Stupid, stupid, stupid.

As I type this, I am sitting in my bed, curled up under 3 layers of blankets, listening to the wicked wind frantically whip about outside. Why do people always add the “outside” to that statement? Listening to the wind outside. As though the fact that the wind is outside needs clarification. Clearly it’s not whipping around inside your house. Unless you have a hole in your house, in which case you have much more serious problems than just the wind…

Anyway, a typically chilly fall day turned wickedly windy and bitterly cold by nightfall, bringing with it big, sloppy snowflakes that stuck to the ground and left a layer of frosting everywhere you look.

I love it.

I love the snow and the cold. It’s my favorite. Ask me again come March and I might be singing a different tune, but right now, I find it lovely.

It’s the perfect end to a day that began disastrously.

I opened my eyes, saw the morning light streaming through my curtains and the first words out of my mouth were… “Sh*t.”

It was morning. The sun was up. I. Was. So. Flippin’. Late.

I was afraid to look at the time for fear of what it might tell me. I should have been up hours ago, getting ready to go to school. Instead, I slept right through my alarm and didn’t wake up until school was about to start.

Sh*t, Sh*t, Sh*t.

I called the school. Apologized profusely. I was going to be late.

I semi-washed my hair. Dried it. Pulled some goop through it. Brushed my teeth. Put my clothes on. I was at school 20 minutes later. No breakfast. No coffee. No contacts. No makeup. I probably looked like hell but at least I had made it. I literally ran the three blocks to the school, arriving huffing and puffing and still apologizing profusely. Real cool, sub lady. Come in late. You’re supposed to be here because the teacher can’t be here. Good grief. I felt awful. Thankfully, the principal had filled in for me and the kids had just gotten settled in. Everyone was super understanding and kind about it, but I couldn’t help and wonder if they were secretly rolling their eyes and thinking, “Wow. You idiot.”.

All I remember is waking up at 4:30 with a sneezing jag, an instant clogging of the nasal passages, and a gooey stream of snot running down my chin that would not stop no matter how many tissues I jammed up there. I went back to bed knowing my alarm would go off in another hour and a half. I don’t know if it was the allergy medicine or the total breakdown of proper nasal functionality, but I slept right through it. I could have died. I’m never late for anything. Granted, the damage was already done, there’s nothing I could do about it but fly to work as fast as my feet would carry me, but… it still felt awful.

So the snow? It’s just what I needed to redeem this day.

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You know what else drives teachers to drink?

Finding a discarded pair of rainbow colored My Little Pony undies laying in the middle of the floor of the girls’ bathroom.

I’ll let that sink in.

That look on your face? That was my reaction too.

Whaaaaa????

My brain did not know how to process what I had just stumbled across. What do you do with this information? What do you do with the underwear? How the…  Why???

I stared at them for a good 30 seconds trying to figure out what and who and how and why and when. And then I checked with the nurse who was right next door to see if someone had had an accident. Nope. So, I checked with the secretary. (Good grief. You know how embarrassing it is to go to someone with the adult equivalent of “I found this on the floor. What should I do with it?”) She got that same look on her face.

Whaaaaaa????

She gave me some rubber gloves so I could throw them in the trash. I wasn’t touching those things. And yes, I was still going to wash my hands 17 times afterwards.

It was baffling. And weird. And uncomfortable.

I couldn’t help but wonder if some poor little girl was wandering the halls all commando. I mean, how did… why would… who does…  I finally gave up.

Children are… so very, very strange.

Also, if I hear the following statement one more time, I will probably start bringing a flask to work with me.

“Ms. Evan… I found this on the floor.”

Biggest. Annoyance. Ever.

They never bring you a diamond ring or a cuddly puppy or a magic unicorn. Nope. It’s always, always, always a piece of trash. A used twist-tie. A discarded tissue. A paper clip. A gum wrapper. Half of a chewed-up eraser. A used piece of tape. And my all-time favorite… A STAPLE.

The statement is almost always, always, always followed with this question: “What should I do with it?”

Really?

REALLY?

REALLY?!?!

I understand that they are children, but good grief. A 3 year-old can understand that trash goes in the trash.

I always answer their question with another question. “What do you think you should do with it?”. But really I want to say something horribly snide like, “I don’t know. Stick it in your ear? Wrap it up and give it to Mom for Christmas? Sell it on eBay? Give it to charity?”

(Ha! Next time, I am TOTALLY using one of those responses on my students. Just to see the look I get. And then maybe they’ll understand that there IS such a thing as a dumb question.)

I mean, God bless ’em, but… OH MY GAWD. Kids are so weird.

*sigh*

Mean Ms. Sub came out to play today.

Between the constant interrupting, blurting, disrespecting, contradicting, hissy-fit throwing because I caught you doing something naughty… oh, you bet your bippy mean Ms. Sub came out to play.

Santa is totally hearing about this. Bunch o’ little turkeys…

This is why teachers drink.

Faker

My mom has been trying to get me to listen to relationship and/or marriage programs that are aired on the local Christian radio station. I think she does it because she wants me to see that this divorce wasn’t my fault – I did everything right. But when one person doesn’t value the vows they’ve made, there’s not much one person can do. Marriage is a two-person job.

She means well, but I refuse to turn these programs on. At first I would listen a little, but it always made me homicidal. Don’t get me wrong – there were great stories and funny anecdotes and helpful advice. It wasn’t the programs that bothered me. It was listening to people – even “professionals” talk about how to maintain a happy, healthy marriage that really got to me, because everything these people were saying were things we did… and STILL, my marriage fell apart.

We prayed together. We read the Bible together. We read marriage books and went to church and shared our thoughts and concerns with each other. We voiced our frustrations and fears with one another. We comforted one another. We laughed together and tried not to sweat the small stuff. We shared our hopes and dreams with one another. We made plans and worked hard together and knew we’d stick it out through thick and thin and always be there for one another. Divorce wasn’t a viable option. It wasn’t even on the table. Sure, we’d occasionally fight like rabid wolverines and say some stupid, hurtful things, but we never seriously thought about the big “D”.

Or at least… I didn’t.

It got me thinking…  How much of my marriage was faked? As I looked at all the things we did right, it occurred to me… I was doing these things and taking them seriously and truly invested in our marriage, but… was he? I can’t answer that question. Only he can. Was I naive enough to think that just because we were doing these things we both meant them? Just because I meant them didn’t mean he did. Why had I never considered that before?

I suppose I never had any reason to question his sincerity or honesty when it came to our marriage. I never realized he may have been going through the motions, putting on a good front, pretending, lying… faking. Because if he was (and he had to have been… why else would he pull up stakes and run?), he was brilliant at it. He had the right words, the right responses. He knew exactly what to do and how to do it. He was passionate and emotional and caring and considerate and Godly at all the right times and in all the right places. But… had he meant any of it?

8 years together. 6 years of marriage. And I’m sitting here wondering if he had meant anything that came out of his mouth. Which portions of my relationship were fact and which portions were fiction? Trying to figure that out would be a lesson in futility to be sure, but I can’t help but wonder. At what point (and there had to have been a point when this decision was made) did he decide to just fake it? Because up until that phone call this June, I believed everything that came out of his mouth. Did the faking start when she re-entered the picture? Did the faking start before then? Did it go as far back as our engagement, when we were dating? But why fake it then? There’s no need to fake things that early on… if you don’t like what you see, just cut ties and run. Nothing is holding you there. And yet, I wonder… was any of it real? Or did the faking begin because he had convinced himself he could do better, that I wasn’t good enough, that I had never been good enough and that it was time to end the charade?

This summer when I was removing my belongings from our place, I agreed to meet him briefly at his request. He asked me if I had ever heard the phrase “Fake it ’til you make it.”? (Just the fact that he asked me this question made me want to punch him in the face. Who HASN’T heard of this phrase? But this was yet another prime example of how he treated me like a dumb little kid half the time.) He told me he thought that’s what he had been doing during our marriage. Faking it, hoping he would learn to love me if he went through the motions. But then, why pursue me? Why go to the ends of the earth to catch me? Why put all that time, money and effort into wooing me? Why marry me? I mean… why do any of it? You don’t like someone you just… don’t.  Why commit to something that serious if you don’t really want to? And why, when I had tried to break it off with him early in our relationship because I wasn’t sure of my feelings, did he resort to crying and begging me not to leave. I mean… why?!

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I didn’t have my own doubts about marrying the guy. There were plenty of times before and during the marriage when I wondered if I had made a mistake. When I had to learn to love him. When I had to put forth the effort to love him even when I didn’t want to. But sometimes that’s what marriage is, and putting forth the effort and sticking to my vows just established and solidified my love for him. Even when I was afraid I had made a mistake, I had entered a contract before God. I made my decision, I had to live with it. You don’t just get a “do-over”.  Or maybe you do. Looks like he did anyway…

I just… I don’t know. Maybe none of this is making sense. Maybe I’m just going around in circles (I’m fairly certain I am…), but I just want to know when the faking started and why? (I know a lot of what I’m saying is probably baffling as it seems to fly in the face of an earlier post where I stated I had never loved him. I loved him. But it was something I learned. It didn’t happen entirely naturally.  And I did love him when I married him, I just didn’t fall in love like I expected to. And okay, maybe I was blinded by the intense amount of wooing and affection going on… But I did love him. I’m horrible at acting. I was not faking it. Just to be clear.) I don’t know how he could have faked the tenderness, the compassion, the love. Maybe he did. Who knows? Or maybe convincing himself of that just helps him sleep better at night.

I will probably never get an answer to all these questions. But maybe just being brave enough to face them is a step in the right direction.

The Holidays

I’ve heard that holidays are the worst for the newly separated and divorced. It’s a blaring reminder of what you no longer have, a gut-wrenching carousel ride of memories you don’t want to think about, a game of “what if” wondering what it would be like this year if you were still together.

High five. Sounds like an awesome time.

Oddly enough, I’m not dreading the holidays like I thought I would. I’m actually overjoyed that I do not have to dread the upcoming discussion of “Whose parents will we see this year?” Gawd, that was one discussion I could do without forever and ever amen. Seriously. Every Thanksgiving, every Christmas, every Easter, every Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, every inane “holiday” that his mother would make up as an excuse to see each other… again.

I can’t tell you how many times I would look at the calendar and calculate how long we had until we had to have the “discussion” again. Even in July I would start to panic… only four months until Thanksgiving and the dreaded “discussion”! I could hyperventilate just thinking about it. It was the worst. Especially, since I knew that during this discussion I was supposed to behave like a mature, reasonable, fair, logical adult when all I really wanted to do was throw a tantrum so epic that two year olds would bow their heads in reverence. I hated seeing his family for the holidays. They were weird and gross. And my family wasn’t as weird. Therefore, experience dictates that we should choose the less crazy family to see for any and all holidays. Mine. Simple logic. What is the problem? What do we have to discuss? And why is he now throwing himself on the floor in a glorious display of two year old fury? (Looking back, there are probably a lot of things we didn’t do very well while we were married.)

In my defense, his family was… well… weird. With the exception of a few, a lot of them had personal hygiene issues and had been diagnosed with verbal diarrhea. It made the holidays nearly unbearable for a natural introvert and all around “prissy” girl. A lot of times I was fair, but more often than not, I was probably unreasonable because… well… I just didn’t like his family and I didn’t want to spend the holidays being tortured. Call me crazy. Plus, his family lived only 20 minutes away. We saw them a lot. Much more often than my parents who lived 4 hours away. My argument still holds water that even though we didn’t see his side for Thanksgiving the previous year, we had just seen them for their made-up “Fall Festival” celebration and we hadn’t seen my side since the 4th of July. I honestly still think that was a perfectly fair and reasonable argument. He did not.

Regardless, I’m thrilled that I don’t have to have the argument again this year. Because even though it was meant to be a “discussion” it would always snowball into an argument, and one of us would eventually have to give in (usually him) and one of us would NOT be very happy with the holidays. (Yes, if you’re wondering, there are definitely things I would do differently now, looking back. But he never gave me the option of remedying any of our issues so… that gives me the right to now say that I was right in every argument we ever had. Look it up. It’s science.)

This year, I get to be with my family, and I am thrilled. Plus, I don’t have to feel guilty about it, which is awesome. See? There are some nice things about being single again.

I got nothing… except maybe a little Hamm.

Seriously.

I got nothing.

Noth-ing.

Nope.

Still nothing.

I’m not even going to force it this time by writing about things I truly don’t care about. It’s probably just better to go with nothing, right? Don’t force it… just let the nothingness flow? Sure, I can do that. Heck, I can even write a blog post about it!

So, rather than bore you with more nothingness, here’s another picture of Jon Hamm.

jon-hammAgain, you’re welcome.

Panic

The other day, the man I affectionately refer to as the “Ass Hat” was coming to my neck of the woods to deliver the remainder of my stuff to me. I know, right? How thoughtful of him! Actually, this never would have happened had I not threatened to NOT sign the divorce papers if he didn’t. Sure, I could have gotten my stuff on my own and spent a ton of money to rent a truck, get movers to haul it for me, drive it here, drop off the stuff and return the truck. But honestly, I just didn’t want the inconvenience and cost of doing it. SO, I figured, since he’s the one who hasn’t been put out by any of this… let him do it. Plus, it was just extra incentive for him to do it so he can prove once and for all he really is a nice guy – he’s just misunderstood. If he weren’t nice, he wouldn’t do this for me! (He’s so hell bent on coming out smelling like roses after this that he’ll do just about anything to maintain his “nice guy” image. Not that I would use that to my advantage or anything…)

Anyway… where was I? Oh, yes. Ass Hat was dropping off the remainder of my things to a storage facility because he’s such a nice guy. So, the morning of, I woke up nauseous – completely sick to my stomach. You know that feeling you get when you’re nervous about a job interview or a big doctor’s appointment? It was that kind of feeling. I was riddled with anxiety, and I couldn’t shake it. Eventually the nausea gave way to a racing heart and the sensation that I couldn’t calm down. Outwardly I was fine. Inwardly, I was going crazy. It felt like I wasn’t breathing right and I couldn’t get a breath deep enough to calm the rest of me down. I was sweaty and tense and I just wanted the day to be over with.

The dumb thing was, I was having this totally heightened physical response to him just being in the same town as me. I didn’t even need to see him or speak to him. I just knew he was going to be there and I felt totally panicked. And then I felt angry. Why was I letting him steal my peace, steal my joy, and ruin my day? He had no right! So, I went to school, took care of my munchkins, and refused to let my thoughts be taken over by him.

The funny thing is… I never would have predicted having that sort of response to seeing him, or even being in the same vicinity as him. My, how things have changed. 6 months ago, his presence was what would have calmed me. He was my protector and the person I could hold onto when the ground gave way. Now, the ground had given way because of him, and his presence caused nothing but chaos and panic. Funny, huh? I guess sometimes I need a reminder of who my real protector is and who holds me up through it all.

“Cursed is the man to trusts in man and makes flesh his strength… Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5-7