I advised my friend to try not to demonise his wife, that it will accomplish nothing. I suggested he find a counsellor to talk to about any negative feelings he might have. This couple separated last year when the wife moved in with another man. The guilt was too much, and she came back to try to make a go of it. But she couldn't do it. And I know how she feels. She is the sort of person who is always taking care of other people's needs. Her husband had a near-fatal brain tumour many years ago. It left him unable to work so she had to go back to work. And still manage the home because it also meant her husband has no short-term memory. I can understand her position. And I can understand his too. But so far neither one has gone around trashing the other. No nasty emails. No trying to get friends on their side. Unlike FEX.

People can be civilised and go through divorce. I've tried. I'm still trying.

So what about the kids? I think they're in a bit of shock. I think they didn't believe this would actually happen, that their father is basically kicking me out. Not that I'm fighting it. Not that I want to stay. I can't believe FEX wants to stay here. It will be so empty when I've gone. I wonder if he's thought about that.

Oh well. That's his problem. I have so many things to think about and do. I'd better get busy and start doing them.

Saturday 24 July 2010

So Close and Yet...

Well, my new job is getting under way. I'm just shadowing at the moment, but I am seeing close up how varied the autism spectrum is. I have seen people at either ends of the spectrum. from extremely unable to very able yet still in need of support. It fascinates me. I have so much respect for the people who do this work. On the face of it it doesn't seem demanding, but it can be extremely challenging. And you never know how your day is going to go. I'm very tired. It's not demanding -- at least not now, but there is so much to take in.

And FEX has made a financial settlement offer. On the face of it it looks ok. But I worry because he has made me close out two accounts in my name and he says he's deposited the money in our joint savings account (making sure he can get his hands on it). But I can't see where the money from one account has gone. I am so close. Next Friday is the court hearing date for the financial dispute resolution. I've told my solicitor that come hell or high water I'm walking out of there with a settlement. She said she sincerely hopes I do. And perhaps FEX will buy out my share of the house. I can only hope.

My new job is not very well paid. I could try to get a permanent post, which pays better, but the hours are crap. So I am trying to find another part-time job, I'm cleaning a couple of houses a week (which pays far better than looking after autistic adults), and I'd like to do a few shifts a week in the support worker job. And I still need to get my massage therapist certification, and then could charge £20/hour for massages. I had a job interview on Tuesday. Of course I didn't get the job. But I made it to the final three. So close and yet...

Friday 16 July 2010

So Here's What I've Been Doing

Does anybody who isn't Chinese read my blog anymore? Not that I have anything against the Chinese people but some comments in English are welcome as well.

Anyway, I have no room to complain as I have been an errant blogger. But much has been happening in my world. I started working. Yes, Wakeup has a job, actually two jobs and possibly a third on the way. I am a peripatetic support worker for people with autism. This is completely different to anything I've ever done, and yet it's not. I have been a carer for the past 18 years for FEX and my children. Now I get paid for it, and I get to work with autistic people. Yes, so far I enjoy it. Autism is an extremely complex disability. No two autistic people are alike, I've discovered. One may have highly developed verbal skills but has no concept of time and won't feed him or herself. Another may have no language skills and no toilet skills. All autistic people have a high level of anxiety. My heart goes out to them. Imagine trying to cope with daily living when you, through no fault of your own, have no coping skills and never will. Imagine being the parents of such a child. Imagine the hopes and dreams you had for your child and realising they will never happen. You can never relax because you never know what's going to happen, or you do know what's going to happen.

An interesting job, but not a highly paid one. That's why I'm also cleaning houses, which is far better paid. And I have an interview for a third job next week. Put them all together, though, and they add up to a decent wage. Not much free time, but who needs that? I am having a hard time adjusting to not being here for the family that don't want me here anyway. Well, I think my son does. And my daughter does on occasion. Who knows what FEX wants. Who cares?

The pension actuary's report came out today. I need to look at it in more detail but I'm leaning toward not going for a share of FEX's pension but a payout. That way I can invest it how I want, not how FEX wants. He has been a good money manager, but if I'm to have my independence, I must pull away completely. Also, who knows what could happen in the next 15 years. I could die. I could remarry. He could die. Life is full of uncertainty. FEX has been on the phone a lot with the kitchen door shut. I don't care who he's calling, but my dad has been trying to call me for several days because my stepmother has been in the hospital. And all he gets is a busy signal. I imagine FEX is on the phone with Julie16 and perhaps his two friends, five acquaintances, sister, and mother to update them on how wonderful he is and how horrible I am. My dad said he won't ever emerge from this negative state unless something really catastrophic happens to him. I don't wish that on him, but I do pray he one day stops this negativity and moves on. He's in danger, otherwise, of allowing our divorce to determine his reaction to everything and everyone in his life. And that's not a healthy way to be.

But I have no control over that. And meanwhile, I have so much to learn about autism.