You Don’t Know Me (at ALL)

Ben Folds has a new album!  It’s called Way To Normal.

The way I learned about this is through the modern technology of Tivo.  I’ve told my Tivo to record any show on which Ben Folds appears, and he was on Conan last week.  You can watch him perform “You Don’t Know Me” feat. Regina Spektor on NBC.com, though you probably have to watch a commercial first, then fast forward to the fifth section of the show.

Anyway, I picked up Way To Normal today and have listened to it twice so far.  It seems to be about Ben’s divorce and how to get over it and get back to normal and, as you can imagine from the post immediately below, you can see how that would resonate with me.

Anyway, so you should watch the performance.  Ben is my favorite musician and Regina Spektor is also on that list.

A Confluence of Stress

I was very stressed out this week: more stressed out than anyone should ever have to be.

It started this weekend.  I was very sick with a cold or flu or some sort of sore throat thing, but I foolishly still decided to engage in a number of social events:  a play on Friday night and the Maryland Rennaissance Festival on Sunday.  The worst day of sickness was on Saturday, which was lucky since I didn’t have anything scheduled then.  However, Sunday was almost as bad and at the Rennfest, it rained and I got soaking wet.  This probably didn’t help matters.

It takes me about a week, at least, to get fully better when I get sick.  So the sickness remains today.  Another stressful thing that’s going on is that at work, we have a project that is very important to get done quickly and correctly.  I’m not too worried I won’t be able to handle my part, but it means less time spent dealing with the other things that are causing me strife.

I will get around to the main thing that’s really bothering me, I promise, I just have to finish up some of the smaller things first.  My SmarTrip card, which I use to pay for the Metro and the bus and which essentially makes my commute run smoothly, broke.  So I have to get a new one, which isn’t so hard, and then I have to get the balance transferred over, which is incredibly hard and time-consuming and annoying.  I am spending extra money on my commute because of this problem, and things are not going smoothly for me.

The real problem, though, the thing that had me shaking and pale and barely able to stand up on a few different occasions this week is that my divorce papers were delivered.  That wasn’t really the problem, though; I was expecting them and ready to work on them.  But when they came, I had a few questions and concerns and when I tried to talk to Melissa about it she shut me out.  We e-mailed back and forth, but she wouldn’t talk to me on the phone or IM about it, and it really baffled me.

Even in our separation we have generally maintained a cordial tone and what I thought was mutual respect, but this confrontational attitude I was running into really paralyzed me.  Luckily I had my Dad help me through it and I got everything finished and sent off today.  I didn’t get to talk to Melissa about it, but I just accepted her decision not to do so even though I can’t understand it.

Last night I was the most stressed out I have ever been in my life, and I don’t want it to happen again.  Then, when I was getting ready for bed, her boyfriend called me to talk about the papers.  Up until this point, we had never spoken, so it surprised me, but I told him to check their e-mail because I had already sent off what I was going to sign.  He said he would call me back but he never did.  I stayed awake for about an extra half hour wondering if he would call or not and whether I would get the chance to actually talk to *someone* about what I was signing and its implications and possibly get a message to Melissa that everything would be okay.  It was tough to get to sleep, but I finally did.

Hopefully these stresses are waning.  I feel better today now that the papers are sent off and there’s nothing I need to do or even can do.  I am getting better healthwise, and I should be able to buckle down on the work I need to do.  I haven’t been blogging much; sorry about that, but it tends to come in waves.

I hope everyone’s having a better, less stressful week than me.

Back To Basics

I started this blog as a place to mark down my feelings on some very personal issues: my separation and related topics. Washwords has called me out as a great writer on these topics a few times, and I appreciate that. Lately I’ve veered away from those topics and have been blogging on less personal, more “normal” issues, and posting slightly more infrequently. I think that’s healthy and generally the direction I want to go in, but I thought a few more comments on that topic would be in order.

I feel as though I’ve come to a place now where I’m stable and even comfortable with my situation. I haven’t reached the end point fully of this stage of my life, and I don’t think I will until I’ve sold my house. I use that as a marker for finality, mostly because paying a mortgage on one income constrains me in my choices much more than I’d like.

A good friend of mine whose opinion I respect a great deal thinks this must be impossible; a 3 month recovery period emotionally for a 5 year marriage? I must be in denial, she says. I am open to that possibility; I search myself for any hint that that’s true, but I don’t find anything inside myself that indicates denial, only acceptance.

The tag cloud to the right, at the moment, has divorce as the biggest topic of discussion. I feel like I haven’t posted on that topic for weeks, and still there it sits. I don’t want things to be that way; I want a more balanced and healthy life and blog and situation, and I hope I’m working toward it. This post may be my last one with a divorce tag until the papers are signed. I’m not going to force that, but I just wanted to be clear about it, if that’s the kind of writing that brought you here.

I may not write as well when things are less personal; I’ll try to get into some situations that are both personal and bloggable, but I don’t see very many things on that list. If you give me suggestions, I’d be happy to expound on any topic at length. I’m pretty arrogant that way, as writers must be at least a little.

I want to close by talking about some things that have changed about me in the past few weeks:

  • I have some grey hairs. I don’t know where they came from or if they might go away, but there’s a glint of silver just above my forehead.
  • I’ve lost 15 pounds. I didn’t even see this coming until I just weighed myself:
  • Every day when I get home work I spend at least a half hour getting spruced up: shaving, trimming my fingernails, showering, brushing my teeth, getting myself together for the rest of my day. I probably only did this 3 times a week or so before.
  • I very rarely play video games anymore; only when it’s a social event. My Wii hasn’t been hooked up in two weeks; my desktop computer has been off for 6.

Scale Reading

White hairs, if you can see them.

Daisy, Daisy…

I took the cat to the animal shelter today.

Daisy was a very pretty cat, somewhat aloof (as cats are wont to be), and a little demanding.  I don’t think she knew what was going on when Melissa and the dogs left.  She seemed somewhat happy to be rid of the dogs, I guess, but never quite happy with my treatment of her.  Her main problem was a failure to hit the litterbox (almost certainly caused by my failure to clean it often enough).

All the apartments I’m looking at don’t allow pets, and I think she would be happier with a family that would take better care of her.  I don’t really know how to take care of a cat.  With dogs, you love them, you walk them, you feed them, and they are good.  With cats, you have to read their moods.  I’ve never been very good at doing that.  Plus, sharp claws does not mix well with the kind of roughhousing I like to do.  It was best for both of us that she go.

We got her from a no-kill shelter.  When we picked her up, they said we had to give her back to them if we ever wanted or needed to get rid of her.  After 5 e-mails to them, the last 4 with no response at all, that option was no longer available.  My brother’s friend Ian works at the county shelter, and he says that they always have tons of room for cats, and that cats under 10 are always adopted right away.  That gives me hope that she will find a good family.  And, hopefully Ian can keep an eye on her.

She meowed a lot while we were on our way.  She always meowed when we put her in the travel crate, so I don’t think she knew what was going on, but it still makes it harder.  When we set her up on the desk at the shelter, she stopped meowing.  I don’t know what that portends, but I hope good things.

I was going to write this blog post from my parents’ house, but I’m glad I didn’t.  I want to tell you about the experience of coming home and having the subconscious expectation of a greeting there.  At the very least, the past couple weeks, I would get a few meows.  Daisy had been lonely right along with me.  Hopefully, she won’t be lonely for very much longer.  A nice family will adopt her.  Me?  We shall see.

Now, I go to clean the litterbox for the last time.

Emo Greg is emo.

I spent a good deal of today putting together a mix CD. I know, I know, it sounds like I’m fourteen years old. That’s okay! Sometimes I feel that way.

I started off with a plan to put all sort of fun and funny and really good songs on it, but as it was developing, it turned to be a good deal more emo than that.  I guess that’s understandable, though.

I didn’t choose the best song for each artist, just the one that most captures my recent mood over the past few weeks.  If you want to listen, I can make one for you!

Here is the playlist:

  1. Relient K – The Thief
  2. Wilco – Hate It Here
  3. The Mountain Goats – This Year
  4. Fiona Apple – Across the Universe
  5. Radiohead – Jigsaw Falling Into Pieces
  6. Ben Folds – Sentimental Guy
  7. The Flaming Lips – Waitin’ for a Superman
  8. Coldplay – The Scientist
  9. Ben Folds Five – Smoke
  10. Cake – The End of the Movie
  11. Guster – The Captain
  12. Carly Comando – Every Day

Other than that, I haven’t done too much today.  I might go to a movie later.

Where I partake of more naughty foodstuffs

I bought doritos today, at the grocery store.

So terrible! I don’t suppose I can use Stephen Colbert as an excuse?

Anyway, so yes, I stopped on the way home and picked up a few supplies.

Before the separation, I was always in a hurry to get home, even though once we got here there wasn’t really anything exciting to do. I suppose the immediate objective was the ability to relax. Which I often did, instead of making dinner, or making out, or any of the other things that a young couple is supposed to do. Melissa was more responsible and would do things like paying bills or cooking something simple for dinner, but she was often in a hurry to get to relaxing too, and in a hurry to get home.

Now that I’m alone, I still feel that impulse, that drive to achieve the goal of relaxing after a day of work, even though there really isn’t much relaxing that gets done, or even anything to get home to. When I’m at home, alone, I just feel a tension that stems from a combination of loneliness and restlessness. This tension can be suppressed by interacting with people online, or doing a little bit of work on the house, but it never goes away. I hope this is just how single guys are supposed to feel.

I hope it’s just momentum that keeps me from wanting to be out in the world, meeting my responsibilities and meeting new friends, and that as that momentum is eaten away by the single life, I’ll feel like coming home is a choice, not a goal. That’s the way I want to feel. It’s probably the way I wanted to feel before the separation as well, and I need to learn from that.

Anyway, doritos go great with tuna sandwiches, FYI.

Miss Molly (plus ART!)

My cute puppy Molly:

She’s laying in the sun, her favorite place to be.  She is very beautiful, as always, and looks healthy.  She is living with her mommy in Tennessee, who sent me this picture at my request.  I miss her very much, but she seems happy.

My brother is a pretty awesome artist, and he gave us a nice gift for Christmas: a picture of Molly that he painted, which I got to keep.  This is what I have left of her:

I don’t know how accurate a representation it is, but it will remind me of her.  I hope to look fondly on it for the rest of my life.