Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Matters of the Heart.

(alternate title: Indigestion)

I donated platelets yesterday. It was a tough donation. I did a double. I took Tums several times during the process to battle the tingling. I was proud of myself, though. I was glad I'd put on a few pounds, thanks to the cross-training, so I was eligible for the double.

I was tired when I got home, and really had to go to the bathroom. I felt like I had gas really bad.

And then it moved upward. Not quite into my chest, but certainly not my usual upset tummy. I sat on the toilet wondering if I was having a heart attack.

I didn't make it to the kidlet's practice. I texted The Ex to tell him I wasn't feeling well. He asked about my symptoms and I told him. He recommended Tums. I took a few and spent the next hour on my side.

I got up feeling much better, but completely exhausted.

Eric had left town with his boys, but we'd made a tentative phone date. I texted him to tell him that I had not had a heart attack, but that I wasn't feeling well and would be asleep by the time he was able to call.

He called right away.

And asked why I hadn't called him.

Um, because he's out of town? And he had his kids?

His next question was why I hadn't called an ambulance... Or the Ex.

And I explained that I had called the Ex.

And then I found myself wondering how that would have played out if Eric was still in town. Would I have called him? Would I have been candid with him about my symptoms?

The Ex and I still have this level of honesty with one another. No embarrassment about bodily functions whatsoever. I can talk to him about shit and gas and whatnot with no problems.

So, regarding this... The Ex is still my go-to guy. Add in the fact that he's still my husband, and it's probably not surprising that I would turn to him before I turn to my... What are we calling Eric these days? The guy I am in love with? But the guy who's not my boyfriend?


I'm not going to overanalyze this. Shocking, I know.

I'm just going to be grateful for the fact that I didn't have a heart attack. And that the Ex was able to diagnose the worst heartburn ever via text... Yes, TEXT. Weird, but true.

And I'm on the mend.

And I just booked myself a little spa-getaway. I can't wait.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

RetroMama Bear

(Alternate Title: The Bar Fight)

It's funny how everything makes sense afterward. Events that seemed a little "off" in the moment make total sense in the aftermath. And serve to remind me that everything happens the way it's supposed to.

On Friday afternoon, the Ex called me to tell me that the kidlet's cousins were over and he might not want to go to dinner at our usual Friday hangout. I responded that the kidlet really didn't have a choice since it was my night with him and I wanted to go to the usual Friday hangout. Plus, we had a photo shoot in the morning and I wanted to make sure we got home early and got a good night's sleep. I didn't want the photos to show the bags that had taken up residence under my eyes in the previous days.

I arrived at The Hangout and was not thrilled to find that our usual booth was taken. By three guys. I was hoping they were just about finished and maybe we could move from the booth one family had already chosen since ours was unavailable. That had happened a few weeks earlier and I could totally deal with that. I finally settled into the "other" booth as another family arrived. A few minutes later, the Ex and the kidlet joined us.

Each of our three families have one kid, each. The kidlet played with Lani, who is a year older. In fact, the reason why we've been meeting up at The Hangout for the last five years is because Lani and the kidlet went to school together. The dads met at a parent work day and when we happened to run into them at The Hangout one Friday night, we ended up sitting together. Henry is a super-friendly guy. The Ex calls him my Friday Night Boyfriend. His wife, Darby, has been a tougher nut to crack. It took me a year before I could even accept that she liked me. Or some semblance of liking me, at least. This is a family that has introduced us to other friends and we've all gone camping. (Henry was one of the ones who looked out for me during the New Years' debacle.)

Pedro, Shelly, and their daughter were the ones who'd arrived first on Friday. They were celebrating that their daughter was asking to use the potty. I finally settled in next to Pedro, across from Shelly. I had my back to the usual booth. Shelly kept making faces and I finally asked what was wrong. She said that the men in our booth were really rude and crude. A fourth had joined them and they were using really foul language and talking about things like blow jobs and such... Darby joked that they were wearing wedding bands and so she knew that none of them had actually received a blow job anytime recently.

Another dad, Bob, joined us. His wife and two daughters were elsewhere. A neighbor of Henry's arrived with his daughter somewhere during the evening as well. I put up with some good-natured ribbing over the fact that I was drinking my cherry Cokes, my usual Friday night fare. Now that I drive myself to The Hangout, I rarely drink any alcohol. Every other grownup at our table was drinking beer, except for Shelly, who had a couple of martinis.

After Shelly brought those guys to my attention, I started listening. Even three booths away, it wasn't hard to hear. Their waitress, Taylor, is 19. Henry (while old enough to be her father) has a crush on her. I have always found her a bit annoying, but whatever. I noticed the 4th guy (we'll call him Striped Shirt) talking to her and Taylor stepping away from the table. Turns out, he'd been hitting on her. Asking for a hug. She gave him one, but he kept asking for more and she had refused.

Striped Shirt kept going outside to have conversations on his cell phone and once when he walked back in, our waitress was leaning over our table, and Striped Shirt put on a big show for his friends, pantomiming hitting our waitress on the ass. From where I was sitting, I couldn't tell if he'd actually done it, but since her expression didn't change, I assumed he was just showing off for his friends. I was pretty disgusted by his frat boy behavior, but whatever.

Our table was kind of on alert, though, after another waitress had brought over something to that table. She asked if they needed anything else and Striped Shirt said, loudly, "Yeah, I ordered a hot blonde in a pink shirt". I turned back to Shelly and made a face. Blonde waitress is probably about 16. Maybe 17.

Henry said that he was going to go over there the next time Taylor was there and say "What time will you be home tonight, Taylor?" Either the drunken frat boys would think that was her dad or her boyfriend, but maybe they'd lay off since we were all in the same room.

That was about the time I realized that the kidlet was still wide awake and that I would have to take him home soon. I gave him a 15-minute warning.

As Taylor walked past us, Henry told her what he was planning. She said she appreciated the offer and she would let us know if she needed help. She said that Striped Shirt kept asking for hugs and that she felt uncomfortable, but that his friends had told him to knock it off, so it should be fine. Plus, maybe Striped Shirt had left, since he hadn't been there the last time she'd visited their table. She asked if we needed anything else and with impeccable timing, the Ex said, "Can I have a hug?" The entire table erupted with tension-reducing laughter.

Eventually, Bob's wife and daughters joined us. We had added a table to our booth and were were just having fun. I realized the 15 minutes I'd given the kidlet had long since passed when he climbed up into the empty booth behind me. I was half-turned to look at him and had a clear view of our booth with the drunken frat boys (in their 30s and 40s, I might add) were hanging out.

I saw Taylor step over the bench on which Striped Shirt had been sitting and lean over their table to start clearing away the remains of their Irish Car Bombs and I saw Striped Shirt walk in. Taylor had her back to me and Striped Shirt, and for some reason, I watched him approach. I didn't realize my hackles were already up when I saw him climb over that bench, trapping Taylor between him and the table. He grabbed her and began to thrust his pelvis against her, repeatedly.

I was half-out of the booth and yelled, "Hey! Get your fucking hands off of her!"

The kidlet started cracking up that I'd used "the f-word", and Darby said, "RetroMama, watch your language in front of the kids!"

I was shaking and said, "I'm sorry I used that word, but you didn't see what he did to Taylor!"

Striped Shirt's buddy got up, grabbed Striped Shirt, and told him to apologize. Striped Shirt asked Taylor if he'd made her uncomfortable. When she told him he had, he apologized to her and then turned back to me and yelled, "You don't have to yell at me like that!"

Still pissed off, I said, "Obviously I did if that's what it took to get you to stop and apologize!"

The rest of the incident is something of a blur. Henry was up, so was the Ex. All booths cleared, and there was a whole lot of testosterone in the room. I was still trapped in the booth, which is probably a good thing. I kept one hand on the kidlet, keeping him in the booth behind me. One of the frat boys said something about the parking lot being right outside, but luckily, it didn't come to that. At a lull, the Ex had gone to get the owner and said, "Either Striped Shirt leaves or we don't come back."

Striped Shirt was told to leave.

Taylor came by to thank us, and Darby was still harping on the fact that I'd dropped the f-bomb. I said, "Like I said, I'm sorry the kids heard me use that word, but I am NOT sorry that I stood up for the 19-year-old girl who was being assaulted 10 feet from us."

Darby got her stuff and took her daughter into the other room, and shaking, I asked the Ex to please walk me and the kidlet to my car. It was now a half-hour after I'd thought we would have left.

The Ex told me I'd done nothing wrong and bits of the blur started floating back into my consciousness. He'd claimed me as his wife to the frat boys. And he'd nearly gotten into a fight because of something I'd done.

I was actually pretty touched by that.

I used the incident as a powerful teaching tool for the kidlet. Told him about how it's never okay to touch someone who doesn't want to be touched. And how the right thing to do when you see someone doing something wrong is to speak up. At one point, he said that he wished his dad had actually hit Striped Shirt. I told him that while Striped Shirt had done something very bad, that it's a good thing Daddy hadn't hit anybody. I said, "When grownups start hitting, somebody goes to jail and we don't want Daddy going to jail."

My son came out of that evening proud of his parents. Knowing that his parents are brave enough to stand up for what's right. And that, yes. Every now and then, the f-word has its place.

Not like Lani. Who, apparently, told her mom, "I would have expected a teacher to have more self-control."

Wow. What a legacy Darby is leaving for her daughter. My response to Darby when she relayed that message was that I was just glad that her daughter hadn't witnessed what I had seen. Darby also said that I could have said something but that dropping that word at "first fire" was a bit much. I questioned, "Is it really first fire when Taylor had already told him she was uncomfortable?" Darby never responded to that.

It's been 48 hours since I went all Mama Bear on some drunken asshole who was feeling up a kid I don't even like. But I've reflected upon the situation and talked it out with a few different people.

I've learned a lot since what the Ex and I have now dubbed "the Bar Fight" (even though no punches were ever thrown. Because we are just that dorky)...

The Ex made the point that being a teacher is nearly irrelevant. In fact, as a teacher, I am responsible for keeping kids safe. And in those moments, Taylor was just a kid who was being harassed and she needed help to solve the problem.

Yes, there are a thousand other ways I might have handled it. And maybe it's because I've been sexually assaulted in the past that I went from zero to 100 in less than a second. At the end of the day, Striped Shirt stopped his behavior and he apologized to his victim.

I realized that Darby really doesn't think much of me as a person. For her to continue to harp on one word instead of what brought it on makes me realize that she must not like me very much.

And I realized that I honestly don't care. I think a couple of years ago that might have bothered me. But it really doesn't. Her opinion means very little to me.

I realized that The Ex has still got my back. He stood up for me when safety was at stake, putting himself in harm's way ("There were six of us and three of them. We could have taken them. I would have done it, but I really didn't want to get in a fight. I'm not in my 20s anymore. I didn't really want to take a punch!".) And even after I left, he never threw me under the bus. Never said that I had overreacted. Told me that Taylor told the owner the whole story and didn't downplay at all what Striped Shirt had done.

He even went back to The Hangout on Saturday with his dad and Pedro. Taylor was all smiley and happy to see them. And the owner didn't say a word about the previous night. The Ex thinks that the owner watched the tapes and the film corroborated the stories he'd gotten. When I realized it had been on film, I said, "Ooh, maybe Darby should watch! She can show Lani what a sexual predator looks like!"

The Ex made the point that nothing will change Darby's stance on that night.

I totally don't want to go to The Hangout on Friday. But I will. And I'll hold my head high. I will say nothing about what happened. Unless Darby brings it up. And I will say, "We're just going to have to agree to disagree on this. I've apologized that the kids heard me use that word. I regret nothing else about how I handled that situation."

::whispers:: I don't even regret using that word, though. Because I don't think anything else would have gotten his attention in that moment.

I'm a fucking hero to a 19-year-old girl who learned a valuable lesson that night. She was told by the owner that she needs to tell him right away when someone's harassing her. It's his job to stop that, not hers to deal with it.

And she knows that no harm will come to her when RetroMama's in town.


Monday, June 14, 2010

The best laid plans...

By Friday, Eric and I were talking again. Constant texts and emails throughout the day. I found myself getting lulled back into him... Feeling stupid for all of these breakups and re-defining what we are to one another. I need to learn to keep my mouth shut.

And when we spoke that night, he described to me yet another interaction with his ex-wife. And that was it.

By the next morning, I told him we needed to go cold-turkey. No more talking. No more texts. No more emails. For a couple of days at least. I can't be his best friend. Not when a best friend would be able to listen to him process how he's feeling about her at any given moment. I can't do that and keep my sanity intact. It hurts too much.

I spent the rest of the day kicking ass. Building a bookcase. And on top of it, I placed an item he'd bought for me on the trip we took for my birthday. And I couldn't resist letting him know.

And that night I went out with friends. And got a little tipsy.

And, here's the thing: Not long ago, I shaved my head. For a thousand reasons (999 of them unselfish, shockingly), I drastically changed the way I look. I am very fortunate in that most people seem to agree that I am one of the lucky few who has a nicely shaped head. But still. I have no hair. And then I broke up with my boyfriend. Why, hello, single woman who won't be finding another man anytime soon!


But that night, I was strutting. Feeling good about myself. Confident. On a mission to kiss a stranger. Because that would make me feel good.

It didn't happen. I performed a random act of kindness or two before heading home, but I was going home early and I was going home alone.

Some neighbors were hanging out outside as I walked toward my apartment. And the sexy Indian guy asked me what had happened to my hair. And I explained and they all said it was very noble of me. And the Indian guy told me I am beautiful and asked me if I had any plans right then and did I want to go shoot some pool?

I turned him down for a hundred different reasons, but wow, did I feel good about having been asked!?!

And that was about when I was getting pretty horny. (What? I do! And sometimes the vibrator simply won't cut it.) But I didn't want a stranger. I wanted Eric. I mean, I really, really, really wanted Eric.

And I knew he wouldn't have his kids on Sunday. I had plans to meet up with a girlfriend, but I began planning out a wicked little fantasy.

My plan was to go to his place, seduce him, sleep with him in his bed, and leave this morning, knowing I wouldn't see him or talk to him for a few weeks this time. I wanted to leave my mark on him, my scent in his bed... I wanted him to know what he was missing out on by not being able to love me while he still loves her.

Because I actually seem to have the ability to love more than one man at a time. I don't think the love I have for The Ex takes away from the love I have for Eric at all. Although, I suppose the love I have for Eric does temper the love I have for the Ex a bit. Hmm. I hadn't realized that until just now.

Anyway. Eric has told me before that for him, absence makes the heart grow fonder... So, I wanted to make damn sure he had something amazing to remember me by. And then while we were apart, he would realize how much he loves me and he would magically get over his fears and find his way back to me. That's when we would start our happily ever something or other.

Beautiful fantasy, right?

You're either thinking "Wow, she's brilliant." or "Gawd, what a bitch."

I didn't realize what a bitch I was until I was actually sitting next to him. Because, of course, he said I could see him when I asked. And, of course, he would pour me a glass of wine. And, of course, he would not be able to resist kissing me as he had last week.

I had him right where I wanted him.

My intentions were clear. He had no willpower to resist me. And, I will admit that made me feel pretty damn sexy. All was going according to my plan. I was finally able to show off the sexy underthings I'd purchased weeks earlier with him in mind, and things were going beautifully.

And then...

He said the words.


That SO wasn't what this was supposed to be about!

It was supposed to be about sex. (Shut up. Don't act like you've never used sex to get something you want. And I was just making a long-term investment. Shit.)

And he fucking tells me he loves me?!? Out loud for the first time?!? Gawd, why can't he just be a normal guy who just wants to get laid?


Of course, that wasn't enough to shut me down. And we spent a lovely night together. And I laughed about how "nothing screams "walk of shame" louder than heels click, click, clicking up the stairs at 6:30 in the morning..."

So, no. I didn't cut him off completely today. And I ended up telling him all about my evil little plan... Which, shockingly, did not include attempting to coerce him into telling me he loves me. I swear upon anything I could possibly find holy that was not my intention.

And he didn't just tell me once.

But I giggle about how when we spoke on the phone this afternoon, there was that awkward moment as we said goodbye... "Will he say it? Will I?"

Yeah. No. Not ready to throw that out there all casually for quite awhile.

So, once again, Retromama's a gal who pretty much gets what she wants when she goes after it. Although, every now and then she gets far more than she bargained for...

Today, she's grateful for all it turned out to be... But don't ask her where they stand because that's a big fat "I don't know."

She's just taking things as they come... Both literally and figuratively, apparently.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grief is a pain in your chest.

So, I broke up with Eric. Like, for real.

And that just fucking sucks.

I go back and forth between overwhelmingly crushed and royally pissed off.

I wish I could crawl into his BlackBerry and take back my last email. When I told him how sad and mad I am. Because I felt better when I was writing it out, but I probably shouldn't have hit "send".


I was so strong for almost the whole day, too.

I adore that I have amazing friends who say the hard shit. V's words from last week keep running through my head, "You're feeling this way because you know he's not "the one" and you're settling... That's okay, but that's what it is."

And I can't help but think that he WILL BE the one. But, like, in a year or something.

And I knew that almost from the beginning.

I'm going to try not to beat myself up too much over this one. He brought me much joy for awhile. It just couldn't be sustained in its present state.

Time heals.

I just kinda wish we could fast-forward through the crying bits.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Twelve years ago, today, I married my best friend.

One year ago, today, I went out and celebrated a day I dubbed the "anti-versary". Dinner and drinks with the girls and then a play. Leon would kiss my shoulder that night and I would ponder that. Which led to what happened next...

Today, The Ex is still probably my best friend. We still laugh together. He still completely understands me. He knows all of my history. (Well, the history prior to the last couple of years. Haha.)

But we're not celebrating this day. And maybe we won't have a 13th. Maybe this will be the year we actually get divorced. Who knows?

And maybe it's just because I'm exhausted and sunburned, but I'm feeling kind of sad about this. I made it through most of today without even thinking about it. But I'm thinking about it now.